December 9th, 2014
Clients over the year have often asked me “how do I find the best lawyer in a practice area in Mississippi?
Here are basic guidelines I recommend following when selecting an attorney:
Client reviews on the internet, if the reviews are legitimate, that is a good starting place. Attorneys now are often placing actual client testimony and actual client words on their websites and on lawyer directory websites like AVVO.com.
Experience in handling a case like yours. With a little background research, you can determine whether the lawyer you are seeking has handled a case like yours successfully in the past.
The similarities do not have to solely include the facts, but the general legal claims. For
example, if you have a medical malpractice case, your initial review of the lawyer’s information on the website or internet should include the lawyer’s history. Find out not just whether an attorney has won major cases, but whether the attorney has consistently and recently taken cases like yours and has been successful, whether by settlement or by trial.
Look for certifications, extra training and whether that lawyer is recognized by his peers
as an authority. Has the lawyer taught, lectured, or given presentations to other lawyers on the subject. Another good question would be has the lawyer taught other lawyers on a particular subject in a continuing legal education course. Also, has the lawyer been reviewed by other lawyers and endorsed by other lawyers on websites such as LinkedIn.com.
The workflow and volume of the firm/attorneys. When you have a serious personal injury case you want the law firm to give you full attention. If you call an attorney who constantly advertising gimmicky sales pitches on the TV, you know that attorney probably has a large volume of business. The last thing you want to be is a cog in a giant wheel with you and your case just being a number. This is commonly referred to as a “mill” among legal circles. While this may or may not be apparent on the attorney’s website, these are questions you should ask an attorney when you are considering hiring them. What is your workload like? How many cases are you handling currently in litigation and how many have you actually tried in the last year. When is the last time you tried a case like mine? Where was it tried? What result was achieved? Also, how easy is it to speak with your attorney or receive a return phone call within two (2) days of your call?
Ethical issues and disciplinary actions. The attorney’s record with the Mississippi Bar
Association is not often publicly broadcasted. Has the attorney ever been reprimanded or suspended. These are hard questions to ask. Any attorney seeking to represent and willing to represent you on a contingency fee basis should not have any problem answering these questions fully, openly and honestly. My experience is that most clients want to hire the most ethical lawyer with the highest standards. Clients should be aware that there are strict rules for their attorneys and employees in contacting clients. If you are a loved one was contacted by an attorney without first seeking out that attorney, that it itself is a potential ethical violation.
Selecting an attorney is as simple as writing one letter. You should ask the attorney
what has his experience been with clients firing his firm. It is explained to our clients that once they sign a contingency fee contract, we work at their pleasure and can be fired at any time.
Ethically an attorney is not permitted to speak with a client who is previously represented. The internet can be a valuable resource in determining how to go about firing your attorney if you hired him on a contingency basis. Read the employment agreement/contract. Firing an attorney is as simple as sending them a communication, preferably a letter, stating “your services are no longer needed”. A client is then free to seek the advice of other counsel and begin the interview process again. The attorney interviewing the potential client now has no ethical restraint prohibiting him from discussing a represented party’s case with them.
Comfort level. In personal injury cases client relationships can last years. Your ability
to communicate effectively and your comfort level in your attorney’s office is important and should be considered in weighing your options on which attorney to select. A good question to ask in this category is “what is your relationship with clients like after you have settled their case”? Most clients have had only one opportunity to hire a lawyer in their lives for a very significant injury or life altering course of events. That one attorney should not disappear once the case is resolved/money is distributed.
November 26th, 2014
The drivers of tractor trailers have a job that is more physical and mentally demanding than those of us who don’t drive trucks for a living are aware of. The physical demands of spending long hours on the road, along with the feelings that accompany being away from their homes and families for weeks at a time can be exhausting. Many truck drivers enjoy their work, but that does not mean that they do not experience feelings of fatigue or exhaustion from time to time. Unfortunately, mixing exhaustion with the task of driving a vehicle that is larger and heavier than the other vehicles on the road can prove dangerous and even deadly.
Many tractor trailer accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Since the potential for fatigue exists whenever a truck driver is working, each truck driver must determine their own plan for preventing fatigue and for addressing it when it does happen. There are rules in place that govern the hours that truck drivers can work, and these “hours of service” regulations can be a good place to start for preventing fatigue. Some drivers find that taking naps during periods of time that they stop for a break helps them to maintain alertness when on the road. Other drivers find that brisk walks or exercise breaks are good for both their physical fitness and for their ability to fight fatigue. Many truck drivers also enjoy plenty of coffee, which can boost alertness.
The fatigue prevention strategies mentioned above are all safe, legal ways for truck drivers to maintain alertness throughout the workday. Unfortunately, some truck drivers use illegal stimulants like methamphetamine (meth) to stay awake. Meth can be found at many truck stops, so drivers do not have to go out of their way to get it. Drivers who use meth to stay awake put their safety and the safety of others at risk, because meth can affect drivers’ depth perception and reaction time in addition to causing hallucinations and vertigo. Many serious and fatal tractor trailer accidents have been caused by drivers who were high on meth. Meth addicts are also at risk for heart attacks and strokes. If a truck driver has a heart attack or a stroke while they are driving, a serious accident is likely to occur.
Drug use among truck drivers is a serious problem, but truck drivers are not monitored as closely for drug use as many people might think. Many employers do use pre-employment drug testing, but once a driver is employed by a company they may be tested randomly. Infrequent and random drug tests can result in meth users avoiding detection for extended periods of time. Company policies vary greatly as to what disciplinary measures are used against drivers who are caught using drugs.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a trucking accident that involved a trucker who was impaired due to methamphetamine, the Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. can help you to pursue the recovery that you deserve. Please call our office today, at (601) 355-2022 to set up a consultation with us.
November 18th, 2014
Many of us rely on medications to treat medical conditions, and some medications have the power to do a lot of good things for our health. When a woman is trying to conceive or she becomes pregnant, though, it is possible that she may have to stop taking some of the medications that she had previously been using safely. The reason for this is that not all medications are safe for use during pregnancy. Using medications that are not approved for use during pregnancy can cause birth defects and birth injuries.
Prescription drugs are powerful substances which can have impacts on our bodies that go beyond relieving the symptoms for which they were prescribed. The devastating impacts of some medications on babies who were exposed to them in utero have been known for quite some time. In the early 1960’s, thousands of babies died or were disfigured after their mothers were prescribed Thalidomide for morning sickness. There are many prescription drugs on the market today, and some of them do pose serious risks to the development of babies in utero when they are used by mothers who are pregnant.
Every year in America, fifteen thousand birth defects are caused by prescription drugs. Approximately seventy percent of women take at least one prescription medication during their pregnancy. Some of these women are taking medications that have been shown to be safe for use during pregnancy, while others are taking medications whose effects on developing fetuses are unknown or which are not approved for use during pregnancy.
The types of prescription drugs which have caused birth defects include fertility treatments, a prescription acne treatment, antifungal medications, popular antidepressants, some painkillers and anti-convulsants. When a child is born with a birth defect or injury, it is important to consider any possible causes of harm. If the child’s mother was prescribed one of the prescription medications listed above, it is possible that the parents may be able to recover damages from the doctor who prescribed the medication. When a doctor is prescribing a medication to treat an expectant mother’s medical condition, they are supposed to look at the FDA’s categorized lists of medications and select the safest option. The doctor should also consider whether the medication is absolutely necessary. In addition to filing a claim against the doctor who prescribed the medication, parents may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of the drug.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you were prescribed prescription drugs during your pregnancy and your baby was born with a birth defect, you could benefit from the assistance of qualified Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys. The attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. would like to hear from you. Please call our office today, at (601) 355-2022 to arrange a consultation with us.
November 2nd, 2014
Many of us have heard disturbing tales of wrong site surgeries, medication errors, misdiagnoses, and the like. These stories are concerning on their own, but perhaps even more concerning are the statistics which show just how often incidents of medical malpractice occur. Medical malpractice cases involve many different scenarios, from foreign objects left inside of the body after surgery, wrong body part surgeries, incorrect surgeries, medication errors, misdiagnoses and failures to diagnose. Medical malpractice occurs whenever a health care provider’s actions deviate from the established standard of care and cause harm to a patient. Two years ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published a study that examined how frequently incidents of medical malpractice, which are often called “never events”, actually happen.
A “never event” is something that medical professionals agree should never happen during surgery. All “never events” are deviations from the standards of care which medical professionals are supposed to adhere to in providing care to their patients. Things like surgical sponges being left inside of patients, incorrect body part surgery, and incorrect surgery on the right body part are all “never events”. Approximately 4,044 never events occur annually in the United States. As part of the study, the “never events” were categorized, and the researchers found that each week, twenty incorrect surgeries were performed. Also, twenty patients per week reported surgery on the wrong body part and another thirty nine patients per week reported that a surgical implement was left inside of their body.
The researchers who did the Johns Hopkins study think that their estimate of the number of “never events” is much lower than the actual occurrence of such events because the estimates were based upon medical malpractice cases that were actually filed, and which were voluntarily reported by hospitals. As few as fifteen percent of medical malpractice claims are voluntarily reported by hospitals, so the numbers that are reported in the study may just be the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, some “never events” cause very little damage to the patient before they are discovered and therefore, they do not result in medical malpractice claims. Another reason that the “never events” estimates in the Johns Hopkins study may be rather low is that some “never events” are never even discovered.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice can have a long lasting impact on both the victims and their families. If you have been injured or someone that you love has been killed as the result of the negligent actions of a health care provider, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. At the Giddens Law Firm, P.A., our team of Mississippi Medical Malpractice Attorneys can help you to pursue a claim for damages that will adequately compensate you and your family for the pain, suffering, and other adverse effects that they have experienced. To learn more about how we can help you to recover from medical malpractice, please call the attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A., at (601) 355-2022.
November 1st, 2014
Brain injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that affect victims of automobile accidents. There are varying types of brain injuries, each of which has its own set of challenges and complications. When someone has a brain injury, they may be rendered fully or partially incapable of meeting their day-to-day needs and the needs of their family. This presents a major challenge to the injured person’s family and friends, who must find ways to meet those needs both immediately and also into the future if recovery is slow or incomplete.
Some brain injury victims are expected to recover fully, while others may only be expected to make a partial recovery. It may be difficult for doctors to predict how long recovery may take and what degree of recovery is expected to occur in any given brain injury case. The recovery process for brain injury victims is slow, and extended periods of time may pass without any measurable progress. Things that were second nature prior to the injury, like speaking, eating, and walking, may need to be re-learned over a period of time, as the brain recovers.
When an automobile accident victim sustains a brain injury, their doctors may not be able to determine the full extent of the damage that has occurred. Doctors may also have a hard time coming up with a timeline for expected recovery. Both of these things make it difficult for the victim’s family to file a claim for damages on their behalf because they make the exact amount of damages difficult to ascertain. Automobile accident cases involving brain injuries often take longer than other automobile accident cases, which can be frustrating for the victims’ family and friends, who would like their claims for damages resolved in a timely manner so that they can ensure that the victims’ financial needs are met.
Automobile accident victims should know that brain injuries are not always detectable in the hours and days following a crash. It is important that all accident victims get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, in order to check for signs of brain injuries or other types of injuries. Early detection and treatment can give accident victims the best possible chance at recovery. Even if your initial doctor’s visit does not result in a diagnosis, you have at least provided your doctor with a frame of reference that they can look back on if you experience new symptoms or changes in your health as time passes after your accident.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys
Living with a brain injury can be very challenging for automobile accident victims and their families. Brain injury cases can be complicated, but knowledgeable Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys can help you to pursue the recovery that you deserve. To learn more about how the attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. can help you, call us today at (601) 355-2022, to arrange a completely confidential initial consultation.
October 29th, 2014
When families make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, they often do so after one or more incidents which made them feel as though it was no longer safe for their elderly relative to live at home on their own. Perhaps she has wandered off on more than one occasion without telling anyone, only to be discovered missing by someone with whom she had planned to visit at her home at a specific time. Maybe he has been forgetting to eat, and has become undernourished. Whatever the situation is, when a family feels that close supervision is the best solution to their elderly relative’s current problems, they are likely to insist that their relative move into a nursing home which they feel will supervise them adequately and keep them safe.
While some nursing homes are very secure environments, others, including some facilities which promote themselves as being specifically designed to address the needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, are not. Residents do sometimes wander away from their nursing homes, undetected by staff, and sometimes with tragic results. While some nursing home residents who wander off are found within hours of their disappearances, others are not found alive. Deaths from wandering have resulted from freezing cold weather, starvation, and drowning, among other things.
Nursing home staff assess new residents in order to determine what types of care they need. Each resident has his or her own unique set of needs. Some residents need a great deal of medical care, while others, such as many residents who are affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia, may be in good physical health but require close supervision because of their mental health needs. In fact, the residents who require the most supervision are those who are physically capable of moving around easily and have mental health conditions which make them prone to wandering.
It is possible to keep residents who are at a high risk for wandering safely contained within a nursing home facility. When nursing home staff communicate with each other regarding which residents are at a high risk for wandering, they are more likely to keep a closer watch on those who need it. Also, when nursing home management staff their facilities adequately, residents are better supervised. Many of the incidences of nursing home wandering which have occurred have been at facilities that are chronically understaffed. Additionally, some safety features, like locks and alarms on doors and windows can be built right into the facility, or added later on, as needed.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one because they wandered away from the nursing home that was responsible for their safety and well-being, you may be able to recover or your loss. The Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. would like to hear from you. Call our office today, at (601) 355-2022 and arrange a consultation with us.
October 10th, 2014
If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor trailer, you may be looking for a personal injury attorney to handle your case. While it is a good thing that you are thinking of retaining an attorney, it is important that you understand that your case is different than the automobile accident cases that are a mainstay of many personal injury attorneys’ practices. Fortunately, there are attorneys who specialize in handling cases involving tractor trailers. Here are a few reasons why you should call a Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney today.
Trucking accident attorneys are accustomed to working with cases that involve serious injuries, fatalities, and massive amounts of property damage because these things are commonly associated with trucking accidents. The ways in which tractor trailers and passenger vehicles collide are also often different than the ways in which passenger vehicles collide with each other. Trucking accident attorneys understand the various types of eighteen-wheeler accident scenarios, such as underride accidents and rollovers, and they use that knowledge to pursue the recoveries that their clients deserve.
A second reason why trucking accident victims need the assistance of a trucking accident attorney is that there are often multiple defendants in trucking accident cases, which makes the claims resolution process more complex. The trucking company is one defendant, the driver is another, and there may even be others, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case. Trucking accident attorneys have experience navigating the complexities of multi-party accident cases.
Evidence is important at all stages of the resolution of trucking accident cases, not just during litigation. Trucking accident attorneys use their knowledge and understanding of trucking accident evidence throughout the claims process, to pursue settlements that will adequately compensate their clients for their injuries. Your trucking accident attorney knows how to gather and analyze different types of information like physical evidence from the crash, the truck driver’s log book, and trucking company business records. Additionally, trucking accident attorneys are skilled at calculating the value of trucking accident claims. Your attorney will help you to determine what your case is worth, so that you can evaluate settlement offers and confidently decline any settlement offers that will not adequately compensate you for your damages.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you were injured in a Mississippi trucking accident, it is important that you speak with a Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney right away. A Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney can help you to navigate the trucking accident claims process. We understand that the injuries and damage that you and your vehicle sustained in your accident have probably impacted every area of your life, and we are here to help you pursue the recovery that you deserve. The knowledgeable Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us today. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A., at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free initial consultation.
October 8th, 2014
If your child was born with a birth injury, one of the first things that you may have wanted to know is whether the injury was likely to be permanent, or whether your child would likely recover from it. Some birth injuries do heal, either fully or partially, after proper treatment. Other birth injuries, like cerebral palsy, are permanent and will require different types of care as your child grows and his or her needs change.
One thing that parents of children with birth injuries may not know is that your regular pediatrician may not be an authority on how long your child’s birth injury is likely to last. While they may be able to provide you with some information, it is a good idea to find a doctor who specializes in the care of children who are affected by the same type of birth injury as your child, and get a second opinion. Doctors who care for other children in similar circumstances can help your child develop a plan for treatment of your child’s birth injury. They can also provide you with an approximate timetable for recovery, if your child’s injury is one which they are likely to fully or partially recover from.
The birth injuries which are usually the quickest to heal are things like excessive bruising, broken blood vessels, and fractures. If your baby has Erb’s palsy, the degree of nerve damage will determine their chance of recovery. As swelling, pressure, and bruising recede after your child is born, it is possible that nerve function may be regained quickly, if the damage was mild. Another type of injury where the potential for recovery is directly are brachial plexus injuries. Some severe brachial plexus injures are permanent, but other, less severe cases are not. A doctor who specializes in treating brachial plexus injuries can examine your baby and tell you whether exercises or stretches could help with your child’s recovery, and whether any specific movements should be avoided.
Cerebral palsy is a birth injury which lasts a lifetime. When a baby receives too little oxygen during labor and delivery, their brain may be irreversibly harmed. Children with cerebral palsy require specialized care throughout their lifetimes, and doctors who specialize in treating children with cerebral palsy can help you to make a plan for treatment which will address your child’s needs at every stage of their growth and development, and into adulthood.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys
If your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you and your child may be entitled to recover damages for the harm that they have suffered and will continue to suffer throughout their lifetime. The Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us, so that you can focus your time and energy on caring for your child while we take care of handling your birth injury case. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today, at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.
October 4th, 2014
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you may be on the fence as far as whether or not to ask an attorney for help in resolving your claim for damages. It is also possible that you have already started trying to handle your own insurance claim, but it might seem like you are getting nowhere with the insurance company. Whatever your situation is, if you have not yet resolved your claim for damages in your Mississippi automobile accident case, there are a few reasons why you should speak with an attorney right away.
One reason why you should get help from an attorney in resolving your automobile accident case is that people who are represented by automobile accident attorneys in their car crash cases often recover more for their damages than people who go it alone. A Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney will work tirelessly on your behalf to obtain a settlement that meets your needs.
Another reason why it is a good idea to let an attorney help you with your automobile accident claim is that your time is precious. Your life was busy enough before the accident, and it may have gotten even busier, depending upon the extent of your injuries. You may be back on the job, or you might be navigating a schedule filled with doctors’ visits and physical therapy appointments. It takes time to make phone calls and write emails to the insurance company, and when your calls and emails go unanswered, it can be extremely frustrating. When you turn the task of communicating with the insurance company over to an attorney, they can take the time to place multiple phone calls or write multiple emails, if need be. In many cases, insurance companies are quicker to respond to communications from attorneys than they are to respond to communications from people who are resolving their claims themselves.
A third reason to get help from a Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney is that they can calculate the true value of your claim for you. If you know what your claim is worth, you won’t sell yourself short by accepting an inadequate settlement offer. Many accident victims receive settlement offers in the weeks following their accidents, and some of them accept the first offer that they receive because they do not realize that they should be getting more money than that. Unfortunately, people who do this often realize later on that the amount that they thought was a good settlement did not in fact cover all of their medical bills or other damages. Your Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney knows how to pursue settlement offers that meet their clients’ needs.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys
A Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorney can help you to pursue the settlement that you deserve in your car accident case. The Mississippi Automobile Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact them about your automobile accident case. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today, at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.
September 28th, 2014
Riding a motorcycle requires a great deal of skill and concentration at any time. Night riding presents even more challenges and requires an even greater level of skillful focus. One challenge is that it is more difficult for other vehicles to see you. Your ability to see important things like signs and pavement markings is affected too. It is also hard to see pedestrians and wildlife at night, and you may have little time to react to them when you come upon them. Riding at night is not only more challenging than riding during the day, it is also more dangerous. Sixty percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents that occur in America happen after dark.
Nighttime riding becomes a little safer if you keep your speed down. By riding more slowly than you would during the day, you give yourself more time to react to anything that you might see in the road, including other vehicles. Riding at night is more taxing for your eyes than riding during the day, and your eyes can actually get tired, even if the rest of your body is well rested. If your eyes get tired, find a safe location and take a rest break. Wildlife are often present near roadways after dark, so be on the lookout for them, as they often stand on the side of the road and then dart unexpectedly into the roadway.
You can also keep yourself safe at night by increasing your visibility. Other motorists should be paying attention and looking out for motorcycles as they drive along. That said, one of the most common types of motorcycle crashes involves a vehicle turning left and into the path of a motorcycle, causing the rider to collide with the vehicle. These left-turn accidents often result in serious injury or death. In order to prevent left-turn accidents and other types of accidents that could occur if a driver does not see you, do as much as you can to increase your visibility to others on the road.
Reflective or fluorescent accents can increase visibility, so display them on clothing, helmets, and even on your bike. Good lighting also increases your visibility. If your bike has a small rear brake light, consider replacing it with a bigger, brighter one. You can also add running lights to the front of your bike, so that there are three lights instead of just one. You can maximize the brightness of your headlight by using a DOT-approved super bright headlight bulb. The angle at which your headlight is aimed matters, too. Check your state’s motorcycle laws, and then raise your headlight to the maximum angle that the law allows.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. A Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorney can help you to understand the process of pursuing a motorcycle accident case, and what you might expect to happen as your case progresses from start to finish. The knowledgeable Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.