Archive for December, 2013

The Dangers of Distracted Driving in Mississippi

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson was injured in a single car accident resulting in a broken arm, which will prevent him from playing football indefinitely.  The cause of this tragic accident: pizzas.  That’s right, Nate Burleson admits that he became distracted in the moments right before the accident.  Specifically, he drove onto the freeway and attempted to multitask, which he states he is the “king of.”  After plugging in his phone to the car charger, he noticed the boxes of pizza that he had sitting on the passenger seat had begun to slide.  He reached to save the two boxes of pizza.  At that moment, he drifted towards a vehicle in the next lane.  Realizing he might hit the car, Burleson attempted to correct the vehicle’s path, but ended up overcorrecting and hitting the center median.

Burleson, who admitted to frequently multitasking while driving, urged other drivers to learn from his mistakes.  Burleson is hopeful he will be able to return this season.  The wide receiver was on pace to achieve 101 catches and 1,275 yards, both of which would have been career highs.

Though Burleson’s car accident may cost him dearly professionally, he is no doubt thankful that the accident did not involve another vehicle, pedestrian, or more serious injuries.  Burleson is part of an ever increasing and highly troubling phenomenon known as distracted driving.  In 2011 alone, the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving reported that accidents involving distracted drivers killed 3,331 people and injured another 387,000.

Distracted driving is defined as the act of operating a motor vehicle while engaged in any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from driving.  Distractions can come from within the vehicle, such texting, making a phone call, eating, looking in the mirror, emailing, etc.  They can also stem from outside of the vehicle, such as taking your attention from the wheel to look at buildings, scenery, people, animals, or any other distracting sights.

Given the ever increasing number of deaths and injuries caused by distracted drivers, nearly every state in the U.S. is taking measures to crack down on distracted driving.  Most legislation of recent years has focused on the use of cell phones while driving and, more specifically, texting while driving.  Currently, 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam all ban texting while driving.  Eleven states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from using cell phones while driving.  Most of the remaining states have laws in place restricting texting while driving but not outright banning it.  Mississippi is one of these states.  In Mississippi, a school bus driver is banned from using his or her cell phone and from texting.  Further, novice drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.  A violation of these laws can result in criminal charges and fines in addition to consequences on your license.  If an injury occurs to a pedestrian or another driver due to your distracted driving, you could additionally be sued for damages.

Victims of distracted drivers have the right to file a suit for personal injuries.  Additionally, their family may file a wrongful death suit in the event the distracted driving accident proves fatal.  If you or a loved one has been killed or injured by a distracted driving, it is of the essence that you secure a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Those early days after the accident can be crucial for uncovering evidence in support of your case.  The Giddens Law Firm has vast amount of experience representing victims in personal injury suits against the distracted drivers that hit them.  We are a team of attorneys and investigators who will relentlessly fight for your recovery.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 for a free case analysis.

Top 5 Things to Consider When Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney in Mississippi

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Retaining the right auto accident attorney to represent you in your personal injury suit is of critical importance.  A skilled, professional personal injury attorney can mean the difference between a large settlement that makes you whole again following your accident, and a botched case in which you are left with many unpaid medical bills and a significant amount of emotional trauma.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, you are likely overwhelmed by the process of hiring an automobile accident attorney.   You may see billboards, hear names on the radio, and receive recommendations from friends.  While these are all fine ways to select some possible attorneys, it is essential that you sit down and interview your potential attorney to confirm they are both qualified and a correct fit for you.

To this end, we have prepared the following list of the top 5 things you should consider in selecting your auto accident attorney:

  1. Experience is a must—as English writer William Hazlitt once wrote, “[y]ou know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.”  No amount of education or natural talent will replace the sheer value of experience.  An experienced auto accident attorney will be best suited to professionally and skillfully guide your personal injury case. They have been through such suits many times before and know the ins-and-outs of automobile accidents, and the best ways to achieve a full recovery.  Look for an attorney with litigation experience as well as general automobile accident experience, as this will be crucial if you end up going to trial.
  2. Specialization in the area of law you need help in is critical—you should select an attorney that specializes in the area of law your case will revolve around, such as commercial truck accidents if you were hit by a tractor trailer, or automobile accidents if you were in a car accident.  Specialization will not only ensure the attorney has experience handling cases in your area of law, but also that the attorney is up to date on current case law and legislative changes in the field.
  3. Avoid guaranteed outcomes—avoid hiring an attorney that guarantees you an outcome.  It is simply not possible or professional to promise a result to a client since nothing in personal injury cases is guaranteed.
  4. Retain an attorney who listens to you—it is best to hire an automobile attorney who truly listens to you and always addresses your questions and concerns.  A personal injury suit can become complex and confusing.  You will have many questions along the way and you have the right to expect an attorney that listens and answers all your questions.  Further, a good automobile accident attorney will always have your desired outcome in mind when taking action in your case.
  5. You need someone you trust—while the four criteria listed above are important, you ultimately need to select someone that you trust to handle what is a very important matter for you.  Trust is simply a must.  You will likely have to spend much time with your personal injury attorney, tell him or her intimate personal details involving your injuries, and ultimately allow your attorney to be your mouthpiece to the court and the insurance companies.  None of this can be accomplished absent trust.

The Giddens Law Firm, located in Jackson, Mississippi, is an experienced personal injury firm that handles all types of personal injury cases, including automobile accidents, commercial trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, as well as products liability and medical malpractice matters.  We are a team of seasoned litigators with extensive trial experience in both state and federal court.  The Giddens Law Firm strives to ensure each client has a full understanding of their case and will always be available to answer your questions.  Call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 to speak with a team of attorneys you can trust.

Richland Elementary School

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

On Friday, November 8, 2013, Jackson, Mississippi injury attorneys, John Giddens and Baskin Jones visited with Richland Elementary School students. The injury attorneys donated a total of 566 helmets to the school for the students and for the staff. “We wanted to make sure each one of these students had access to a helmet, because head injuries on a bike or a skateboard are often life threatening.” John Giddens said after donating the helmets. Many of the students had bikes or skateboards but did not yet own a helmet.

Before the students received their helmets, the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi educated the boys and girls on proper helmet use and showed the effects of not using a helmet by dropping a cantaloupe from shoulder height while the melon was strapped into a helmet and not strapped into the helmet. Judging by the gasps in the room over the cracked cantaloupe, it seemed like the young students understood the importance of wearing a helmet if you are riding a bike or skateboard.

The students had this to say about the presentation and about their assignment to tell their teachers what Attorney’s do:
“Attorneys tell people about the law. Attorneys got really nice suits. Attorneys always are important to you. They can help you when you are in trouble.”

“Thank you for our helmets! We are thankful for your kindness! – Mrs. Alvarado’s class.”

View our student letters

Richland Elementary Video #1

Richland Elementary Video #2

Richland Elementary Video #2

Top Things You Should Not Do Following a Motorcycle Accident in Mississippi

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

In recent years, motorcycle riding has become increasingly popular.  The number of motorcycles in the U.S. jumped to 9 million in 2012, an increase of over 50% from previous years.  Sadly, along with the rise in popularity of the motorcycle, motorcycle accident rates have also climbed.  In 2010, over 4,500 riders were killed and 80,000 injured.  A search of recent headline news reveals Mississippi is no stranger to motorcycle accidents.  Just recently, an off-duty Mississippi Highway patrolman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Senatobia.  In Pearl, a person was injured in a motorcycle accident involving a collision with a pickup truck on Highway 80.  Finally, a woman died in Jackson over the summer in a terrible motorcycle accident involving an 18-wheeler.

Motorcycle accidents are tragically commonplace due to the cyclist’s lack of visibility.  If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you are likely to be stressed and shocked following the accident.  You may do or say things that are not helpful in the long run towards accomplishing recovery from your accident.  To this end, we have prepared the following list of the top things not to do if you have been in a motorcycle accident:

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident—but do move yourself and your bike, if possible, to the nearest safe soft shoulder.  Under Mississippi law, you cannot flee the scene of the accident and doing so can result in criminal charges.  You should be sure you are sufficiently out of the way of other vehicles and safe from any further collisions.
  2. Do not forget to file a police report—it is best to call the police as soon as possible after the accident, even if no one appears injured.  A police report can prove crucial towards your later recovery.  Officers will typically respond quickly to the call.  If for some reason you do not obtain a police report at the scene of the accident, go to the police station and complete an accident report as soon as possible.  Never simply exchange insurance information with the driver of the vehicle or other motorcycle—you need that police report.
  3. Do not admit fault—do not, under any circumstances, admit fault to the accident.  You have just been in a traumatic event.  You need time to process the incident, and statements you make while under the stress of the accident may not be accurate.  Therefore, do not make any statements concerning liability.  Statements you make now can impact your later recovery.
  4. Do not refuse or delay medical attention—injuries following motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than those from car accidents due to less protection on a bike.  Many injuries following a motorcycle accident may not manifest for several hours following the accident.  It is best to seek medical attention immediately following the accident or as soon as possible afterwards.  The longer you wait the more room you give for the insurance company to argue your injuries were not caused by the motorcycle accident.
  5. Do not delay consulting with a knowledgeable Mississippi motorcycle accident attorney—you should seek the assistance of a licensed Mississippi motorcycle attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Crucial evidence can be lost during the immediate aftermath of the accident if you do not act quickly to secure representation.  A skilled motorcycle accident attorney can advise you on the steps you need to take to obtain full compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries.  So before you speak to any insurance adjuster, consult with a professional motorcycle accident attorney.

The Giddens Law Firm has handled countless motorcycle accident cases in the Jackson, Mississippi area.  We have the knowledge and resources necessary to expertly handle your motorcycle accident case, regardless of how challenging or complex.  The Giddens Law Firm operates on a contingency fee basis and the first consultation is always free.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to learn more about your legal options!

The Top 10 Most Common Causes of Accidental Deaths

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Accidents happen—so much so that they rank as the number one cause of death for those between the ages of one and 42.  Accidents are the fifth leading cause of death across all age groups, topped only by serious illnesses including cancer and heart disease.  While most people conjure up images of electricians or window washers succumbing to fatal accidents, statistics shows that the majority of accidental deaths occur in homes or communities.

The following is a list of the top 10 most common causes of accidental deaths, designed to increase your understanding of the dangers and help you stay safe:

  1. Motor vehicle accidents—car accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide.  Over 45,000 individuals are killed each year in car accidents.  While the increase in the use of safety belts and child safety restraint devices has led to fewer automobile accident fatalities, the numbers are still astounding.  In Mississippi, in particular, car accident rates are alarmingly high and the number of child victims far exceeds the national average.
  2. Falls—over 25,000 individuals die from falls each year.  While deaths due to falls are often associated with the elderly, fatal falls can occur to those of all ages.  Falls commonly occur in homes, outdoors, and in public places.
  3. Poisonous liquids or solids—poisoning kills almost 40,000 people a year, with most deaths associated with accidental ingestion of illegal drugs.  The number of poisoning deaths has risen almost 400 percent in the past 20 years.  While drugs account for the majority of poisoning deaths, deaths also occur among children who ingest poisonous cleaning solutions or medicines.
  4. Fires—annually, fires claim the lives of over 2,500 individuals.  Deaths due to residential fires dropped to a five year low in 2009, but the number of deaths a year remains fairly high.  Smoking is one of the leading causes of residential fires.
  5. Choking—choking killed around 2,500 people in 2009 and children under the age of three are at the highest risk.  Choking hazards include hard candies, grapes, nuts, chewing gum, carrots, balloons, small toys, and hot dogs.
  6. Suffocation—deaths by suffocation are on the rise, up approximately a third during the past decade.  It is estimated that suffocation claims the lives of up to 3,300 individuals a year.  Most suffocation victims are children, and the CDC urges parents to make sure their children’s faces are not covered while sleeping and loose bedding is kept out of cribs.
  7. Firearms—over 1,500 individual a year are killed accidently by guns.  Recent reports have revealed that this rate may actually be much higher.  Accidental firearm deaths among children are frequently not recorded as accidents, skewing reputed death rates.  While gun laws are a much debated topic, all can agree that weapons should be safely stored away from children.
  8. Poisonous gas—inhaling poisonous gases leads to over 700 deaths a year.  The most common gas killers include fuel, natural gas, and propane.
  9. Medical malpractice—this is one of the scariest killers, claiming the lives of hundreds of individuals each year.  While we trust doctors and other medical professionals with our medical care, all too often mistakes are made that lead to deaths.
  10. Drowning—each day, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning.  About a third of these victims are children under the age of 14.  Lack of swimming ability and failure to wear a life jacket are two of the leading causes of accidental drowning.

The Giddens Law Firm has been helping the victims of all manner of accidents for over 20 years.  If you have been injured in an accident, our expert team of personal injury attorneys will help you receive the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and emotional harm attributable to the accident.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to start us fighting for your full recovery.

When Fun Turns Tragic: a Look at Amusement Park Accidents

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Amusements parks are engrained in American tradition.  The roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, cotton candy, and endless entertainment make a trip to the amusement park a joyous family occasion.  Sometimes, however, that amusement park trip takes a catastrophic turn.  Recently, a 52-year-old Dallas woman was thrown from her seat on the Texas Giant, a 14 story Six Flag’s rollercoaster.  Rosa Esparza fell over 75 feet to her death.  Esparza’s daughter and son-in-law were riding in front of her and turned when they heard Esparza screaming for help.  They saw her attempting to hold on for dear life, then her feet went in the air, and the next moment she was gone.

Esparza’s family is now suing Six Flags for the loss of their loved one.  The lawsuit alleges that the T-shaped lap bar designed to keep riders safely in the ride was not working properly.  The lawsuit states that inspections done to the roller coaster after Esparza’s death show parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing intermittent failures.

Following the accident, Six Flags replaced a “limit switch” in the car Esparza was riding in.  The “limit switch” is an indicator that shows the safety bar is locked in place, and the switch was found to be defective in Esparza’s car.

Esparza’s family is seeking over $1 million in compensation and has requested a jury trial.  Six Flags has declined to comment on the issue but has insisted there were no mechanical failures.  Esparza’s attorney said it is not clear whether the safety bar locked that day, or whether perhaps it was not properly designed to accommodate someone of a larger girth, which Esparza was.

Six Flags reopened the Texas Giant two months after Esparza’s death with the addition of new safety features.  The park added additional safety restraints, altered the lap bar, and added additional warnings that a person’s physical characteristics may prevent them from riding if the restraint bar could not lock properly.  The park also added a test chair where patrons could determine ahead of time whether they could be properly restrained.

Amusement park accidents are not terribly common, but, as Esparza’s case demonstrates, they have the potential to turn deadly.  Roller coasters travel at incredible speeds, plunging to extreme highs and lows, and turning in all manner of unnatural directions.  A mechanical or safety restraint failure under these circumstances can be catastrophic.  In 2007, in Japan, a mechanical failure proved deadly.  A six car roller coaster at Expoland called the Fujin Raijin II derailed and hit a guardrail due to a wheel axle on one of the cars breaking.  The high speed of the rails caused one woman to die from the impact and injured 19 others.  That same year, in the US, a young girl’s legs were severely injured when cables snapped on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville.  The teen had to have some of her left leg amputated and underwent multiple surgeries due to the incident.  This amusement park victim has filed suit for her injuries.

Besides injured riders of roller coasters, numerous other amusement park goers have been struck by moving roller coasters.  In 2009, at another Six Flags location, a 17-year-old boy was decapitated by a roller coaster.  The teenager allegedly ventured into a restricted area while attempting to retrieve his hat which he lost riding the Batman roller coaster.  The ride struck him traveling at 50 mph, decapitating him instantly.

Amusement park accidents are not an everyday occurrence, but if you or a loved one has been injured on an amusement park ride or while at an amusement park, you may be entitled to compensation.  The Giddens Law Firm has experience representing plaintiffs in a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death actions, regardless of how challenging or complex.  We are a team of skilled litigators who will fight hard for your recovery.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 for a free and completely confidential case analysis.

The 411 on Motorcycle Accident Laws in Mississippi

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Motorcycle enthusiasts love the thrill of the open road and the feel of the air rushing past. Riding a motorcycle has become a beloved American pastime and a way of life for some. Unfortunately, however, the rate of motorcycle accidents has climbed in recent years.  Each year, over 4,500 riders are killed in accidents on the roads, and another 80,000 injured.   In Mississippi alone, 58 motorcyclists were killed in 2011.  Due to increased vulnerability of motorcyclists, if a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident, the likelihood of injury is an astonishing 96%.  If you plan to ride a motorcycle Mississippi, here is a summary of motorcycle accident laws that you should be aware of in the event you are ever in an accident.

Your Responsibilities as a Motorcyclist in Mississippi

You are required by Mississippi law to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your license before operating a motorcycle in the state.  To receive this endorsement you must take both a written and a riding test.  If you are new to the state and have a valid endorsement from another state, you should only have to transfer your license; the state will waive the written and riding tests.

Mississippi Code Ann. § 63-7-64 requires all operators of motorcycles to wear a helmet approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.  While you are required to wear a helmet, eye protection is not mandated.

All motorcyclists in the state must carry liability insurance.  The state minimums are as follows:

  • Bodily injury (1 person): $10,000
  • Bodily Injury (all persons involved in 1 accident): $20,000
  • Property Damage: $5,000

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcycle accidents in Mississippi and across the U.S. are due to the motorcyclist’s lack of visibility.  The following is a list of common causes for motorcycle accidents:

  • Speed
  • Poor driving conditions
  • The motorcyclist is in the car’s turning lane and the care violates the cyclists right of way or does not see him or her
  • Head on collisions
  • Lane splitting
  • Alcohol or drug use

Many motorcycle accident attorneys will tell you from experience that when the accident involves a motorcycle and a vehicle, it is most often due to the fault of the vehicle.  Generally, the accident occurs when the vehicle turns into the motorcycle, whether through failure to yield to the motorcyclist’s right of way or simply not checking to see if a motorcycle is in the vehicle’s path.

Your Right to Recovery Following Injury in a Motorcycle Accident

Under Mississippi motorcycle law, negligent drivers are liable and responsible for your injuries incurred as a result of a motorcycle accident.  Mississippi is an at fault state, meaning that the negligent party in an accident involving a motorcycle must pay damages under negligence laws.  Your claim may be reduced under the principals of comparative negligence if you were at fault to some percentage.

If you are in a motorcycle accident and survive the crash, your best avenue of recovery will be through a personal injury suit.  If you are the family of a loved one killed as a result of a motorcycle accident, you can recover through a wrongful death suit.

You have three years from the date of the accident to bring your personal injury suit.  In your personal injury suit, you can seek recovery for the following:

  • Medical bills- past and future
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Replacement services

A wrongful death suit based on negligence must also be filed within three years of the victim’s death in the motorcycle accident.  The family of a deceased victim may seek to recover the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of earnings and benefits
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of love and companionship

The Giddens Law Firm Can Help

While this summary provides you with a general idea of Mississippi motorcycle accident laws, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  Motorcycle accidents can be complex and require the assistance of a skilled attorney.  The Giddens Law Firm has extensive experience representing the victims of motorcycle accidents and their loved ones.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

Mother and Daughter in Tupelo, Mississippi Killed by Runaway 18-Wheeler

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Due to their enormous size and immense weight, any accident involving a semi-truck or 18-wheeler can lead to tragic consequences.  Drivers of these large commercial vehicles are held to a higher safety standard because it takes a significant amount of experience, skill and training to safely maneuver these massive vehicles.  Sadly, in Tupelo, a semi-truck driver’s failure to exercise due caution led to an unfortunate catastrophe.

On September 6, 2013, Olida Acosta, a 20-year-old mother, and her 2-year-old daughter Vianett Castillo were parked outside a local business called Acceptance Auto Insurance.  The mother and daughter were waiting for a family member who was conducting business in the insurance company.  Suddenly, a colossal 18-wheeler, without a driver inside, pummeled into the car holding Acosta and her daughter.  The force of the 18-wheeler’s collision caused Acosta’s vehicle to be pushed into the auto insurance building, along with the truck.  Emergency crews responded instantly but it took them more than an hour to lift the semi-trailer off the vehicle.  Acosta and her daughter were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  An employee of Acceptance reported that the truck came within six feet of her desk.  She was terrified but uninjured.

Investigators later learned the cause behind the accident—the truck driver stopped the vehicle, exited it, and forgot to put on the parking break, causing the truck to roll away.  The driver, who works for a company out of Nebraska, will not face charges for his actions.  Local police called the incident a “freak accident” and determined the driver lacked any sort of criminal intent.

This heartbreaking accident is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence nationwide or in Mississippi.  Every 16 minutes, a person is killed or injured in a tractor trailer accident in the U.S.  This amounts to over 400,000 accidents involving tractor trailers each year.  A search of headline news reveals an alarming number of 18-wheeler accidents on Mississippi roadways this year.  During this past summer, an Ole Miss football player was killed in a horrendous accident involving a tractor trailer. Park Stevens was driving a truck that somehow collided with the rear end of the tractor trailer in front of him, killing him instantly.  Officials are investigating whether the driver of the tractor trailer was at fault.

A month after Steven’s accident, here in Jackson, a vehicle fell off a car carrying truck, causing a car accident.  The car carrier attempted to mount a bridge and evidently was too tall, knocking down one of the vehicles it carried.  The driver admitted the accident was his fault.  Luckily, the driver of the car that crashed into the downed vehicle will make a full recovery.

The victims of tractor trailer accidents such as these, and the families of those deceased, do have actions available to them to recover for their losses and hold the truck driver and/or his employer accountable.  Victims of tractor trailer accidents can bring a personal injury suit alleging that the truck driver acted negligently and this negligence caused their injuries.  In the event of the victim’s death, as in the case of deceased Olida Acosta and her 2-year-old daughter, the family of the decedent has the right to bring a wrongful death suit, seeking compensation for the loss of their loved one due to the negligent actions of the tractor trailer driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a tractor trailer accident, it is imperative that you seek the representation of a skilled trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.  Trucking companies and their insurers will act quickly to attempt to limit their liability following an accident.  You need a knowledgeable, aggressive attorney on your side fighting for your recovery.  The Giddens Law Firm is a team of experienced truck accident attorneys who will relentlessly pursue your claim.  Call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Common Car Accident Injuries in Mississippi

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Motor vehicles crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 5 and 34.  Nationally, over 30,000 individuals are killed in automobile accidents each year.  Mississippi is ranked as the most dangerous state for automobile accidents, with fatalities exceeding five times the national average.  Data shows that nearly 30 people per every 100,000 are killed in car accidents in Mississippi each year.  This equates to over 750 auto fatalities a year in our state.

Many individuals who survive car accidents suffer injuries, sometimes permanent, as a result of the accident.  Over three million people are injured in car accidents a year, with more than two million of these injuries becoming permanent.

The following is a list of the most common automobile accident injuries:

  1. Back and neck injuries—countless car accident victims experience these types of injuries each year.  Often, back and neck injuries occur due to the sudden back and forth jerking motion following a crash.  This violent jerking of the neck, head, and spine results is what is known as whiplash.  Over one million individuals are diagnosed as suffering from whiplash each year, and this injury can occur even if you are wearing a seatbelt.  A more severe back injury that also commonly occurs in major automobile accidents is a compression fracture.  This is more often referred to as a broken back.  Essentially, the same back and forth motion that causes whiplash can also compress or crush an individual’s back vertebrae.  The result is a broken back which can lead to long term disability and back problems.  Prompt medical treatment is recommended to avoid permanent damage.
  2. Head and brain trauma—concussions or other traumatic brain injuries have become increasingly common as the rate of speed at which cars travel has increased through the years.  Concussions can occur when the driver or passenger is flung into the dash or seat in front of them, or when the other vehicle involved pummels into their person.  Wearing a seatbelt can dramatically decrease the chance of sustaining a concussion in a crash, but they can still occur.  Loss of consciousness, blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, memory problems, and problems concentrating are all signs that you have suffered from a traumatic brain injury.  It is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as you begin experiencing such symptoms.
  3. Spinal cord injuries—back injuries caused by car accidents can result in lumbar or cervical disc injuries or even nerve damage.  Bulging discs, disc herniations, and paralysis are all common injuries sustained in automobile accidents.  These spinal cord injuries can lead to chronic pain and suffering.  Disc injuries can require surgery, extensive physical therapy, and steroid injections.  In the most severe of cases, car accident victims can become paralyzed due to extensive nerve damage.  Medical treatment immediately following the accident is vital to prevent further damage and start the recovery process.

These are just some of the injuries that may be experienced by car accident victims.  By providing you with a list of the most common injuries, it is our hope that if you are in a car accident, you will recognize the symptoms to watch for and seek prompt medical treatment if you even suspect you have sustained an injury.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Mississippi, call the Giddens Law Firm today. Our team of car accident professionals will immediately begin investigating your case and help maximize your chance of recovering for your injuries. The first consultation is always free, so call the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022.

Dangerous Defects: Nissan and Toyota Recall Over 700,000 Vehicles

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Drivers of Nissan Infinite M sedans and Toyota Sienna minivans, beware!  These vehicles are part of a mass recall by their manufacturers because they contain defects that could, and have in some cases, cause serious accidents.  Here is a look at the recall broken down by vehicle:

Nissan Infinite M Sedan

Nissan has announced the recall of 100,000 Infinite M sedans.  Models from 2006-2010 are affected in the recall.  The recall is sparked by a defect in the car that creates the potential for it to lose power.  The defect is due to unstable sensors which could cause the vehicle to stop when idling or even when coming to a stop.  The faulty sensor may also prevent the vehicle from accelerating as fast as the driver intended.  Although Nissan claims it is unaware of any injuries or accidents linked to the sensors, it has received multiple complaints. The sensor is also installed in several other Nissan models, including the Lafesta and Serena, but most of these models were exported to Japan.

To fix the problem, the accelerator pedal assembly in each affected car must be replaced.  Reprogramming is also required for the engine control module.  Despite the lack of accidents reported thus far, the potential for injury due to this sensor seems grave given the possibility of an Infinite M model simply coming to a stop at random.

Toyota Sienna Minivan

Meanwhile, Toyota has recalled Toyota Sienna Minivans manufactured in its Indiana plant from 2004-2005 and from 2007-2009, which encompasses some 615,000 vehicles.  The recall is due to a defect in the shift lever which can cause the minivans to unexpectedly rollaway.  Specifically, it is possible to take the minivan out of “park” without depressing the brake.  Toyota allegedly received over 21 reports of minor accidents due to the defect.

Recovery for Your Injuries Due to a Defective or Recalled Car Accident

Nissan and Toyota are just the most recent manufacturers making headline news for large factory recalls.  Millions of U.S. vehicles are recalled each year after reports of accidents, injuries, potential hazards, and wrongful deaths.  Car manufacturers have a duty to warn drivers of potential defects, but sometimes they fail to do so in a timely manner, resulting in serious and sometimes fatal accidnets.  Toyota has actually been found guilty of such action before.  In 2010, the car manufacturing giant was fined $16 million by the U.S. government after investigations revealed the company knew of a sticking gas pedal for months before it chose to issue a recall.  Defects in Toyota manufactured automobiles, as well as several other large car manufacturers, have been linked to dozens of wrongful deaths.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a defective or recalled car, it is imperative you consult with a licensed Mississippi automobile accident attorney as soon as possible.  You may be able to recover for your injuries or losses in either a personal injury or wrongful death action.  Some common defective parts in automobiles include: sticking gas pedals, as in the case of Toyota; tires; brakes; sensors and valves; and ignition interlocks.  Liable parties in your personal injury or wrongful death action may include the automobile manufacturer, distributor, or vendor.

The Giddens Law Firm is a professional team of attorneys and investigators with extensive experience in automobile accident cases of all types, including defective automobiles.  Oftentimes, it will not be immediately apparent that your accident was the result of a defective automobile.  Therefore, it is imperative that you contact the Giddens Law Firm as soon as possible.  We will investigate the cause of your accident and determine if a defective automobile was at fault.  Our seasoned personal injury attorneys will also zealously fight for your recovery following any type of vehicle accident.  Call us today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.