Archive for October, 2013

The High-Stakes of Tractor Trailer Accidents in Mississippi

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Due to their large size and massive weight, collisions involving tractor trailers, 18 wheelers, semi-trucks, and other large commercial vehicles can have catastrophic results.  Accidents involving these colossal beasts of the roadway nearly always result in substantial damage to your automobile, and often times they result in serious injuries and even death.  The following is a list of statistics highlighting the dangers of tractor trailer accidents:

  • Every 16 minutes, a U.S. driver is injured or killed in an accident involving a tractor trailer.
  • There are over 400,000 accidents involving tractor trailers and commercial trucks each year.
  • About 98% of all semi truck accidents result in a least one fatality.
  • Approximately 140,000 people are injured in accidents involving big rigs each year
  • About 3,700 automobile passengers and drivers are killed in accidents involving tractor trailers or other commercial trucks each year.
  • Semi trucks and other commercial trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than your passenger vehicle.
  • A tractor trailer moving at fast speeds can take the length of a football field to come to a complete stop.

These frightening statistics highlight the high stakes involved in any tractor trailer or commercial vehicle accident.  Due to their large size and heavy weight, accidents involving tractor trailers often result in serious injuries to the occupants of the passenger vehicle.  Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries—symptoms of a head injury following an accident can include chronic headaches, loss of memory, vision changes, or loss of pre-injury mental capacity.  Though all injuries following a car accident are serious, head injuries are perhaps the most severe as they can lead to permanent loss of quality of life and long-term mental impairments.
  • Neck or back trauma—compression of the spinal cord as often occurs in any automobile accident can cause a loss of range of motion, intense pain, and partial or total paralysis.  Semi truck accidents tend to result in more serious neck and back trauma due to the intense nature of the impact.
  • Broken bones—aside from the obvious pain of broken bones, serious breaks can cause long-term medical problems if they do not heal correctly.
  • Amputation or loss of body part—one of the more devastating injuries that can result from a tractor trailer accident is the loss of a limb or other body part.  These injuries will require long-term physical therapy, prosthetics, and often involve psychological trauma.
  • Burns or injuries due to toxic chemicals—tractor trailers are often hauling flammable or hazardous materials, making it an all too common occurrence for passengers involved in a tractor trailer accident to be burned or seriously injured from such chemicals.  Burns can result in permanent disfigurement and pain.  Inhalation of toxic chemicals can permanently damage your lungs and the full effects may not be evident for years to come.
  • Death—the most serious outcome of a tractor trailer or other trucking accident is death.

As you can see, trucking accidents are serious, high-stakes matters that can have a permanent effect on accident victims.  In Mississippi, due to the lumber industry, our highways are often teeming with tractor trailers.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a tractor trailer accident, call the Giddens Law Firm.  We have extensive experience representing victims of trucking accidents.  We fight tirelessly for our clients to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.  The moments following a trucking accident can be traumatic and stressful, but it is imperative that you act fast to preserve your legal rights.  Call the Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022 to speak to one of our highly skilled Mississippi truck accident attorneys today.

NFL Injuries as Explained By Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney John Giddens

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

While the start of football season brings much excitement to the millions of fans across the U.S. and the hundreds of thousands of football players, it also comes at a cost:  injuries, both to fans and players, occur across American football stadiums at high rates each year.   Already, during NFL opening day this past week, a fan was killed in San Francisco and another two individuals were injured in Indianapolis.

In San Francisco, at the 49er’s game against the Packers, Kevin Hayes, 32, and his brother were walking along an elevated walkway outside of Candlestick Park, the 49er’s stadium, above four lanes of traffic.  The walkway connects the stadium to a street.  Hayes apparently fell off the walkway, and despite efforts by paramedics arriving to the scene of the accident, he was declared dead from his injuries.  Witnesses report that Hayes appeared to be intoxicated before he took the fatal plunge off the walkway.

Also on this opening Sunday, a railing collapsed at the Indianapolis stadium during a game against the Colts and the Raiders.  Two fans that were apparently leaning on the barrier were injured, with one taken away by stretcher and another by wheelchair.

These incidences are far from alone:  statistics show that since 2003, there have been more than two dozen cases of fans falling in U.S. stadiums across the nation.  This includes another fatality that occurred at Candlestick Park in which a fan fatally jumped to his death after apparently misjudging where he would land.

Fans are not the only ones injured during football games.  Football players, both NFL and state, are injured by the hundreds of thousands each year.    The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research estimates that roughly 300,000 football related concussions occur each year.  Studies show that on average over 250 NFL football players receive concussions each year while playing their sport.  Further, 10-15% of high school football players will receive a concussion each year- and few receive proper post-concussion treatment.

Recently, a lawsuit brought by thousands of NFL players against the NFL over concussion related issues made national headlines.  After much litigation, the NFL reached a settlement that involves all former players, not just those made party to the suit.  The total settlement amount was $765 million, plus the cost of attorney’s fees for the players who brought the suit.  The settlement uses a three tier ladder for payments connected with player’s diagnosis.  Additionally, it devotes $10 million to medical research and maximum of $75 million will go towards medical exams.  The settlement cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability or that the player’s injuries were caused by football.  Events are still unfolding after news of the settlement, but it is anticipated many more lawsuits involving player concussion and injuries will follow.

Concussions are not the only injury football player’s face.  According to the National Athletic Trainer’s Institute, over 400,000 injuries are seen each year in youth football alone.  Football at the collegiate level produces more catastrophic injuries that any other sport.  Most injuries occur while tackling, and specifically while tackling head down.  Besides concussions, which are often the most serious, other common injuries include: cervical cord injuries; knee injuries, particularly to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL); ankle sprains; shoulder injuries; back injuries, particularly to the lower back; and heat injuries, especially in youth football players.  These injuries occur at alarming rates and can have lifelong consequences for the American football player of any age.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we have experience representing both injured football fans and injured football players, as well as those injured playing a variety of other sports.  Our skilled team of Mississippi personal injury attorneys can fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve due to your sport’s related injury.  With the recent NFL litigation and settlement, now is the time to take action if you have been injured while playing a sport.  Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to receive a free analysis of your case.

The NFL Concussion Settlement Explained

Friday, October 25th, 2013

After nine weeks of intensive negotiation, a settlement was reached between the 4,500 former NFL players who claim to have received concussion related injuries on the field and the National Football League.  United States District Judge Anita Brody, who presided over this multi-district consolidated suit, must still approve the settlement.  It is expected she will do so in the next two to three months.  The settlement came just a week before the official start of the 2013 NFL Football season. Experts will be analyzing the complex and large settlement for some time to come, but for now here is a breakdown of the general terms of the settlement.

  1. Under the settlement all former injured players retired as of the date the settlement receives final approval will receive compensation.  Players will be given an option to opt out of the settlement and pursue their own action.
  2. The settlement calls for the NFL to pay over $765 million to the injured former football players, as well as to research and education.
  3. The settlement additionally calls for the NFL to pay for legal fees and litigation expenses incurred by the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit.  This figure is in addition to the $765 million and will be determined by the court in the months to come.
  4. Of the $765 million, no more than $75 million will go towards baseline medical examinations.
  5.  $10 million will go towards a research and education fund for concussion related injuries.
  6. Not more than $4 million will go towards the cost of notifying members of the class of plaintiffs.
  7. In sum, roughly $675 million will be distributed to the injured former players.
  8. Distribution amounts will depend on the injuries and diagnoses sustained by the former player.
  9. The settlement will include $4 million for those diagnosed with a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy after their death; $5 million for former players diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; and $3 million for those diagnosed with dementia.
  10. Independent doctors and funds administrators will be enlisted to determine who qualifies to receive a portion of the settlement as well as the amount the player and/or their family is entitled to receive.
  11. The settlement does not establish the NFL’s liability or that the player’s injuries were a result of playing football.
  12. Half of the $765 million will be paid out during the first three years, with the remaining half dispersed over 17 years.

After reviewing the terms of the settlement, many are left wondering—who came out on top in this case?  Analysts are split.  On the one hand, the former football players should receive a fairly large compensation for their injuries and it will happen far quicker than had they awaited trail on the matter.  Further, the settlement offers a sure recovery.  If you remember, before the settlement was reached, the NFL had filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit which the judge did not rule on due to the settlement.  Continuing to pursue the action may have been a risky move for the plaintiffs.

On the other hand, it is clear the NFL got off fairly light in this settlement.  For the NFL, who made over 9.5 billion last year, the sum is paltry.  Further, in settling, the NFL has not admitted to any liability concerning the concussions suffered by the former players.  This will be an obvious hindrance to future litigants.  Additionally, the $10 million sum set aside for concussion research and education is shockingly low.

If you or someone you love has been injured playing football for the NFL, call the Giddens Law Firm today.  With the upcoming approval of the settlement, representation by an experienced sports injury attorney is crucial to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your football injury.  The Giddens Law Firm has experience representing those suffering from injuries incurred during all manner of sports, so call us today at (601) 355-2022 to speak for free to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Top Things Car Accident Victims Should Not Do Following an Accident in Mississippi

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Over 6 million car accidents occur every single year in the U.S. alone.  In nearly half of all accidents someone is injured.  That means that over 3 million injuries a year occur as a result of automobile accidents.  Further, around 2 million car accident victims suffer permanent injuries as a result of the accident.  Statistically, 25% of all drivers can be in a car accident within a 5 year period.

If you or a loved one is an automobile accident, it is important to remember what not to do immediately following the accident.  Certain actions taken following a car accident can hinder your later chance at recovery.  To this end, we have prepared the following list of the top things you should not do following an accident:

  1. Admit fault—as tempting as it may be to discuss the issue of fault with fellow drivers, police officers and witnesses, it is imperative that you do not do so.  Being in a car accident is a traumatic event that may cloud your perceptions immediately following the accident.  Fault is a legal conclusion that is not for you to determine.  If you admit fault at the scene of the accident, it can seriously affect your later recovery.  Therefore, under no circumstances should you admit fault, and you would be wise to avoid discussions of fault altogether until you speak with your attorney.
  2.  Provide any recorded statements—just as you should not admit fault, you should also not provide any recorded statements until you have consulted with your automobile accident attorney.  Any statements you provide immediately following the accident can later be used as evidence and, depending on what is said, can severely damage your claim.
  3. Sign any authorizations for records—do not sign authorizations allowing other parties the right to view your medical records.  This again could affect your future recovery and you need an experienced personal injury attorney to advise you fully on whether your records should be released.
  4. Wait to go to a doctor—people often downplay their potential injuries after being in a car accident and wait for days or even weeks after an accident to see a doctor.  This can be a costly mistake.  The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damaging it is to your case.  The insurer will attempt to use that wait time against you.  Do not delay seeking treatment if you have been injured in an automobile accident.
  5. Talk to the insurance company—you should notify your insurance companies of the accident, but after that do not speak to anyone from the insurance companies before consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.  Statements made to the insurer can hinder your later recovery.  Let a professional personal injury attorney with years of experience dealing with insurance companies handle your case for you.
  6. Settle your claim—do not settle your claim without speaking to an experienced local personal injury attorney.  A skilled personal injury attorney will fight for you to receive full compensation for your injuries.  Quick settlements are often for far less than you are really entitled to.  Additionally, do not settle your claim until you have made a full recovery per your doctor.  Settling too early may leave you with continued medical bills for injuries that were not in fact healed.

The Giddens Law Firm’s Jackson MS car accident attorneys have over 13 years experience representing victims of automobile accidents.  The Giddens Law Firm will fight for you to receive full compensation for your injuries sustained as a result of an automobile accident.  Call us today at (601) 355-2022 for a free case evaluation.

Uninsured Motorists Claims After an Accident in Mississippi

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

In all states but New Hampshire, it is mandatory that all motorists carry automobile liability insurance.  Each state sets its own coverage minimums.  In Mississippi, motorists must carry a minimum bodily injury liability limit for one person of $25,000, and $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident.  Motorists must also carry a property damage liability amount for one accident of $25,000.  These limits are commonly expressed as three numbers:  25/50/25.

Failure to carry the required minimum automobile insurance can result in harsh fines and even potentially jail time.  In Mississippi, a first citation for failure to carry automobile insurance will result in a fine of several hundred dollars and suspension of your registration for a year, or until you provide proof of insurance.  However, even these stringent penalties do not seem to dissuade motorists from driving without insurance in Mississippi.  Mississippi has the highest number of uninsured motorists, with 28% of all drivers on our roads being uninsured.  This means that nearly one out of every three drivers in Mississippi do not have automobile insurance.

Unfortunately, this means that law abiding motorists in Mississippi have a far greater chance of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured individual than drivers throughout the nation.  However, if you have been in an automobile accident with an uninsured motorist, it does not mean you cannot receive compensation.  There are two central means of receiving recovery if you have been injured by an uninsured motorist:

  1. Uninsured motorist coverage—uninsured motorist policies pay your damages when an automobile accident is caused by an insured motorist.  Uninsured motorist coverage is probably the most complex part of an automobile insurance policy.  Some states require motorists carry uninsured motorist coverage, but Mississippi does not.  It is certainly a wise idea to carry this policy given the sheer number of uninsured motorists in our state.   Everyone in your household is covered your uninsured motorist policy.  The policy goes into effect when you are in a car accident with an uninsured motorist and they are at fault.  It will cover many, but not all, of the things that would have been covered by the other party’s insurance company, had they had insurance.  Depending on your particular policy, uninsured motorist coverage should cover:  medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of future earning capacity.  Uninsured motorist coverage generally will not cover damages to your vehicle or punitive damages.  Given the complexities of uninsured motorist policies and the often low policy limits that may not cover all your damages, it is always best to consult with an attorney experienced in automobile accidents so that you receive the best possible outcome.
  2. Pursue the driver—if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you will likely have to pursue action against the other driver or drivers directly.  This will mean the filing of a lawsuit and will require the assistance of a skilled automobile accident attorney.  Your chances of recovery will depend on the fault of the other party, your sustained losses, such as injuries, medical bills, lost wages, etc, and their ability to pay.

These are just the two main avenues for recovery from losses sustained due to an automobile accident involving an uninsured motorist.  There are also several alternative, creative recovery options depending upon the circumstances of the accident, such as recovery through workmen’s compensation if a party injured is working during the time of the accident.  An experienced, knowledgeable Jackson auto accident attorney will be able to examine all the facts surrounding accident and determine the best avenue for you to receive the recovery you deserve.  Contact the Giddens Law Firm today at (601) 355-2022 to receive more information.

Unusual Accidents on Mississippi Roadways

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Although automobile accidents may be the most common accident to occur on the roadways, recent headlines highlight the more bizarre types of accidents that can and do occur.

For instance, just this past week, a New Orleans bound Amtrak Train collided with an 18 wheeler tractor trailer in Holmes County.  Amtrak spokespersons said the train was headed to New Orleans carrying 152 passengers and 11 crew members.  The accident occurred at 9:30 a.m.  The train apparently hit an 18 wheeler that was hauling corn, causing the front train engine to derail.  Luckily, there were no reports of serious injuries, but a passenger and crew member were taken to a local hospital for treatment.  Other train passengers complained of bruising and soreness.  The driver of the tractor trailer was fine.  Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said there were no crossing guards at the location of the accident and the driver of the tractor trailer did not see the train coming.  The accident actually split the tractor trailer in two, spilling corn all over the tracks.

Days before the Holmes County train collision, another accident involving a train crashing into a vehicle occurred in San Diego County, California.  Unfortunately, in this incident, the driver of the automobile was not so fortunate.  The accident began unfolding around 9 p.m. when the 1997 Honda sedan drove at a high rate of speed southbound on the San Diego Freeway.  The vehicle attempted to merge into the right hand lane at the same time as another vehicle.  Attempting to avoid the other driver, the Honda’s driver swerved right and off the shoulder. He launched off the highway where his vehicle collided head on with an Amtrak train, cutting the vehicle in two. The driver died at the scene.

In addition to the occasional train accident, several other more bizarre accidents occur on Mississippi roadways.  Most recently, in Pontotoc County, a Mississippi driver collided with a horse and buggy.  The crash involved a teen driver who slammed into the back of a horse and buggy driven by a middle aged Amish man. The driver of the buggy was critically injured and transported by helicopter to the North Mississippi Medical Center.  The teenage driver was also seriously injured but expected to make a full recovery.  Police have not issued criminal charges but are investigating the cause of the accident.

One might think a horse and buggy accident such as this is a lone occurrence—but a search of recent news headlines reveals that horse and buggy accidents happen fairly regularly.  In June, an 18 year old Amish man in Ohio was critically injured when a car collided with his horse and buggy on a hilly roadway.   That same month in Pennsylvania, a SUV collided with a horse and buggy, ejecting four children.  Though the children were seriously injured, they are thankfully expected to make a full recovery.

The following is a list of pointers to take away from the recent headline news stories involving unusual accidents:

  • Accidents do happen—even unusual or bizarre accidents can and do occur, and though we all like to think it will not happen to us, news headlines show that this is not the reality.  On average, there are over 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads annually.
  • Be prepared—we cannot always prevent accidents from occurring, but we can be prepared.  Preparation in the event of an accident is crucial to preservation of your legal rights.  To this end, the Giddens Law Firm has prepared a handy pamphlet that describes what actions you should take immediately following an automobile accident.  The same general tips are applicable to nearly any accident as well.  Visit our blog for more information.
  • Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney—if you or someone you love is injured in any sort of accident, be it automobile or otherwise, it is always best to consult with an experienced, professional personal injury attorney in your area.  You have a limited window within which to act when you have been injured in an accident, and a skilled personal injury attorney can guide your case right from the start.

Call the Giddens Law Firm today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.  Our Mississippi car accident attorneys have experience in all sorts of accidents, from train crashes to more run of the mill automobile accidents.  Our answering service is available 24 hours a day.

Mississippi Airplane Crash Attorneys

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Giddens law firm has the skill and experience necessary to help any person who has been injured or killed in a plane crash in Mississippi. Located in Jackson, Mississippi the firm is centrally located and able to assist in any crash across the state.

If there was a sliding scale of injuries in vehicles. If listed from the least serious and least likely to cause injury to the most serious and most likely to cause injury the order would likely be something like this:

1. Single-person bicycle wreck;
2. Bicycle and pedestrian wreck;
3. Bicycle and motorcycle wreck;

15. Plane crash.

At the top of this list of danger in vehicles would have to be plane crashes. This is because airplanes travel at such a high rate of speed and carry highly flammable fuel. Each crash causes immeasurable damage to individuals and families. If you or a loved one have been injured in a plane crash in Mississippi, call us today.

Texting Zones in Mississippi? The Newest Attempt to Combat Texting While Driving

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Local governments across the country have worked diligently in recent years to combat the epidemic problem of texting and driving.  Despite bans on texting while driving in 41 states and the District of Columbia, as well as total bans on the use of handheld mobile devices while driving in 11 states and the District of Columbia, the rate of individuals who text and drive is still at an all-time high.  With the ever-expanding mobile technology and newer, more efficient smartphones, the lure of texting, emailing, or surfing the web while driving is just too great for some drivers.

Numerous studies have called into question the efficacy of texting while driving bans.  The Highway Loss Data Institute focused on four states with texting bans enacted- California, Minnesota, Washington, and Louisiana.  The study found that laws prohibiting texting while driving did not curb insurance claims related to accidents, and, in fact, claims had actually increased in three of those states.  Additionally, crashes among young drivers, the group most often blamed for the increase in distracted driving, rose in all four states.

Currently, Mississippi has only a limited ban on texting while driving.  Mississippi bans school bus drivers and new drivers from texting while driving.  However, the ban seems to have had little effect on texting amongst teen drivers.  Mississippi is considered the third deadliest state in the country for teen drivers, and texting is one of the foremost causes of accidents involving teen drivers.

Research suggests that many drivers simply shrug off such bans.  In fact, 45% of 18-24 year olds in states in which texting while driving is banned nonetheless admitted to engaging in this dangerous activity when behind the wheel.  This is just three points below the 48% that admitted to texting while driving in states that do not have such bans in place.  Other critics of the bans urge that enforcement is difficult– texters may just act more surreptitious, holding their phones down lower so officers cannot see that they are texting.

With the above in mind, New York is taking its war on texting while driving one step further through the introduction of new “texting zones.”  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced texting zones to New York’s highways just this week.  Texting zones function essentially like rest stops.  Rest stops offer weary travelers the opportunity to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and grab a snack, so that they can resume their travels alert and undistracted.  Similarly, texting zones allow those hardcore texters to stop their vehicles in a safe location, send out their texts or emails, and resume their travel undistracted.

New York has created 91 new texting zones, and drivers will be alerted by 298 signs placed strategically across the highway.  Governor Cuomo stated that the new texting zones, drivers truly have no excuse to text and drive as they need only wait till the next text zone to safely conduct their mobile business.

New York is the first state to create such “text zones,” and it will be interesting to see if other states, including Mississippi, follow suit.  Texting while driving is an enormous problem throughout the U.S., causing over 1.6 million accidents per year, and over 3,300 fatalities a year.  With so much damage and loss caused by distracted drivers, it is clear a solution to the problem is urgently needed.  Given the questionable positive impact of texting bans, perhaps novel concepts like New York’s text zones will be the measure needed in Mississippi and other states nationwide to curb texting and driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, call Jackson Mississippi auto accident attorney John Giddens today at 601-355-2022.  Our consultation and case analysis is free and we often operate on a contingency basis, so there will be no upfront cost to you.  We will investigate your accident fully and obtain phone records to determine if the driver who harmed you was texting while driving.  Call today to start us fighting for your recovery.

The Grave Dangers of Driving While Texting on Mississippi Roadways

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently published an alarming new statistics: driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while drunk.  The agency found that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  This, they say, when driving at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field while wearing a blindfold.

The alarming statistics continue: according to a study done by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, texting while driving causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries every year.  Amongst teenagers, texting while driving has now replaced drinking while driving as the lead cause of death for this age group.  Studies show texting drivers are 43% more likely to be involved in a car accident.

Given these grave statistics, many states are taking action to curb instances of texting while driving.  Currently 12 U.S. states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia) and the District of Columbia have enacted a total ban on drivers using hand-held cellular phone devices while driving.  Text messaging specifically is banned in 41 states and the District of Columbia.  Unfortunately, Mississippi has yet to pass a total ban on texting or using cellular phones while driving.  The Magnolia State has enacted a ban preventing novice drivers and school bus drivers from texting while driving.

Proponents of a total texting while driving ban have attempted to pass legislation several times before.  Senator Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg has championed the cause, introducing bills banning texting while driving for the last five years.  He has not given up on the legislation, and plans to introduce a bi-partisan bill as early as this year.  Opponents of the bill state that it will create an enforcement nightmare if only texting and driving is banned and it will do little to combat the more general problem of distracted drivers.

Texting while driving is not the only danger faced by law abiding citizens on Mississippi roadways.  Drivers can be distracted by any number of common things, such as: talking on their cell phones, emailing, using a gps, using ipods or other music devices, reaching for things on the floor, tending to children or pets, and eating or drinking.  Distracted drivers of all forms can cause serious accidents and injuries with their negligent driving.

Despite the lack of a total ban on distracted drivers in Mississippi, victims of distracted drivers often have recourse in civil court.  Personal injury actions and actions for wrongful death are the best means currently available for holding those who text and drive or are otherwise distracted responsible for their negligent actions.

If you or a loved one is in an automobile accident, evidence that the other driver was distracted will make it easier to assign fault.  A skilled districted driver attorney is essential to your full and complete recovery when you are in an accident with a distracted driver.  At the Giddens Law Firm, we will investigate the accident fully by reviewing the police accident report, witness statements, your statements, and all other evidence that can show the other driver was distracted.  We know the steps to take to access the other driver’s cell phone records, when necessary.  Before you speak with the insurer of the distracted driver, call the Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022.  Our consultation and case analysis is free and we often operate on a contingency basis, so there will be no upfront cost to you.  Call today to get us started fighting for justice for you.

Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents in Mississippi

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents have become all too common on Mississippi roadways, as well as on highways throughout the U.S.  Just recently, in Tupelo, a mother and her two year old daughter were killed by a runaway tractor trailer that pummeled into their parked vehicle.  Earlier this month, eight people, including five children, were sent to the hospital following an accident in which a tractor trailer hit a pickup truck.  Four children were thrown out of the pickup truck and the front of the truck was ripped off.  Meanwhile, just days ago in Lucedale, there was a fatal accident involving an 18 wheeler and sedan driven by a Florida man.

It is undeniable that the rate of tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents is alarming.  To help you better understand the reasons for these accidents, the following is a list of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents:

  1. Truck driver fatigue—fatigue or drowsiness of the driver significantly increases the chance of all accidents, but is especially common among truck drivers.  Truck drivers are often on the road long hours with little rest.  Statistics show almost half of all long haul drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel.  Drowsiness is believed to be the cause of the Tupelo accident in which the tractor trailer hit the parked vehicle.  A personal injury attorney with knowledge of the federal trucking regulations can guide you in a claim involving a fatigued truck driver.
  2. Exceeding hours of service requirements—related to fatigue, a common cause of tractor trailer accidents is the driver’s violation of hours of service requirements.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict guidelines for commercial driver’s hours of service.  These regulations dictate how many hours a driver can be on the road for, and how many hours of rest a driver must maintain.  Drivers are required to keep a log documenting such things.  However, far too many truckers violate the regulations by falsifying their log books.  This leads to fatigue and other unsafe driving, which often leads to accidents.  An experienced trucking lawyer will check to determine whether the truck driver involved in the accident was in compliance with the hours of service laws by checking items such as gas receipts, bill of ladings, and trip tickets.
  3. Speeding—speeding is dangerous when it comes to any vehicle, but when you are driving an extremely large and heavy tractor trailer, speed can be deadly.  Truckers are often under harsh time constraints to get their haul to the intended destination.  This can lead to speeding.  Despite the existence of governors to control the speed of a truck, many companies do not use them as they are expensive.  A trucking attorney with knowledge of the industry can often determine the speed at which a truck was going at the time of the accident using the “black box” inside the truck.
  4. Distracted driving—truckers are on the road long hours and often use that time to talk on the phone, text, eat, email, and do any number of other activities that take their eyes off the road.  Glancing down for even a second when driving an 80,000 pound tractor trailer at a high rate of speed can lead to catastrophic events.  A skilled personal injury attorney can pull cell phone records to determine if a driver was on the phone or investigate other sources of distraction to maximum your recovery and hold the driver accountable for their negligence.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we have over 13 years experience representing individuals injured in trucking accidents.  Our team of skilled attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free case evaluation.