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Workplace Injury

Workplace Injury

Employers in the United States are required to provide a reasonably safe, nonhazardous working environment for their employees. In cases where employers fail to meet this requirement and an injury results, in most cases a workers’ compensation claim will be the most efficient way to handle the situation.


Accidents can also happen even when employers have made every effort to create safe and healthy working conditions for their employees. In our country, the workers’ compensation claims system will compensate employees in the same way they would had the employer been at fault in some way.


In some cases, however, there does exist the opportunity to the injured employee to seek further damages, such as from the manufacturer of a product that caused the injury, or from a third party who caused the injury during your work hours. In those cases, a different set of actions are available to you to take and you should consult with an attorney to learn about these.


In most cases, though, workers’ compensation will be the exclusive remedy to the workplace injury claim, and it is important that you understand your rights if you are in this situation. While these right do vary from state to state, as do the protocols surrounding their implementation, the following are a list of core rights that are generally recognized:


  • You have the right to visit a medical practitioner and seek medical treatment in response to the injury or injuries you sustained on the job.


  • You have the right to file a claim for your injury or injuries through the workers’ compensation court. In fact, it is illegal for your employer to offer any incentive to dissuade you from doing so.


  • You have the right to return to your position at your workplace if your doctor or other medical professional determines that it is appropriate and releases you to do so.


  • If your injury or injuries cause you to be unable to return to your job, you have the right to some kind of compensation for this disability to work. This is the case whether the inability to work is temporary or permanent, as determined by your healthcare professional.


  • You have the right to appeal any decision made by your employer, your employer’s insurance company or the workers’ compensation court.


  • You have the right to refuse to use your own health insurance coverage for an injury sustained on the job, even if your employer asks you to do so.


The legal system built around this area of the law is meant to ensure that employees pursuing a workers’ compensation claim can exercise that right without fear of reprisal or harassment from their employer. There are legal penalties in place for employers who engage in this type of behavior. If you or a loved one have been injured on the job and believe that you are being treated unfairly at work due to your attempt to pursue a workers’ compensation claim, you should contact a workplace law attorney to discuss the details of your case.

Product Defect Attorney

Product Defect Attorney

How to Determine if You Have a Product Defect Claim

Manufacturers have an obligation to provide products to consumers that are safe to use, and do not put their purchaser or user in harm’s way. Unfortunately, thousands of products are recalled by large manufacturers each year due to a failure to meet these basic safety standards.


As a consumer, it is important that you understand your rights in situations in which you believe you have suffered injury or economic loss due to the failure of a faulty product or device. In such cases, we recommend that you contact an experienced product defect attorney immediately to determine whether you have a valid claim, and to pursue and receive fair compensation from the manufacturer.


When you meet with a product defect attorney, he or she will assess your claim based upon whether your case fits one of the three following categories: a defectively manufactured product, a defectively designed product, or a failure by the manufacturer to provide adequate warnings or instruction concerning the proper and safe use of the product.


  1. Defectively Manufactured Products

This is the type of product defect case that most people most easily recognize as cause for litigation. When a consumer purchases a product that has some flaw to it that other ones on the shelf do not, like an appliance with a faulty cord or a bad batch of juice containing a poisonous substance, then there is a chance that you may have a warranted defective product claim. Generally in these cases, there was some error or flaw in the factory or manufacturing process where the product was created, like a machine failure or a spill, that caused the flaw in the product.


It is important to note that in each of these types of cases, the damage suffered, whether bodily harm or economic loss, must have been caused due to the product flaw itself. As an example, in a vehicle claim in which the vehicle was defective due to poorly installed, faulty brakes, you would have to be able to prove that an accident or injury that occurred was due to the faulty brakes, and not a result of poor driving or other decisions under the control of the driver.


  1. Design Defect

The difference between a case based on design defect and defectively manufactured products is that the flaw of the defectively manufactured product is limited to a single unit or batch of an item, which design defects impact a whole line or model of product. For instance, if an identified model or line of motorcycles or vehicles is determined to have a flaw in its brake system, or if a particular washing machine model is found to have a propensity to grow mold or mildew due to faulty design, then a product defect attorney would identify your case as a design defect claim.


  1. Failure to Adequately Provide Warning or Instruction

When a product manufacturer does not provide consumers with sufficient warnings or instructions on how to use the product in a safe way, there is often a case to be made by a product defect attorney. Examples are a medicine that does not include information in its label about dangerous side effects, or a cleaning agent that does not inform the user that fumes are dangerous to breathe and therefore a mask should be worn while it is being used.


In each case, it is important that you receive the best representation possible by an experienced product defect attorney. We encourage you to contact us here at Gill Ladner and Priest so that we can talk to you about your potential product liability claim.


Death Caused by Negligence

Wrongful Death

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When an individual dies as a result of an accident or injury caused by the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or other entity, then you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the offending party.


The elements of a wrongful death claim are the same as those of a personal injury claim, with the qualification that the negligence or misconduct of the offending party led to the death of the person on behalf of which the loved ones are making the claim. In both types of cases, the plaintiff must prove that it was the fault or misconduct of the individual, company or other entity in question that resulted in the death of their loved one.


Rules regarding who is entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit vary by state, as do the stipulations regarding the statute of limitations on filing the suit. This is why it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney about your case if you are in question as to whether or not you qualify or should proceed toward such a claim.


In general, immediate relatives of deceased individuals are able to file wrongful death suits as representatives of their loved one’s estate, whereas the more distant in relation to the deceased relative or loved on is, the less likely their chances of being able to successfully make the claim. Again, consulting with a legal professional concerning your case will help you determine your qualification for filing. Courts do often recognize life partners, financial dependents and putative spouses, which are individuals who considered themselves married to the deceased individual for all intents and purposes, who never legally filed for marriage.


Wrongful death lawsuits can take place in connection to homicide charges, when the family members or other estate representatives decide to file suit against the offending party following a criminal homicide trial. In the wrongful death suit, a lower threshold of evidence is required to successfully win the case; while a criminal trial requires that guilt be proven beyond reasonable doubt, a civil trial requires that the defendant’s guilt be determined by a preponderance of the evidence.


The objective of a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover compensation from the defendant for economic damages such as lost expected earnings of the deceased, non-economic damages such as the survivors’ mental anguish and suffering, and punitive damages to punish the wrongdoing of the defending party. Contact our experienced team of attorneys here at Gill Ladner and Priest to learn more about how we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Injury at work

Injured on the Job

When You Need More Than Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is essentially an agreement between employers and employees that when an injury occurs on the job, their will be financial compensation made to the injured party. In exchange, employees are not able to file a lawsuit against their employer. There are areas of professional service in which there exist exemptions to this rule, such as some law enforcement, fire men, interstate railroad workers, and crew members of vessels, but individuals in these lines of duty should consult with a personal injury or workplace law attorney to determine their eligibility.


The purpose of workers’ compensation is to shorten and streamline the process of financial compensation to an injured party once an incident occurs on the job. Otherwise, claims filed in the traditional court system would take more time and be more costly to both employers and injured employees.


One key reason that these cases are able to move more quickly through a workers’ compensation insurance company claims process is that fault does not need to be proven in order for payment to be made to the injured party. This is the primary difference between workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases, that require that the fault of the defending party be proven by the plaintiff.


Another major difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation cases is that damages awarded in personal injury cases can include non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation is limited to compensation for financial loss due to medical treatment, lost wages and other economic damages.


There are cases in which an employee who is injured on the job can file a personal injury claim. If the injury is sustained at the fault of a third party, such as a driver who runs a stop sign and hits your car while you are on company time or a delivery person who causes some bodily injury to you. In these instances, you can file a claim against the third party—the driver or delivery man—to receive compensation for your injuries.


In addition, if a piece of machinery, equipment or other product at your workplace injures you in some way, there is the possibility that you could bring a products liability case against the manufacturer of that product. In the same vein, if a toxic substance in your work environment causes you harm, such as a poison or a toxic cleaning agent, you may have reason to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.


There are cases in which employers have not bought into workers’ compensation insurance, in which case you can often still file a civil lawsuit against them for your injuries sustained on the job. In each of these cases, we at Gill Ladner and Priest recommend that you consult with one of our skilled attorneys who is well-versed in workplace law and injuries claims. We are here to help you determine the best path of action for your situation.

BP Oil Spill News

BP Oil Spill

Legal Options for Individuals and Businesses

    The BP oil spill that took place when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 was one of the biggest in history. Its effect on the individuals, communities and businesses both directly and indirectly impacted by the incident is still felt today, and will continue for years to come.
    In the time period following the incident, individuals and businesses negatively impacted by the BP oil spill have taken varying legal actions to receive just compensation for their losses. Legal action has primarily been taken against defendants BP; Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig; Halliburton, the well contractor; and Cameron International, the company responsible for manufacturing the blowout preventer mechanism on the oil rig.
    If you or your business have suffered losses due to this incident such as the following, you may qualify for just compensation from BP or one of the other defendants The majority of claims made in connection with the BP oil spill have been consolidated into a multiparty settlement program. The purpose of this act of court-supervised consolidation was to simplify and streamline the claims process for all parties involved.
    Should you as an individual or as a business owner qualify as a plaintiff in connection with this settlement program, it is important to act quickly to determine your best course of action as there is limited time remaining to do so. June 8, 2015, has been established as the deadline to submit a claim in the Economic and Property Damages Settlement.
    BP has established a $20 billion fund that is meant to compensate individual and businesses impacted by the oil spill who participate in this multiparty settlement program. In order to be included in the reimbursement of funds to make up for losses suffered due to the incident, any impacted parties who have not already done so should consult a qualified legal professional to determine if this settlement program is a fit for your situation.
    In the end, the courses of legal recourse that are available to individuals and businesses that have suffered losses as a result of the April 2010 oil spill are varied. The Economic and Property Damages Settlement program may not be the best course of action to take for you or your business. Perhaps an individual lawsuit would be more effective. Many times, the amount of compensation believed to be owed can make a big difference in determining the best path forward. Decisions like these are best made with the professional advice of an experienced attorney.
    Lost individual income and business profits: Many individuals and businesses qualify for payment from a compensation fund set up by BP to compensate for their losses as a result of the oil spill. In addition, many have filed both individual and group lawsuits against BP seeking repayment for their losses.
    The legal team at Gill Ladner and Priest is well versed in this area of the law and is ready and willing to hear your story, so that we can take steps to help you find just compensation for your losses. You can reach us now at 601-352-5700.

Car Accident Insurance Attorney

Car Accident

The Actions to Take Immediately Following an Accident

    The minutes and hours immediately following a car accident are some of the most critical you will face in connection with such an incident. An accident can be emotionally and physically damaging, and it is not uncommon for many people to experience shock under the circumstances, but it important to be intentional about remaining calm so that you can take in as much information as possible while you are on the scene.
    First, it is extremely important that you do not admit guilt at the accident scene, even if you feel that you might indeed be the cause of the accident at the time. At this point, you only know your immediate and limited perspective definitively, and should not assume guilt. In fact, it is the policy of many insurance companies that an insurance policy be terminated if their covered driver makes a statement of assumed guilt, as this will generally assure a determination of fault on their covered driver’s side.
    A little known fact is that even a simple apology to the other affected drivers and passengers on the scene can be used against you as an admition of guilt by insurance companies or the court, should your case end up in litigation. To be on the safe side, any legal professional will advise you to say as little as possible following an accident.
    If the other driver or drivers approaches you and makes a statement of guilt, or provides information as to what they saw or experienced leading up to the accident, it is a good idea to record such information in written or recorded audio format, such as the voice memo function available on most current cell phones. This information may benefit your case once you can communicate with your insurance company or attorney should you find it necessary to seek legal counsel.
    Helpful insight and evidence can also be gathered from witnesses to the accident such as bystanders or other drivers who may have stopped to assist at the scene. Conditions such as the condition of the road, traffic conditions and weather can also prove important. Again, recording this information with a camera, voice memo or through written notes on the scene will be critical once the accident scene is cleared and any disagreement regarding determination of guilt ensues.
    Your statement to the law enforcement officer who arrives on the scene should be as direct and clear as possible, in an effort to paint a clear picture of exactly what you saw and heard leading up to and following the accident. This statement should include what was spoken to you by the other driver or drivers involved before the officers’ arrival.
    It is also a good idea to seek medical attention following an accident, as injuries such as whiplash may not be immediately detectable but still serious. In addition, it is important to note that allowing time to pass before seeking such attention gives the opposing drivers’ insurance company or attorney reason to attempt to dismiss the severity of your injury.
    Your best chance of protecting yourself from legal action by the other parties involved, and to reach the best settlement possible with an insurance company, is to have a trusted, experienced attorney by your side. Again, time will be of the essence in cases such as these, so we recommend that you reach out to us here at Gill Ladner and Priest as soon as possible.