Mississippi Workplace Injury Attorneys Discuss Workplace Falls

September 17th, 2014

Did you know that over two hundred and sixty thousand Americans will experience some sort of fall while they are on the job and miss one or more days of work?  Almost a thousand American employees die from work – related falls every year.  Some of the most common items that are implicated in workplace falls are ladders, wet floors, and non-moving motor vehicles.  While any worker at any job can fall, workplace falls happen most often for those people whose work involves farming, construction, mining, forestry, and fishing.

The construction industry accounts for nearly half of all of the fall-related deaths and injuries that occur in America.  This makes sense, when you consider that construction involves employees who work in elevated areas, work environments that are fast-paced, large amounts of heavy machinery and power tools at the job sites, and adverse working conditions like rain, wind, and snow.

There are a few types of fall related injuries that tend to occur in work environments. Some common types of workplace falls are falls from ladders, falls down stairs or from one level of a structure to another, slip and fall injuries from wet surfaces, and trip and fall accidents where the accident victim trips over something that has been left on the floor.

The injuries that are caused by work-related falls can vary from minor bruising and lacerations to traumatic brain injury and even death, in some cases.  Factors which influence the severity of a person’s workplace injury include the height from which the worker fell, the force with which they landed, and their body position upon landing, among other things.

Employees who fall on the job are usually eligible for worker’s compensation benefits if their injury happened during the course of their employment.  If you are injured at work, you must tell your supervisor about it within thirty days. Only injuries which require medical attention and/or cause the injured party to miss work are compensable through worker’s compensation. If you are able to pursue a worker’s compensation claim, your benefits could include payment of your medical bills, payment for vocational rehabilitation, and weekly wage replacement. In cases of severe injury or death, even more benefits may be extended to the victim and/or their family.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Workplace Injury Attorneys

If you were injured at work, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. A Mississippi Workplace Injury Attorney can help you to navigate the worker’s compensation claims process and understand what kinds of things are likely to happen as your case progresses from start to finish. We understand that your injury has very likely impacted every area of your life, and we are here to help you pursue the recovery that you deserve. The knowledgeable Mississippi Workplace Injury Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorneys Talk About Pedestrian Accidents

September 6th, 2014

Did you know that pedestrian accidents often result in wrongful death actions? Many collisions with pedestrians occur when the driver of a motor vehicle is behaving recklessly or negligently. Motorists who strike pedestrians with their vehicles are also often operating their vehicles in violation of the law. Pedestrian accidents are tragic, and they happen more frequently than most people realize. In America, one pedestrian is killed by a motor vehicle every two hours. That amounts to twelve pedestrian deaths every day. While some pedestrians who are involved in motor vehicle accidents survive and suffer from a range of injuries, many pedestrians do not survive accidents with motor vehicles. The force of an impact from a motor vehicle can throw or crush a pedestrian, causing immediate death, or life-threatening injuries which eventually result in death.

Families of the victims of pedestrian accidents often seek two forms of civil damages as the result of their losses. One type of civil action that a family may bring after losing a family member in a pedestrian accident is a survival action against the at-fault driver. A survival action serves the purpose of enabling the victim’s family to recover the damages that the victim suffered as a result of the accident. The second type of civil action that a  pedestrian accident victim’s family is likely to bring against the at-fault driver is a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions help the victims’ families recover damages that they have experienced due to the losses of their loved ones, including funeral expenses, loss of support, and loss of companionship.

Pedestrian accidents often occur when the at-fault driver is breaking one or more laws. This means that in addition to the survival and wrongful death actions that are pursued by the family of an accident victim against an at-fault driver, the state may also pursue criminal charges. Driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding are two examples of unlawful behavior which often cause pedestrian accident. Sometimes, the conduct of an at-fault driver in a pedestrian accident is so extreme that it requires special treatment under criminal laws. For this reason, vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges may be filed in cases of extreme recklessness.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorneys

A pedestrian accident can rob a family of someone that they love in the blink of an eye. If someone that you love was killed in a pedestrian accident, it is essential that you speak with an attorney as soon as you can in order to protect your rights. A Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorney can help you to understand the process of pursuing a survival action and a wrongful death claim, and what you might expect to happen as your case progresses from start to finish. The knowledgeable Mississippi Wrongful Death Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys Tell Potential Clients How to Prepare for an Initial Consultation

September 2nd, 2014

If your child was hurt or harmed during your labor or delivery, you may wonder whether there is anyone who can be held responsible for the harm that your child and your family have suffered. If the injury to your child was caused by the irresponsible actions of one or more of the medical professionals who cared for you and your child during labor and delivery, you may be able to pursue a birth injury lawsuit against them. The best way to know whether you have a claim for damages related to your child’s birth injury is to consult with a Mississippi Birth Injury Attorney. Birth injury attorneys know, among other things, how to look for specific types of information which could support a claim that that your child’s birth injury was caused by the negligent actions of one or more medical professionals.

When you are looking for an attorney to handle your birth injury case, it is important that you choose someone who you feel comfortable with and who has a good grasp of the laws that apply to your case. Attorneys also like to meet with potential clients before beginning a business relationship with them, so that they can assess what type of birth injury claim, if any, the potential client has. Because it is beneficial for attorneys and clients to get to know each other before formalizing their business relationship, attorneys often offer free initial consultations.

In order for you to get the most out of your initial consultation with your attorneys, it is important that you know what to expect, so that you can bring along any documents or other items that you may need. At an initial consultation for a birth injury lawsuit, the attorneys will talk to you about your pregnancy, as well as what happened during your labor and delivery. The attorneys will also want to know about your life after your child’s birth, including whether they have required any special day to day care or additional medical procedures to correct the birth injury or other injuries or illnesses. It is helpful to your prospective attorneys if you obtain copies of your prenatal care and hospital records in advance of the initial consultation and bring them with you. Also, try to obtain and bring along treatment records from any doctors and hospitals that have provided care to your child after they were born.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys

An initial consultation with Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys can help you to decide whether to pursue a birth injury case. It also affords you an opportunity to become familiar with the attorneys who will be handling your case. If your child has suffered a birth injury, the knowledgeable Mississippi birth injury attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. invite you to contact us. Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today, at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

Cerebral Palsy Linked to Medical Malpractice

August 31st, 2014

An estimated 764,000 children and adults have some form of the disorder known as Cerebral Palsy.  Each year, approximately 8,000 newborns and infants are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.  At least a portion of these cases can be attributed to errors and difficulties that occur during birth.

Spastic Cerebral Palsy is the most common type of palsy and leads to stiff or permanently contracted muscles and reduced motor function.  In addition to the pain caused by this condition, the following harmful side effects are commonly suffered:

  • Speech impediment
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Learning problems
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Seizure disorders
  • Abnormal sensation and perception
  • Trouble swallowing

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Researchers have identified a number of known risk factors for Cerebral Palsy.  These include low birth weight, high birth weight, and premature birth.  While risk factors alone do not cause Cerebral Palsy, their presence makes the likelihood of your child contracting the disorder more likely.

There are several known primary causes of the disorder as well.  These include head trauma that occurs during the delivery process and lack of oxygen to the baby.  In an estimated 20 percent of cases, Cerebral Palsy is caused during the delivery and not pre-birth.

Head trauma can occur in a number of ways.  It can happen when the baby is in an improper position or is too large.  It can occur when an obstetrician fails to perform a caesarean section in a timely manner.  Occasionally, the obstetrician uses excessive pressure on the baby’s head or neck during delivery.  Additionally, head trauma can occur through the use of vacuums or mechanical devices during delivery.  When the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck, or other such incidences that lead to deprivation of oxygen, this can contribute to Cerebral Palsy.

Another form of Cerebral Palsy is Erb’s Palsy.  Erb’s Palsy is often caused when excessive force is used to try and guide the shoulder of the baby out of the birthing canal.  Erb’s Palsy suffers generally experience impaired movement in the arm or shoulder affected during delivery, but usually do not have the brain injury or spasticity associated with Cerebral Palsy.

Early Warning Signs of Cerebral Palsy

Newborns that suffer from Cerebral Palsy may need intensive medical car right from the start.  Many require assistance breathing or feeding due to the brain injury they have suffered.  Sometimes, however, evidence of Cerebral Palsy will not present until later in development.   Minor Cerebral Palsy may merely appear as a delay in development, whereas in the severe form infants will experience difficulty eating, swallowing, and holding their head erect.

To diagnose Cerebral Palsy, a doctor will evaluate the child’s reflexes and motor skills, paying close attention to the child and mother’s medical history.  Birth records will be examined for evidence of deprivation of oxygen.  If Cerebral Palsy is suspected, the doctor can order MRI testing, CT scans, and ultrasonography to create a picture of the brain.

Holding Those Responsible Accountable

While not all cases of Cerebral Palsy stem from medical malpractice or negligence, because physician conduct does account for a significant portion of those affected, any parent of an infant with Cerebral Palsy should consult with an attorney to determine if medical malpractice played a role.  A hospital, treating doctor, obstetrician, or other staff could potentially be found liable if it is found negligence played a role in your child’s diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.  Cerebral Palsy can be an expensive disorder, leading to massive medical bills, special schooling and personal care assistance, and often a lifetime of care.  Do not shoulder these costs alone—hold those responsible accountable.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys

If your child has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, the experienced Mississippi Birth Injury Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. can help. We will evaluate your potential medical malpractice case and seek the recovery your child deserves.  Call the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

GENERAL MISSISSIPPI LAW DEFINITIONS

August 19th, 2014

CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE: If the Plaintiff helped in any way to cause his own injury or damage, then the amount of money that he might receive will be produced by the percentage that he was also at fault.

PLAINTIFF: The person who starts a lawsuit by filing the right papers in the proper court.

DEFENDANT: The person who against whom the lawsuit is filed.

NEGLIGENCE: Carelessness or the lack of reasonable precaution, care or action.

CONTRIBUTORY: Sharing cause or responsibility for the damages.

DAMAGES: Money ordered to be paid for harm or injury caused to the Plaintiff by the Defendant.

DUTY: An act that is required by law or expected by society.

PUNITIVE: Causing punishment for a wrongful act.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: The amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit after the injury or damage occurs.

Source: State Justice Institute

In general, with regard to children, in Mississippi a person’s duty towards children is to expect the unexpected. This is different from the duty which is generally owed to an adult, which is to be reasonable.

In Mississippi, a Plaintiff who brings a lawsuit may not show or say that a Defendant has or had insurance to cover the damages he should pay. There is rarely a case where a Defendant who does not have insurance shows up in Court with a lawyer. If you are on a jury and you see a lawyer appointed to a Defendant, in Mississippi, this means they have automobile insurance. Juries are not told about the existence of this insurance coverage. This differs substantially from Louisiana law where there exists direct action statues and jurors are often time told about the availability and amount of insurance coverage available.

If the Plaintiff wins the case, damages may be given in the form of a judgment. If the Defendant does not pay, this judgment can be filed to become a lien against the Defendant’s property. This is rarely the case in Mississippi because the Defendants in car accident cases always have insurance. Generally, the Defendant’s insurance carrier pays the judgment or appeals.

In general in Mississippi, the Plaintiff may ask for personal injury damages. This includes past, present and future damages. The Plaintiff may also ask for and be awarded punitive damages if the Defendant acted in a willful, wanton, gross or reckless disregard for the Plaintiff and his safety.

Mississippi Bicycle Accident Law and Frequently Asked Questions

August 18th, 2014

John Giddens and Baskin Jones appeared on the radio show In Legal Terms answering questions regarding bicycle accidents. Senior associate dean and associate professor of the school of law, University of Mississippi, Matthew R. Hall, participated in the discussion. The rebroadcast of the radio show can be downloaded here. Some of the topics included answering basic questions about bicycles and the law here in Mississippi. For example, here are the topics discussed:

May bicycles use the roads and streets?

Yes. MS Code § 63-3-207 originally House Bill No. 559 of the Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature was an act to make bicyclists subject to the provisions of traffic law applicable to the drivers of motor vehicles was amended to state that every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle except those provisions which by their nature have no application.

If there is a bike path adjacent to the roadway, does a cyclist have to use it or can they the roadway?

No, provided the bicyclist adheres to all the rules of the road and bike laws, bikes are entitled to all rights of the road that apply to a motor vehicle, including access, even if there is a bike path available.

BICYCLES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON ANY INTERSTATE HIGHWAY OR CONTROLLED ACCESS FACILITY IN THE STATE.

Who has the right of way? Bicycle or car? Do bicycles have to follow the same rules as cars?

According to MS Code § 63-3-207 every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle except those provisions which by their nature have no application. Bikes are the same as another car with regard to right of way on roads.

Under MS Code § 63-3-1305 (The John Paul Frerer Act) a bicyclist must be yielded to in the bicycle lane and motor vehicles may not block the bicycle lane.

Do drivers need to give bicyclists any special treatment when a driver passes a bicyclist?

§ 63-3-1307  (The John Paul Frerer Act) enacted in 2010 requires that while passing a bicyclist on a roadway, a motorist shall leave a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet between his vehicle and the bicyclist and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the bicycle.

Do bicyclists need to wear a helmet? What about other safety equipment like lights and reflectors?

Our answer on whether to wear a helmet is always a resounding “YES” but it isn’t the law yet state-wide. We think it is important enough to wear helmets that we did a Helmet giveaway – Bicycle riders should check with local authority regarding bicycle helmet laws.

Lights and mirrors- Every bicycle shall be equipped with a lighted white lamp on the front thereof visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet in front of such bicycle and shall also be equipped with a reflex mirror reflector or lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible under like conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the rear of such bicycle.

Mississippi does have a motorcycle helmet law.

Title 63. Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations. Chapter 7. Equipment and identification — General Provisions. Section 63-7-64. Motorcycle Crash Helmets. :

“No person shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle or motor scooter upon the public roads or highways of this state unless such person is wearing on his or her head a crash helmet of the type and design inspected and approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. . . .”

May the police ticket bicycles?

Yes, bicyclists are held to: Ride Right (and WITH Traffic)  as close as practical to the right hand curb/edge of roadway except when: Unsafe to do so, When passing another bicycle or vehicle, When preparing for a left turn, When proceeding straight where right turns are permitted and, When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions

No more than 2 abreast: Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast except when on roads exclusively for bicycles.

Indicate Turns: Bicyclists shall indicate right turns, left turns and stops with hand signals before taking action. Right turn: left arm upward, left arm to square or right arm horizontal to right. Left turn: Left arm extended horizontally Stop: left arm or right arm downward.

Does DUI apply to bicycles?

May differ by municipality but no Statewide law – In Mississippi: Mississippi recognizes all types of motorized vehicles for DUI purposes. Exempted from consideration would be horses, bicycles(not motorized) and other non-motorized vehicles.

Elsewhere:

States and courts are split on the subject of drunk biking. Some people automatically doubt the amount of harm a bicyclist can cause to others, considering the nature of a bicycle. However, some states and their laws acknowledge that, even assuming a bicyclist likely only harms themselves by drunk biking, an injury to a drunken rider can have a profound effect on others, especially their family members.

In general, where a state law on drunk driving specifically prohibits the operation of a “motor vehicle,” the chances are very high that the law will be interpreted by courts as not applying to bicycles or similar man-powered vehicles. On the other hand, where statutes apply more generally to all “vehicles,” courts sometimes find that bicycles fall into this category.

What are the most common kinds of bicycle accidents in which a lawsuit is possible?

These types of wrecks most often happen when a car is approaching, passing or attempting a right turn around a bike and hitting a bicyclist. Another place where wrecks happen frequently is in intersections as either a car or bike is rushing through.

What if the police determine that the driver did not commit a crime?

Is a civil lawsuit still possible?

Yes, it would be a case of general negligence. In any situation where someone is injured by another the question will be asked, did the person who injured the other act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances, or did they do something negligent?

What legal problems typically arise in a bicycle accident cases?

These cases can sometimes be he said she said situations. Witnesses are very important. Also they can also be cases in which both parties have some fault and damages may be attributed a percentage.

Is there a risk that a dangerous driver will claim that the bicycle swerved into the road or otherwise caused the accident? Is there anything a cyclist or a lawyer can do to combat this kind of deception?

There is a blog post about this elsewhere on the site. In any wreck it is important to get witnesses info, our firm often hires accident reconstructionists who can piece together how the wreck occurred, surveillance video from the area of the wreck.

Even if the driver doesn’t lie, won’t many drivers who cause injuries just say “I didn’t see the cyclist” and claim that the crash was just an “accident” with no fault?

Yes.  This makes clear the need for an attorney.

What should a cyclist do immediately after an accident to help establish the facts for appropriate criminal sanctions or possible civil litigation?

Have someone collect information, do not move vehicle or bike until police arrive, ask witnesses to stay and get contact information, get medical treatment if necessary.

Should accident victims talk with the driver? Should they negotiate responsibility?

It is our experience that you will accomplish very little and that your statements may be used against you in court later. There is more information available about Admissions of a Party Opponent and Statements against interest that you can consult if you would like more information on these topics.

What information should an accident victim obtain at the scene?

Cards available at our offices which we will send by mail for free to anyone who requests that outline the answers to this question. It is important to get witness names, driver information, driver insurance policy number, as well as a preliminary report from the officer who comes to the scene.

What if the accident victim does not need to go to the hospital right after the accident, but begins to experience medical problems later? Is the driver still potentially liable? How long does the victim have to take legal action?

It is a more difficult case, but we see it quite often. With the adrenaline of a wreck often injured individuals do not feel as much pain until the adrenaline wears off. The rule of thumb is if you feel pain, get checked out. Especially so if there was any impact to your head. We work on many cases involving brain injuries and early detection and treatment would be crucial in this situation.

Are there common problems with police reports that make it harder for cyclists to obtain justice? Can a cyclist do anything to correct or amend a biased or incomplete police report?

Sometimes just one side of the story, lacking in witnesses reports. Until the time the report is complete officers are still gathering information and additional witness statements may be helpful.

Should an accident victim hire a lawyer or represent him/herself?

Often we find the answer to this question is yes. Our offices provide free consultations and we help individuals sort through any number of personal injury or medical malpractice issues every day. These consultations give the individuals we speak with peace of mind even if there is no claim.

How do you value an accident claim? What are the components of damages? What documentation does the victim need to establish these damages?

Medical bills / treatment is the largest component, but lost work, pain and suffering, future medicals and future lost work are all a part of each claim.

Will the driver’s insurance company cover all of these damages?

We would be out of a job if insurance companies paid what they should pay in these claims without intervention by an attorney. The first source of any payout will be the driver’s insurance policy. If the damages are greater, there is often a safety net in the injured party’s insurance. Uninsured Motorist coverage. Our office has several active cases involving uninsured motorist coverage which the injured party obtained as a part of their full coverage policy and which is the reason any coverage exists in the claim. UM coverage is the best buy in insurance and we advise carrying as much as possible.

What is an accident reconstructionist and how can such an expert help?

Forensic analysis of the scene of the wreck. We often send these trained individuals to the scene immediately after the wreck to record skid marks, distances and document them  to give an opinion of what happened later.

In the Netherlands, the legal default is that the driver is responsible for any accident with a bicycle unless the driver can prove that the cyclist is at fault. Given the inherent dangerousness of motor vehicles, does this law make sense?

Yes, strict liability between cars / cyclists could be on its way.

Is it possible that driver could be at fault for an accident in which no contact (no collision) occurs?

The driver could still be negligent per se if they pass closer than the three foot law for entering the three feet of the bicyclist. Also if the driver throws anything at the bicyclist or threatens the cyclist causing a wreck. In these situations the driver could still be easily at fault even if there is no collision.

Is there any sort of legal liability, civil or criminal, for harassment or road rage in which a driver taunts, “buzzes,” or threatens a cyclist?

Threatening and harassment is prohibited under the John Paul Frerer Law in Mississippi.

What about pedestrian claims against bicyclists? When is a cyclist at fault and liable for injuries?

General negligence may apply to a cyclist or intentional tort if they run someone over on purpose.

Breach of Trustee’s Fiduciary Duty in Mississippi

August 17th, 2014

A fiduciary is either a person (such as the executor of an estate) or corporate entity (such as a bank), who has the authority and obligation to act for another through a relationship of trust and confidence. The trustee of a trust is considered a fiduciary due to the trustee’s duties and obligations to act in good faith and trust to the beneficiaries of a trust.  Fiduciary duties involve the obligations of the duty of loyalty and the duty of care, and breach of these duties can result in monetary and other liability.

The Duty of Loyalty

The duty of loyalty is clearly set out in the Mississippi Code under § 91-9-609.  This provision mandates the trustee invest and manage the trust assets solely in the interests of the beneficiaries.  All beneficiaries must be treated with the same loyalty.

The Duty of Care

The duty of care is scattered throughout the Mississippi Code’s Trusts and Trustees section.  In § 91-9-601-03, the Code sets out the prudent investor rule.  This rule requires the trustee invest and manage trust assets as a prudent investor would, by considering the terms, purposes, distribution requirements, and other circumstances of the trust.  The trustee must exercise reasonable care, skill, and caution.  All investment decisions should be analyzed in the context of the portfolio as a whole and the overall investment strategy.  The investor should consider:

  • General economic conditions
  • The possible effect of inflation and deflation
  • Tax consequences
  • The role that each investment plays within the overall trust portfolio
  • The expected total return
  • Other resources of the beneficiaries
  • Need for liquidity or income
  • An asset’s special relationship to the beneficiaries or purposes of the trust

            Generally, assets should be diversified unless the trustee determines the purpose of the trust is best served without diversifying.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Trustees control and manage often large portions of an individual’s money and property.  As such, they are in a position of great power.  Despite their well set out and stringent duties, trustees all too often mismanage, steal, or negligently fail to protect beneficiary’s assets.  Trusts aimed to benefit elderly, young, or incompetent family members are especially vulnerable to harmful trustee behavior.

Some possible grounds for breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee include:

  • Misappropriation or theft of trust funds
  • Negligence or incompetence in trust management
  • Fraud
  • Conflicts of interests or self-serving acts
  • Colluding with certain beneficiaries to the determinant of others
  • Allowing a co-trustee to commit a breach
  • Failure to account to beneficiaries or keep them informed
  • Co-mingling outside funds with trust funds

It may not always be evident that your trustee has breached his or her duty, especially when the trustee has failed to keep you up to date with the investment of your funds.  As such, it is important to consult with a trust litigation attorney as soon as you suspect unscrupulous trustee behavior.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Trust Litigation Attorneys With the Experience to Achieve the Results You Desire

If you are a trust beneficiary and believe your trustee may have breached his or her fiduciary duties, the experienced Mississippi Trust Litigation Attorneys at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. can help. Trust law is complex and trust litigation requires the assistance of an attorney team with years of experience and exemplary trial skills.  At Giddens Law Firm, P.A., we have litigated countless trust cases and will use our knowledge of trust law to obtain the results you desire.  Call Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule your free consultation.

Personal Injury Attorney John Giddens Discusses Third Party Claims

August 13th, 2014

Any serious injury or death to a loved one or family member, you should call Giddens law firm. Even if you believe it is a Worker’s Compensation matter, you should call us. We handle matters knows as third party liability cases. These are typically known as those that involve Workmen’s Compensation as a remedy, while allowing a plaintiff to recover against other parties, separate and distinct from their employer.

Cases like this can be a minefield. The Worker’s Compensation carrier is entitled to subrogation, or repayment of the monies recovered later in the third party lawsuit.

Obtaining consensus and/or agreements on the front end is the best way to handle this situation.
The following is an example of a third party case we were involved in a couple of years ago: A forklift was left on a job site and that forklift was rented in an unsafe condition or improperly used. For men used the forklift and while it was fully extended over 35 feet in the air it tipped over and crashed.

Workers Compensation paid for the medical bills and temporary or total disability of the survivors . However, issues against the contractor, subcontractors, heavy equipment rental agencies, or manufacturers had to be immediately investigated.

When four families in Mississippi suffered a terrible tragedy on a construction site at the education building at Ole Miss, The Giddens Firm took on the tough case of suing the manufacturer of the all-terrain forklift and the basket which was improperly attached and the rental agency.

Our firm hired the most reputable and well-respected experts from around the country who were knowledgeable and the area of warnings, human factors, manufacturing design, and implementation.
The case ended in a favorable resolution for their clients and their families.

When you are interviewing a prospective attorney or firm, ask the tough questions about whether this prospective firm has had success in the court room with a product liability case. Get details. Where was the case tried.

What was the verdict?

While every case is factually different, a lawyer with experience in handling the type of case you have is a good place to start. What you have to understand when hiring a lawyer is that it is and can be a 2 to 3 year journey or longer. You have to trust implicitly a lawyer and his/her staff to always put your interests first in the litigation and keep you informed throughout the process.

At the Giddens Firm, personal injury is what we have done for over 22 years and it’s always do. We are not afraid to roll our sleeves up and handle tough cases for clients against big insurance companies with unlimited resources.

If you are loved one has sustained a crippling, serious, or devastating/catastrophic personal-injury or a family member has suffered the death, we will help you. We will mobilize our team to the crash site or construction site or going wherever needed to preserve evidence for your case. Call us 24/7, at (888) 335-2022 for immediate help.

Mississippi Auto Accident Attorney Discusses Parking Lot Car Accidents

August 11th, 2014

Recently, in Corinth, Mississippi, a teenager died from injuries suffered in a tragic car accident in a church parking lot earlier this month.  The teen was a passenger in an SUV that overturned in the parking lot of the Oakland Baptist Church on August 3, 2014, at about 10 p.m.  Police report that the driver of the vehicle was back up and evidently overcorrected.  The vehicle rolled over, pinning the seventeen year old passenger underneath it.  Firefighters were able to pull the teen from under the car and he was transported to a Memphis hospital.  After fighting for weeks to survive, the teen succumbed to his injuries days ago.

While this Corinth parking lot accident is unique in its severity, parking lots are the site of many car accidents each year.  In parking lots, cars are always in motion, heading for or pulling out of parking spaces.  Drivers are generally more focused on getting in or out than paying attention to traffic.  There is the added distraction of people walking through the traffic and across parking spaces to get back to their cars or to their intended destination.

Parking lot accidents are usually low speed collisions, leading to minimal damages and personal injuries.  Nonetheless, these accidents should not be taken lightly as even your seemingly minor injuries could have lasting effects.

The following is a list of steps you should follow if you have been involved in a parking lot accident.  Adherence to these steps can help protect your legal rights and later chance at recovery.

  • Pull your vehicle out of the way of traffic and into a safe location
  • If you cannot move your car, put your emergency flashers on and exit the vehicle
  • Immediately call for medical assistance if you or anyone else involved in the crash is injured
  • Call the police
  • Call your insurance company
  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information with all involved drivers
  • Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses along with a statement concerning what they observed
  • Take pictures of the scene of the accident, including any skid marks, damage to your vehicle, injuries on you, and any other relevant information
  • Take notes of the vital facts surrounding the accident, such as the time, date, location, parking lot conditions, weather conditions, and your memories of the crash
  • Call an experienced personal injury attorney if your damages are extensive or you are injured

It is important to call the police after any sort of car accident because they can help to establish the facts of the case and document the accident.  Police officers may also be able to determine if the other driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving recklessly.  However, the police will not always write a report if the accident occurred on private property, which is the case with many parking lots.  Detailed notes will be crucial in these instances.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Assisting Parking Lot Accident Victims in Obtaining the Recovery They Deserve

Parking lot accidents occur with alarming regularity, often leaving your vehicle damaged and you in pain.  Those these accidents are not usually serious, you have the right to receive compensation for your damages sustained in a parking lot crash caused by another’s negligence.  The skilled Mississippi Auto Accident Attorneys at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. assist victims in all manner of car accidents, including parking lot accidents.  Our team of veteran auto accident attorneys will examine the facts of the parking lot accident and determine whether negligence played a role.  We offer a free case analysis to all new clients.  Call Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at (601) 355-2022 to start us fighting for you!

Giddens Law Firm Discusses QTIP Trust Cases in Mississippi

August 11th, 2014

Many lawyers set up trusts, at Giddens Law Firm we litigate trust cases.  If you are a beneficiary of a trust that is being administered by a bank, you should know that the bank has certain fiduciary duties and obligations to you as a beneficiary.  At Giddens Law Firm we have handled complex trust litigation against large corporate banks.  Often times, a beneficiary will place their trust in a trust officer.  It is a trust officer’s duty to be fair to all of the beneficiaries whether they are income beneficiaries or remainder beneficiaries.  Often times trust administration officers fail to adhere to the four corners of the trust document by giving preferential treatment to one beneficiary over the other.

An example of a trust which has multiple beneficiaries is a QTIP trust (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) (a QTIP trust is a type of trust that enables the grantor to provide for a surviving spouse and also to maintain control of how the trust’s assets are distributed once the surviving spouse has also died).

A QTIP trust will normally name a spouse as a beneficiary.  The trustee is required to pay at least annually all of the income derived from the trust.  The trustee should have in place policies and procedures and regular income sweeps ensuring the income beneficiary receives all of the income generated.  Often times a QTIP trust will have a provision such as a maintenance provision or a support provision which will allow the trustee, under certain limited circumstances, to invade the principle of the trust.  This type of activity has to be documented.  This is where many banks, trustees, financial institutions and fiduciaries run in to trouble.  If principle is sold and/or liquidated, it has a negative impact on the remainder beneficiaries.

If you feel you have questions regarding your status as a beneficiary and what your rights are as income or remainder beneficiaries under a QTIP or other trusts, you should contact an attorney.  At Giddens Law Firm, we understand trust law and we have the resources available to hold trustees accountable where they have failed in their duties.  We litigate trust issues.   Call today for a free consultation.