Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi car accident attorneys’

Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Explain What Happens When Police Investigate A Car Crash

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Police called to the scene of a car crash are immediately swamped with numerous decisions to make. Accident scenes are emotionally charged and can be chaotic. Police must deal with people at their most vulnerable. Minutes pass like hours in the immediate aftermath of a crash, especially a violent crash in which people are severely and perhaps critically injured.  Police must quickly assess and triage the injured, perform life-saving measures, and provide first aid to those not critically injured. The officer must decide whether the ambulance must respond.

Once the dust settles, the officer will begin an investigation as to how the accident occurred.  The officer will interview the drivers if they are able, and any witnesses to the accident.  Witnesses may include passengers riding in the cars involved in the crash, pedestrians, and other motorists. Frequently, the officer’s investigation will be complete after reviewing the crash scene and interviewing witnesses.  The officer will then write a police report detailing the crash and listing any criminal or civil charges against a driver. If police suspect one of the drivers committed a serious crime causing the crash, then officers might call in a special unit, sometimes called an accident reconstruction unit, to determine how the crash occurred. An accident reconstructionist will respond if the crash results in a fatality and will also respond in other circumstances. An accident reconstructionist is a highly trained law enforcement officer who can use the physical evidence from the crash and make several determinations about what happened. The crash reconstructionist can determine the speed of the vehicles, the length of time the car was braking before the crash, and use the physical characteristics of the crash to determine what was going on inside the car seconds before the crash.

Technological advancements in motor vehicles also assist investigators. A vehicle’s data recorder aids an accident reconstructionist by storing pre and post-crash data. The data recorder is known as the “black box.” A car’s black box works like an airliner’s black box.  A vehicle’s black box records pre and post-crash speed, the amount of braking, the amount of steering, and as well as other factors.  Police must get a search warrant authorizing them to take the data recorder if the driver refuses to consent to police examining the item.

One thing police will want to know whether the driver or drivers were distracted at the time of the crash. The most obvious distraction is a cell phone. Most states have launched law enforcement campaigns to combat distracted driving. Many states now have “hands-free” laws, including Mississippi. Crash investigators will determine whether a driver was texting or using their cell phone immediately before the crash.

Where does the investigation lead? The police may charge a driver with a crime or a motor vehicle infraction if the investigation determines that a driver committed such an act. A person injured in the crash has a vested interest in seeing the police investigation through to the end.   Under Mississippi law, if a person injures another while breaking the law, the person who broke the law is “per se negligent.” The injured party might recover money damages if they were supposed to be protected by the law the other person broke that caused the crash. For instance, if a person driving under the influence of drugs or liquor crashes into another after swerving into the opposite lane and injures a person, the injured party does not have to prove the other was at fault. The injured party is certainly one whom the law was supposed to protect from harm.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Protecting The Rights Of The Injured

The Mississippi car accident attorneys at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. devote their practice to fighting for victims injured by another. Their experience and success are second to none. Call Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at 601-355-2022 to schedule an appointment to learn the difference experience can make for you.


Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys Discuss Automobile and Bicycle Accidents

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Drivers know that it only takes a split second of inattention to cause a collision. This principle applies to collisions with other vehicles as well as anyone or anything else that is in or near the roadway.  Undoubtedly, vehicles can collide with pedestrians, people riding bicycles, animals, or objects.

When a collision occurs between a vehicle and a person riding a bicycle, serious injury or death are likely. While a collision between an automobile and a bicycle can occur on any road, people who ride bicycles can attest to the fact that some roads accommodate simultaneous use by motor vehicles and bicycles much more safely than others.  Notwithstanding, both drivers and cyclists can take action to decrease the chances of a vehicle-bicycle collision.

Specifically, drivers and cyclists should learn the rules of the road the places where they drive and ride.  State and local laws vary, so it is important that everyone understands what the requirements are for drivers and cyclists alike.  For instance, knowing what rules to follow when you are riding your bike on the road or when you are driving and you encounter someone on a bicycle will help you know what to do, as well as what you might expect other drivers or cyclists to do.

Additionally, knowing the rules of the road provides valuable background information that drivers and cyclists can use to make decisions while they are riding and driving. However, the most important thing that drivers can do in making the roadways safer for everyone is avoid cell phone use and other distractions while driving. Obeying posted speed limits can also go a long way towards preventing collisions. Driving at an appropriate speed helps drivers to be more aware of their surroundings, and it gives them more time to respond to the presence of cyclists.

Cyclists can help drivers see them easily by wearing light or brightly colored clothing, and by using lights on their bicycles if they are riding at dawn, at dusk, or after dark. They can also increase their ability to detect and respond to the presence of nearby vehicles by using rear view mirrors, which can be mounted on a bike or on a pair of glasses. Bicycle helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for all cyclists, and they can save lives if they fit properly and are used on every ride.

Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Representing the Victims of Mississippi Automobile-Bicycle Accidents

When a person driving a vehicle collides with someone who is riding a bicycle, serious injury or death are likely to result. While drivers and cyclists can take steps to prevent them, automobile-bicycle accidents do, unfortunately, still occur. If you were involved in an accident involving an automobile and a bicycle, the Mississippi Car Accident Attorneys of the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. are here to help you. Please call us today at (601) 355-2022 to learn more about your legal rights and responsibilities.


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

Friday, 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.

Common Car Accident Injuries in Mississippi

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

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

Nissan Infinite M Sedan

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

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

Toyota Sienna Minivan

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

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

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

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

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

Mississippi Legislators May Consider Requiring Seat Belts on School Buses

Friday, November 8th, 2013

As early as 2014, Mississippi lawmakers might debate whether to require installation of seat belts on all school buses.  Currently, Mississippi’s seat belt law only applies to school buses and other vehicles that carry 15 or fewer passengers.  The law requires all people in the front seat and those up to the age of seven wear a seat belt.  Larger school buses, however, have never been required to have seat belts.  That could all change in the coming year.

Proponents of the law requiring seat belts in buses say that safety belts could help reduce the severity of children’s injuries in the event of a bus accident.  Fourteen year old Katie Beth Simmons, a student at East Rankin Academy, told a group of lawmakers her experience last year.  Katie had been riding her school bus, without a seat belt, and the bus came to a sudden stop.  She was thrown into the seat in front of her, hitting her face.

Katie also expressed concern about the dangerous antics of younger children on school buses.  She stated that her four year old sister and many other young children stand up on the bus and hop around.  She supported the idea of requiring seat belts as it would increase the safety of all school bus passengers by preventing standing, and additionally minimize injuries in the event of a crash or short stop.

Opponents of the measure point first to the expense.  The state budget is already stretched paper thin.  Requiring the addition of seat belts to school buses would be a substantial expense which opponents urge the state cannot handle.  Furthermore, critics say even with the addition of seat belts, school bus drivers would struggle to ensure students wear the belts.  Additionally, some caution that students could hit one another with the belts, and the belts might not be one size fits all– seatbelts designed for the larger children may not prove safe for the younger ones.

Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that 19 children a year are killed in school bus accidents.  A search conducted by the State Department of Education revealed that school bus accidents occur in Mississippi at an alarming rate.  In the last year, 184 school bus accidents took place.  No fatalities were associated with these crashes, but injuries were reported with some.

In one recent bus crash in Clinton County, a vehicle rear-ended a school bus full of children.  Three students were transported to the hospital with injuries.  All students made a full recovery but no doubt experienced a frightening ordeal.  In a harrowing accident occurring in Brandon, Mississippi, nine school children were injured following a multi-car collision.  A Tahoe ran a red light as the school bus was making a left turn.  Twenty-six students were on the school bus and seven had to be transported to the hospital.

The installation of seat belts would cost approximately $7,000 to $10,000 per bus.  Rep. Johnny Stringer of Montrose suggests that having prisoners install the belts could be a way to cut costs.  While the cost to install seat belts will certainly be substantial, the safety of our children is of monumental importance.  The recent rash of school bus accidents in Mississippi indicates that some action needs to be taken to ensure school children are safe.

At the Giddens Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing crash victims, including victims of school bus accidents.  We understand the importance of safety belts and have seen firsthand the difference they can make in minimizing injuries. If you have been injured in an automobile, truck, or bus accident, call us today at 601-355-2022.  Your initial consultation is always free and our representation is second to none.

Unusual Accidents on Mississippi Roadways

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Although automobile accidents may be the most common accident to occur on the roadways, recent headlines highlight the more bizarre types of accidents that can and do occur.

For instance, just this past week, a New Orleans bound Amtrak Train collided with an 18 wheeler tractor trailer in Holmes County.  Amtrak spokespersons said the train was headed to New Orleans carrying 152 passengers and 11 crew members.  The accident occurred at 9:30 a.m.  The train apparently hit an 18 wheeler that was hauling corn, causing the front train engine to derail.  Luckily, there were no reports of serious injuries, but a passenger and crew member were taken to a local hospital for treatment.  Other train passengers complained of bruising and soreness.  The driver of the tractor trailer was fine.  Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said there were no crossing guards at the location of the accident and the driver of the tractor trailer did not see the train coming.  The accident actually split the tractor trailer in two, spilling corn all over the tracks.

Days before the Holmes County train collision, another accident involving a train crashing into a vehicle occurred in San Diego County, California.  Unfortunately, in this incident, the driver of the automobile was not so fortunate.  The accident began unfolding around 9 p.m. when the 1997 Honda sedan drove at a high rate of speed southbound on the San Diego Freeway.  The vehicle attempted to merge into the right hand lane at the same time as another vehicle.  Attempting to avoid the other driver, the Honda’s driver swerved right and off the shoulder. He launched off the highway where his vehicle collided head on with an Amtrak train, cutting the vehicle in two. The driver died at the scene.

In addition to the occasional train accident, several other more bizarre accidents occur on Mississippi roadways.  Most recently, in Pontotoc County, a Mississippi driver collided with a horse and buggy.  The crash involved a teen driver who slammed into the back of a horse and buggy driven by a middle aged Amish man. The driver of the buggy was critically injured and transported by helicopter to the North Mississippi Medical Center.  The teenage driver was also seriously injured but expected to make a full recovery.  Police have not issued criminal charges but are investigating the cause of the accident.

One might think a horse and buggy accident such as this is a lone occurrence—but a search of recent news headlines reveals that horse and buggy accidents happen fairly regularly.  In June, an 18 year old Amish man in Ohio was critically injured when a car collided with his horse and buggy on a hilly roadway.   That same month in Pennsylvania, a SUV collided with a horse and buggy, ejecting four children.  Though the children were seriously injured, they are thankfully expected to make a full recovery.

The following is a list of pointers to take away from the recent headline news stories involving unusual accidents:

  • Accidents do happen—even unusual or bizarre accidents can and do occur, and though we all like to think it will not happen to us, news headlines show that this is not the reality.  On average, there are over 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads annually.
  • Be prepared—we cannot always prevent accidents from occurring, but we can be prepared.  Preparation in the event of an accident is crucial to preservation of your legal rights.  To this end, the Giddens Law Firm has prepared a handy pamphlet that describes what actions you should take immediately following an automobile accident.  The same general tips are applicable to nearly any accident as well.  Visit our blog for more information.
  • Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney—if you or someone you love is injured in any sort of accident, be it automobile or otherwise, it is always best to consult with an experienced, professional personal injury attorney in your area.  You have a limited window within which to act when you have been injured in an accident, and a skilled personal injury attorney can guide your case right from the start.

Call the Giddens Law Firm today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free initial consultation.  Our Mississippi car accident attorneys have experience in all sorts of accidents, from train crashes to more run of the mill automobile accidents.  Our answering service is available 24 hours a day.