The Do’s and Don’ts Following a Mississippi Truck Accident

May 2nd, 2014

In the aftermath of a truck accident, you will likely be in pain and quite often in shock.  While experiencing the range of emotions and physical pain that surrounds a truck accident, it can be confusing to know what steps to take to protect your legal rights.  The following is a list of do’s and don’ts that every Mississippi truck accident victim should abide by.  Adhering to this list will ensure you comply with the law, receive proper medical care, and maximize your later chance at a full recovery.

Do:

  • Get to the nearest safe location: If you have been involved in a truck accident on a Mississippi roadway, it is imperative you move yourself and your vehicle to the nearest safe location to prevent further injury or accident.  This will generally be to the nearest soft shoulder.  Do not, however, leave the scene of the crash under any circumstances.  Fleeing the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Mississippi and can result in serious penalties.
  • Call 911: Call 911 or local law enforcement as soon as possible after a truck accident, even if the crash was a fairly minor one.  A police officer will arrive shortly to the scene of the accident and complete a police report.  The report will be based on an examination of the scene and interviews with the drivers and witnesses involved.  This police report can prove crucial to your later recovery for personal injuries or damages, so it is always best to call 911 after an accident.  If for some reason a report is not made at the scene, go to the police station as soon as possible to report the accident.
  • Receive medical treatment: If you have been involved in a truck accident and could have suffered any sort of injury, it is best to seek medical treatment right away.  Some injuries may not be evident for hours or even days after a crash.  The earlier you seek medical treatment, the sooner you can get the medical attention you require and the better your chances of recovery.
  • Retain the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney: Truck accidents often involve serious injuries and will also involve complex issues of law unique to the realm of commercial vehicle accidents.  An experienced truck accident attorney will initiate a complete investigation into the cause of your accident and fight for your maximum recovery.

Don’t

  • Discuss liability for the accident: You should never engage in discussions of liability, whether it be with other drivers or the police, following a truck accident.  Liability is a legal conclusion which you cannot make and discussions of liability can harm your later recovery.  Speak with your attorney before addressing the complex legal issue of fault.
  • Feel pressured to accept an initial settlement offer: You will likely be approached by an insurance adjuster who will push you to accept a quick settlement.  Never accept such an offer without consulting with a truck accident attorney first, as the initial settlement offer will generally only cover a small portion of your losses stemming from the accident.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Fighting for the Recovery of Truck Accident Victims Across Mississippi

The Mississippi Truck Accident Attorney at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. urges anyone who has been injured truck accident to contact our firm immediately.  Our experienced truck accident attorney will examine your accident and guide you through the legal process to a full recovery.  Our case reviews are always free and confidential.  Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how our skilled truck accident attorney can help you.

 

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What You Need to Know If You Suffer Catastrophic Injury in a Mississippi Motor Vehicle Accident

April 21st, 2014

When you suffer a catastrophic injury, the impact on your life and the lives of your family can be devastating. When the cause of such an injury is the negligent or intentional actions of an individual, public entity or business, you may need to pursue a personal injury claim for medical bills, cost of supportive and/or rehabilitative care, lost wages, diminished earnings and other financial hardships. These types of injuries derive their name from the dramatic prolonged impact that they have on the individual who is injured. The long-term needs and expense associated with a catastrophic injury far exceed those who suffer less serious injuries.

At the Giddens Law Firm, our Mississippi personal injury attorneys understand the physical, emotional and financial challenges associated with catastrophic injuries. We recognize that the expense associated with these types of injuries makes obtaining full financial recovery from a negligent driver or manufacturer of a defective product critical to maintaining a high quality of life and providing for one’s family. We provide legal representation and facilitate access to supportive and rehabilitative resources for the full range of catastrophic injuries including:

• Severe Burns
• Spinal Cord Injuries
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
• Neurological Disorders
• Paralysis (paraplegia/quadriplegia)
• Amputations
• Multiple broken bones
• Cerebral Palsy (and other serious birth injuries)

Mississippi lawsuits involving catastrophic injuries pose special issues so representation by a Mississippi catastrophic injury attorney is important. When injury victims suffer this type of injury, they may need ongoing medical and supportive care for years or an entire lifetime. Severe burns may require dozens of surgeries over a number of years, for example, so it can be an advantage to be represented by an attorney familiar with the specific type of injury. If you are represented by a personal injury attorney with experience handling these types of cases, the attorney is in a better position to anticipate future medical and supportive expenses. Future lost compensation from employment also must be calculated and reduced to present value.

These types of cases can also present challenges in terms of the available insurance to satisfy a judgment or settlement. If you are injured in an auto accident, Mississippi law only requires drivers to carry liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per victim and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury. This amount will prove woefully inadequate if you suffer a TBI. Further, many serious car accidents are caused by drunk drivers or other motorists who may have terrible driving records and no insurance. While you may have uninsured motorist coverage (UM), this coverage also will not be sufficient to cover the loss associated with these severe types of debilitating injuries.

We investigate the liability of other parties to identify viable defendants with sufficient insurance coverage to satisfy an appropriate verdict or settlement. When an individual suffers a serious brain injury in a motorcycle crash, we might consider liability of the motorcycle manufacturer for a product defect, a public entity for an unsafe roadway or a bars/restaurant for a drunk driving accident under the Mississippi dram shop law.

If you or someone close to you has suffered a catastrophic injury because of the negligent or intentional conduct of another, this may entitle the injury victim to financial compensation. We invite you to contact our Mississippi personal injury law firm for a free consultation with a Jackson personal injury attorney. We invite you to call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help!

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Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyers Discuss Unique Challenges in Pursuing Tractor-Trailer Accident Claims

April 15th, 2014

While all motor vehicle accidents can result in drivers and passengers experiencing devastating permanent injuries, trucking accidents present a disproportionate risk of serious injury, as well as unique challenges in seeking compensation.  Because tractor-trailers can outweigh a small economy car by 25 times or more, the basic principles of physics dictate that such collisions are especially dangerous for occupants of a small passenger car.  When large tractor-trailers are involved in fatal trucking accidents, the person who dies is an occupant of the other vehicle in over three out of four fatal collisions according to data from the federal government.  Further, large trucks account for only five percent of registered vehicles, but they are involved in 11 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Extensive Knowledge of Trucking Regulation and Industry Practices

Because semi-truck crashes pose an increased risk of permanent debilitating injuries and fatalities, the trucking industry is subject to a complex matrix of federal and state regulations designed to promote highway safety.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary entity responsible for enacting federal regulations that govern interstate trucking, which involves commercial drivers that operate in multiple states.  Trucking companies and drivers that operate exclusively within Mississippi are primarily regulated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).  This extensive regulatory scheme is designed to mitigate the increased danger posed by big-rigs by establishing safety rules regarding matters like:

  • Pre-employment screening and hiring standards
  • Inspection and maintenance of tractor-trailers
  • Hours of service (HOS) rules to keep fatigued truck drivers off the road
  • Pre-employment and random screening for drugs and alcohol
  • Maximum length and weight requirements
  • Proper securing of loads
  • Medical fitness of commercial drivers
  • Recordkeeping requirements to verify compliance (i.e. driver logbooks)

Many trucking accidents in Jackson and throughout Mississippi are the result of truck drivers who violate these safety regulations with the tacit or express approval of the trucking company.  When drivers use methamphetamines to drive longer shifts and disregard HOS rules, both the truck driver and trucking company can benefit from increase profits.  Effective litigation of Mississippi trucking cases requires extensive knowledge of trucking regulations and industry practices because many cases turn on non-compliance with these types of safety regulations.

Preservation and Gathering of Evidence in Mississippi Trucking Lawsuits

Trucking litigation is also complicated because commercial carriers and truck drivers have no real incentive to preserve evidence that can be used to establish liability.  Trucking companies often employ rapid response teams that can be dispatched to the scene of a tractor-trailer crash almost immediately.  These trucking experts begin an immediate investigation so that they can develop a strategy for minimizing or evading liability.

A successful Mississippi trucking accident lawsuit typically is contingent on promptly contacting experienced trucking accident lawyers.  Our Jackson tractor-trailer accident lawyers promptly send written notice to the trucking company indicating that the semi-truck and data contained in the rig’s black box is the subject of litigation so it must not be destroyed or altered.  When a truck is quickly repaired and placed back into service, this can undermine the efforts of accident reconstruction experts because the vehicle damage cannot be examined.  When the rig is rapidly deployed back into service, this also can result in the black box data being erased.  Because logbooks are routinely fabricated or manipulated to conceal non-compliance, black box data can be critical in exposing safety violation and establishing the cause of a trucking accident.

Our Jackson truck accident attorneys also engage in extensive discovery of other records that might reveal negligence by the commercial carrier or driver.  Some of the documents and information we might seek in discovery include:

  • Driver’s personnel file
  • Carrier’s hiring procedures and criteria
  • Maintenance and inspection records
  • Driver lodging and fuel receipts
  • Documents related to prior violation of safety regulations

The bottom line is that trucking litigation is complicated, so you should schedule a consultation with an experienced trucking accident law firm promptly so that you can explore your rights and remedies.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a Mississippi tractor-trailer accident or a loved one dies in a semi-truck collision, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or loss.   We invite you to contact our Jackson trucking accident law firm for a free consultation with a Mississippi semi-truck accident attorney.  We invite you to call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help!

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Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Why Text Messaging Is Still a Common Cause of Collisions

April 11th, 2014

Despite the enormous efforts to raise public awareness regarding the dangers of texting and driving, drivers distracted by their cell phone while reading or sending a text continue to be a significant cause of catastrophic injury and wrongful death.  At any given time, approximately 660,000 drivers are distracted by electronic devices or cell phones according to the federal government’s distracted driving website.  These distracted drivers cause approximately 3,328 car accident-related fatalities and injure another 421,000 people annually.  While anti-texting laws, increased enforcement and public awareness campaigns may have made roadways safer, texting and driving remains a serious cause of car accidents.

Attitudes Regarding Distracted Driving

Many drivers who emphatically reject drunk driving as an unacceptable practice might not view distracted driving as equally dangerous.  Although these two forms of unsafe driving may not be perceived as comparable risks, there is evidence that distracted driving might be even more dangerous than committing DUI.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that texting and driving is six times more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The recent case reported widely in the media that involved a distracted driver running down a bicyclist provides an extreme example.  According to the Huffington Post, the bicyclist struck by the texting driver suffered a fractured spine necessitating a three month hospital stay.

The driver reportedly told the police several days after the accident, “I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit, and my car is, like, pretty expensive, and now I have to fix it.  I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist hit the side of my car.  I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist.  I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”

Despite indicating she was not using her phone, the driver had used her phone 44 times before slamming into the bicyclist according to reports.  After she hit the victim she parked 300 feet away and refused to render assistance.  While this driver, who was later pleaded guilty to criminal charges, is not a Mississippi driver (thank goodness), her cavalier attitude is an over the top example of the way some people view the risk associated with distracted driving.

Ineffective Distracted Driving Laws

Many laws banning cell phone use while driving have enormous gaps or present enforcement challenges.  Mississippi’s cell phone law provides an example of a law that has limited effectiveness.  Mississippi texting and driving laws only apply to school bus drivers and novice drivers with a learner’s permit or provisional license.  This means that drivers can use their cell phone for handheld calls, text messaging and any other activity while driving a motor vehicle.  Because Mississippi is one of the few states that does not ban text messaging for all driver, drivers who see no particular danger in this type of high risk driving conduct endanger others on the road.

Even in other states where texting laws prohibit all drivers from text messaging while driving, the laws often provide limited effectiveness because they can be difficult for law enforcement officers to enforce.  Police may have difficulty in determining that a driver is texting rather than using a cell phone for some other permitted purpose.  Another reason for the ineffectiveness of many anti-texting laws is that a violation usually only results in a nominal fine rather than the types of severe penalties imposed for drunk driving.

Although Mississippi legislators have not chosen to ban text messaging while driving, the danger associated with this unsafe driving practices can hardly be overstated.  Studies have revealed that the time a driver needs to avert his or her eyes to engage in reading or sending a text message is comparable to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph hour while blindfolded.  The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has conducted research indicating that the risk of being involved in a crash or near-crash is twenty times greater when texting and driving than when not using a cell phone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or a loved one dies because of a collision caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or loss.   We invite you to contact our auto accident injury law firm for a free consultation with a Jackson, Mississippi car accident attorney. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help.

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Mississippi Ignition Switch GM Chevrolet Cobalt Recall, Pontiac G5, Solstice, Saturn Ion, Sky Recall

April 4th, 2014

News sources are reporting that an investigation has been started by the United States Legislature into if something should have been done sooner about General Motors (GM) vehicles with bad ignition switches which have resulted in several deaths.

GM has issues a recall pulling back those vehicles that have been implicated in these fatal crashes.  The vehicles involved in this recall are Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, Chevrolet HHR SUV, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky with year models between 2005 and 2011.

GM has set up a website to direct the recall process stating:

There is a risk, under certain conditions, that your ignition switch may move out of the “run” position, resulting in a partial loss of electrical power and turning off the engine. This risk increases if your key ring is carrying added weight (such as more keys or the key fob) or your vehicle experiences rough road conditions or other jarring or impact related events. If the ignition switch is not in the run position, the air bags may not deploy if the vehicle is involved in a crash, increasing the risk of injury or fatality.

The GM website does however say that it is best to remove everything from you key ring except for your vehicle’s car key to minimize risk in these vehicles.

The issues with the cars involve failure of air bags in serious crashes where the bags should have definitely deployed. We are certain that these vehicles are still on the road in Mississippi and encourage anyone with these cars to respond immediately to the recall before anyone else is hurt.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, Chevrolet HHR SUV, Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky please contact our firm for a Free, no-obligation consultation with a Jackson, Mississippi attorney. Call us at 601-355-2022

See also: http://msverdict.com/blog/articles/gm-chevrolet-pontiac-and-saturn-vehicle-recall-in-jackson-ms/

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Jackson Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Discusses Risks Associated with Growing Popularity of Novelty Helmets

April 2nd, 2014

If you ride motorcycles in Jackson and the surrounding areas of Mississippi, you are well aware that many drivers fail to pay attention to the presence of motorcycle riders.  Because motorcycles are smaller than four wheeled vehicles, drivers of passenger vehicles frequently fail to notice or account for the possible presence of a motorcycle when executing a lane change or turn.  When riding a motorcycle, riders have a smaller margin of error and virtually no protection during a crash.  Head injuries are the most common form of catastrophic injury suffered by riders and also the leading cause of motorcycle fatalities.  While motorcycle helmets can substantially improve a rider’s prospects of surviving a motorcycle accident without serious head trauma, many riders are left largely unprotected because they wear novelty helmets that are designed for style rather than safety.

Mississippi’s Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law Is Designed to Protect All Riders

Mississippi has had a universal motorcycle helmet law that applies to all riders and passengers for over four decades.  While many states have enacted partial repeals of mandatory helmet laws based on the age of the rider, minimum medical insurance coverage or other conditions, our state continues to require all riders to wear helmet.  Although many riders reject the notion that the government should dictate helmet use, there is little dispute that motorcycle helmets that meet certain standards can substantially improve the survival rate for victims of motorcycle crashes.

Helmets Can Save Lives of Mississippi Motorcycle Accident Victims

A few statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide a compelling case for the value of motorcycle helmets that meet minimum safety standards:

  • Motorcyclists are thirty times more likely to die in a traffic accident than occupants of passenger cars based on a per mile traveled basis.
  • Motorcycle accidents account for approximately 14 percent of motor vehicle fatalities despite the fact that the vehicles constitute only three percent of licensed vehicles.
  • Motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities.
  • Helmets saved the lives of 1,600 people nationally during a one year period, but it is estimated they would have saved an additional 700 lives if all riders had been wearing helmets.

Novelty Helmets: Style Over Substance

While these statistics make a compelling case for wearing a motorcycle helmet, these benefits are only fully realized if the rider is wearing a helmet that meets federal safety requirements.  Many novelty helmets offer little or no protection during a motorcycle crash.  These helmets often provide virtually no impact-attenuating lining nor do they meet minimum penetration standards.  There also is no assurance that the helmet will remain strapped on a rider’s head during a motorcycle crash.

Generally, motorcycle riders should look for the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on a helmet to ensure the helmet complies with minimum safety standards.  However, the sticker alone is not sufficient to ensure that a helmet complies with DOT standards because fake stickers are frequently affixed to counterfeit helmets.  The NHTSA has provided a checklist for riders attempting to evaluate whether a helmet meets federal safety standards:

  • Minimum one inch thick liner of polystyrene foam
  • Weight should be about three pounds (one pound or less is definitely unsafe)
  • Nothing should extend more than two tenths of an inch from the surface of the helmet
  • Sturdy rivets and chin strap
  • DOT sticker indicating that the helmet meets or exceeds FMVSS 218
  • Manufacturer label sticker

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Mississippi motorcycle accident or a loved one dies in a Jackson motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries or loss.   We invite you to contact our Mississippi motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation.  We invite you to call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help!

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Why No One Should Go Without a Personal Injury Attorney

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.

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Pedestrian Accidents in Mississippi

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.

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

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.

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New Technologies that Could Change the Face of Personal Injury Law

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.

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