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Jackson County Road Receives Long-Awaited Safety Improvements

Published on Jul 26, 2016 at 6:23 pm in General.
Jackson County Road Receives Long-Awaited Safety Improvements

After receiving complaints from local residents for years, Jackson County authorities have finally announced plans to redesign an intersection in Ocean Springs. The roadway receiving a long-overdue remodel is in the area near the intersection of Old Fort Bayou and Yellow Jacket Road.

The intersection to be reconstructed is in the road leading up to St. Martin High School, as well as nearby middle and elementary schools. The intersection has long been a subject of concern to neighboring residents and parents of St. Martin students, due to the sharp, blind curve leading up to the school. One staffer of local Congressman Steven Palazzo shared, “fifteen years ago, I was a student, actually, at St. Martin High School, and one of my first accidents was right here in front of this intersection.” Local authorities have plans to shift a portion of Old Fort Bayou road 300 feet to the north, so that it connects directly to Yellow Jacket Road, eliminating the sharp bend in the road and paving a straighter path to the three schools. The intersection will also receive a traffic light. St. Martin High School Principal Dina Holland noted, when speaking to transportation and county authority representatives, “as a lifelong resident of St. Martin, I’ve watched this project just sit here on the table and it’s been a passion of mine. From the St. Martin community, St. Martin students, I want to thank you.”

Local and state governments in charge of designing and maintaining roads and highways have a duty to carry out their job safely and competently. This can include repairing damage to the road in the form of potholes or cracked pavement which could cause damage to a car or cause a crash. This duty also includes designing and engineering roads in such a way that they do not facilitate dangerous car accidents, posting necessary signage to indicate curves in the road, and installing traffic signals or stop signs where necessary. When local authorities repeatedly receive complaints about a particular road or intersection being unsafe, and the area is often the site of accidents or close calls, those local authorities may be financially liable to accident victims for their failure to take steps to make that road or intersection safer.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Mississippi caused by a dangerous or defective road, get help obtaining the compensation you’re owed after a crash by contacting dedicated, trial-ready Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your case, at 228.284.6805.

Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe through Summer’s “100 Deadliest Days”

Published on Jun 20, 2016 at 6:26 pm in General.
Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe through Summer’s “100 Deadliest Days”

As the school year draws to a close and teens have more free time to drive, their risk for being involved in an accident increases markedly. Memorial Day marks the start of the so-called “100 Deadliest Days,” the period of the year when more teens are killed in car accidents than at any other time. According to a recent study, Mississippi has the third-highest teen fatality rate in the nation. Learn more below about the increased risks that teen drivers face over the summer, and steps that parents can take to keep kids safe on the road.

According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an average of 10 people die each day in a crash involving a teen driver during the 100 days following Memorial day, adding up to a total average of 1,022 each summer. Car accident fatalities among teens between the age of 16 and 19 increase by 16% during these summer months. These accidents are repeatedly linked to certain behaviors: nighttime driving, driving with passengers, and driving distractedly. Putting restrictions on these behaviors can help your son or daughter stay safe on the road.

Remind kids of the dangers of cell phone use

According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation in collaboration with the University of Iowa, dash cam footage collected from thousands of accidents involving teen drivers shows that 12% of accidents were preceded by a teen operating a cell phone in some way. While all drivers are at risk of being tempted to use their phones while in traffic, teens are especially susceptible to the lure. Consider installing an app, such as SafeRide, that blocks texting while a driver is behind the wheel, and make sure your kids know how big of a risk it is to text or use social media while driving.

Keep teens off the road at night

The chances that a teen aged 16 to 17 will be involved in a fatal crash are three times as high at night than they are during the day, and 16% of all fatalities among teens aged 15 to 19 occurred between the hours of 9pm and midnight. In Mississippi, teens who hold an intermediate license may not drive unsupervised between the hours of ten at night and six in the morning (11:30-6:00 on the weekends).

Limit teens’ ability to have passengers in the car

According to AAA’s study of dash cam footage of teen drivers, 15% of crashes were preceded by the teen driver interacting with or attending to the car’s passengers, and 60% were related in some way to distracted driving. Mississippi law does not restrict drivers on an intermediate license regarding how many passengers they can have in their car, so any rule on this topic must be your own. Ensure that your child is focused on the road by barring them from driving with friends, or only doing so when an adult can be in the car as well.

If you or a young driver in your household has been injured in a car accident along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and you believe another driver was responsible for those injuries, seek out experienced legal representation to help you recover the compensation to which you may be entitled by contacting Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation at 228.284.6805.

Truck Accident in Hancock County

Published on May 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm in General.
Truck Accident in Hancock County

A severe accident on Interstate 10 in Hancock County on Monday, May 3, resulted in the deaths of three individuals and serious injuries to three more. The crash involved at least four but possibly as many as five vehicles, two of which were semi-trucks. Due to the substantial damage sustained by the vehicles involved in the crash, authorities are continuing to try and piece together what happened that caused the wreck.

The accident occurred in the westbound lanes of the 10 interstate near mile marker two, just before the Pearl River Bridge. A portion of the highway in that area was under construction, resulting in the closure of the left lane. At approximately 9 pm Monday evening, the forward-most 18-wheeler slowed down due to the construction, as did the passenger vehicle traveling behind it. Unfortunately, the tractor-trailer behind the car either did not notice the slowing traffic in time, or did not have enough time to stop. The truck rear-ended the car, sending it into the truck in front, and causing three people to be thrown from the vehicle. A fourth vehicle also careened into the car.

The two people riding in the front seat of the car were extracted by the Jaws of Life, but had been killed in the crash. A third victim thrown from the car passed away later on Monday evening, after being transferred to the hospital. Two more victims were transferred to local hospitals in critical condition. Lanes remained closed until 2:30 am on Tuesday while authorities cleared the scene, resulting in some drivers stopped behind the crash for over four hours, waiting to pass. A spokesman from the Mississippi Highway Patrol estimates that a full investigation of the accident will require weeks because of  the condition of the vehicles.

Caution is urged for all drivers in construction zones

Due to the confusion caused by lane closures, debris that can end up spilling out into the road, and bright lights used by night crews, construction zones can be especially prone to causing accidents. While drivers must take responsibility for driving cautiously through areas marked as being under construction, state highway maintenance authorities are likewise obligated to make conditions as safe as possible for passing drivers, and they can be found liable for resulting accidents where the construction work negligently posed a threat to the safety of passing drivers.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a large truck or tractor-trailer along Mississippi’s gulf coast, ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries by contacting skilled Biloxi personal injury and truck accident attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation, at 228.284.6805.

Fall Injuries a Leading Cause of Death on Construction Sites

Published on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm in General.
Fall Injuries a Leading Cause of Death on Construction Sites

Few American workers are at risk of injury as often as those on construction sites. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that, among all workplace injuries that occur nationwide each year, over 20% occur on construction sites. Among those fatal injuries, nearly 40% were the result of falls. Learn more about some of the most common causes of fall injuries on construction sites, and take caution to ensure that your contractor or site supervisor does not skimp on protections for your safety that could save your life.

Leading causes of job site fall injuries include:

  1. Poorly-Constructed Scaffolding

Scaffolding materials are often provided, and the scaffolding is frequently constructed, by an independent contractor. These materials may be old and worn-down, no longer able to withstand the weight of workers and their tools. The scaffolding also may have been hastily thrown together, with bolts and joints left loose and prone to falling apart.

  1. Faulty Use or Failure to Use Guardrails or Other Hole Protections

Many times, a trench, hole, or shaft is created on a work site, but in their haste to further progress on the job, site supervisors fail to install protections from falls around these hazards. Any open hole or trench on a worksite must be protected either by a net or guardrails, and failure to do so is a violation of federal law—one which has led to many workers losing their lives.

  1. Improper Use of Ladders

OSHA has issued precise rules on the build specifications for ladders to be used on job sites, as well as regulations on the manner in which ladders should and should not be used, and when workers are required to wear additional safety equipment while on a ladder of a particular height. Workers are frequently not issued appropriate training on ladder use, such as ways to ensure that the ladder is on a flat and stable surface. Supervisors may also encourage workers to get the job done faster and not to waste time on proper ladder placement. These safety slights can put workers’ health and well-being in peril.

If you have been injured by a fall or other accident on a work site and need help recovering compensation for your injuries, contact the determined and knowledgeable Biloxi construction accident attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your case, at 228.284.6805.

Casino Tour Bus Stalled On Railroad Tracks in Main Street Biloxi

Published on Mar 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm in General.
Casino Tour Bus Stalled On Railroad Tracks in Main Street Biloxi

On Saturday, March 12th, a casino tour bus stalled out on the railroad tracks on Main Street in Biloxi. Thankfully, no injuries occurred in this incident, although it did take some time for police and emergency workers to clear the bus from the tracks.

Casino bus tours are a growing business. Tour operators promise guided tours as part of a vacation package that includes stops at one or more Biloxi casinos. Unfortunately, charter and tour motorcoaches are often plagued with mechanical problems such as worn-out or out-of adjustment brakes. Additionally, drivers are subject to fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, leading to serious or deadly accidents. On average, more than 1,000 motorcoach accidents occur every year. Dozens of these accidents involve fatalities, and multiple fatalities in a bus accident are not uncommon.

Who is liable to injury victims in a casino bus tour accident? It seems clear that accident victims will seek compensation not only from the negligent driver but also the tour operator which employed the driver and was responsible for maintaining the bus in safe working order. But what about the casinos themselves? After an accident, casinos often try to distance themselves from the tour bus operators, pretending like the tour companies are independent operators. But further investigation may reveal that the casino subsidized the tour. In some cases, casinos may pay a commission to the operator, either on a per passenger basis or even based on how much the passengers gambled during the tour! Many casinos also post tour bus schedules on their website to encourage participation, which seems to imply endorsement of the bus company and the promise of a safe, fun trip.

A seasoned and aggressive injury attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident and seek to include all responsible parties when pursuing claims that arise out of a complicated bus accident. If you have been injured in a casino tour bus accident or other motor vehicle accident or casino injury, call Biloxi attorney Corban Gunn at 228.284.6805 for a free consultation on your potential claims.

When I’m Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Mississippi, What Types of Damages May I Seek?

Published on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm in General.
When I’m Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Mississippi, What Types of Damages May I Seek?

If you’ve been injured because another person or company acted carelessly, you know firsthand that while many of the costs you experienced as a result of the accident were directly measurable, such as repair bills or medical costs, some were less tangible, though still important. While it’s obvious why you would be entitled to reimbursement of those direct costs, you might not realize that you have a right for payment for other ways your life may have been made worse by a personal injury. Should you decide to pursue a claim for damages in court against the party that caused your injuries, a request for non-economic damages will likely be included. What are they, and how are they proven?

Damages can be “Economic” or “Non-Economic”

In a personal injury lawsuit, the damages you request are generally either “economic” or “non-economic.” Economic damages are the types of clearly-measurable or calculable damages which result from an injury, including lost wages from work you missed when you were hurt, expenses resulting from damaged property, costs of medical care and rehabilitation, and any lost future earning capacity caused by your injuries.

Non-economic harm won’t necessarily go away because you receive money damages, but there are nevertheless significant forms of harm to an accident victim that deserve to be compensated in some way. While non-economic damages cannot be measured as easily as economic damages, an experienced trial attorney will be able to use expert testimony, testimony from family or coworkers, evidence of your activity levels before and after an accident, and other persuasive evidence to show the ways in which the injuring accident has diminished your quality of life. Forms of non-economic damages you may be able to recover in Mississippi include:

  • Mental anguish: recoverable when an accident caused the victim to experience serious emotional trauma and distress
  • Pain and suffering: damages available after an accident that was either painful at the time, and/or caused long-term chronic pain going forward
  • Loss of consortium: damages available to the spouse of an accident victim who was rendered unable to be physically intimate with a spouse or provide the household and emotional support roles of a spouse
  • Disfigurement: available to an accident victim who experienced severe visible scarring or disfigurement which causes anguish to the victim.

If you have been hurt in an accident in Mississippi, ensure that you receive all compensation to which you’re entitled after an accident. Consult with knowledgeable and dedicated Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn on your claims by calling 228.284.6805.

Hoverboards Pose a Danger to Users and Their Property

Published on Jan 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm in General.
Hoverboards Pose a Danger to Users and Their Property

It appears that hoverboards, one of the recent holiday season’s most popular gifts, come with some serious safety concerns. Now under investigation by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), owners and riders of hoverboards are encouraged to exercise caution with the futuristic devices.

If you’ve seen them around town, then you know that hoverboards don’t hover, but instead roll. The motorized, self-balancing scooters rely on two wheels, one on either side of footpads that are used to control the device. Riders shift their bodyweight forward on the footpads to roll forward and accelerate, and shift backwards or to either side to reverse or turn. While some models top out at 5 or 6 mph, others can travel up to 15 mph. The devices don’t come cheap—a hoverboard will run you between $300-$1,000.

Law enforcement and safety organizations in the UK have been in a battle against hoverboards for even longer than those in the US. Due to the risk to pedestrians and drivers, it is illegal to ride hoverboards on public streets or sidewalks in the UK. Owners there can only ride them on private property, with the property owner’s consent. The National Trading Standards, the British equivalent of the CPSC, has already recalled 90% of all hoverboards imported into the UK since October of 2015, due to a faulty charging port that can sometimes cause the devices to explode. One British woman was badly burned while riding a hoverboard when the device caught fire.

In the US, the CPSC has received over 70 complaints of property damage or personal injury caused by hoverboards. The CPSC is currently investigating over 20 fires that consumers claim were started by their hoverboards, and has warned owners to monitor the devices carefully for signs of overheating, especially while charging. One Alabama couple has filed a lawsuit in state court seeking compensation for the damage to their home after the hoverboard they purchased caught fire. Another man has filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of a Swagway brand hoverboard after the board he purchased for his daughter burst into flames the first time he charged it. Those who have purchased defective hoverboards that have subsequently caused property damage or injury are encouraged to contact an attorney to determine their rights to compensation for their damages.

If you have purchased a hoverboard in Mississippi that has caused you injury or property damage, contact the experienced Biloxi personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your claims, at 228.284.6805.

New Study Reveals Risk of Head Injury for Infants in Rear-Facing Seats

Published on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:03 am in General.
New Study Reveals Risk of Head Injury for Infants in Rear-Facing Seats

Keeping your children safe when on the road involves weighing a number of competing concerns. Parents can spend weeks or months debating the different options for child safety restraints, trying to find the car seat with the best possible crash rating. Now, a new study has offered additional information on the risk of injury when using rear-facing car seats for infants, pointing out the need for improved car safety restraints for small children.

The study, published in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention, examined the effects of rear-end crashes on infants restrained in rear-facing car seats, using either the car’s lower “LATCH” anchors or the car’s seat belts to secure the car seat. The study found that when a car was involved in a rear-end crash, infants’ rear-facing seats were prone to tipping forward, throwing the infant into the seat back in front of the seat, which caused serious head trauma to the child. The researchers found that this risk of head trauma was greater when the lower LATCH anchors were used, rather than the car’s seat belts.

While rear-facing seat technology stands to be improved to promote greater safety, the researchers involved in the aforementioned study caution parents that rear-facing safety seats remain the best way to ensure infant safety in the event of a crash. The American Association on Pediatrics has recommended since 2010 that infants two years of age or under be restrained in a rear-facing safety seat, and a small number of states legally requires that parents use rear-facing seats when transporting infants. The researchers of the rear-facing seat study have recommended that the safety of these seats would be improved with the use of an additional tether that came from the car’s floor, a style of securing a rear-facing seat that cars in some other countries use with great success.

Mississippi law requires that children under 7 years of age are somehow restrained when riding in a vehicle. Children who are 4 or more years old, but under 7, and who weigh under 65 lbs and are shorter than 57 inches, should be restrained with a booster seat and the car’s built-in seat belt. Children under 4 years of age should be in an appropriate child restraint seat for their size under the law. While the use of a rear-facing seat isn’t legally required in Mississippi, it is recommended for infants age 2 or younger by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

If your child has been injured in a Biloxi car accident and you wish to obtain experienced legal assistance to ensure you’re fully compensated for their injuries, contact skilled personal injury attorney Corban Gunn for a free consultation on your possible lawsuit, at 228.284.6805.

Pulled Over for a DUI in Mississippi?

Published on Nov 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm in General.
Pulled Over for a DUI in Mississippi?

Driving completely sober is always the safest and best way not to get charged with driving under the influence in Mississippi. If you are pulled over under suspicion of a DUI violation, there are some facts you should know about your rights when under questioning by police for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

You do not have to answer questions. When you’re first pulled over by police, you may be nervous and feel tempted to try and talk your way out of the problem. Perhaps you think you’ll be able to explain the situation, or be so agreeable and cooperative that the police will allow you to go without trouble. Resist this urge. Without having a nuanced understanding of the law, it can be difficult to know what will or will not later prove incriminating in a case against you. Instead, politely decline to answer questions beyond providing your name and producing identifying documents, with “I would rather not answer any other questions, officer.”

Taking a handheld portable breath test or other field sobriety tests may not be in your best interest. If the police continue to suspect that you have been driving under the influence, they may ask you to get out of your car and complete one of a series of field sobriety tests, such as a walk and turn test, a portable breath test, or a horizontal gaze nystagmus test (i.e., having you follow their finger with your eyes as they move it back and forth). You have the right in Mississippi to refuse to take these tests, and you should. These tests, including the portable breath test, do not afford an accurate representation of your blood alcohol level, and there is no penalty for refusing to take them. However, always do so politely and respectfully. An officer cannot arrest you simply for refusing to take these tests; an arrest requires probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime.

If you are arrested and asked to take a chemical test, there is a penalty for refusing to do so. Once the officer has placed you under arrest and taken you to the station, you will no longer have the right to refuse without penalty to take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level. Should you nevertheless refuse to take one of these tests, you will face certain penalties. In Mississippi, a driver who refuses a chemical test faces a license suspension of at least 90 days for the first time they refuse to take a chemical test, where there is no prior conviction for a DUI. However, you do have the right to have your blood alcohol level tested by an independent medical facility after completing the police-administered test, and to obtain the results of the test completed by police. Once you are arrested, call an attorney immediately to determine how you should proceed.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Mississippi, contact Biloxi DUI defense attorney Corban Gunn for a consultation on your claims, at 228.284.6805.

Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Results in Lawsuits by Defrauded Consumers

Published on Oct 7, 2015 at 10:59 am in General.
Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Results in Lawsuits by Defrauded Consumers

In a massive deception which will likely result in billions of dollars in costs to the German automaker, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Volkswagen installed a device in some of its cars specifically to deceive air quality smog inspections. The EPA claims that Volkswagen installed software in cars manufactured between 2008 and 2015 that enables cars equipped with diesel engines to bypass emissions standards that they would otherwise not pass. The “defeat device” software is engineered to ensure that, while the car is undergoing emissions testing, it emits minimal pollutants, but does not control these pollutants while the car is on the road. The EPA estimates that the cars actually emit the harmful pollutant nitrogen oxide at 40 times the federal limit. Should Volkswagen’s cars be found noncompliant with EPA guidelines after a full investigation is completed, the manufacturer may be liable for up to $18 billion in civil penalties. These fines would be on top of the cost of recalling and repairing the vehicles, as well as any damages in civil lawsuits.

Attorneys General from at least 27 states, including Mississippi, have come together to investigate the Volkswagen fraud, and a number of states have already filed suit against the car manufacturer. The US Department of Justice has also opened an inquiry, as have the governments of South Korea and Germany. A number of private class actions have been filed on behalf of Volkswagen and Audi owners, as well, including on behalf of owners in Iowa, New York, Illinois and California, by owners who feel defrauded by the company’s false statements regarding the environmentally-friendly and fuel-conserving nature of the cars.

There are believed to be roughly 11 million vehicles using the defeat device worldwide, with roughly 482,000 of those being diesel cars in the US. Owners of the following models manufactured between 2009-2015 should contact their local dealer regarding the recall: Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Beetle, Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Passat, manufactured between 2014-2015.

If you have been the victim of fraud or of a defectively manufactured product, ensure that you’re compensated for the deceit perpetrated on you by contacting skilled product liability attorney Corban Gunn to discuss your claims, at 228.284.6805.

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