Archive for October, 2017

Experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney Advises Clients on What Not to Say and Do After an Accident

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

If you have ever been in a car accident, you know how traumatic they can be, whether just resulting in minor damage or totaling your car and causing significant physical harm. At that moment, you are not in a good position to be deciding what to say to other drivers, the police, and insurance company representatives. Clients often ask us, “what should I have had said?” By the time you are asking that questions, however, you may have already cost yourself a significant amount of money. As a simple advice, here are the five things you should never say or do after a car accident.

I’m Sorry

It may seem uncivilized, but apologizing for an accident is often misconstrued as claiming fault for it. Apologizing for the accident, or suggesting that it was unavoidable, may later be twisted to suggest that you caused the accident. At that moment, you actually have no idea what caused the accident—were the roads unreasonably maintained, was there a mechanical defect in a vehicle, was the other driver impaired—and it is premature to be assigning or claiming fault.

I Guess So

Police officers and insurance company representatives are going to ask you a lot of questions after an accident, some innocent fact-finding and some aimed at assigning blame. There is a human instinct to try to help people answer the questions they are asking you by saying “I guess so” or “that sounds right.”  It is much better to say “I don’t know” in those situations.  First, it is true, as people rarely have a full grasp of all of the facts involved in an incident. Second, if your assumptions are proven wrong later, saying “I guess so” may suggest that you were lying, not just trying to be helpful.

I’m Fine

Most people are caring and want to know about your physical condition. Medical professionals and witnesses often want to make sure you are not in danger. But after an accident, you are not in a position to assess your physical condition. Trauma clouds your judgment. Many serious conditions take time to develop and having said that you are “fine” at the time of the accident will undermine your subsequent efforts to be compensated for that harm. Take the time to have a medical professional assess your condition, and wait to declare that you are “fine” until he or she tells you that themselves. 

Stay Off Social Media

Posting on social media after an accident about the accident or your injuries may come back to haunt you.  Saying that “I wasn’t hurt” or “I’m lucky to feel OK” now may negate later statements by medical professionals that you actually were suffering from an injury at that time that may not have started to bother you yet. Statements regarding your pain or fault will be used by insurance companies to dispute your claims later. So refrain from making any statements on social media until your case is over.

I Don’t Have an Attorney

Insurance companies want to dispose of a case as quickly and as cheaply as possible. They are likely to offer you money early on as a result of an accident, especially in the early days before you have had a chance to attain legal representation.  Instead of saying “I do not have an attorney” say that you are still considering legal representation or do not have an attorney yet.  The financial offers at this early stage of the case are the lowest they will be, delaying negotiations with the insurance company will likely result in their offer to increase. The threat of current or future legal representation will make insurance companies less likely to try to sway your judgment with low-ball offers now,

Contact Barrett Law now if you have been in an automobile accident or are dealing with insurance companies.

Barrett Law is an experienced Mississippi law firm with a seasoned Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney ready to talk with you now.  Calling us at (800) 707-9577 can mean the difference between being compensated what you deserve after an accident and having to live with injury, property damage, and financial uncertainty. We are standing by now to provide you with the advice you need to navigate this difficult time. 

Experienced Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney Advises Clients on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Questions have arisen about the Trump administration’s interest and willingness to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The concern was raised during President Trump’s campaign, when then when memories of then-businessman Trump called the FCPA a “horrible law” in 2012. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently affirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to enforce it. How does this affirmation affect potential whistleblowers?

In a nutshell, the FCPA prohibits Americans and American companies from bribing foreign officials in an effort to attract or retain a business relationship. Sessions confirmed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will continue to enforce the FCPA, meaning that whistleblowers who report illegal payments to foreign governments will continued to receive the backing of the DOJ. If you find yourself in a position where your employer is engaging in the sort of illegal conduct prohibited by the FCPA, you need an experienced attorney to provide you with advice on how to navigate this extremely difficult situation. In addition to whistleblowing being the right thing to do, there are also financial rewards under the FCPA for those who alert the government to corporate bribes to foreign nations.

History of the FCPA

Enacted forty years ago, the FCPA, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, makes it against the law for all United States companies or individuals to bribe foreign officials on an effort to  to obtaining or retain business. In short, your employer cannot engage in “pay to play” with other countries. Additionally, the FCPA also requires companies to document how they do business with foreign countries in an effort to maintain a record of all transactions. This latter requirement is in place to make sure that there is a record of payments to foreign nations. This prevents senior members of a company’s leadership from claiming that they had no way of knowing that illegal payments were being made.

What is the New Administration’s View of the FCPA?

In 2012, then business leader Trump trivialized the FCPA’s noble goals by suggesting that the rest of the world conducts business through bribes and other illegal payments, and that the United States’ decision to prevent those sorts of payments was pollyanna thinking.  Trump stated then that the FCPA is a “horrible law” and “the world is laughing at us” because of the U.S.’s stance. He suggested that the FCPA put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage abroad. Obviously, memories of these statements made anti-corruption advocates nervous once Trump was elected president. As a result, attorney General Sessions’ affirmation that the DOJ will continue to enforce the law was welcomed by those who feared that the new administration may either let it go unenforced or, worse, actively undermine its stated goal of leveling the international business playing field.

Financial Rewards for Whistleblowers

If you are aware of bribes being paid to a foreign nation, you may be entitled to a significant reward for your decision to become a whistleblower.  The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act require the Securities and Exchange Commission to pay potentially significant rewards to whistleblowers who choose to notify the government of foreign bribery. The Dodd-Frank Act awards whistleblowers 10 to 30 percent of any money recovered of over $1 million that the agency attains from a violator after an enforcement action.

If you are employed by a company that is paying bribes to attract or retain business with a foreign nation, you need experienced Mississippi whistleblower counsel now.

Contact the Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney at (800) 707-9577 to speak to a Mississippi whistleblower immediately if you think you may be a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act whistleblower.  Not only is alerting the United States government the right thing to do, that act may entitle you to significant financial reward.

Experienced Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney Provides Do’s and Don’ts if a Loved One Is Injured or Killed Due to Medical Malpractice

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Having a loved one injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice is one of the most traumatic events you can experience. If that unfortunately occurs, you need immediate, expert legal advice to negotiate the complex decisions that lay before you. There are several things that you can do to help or hurt your situation at that moment, and being aware of them now can mean the difference between caring for your family and assets and financial ruin.

Do:

Do Shut Down Social Media Accounts

While this is not a criminal situation, the old saying “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” still holds true.  Your statements on your Facebook page can come back to haunt you, as opposing counsel may use them to show that your story has changed or that you are lying. Old photos of your loved one may be used to demonstrate that their injuries or death were caused by their own conduct. While it is an inconvenience, shutting down your social media accounts and those of your loved ones is a necessity to protect your interests until your case is concluded.

Do Tell the Truth

There is a misconception that people can get away with lying and manipulating the truth in court. In fact, that rarely works. Lying about any aspect of your case can ruin any chance you have to attain any financial recovery, and even deception about an unrelated issue can be used to discredit you in the eyes of the court or jury.  You will likely have to tell your story many times, to your attorney, in depositions, and in court. Lawyers are trained to hone in on inconsistencies and exploit them to show that a person’s story has changed.  They then argue that those changes suggest that the person is being deceptive. The easiest way to “keep your story straight” is to tell the truth and stick to it.

Do Hire An Experienced Attorney

If a loved one is seriously injured or killed due to medical malpractice, you can be sure that the doctor or hospital will have the best legal representation money can buy. Proving medical malpractice is difficult, and you cannot just hire anyone to represent your interests. You should only consider hiring an attorney with an extensive background in medical malpractice representation. Hiring an attorney without that track record sends a message to the insurance companies and opposing counsel that you will likely settle the matter for less than the case is worth. The opposite is true when you hire a veteran medical malpractice attorney; that sends a message to the other side that they should pay you what the case is worth to avoid a protracted battle against a skilled adversary.

Don’t:

Don’t Assume That a Quick Settlement is In Your Best Interest

A quick settlement usually benefits the insurance company representing the doctor that injured or killed your loved one.  A quick settlement may be convenient, but it’s worth a fraction of what you may attain after a competent attorney retains experts to review the evidence in your case. Medical malpractice cases are usually measured in years because of the complexities involved. Assuming it will resolve quickly will usually result in you getting less than you deserve.

Don’t Assume That All Bad Medical Outcomes are Negligence

A patient’s failure to respond to medical care is not necessarily negligence or malpractice. When someone is injured or killed, there is often strong impulse to assign blame. But not every injury or death results in a successful personal injury case, as sometimes there are bad outcomes even when medical professionals meet their professional obligations. Speaking to an attorney about the facts of your case is vital to attaining an understanding of whether the tragic event a loved one suffered is provable malpractice or simply an unfortunate result of legitimate medical care.

Don’t Play Detective 

Let your attorney do the intense work of researching your case and asking tough questions. Taking any role in the investigation of your case, such as asking hospital or medical personnel questions, can ruin it. While you may be reaching out to them out of grief, curiosity, or a desire to help your case, your questions may bias them against you or tip off insurance companies about your attorney’s case strategy.

A medical malpractice claim calls for an experienced personal injury attorney.

Call Barrett Law now, an experienced Mississippi personal injury law firm, to represent you if a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a medical procedure.

When a loved one has been injured or killed is a very serious legal situation, and entrusting representation to anyone less than a highly experienced personal injury attorney is a mistake. Barrett Law has the experience to take on insurance companies and defense counsel that are focused on denying your compensation for the harm your loved one experienced.  Contact us now at (800) 707-9577.

Mississippi Personal Injury Lawyer Advises Persons Injured in the BP Oil Spill Cleanup to Contact Him Now

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill was a devastating event for the Gulf Coast economy, culture, and environment. While BP has come to a settlement with many plaintiffs and the government regarding their negligence, you may still have a claim based on injuries incurred during subsequent the cleanup of the spill.

A case recently filed in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans against BP PLC, BP Exploration and Production and BP America Production Co. (“BP”) claims that BP chartered the plaintiff local resident’s fishing and shrimp boat for the cleanup and employed the resident as part of the cleanup effort. As part of that work, BP instructed him to drive his boat through the oil so that his spinning propeller would agitate or stir up the spilled oil.

As you can imagine, driving a propeller through oil causes it to become agitated and enter the air either as a vapor or liquid. There are health risks associated with breathing and coming into contact with oil. Similarly, dispersants were present in the water at the time also could become airborne as a result of this practice. It is not hard to understand that driving a boat through oil and dispersants would cause the boat to become coated with those substances. Allegedly, BP told employed boat owners that their boats would undergo extensive cleaning and detoxification.

According to the plaintiff in this case, BP’s instructions to him had several results. First, he was exposed to crude oil—both in liquid and gas form—as well as dispersants and other chemicals present in the water from both the well release and cleanup effort. He allegedly did not receive any respiratory protection such as a mask or respirator as part of his work and has suffered physically as a result. Additionally, after participation in the program, the plaintiff’s boat was not cleaned or detoxified by BP, and he was forced to bear extensive costs of cleaning and refurbishing it so that it could be used for fishing.

If you have had an experience similar to the plaintiff in this case, you may be suffering from a number of problems, such as physical ailments (headaches, trouble breathing, eye problems) and mental or emotional issues (depression, memory loss). You may also have financial damages due to having to bear the costs of cleaning a boat and lost wages while you were unable to work either due to physical problems or because your boat could not be used while it was being decontaminated. All of these damages may be actionable, or, in other words, the basis for a lawsuit.

If BP indeed placed cleanup participants in physical danger and made promises that they did not keep, there may be claims for negligence or violations of a contract.  Other claims based on safety violations. If you have suffered these injuries, whether physical, mental, emotional, or financial, you may be entitled to be made whole.

Important deadlines, statutes of limitations, and filing requirements make consulting with an experienced plaintiffs’ attorney with BP oil spill experience a vital step to protecting yourself, your livelihood, and your rights if you have suffered as a result of your participation in the cleanup.

Contact Mississippi personal injury attorney Jonathan Barrett at Barrett Law immediately to protect your rights at (800)-707-9577.

Call attorney Barrett to set up a free initial consultation. The claims you may have based on your participation in the BP oil spill response or cleanup are not simple, and you should not trust them to an attorney lacking the plaintiffs’ law and BP oil spill experience attorney Barrett possess. Call our Mississippi Personal Injury Lawyer now to protect your livelihood and life.

Do You Have Enough Evidence to File a Whistleblower Lawsuit?

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Being a whistleblower is another term for bringing a “qui tam” claim, which is a latin term meaning “he who sues for the king and himself.” In short, as a whistleblower in a qui tam case you are uncovering corruption for the good of society, but are also prosecuting a case to attain some financial reward for yourself. To get that financial reward, a qui tam investigation needs to gather significant evidence that fraud has actually occurred and then report it before someone else does. This can be a long and painstaking process. Before commencing a qui tam claim, you need to look at the evidence you already possess, the evidence you can obtain, and what key evidence you will be unable to obtain.

Because we now live in a world where business communications are largely conducted digitally, whether by email, text, or voice over internet phones, a large body of digital evidence may be available to you in the normal course of your job. Attaining and organizing this body of evidence is the first step, and an attorney will use this information to judge whether there is a sufficient evidentiary foundation to build a case around.

After that initial review, you may have to take a more stressful step of attaining evidence that you do not readily have access to. This is not a step to be taken without legal advice regarding what additional pieces of evidence are critical and how to legally attain them. Close communication with your legal counsel is key at this step, as several factors impact what information you can gather and whether you can distribute it.  Your legal status within the company, as well as any medical or legal privilege that may limit your ability to disseminate certain types of records, must be carefully considered.

There will usually also be information you cannot obtain or cannot obtain without undue risk to yourself, your career, or undue risk of discovery. Deciding what evidence is crucial and whether or not to continue to try to obtain it is a difficult decision best made with the advice of experienced counsel. The decision to continue seeking evidence or to simply file your claim is not an easy one, in part because time is of the essence.

You may be the only person to see that actual fraud is being committed, but others may also know or sense that something is amiss. Given the many ways in which most businesses are audited and tracked, other employees may also be starting to sense that something is “not right.”  That means that if you delay filing your qui tam claim too long, either due to indecision, fear, or a desire to gather additional evidence, you may lose “first-to-file” status. Losing the status means you receive no financial reward, as while the government is extremely interested in reports of fraud, they are not particularly interested in a second report of a fraud their already aware of. As a result, keeping your suspicions and evidence gathering to yourself is vital, as is the legal decision regarding whether you have sufficient evidence to go forward.

If you believe that fraud is occurring in your workplace, contact Barrett Law now at (800) 707-9577. This is not a situation for amateurs or even for attorneys who do not specialize in qui tam cases.  Barrett Law has the experience required to protect you and successfully bring a whistleblower claim on your behalf.

Barrett Law has a Mississippi Whistleblower Attorney with experience in protecting whistleblowers’ rights and attaining their financial rewards. Do not hesitate; call us for a consultation today.

Mississippi Whistleblower Defense Attorney Answers the Question: Can I File a Whistleblower Case Anonymously?

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Given the high stakes of filing a whistleblower claim and the potential risks involved, clients sometimes ask whether a whistleblower or “qui tam” suit can be filed anonymously.  Whistleblower claims are made under the False Claims Act and actually must be filed anonymously at first. The question is how strong that anonymity is and how long it will be until your name becomes known to those whom you have alerted the federal government to. There is no exact timeline regarding how long a whistleblower can remain anonymous, but the following guidelines can help give you some perspective on this question.

Under the False Claims Act’s terminology, a whistleblower is called a “relator.”  By law, relators must file their claims or “blow the whistle” under seal. That means that the relator’s allegations of fraud are only known to the court and the federal government. This process provides the federal government an opportunity to look into the claim without the tipping anyone else off about the fraud. Accordingly, the relator is anonymous to everyone except the government and court at this stage; that said, if the federal government starts investigating the relator’s employer and begins looking into issues closely tied to the relator, an inference regarding the relator’s identity may materialize.

The False Claims Act only protects the relator’s identity for 60 days; after that, the seal may be lifted. The seal may also be extended while the government continues its investigation. An important point to consider is that the federal government, not the relator, decides whether the seal will be extended or lifted.

Once the seal on a case is lifted, a whistleblower case resembles other civil litigation. That means that the defendant—the relator’s employer—is served with a civil complaint. A civil complaint is a public list of allegations of wrongdoing. While there is no requirement that a civil complaint name the relator by name, a complaint will be descriptive of the conduct at issue, and it is unlikely that an employer would not figure out who the relator is based on those allegations. In the off chance that a defendant is unaware of the relator’s identity after being served with a complaint, either the relator or the government will have to disclose the name as a witness once the discovery process begins, where the parties exchange evidence, including witness names.

Not every qui tam case filed under the False Claims Act goes forward after the federal government investigates it. Sometimes the federal government decides not to join in the suit, which usually means it feels it is not particularly strong. The relator can still pursue the case alone, but this is a high risk proposition without the government’s backing. In that case, the relator may want to dismiss the case while it is still under seal. Unfortunately, a dismissed case is no longer under seal, meaning that the relator is no longer necessarily anonymous, as the dismissed claim is a public record. While it is possible to have a judge seal a dismissed case, this is rarely done, except when there are direct threats against a whistleblower. In the end, the relator’s identity will likely be known, even if the case is ultimately dismissed.

The False Claims Act does protect whistleblowers from retaliation. A whistleblower cannot be fired, demoted, threatened, harassed, or be the recipient of discrimination by the employer, and a separate retaliation claim can lead to financial penalties against the employer.

Call Barrett Law now at (800) 707-9577 if you are a whistleblower.

Being a relator is a stressful process requiring experienced legal advice to protect your identity and rights. Contact our Mississippi Whistleblower Defense Attorney to relieve that stress and receive the legal advice you need. Barrett Law is a Mississippi whistleblower defense firm with a track record of successfully protecting our clients’ rights in qui tam claims under the False Claims Act. Having expert legal advice by your side can mean the difference between receiving your share of a False Claims Act judgment and losing your career and livelihood. Call us today.

 

Experienced Mississippi Trucking Attorney Discusses Report on Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

When a large truck crashes, small cars’ passengers are usually the victim. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in 2015, 3,852 people died in crashes involving large trucks. The vast majority (69%) of those victims were people riding in passenger vehicles. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. As a interstate carrier, it is vital to know the factors that contribute to serious accidents. If you are involved in an accident, immediately contact an experienced trucking attorney to represent your interests and protect your livelihood and family.

Mechanical Defects

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers collaborated with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to examine factors affecting the risk of crashing for large trucks operated by interstate carriers. Their research determined that if an interstate carrier had a serious mechanical defect, there was three times the risk of having a crash.

Driver Fatigue

Long hours behind the wheel can not only lead to exhaustion, but to accidents. Driver fatigue is a significant contributor to crashes involving large trucks. This problem can be exacerbated by the use of the short-haul exemption for federal hours-of-service rules. The reason for the relationship between exhaustion and short-haul drivers is that while short-haul drivers have to comply with federal rules on rest and driving times, short-haul exemption drivers do not have the same requirements for logging their driving hours. As a result, without a requirement to log hours, some short-haul drivers drive longer than they should, become exhausted, and get into accidents.

Short-Haul Exemption Drivers

Short-haul exemption drivers are drivers who normally drive short distances, but get an exemption work as an interstate carrier. They are not necessarily accustomed to the legal requirements of interstate carriers. Less experience can translate to less ability, less skill, and more accidents. A lack of familiarity with the legal requirements that interstate carriers have to comply with can result in increased safety violations and accidents.

Are There Safety Solutions on the Horizon?

To combat inaccurate mileage logs, there is a new federal mandate requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) – set to take effect in late 2017 – there is a belief that automating the tracking of hours driven will decrease the impulse to drive to exhaustion and make those unsafe extra hours trackable, and ultimately punishable by administrative or legal action.

Another technological advance that could have an effect on highway safety is crash avoidance technology, which is now being required on large trucks. These technological changes seek to mitigate the damage by large trucks. Specifically, electronic stability control systems, which help control situations where drivers either understeer or oversteer, and roll stability control that reduce rollovers are being added to trucks and may soon be required. Having anti-lock breaks is another factor reducing the chance of a catastrophic crash.

If you are an long haul trucker or interstate carrier, you need to have an understanding of both the safety concerns that could lead to accidents, as well as the legal changes that are affecting your profession. New rules aimed at curbing the danger posed by large trucks to passenger vehicles affect how you do business.

Call Barrett Law now at (800) 707-9577 if you need to understand new rules affecting interstate carriers or if you are in an accident.

Contacting the Mississippi Trucking Attorney at Barrett Law can mean the difference between working in compliance with the law and protecting your livelihood and losing your ability to drive. There are serious safety and financial implications to your decision to attain knowledgeable legal counsel as you work to comply with the law or react to an accident.

Experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney Provides Advice Regarding What Options You Have After an Accident

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Many people ask whether they can receive financial compensation after an automobile accident. The question that often follows is whether a civil claim is a better option than just seeking compensation through an insurance claim.

First, it is important to understand the difference between those options. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil claim that you would bring against the person, entity, or business that injured you based on negligence. Insurance covers compensating you for property and physical losses from an accident.

Even if you have been injured in an automobile accident, that does not mean that a lawsuit is a sure bet.  To have a compensable case, a few factors must be present, and each is discussed fully below. Obviously, you must have an injury, not just property damage to your vehicle. The accident must also be caused by another person’s negligence, meaning that they knew or should have known of a risk and ignored it. Finally, the damages you have suffered must be recoverable. If you have been in an accident, it is important to meet with an experienced automobile accident attorney to decide whether these factors are met in your case.

Question One—Have You Experienced a Personal Injury?

Injuries to either the body or mind can be compensated foreign a civil suit. A personal injury can be physical or psychological, and is distinguishable from injuries to your property, such as your vehicle. So if you have whiplash or a broken ankle after an automobile accident, you have experienced a personal injury. Similarly, if you have post traumatic stress, anxiety, or some other mental injury after an accident, you also have a personal injury.

Question Two—Did Some Other Entity’s Negligence Cause your Personal Injury?

An unavoidable accident that causes you a personal injury may not be compensable. In order to have a claim, your injuries need to have been caused by another person, company, or government entity’s negligence.  Again, that means that the other person new or should have known of a risk and ignored it. They were careless. Understanding what is and what is not negligence calls for a lawyer’s expertise, and a skilled attorney can advise you regarding whether the injuries you have suffered are a result of another’s negligence.

Question Three—Do you have recoverable damages?

Recoverable damages is a term that has two meanings.  First, it means that the personal injury you have experienced can be made up for financially.  That means that it must be quantifiable.  Medical bills you have paid, days you have been forced to miss work, a reduction in pay, your lowered quality of life, physical pain you have endured—all of these damages are quantifiable and recoverable with the help of an attorney.

Second, your damages must be recoverable.  That means that the person who injured you negligently must have sufficient assets or insurance to pay any settlement you receive. If you have been negligently injured and have compassable injuries, you may still not have a good case if the person who injured you is uninsured and unemployed.

Contact our experienced Mississippi automobile accident attorneys today to determine whether an insurance claim or a civil claim is right for you.

Call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney at Barrett Law Firm at (800) 707-9577 now. Deciding to accept an insurance settlement or choosing to file a personal injury lawsuit may significant consequences and requires an attorney with extensive experience with this sort of decision. Barrett Law can provide you with that sort of advice and can help you protect your livelihood and future.

Mississippi Tricking Accident Attorney Explains Jackknife Trucking Accidents

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Driving near tractor-trailers can make people nervous. After all, the weight of these vehicles is 20-30 times what a passenger car is, and when a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are the ones that typically suffer the most severe injuries and a higher risk of death. While there are certain aspects of truck driving that make it more challenging, and potentially more likely for the truck driver to cause accidents, not all truck accidents are caused by truck drivers. With that said, the size and weight of commercial trucks makes it more difficult for them to stop quickly, especially on wet or icy roads, and truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to spend extremely long periods of time behind the wheel.

It seems that jackknife accidents would be clear examples of accidents that are the fault of a truck driver, and not the other driver, however, even in these cases an injured person will have to prove liability.

What is a jackknife accident?

Large tractor-trailers consist of a cabin and the trailer. When the driver in the cabin loses control over the trailer part of the truck, and the truck takes on the shape of the letter “L” or a “V,” this is referred to as “jackknifing.” The name is derived from a folding knife because the shape is similar to that of a partially folded blade.

What are the risks associated with jackknifing?

If a truck loses control and jackknifes, the trailer could cross the road, including the traffic in lanes traveling in the opposite direction. This can cause cars to crash head-on into the trailer with little opportunity to get out of the way or stop. There is also a large risk of a truck rolling when it jackknifes, creating an incredible risk to everyone on the road, and at times risking spilling cargo that could also be hazardous.

What causes a truck to jackknife?

When a truck driver slams on the breaks, the cab might stop, but the trailer may continue to move forward. This could occur because of inclement weather, curves in the road, or because the truck driver was trying to avoid something in his or her path.

Many times, these accidents could be caused by negligence on the part to the truck driver. For instance, the need to slam on the breaks could often occur as the result of the driver speeding, or driving at a speed that might be under the speed limit, but still reckless due to the weather or other conditions. Of course, not every accident involving jackknifing will necessarily be the fault of a truck driver. If the trucker only attempted to stop abruptly because of a car accident that occurred immediately in front of the truck’s path, then the driver might not have been negligent, but rather caught in a helpless position.

It is important to remember that if you were in an accident with a truck that jackknifed and your own driving might have contributed to the injuries that you suffered, you can still collect compensation from the other negligent driver under Mississippi law, your compensation will just be reduced to reflect your share of the fault.

Any accident involving trucks is frightening and can potentially cause catastrophic harm. Be sure to speak with an attorney to have your claim evaluated and to determine your best course of action.  Contact Barrett Law PLLC today to speak with our seasoned Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney.

 

Experienced Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney Warns About the Dangers of Concussions Resulting from Crashes

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

You’ve probably heard about the dangers of concussions in the context of N.F.L. players experiencing serious brain injuries from a lifetime on the playing field.  While most of us will never suit up for a football game, concussions are a serious injury that anyone can experience as a result of a car accident.

Concussions are commonly occurring, mild brain injuries that can have dramatic long and short term consequences for those who experience them. They are caused by the brain accelerating within and hitting the interior of the skull, which results in trauma. Too often, people experience concussions after an accident and decide to “shake it off” or not take it seriously. Unfortunately, that can be a serious mistake. Having helped numerous clients in Mississippi recovering from accidents, Barrett Law can help clients through this potentially life altering condition.

Having helped our clients through accidents resulting in concussions, we want to provide the following information as a guide to those who may need our services.

All Concussions are Serious – It may sound obvious, but too many people would treat a broken arm seriously, but not an injury to the brain. That’s likely because the pain from a broken arm is acute and the injury is visible.  Brain injuries are often not obvious, and are always invisible. But even a slight concussion can later pose serious problems. In short, you need to seek medical treatment for a concussion, even if it does not immediately seem to be a significant medical condition.

You Do Not Need to Hit Your Head to Get a Concussion – The obvious way to receive a concussion is by hitting your head.  But a concussion is not necessarily caused by impact to the skull. Again, a concussion is caused by the brain accelerating within the skull and impacting the skull’s interior.  That can result from the sudden impact of an automobile accident. You should never rule out a concussion because you did not “hit your head.” Any time you experience an automobile accident, you may have a concussion.  Only a medical professional can rule that out.

If You Experience a Concussion, You Are More Likely to Experience Another – Unfortunately, you become more susceptible to concussions once you have had one. So if you have been in a sports related trauma, the odds of you having a concussion as a result of an automobile accident are increase.

The More Concussions You Have, the More Dangerous They Are – We are just learning about how concussions affect people in the long term, but as indicted by the recent studies into NFL players experiencing CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, repeated concussions—even minor ones—can have short term side effects of pain, light sensitivity, dizziness, and fatigue, but also have serious long term neurological effects. Sadly, repeated concussions may cause debilitating brain degeneration.

It is a serious mistake to simply assume that you do not need a medical consultation after a car accident. Even if you have not impacted your head, you may be experiencing a concussion.  This is particularly true if you have suffered from a concussion in the past. Making decisions that may affect your long term health and livelihood without expert advice at this moment is a mistake.

If you have been in an accident, you are not in a position to assess the possible long term consequences of the injuries you may have incurred, especially brain or neurological injuries. The Barrett Law Firm is an experienced Mississippi auto accident firm skilled in providing the sort of advice you need if you have experienced a concussion as a result of negligence of other drivers.

Contact the Barrett Law Firm now if you have been in an automobile accident.

Call the Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney at the Barrett Law Firm at (800) 707-9577 to receive a consultation regarding your accident, regardless of its seriousness.  Too often, a “minor” accident or “fender bender” has unanticipated, long term consequences.  Our experience helping accident victims may mean the difference between healing and long term debilitation.