July 23, 2016

Summer is dangerous time for lawnmowers

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When summer rolls around it almost results in more yard work. It's sunny and hot, the grass is green and that means it's time to get out the lawnmower. Though lawn maintenance is typically uneventful, that is sadly not always the case and it can come as a real shock when something as simple as mowing the grass turns deadly. That's just what happened this past week in Mississippi, where two incidents involving lawnmowers left one man seriously injured and another dead.

The first incident occurred in Yazoo City, MS, earlier this week when a man died in a lawnmower accident. According to police, the man, Ronnie Warren, was operating a zero-turn mower to cut grass. The homeowners say they noticed later in the evening that something was wrong when they realized that they hadn't seen Warren in some time. They left their house to see if they could find him and discovered that Warren was trapped under the mower.

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July 20, 2016

Is Workers' Compensation Sexist?

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You wouldn't ordinarily think that something like workers' compensation benefit guides could be sexist. After all, an injury is an injury, so it shouldn't matter the gender of the person being impacted by it. A recent lawsuit in California aims to challenge that idea, arguing that the state's workers' comp system is not only sexist, but deeply so, and that it has been consistently discriminating against women by undervaluing the harm they suffer.

The case at issue was filed on behalf of several women in Los Angeles County. The plaintiffs are attempting to receive class action certification and bring a claim representing thousands more women. Two of the women involved in the initial lawsuit are former police officers who both received mastectomies. In one instance, the officer said she developed breast cancer due to exposure to toxins, something a medical evaluator agreed with. Though the injury was deemed work-related, the disability guide used by California said that there is no permanent impairment due to the loss of a woman's breast.

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July 18, 2016

Tesla and the legal risk of Autopilot

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Tesla has been cool for years now, ever since the first car rolled off the assembly line people have been clamoring to get their hands on one. Those with enough money to pay for the pricey early models had to tolerate months-long waitlists. One reason for the excitement is how technologically cutting edge the vehicles are. Not only are the cars fully electric, but a host of snazzy features have captured the country's attention and curiosity.

One excellent example is the feature known as "Autopilot". As the name implies, once a driver turns on the Autopilot feature, the vehicle will essentially control itself. Drivers often take their hands of the steering wheel and marvel as the vehicle moves itself, steering, braking and accelerating, all on its own. Though the feature is undoubtedly neat, many questions have arisen in recent weeks about what this feature may mean for the company from a legal perspective following the death recent death of a driver who had the Autopilot feature engaged.

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July 15, 2016

Study Says Nursing Home Residents Can Be Victims and Perpetrators of Abuse

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Anyone with an elderly loved one in a nursing home understands what it's like to worry. You worry about the person's wellbeing, whether they're eating or sleeping enough, whether they're happy and healthy, and you worry about whether they are being properly cared for. When you turn care of a loved one over to a stranger, many worry about the possibility of abuse or neglect, oftentimes at the hands of caregivers. A recent survey indicates that there may be another cause for concern: other residents.

According to a study conducted by the head of the Center for Aging Research and Clinic Care, 20 percent of nursing home residents suffered some kind of mistreatment at the hands of other residents. The study took place over a month and focused on 10 nursing homes across New York. More than 2,000 nursing home residents participated in the study, making this the first large study to ever specifically examine resident-to-resident abuse.

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June 17, 2016

Mississippi Auto Insurance Rates Poised To Rise

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Mississippi apparently has a perfect storm brewing with respect to auto insurance rates. The state has long led the country in vehicle repair costs, has recently seen an increase in not only the total number of car accidents, but also in the number of drunk driving crashes, and has seen reduced law enforcement presence on state and local roadways. These issues have combined to result in what many believe will be a whopping insurance increase for Mississippi drivers.

According to the state Insurance Commissioner, insurance carriers in Mississippi are expected to ask for rate increases of between 10 and 20 percent over the next several months. Others have said that initial increases may be lower, but the trajectory is the same. Insurers operating in Mississippi have seen mounting costs associated with auto insurance and, as a result, it won't be long until the insurers attempt to pass along those costs to drivers.

One of the biggest factors in the increasing insurance rates is that vehicle repairs costs have ballooned, up more than 16% in recent years. Beyond that, the frequency of car wrecks on Mississippi roads and highways has also taken a big jump. The Mississippi Highway Patrol says that there have been a 10 percent increase in crashes since the beginning of this year when compared with numbers from 2015.

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June 13, 2016

Motorcycle Deaths Continue To

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Most people understand that riding a motorcycle doesn't come without some danger. The sheer lack of physical protection means that the risk of something bad happening is greater than when traveling in passenger vehicles. Motorcycles are much smaller, weigh much less, don't have seat belts, airbags or a whole host of other crucial safety features. Despite all these potential drawbacks, motorcycles continue to sell at a brisk pace and, according to experts, the number of motorcyclists continues to increase.

Though the motorcycle manufacturing business may be doing well, the same cannot always be said for the riders. Recent statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicate that riding a motorcycle has become even more dangerous in recent years, with the number of deaths tied to motorcycle crashes rising by double digits. The latest data shows that slightly more than 5,000 people were killed on motorcycles in 2015, an increase of approximately 10 percent over 2014 numbers.

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June 9, 2016

Shoulder of the Road Accidents Often Prove Dangerous

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An officer with the Mississippi Highway Patrol experienced firsthand the danger that can come with sitting on the shoulder of a road. A spokesperson for the MHP said that last month an officer and his K-9 were injured in a serious accident that occurred one afternoon. The patrol vehicle the two were sitting in was struck from behind while parked on the shoulder of Mississippi 45 in Tupelo, MS.

Authorities say that the trooper was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries, but is expected to make a full recovery. The K-9 was also injured in the crash and was transported to a veterinarian to be checked out. Thankfully, he too is expected to survive. Given that the accident was from behind, which is an especially dangerous and frequently deadly variety of collision, and given that the K-9 was not restrained at the time, it's a miracle the injuries weren't worse.

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June 6, 2016

Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death

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It's long been known that medical mistakes lead to serious harm, resulting in terrible injuries and even death to unsuspecting patients. Though families might expect harm to occur due to unexpected health emergencies, it's often hard to accept that a family member was harmed at the hands of trained medical professionals, the very people entrusted to help. Just how bad the problem was has been difficult to ascertain, though researchers at Johns Hopkins say they think they might have some idea.

According to a recently published study by experts at Johns Hopkins School Medicine, medical errors deserve to be deemed the third leading cause of death for those living in the United States. If that's true, then that places medical errors behind only heart disease and cancer as the biggest killers of Americans. Both heart disease and cancer are responsible for taking the lives of about 600,000 people each and every year. Researchers estimate that medical errors were responsible for killing 250,000 people each year. The fourth leading cause of death (formerly third) is respiratory disease, which kills more than 150,000 people each year.

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May 19, 2016

VW prepares to offer buy back of recalled vehicles

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Sources close to the Volkswagen negotiations with U.S. government officials say the company is getting close to announcing a deal that would finally answer questions about how it intended to deal with the hundreds of thousands of recalled vehicles. Sources say the automaker will offer to buy back nearly half a million impacted vehicles, an attempt to turn the page on a disastrous period for the car company.

The company said that it will agree to buy back up to 500,000 of the older 2.0-liter diesel engine vehicles sold in the U.S., which contain flawed software designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests. This means that the Jettas, Golfs and Audi A3s sold since 2009 would be included. However, another 100,000 vehicles with larger 3.0-liter diesel engines, mainly Audi and Porsche models, will not be part of the buyback offer.

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May 17, 2016

Semi-Trucks Involved In Recent Deadly Mississippi Car Accidents

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Two recent crashes in Mississippi reveal just how dangerous accidents involving passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers can be. Though most people understand that passenger cars and semi-trucks aren't evenly matched, people often forget how catastrophic the results are when the two collide. Sadly, the harm is almost always suffered by those in the passenger vehicles whose cars were no match for giant commercial trucks weighing 10 or 20 times more.

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May 12, 2016

Georgia Car Accident Victim Sues Teen Driver And Snapchat

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Safety experts, legislators, law enforcement authorities, parents and even private companies have all gone out of their way to warn teens about the dangers associated with distracted driving. Though cellphones pose dangers to drivers of all ages, studies indicate that younger drivers are more likely than others to use their phones while operating a motor vehicle and are more likely to become involved in an accident as a result. The combination of a distracting activity and inexperience behind the wheel can lead to sometimes deadly results.

The latest example of the harm that can come when teens are distracted behind the wheel occurred in Georgia, where an 18-year-old is now being sued for causing an accident that left the driver of the other car seriously injured. Though accidents caused by teen drivers are hardly news, personal injury suits that target multibillion dollar technology companies are. In this case, the teen and Snapchat are both being sued by the victim of the accident who is seeking compensation for the harm he suffered as a result of what he says was a Snapchat-related crash.

The accident occurred last year when Christal McGee and three of her friends were driving around town in a Mercedes-Benz a little before 10 p.m. Exactly what happened next depends on who you believe. Christal claims that an oncoming driver, Wentworth Maynard, drifted into her line, causing her to run off the road and lose control of her vehicle. Wentworth says that it was Christal who caused the accident, claiming that the teen was using Snapchat at the time and speeding recklessly as a result.

An accident reconstructionist has said that Christal was driving 107 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The accident was severe and Wentworth was hospitalized for five weeks, suffering serious brain damage as a result. Wentworth and his wife are now suing Christal and Snapchat in an attempt to be compensated for the expenses associated with their accident and subsequent recovery.

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May 10, 2016

Boy Dies After ATV Hit By Vehicle


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Most people think of riding four-wheelers as relatively harmless fun. In fact, the all-terrain vehicles are seen as safe enough that children can ride them. The problem is that ATVs are still motorized vehicles and can cause serious harm given the right circumstances. This is doubly true when the ATVs are allowed out on public roadways where they can encounter much larger and faster passenger vehicles.

Police in Fulton, MS say they are investigating a case where an 11-year-old boy died while out for a ride on his four-wheeler. Police say that details are still sketchy, but it appears that he was on his ATV on Van Buren Road in the mid-afternoon when he was hit by a car. The driver of the automobile was also injured in the accident and taken to a hospital for treatment.

So far no charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle. Police say they that the Mississippi Highway Patrol will investigate the accident and what may have led to the deadly crash. They will even bring in accident reconstructionists to help recreate the crash scene.

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April 21, 2016

Mississippi Law Enforcement Focuses On Texting During National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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Everyone should know by now that distracted driving is dangerous. In fact, studies show that distracted driving presents many of the same risks, both to occupants of the vehicle and unsuspecting drivers on the road, as drinking and driving. Given these dangers, some law enforcement officials in Mississippi have decided to crack down on texting while driving, one of the most egregious (and easily prevented) forms of distracted driving.

Many people may be unaware that a law was passed in Mississippi last year that ratcheted up penalties for those found texting while driving. Thankfully, some police departments took notice and have used the new rules to enforce responsible driving. The sheriff in Harrison County, MS has especially targeted distracted drivers since coming into office only a few months ago. Deputies in that department have already written nearly two-dozen texting while driving tickets and say they expect to write even more come the summer when fines associated with the infraction rise.

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April 18, 2016

Woman Wins $10 Million Wrongful-Death Verdict Against Domino's

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In a tragic case out of Florida a woman won a $10 million wrongful-death judgment against the Domino's delivery driver who caused an accident that led to the death of her husband. Domino's has said it intends to appeal, arguing that the driver is an employee of an independent franchisee and that Domino's should thus avoid legal liability for his actions.

The crash occurred back in 2011 when the Domino's driver pulled out into Richard and Yvonne Wiederhold's lane of traffic. Richard, a fire chief, swerved to avoid colliding with the delivery vehicle, which caused his car to flip and crash into a tree. Yvonne was in the car too and suffered serious cuts to her legs, but Richard was left paralyzed from the chest down. Yvonne then spent the next 15 months caring for her husband, feeding him through a tube and bathing him. Unfortunately, Richard developed a blood clot and died shortly thereafter, a complication associated with his paralysis.

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April 15, 2016

Another Shoe Drops In The Ongoing VW Emissions Scandal

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For months now, Volkswagen has been embroiled in disputes with American regulators, safety experts, European officials and, more recently, consumers. The company has been fighting a multi-front battle, trying to keep itself afloat while refusing to take the kinds of responsibility critics have urged executives to consider. Unfortunately for VW, they now appear to have yet another unhappy group to contend with: dealerships.

Earlier this month a group of three family-owned and operated dealerships based in Illinois and Florida filed suit against Volkswagen. The dealer is claiming that the company intentionally defrauded them (not to mention consumers) when it installed the software on its diesel engines designed to trick government emissions tests.

Specifically, the lawsuit, which is structured as a possible class-action claim, alleges that VW and its executive leadership misled dealers into investing millions of dollars building fancy showrooms designed to market supposedly environmentally friendly vehicles all the while the company was working hard to cheat emissions tests. The lawsuit claims that the eco-conscious reputation of the company was a veneer and that this ended up costing dealers across the country a lot of money.

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