Archive for September, 2013

How a Mississippi Attorney Can Help You With Your Auto Accident Claim

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Automobile accidents occur on a daily basis throughout the state of Mississippi, causing physical, emotional, and financial hardship.  Auto accident attorneys at the Gidden Law Firm in Jackson, Mississippi, have a comprehensive knowledge of Mississippi automobile liability and insurance laws, and are prepared to help you receive just compensation for the injuries you have suffered.  In general, and regardless of the circumstances, experiencing a car accident can be a distressing event.  Whether you’re involved in a serious collision that requires immediate emergency room assistance and hospitalization, or a minor fender-bender leaving you with cosmetic damage, there are likely costs and expenses involved. Simply relying on auto insurance may not adequately cover such financial burdens.  In fact, many auto insurers are known to reject auto accident injury claims.  At best, you may receive a less than sufficient pay out for your auto accident injury settlement.  Often times, these settlements are not even enough to cover your medical bills, or full damages.

An auto accident attorney at Gidden Law Firm can help you get the auto accident injury compensation you are entitled to and deserve.  Do not hesitate to call us prior to contacting your insurance company.  And if you do, it’s important that you are careful about what you disclose to the insurance adjuster regarding the facts of your accident. Knowing what to say or not may relevant to the outcome of your settlement amount.  Generally, the rule is that you should refrain from giving any statements to the other party’s insurance company.  No matter the type of auto accident you sustain damages from, you may be able to receive compensation from any negligent party involved.  The negligent party may be held responsible for your injuries, loss of income and medical expenses, to name a few. Gidden Law Firm can take away the stress and difficulty of dealing with the insurance company, and make sure you get the appropriate pay out to cover your injuries sustained and overall costs.

Mississippi auto accident injuries can cause serious physical and financial harm, and can take place in a number of locations and cause damage in various ways.  More specifically, auto collisions are caused by a range of circumstances including but not limited to, disregarding traffic signals, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, recklessness, speeding, talking on mobile devices or texting, and ignoring dangerous weather or traffic conditions.  Additionally, a range of car accident injuries that may occur include, broken bones, fractures, whiplash, internal injuries, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, concussions, paralysis, and death.

Auto accident injuries can quickly accumulate into large medical bills.  To make matters worse, if you don’t have health insurance, this number can seem incredibly overwhelming.  Many health insurers do not pay auto claims, so even for those of you that do have health insurance, there’s a chance you could be left with the bill.  All of these expenses and costs do not even include potential physical damage to your car, loss of personal possessions in the car, or time missed from work or the loss of potential work opportunities and future earnings if you are unable to work or return to work for an extended period of time.  Auto accidents can be incredibly costly, emotionally, physically and financially.  It’s important that you are aware of what’s at stake and the costs involved for recouping your losses and making you whole.

If you have been in an automobile accident in the Jackson, Mississippi area, contact the Giddens Law Firm as soon as possible.  Call our offices today at 601-355-2022 to learn how our auto accident attorneys may be able to help you!

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help You With Your Auto Accident Claim

Monday, September 16th, 2013

The Giddens Law Firm can help you recover the damages you deserve for your injuries from automobile and motorcycle accidents. Auto accidents can end up being a tremendous financial burden with overwhelming costs and expenses to treat physical and emotional injuries, body work from car damage, and potential loss of work, to name a few.  Often times, insurance companies do not cover all car accident claims, much less a majority of the costs involved to make you whole again.  The Giddens Law Firm’s auto accident attorneys are well experienced in the area of auto accident liability and insurance law, and can represent you in court against negligent parties to seek the appropriate recourse.  With years of experience and expertise in the field, we guarantee the results you are entitled to.

The Giddens Law Firm will assist you in handling and proving your claim, giving you peace of mind, while diminishing the stress and hassle of dealing with your case. Whether it’s an auto accident that results in serious medical injuries, or one primarily auto collision damage, we can help you receive compensation.  The Giddens Law Firm will enable you to keep your focus on healing and treating your physical and emotional wounds, as we work diligently to resolve the legal and insurance related issues involved. Our auto accident attorney’s will help provide you with the resources you need to recover and move forward successfully.

The Giddens Law Firm auto accident attorneys have years of experience not only in prosecuting such claims, but also defending negligent parties involved.  Unfortunately, many lives are lost every day due to drunk driving, recklessness on the road, lack of attentiveness behind the wheel, and simply not paying attention to traffic signals.  There may also be a number of legal issues and types of claims within a single accident that you may have to address simultaneously in order to acquire sufficient remedies.  Our law firm is committed to providing outstanding service to our clients, working quickly and diligently through issues to resolve the matter for you and your loved ones.

The Giddens Law Firm takes all auto accidents seriously.  Even if there are no physical injuries involved, or actual life lost, it is likely you may feel impaired or disadvantaged in some way.  For example, many people experience lost wages and emotional distress, not to mention interior and exterior car damage.  We are committed to making a full assessment of each case, to cover all angles of potential liability against other parties, ensuring you get the just compensation you deserve. Depending on your circumstances and if warranted, the Firm will also do a thorough investigation to recover potential punitive damages against the prosecuted party for past criminal records, or other related activities.

The Giddens Law Firm will provide the necessary legal help required to deliver closure to you and your case, bringing the offending negligent party to justice.  Our lawyers offer strategic counsel and extensive knowledge of auto accident and insurance law, while providing comfort and compassion throughout your legal proceedings.  Regardless of how complicated and challenging your auto accident issues may seem, do not hesitate to contact us to seek advice on how we can help you gain proper legal recourse.

If you or a loved one has been in an automobile accident around the Jackson, Mississippi area, please contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022.  Find out how our experienced attorney’s may be able to help you with your auto accident injuries!

Theories of Broker Liability Involving Truck Accidents in Mississippi

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Recently, truck accidents implicating brokers have become far more common and widespread throughout Mississippi. In the past, brokers were able to avoid liability by claiming they hired carriers on an independent contractor basis, rather than as employees. However, due to the fact that the primary decision to determine the best carrier for the job, as a matter of road safety and transportation, rests in the hands of the broker, it was only a matter of time before plaintiffs were able to bring successful claims against brokers for their involvement as intermediaries.

The two most common theories relied on by plaintiffs to impute liability on brokers are the following:

  • Negligent hiring. Under the theory of negligent hiring, a party may be held liable for failing to discern whether a particular carrier was properly qualified for the job. The law expects brokers to examine a carrier’s safety evaluation and statistics, as well as any internal records of the carrier’s safety performance. Failure to comply with minimum standard of due diligence may very well implicate a broker for its inadequate decision-making in hiring a carrier.
  • Vicarious liability. The theory of vicarious liability holds broker liable for the acts of a third party as if he/she were standing in its shoes. A direct relationship is not required between the parties. Their mere relationship in certain, often dangerous and risky transactions, render them liable. This is a more complex theory to prove against an intermediary such as a freight broker. However, depending on the nature and expanse of the duties and responsibilities of a broker, and the dangers involved with this line of work, they could very well find themselves vicariously liable.

The burden of proof for vicarious liability in trucking cases follows a two-pronged approach. A plaintiff must demonstrate:

  • First, that the carrier caused injury to person and/or property by acting with negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct.
  • Second, that the broker did not use reasonable care or execute due diligence when investigating the carrier for the job.

Whether negligent hiring or vicarious liability is at issue when a claim is brought against a broker, it is important to keep in mind that all transportation intermediaries must have acted prudently when contracting with service providers, such as truck carriers. Typically, this begins with reviewing the safety records and insurance of reputable carriers, and then selecting a company based on availability, load size, and destination, among other factors. Unfortunately, many brokers get caught up in maximizing their costs before due diligence with safety requirements, disregarding their duties as a company to protect against liability.

It is has now been established as a matter of public policy, that freight brokers will be held liable for the negligent acts of truck carriers they are responsible for hiring. Brokers may not evade liability for injuries and death merely because they elect to refer to themselves a broker and not a carrier. Congress and the Courts have unequivocally stated that public policy requires those who benefit monetarily from the shipping of goods are also culpable when a tort occurs in the pursuit of such profits.

Our staff of attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm can help you receive the recourse you deserve for injuries resulting from a truck accident. Contact us at 601-355-2022 for a free consultation on how we can help ensure your truck accident investigation is handled in the best way possible!

How to Move Forward Successfully if Involved in a Mississippi Auto Accident

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Automobile accidents cause a tremendous amount of hardship, suffering, and damage in Jackson, Mississippi.  Whether you experience physical pain and emotional injuries, property and vehicle damage, or the loss of income and wages, auto accidents can be serious and devastating.  Medical bills and expenses such as hospital, doctor visits, and physical therapy can be astounding.  For many families and individuals, such accidents can be overwhelming, as one struggles with pain, disabilities, and inconvenience, not to mention the potential loss of transportation.

Automobile accidents are not the only type of motor vehicle accidents. This also includes not only includes semi-trucks/18 wheelers, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and pedestrians.  If you are involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, permanent disability, the loss of income and wages, and the loss of enjoyment of life.  The following steps will put you on track and provide you with the best protection moving forward should you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident:

  1. If you are able to, without jeopardizing or compromising any physical injuries sustained, contact the local police and report the accident immediately.
  2. Gather and exchange the following information with each driver involved in the accident.
    1. Driver’s name, phone number, and address
    2. Driver’s license number
    3. All driver’s insurance company contact information, including policy number if applicable and/or driver’s name is different than insured
    4. Vehicle owner’s name if different from driver’s
    5. Description of the car, including make, year, model, color, and license plate number
    6. Obtain the name of the owner and/or company if the vehicle involved is driven by an employee or a company car
  3. Make sure you record or document the facts of the accident to the greatest extent possible.
    1. Try using your mobile phone or camera phone to capture vehicle damage for all motor vehicles involved
    2. Include photographs of the intersection, and if possible the location of the vehicles prior to moving them on the scene
  4. Obtain any witness testimony and their personal contact information.
    1. It’s important that you do not solely rely on police officers to gather and obtain all witness information
    2. Often times, witnesses will depart the scene before police arrive, so don’t forget to obtain the name, phone number, address of all witnesses, as well as a statement of what they perceived
  5. Take photographs of noticeable, physical injuries immediately after the accident occurs.
  6. Be aware of agreeing to or signing any documents requested by other parties involved before consulting with your attorney.

If you are involved in an automobile accident and do not have counsel to seek advice and help from, contact the Giddens Law Firm before proceeding further with your claim against any parties or insurance companies involved.  You may be entitled to recover damages and receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered.  Gidden Law Firm has a vast amount of knowledge, expertise, and experience in the field of automobile and insurance liability law.

If you or your loved ones have been in an automobile accident in Jackson, Mississippi, contact the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 for your free no obligation consultation!

Determining Fault in Mississippi Automobile Accidents

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Liability and fault in an automobile accident refers to the responsibility and obligation of the party that caused the accident to make amends.  The burden of the party at fault is usually fulfilled by compensating the injured party injured for medical expenses or property damage sustained as a result of causing the accident.  Generally, a party is at fault for the two most common reasons:

  • Negligence. Negligence takes place when an individual carelessly or thoughtlessly engages in an act, which most reasonable people would foresee causing harm.
  • Recklessness.  Recklessness occurs when an individual willfully, wantonly, and knowingly engages in an act that is likely to produce harm.

Often times, fault is one of the largest aspects affecting one’s ability to acquire damages.  Some states have no-fault rules, which means insurers pay for their own clients’ injuries, regardless of the party that actually caused the accident.
Many other states consider and factor in the amount of fault shared by each party and place limits on the amount of damages you can collect, by calculating how much you contributed to the accident.

Mississippi follows another method to determine fault and liability for parties involved in automobile accidents.  This system is known as pure comparative fault, where all parties involved are entitled to compensation for damages.  However, your damages may be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of the fault.

Determining the fault of a party involved may be more complicated than it seems. It isn’t always simply about looking at which car hit the other.  Insurance companies and lawyers for all parties involved will examine police reports to note if officers issued citations or any negligence that took place by one or more parties.  Citations are not conclusive in terms of proving fault, but can offer support to additional evidence.

Witness statements that are reliable can assist in determining the sequence of events leading to the crash.  Also, identifying specific rules in the state vehicle code that a driver violated may also help to designate fault.  More often than not, a final determination of fault is generally subjective.  However, there are two types of automobile accidents where liability is usually clear and fairly simple to assess:

  • Rear-end Crashes. This takes place when you hit the car directly in front of you. A situation like this generally occurs because a driver fails to follow the universally accepted safe driving rule requiring that you leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you to be able to stop safely and even abruptly at any time due to traffic conditions or unexpected occurrences on the road.  The other party may share blame with you if the car you hit had defective brake lights, or if another party, presumably a vehicle behind yours that pushed you into the car in front of you.
  • Left Turn Crashes. If your car is hit while in the process of making a left turn, it is likely because you tried making an unsafe turn.  Thus, being the liable party causing the accident.  A couple of exceptions might be if the other party was driving above the speed limit or ran a red light.  However, you should normally be able to perceive this behavior and take caution before turning left.

If you have been in an automobile accident and are seeking counsel to assist you with your case, do not hesitate to contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022.   Learn how our Mississippi auto accident attorneys may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve!

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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
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Tips for Building a Successful Auto Accident Claim in Mississippi

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Mississippi automobile accidents happen every day.  Besides automobile and property damage that occurs as a result, accidents can cause serious physical injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises, to traumatic brain injuries and even death.  When negligent drivers are the cause of such accidents, injuries sustained by the other parties involved can be held against the negligent party, so long as their negligence in causing the accident can be shown.  The following are several useful tips and considerations to ensure you are prepared and in the best position possible to move forward with a claim should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of an auto collision:

  • Recreating what occurred.  When building a claim for an automobile accident case, it is essential to recreate what occurred throughout the course of the incident.  Much of this includes gathering and presenting relevant information regarding the circumstances, such as the color of the street light signal, the speed limit in that particular area, the status of traffic at the time, weather conditions, and any other aspects of the scene and environment that may have contributed to the accident.  It is important that the necessary information for a case is gathered immediately thereafter, or as soon as possible after the accident occurred, so that pertinent facts and testimony of the parties involved can go undisputed and remain properly accounted.
  • Confirm all passengers are fine.  In the aftermath of an auto accident, if you are able to, immediately check to verify that all the passengers in your car are fine and have not been seriously injured, requiring urgent attention.  If possible and safe to do so, try taking photographs of the accident scene from different perspectives and angles prior to moving all vehicles.  Using the camera on your mobile device is perfectly adequate and works as good as any other.  Also, try writing down as many thoughts and details about the accident as you can remember, so that you can help reconstruct the series of events at a later time.  Always remember, anything you say post-accident will be admissible in court and can be held against you.  If feasible, move the vehicles off the road, to the side in a safe location.  However, do not leave the scene of the accident unless there are emergency reasons requiring such action.
  • Gather and exchange vital information.  It is extremely important that you gather and exchange the appropriate and necessary information with the other drivers and witnesses involved in the accident.  The primary details include name, phone number, address, and driver’s license numbers.  Make sure to write down the make and model, color(s), and description for all automobiles in the accident.  Next, acquire the insurance company and policy numbers for all parties involved.  Lastly, be sure to get witness comments and statements regarding the accident before they leave the scene.
  • If necessary, contact the local police.  If there is property damage or if anyone has been injured in the auto accident, you should contact the local police to request their presence at the scene.  Keep in mind, not every injury is apparent instantly.  For example, neck and back injuries may reveal themselves weeks after the incident.   Remember to always request a copy of the police report, even if it does not corroborate your story.  The official documentation will always be important for your case in some way, shape or form.

Once you build a case against the other party and appear in court, it is likely the other party will have legal representation, and will and present a case that attempts to refute and discredit your own.  Be prepared for the worst by hiring an attorney to help fight and counter the testimony given by the accused.  If you have suffered injuries as a result of an auto accident and the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the damages sustained.

Contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022, for a free consultation to bring a claim for injuries that you or your loved ones have suffered from an auto accident.  Our experienced staff of attorneys has extensive knowledge and expertise in the area of automobile and insurance liability law.  Call us today so that we can help you get the settlement you deserve!

NFL Class Action Settlement

Monday, September 9th, 2013

    The mediation ordered by Judge Anita Brody has led to a Class Action settlement of the NFL Concussion Litigation claims. More details on the settlement and how it will effect individuals will be forthcoming in the next several weeks, but this is not a process that will move quickly.

     The settlement includes all former players regardless of their status under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It will likely be possible to participate in the settlement without representation, but if you would like to be represented in this matter, please contact our firm.

More information and sign-up information available here.


Types of Car Accident Claims in Mississippi

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Negligence. Generally, the majority of auto accident lawsuits are based on the theory of negligence, which is also known viewed as the other party’s failure to engage in a reasonable standard of care while operating a vehicle, using roadways, or following traffic signs and signals. Initial investigations by an attorney or insurance company will assist in determining which party involved acted carelessly and/or violated local traffic laws. To prove negligence successfully in a lawsuit, you must show the other party did not act with the required standard of care; the negligence caused the accident; and the breach of this duty caused your injuries. Such defendants commonly include negligent or reckless drivers, intoxicated drivers, pedestrians, passengers, and bicyclists.

Manufacturer Liability. An injured party in an auto accident may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or one of the parts, if a defect in either contributed to or caused the accident. Often times, and regardless of any negligence involved, the manufacturer of the vehicle will be liable for injuries sustained as a result of manufacturing, labeling, or faulty design. To prevail in such a claim, you must be able to prove that the defect at issue occurred at some point during the manufacturing process and thereafter contributed to your injury. It is common for expert testimony and analysis to be required to validate and determine if the defect was established during the manufacturing process or after the vehicle was bought. Successful cases demand that the plaintiff show the defective vehicle or part was “unreasonably dangerous”; the vehicle was being operated as intended; and the vehicle’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase. Some of the more frequent suits against manufacturers concern defective seatbelts, tires, brakes, accelerators, engines, and airbags.

Road Design. In many cases, faulty design, maintenance, or construction of roadways can contribute to automobile accidents. Common causes of such events include:

  • Embankments. This occurs when a road is curved, and the outer edge is fixed at an incline as a safeguard. These heightened areas serve to manage traffic so that vehicles can access the outer edge of the road without driving off of it. Sometimes an embankment may be too steep or not elevated properly, putting drivers and their passengers in a position of potential danger/
  • Barriers and Guardrails. Physical structures placed on and along a road generally in the form of a barrier, guardrails, medians, curbs, and speed bumps, are meant to influence and encourage safe driving. If the construction of these are poorly designed or inappropriately placed, a motorist’s safety may be in jeopardy.
  • Road Surfaces. A variety of changes or alterations that exist on a road’s surface usually alerts a driver of imminent hazards, or without notice, if you leave your lane unexpectedly.
  • Signage. Signs are created to give motorists prior notice of sharp turns, approaching intersections, and animal crossings, to name a few. They should be correctly positioned in conspicuous, apparent locations for greatest visibility.
  • Traffic Control. Traffic signals, including lights at intersections, yield and stop signs, and pedestrian crosswalks indicators, among others, facilitate safe and efficient traffic flow. Proper arrangement and operation of such signs and signals are imperative.

Wrongful Death. Automobile accidents can be traumatic and devastating, especially if you have lost a loved one as a result. Fortunately, you may be able to seek legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Under such circumstances, the family and/or survivors of the victim must show their loved one died due to the negligence of another. Damages in the form of economic, non-economic, and punitive may be obtainable.

The Giddens Law Firm can help ensure you receive full benefits from your insurance company and determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for additional damages against the party at fault that caused the accident. Call our offices today at 601-355-2022 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options!

Types of Auto Accident Injuries and Compensation Available in Mississippi

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

All automobile accidents are different, and as a result, the extent of injuries suffered may vary. Often times, expenses and costs related to treatment of such injuries may not be covered by your insurance company, requiring you to consider additional litigation or negotiations. Among others, common injuries that are generally attempted to collect compensation for include:

  • Fractured bones
  • Spinal cord, neck and head injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, burns and scarring
  • Paralysis
  • Permanent disability

Auto accident damages that are economic attempt to compensate the injured party for any monetary losses incurred. Common economic damages awarded in car accident lawsuits include the following:

  • Medical Expenses. Medical expenses may include, but is not limited to fees for emergency room and hospital care, surgery, and appointments with medical care professionals. If you can show you will need continued medical care, you may also be awarded damages for the cost of your future medical expenses.
  • Lost Wages. Injuries resulting from an automobile accident affecting wages you may have lost between your injury occurring and settling your claim may be recoverable. If you were unemployed at the time of the accident, there is a good likelihood you could receive damages for lost wages by proving your earning potential during this time period. Additionally, if you can show your ability to earn a living has been negatively affected and altered as a result of sustaining injuries from the accident compensation may be available to you. A jury will consider past wages in determining this award, as well as the amount you could have earned had the car accident not occurred in the first place.

Besides economic car accident damages, injured parties can also receive non-economic compensation for non-financial losses. Non-monetary losses are generally more difficult to assess. Such losses customarily include the following:

  • Pain and Suffering. Pain and suffering includes monetary compensation for physical pain suffered resulting from injuries sustained in an auto accident. When awarding damages, a jury will take into consideration the nature and type of the injury, the duration of time the injured may be expected to suffer, and the scope of pain.
  • Loss of Consortium. The uninjured spouse of a successful auto accident lawsuit may be able to recover damages for the loss of intimate marital benefits. When awarding such damages, a jury will usually examine the life expectancy of both partners, stability of the marriage, amount of companionship and care previously given to the uninjured spouse, and the extent to which marital benefits have been forsaken.
  • Mental Anguish. An injured party from a car accident may also receive damages for emotional pain suffered. Mental distress damages compensate for grief, fright, destitution, anxiety, and other forms of emotional anguish caused by the trauma of the accident.
  • Punitive Damages. In rare cases, when actions by the injuring party are so flagrant or malicious, a jury may charge the defendant with punitive damages. Such an award is designed to punish the party at fault, and deter similar types of behavior from occurring again.

If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of an auto accident, contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022. We may be able to help you collect compensation beyond which is provided through insurance claims, ensure you receive full benefits from your insurance company, and determine whether or not you can file a claim for additional damages against the other party at fault.