Archive for March, 2014

Why No One Should Go Without a Personal Injury Attorney

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The decision to forego retaining a personal injury attorney can be a costly one. The assistance of a knowledgeable automobile accident attorney is vital to the success of your claim. While the temptation to just accept the first settlement offer surely exists, in the field of personal injury law, rejecting that offer and securing an experienced personal injury attorney will lead to far greater compensation and the satisfaction of knowing justice has been achieved.

The following is a list of the top reasons why no one should go without a personal injury attorney:

  1. The insurance company does not have your best interest at heart—the insurance company represents the individual who hit you. Although adjusters can be quite professional and kind on the phone, they are not concerned with seeing you recover. The insurance company’s first offer will, without a doubt, be far less than what you may be entitled to.
  2. Your attorney will advocate for you—it is your personal injury attorney’s job and duty to become your mouthpiece and focus above all else on achieving your full recovery. Therefore, in every negotiation, during all the research, and when presented with any option, your attorney will act in your best interest. Having a knowledgeable professional on your side is crucial when dealing with experienced insurance claim adjusters looking to minimize their payout.
  3. Your attorney will handle the workload that comes with an injury claim—following an accident, you will likely receive constant phone calls from adjusters, medical providers, and others relating to bills that stem from the wreck. Your automobile accident attorney will take over such phone calls, allowing you to focus on recovery. Further, your attorney will handle the tedious task of documentation. Documentation of every medical bill, lost wage, and the like is absolutely essential to maximizing your recovery. For most people, this task can be overwhelming. Personal injury lawyers are experienced in such matters and will simplify the process.
  4. Automobile accident laws are complex—some automobile accident cases will involve courtroom hearings and even trial. Legal rules are complicated and the case law constantly evolving. You need someone trained in this intricate field to navigate your claim.
  5. An automobile accident attorney will add value to your case—your attorney will begin by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident. He or she might uncover, for instance, that the other driver was drunk at the time of the incident or distracted. This may increase your recovery greatly. As the process continues, your lawyer will enter into negotiations on your behalf. Most experienced attorneys are expert negotiators and will obtain increased settlement offers. Finally, your accident attorney can add value to your claim immensely by simply having an in-depth knowledge in the field. Your lawyer will understand all the potential categories of damages that apply to your case and compile the evidence in support of each loss. Your chance of full compensation for your injuries is astronomically increased with the assistance of a professional automobile accident attorney.
  6. You will not have to pay unless you recover—cost is a big issue to many accident victims. To help their clients afford the pursuit of accident claims, most personal injury lawyers agree to contingent fee arrangements, which means that they do not receive compensation unless they achieve a recovery for you.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we strive above all else to maximize the recovery of each client. Our team of seasoned, aggressive litigators will fight for your just compensation. The Giddens Law Firm is a step above all the rest, pursuing excellence in all we do. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

Pedestrian Accidents in Mississippi

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Recently, in Florence, Mississippi, a woman was killed while walking along Highway 49. Barbara Ellen Smith of Florence had experienced car trouble and pulled over to the side of the road. She was walking along the highway, likely attempting to find help, when she was struck by a vehicle and killed. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Months prior, a pedestrian was killed here in Jackson by a drunk driver. The pedestrian had been involved in an earlier accident and a paramedic was on the scene treating him for a broken arm. Robert Howard, 44 years old, pummeled into the pedestrian and EMT, killing the pedestrian and seriously injuring the paramedic. The paramedic lost an eye as a result of the injuries. Howard has been arrested for aggravated DUI and aggravated DUI injury.

These incidences are just a few of the many pedestrian accidents that occur on Mississippi roadways each year. In 2010, pedestrian deaths represented 8% of all traffic fatalities. Over 50 pedestrians died in traffic accidents across the state, causing Mississippi to rank tenth highest for pedestrian deaths.

Nationwide, an alarming 13 pedestrians are killed by cars every day. The following is a list of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. This knowledge can help you to stay safe while walking:

  1. Poor lighting—more pedestrian accidents occur at night than any other time, and often happen along unlit roadways which render the pedestrian invisible to drivers until it is too late. Avoid walking at night along poorly illuminated roadways and wear bright clothing whenever you know you may end up walking past dusk.
  2. Distracted driving—distracted driving is the cause of nearly 20% of all pedestrian accidents. Drivers who are texting, talking on their phones, checking emails, and the like are most at risk for not seeing pedestrians walking nearby. The phenomenon of distracted driving, spurred largely by evolving technology, is costing pedestrians their lives. This makes it extremely important that you act diligently in listening for oncoming cars and staying a good distance away from traffic.
  3. Distracted walking—walking distractedly can be just as dangerous as driving in this condition. Distracted walkers, most often those who text while walking, are in part contributing to the nationwide rise in pedestrian fatalities. Over 1,500 pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms annually for cell phone related injuries. These injuries include everything from walking into traffic while texting to falling off a bridge while on the cell phone.
  4. The use of headphones—with the advent of the I-Pod and music capable smartphones, more and more walkers listen to music on their daily treks. While this can be relaxing after a long day at work or an invigorating work out motivator, it can turn deadly when your headphones prevent you from hearing an approaching vehicle.
  5. Walking drunk—while it is safer to walk home than drive after having a few cocktails, there are still risks involved in drunk walking. In fact, at least one study found that 15% of all injured pedestrians consumed alcohol before their accidents. Alcohol consumption diminishes one’s awareness and leads to decreased reaction time, which can be dangerous when walking near vehicles.

Giddens Law Firm has represented pedestrian victims for over 20 years. Due to the sheer difference in size between a pedestrian and a vehicle, pedestrian accidents often involve serious injury or even death. For this reason, you need an experienced, aggressive accident attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve due to your pedestrian accident. At John D. Giddens Law Firm, we pride ourselves on our dedication to client recovery. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

University of Mississippi Among First in the Nation to Launch New Ph.D. Program Aimed At Helping Those with Traumatic Brain Injuries Recover

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The potentially devastating impact of concussions and other head injuries has made headline news in recent years due, in large part, to the prevalence of these injuries amongst football players and military personnel. In light of increasing number of concussions each year and new research on the long-term impact of such injuries, the University of Mississippi’s School of Education has launched a new Ph.D. program which includes a neuroscience component.

This revolutionary program is only one of three in the nation. Its aim is to train educators to help victims of traumatic brain injuries recuperate more fully. The program’s unique focus on educating those with brain injuries stems in part from Chancellor Dan Jones’ interest in the area. Dr. Jones is a medical doctor and leader in the local movement to prevent and better understand concussions. As such, the Education Department’s new curriculum trains educators to use therapies that include language, mathematics, and other subjects to help speed recovery. The program is broken down into several components, with one focusing on how the brain works and other dealing with behaviors, literacy, and diversity. Neuroscience is a vital part of each component.

Roy Thurston, a UM assistance professor of special education, developed the current neuroscience program. Thurston has extensive experience researching the cognitive rehabilitation of those with brain injuries as well as application of neuroscience to education.

The focus of the program is on helping brain injury patients exercise their brain. This has been proven to sped recovery and lead to increased levels of functioning. These therapies are of particular use for college and professional football players who experience concussions at alarming rates. Another focus is on war veterans who frequently return from combat with head injuries.

UM’s education program is a just a part of the larger movement towards better recognition and treatment of concussions. Previously, sports leaders shunned the idea that concussions were particularly common or dangerous. College and pro football players had to experience devastating injuries before the true nature and frequency of concussions during the game was acknowledged. The attitude in youth sports was no different, with children benched for one play then sent back into the game even after clearly sustaining hard hits. Further, outside the playing field, war veterans were another group of Americans commonly overlooked when it came to concussions.   We now know that over 22% of all combat injuries are traumatic brain injuries.

Research today has helped us to better understand the true nature of a concussion. A concussion can occur when the head strikes an object or, vice-versa, when an object strikes the head. This results in the individual’s brain, enclosed by fluid, actually shifting in the skull. Upon impact, billions of brain cells illuminate at the site of the injury. These cells then work to regain equilibrium. This process can take just a few hours or can never fully be accomplished. While the brain is working to restore itself, a host of side effects can be experienced, such as holes in one’s memory, pain from bright lights, and diminished focus. Programs like that at UM are part of cutting edge research which indicates that the correct education for traumatic brain injury patients can help them to recover quicker and more completely.

If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury due to an accident, call the brain injury experts at Giddens Law Firm. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries require the assistance of an attorney team with an intricate knowledge of this complex field. Giddens Law Firm has over 20 years experience working with those suffering from concussion injuries. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.

New Technologies that Could Change the Face of Personal Injury Law

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Currently, car accidents are the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries nationwide. While increased automobile safety has led to a decline in the rate of accidents each year, numbers remain high. There are an estimated 5,500,000 car crashes annually and over 40,000 deaths. Several new technologies in the field of automobiles hold the potential to eliminate nearly all car accidents. These innovations would save tens of thousands of lives a year and completely alter the face of modern personal injury law. Here is a look at some new inventions that hold the potential to bring much needed change to the accident arena:

1. Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication—this emerging technology, known as V2V, is currently being tested by several major car manufacturers. Imagine the following scenario: you are approaching an intersection with a green light. At the same moment that you reach the intersection, another car runs the red light and barrels towards you, while you remain unaware of its impending course. Your vehicle then signals the approaching car and automatically brakes, enabling you to safely avoid the accident. This revolutionary situation will soon be possible with V2V. V2V operates entirely wirelessly. It enables a car to emit and receive information from other vehicles on vital functions such as speed, location, and direction. This information is used to keep vehicles a safe distance from one another. Researchers believe V2V has the potential to reduce crashes by 79%.

2. Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication—heavily related to V2V, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication or V2I allows vehicles to communicate with the environment, such as road signs and traffic signals. V2I relays important safety information like traffic and accidents ahead, allowing you to avoid hazardous conditions. Working in conjunction with V2V, V2I is expected to decrease accidents by a shocking 81%.

3. Self-guided Vehicles—once a thing of science fiction, self-guided vehicles are becoming a reality thanks to the pioneering developers over at Google and other technology companies across the world. Cars that drive themselves are already on the roadwaysin California and Nevada, conducting essential test drives for Google engineers. While these vehicles may still be a few years from consumer sales, most recognize that the future of automobiles belongs to these technologies. Self-guided vehicles are able to learn the roadway conditions and utilize signals to identify the location of pedestrians and encroaching vehicles. Self-guided vehicles could eliminate 95% of all accidents by taking away the element of human error, which is largely the cause of accidents nationwide.

What could these technologies mean for the field of personal injury law? Well, they would eliminate one central sub-area of the field. Car accidents represent the majority of most personal injury lawyers case load. However, they may cause an increase in another area of the law—product defects. When humans are eliminated as a cause of accidents, those accidents that do occur will likely be due to defective automobiles. The manufacturer of a vehicle that fails to alert you to an oncoming car, for instance, may be held liable for your injuries sustained in the resulting accident.

The evolution of the field of personal injury law will be a fascinating one to be a part of. Attorney John D. Giddens has represented countless accident victims for over 20 years. He has watched the personal injury field develop during this time and has also been a vital part of local law changes. For excellence of service and unmatched skill, call the Giddens Law Firm today at (601) 355-2022. The first consultation is free, always.