Archive for November, 2013

Injuries in Youth Sports on the Rise in Mississippi

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Youth sports have become interwoven into American culture. Over 60% of all children play some form of sport outside of school.  This equates to over 4.5 million children in the U.S. playing a youth sport each year.  Many of these children develop high hopes of moving up to the big leagues.  However, for some, this dream is shattered due to serious injuries.

New data shows that an astonishing 3.5 million youths are injured playing sports each year.  These injuries consist of far more than bumps and bruises. Over 1.35 million children are seriously injured, requiring a visit to the emergency room, each year.  In fact, every 25 seconds a young athlete will pay a visit to the emergency room for a sports related injury.

While these statistics are alarming, what is perhaps more troubling is the fact that the number of sports related injuries amongst youths is on the rise.  The rate of injuries sustained by school aged children playing football and baseball has increased by 60% in just the past few years.

Concussions are among the most serious of injuries sustained by young athletes, and they occur far too often.  Nearly 150,000 youth football players sustained concussions last year alone.  Concussions are the cause for nearly 15% of all emergency room visits.  Further, the number of youth football players suffering from concussions has doubled in the last decade.

In fact, high school football has become a more dangerous sport than college football.  High school football players sustain over twice as many concussions as college aged players.  Further, while youths typically heal quicker and more efficiently than older adults, recovery from a concussion is an exception.  Concussions are the only major injury where children take longer to heal than adults.  This increased recovery period is attributed to the fact that children’s brains are still maturing.

Even more disquieting is a study recently published by the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.  This study found that seven year olds who play football suffer from hits to the head comparable to those in high school and college.  Researchers explained that the force of the impact is not dependent upon the size of the person or their speed.  Rather, it has to do with how a person’s body is designed.  Children have disproportionately large heads and weak necks, causing greater motion in their bodies.  This motion leads to traumatic brain injury.

Football players are not the only youth sport players to suffer injuries.  Baseball leads to high numbers of ligament tears and sprains, which can cause lasting damage and destroy a youth’s hopes for the major leagues.  Wrestling and cheerleading are two other dangerous sports, causing nearly 15 concussion injuries per 10,000 athletes.  Surprisingly, cycling rates among the most treacherous of sports as well, causing over 85,000 head injuries a year.

Here in Mississippi, youth football is an extremely popular sport.  With that popularity, sadly, comes thousands of concussions and other sports related injuries a year.  Currently, Mississippi is the only state without a youth concussion safety law.  Lawmakers hope to change that next year with passage of a bill backed by the NFL.

If your child has experienced an injury while playing a youth sport, the Giddens Law Firm can help.  We are a team of personal injury attorneys with extensive experience and knowledge in the field of sports related injuries.  As parents ourselves, we know how devastating it can be to see your child suffer.  We will zealously fight to see that your child is provided with the medical care and compensation he or she deserves.  Call our office today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

Innocent Father and Son Injured in High Speed Chase on Mississippi Roadways

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Recently, a high speed police chase in southern Mississippi ended in a serious car accident involving an innocent man and his son.  Sabree Rashid, of Gauthier, says he and his teenage son are grateful to be alive after the high speed collision.  Rashid was driving with his son on a Tuesday evening in Biloxi.  He entered the intersection of Keller Ave. and Esters Boulevard without any idea what await.  Suddenly, Rashid glimpsed a Ford F-150 truck careening towards him at a whopping 75 miles per hour.

With just seconds to react, Rashid mercifully managed to swerve enough that the vehicle narrowly missed colliding with his passenger side, where his teenage son sat.  Both Rashid and his son were injured in the crash, which left Rashid’s vehicle badly damaged and likely un-drivable.

The cause of this crash was a bit out of the ordinary.  The F-150 that rammed into Rashid was being pursued by a police cruiser.  The driver of the vehicle, Kenneth Andersen, was a fugitive from the law, sought for felony fraud.  Moments before the crash, a police officer drove past Andersen’s vehicle and glanced at its driver.  This caused Andersen to take flight.  A high speed chase ensued.  Andersen sped through the streets of Biloxi attempting to shake the police officer on his tail, leading to the crash with Rashid.

Rashid has publically questioned the decision of the police officer to engage in a high speed chase with Andersen.  He pointed to the relatively minor offense for which Andersen was sought and urged that, in this scenario, the chase was not justified as it endangered innocent lives such as his.  Police officers reiterated that the chase was not initiated as a result of Andersen’s warrant—it was Andersen who sped away in a reckless manner upon viewing the police officer.  Under these circumstances, the officer stated he had no choice but to pursue the vehicle because it was driving highly erratically.

Andersen was eventually apprehended after he attempted to flee the scene of the crash.  He faces numerous criminal charges in addition to his original charge, including resisting arrest and fleeing the scene of an accident.

Rashid’s tale does call into question the safety of innocent travelers caught in the midst of high speed police chases.  Statistics gathered by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal the deadly nature of police chases for innocent individuals.  A study completed using data collected over a nine year period found that police chases led to over 3,000 deaths.  Of this total, one third of the individuals killed were not the suspects being pursued.  This means that over 1,000 innocent victims were killed in police pursuits.

The cause of these tragic deaths is due to the high speeds with which both officers and suspects travel during a chase, and the often erratic nature of the driving.  Most high speed chases additionally occur at night and suspects often take to busy roads in an attempt to conceal themselves among other vehicles.

Thankfully, Rashid and his son will fully recover from their injuries and Andersen will likely be brought to justice for his actions.  Local police continue to maintain the crash, while horrific, was not due to negligence on the part of the pursuing police officer.

The Giddens Law Firm is comprised of a team of expert automobile accident attorneys who strive above all else to ensure you receive the recourse you deserve.  With over 20 years experience representing accident victims in the Jackson, Mississippi area, our seasoned attorneys at will provide you with the knowledgeable, aggressive, and zealous representation necessary to achieve your full recovery.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Launches New “Pay Attention or Pay a Fine” Campaign

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In Mississippi, distracted driving is the second leading cause of traffic fatalities.  Each year, more than 3,000 people are killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.  Distracted driving may arguably be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.  In fact, 25% of fatal crashes in Mississippi are attributed to some form of distraction, which is a rate comparable to that involving alcohol impairment.

In an effort to combat the astounding rate of distracted driving, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has launched a new safe driving campaign entitled “Pay Attention or Pay a Fine.”  The campaign, which launched in November, is aimed at reminding Mississippi drivers to focus on the road and tune out the myriad of possible distractions around them.

Trooper Tony Dunn, a highway patrol spokesman, described the campaign as follows: during the campaign, troopers will have unmarked police cars on the lookout for anyone who appears to be driving distractedly.  If they spot a distracted driver, a marked unit will be immediately dispatched.  Both the unmarked and marked police cars will then pull the vehicle over and issue a citation.

Dunn further explained that while people tend to think of cell phones as the main cause of distraction, there are plenty of other things that pull driver’s attention from the road.  He said anything from turning the radio knob to putting on make-up in the morning is a form of distraction that can lead to deadly accidents.

In Mississippi, the use of cell phones while driving is only banned for new teen drivers and bus drivers.  This places the state in the minority, as currently 41 states and the District of Columbia have enacted bans on texting while driving.  Eleven of these states, along with the District of Columbia, have total bans on the use of cell phones by drivers.

Given the alarming rate of distracted drivers and the potential for tragic consequences, Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers hope the new campaign is effective in promoting its safe driving message.  Thus far, the campaign appears to be successful.  In less than two hours in Oxford, undercover troopers spotted 10 careless drivers.  Most of these drivers were on their cell phones.  Troopers feel that the use of unmarked vehicles will lead to more citations, as most drivers will not know they are being watched.

Since the state does not have a general law against the use of cell phones while driving, troopers must use existing states laws to warn distracted drivers.  Mississippi does have laws against careless and reckless driving.  Careless driving is defined as driving in an imprudent or careless manner without due regard for traffic, highways, other drivers, curves, corners, and the like.  Careless drivers can be fined up to $50.

Reckless driving is a more serious offense, defined as driving in such a way as to indicate willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.  This offense comes with a maximum fine of $100 for the first offense and $500 for a second offense.  Repeat offenders can be sentenced to up to 10 days in prison.

Since distracted drivers frequently drive in a careless or reckless manner, troopers will be able to use these existing laws to combat distracted driving.  With its new campaign, Mississippi is making a strong statement that it will not tolerate distracted driving.  Hopefully, Mississippi drivers will respond.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may have the right to recover in a personal injury action.  At the John D. Giddens Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing distracted driving victims and take pride in our vast knowledge of this specific accident field.  It is crucial that you contact us as soon as possible after your accident so that we can start gathering evidence and fight for your recovery.  Call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 for a free case analysis.

Mississippi Lawmakers Look to Pass Youth Sports Concussion Law

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Each year, over 50,000 individuals die and 275,000 are hospitalized from traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions.  Of these deaths and hospitalizations, approximately 173,000 concussions are youth sports related.  Sadly, the annual rate of traumatic brain injury among young athletes seems to be on the rise.  In fact, emergency room visits for sports related traumatic brain injuries increased by over 60% within the last decade.

Further, in recent years, new evidence has emerged as to the severe long-term impact of brain injuries on children and teenagers.  Studies show that repeated concussions can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, abbreviated as CTE.  CTE is a progressive, degenerative disorder causing memory loss, depression, dementia, and aggression.  CTE has featured a prominent role in the current NFL settlement.  Athletes are most at risk for CTE.  Researchers at Boston University identified signs of CTE by examining the posthumous remains of numerous sports players, including football players Chris Henry, Tom McHale, and John Grimsley.

In the arena of youth sports, much of the attention on brain concussions stemmed from the story of Zackery Lystedt.  In 2006, Zackery was a thirteen year old boy with a talent for sports and a love of the game of football.    Zack was injured during one fateful game when his head struck the ground after tackling an opponent.  A video of the game shows Zack clutching his head and rocking in pain on the ground.  However, just three plays later, the coach put Zack back in the game.  After playing his heart out in the second half, Zack collapsed.  He was airlifted to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery to remove parts of his skull to relieve the pressure from his swelling brain.  The surgery saved Zack’s life, but he was far from out of the woods.  He experienced multiple seizures in the following days and spent nine months in a coma.  Zack has had to essentially re-learn everything he once knew—undergoing years of therapy to be able to speak, move his limbs, and feed himself.  Zack has come a long way but will likely always be affected by his traumatic brain injury.

Zack became the inspiration behind the passage of youth sports concussion laws.  Washington, Zack’s home town, was the first to pass what was known as the Lystedt Law, in honor of Zack.  The Lystedt Law aims to protect youth sports players from experiencing the devastating effects of concussions.   It requires coaches, as well as volunteers and other adults involved in youth athletic activity, to complete a concussion awareness training course, offered online.  It also requires sports organizing entities provide educational materials on the signs and symptoms of concussions to each child athlete and their parents.  Further, the law requires a player who is suspected of sustaining a concussion be immediately removed from the game.  The player must obtain clearance from a medical professional before being allowed to return to sports activities.

Currently, all states but Mississippi have passed youth sports concussion laws.  Mississippi Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula has twice tried to pass such a law.  In 2012, his bill passed unanimously in the Senate but died in the Public Health Committee.  Watson renewed his efforts in 2013, but the measure failed to gain traction.  In 2014, Watson, backed by Lee Jenkins of the Mississippi Brain Injury Association, and with the support of numerous other organizations, will once again attempt to pass a youth sports concussion law.

If you suspect your child may have suffered a concussion while playing youth sports, the Giddens Law Firm can help.  Our expert team of Mississippi personal injury attorneys has extensive knowledge in the field of traumatic brain injuries caused by sports related activities.  Contact us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Pilot Injured in Mississippi Medical Helicopter Crash

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Recently, a medical helicopter made a crash landing in Madison County, injuring the pilot, terrifying the patient and crew, damaging the helicopter, and startling a local man. The helicopter, a MedStat chopper, was carrying a crew of three and a patient.  The helicopter left the Pioneer Hospital in Ackerman and headed toward the Baptist Hospital.  While in the air, evidently, some mechanical problems occurred. The pilot of the chopper managed to make an emergency landing in someone’s backyard.

Don Forbush, of Madison County, suddenly heard what sounded like a loud plane getting closer and closer to his home.  He rushed to the front door, but saw nothing.  Moments later, police cars, ambulances, and two or three other helicopters arrived.  It was then he realized a helicopter had crashed in his backyard.

The four individuals aboard the MedStat chopper were transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  Thankfully, the patient was not further injured in the crash and the crew remained unharmed.  The pilot was the only individual injured in the crash and is expected to recover.  Butch Hammock, director of the Madison Emergency Management, commended the pilot’s landing, stating that he saved the lives of the passengers aboard.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the accident.  While it may seem surprising for a medical helicopter crash to occur, statistics show that these crashes are not a rarity.  Between 1972 and 2008, medical helicopters have been involved in 264 accidents.  These accidents resulted in numerous injuries and deaths.

Recently, in neighboring Tennessee, another medical helicopter crash made headline news.  A medical helicopter was flying to rescue a sick child in Tennessee.  The chopper crashed around 6 a.m. near Somerville, the midway point between Memphis and the crew’s intended destination.  It appeared to plummet from the sky, landing in a thickly wooded area and disintegrating upon impact. Tragically, all three individuals on board were killed in the helicopter accident.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation and the FAA hopes to have answers soon.

Over the last 16 years, annual deaths from medical helicopter crashes have been as low as three and has high as 18.  So far this year, 12 fatalities have occurred.  It is the first time medical helicopter deaths have reached double digits since 2010.

There are numerous reasons behind the relatively high rate of medical helicopter crashes.  For one thing, medical helicopters often accept more dangerous missions than other commercial aircrafts.  They fly to rescue patients with very little notice, often on unplanned routes, and must frequently fly only a few hundred feet off the ground.  They are often forced to land in precarious places, such as mountains, fields, farms, and on highways.  These medical helicopters also lack many of the safety features of other commercial aircrafts.  Most are not equipped with autopilot systems, flight data recorders, detailed weather reporting, or night-vision sight. They further lack the assistance of ground personnel who control flight dispatch and track planes.

It is a dangerous profession to fly or work on medical helicopters.  This career has higher fatality rates than even loggers and steelworkers.  Medical helicopter pilots and crewmembers serve a vital purpose, however—they save lives, each and every day.  Medical helicopters are crucial in the rescue of severely injured or ill patients.

The Giddens Law Firm represents victims of all forms of accidents, including helicopter and plane crashes.  At the Giddens Law firm, our team of professional accident attorneys will fight zealously to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Re-examining Mississippi’s Child Safety Restraint Laws

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Earlier this year, a 21 month old toddler was killed in a car accident in Vicksburg.  While any child death is tragic, what makes little Brooklyn Weimer’s death so devastating is the fact that it was entirely preventable.   At the time of the accident, Brooklyn was not restrained in a car seat.  According to first responders, had Brooklyn been properly restrained in an infant seat, she would have survived the accident.

Under Mississippi law, all children under the age of four must be restrained in a child restraint device which meets federal safety standards.  The law goes on to state, however, that a failure to secure one’s child in accordance with state law will not be viewed as contributory or comparative negligence.  The fine for failing to utilize a child safety restraint device is $25.  City governments are additionally permitted to assess their own fees.  With both city and state fees assessed, Brooklyn’s mother, Monique Weimer, will face a total fine of $139 for her failure to restrain her daughter.

Gabe Smith, a Meridian paramedic and volunteer fire fighter, stated he is no longer surprised when he encounters car accidents involving unrestrained children.  When he gets word a child has been involved in an accident, he almost expects that the child was not in a car seat.  Smith states that many parents use the excuse that they cannot afford a car seat to explain their failure to comply with the law.

Smith’s anecdotal evidence concerning the frequency with which Mississippi residents fail to use proper child safety restraint devices seems to be statistically accurate.   Mississippi’s childhood automobile accident fatality rate is 1.6 times greater than the national average.  In 2005 alone, 112 children under the age of 13 were killed in motor vehicle accidents in our state.  Shockingly, a 2006 study found that 95% of Mississippi’s children were improperly restrained.

Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death of children between the ages of one and 12.  In 2011, 650 children under the age of 13 were killed in motor vehicle accidents.  Of the 650 children killed, 200 were unrestrained and the remaining deaths resulted from improper use of a restraint, including a car seat or safety belt.  While child safety restraints do not eliminate the risk of injury, they drastically decrease it.  The proper use of safety restraints reduces the risk of death in infants by over 71% and up to 59% in children between the ages of one and four.

Currently, national guidelines call for infants to be restrained in rear facing car seats up until the child attains the age of two and weighs 20 pounds.  After this time, the toddler may be restrained in a convertible car seat facing forward.  This seat should have a five point harness.  The child will remain in this seat until he or she is at least four years old and 40 pounds.  The final stage of child restraints is a booster seat, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children use until the age of eight.

Many states have child safety restraint laws that closely mirror the national recommendations and inflict harsh fines upon violators.  Mississippi’s child restraint laws, on the other hand, express no preference for rear or forward facing seats and impose a mere $25 fine.  Some lawmakers have called for reform of Mississippi’s child restraint laws, stating that fines need to be increased for the laws to have more of a deterring effect.  Thus far, efforts for reform do not appear to have gained much traction.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we believe the safety of Mississippi’s children should be a top priority.  If you have any questions about Mississippi’s child safety restraint laws, or would like to learn more about your legal options, call us today at 601-355-2022.  We offer a free initial consultation and represent clients in a wide array of personal injury and accident matters.

Recovering After an Amusement Park Accident in Mississippi

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

When negligence occurs at an amusement park, where roller coasters travel at high speeds and rides soar many feet into the air, the consequences can be catastrophic.   Recently, a 7-year-old boy fell off of a popular ride at the Mississippi State Fair held right here in Jackson, MS.  The ride, known as the Skyride, was some 30 feet off the ground when the young boy pummeled down.  The boy was rushed to the hospital and was traumatically injured.  Officials investigated the Skyride and could find no signs of malfunction.  In fact, they found all safety lap bars to be functioning correctly, including the bar in the car which the boy fell from.  Mississippi State Fair officials have reopened the ride and stressed that the incident was unprecedented.  The Skyride has not had previous accidents of this kind.

If you or a loved one has been injured at an amusement park, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The following are some of the most common means of recovering for your injuries after an amusement park accident:

  • Negligence

Over 300 million people go to amusement parks each year, as reported by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.  The likelihood of injury at an amusement park is estimated to be 1 in 9 million.  While this means the odds are in your favor for enjoying a day at the park injury free, the potential for catastrophic injury at an amusement park is there.

An individual injured at an amusement park may be able to recover for their injuries through a personal injury suit.  For the amusement park to be held liable, a plaintiff must show the amusement park acted negligently and created or failed to prevent a dangerous condition which caused your injury.

Some of the most common negligence issues arising from amusement parks are:

  • Ride defects
  • Inadequate maintenance on rides
  • Failure or poorly designed safety restraints
  • Unlocked doors or gates that allow access to dangerous areas within the park
  • Inadequate warnings as to restricted areas
  • Inadequate ride warnings, such as warnings for those with heart problems to not ride the roller coaster
  • Failure to properly train ride operators
  • Ride operators who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Slippery areas
  • Poor upkeep of the amusement park grounds and buildings

If you are injured due to the actions of an amusement park’s employee, the park will generally be liable.  The amusement park is normally responsible for the actions of its employees.  Therefore, if an employee failed to inspect the safety harnesses on a ride, for instance, or did not post clear warnings, then amusement park will still be liable.

  • Products Liability

Sometimes the amusement park accident is not caused by the negligence of the amusement park; rather, it is caused by a defective ride or component of the ride not due to improper maintenance, inspection, or use.  For instance, the faulty design of a lap safety bar could cause the bar to unlatch mid-ride and send the rider falling to the ground.  Products liability can also encompass structural or design defects in the ride itself.  Products liability is a complex area of the law and will require you prove numerous elements that lead to the conclusion a defect in the product caused your injuries.

John D. Giddens, P.A. Can Help

The Giddens Law Firm is a boutique firm in Jackson, Mississippi known for its exceptional representation in all types of personal injury and products liability cases.  John D. Giddens and his attorney team select only a few cases a year, allowing them to better focus on the needs of their clients.  If you or a loved one has been injured at an amusement park, call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 for a free consultation.

Mississippi Legislators May Consider Requiring Seat Belts on School Buses

Friday, November 8th, 2013

As early as 2014, Mississippi lawmakers might debate whether to require installation of seat belts on all school buses.  Currently, Mississippi’s seat belt law only applies to school buses and other vehicles that carry 15 or fewer passengers.  The law requires all people in the front seat and those up to the age of seven wear a seat belt.  Larger school buses, however, have never been required to have seat belts.  That could all change in the coming year.

Proponents of the law requiring seat belts in buses say that safety belts could help reduce the severity of children’s injuries in the event of a bus accident.  Fourteen year old Katie Beth Simmons, a student at East Rankin Academy, told a group of lawmakers her experience last year.  Katie had been riding her school bus, without a seat belt, and the bus came to a sudden stop.  She was thrown into the seat in front of her, hitting her face.

Katie also expressed concern about the dangerous antics of younger children on school buses.  She stated that her four year old sister and many other young children stand up on the bus and hop around.  She supported the idea of requiring seat belts as it would increase the safety of all school bus passengers by preventing standing, and additionally minimize injuries in the event of a crash or short stop.

Opponents of the measure point first to the expense.  The state budget is already stretched paper thin.  Requiring the addition of seat belts to school buses would be a substantial expense which opponents urge the state cannot handle.  Furthermore, critics say even with the addition of seat belts, school bus drivers would struggle to ensure students wear the belts.  Additionally, some caution that students could hit one another with the belts, and the belts might not be one size fits all– seatbelts designed for the larger children may not prove safe for the younger ones.

Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that 19 children a year are killed in school bus accidents.  A search conducted by the State Department of Education revealed that school bus accidents occur in Mississippi at an alarming rate.  In the last year, 184 school bus accidents took place.  No fatalities were associated with these crashes, but injuries were reported with some.

In one recent bus crash in Clinton County, a vehicle rear-ended a school bus full of children.  Three students were transported to the hospital with injuries.  All students made a full recovery but no doubt experienced a frightening ordeal.  In a harrowing accident occurring in Brandon, Mississippi, nine school children were injured following a multi-car collision.  A Tahoe ran a red light as the school bus was making a left turn.  Twenty-six students were on the school bus and seven had to be transported to the hospital.

The installation of seat belts would cost approximately $7,000 to $10,000 per bus.  Rep. Johnny Stringer of Montrose suggests that having prisoners install the belts could be a way to cut costs.  While the cost to install seat belts will certainly be substantial, the safety of our children is of monumental importance.  The recent rash of school bus accidents in Mississippi indicates that some action needs to be taken to ensure school children are safe.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing crash victims, including victims of school bus accidents.  We understand the importance of safety belts and have seen firsthand the difference they can make in minimizing injuries. If you have been injured in an automobile, truck, or bus accident, call us today at 601-355-2022.  Your initial consultation is always free and our representation is second to none.

What to Do if You are in an Auto Accident in Mississippi

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Automobile accidents—they can happen at any time, in any place, and generally when you least expect it.  In fact, in the state of Mississippi, automobile accidents happen on average every hour of everyday.  The moments following a car accident are highly stressful and chaotic.  To this end, we have prepared the following guide to assist you in protecting your legal rights following an automobile accident:

  1. Get to the nearest safe location—if you are in an automobile accident on a roadway, it is imperative to move yourself and your vehicle if possible to the nearest safe soft shoulder.  This can prevent further injury to yourself and other vehicles.  Do not, however, leave the scene of the accident.  Fleeing the scene of the accident can result in criminal penalties in the state of Mississippi.
  2. Contact local law enforcement—it is critical to contact a local law enforcement agency as soon as possible after an automobile accident so that you may complete a police report.  Police officers will generally arrive fairly quickly to the scene of the accident and will interview the drivers and witnesses involved.  That police report can prove crucial to your later recovery for damages or personal injuries, so it is best to wait at the scene for the arrival of law enforcement officers.  If for some reason a report is not made at the scene, go to a police station and complete a police report as soon as possible after the incident.
  3. Receive medical treatment—if you are injured in the automobile accident or even believe you may have suffered some sort of injury, it is best to seek treatment right away.  Some common injuries from automobile accidents, such as sore neck and muscle stiffness or strains may not be evident until a few hours or days after the accident.  It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident as any delay may make it more difficult to prove the accident was the cause of your injuries.
  4. Do not discuss liability for the accident— under no circumstances should you admit fault to the accident or discuss liability with police officials, witnesses, or insurance companies.  Wait until you speak with your attorney before getting into a discussion of the complicated, legal issue of fault.
  5. Start documenting the accident—proper documentation can prove crucial towards later recovery, so start the process right at the scene of the accident.  Take pictures of the vehicles involved, the location of the accident, any skid marks, and your injuries, if any.  Gather the names and information of any witnesses and record their statements.
  6. Retain an experienced attorney who specializes in automobile accidents—no matter how seemingly minor your automobile accident, it is best to retain the services of a Mississippi attorney with experience in car accidents.  An experienced car crash attorney will ensure you meet crucial deadlines for receiving compensation; will handle the often difficult and unpleasant insurance representatives for you; and will most importantly fight so that you receive the compensation you deserve.  So before discussing your accident with the insurer, consult with an expert Mississippi car crash attorney to protect your legal rights.

The experienced Mississippi auto accident attorneys at Giddens Law Firm have extensive experience representing those who have been injured or suffered damages due to an automobile accident.  The Giddens Law Firm will zealously protect your legal rights and ensure you receive just compensation for the damage or injuries you received as a result of an automobile accident.  Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to receive a full explanation of your legal rights .

Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Mississippi Automobile Accident Case

Monday, November 4th, 2013

While no car accident victim wants to harm their own automobile accident case, there are some innocent mistakes that victims often make which can have devastating consequences on their recovery.  The following is a list of commonly made mistakes that can harm your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries following an automobile accident:

  1. Delaying seeking medical treatment—this is an all too common mistake among car accident victims.  Often, after a crash, your adrenaline is pumping and you may feel uninjured.   Later, when the stress and excitement of the incident fades, you realize you have actually sustained injuries.  Your busy work or school week begins and before you know it, several days have passed and you still have not sought treatment.  The problem becomes this—the longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the easier it will be for the insurance company to make the case that your injuries did not stem from the accident.  There are many daily activities you may partake in, such as sports, physical labor at work, and more driving, that the insurance company will use every opportunity to argue are the actual cause of your injuries.
  2. Admitting fault—you have just been in a harrowing car accident.  You are confused, scared, and not thinking straight.  You then strike up a conversation with the other accident victim, in which you ponder whether perhaps the accident was your fault.  Or maybe, in your haze, you tell the police the accident was your fault.  Later, while thinking about the incident in the calm of your home, you distinctly remember the events and realize the accident was not your fault at all.  Unfortunately, your statements at the scene of the accident may limit or hinder your recovery.  This is why it is so imperative to not admit fault for the accident.
  3. Not going to your doctor’s appointments or treatments—everyone may need to reschedule an appointment or two, but if missing appointments becomes a pattern or if you stop going appointments or treatments, the insurance company will use this against you.  They will argue your injuries must not be severe or legitimate if you no longer need treatment or follow-up care.  Therefore, it is best to continue with your prescribed treatment and follow-up doctor’s appointments until your physician recommends discontinuance.
  4. Under-estimating the insurance company—despite friendly sounding agents who will try to befriend you, the insurance company will look for any means to disprove or deny your claim.  They will hire investigators that will look for evidence to hinder your recovery and they will record any statements you make concerning your injuries.  Keep this in mind when dealing with the insurance company and, if possible, avoid all contact with them without your attorney present.
  5. Failing to hire an aggressive, experienced Mississippi automobile accident attorney—your automobile accident attorney can mean the difference between a full and complete recovery and years of catching up on unpaid medical bills.  A zealous Mississippi automobile attorney will be there to represent your best interests.  Automobile accidents involve complex laws of fault and compensation.  You need the assistance of a skilled car accident attorney to provide you the best possible chance of recovery.

The Giddens Law Firm is a boutique Jackson, Mississippi personal injury law firm with more than 20 years of experience representing automobile accident victims.  We are an aggressive team of litigators who will fight tirelessly for your recovery.  We will also take the time you need to review your legal options and help maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule your free and completely confidential case analysis.