October 3rd, 2013
Tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents have become all too common on Mississippi roadways, as well as on highways throughout the U.S. Just recently, in Tupelo, a mother and her two year old daughter were killed by a runaway tractor trailer that pummeled into their parked vehicle. Earlier this month, eight people, including five children, were sent to the hospital following an accident in which a tractor trailer hit a pickup truck. Four children were thrown out of the pickup truck and the front of the truck was ripped off. Meanwhile, just days ago in Lucedale, there was a fatal accident involving an 18 wheeler and sedan driven by a Florida man.
It is undeniable that the rate of tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents is alarming. To help you better understand the reasons for these accidents, the following is a list of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents:
- Truck driver fatigue—fatigue or drowsiness of the driver significantly increases the chance of all accidents, but is especially common among truck drivers. Truck drivers are often on the road long hours with little rest. Statistics show almost half of all long haul drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. Drowsiness is believed to be the cause of the Tupelo accident in which the tractor trailer hit the parked vehicle. A personal injury attorney with knowledge of the federal trucking regulations can guide you in a claim involving a fatigued truck driver.
- Exceeding hours of service requirements—related to fatigue, a common cause of tractor trailer accidents is the driver’s violation of hours of service requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict guidelines for commercial driver’s hours of service. These regulations dictate how many hours a driver can be on the road for, and how many hours of rest a driver must maintain. Drivers are required to keep a log documenting such things. However, far too many truckers violate the regulations by falsifying their log books. This leads to fatigue and other unsafe driving, which often leads to accidents. An experienced trucking lawyer will check to determine whether the truck driver involved in the accident was in compliance with the hours of service laws by checking items such as gas receipts, bill of ladings, and trip tickets.
- Speeding—speeding is dangerous when it comes to any vehicle, but when you are driving an extremely large and heavy tractor trailer, speed can be deadly. Truckers are often under harsh time constraints to get their haul to the intended destination. This can lead to speeding. Despite the existence of governors to control the speed of a truck, many companies do not use them as they are expensive. A trucking attorney with knowledge of the industry can often determine the speed at which a truck was going at the time of the accident using the “black box” inside the truck.
- Distracted driving—truckers are on the road long hours and often use that time to talk on the phone, text, eat, email, and do any number of other activities that take their eyes off the road. Glancing down for even a second when driving an 80,000 pound tractor trailer at a high rate of speed can lead to catastrophic events. A skilled personal injury attorney can pull cell phone records to determine if a driver was on the phone or investigate other sources of distraction to maximum your recovery and hold the driver accountable for their negligence.
At the Giddens Law Firm, we have over 13 years experience representing individuals injured in trucking accidents. Our team of skilled attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free case evaluation.
October 1st, 2013
The Magnolia State leads the nation in the number of uninsured motorists. In fact, nearly one out of every three drivers on Mississippi roads today does not carry automobile insurance. This is a double the national rate of uninsured motorists, which is 14 %. To combat this troubling statistic, Mississippi law enforcement officials have developed a new system to make it easier to determine whether motorists are insured.
The system is called the Mississippi Vehicle Insurance Verification System and it will go into effect in early 2014. The Mississippi Vehicle Insurance Verification System instantly checks whether an individual has valid insurance coverage through your vehicle’s tag number. It will allow county tax collectors and law enforcement officers to instantly check an individual’s insurance status, and, eventually, should be able to automatically issue tickets for those the system finds are uninsured.
Currently, law enforcement officers and tax collectors are forced to rely on the paper cards that insurance companies are required to send to policy holders. This system is easily fooled by individuals who buy a six month automobile insurance policy and cancel it after they receive their cards. Forgery of insurance cards is also a common problem. Officers are also frequently fed the line that the driver forgot their insurance card or lost it, and may not issue a citation for this reason.
With the new Vehicle Insurance Verification System, no such mistakes can be made. The winning contractor on the project predicts the system will net the state $464.9 million over three years, a huge increase from current fines collected. Under the new system, those caught not carrying insurance will be fined $300 for the first offense, $400 for the second, and $500 for each time thereafter. If you obtain insurance before your court date, the fine will be reduced by $100. A sixth month testing period for the system should begin in late October, with the official launch beginning in early 2014.
Tax collectors will be required to use the system before issuing drivers license plates to vehicles and must refuse to register a vehicle to anyone without insurance. Additionally, officers will use the system at traffic stops and issue citations if the system finds the driver to be uninsured.
The hope is that the new system will curtail the burgeoning number of uninsured motorists in Mississippi. Uninsured motorists are a massive problem for law abiding citizens in our state. Uninsured motorists force other drivers to buy uninsured motorist coverage and pay high premiums to cover the damage caused by those who go without insurance. Often, uninsured motorist policies contain low limits that may not cover all the damages caused by the uninsured motorist, such as lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and personal injuries from the automobile accident. Those without uninsured motorist coverage are forced to pursue claims directly against the uninsured motorist, which can be a difficult, complex process.
For more information about the new Mississippi Vehicle Insurance Verification System, or if you or someone you love is injured in an automobile accident involving an uninsured motorist, call the Giddens Law Firm today. The Giddens Law Firm has extensive experience representing individuals involved in accidents with uninsured motorists. Accidents with uninsured motorists are more complex than regular accidents, and may involve some creative avenues to achieve recovery. Do not go through this complicated process alone. The Giddens Law Firm will fight for you to achieve the best possible outcome. Call our 24 hour answering service today at (601) 355-2022 or Toll Free at (888) 335-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.
September 18th, 2013
Automobile accidents occur on a daily basis throughout the state of Mississippi, causing physical, emotional, and financial hardship. Auto accident attorneys at the Gidden Law Firm in Jackson, Mississippi, have a comprehensive knowledge of Mississippi automobile liability and insurance laws, and are prepared to help you receive just compensation for the injuries you have suffered. In general, and regardless of the circumstances, experiencing a car accident can be a distressing event. Whether you’re involved in a serious collision that requires immediate emergency room assistance and hospitalization, or a minor fender-bender leaving you with cosmetic damage, there are likely costs and expenses involved. Simply relying on auto insurance may not adequately cover such financial burdens. In fact, many auto insurers are known to reject auto accident injury claims. At best, you may receive a less than sufficient pay out for your auto accident injury settlement. Often times, these settlements are not even enough to cover your medical bills, or full damages.
An auto accident attorney at Gidden Law Firm can help you get the auto accident injury compensation you are entitled to and deserve. Do not hesitate to call us prior to contacting your insurance company. And if you do, it’s important that you are careful about what you disclose to the insurance adjuster regarding the facts of your accident. Knowing what to say or not may relevant to the outcome of your settlement amount. Generally, the rule is that you should refrain from giving any statements to the other party’s insurance company. No matter the type of auto accident you sustain damages from, you may be able to receive compensation from any negligent party involved. The negligent party may be held responsible for your injuries, loss of income and medical expenses, to name a few. Gidden Law Firm can take away the stress and difficulty of dealing with the insurance company, and make sure you get the appropriate pay out to cover your injuries sustained and overall costs.
Mississippi auto accident injuries can cause serious physical and financial harm, and can take place in a number of locations and cause damage in various ways. More specifically, auto collisions are caused by a range of circumstances including but not limited to, disregarding traffic signals, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, recklessness, speeding, talking on mobile devices or texting, and ignoring dangerous weather or traffic conditions. Additionally, a range of car accident injuries that may occur include, broken bones, fractures, whiplash, internal injuries, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, concussions, paralysis, and death.
Auto accident injuries can quickly accumulate into large medical bills. To make matters worse, if you don’t have health insurance, this number can seem incredibly overwhelming. Many health insurers do not pay auto claims, so even for those of you that do have health insurance, there’s a chance you could be left with the bill. All of these expenses and costs do not even include potential physical damage to your car, loss of personal possessions in the car, or time missed from work or the loss of potential work opportunities and future earnings if you are unable to work or return to work for an extended period of time. Auto accidents can be incredibly costly, emotionally, physically and financially. It’s important that you are aware of what’s at stake and the costs involved for recouping your losses and making you whole.
If you have been in an automobile accident in the Jackson, Mississippi area, contact the Giddens Law Firm as soon as possible. Call our offices today at 601-355-2022 to learn how our auto accident attorneys may be able to help you!
September 16th, 2013
The Giddens Law Firm can help you recover the damages you deserve for your injuries from automobile and motorcycle accidents. Auto accidents can end up being a tremendous financial burden with overwhelming costs and expenses to treat physical and emotional injuries, body work from car damage, and potential loss of work, to name a few. Often times, insurance companies do not cover all car accident claims, much less a majority of the costs involved to make you whole again. The Giddens Law Firm’s auto accident attorneys are well experienced in the area of auto accident liability and insurance law, and can represent you in court against negligent parties to seek the appropriate recourse. With years of experience and expertise in the field, we guarantee the results you are entitled to.
The Giddens Law Firm will assist you in handling and proving your claim, giving you peace of mind, while diminishing the stress and hassle of dealing with your case. Whether it’s an auto accident that results in serious medical injuries, or one primarily auto collision damage, we can help you receive compensation. The Giddens Law Firm will enable you to keep your focus on healing and treating your physical and emotional wounds, as we work diligently to resolve the legal and insurance related issues involved. Our auto accident attorney’s will help provide you with the resources you need to recover and move forward successfully.
The Giddens Law Firm auto accident attorneys have years of experience not only in prosecuting such claims, but also defending negligent parties involved. Unfortunately, many lives are lost every day due to drunk driving, recklessness on the road, lack of attentiveness behind the wheel, and simply not paying attention to traffic signals. There may also be a number of legal issues and types of claims within a single accident that you may have to address simultaneously in order to acquire sufficient remedies. Our law firm is committed to providing outstanding service to our clients, working quickly and diligently through issues to resolve the matter for you and your loved ones.
The Giddens Law Firm takes all auto accidents seriously. Even if there are no physical injuries involved, or actual life lost, it is likely you may feel impaired or disadvantaged in some way. For example, many people experience lost wages and emotional distress, not to mention interior and exterior car damage. We are committed to making a full assessment of each case, to cover all angles of potential liability against other parties, ensuring you get the just compensation you deserve. Depending on your circumstances and if warranted, the Firm will also do a thorough investigation to recover potential punitive damages against the prosecuted party for past criminal records, or other related activities.
The Giddens Law Firm will provide the necessary legal help required to deliver closure to you and your case, bringing the offending negligent party to justice. Our lawyers offer strategic counsel and extensive knowledge of auto accident and insurance law, while providing comfort and compassion throughout your legal proceedings. Regardless of how complicated and challenging your auto accident issues may seem, do not hesitate to contact us to seek advice on how we can help you gain proper legal recourse.
If you or a loved one has been in an automobile accident around the Jackson, Mississippi area, please contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022. Find out how our experienced attorney’s may be able to help you with your auto accident injuries!
September 16th, 2013
Recently, truck accidents implicating brokers have become far more common and widespread throughout Mississippi. In the past, brokers were able to avoid liability by claiming they hired carriers on an independent contractor basis, rather than as employees. However, due to the fact that the primary decision to determine the best carrier for the job, as a matter of road safety and transportation, rests in the hands of the broker, it was only a matter of time before plaintiffs were able to bring successful claims against brokers for their involvement as intermediaries.
The two most common theories relied on by plaintiffs to impute liability on brokers are the following:
- Negligent hiring. Under the theory of negligent hiring, a party may be held liable for failing to discern whether a particular carrier was properly qualified for the job. The law expects brokers to examine a carrier’s safety evaluation and statistics, as well as any internal records of the carrier’s safety performance. Failure to comply with minimum standard of due diligence may very well implicate a broker for its inadequate decision-making in hiring a carrier.
- Vicarious liability. The theory of vicarious liability holds broker liable for the acts of a third party as if he/she were standing in its shoes. A direct relationship is not required between the parties. Their mere relationship in certain, often dangerous and risky transactions, render them liable. This is a more complex theory to prove against an intermediary such as a freight broker. However, depending on the nature and expanse of the duties and responsibilities of a broker, and the dangers involved with this line of work, they could very well find themselves vicariously liable.
The burden of proof for vicarious liability in trucking cases follows a two-pronged approach. A plaintiff must demonstrate:
- First, that the carrier caused injury to person and/or property by acting with negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct.
- Second, that the broker did not use reasonable care or execute due diligence when investigating the carrier for the job.
Whether negligent hiring or vicarious liability is at issue when a claim is brought against a broker, it is important to keep in mind that all transportation intermediaries must have acted prudently when contracting with service providers, such as truck carriers. Typically, this begins with reviewing the safety records and insurance of reputable carriers, and then selecting a company based on availability, load size, and destination, among other factors. Unfortunately, many brokers get caught up in maximizing their costs before due diligence with safety requirements, disregarding their duties as a company to protect against liability.
It is has now been established as a matter of public policy, that freight brokers will be held liable for the negligent acts of truck carriers they are responsible for hiring. Brokers may not evade liability for injuries and death merely because they elect to refer to themselves a broker and not a carrier. Congress and the Courts have unequivocally stated that public policy requires those who benefit monetarily from the shipping of goods are also culpable when a tort occurs in the pursuit of such profits.
Our staff of attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm can help you receive the recourse you deserve for injuries resulting from a truck accident. Contact us at 601-355-2022 for a free consultation on how we can help ensure your truck accident investigation is handled in the best way possible!
September 13th, 2013
Automobile accidents cause a tremendous amount of hardship, suffering, and damage in Jackson, Mississippi. Whether you experience physical pain and emotional injuries, property and vehicle damage, or the loss of income and wages, auto accidents can be serious and devastating. Medical bills and expenses such as hospital, doctor visits, and physical therapy can be astounding. For many families and individuals, such accidents can be overwhelming, as one struggles with pain, disabilities, and inconvenience, not to mention the potential loss of transportation.
Automobile accidents are not the only type of motor vehicle accidents. This also includes not only includes semi-trucks/18 wheelers, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and pedestrians. If you are involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, permanent disability, the loss of income and wages, and the loss of enjoyment of life. The following steps will put you on track and provide you with the best protection moving forward should you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident:
- If you are able to, without jeopardizing or compromising any physical injuries sustained, contact the local police and report the accident immediately.
- Gather and exchange the following information with each driver involved in the accident.
- Driver’s name, phone number, and address
- Driver’s license number
- All driver’s insurance company contact information, including policy number if applicable and/or driver’s name is different than insured
- Vehicle owner’s name if different from driver’s
- Description of the car, including make, year, model, color, and license plate number
- Obtain the name of the owner and/or company if the vehicle involved is driven by an employee or a company car
- Make sure you record or document the facts of the accident to the greatest extent possible.
- Try using your mobile phone or camera phone to capture vehicle damage for all motor vehicles involved
- Include photographs of the intersection, and if possible the location of the vehicles prior to moving them on the scene
- Obtain any witness testimony and their personal contact information.
- It’s important that you do not solely rely on police officers to gather and obtain all witness information
- Often times, witnesses will depart the scene before police arrive, so don’t forget to obtain the name, phone number, address of all witnesses, as well as a statement of what they perceived
- Take photographs of noticeable, physical injuries immediately after the accident occurs.
- Be aware of agreeing to or signing any documents requested by other parties involved before consulting with your attorney.
If you are involved in an automobile accident and do not have counsel to seek advice and help from, contact the Giddens Law Firm before proceeding further with your claim against any parties or insurance companies involved. You may be entitled to recover damages and receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Gidden Law Firm has a vast amount of knowledge, expertise, and experience in the field of automobile and insurance liability law.
If you or your loved ones have been in an automobile accident in Jackson, Mississippi, contact the Giddens Law Firm today at 601-355-2022 for your free no obligation consultation!
September 11th, 2013
Liability and fault in an automobile accident refers to the responsibility and obligation of the party that caused the accident to make amends. The burden of the party at fault is usually fulfilled by compensating the injured party injured for medical expenses or property damage sustained as a result of causing the accident. Generally, a party is at fault for the two most common reasons:
- Negligence. Negligence takes place when an individual carelessly or thoughtlessly engages in an act, which most reasonable people would foresee causing harm.
- Recklessness. Recklessness occurs when an individual willfully, wantonly, and knowingly engages in an act that is likely to produce harm.
Often times, fault is one of the largest aspects affecting one’s ability to acquire damages. Some states have no-fault rules, which means insurers pay for their own clients’ injuries, regardless of the party that actually caused the accident.
Many other states consider and factor in the amount of fault shared by each party and place limits on the amount of damages you can collect, by calculating how much you contributed to the accident.
Mississippi follows another method to determine fault and liability for parties involved in automobile accidents. This system is known as pure comparative fault, where all parties involved are entitled to compensation for damages. However, your damages may be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of the fault.
Determining the fault of a party involved may be more complicated than it seems. It isn’t always simply about looking at which car hit the other. Insurance companies and lawyers for all parties involved will examine police reports to note if officers issued citations or any negligence that took place by one or more parties. Citations are not conclusive in terms of proving fault, but can offer support to additional evidence.
Witness statements that are reliable can assist in determining the sequence of events leading to the crash. Also, identifying specific rules in the state vehicle code that a driver violated may also help to designate fault. More often than not, a final determination of fault is generally subjective. However, there are two types of automobile accidents where liability is usually clear and fairly simple to assess:
- Rear-end Crashes. This takes place when you hit the car directly in front of you. A situation like this generally occurs because a driver fails to follow the universally accepted safe driving rule requiring that you leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you to be able to stop safely and even abruptly at any time due to traffic conditions or unexpected occurrences on the road. The other party may share blame with you if the car you hit had defective brake lights, or if another party, presumably a vehicle behind yours that pushed you into the car in front of you.
- Left Turn Crashes. If your car is hit while in the process of making a left turn, it is likely because you tried making an unsafe turn. Thus, being the liable party causing the accident. A couple of exceptions might be if the other party was driving above the speed limit or ran a red light. However, you should normally be able to perceive this behavior and take caution before turning left.
If you have been in an automobile accident and are seeking counsel to assist you with your case, do not hesitate to contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022. Learn how our Mississippi auto accident attorneys may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve!
September 9th, 2013
Mississippi automobile accidents happen every day. Besides automobile and property damage that occurs as a result, accidents can cause serious physical injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises, to traumatic brain injuries and even death. When negligent drivers are the cause of such accidents, injuries sustained by the other parties involved can be held against the negligent party, so long as their negligence in causing the accident can be shown. The following are several useful tips and considerations to ensure you are prepared and in the best position possible to move forward with a claim should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of an auto collision:
- Recreating what occurred. When building a claim for an automobile accident case, it is essential to recreate what occurred throughout the course of the incident. Much of this includes gathering and presenting relevant information regarding the circumstances, such as the color of the street light signal, the speed limit in that particular area, the status of traffic at the time, weather conditions, and any other aspects of the scene and environment that may have contributed to the accident. It is important that the necessary information for a case is gathered immediately thereafter, or as soon as possible after the accident occurred, so that pertinent facts and testimony of the parties involved can go undisputed and remain properly accounted.
- Confirm all passengers are fine. In the aftermath of an auto accident, if you are able to, immediately check to verify that all the passengers in your car are fine and have not been seriously injured, requiring urgent attention. If possible and safe to do so, try taking photographs of the accident scene from different perspectives and angles prior to moving all vehicles. Using the camera on your mobile device is perfectly adequate and works as good as any other. Also, try writing down as many thoughts and details about the accident as you can remember, so that you can help reconstruct the series of events at a later time. Always remember, anything you say post-accident will be admissible in court and can be held against you. If feasible, move the vehicles off the road, to the side in a safe location. However, do not leave the scene of the accident unless there are emergency reasons requiring such action.
- Gather and exchange vital information. It is extremely important that you gather and exchange the appropriate and necessary information with the other drivers and witnesses involved in the accident. The primary details include name, phone number, address, and driver’s license numbers. Make sure to write down the make and model, color(s), and description for all automobiles in the accident. Next, acquire the insurance company and policy numbers for all parties involved. Lastly, be sure to get witness comments and statements regarding the accident before they leave the scene.
- If necessary, contact the local police. If there is property damage or if anyone has been injured in the auto accident, you should contact the local police to request their presence at the scene. Keep in mind, not every injury is apparent instantly. For example, neck and back injuries may reveal themselves weeks after the incident. Remember to always request a copy of the police report, even if it does not corroborate your story. The official documentation will always be important for your case in some way, shape or form.
Once you build a case against the other party and appear in court, it is likely the other party will have legal representation, and will and present a case that attempts to refute and discredit your own. Be prepared for the worst by hiring an attorney to help fight and counter the testimony given by the accused. If you have suffered injuries as a result of an auto accident and the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the damages sustained.
Contact the Giddens Law Firm at 601-355-2022, for a free consultation to bring a claim for injuries that you or your loved ones have suffered from an auto accident. Our experienced staff of attorneys has extensive knowledge and expertise in the area of automobile and insurance liability law. Call us today so that we can help you get the settlement you deserve!
September 9th, 2013
The mediation ordered by Judge Anita Brody has led to a Class Action settlement of the NFL Concussion Litigation claims. More details on the settlement and how it will effect individuals will be forthcoming in the next several weeks, but this is not a process that will move quickly.
The settlement includes all former players regardless of their status under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It will likely be possible to participate in the settlement without representation, but if you would like to be represented in this matter, please contact our firm.