Automobile Accidents

Automobile Accidents

Automobile accidents are used as a buzz word by Insurance companies. This name of choice exists because it by definition the conduct leading to these injuries is unintentional and inadvertent. Car wrecks are one of the top causes of injury in the United States. The word accident also makes it difficult to think about deaths and lifetime injuries caused by an automobile accident. While it is true that negligent conduct causes many of wrecks that occur in the United States, careless decisions are often the root cause of automobile accidents. Distracted driving is on the rise, and the choice to pay attention to something other than the road is a decision that often leads to injury.  Another cause of automobile accidents is defective parts in cars.

Most states have laws requiring drivers to carry insurance coverage, but juries will never be told about any coverage.

Negligence is the legal term for whenever someone acts in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t act. Staring at your cell phone while traveling at highway speeds should automatically fall into that category. The law calls us all to act reasonably, and to use consideration for our fellow men. When an individual’s negligence causes injuries, medical bills, lost work and future medicals the law requires repayment of these amounts as much as possible.

Damaged Vehicle

Totaled Car 

The amount of damages owed in any injury case is dollar for dollar the amount it would take to fully put an injured person or their family back to the way they were prior to the wreck. There are injuries and changes to a life that money cannot repair, but the job of the jury is to make this determination at trial. What is the cost to a person to live day to day with pain for the rest of your life, or to lose the ability to pick up your children?

In a lawsuit there are times when negligence as a matter of law can be established. This sort of negligence is also called negligence per se, but can be shown where a defendant breaks traffic laws or statutes in causing the wreck. If a wreck is caused as a vehicle drives the wrong way on the road or while the driver is intoxicated.

Passenger Injured in a Wreck Mississippi

In car wrecks passengers are in a unique position. A passenger injured in a Wreck in Mississippi  is most often not responsible for a wreck occurring. This doesn’t mean that passengers are less likely to be injured in a wreck.

Passengers face the same sorts of injuries as drivers, broken bones, and neurological damages. Whatever the cause of the wreck, there is someone other than the passenger that will potentially be responsible for paying for the injuries.

In Mississippi Insurance coverage is required for any driver on the road, but juries will never be told in a trial that insurance coverage will pay for the damages they find to be caused by a defendant. Insurance coverage will be necessary to pay for any damage sustained by a passenger and begin the process of putting the passenger’s life back together.

Passenger Injuries

Injured as a passenger. No fault, same injuries.

Often time making a claim against an insurance company will result in low-ball offers which may not even pay all of your medical bills. Whenever an insurance company makes an initial offer it is always a good idea to talk to a personal injury attorney about this offer prior to accepting it. At the very least your free consultation with one of our Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys can give you peace of mind about your claim, your injuries, lost work, ongoing disability, medical damages and any future medical bills you may have to pay before accepting a settlement.

Contact us today if you would like to speak to an attorney about your claim.

 

Brain Injury – Concussion, TBI, Brain Bleeds

By the time a person has fully developed their brain consists of 99,000,000 nerve cells working together to allow their body to act, think, feel and even conduct involuntary action. For such a vitally important part of the body it may seem surprising that the brain is soft and fairly easy to injure with springy gray matter and more dense bundles of nerves called white matter. The different densities can cause the brain to move at different speeds when the brain is jolted suddenly causing internal damage. (sometimes referred to as axial shearing).

The signs and symptoms of brain injury are very important to diagnose and seek treatment for. Often the individual that has been injured does not know that they have been injured, and may be resistant to getting treatment. Symptoms like nausea, confusion, pupils that are less reactive to light, and headaches can be telltale signs that a brain injury, brain bleed, or concussion has occurred. Any brain injury involving a head trauma will be categorized as a traumatic brain injury. The effect on the functioning on the brain can be as drastic as you might expect if you hit your cell phone with a hammer. The blow may do nothing, but also may be devastating.

Often particular areas of the brain are injured by certain types of incidents. For instance, the front part of the brain, the frontal lobe, is often injured by direct contact to the front of the skull or by sudden changes in speed. Injuries to this part of the brain often result in disruption of concentration, and management of emotions. Sometimes this type of injury disrupts brain function in a limited way or for a limited time, other times permanent damage to the brain’s functioning can occur as a result of brain matter (nerve cells dying)

Brain Injury Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of a brain injury to be on the lookout for:

  • Pain or pressure in the head (headache or migraine),
  • vertigo,
  • vomiting or upset stomach,
  • confusion,
  • lack of ability to focus,
  • fatigue

It is normal for an individual who has suffered a brain injury to not be aware that their functioning has been altered, and it is very important for family members to insist that the individual seek medical treatment and get a CT-scan or MRI of the head.

 

Baseline:

The best way to determine whether or not an injury to the brain has occurred is to detect a change from normal in the functioning or abilities of the person who has been injured. Normal is called a baseline and should be established prior to the injury by testing and measurements. If there is no baseline it is more difficult to detect an issue and physicians will have to rely on what is average for individuals who are like the injured person.

The symptoms that an injured individual may exhibit may likely get worse throughout the day as the brain struggles to keep up with healing and rerouting signals.

New testing will continue to improve our ability to detect brain injuries and manage them prior to the injured person participating in contact sports or being taken off brain rest.

Often the best thing for an injured individual is rest once the symptoms have stabilized. Brain rest includes low physical activity, low stimulation and proper nutrition. With proper management often symptoms associated with brain injuries improve over time and often improve up to a year after the injury occurs and sometimes disappear completely. This is because the brain is remarkably capable of healing itself and rerouting signals, a trait that is called plasticity by neurologists and neuropsychologists.

 

 

What to expect in a Mississippi Car Wreck Insurance Claim

Claims process

Immediately after a wreck the people who were in the wreck will exchange information and the police officer who responds to the scene will attempt to gather the facts of the wreck. It will be necessary for you to gather as much information as possible at the scene of the wreck. Photos, and information for any witnesses who may have seen the wreck. It is also important to look around for video cameras near the scene of the wreck as well as these systems often record over old footage in a matter of days. A personal injury attorney will make sure to obtain these videos as quickly as possible.

In the days following the wreck a claims representative from your or the other driver’s insurance company will attempt to call you and take a statement about how the wreck occurred. It is not in your best interest, and this can be used against you later as your case progresses. Once you hire a Mississippi personal injury attorney your case will continue on and you should be protected from many of the pitfalls that commonly occur to individuals who represent themselves in personal injury actions.

Initial Offer

Often insurance companies will attempt to settle a claim early to avoid having to pay the full value of a claim. Insurance companies settle up to 95% of claims with an early settlement that is some fraction of the actual value of the claim or the potential future lost wages and necessary future medical treatment.

When you receive an initial offer from an insurance company you should seek out a personal injury attorney who offers a free consultation and let them talk you through the value of your claim and what you may be giving up by signing a release and forever giving up your claim.

Representation

Representation by a Mississippi Personal Injury Attorney will likely be on a contingency fee basis. This means that nothing will be paid to this attorney and the attorney will advance any necessary legal expenses up until the point when the case is settled. The attorney’s fee will be paid as a percentage of the total amount of recovery. This means that your attorney has every incentive to ensure that you are paid the full value of your claim. (Some high percentage of what a jury would likely award at trial).

Claims packet

As you finish treatment with the doctors who have taken over your care, your attorney will request these bills and records as well as future prognosis of what other medical treatment you may require. Your attorney will also gather additional information concerning your losses, lost work and future treatment and make each of these a part of a demand packet to be sent to the insurance company, with some deadline of when the insurance company has to respond to the lawsuit.

Finished product.

IF a fair settlement value is offered by the insurance company, it may be possible to settle the claim without the need to file the lawsuit. If a fair value is not offered your attorney may file the lawsuit and begin litigation of your case, looking forward to the day your claim will eventually be heard by a jury.

 

Bike Safely in Mississippi

There are many benefits that bike riders enjoy in Mississippi today that they did not previously enjoy. First,  laws have been passed providing bicyclists increased safety in the state. One such law requires that motorists give bicyclists three feet when passing them on the roadway. Miss. Code Ann. §63-3-1309.

“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.”

Another Mississippi statute explicitly states that bicyclists must be treated as a motorist would treat another vehicle in the roadway and that:

“it is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle.”

These laws have raised awareness of bicyclists on the road and their rights, hopefully providing a safer roadway for all bicyclists in the state.

Death in a Car Wreck

Life is fragile and can be over in an instant. When a family is rocked due to a death in a car wreck of a loved one all sorts of unexpected questions suddenly become important. Questions like is there available insurance coverage, how do we make ends meet with mounting bills and one less working family members.

Our Mississippi Personal injury attorneys are available 24 hours a day to discuss options for those families that have been shaken up by a death in a car wreck, and can walk you through sources of potential recovery, immediate relief that may be available for you and your family, and help you begin the process of moving forward whole remembering the loss of a loved one.

Among the many questions will inevitably be what insurance is available to my family? Two types of insurance are most likely to be triggered in a death in a car wreck situation: Auto Insurance and Life insurance.

In Mississippi, state statute (63-15-4) requires that each motorist on the roadways carry a minimum of $25,000.00 per person / $50,000.00 per incident in automobile coverage. Many policies offer $100,000.00 or $200,000.00 per injured person in the wreck. More often than not it will require the help of an attorney build a case and prove that the entirety of the insurance policy will be required to compensate the injuries. The reason it often requires an attorney is that insurance companies want to keep as much money as possible, even when the case clearly  has merit and should be paid.

 

Failure to Diagnose – Cancer

Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Cancer is a scary word to hear when it refers to you or a family member. More and more, different types of cancer can be treated if caught early enough. Any delay in diagnosis of cancer can decrease the patient’s chance of survival and leave the patient with very few treatment options rather than having the full compliment of treatments available. Sometimes mistakes in diagnosis lead to death when the cancer was completely treatable. Individuals whose loved ones have died, or patients who have had bad outcomes as a result of a delayed or missed diagnosis may have a claim.

Mistakes in the Diagnosis

The reason mistakes happen in Cancer diagnosis are many but include:

  • Failing to see early warning signs
  • Failing to listen to symptoms reported by patient
  • Failing to recognize documented risk factors
  • Faliling to document in medical records
  • Failing to order necessary tests due to concerns about the patient’s ability to pay
  • Improper blood and tissue sampling
  • Negligent reading of tests
  • Failure to follow up with patient

Consequences of Failure to Diagnose Cancer

The longer cancer goes  undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cancer will continue to spread, grow, and become more serious making the difficulty in treatment greater. These negative issues can include:

  • requiring more invasive treatment or surgery
  • requiring more extensive chemotherapy
  • requiring more expensive treatment
  • causing more nausea and pain
  • Long-term disability
  • Loss of income
  • Death

Failure to Diagnose Cancer and Delayed Diagnosis Can Be Fatal

Cancer by its very nature replicates and spreads as fast as possible. Cancer treatment is all about effective early diagnosis and treatment. Paying attention to warning signs and providing treatment early gives the patient the highest likelihood of success. The more time passes the more serious and dangerous the treatment to fight off the cancer. After a certain point of progression there is nothing more that can be done for a patient. This is why missing a diagnosis or not seeing the symptoms of cancer can be so devastating:

  • High risk surgery becomes the only option left
  • Only part of a malignant tumor can be surgically excised
  • Treatment may only slow down the progression of terminal cancer
  • Chemo has to be very aggressive, long in duration and high in intensity

Mississippi Bicycle Safety

There are several general rules to be followed in general bicycle safety in Mississippi.

  1. Wear head protection;
  2. Test your bike before beginning to ride;
  3. Don’t be distracted by music or a cell phone;
  4. Make sure you are visible;
    • wear reflective clothing
    • be aware of the necessary requirements for reflectors and flashers
  5. Be Alert and look for upcoming obstacles;
  6. Bike the same direction as traffic and obey all the same traffic signals as a car;
    • this is opposite from pedestrians who travel against traffic.

Many other safety resources will provide information on how to bike more safely.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/safety.htm

False Imprisonment Claims

False Imprisonment

  Early in the history of the United States jurisprudence several cases clarified what has become well established in our country. Ensuring that individuals were not imprisoned without a hearing and ensuring that officials could produce a prisoner in response to Court order (Writ of habeous corpus).

  If a company or individual takes away another’s freedom without consent then a false imprisonment has taken place. If a physical barrier has been put in to place to prevent escape such as a barricade or rope this will play in to any determination of false imprisonment.

  The elements of a claim of false imprisonment include the following:

  1. the confinement must be non-consensual.
  2. the confinement must be intentional.
  3. the victim has  knowledge that he is imprisoned.
  4.  no available means of escape known to the victim.

Damages for false imprisonment normally include emotional damages, damages to character in the community, and are sometimes based on the amount of time detained. If you have additional questions about false imprisonment, contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Bicyclists Should Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage

We have had several cases where bicyclists have had traumatic injuries due to a car hitting them as they rode their bike these individuals utilized their uninsured motorist coverage on their vehicle auto insurance to pay for some of their medical bills or damages. These coverages often pay for injuries occurring in cars, or caused by cars. For this reason we tell our clients to max out their uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist coverages.

Bicyclists Should Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Policies of insurance vary in their language, but our experience so far with Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverages have provided coverage to bicyclists. Additionally, in Mississippi, uninsured motorists coverages stack meaning if there are multiple vehicles on a policy each vehicle will bring its value into a stacked value that you and the individuals living in your home are able to access when they are injured by a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage.

The language of these policies often provides for injuries to pedestrians, injuries to bicyclists, injuries to passengers and any other injury caused by or in a car. In pedestrian and bicycle wrecks the injuries to the individual are often very serious and require as much of the insurance proceeds as may be available (the policy limits).

 How much Uninsured Motorist Coverage can I buy?

Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured motorist coverages are capped based on the amount of liability coverage carried on the vehicle policy. So for instance, if you carry 25,000.00/50,000.00 in liability coverage on your policy then you will only be allowed to carry 50,000.00/100,000.00 in uninsured coverages. For this reason it may be worthwhile to update you liability coverages as you update your uninsured coverages in order to carry an appropriate amount of uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured Motorist coverages are the best buy in insurance in my experience and when you or a family member need it you will be glad that you have covered yourself against the individual that injured you not having nearly enough insurance to provide for your injuries. When you make a claim against an uninsured or underinsured policy you are dealing with your own insurance company. Your insurance company owes special responsibilities to you to investigate any claim you bring, evaluate claims quickly,  to some exent gather medical bills and records and owes the highest duty between parties to you, a fiduciary duty. If the insurance company is caught failing to live up to these duties there could be dire consequences for the parent company.

If you have any additional questions about your current insurance coverages, would like an estimate of the types of injuries that could be caused in a bicycle wreck with an automobile or have a claim you need to make against an uninsured motorist policy, contact us, we will be glad to speak with you.