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.
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.
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),
vomiting or upset stomach,
lack of ability to focus,
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.
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.
If you have a legal issue anywhere in Mississippi a free consultation with an attorney can help you to learn your rights and see what can be done to protect them. Our offices offer free consultations with a Mississippi Attorney.
Here are the top three reasons you should contact an attorney today.
1. Insurance Claims
Claims on an insurance policy often take a long time. When a person is injured or has their life negatively effected by loss of or damage to property this delay would benefit an insurance company. (Whether it is intentional or not). This is because often injured people find themselves not being able to pay medical bills or car repair bills and are forced to settle their claim for pennies on the dollar of what their claim is worth, and this without speaking to a free consultation attorney.
2. The Value of Your Claim Through the Eyes of an Attorney Who Offers a Free Consultation
When you or a loved one are injured it is vitally important to learn as much as you can about your injuries, about how insurance adjusters value claims, what offers from these insurance companies often look like and what you are entitled to in an insurance claim.
Our experienced attorneys can help you sort through the types of ways an injury may effect your life ongoing, and help you to see why addressing your concerns about your injuries early by having a free consultation is an absolute must.
3. Statute of Limitations
The law requires that claims or lawsuits be filed or defenses be made within a certain short time frames. The laws that control these time limits are called the statute of limitations. In Mississippi these time limits can be as short as a year. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing an individual who is truly hurt that has no claim as a result of this time limit passing. That is why talking to an attorney as quickly as possible is important, there are sometimes rare exceptions to the statute of limitations that a free consultation attorney can help talk you through.
Comparative negligence or comparative fault are defenses provided to defendants to lessen what a particular defendant will be required to pay in a claim. Each defense has to do with some amount of blame being assigned to the plaintiff or some other party. In Mississippi relies on the Jury assigning a percentage of fault to each defendant. The jury will first determine the amount of damages caused by the injury and then assign the percentage of those damages that each defendant should pay.
So any judgment of damages will be reduced by the amount that the Plaintiff is found to be at fault. Often juries confuse what is awarded by awarding the amount they think is fair and not realizing that this amount will be further reduced based on the comparative fault guidelines.
For example if a plaintiff is injured and the jury would like the plaintiff to actually receive 100,000.00 for their injuries the following comparative fault situations will get the plaintiff to that number:
100,000.00 in damages with 0% fault assigned to the plaintiff 100% to the named defendant.
200,000.00 in damages with 50% fault assigned to the plaintiff and 50% to the named defendant.
1,000,000.00 in damages with 90% fault assigned to the plaintiff 10% to the named defendant.
A stroke can occur when any area of the brain is deprived of oxygen.
What physically occurs during a stroke?
A bleed or blockage in the blood vessels leading to the brain can cause this lack of oxygen. Strokes can also be caused by hemorrhages in the brain.
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
weakness or numbness in the arm, the face, or the leg on one side of the body;
Loss or dimming of vision in one or both eyes;
Loss of the ability to speak, difficulty understanding what others are attempting to communicate;
Sudden throbbing headache;
instability while walking with some other symptom.
Are there effective early treatments for stroke?
Early stroke treatment is imperative to increase the chances for a good outcome. Minutes matter when it comes to a stroke and it is very important to get medical treatment as quickly as possible.
tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is a clot-busting stroke drug that when administered quickly after the onset of stroke symptoms will sometimes allow blood flow to return to the stroke effected areas, minimizing the tissue damage.
What are some of the legal issues involving strokes?
When an individual receives damage of any sort to brain tissue, there is a chance that there will be diminished capacity and a need for the individual to have additional services or help in order to lead a normal life.
Mississippi Law of Conservatorships
What is a conservatorship?
In Mississippi, an individual can be appointed by the court to oversee the affairs of daily life for an individual. This individual is called a conservator and is similar to a guardian or power of attorney.
When may it be needed?
A conservatorship can be initiated when two doctors agree that an individual is incapable of attending to the affairs of their day to day life.
How is a conservatorship different from a power of attorney?
A conservatorship overrides a power of attorney and the court appointed conservator will be placed over all the affairs of the individual.
What about wills, living wills and power of attorneys, when would each of these documents be the most useful.
Wills and living wills help express the wishes of an individual when the individual is no longer able to make these decisions. A will would express those wishes after life ends, and a living will expresses end of life decisions concerning topics such as life support, comfort and resuscitation.
All over the country individuals continue to choose to use cell phones while operating cars and trucks. Activities like texting, emailing, surfing the internet and even looking up a phone number take the focus and attention of the driver off of the road and allow the unthinkable to happen to a bicyclist. New laws have been passed in Mississippi in order to provide that bicyclists would be more protected and protected on the roadways of Mississippi.
The John Paul Frerer Act, enacted in 2010, provides that bicyclists will be given all the benefits of vehicles on the roadway. Additionally the law provides that when passing a bicyclist on the roadway that a driver should provide at least 3 feet of space as the vehicle passes.
Distracted Drivers cause more wrecks
The roadways can be a much more dangerous place for bicyclists today when the focus required to see bicyclists which are roughly 1/3 less visible than cars or trucks is spent consistently fixated on electronic devices.
In order to stop or avoid an obstacle in the road, the driver of an automobile needs time to react. When electronic devices are in the mix in a car wreck involving a bicyclist that time to react is increased dramatically. A recent study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute shows that reaction time is doubled by cell phone use.
Questions are often raised in wreck cases that are handled by Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys of whether full attention has been paid to the road or if the driver of the vehicle that caused the wreck with a bicyclist was:
utilizing a cell phone,
sending a text message,
sending a tweet,
surfing the internet,
checking facebook, or
holding the phone in one hand.
There are methods that skilled attorneys can employ to forensically examine the cell phone of the driver, usage records, call records and other information to prove that an individual was in fact using their cell phone immediately before hurting a bicyclist on the roadway.
Time is working against you if there is any thought in your mind that a cell phone may have caused distraction in a particular bicycle wreck. Chat with our experienced attorneys at any time to learn just how quickly the process of obtaining and preserving this information can begin.
Obeying the law and personal injury
In Mississippi, when a driver injures another while breaking the law and that law was meant to protect from the type of injury that occurs it can be determined as a matter of law that the lawbreaker was negligent as a matter of law. For instance, in Mississippi, if a driver passes a bicyclist and fails to give the appropriate passing cushion of 3 feet and this action causes an injury to the bicyclist then the driver may be found to be negligent per se or negligent as a matter of law.
In 2009 a teen was killed by a distracted driver while lawfully crossing the street in a designated crosswalk. Following the incident family and friends created “EndDD.org” a resource to spread awareness of how widespread the issue of driving while distracted really is.
The causes of distracted driving and those that participate in distracted driving are legion. Conscientious citizens, grandparents, criminals, politicians, ministers and everyone in between are all in some degree guilty of being distracted by others in the car, a cell phone, or the affairs of daily life. These distractions can have dangerous or deadly consequences for others who are sharing the road with these individuals.
Do you feel comfortable sharing the road with this driver? It doesn’t appear in the video that he is paying nearly enough attention to the road and the driver is being selfish. While operating a vehicle it is the driver’s responsibility as far as it depends on him to keep his passengers and the other vehicles on the road safe.
State laws are changing on cell phone use while driving and distracted driving.
Many states are beginning to see the deep danger of allowingdrivers to utilize cell phones, text, email or watch video while driving and are beginning to legislate against these activities. EndDD.org has a pledge that I would encourage you and your family to discuss and implement prior to family members getting behind the wheel. That text message will never again be as important as you decided it was when you took your eyes off the road and injured someone else or worse.
The program asks its students to speak up when they are a passenger in a vehicle when another individual is driving distracted. By speaking up this passenger can let the driver know that their behavior is not ok and could hurt someone else. One solution that is popular is to offer to share the responsibility of whatever is distracting the driver, or directly speaking to the driver about your misgivings.
Often we rationalize and give ourselves excuses such as: I can multi-task, or I am so busy right now that I have to pay attention to this. These are not valid reasons. EndDD.org asks individuals to commit to driving without sending text messages or reading text messages on their phone, calling prior to driving rather than during driving or pulling over to a safe location to use a phone. Our thinking about distracted driving should be even more broad and include choosing not to text those whom we know to be driving.
A simple form version of the Family Safe Driving Agreement can be found here. We encourage you if you are reading this post to print the form or come by our offices and we will print it for you, it is that important to us.
The Distracted Driving agreement asks that those who sign it commit to the following:
Drive without text messages.
Call ahead to let parents or friends know you are driving if they are expecting you.
Pull over to a safe place to use your cell phone.
Ask your passenger to keep you distraction free.
Turn cell phone to vibrate before starting to drive.
Commit to not calling or texting others that you know to be driving.
When you see a distracted driver talking to them about it.
Offer to help the driver with any distracting activities that may come up.
To summarize it may be easier than you think to become an advocate for not driving while distracted. Your advocacy may save your own life or the life of someone you care about.
Over the years our firm has represented numerous individuals who have experienced some sort of brain injury. Our research and experience as brain injury attorneys in these cases when compiled may be of use to the public in a more general manner. Knowing the signs and symptoms of strokes, concussions, brain bleeds and other brain injuries is vitally important as every second is important when dealing with these types of injuries.
The below is the audio of a recent episode of Mississippi Public Broadcasting which covered legal issues of Concussion, Stroke and Brain Injury. If you have any additional questions after listening please feel free to contact us.
What is a concussion?
Concussions are brain injuries where a blow to the head results in a period of interference in full brain function. When there is a blow to the head or sudden change in speed (delta v) the brain can violently slosh back and forth causing some damage to the brain. Given that this is an injury to the brain, the body’s most vital organ, these injuries should be taken very seriously and medical care sought as necessary.
What causes a concussion?
A strike or blow to the head can cause a concussion, but also a very quick deceleration such as a car wreck. The seriousness of the concussion sometimes correlates to the severity of the impact, but the brain is made up of soft gray matter and denser materials. The differences in the density means that each respond to blows or changes in velocity differently and there may be shearing or tearing from even lesser impacts.
What are the symptoms to be on the lookout for?
Common concussion symptoms include: headaches, difficulty focusing, disorientation, loss of short term memory, upset stomach, confusion, uncertainty of the date, loss of balance or lightness in the head, blurring of vision, light sensitivity, sleeplessness, change in mood.
When these symptoms persist it is imperative to prevent additional injury or further concussion and to allow the brain to heal. It is also important to pay attention to any change in these symptoms such as worsening headache or nausea after the initial hours of injury. These worsening symptoms may indicate a more serious condition such as a brain bleed which should be treated immediately.
What type of treatment is typically involved in a concussion?
The most important part of any concussion treatment is the diagnostic testing that will be conducted. It is only by a CT-scan or MRI that certain injuries such as a brain bleed or swelling of the brain can be ruled out. If someone has sustained a blow to the head or deceleration and has any of the above symptoms it is vitally important to seek out treatment with a qualified physician.
Tell me more about recent legal claims involving concussions.
There has been recent media concern over concussions in sports. Some of this is due to recent studies concerning the potential long-term effects of concussions and the link between multiple concussions and neurological disease later in life.
The recent lawsuits involve the NCAA (college level) and NFL and allege that these entities knew or should have known the dangers of concussion but did nothing. Some of these allegations include players who were diagnosed with a concussion during a game, but were never told and continued to participate, potentially to their peril.
Should parents be concerned about their children playing contact sports?
It is not a matter of scientific certainty yet, but there are indications that avoiding these types of head injuries or enacting new laws and rules to limit the exposure to concussive head trauma will be for the best for the young athletes.
Many of the studies that have been conducted have examined individuals who have had repeated head trauma of many years. These studies have
What should be done when an athlete has suffered a concussion?
Athletes who have suffered a concussion need a medical evaluation by a physician. This evaluation will likely include x-rays, ct scans or MRIs in order to rule out brain bleeds, skull fractures, hematomas, contusions or other issues.
The symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days after the injury. While symptoms persist the individual should not be allowed to participate in contact activities.
How many concussions can an athlete have before he or she should stop playing contact sports?
We should know more in the coming years about the damage done by each successive concussion. There is some difficulty in this also due to the fact that each concussion injury is different. The questions that will arise in this discussion concern how likely it is that an athlete will have another concussion and if this later concussion would further injure him.
NFL Concussion Lawsuits
Tell us a little about the NFL Concussion cases.
Settlement comes form a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) consists of all former players and allows for payments of already diagnosed neurological disorders, (uncapped for 65-year settlement life span) treatment for those who have not yet been diagnosed ($75 million Baseline Assessment Program) and education programs concerning neurological and concussive health. ($10 million)
What is the current status of the NFL cases?
Judge Anita Brody in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Federal Court has given final approval to the settlement in the Concussion cases. In the last week notices of appeal have been filed which could very well delay the settlement for up to a year.
What local resources are available for those with a brain injury or with additional questions?
The Brain Injury Association of Mississippi was founded in 1987 and serves people throughout the state of Mississippi. It is a private, non-profit corporation whose goal is to serve persons with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, their families, caregivers, and professionals. The Association is an affiliated member of the Brain Injury Association of America. The Brain Injury Association of Mississippi is a 501(c)(3) corporation. As such, all donations, gifts, membership dues and bequests are tax deductible.