If you have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) following an accident, there is a lot you need to know. First, and most importantly, you are not alone. Professional help is available in the greater Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula areas. There are top-notch medical professionals who can assist you through every stage of the recovery process.
Second, you may be entitled to a significant financial recovery. As you are undoubtedly learning, the financial and non-financial costs can be substantial. Even if you expect to make a full recovery, you could easily incur tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages before you return to your normal life. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-financial losses are eligible for financial compensation in Mississippi as well – the economic value of these losses could very well exceed your direct financial harm.
Third, if you are entitled to a financial recovery, it should cost you nothing out of pocket to recover the compensation you deserve. Your initial consultation with a Gulfport brain injury lawyer should be free, and you should not be asked to pay anything unless you win just compensation. Your situation is challenging enough without wondering if your attorney is treating you fairly. This form of contingency-fee representation ensures that your attorney will always have your best interests in mind.
Personalized Service and Contingency-Fee Representation for Claims
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, our injury lawyers provide experienced legal representation for accident victims diagnosed with traumatic brain injury in the greater Gulfport area. We take a personalized approach that ensures our clients receive the treatment they need and the compensation they deserve. And we do not charge any fees or costs unless we win. Our experienced Gulfport brain injury attorneys have experience in cases involving a variety of different types of accidents, and we represent individuals and families in cases involving all types of traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any of the following (or if you simply have questions and would like to speak with our experienced Biloxi brain injury lawyers), we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation:
- Coup-contrecoup injury
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Intracerebral hemorrhage
- Penetrating brain injury
- Skull fracture
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs): Seeking Financial Compensation for TBI in Mississippi
Q: When can a person seek financial compensation for a traumatic brain injury?
The general rule for traumatic brain injury claims (and all other personal injury claims) is that you must be able to prove negligence or a product defect in order to recover financial compensation. From running a stop sign to failing to fix a broken railing, negligence can take a variety of different forms. Our Gulfport brain injury attorneys represent clients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries in all types of accidents, including:
- Motor vehicle (car, truck, and motorcycle) accidents
- Nursing home negligence and abuse
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Premises-related accidents (slips, trips, and falls)
- Product-related accidents
- Sports accidents
Q: What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
The symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can vary depending upon the severity and nature of the damage caused. Potential symptoms for a minor case can include:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Signs of a potentially serious brain injury include:
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Persistent or severe headache
- Visual impairments
If you are experiencing (or have experienced) any of these symptoms following an accident and you have not sought medical attention, you should do so immediately.
Q: How common are traumatic brain injuries?
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that traumatic brain injuries are exceedingly common. According to the CDC:
“TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI. Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or the rest of their lives. . . . In 2013, about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States. . . . TBI was a diagnosis in more than 282,000 hospitalizations and 2.5 million ED visits. These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.”
Q: What are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries?
According to the CDC’s data, the three most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are all accident-related. These are:
- Being struck by an object
- Motor vehicle collisions
TBI resulting from falls account for nearly half of all TBI-related hospital visits, and they are particularly common among the elderly and children under the age of 14. Being struck by an object and motor vehicle collisions each account for approximately 15 percent of all TBI-related hospital visits in the United States each year. Contact our Gulfport brain injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Q: What are the costs of treatment for TBI?
The costs of treatment for TBI are heavily-dependent upon the severity of a person’s injury. Common forms of treatment for TBI include:
- Pain medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Anti-seizure medications
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Occupational rehabilitation
Combined with loss of income and the out-of-pocket costs associated with severe accident-related injuries, these costs can far exceed what most people have the ability to pay. This makes it vital for TBI victims to seek legal advice about filing a claim for just compensation.
Q: Can I seek financial compensation if my spouse, parent, or child has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury?
Possibly. Depending upon the circumstances involved, you may be able to file a claim on behalf of your loved one. You may be entitled to compensation for your own financial and non-financial losses as well. For more information, please contact our brain injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We serve the greater Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula areas.
Call an Experienced Gulfport Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
Serving the Greater Biloxi and Pascagoula areas also.
If you or a loved one have been a victim, let a dedicated Gulfport traumatic brain injury attorney from Smith & Holder help you. To learn more about your legal rights in a free and confidential consultation, please call (228) 206-7076 or inquire online today. Our law office is located in Gulfport, Mississippi and we are honored to serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties with many types of personal injury legal representation.Read More
Trusted Gulfport Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Serving Victims in Biloxi Also
Among all of the different types of accident-related injuries, perhaps no diagnosis is more distressing than a spinal cord injury. Your spinal cord is one of the most important – and most fragile – parts of your body. Even a relatively-minor injury can have a lifetime of consequences.
With symptoms ranging from back pain to paralysis, spinal cord injuries (SCI) can take several different forms, and they can impact all levels of the spine. While injuries higher up the spinal cord tend to have the greatest potential consequences, all traumatic spinal cord injuries should be treated as potential medical emergencies.
Experienced Lawyers for Spinal Cord Injuries are On Your Side
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we are committed to helping accident victims who have suffered severe traumatic injuries recover just compensation for their losses. We understand the life-altering effects of spinal cord injuries, and we know that recovery can be a slow, difficult, and painful process. We also know that it can be extraordinarily expensive, and that accident victims often struggle to recover the money they need to move on.
If you have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury following a vehicle collision or other accident in Gulfport, we are here to help. Our spinal code injury lawyers are here to explain your legal rights in language you can understand, and we are here to make sure you win the compensation you deserve. One of our injury attorneys will meet with you personally in a free and confidential consultation. If you cannot travel we will come to you. And if you hire us to represent you, you won’t pay a dime until you receive a settlement or win a verdict at trial.
Common Causes of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries
Our practice involves representing individuals and families who are struggling to cope with the effects of all types of accident-related injuries. Regardless of what happened, if you or a family member has been diagnosed with an injury involving your spinal cord, you owe it to yourself to find out if you have a claim for compensation. As experienced Gulfport Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys we have the expertise in representing accident victims in the greater Gulfport area, and we handle cases including those involving:
- Automotive Accidents
- Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
- Premises-Related Accidents (including Slips, Trips, and Falls)
- Product Liability – Related Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
These, including motorcycle accidents, sports and recreation accidents in addition to other accidents, can cause many different types of spinal cord injuries. We help accident victims who have been diagnosed with injuries such as:
- Anterior Cord Syndrome
- Brown-Sequard Syndrome
- Central Cord Syndrome
- Herniated Discs
- Penetrating Spinal Cord Injuries
- Spinal Fractures
Answers to FAQs: Spinal Cord Injuries from Vehicle Collisions and Other Accidents
Q: How common are spinal cord injuries from automotive accidents?
Spinal cord injuries from automotive accidents are more common than most people realize. In fact, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), auto accidents are the leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries among people under the age of 65. Falls are the leading cause for older individuals, although many seniors will be at increased risk for these types of personal injuries in the event of a motor vehicle collision as well.
Q: What are the initial symptoms of a traumatic spinal cord injury?
While the symptoms of different types of spinal cord injuries vary, muscle pain and weakness are common signs of all types of traumatic SCI. Other common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestive problems
- Heart rate or blood pressure abnormalities
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of sensation (particularly in the torso, arms and legs)
- Muscle spasticity
- Sexual dysfunction
If you are concerned about a possible injury to your spinal cord and you have not yet sought medical attention, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure where to go for treatment, we can provide you with a referral.
Q: What is an acute spinal cord injury?
In the context of SCI, “acute” is another word for traumatic. So, an acute spinal cord injury is any injury that results from an impact, tearing, torsion, or penetration of the spine.
Q: Can I recover my lost wages if I am unable to work due to a traumatic injury to my spinal cord?
Yes, if someone else was at fault in the accident, you are entitled to recover all of your financial and non-financial losses under Mississippi law. This includes your lost wages through the date of your settlement or court verdict as well as future lost wages if you are diagnosed with a long-term disability. In many cases, accident victims’ future losses will be far greater than the losses they suffer while their case is pending. Accurately calculating future losses is a crucial step toward recovering just compensation.
Q: Can I recover financial compensation for chronic back pain?
Yes. “Pain and suffering” is a category of non-financial losses that can be recovered in a successful personal injury claim in Mississippi. In addition to compensation for your ongoing medical treatment and prescriptions, we can help you seek compensation for the physical and psychological effects of your injured spinal cord.
Committed and Aggressive Advocates for Accident Victims
If you have questions about your legal rights, it is important that you speak with an injury attorney promptly. Here are five reasons why accident victims in Gulfport trust lawyers Chris Smith and Morgan Holder:
- Personalized Attention: We care about your case, and it shows.
- Direct 24/7 Access: You can reach your injury attorney directly 24/7.
- Attention to Detail: We focus on the details to maximize our clients’ recoveries.
- Unwavering Commitment: We do what it takes to win.
- Client-Focused Representation: If you aren’t satisfied, neither are we.
Contact our Gulfport Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
To find out how much you are entitled to recover for the injury to your spinal cord, please contact us to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation. Call (228) 206-7076 today to speak with our Gulfport personal injury attorneys about your case, we are here to help you. Phone directly, or send us your contact information and we will call, text, or email you shortly. Our law firm is located in Gulfport, Mississippi and we are honored to serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties.Read More
Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm
Car accidents can cause serious injuries, and even individuals involved in “minor” collisions will often require extensive treatment while experiencing prolonged pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident in Gulfport or Biloxi, you should seek medical attention immediately and speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Motorcycle riders can experience serious injuries in high-side and low-side accidents. If you went down because a negligent driver merged into your lane, turned in front of you, or made any other mistake that left you with no place to go, we can help you seek full compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Trucking accidents are among the most dangerous of all vehicle collisions. Rear-end collisions, overrides, underrides, and other types of commercial truck accidents can leave drivers and passengers with life-changing injuries, and they are often the result of truck driver or trucking company negligence.
Premises-related accidents, including slips, trips, and falls, can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, and they can cause a variety of different types of traumatic injuries. If you slipped or tripped on someone else’s property, if you were injured on an elevator or escalator, if you fell down a dangerous set of stairs, or if you were injured in any other premises-related accident, we can seek to hold the property owner fully accountable for your injury-related losses.
Product liability claims are unique from other types of personal injury claims in that proof of negligence is not required. We represent individuals and families in product liability cases involving appliances, building materials, children’s toys, tools, machinery, vehicle components, and other dangerous and defective products.
If you have suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one in an accident, we offer our deepest sympathies. We are prepared to fight tirelessly to help you and your family achieve justice and find closure, and we will use our extensive experience in insurance settlements and litigation to seek maximum compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent physical limitations, and even those who are able to recover from their injuries will often experience a lifetime of pain and suffering. If you have been diagnosed with any type of spinal cord injury a result of a traumatic accident, we can help you recover the compensation you will need to cope with your injury now and in the future.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a tragic reality for far too many aging residents of Gulfport and Biloxi. Nursing homes that allow abuse to occur need to take responsibility for their shortcomings. Elderly victims deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for the physical, emotional, and financial effects of their abuse.
Mississippi Personal Injury Law FAQs
Q: How can I decide if I should speak with a personal injury attorney?
After suffering an injury in an accident, you are unlikely to know if you have a claim for compensation. Even if the cause of the accident seems clear (or, conversely, if it seems impossible to determine), a thorough investigation may reveal that unexpected factors were involved. When you schedule your free consultation, we do not expect you to know your legal rights. We are happy to speak with you if you have suffered any type of accident-related injury, and we can act quickly to determine the cause of your accident and identify the party (or parties) responsible for your injury-related losses.
Q: What types of accident-related injuries are eligible for financial compensation?
Under Mississippi law, all accident-related injuries are eligible for financial compensation. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or a product defect, we can help you. Contact us today to find out how much you may be entitled to recover for your:
- Bone fracture
- Burn injury
- Eye, ear, or nose injury
- Facial injury
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Other injury requiring medical intervention or surgery
Q: What types of compensation are available to accident victims in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, accident victims are entitled to recover full compensation for the financial and non-financial effects of their injuries. When we represent you, we will work with your doctors and our trusted medical and financial experts to ensure that we seek maximum compensation for your:
- Current and future medical bills
- Other current and future out-of-pocket expenses
- Current and future loss of income (including lost earning capacity)
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of support and companionship
Q: What steps do I need to take in order to protect my claim for financial compensation?
This is an important question, and the best way to protect your rights is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It will also generally be in your best interests to:
- Seek immediate medical attention (and follow your doctor’s advice);
- Avoid speaking directly with the insurance companies;
- Write down everything you remember about the accident;
- Start keeping copies of your medical bills and receipts for expenses related to your injury; and,
- Keep a daily log of your pain levels and the various ways your injuries impact your life.
Q: Will my case settle through the insurance companies, or will I need to go to court?
It depends. Although most personal injury cases settle, some cases go to trial. When it comes to securing just compensation for your injuries, you need to approach your case with a long-term perspective. While it would be nice to settle quickly for maximum compensation – and this will absolutely be our primary goal – if the insurance companies are unwilling to offer a fair settlement, you may need to be prepared to take your case to court.
Call the Gulfport Personal Injury Law Firm for a Free Consultation.
If you would like to learn more about your rights after an accident, we encourage you to get in touch. We are here to help, and we are happy to help you make informed decisions in a pressure-free environment. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Gulfport personal injury lawyers, please call (228) 206-7076 or contact us online today. We are located in Gulfport, Mississippi and are dedicated to serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties.Read More
Aggressive Gulfport Car Accident Attorneys, also Serving Victims in Biloxi
Under Mississippi law, if you are injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, you are entitled to receive just compensation for all of your accident-related losses. This includes the financial costs of your injuries (such as medical bills and lost wages), as well as non-financial costs including emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Our experienced Gulfport car accident attorneys know while some car accidents are more serious than others, all accident victims should take appropriate action to assert their legal rights. In many cases, accident victims’ losses will be far greater than they realize, and taking legal action is the only way to ensure a just recovery.
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, our Gulfport car accident lawyers help accident victims and their families win the financial compensation they deserve. We are experienced lawyers who are passionate about helping people stand up for their rights, and we take a thorough, creative, and detail-oriented approach to every case we handle. Whether you are entitled to compensation for your current and future losses or you need help seeking justice after the death of a loved one, we are here for you when you need us. And you can rest assured knowing that we only have your best interests in mind.
Your Trusted Gulfport Car Accident Lawyers
With offices in Gulfport, we represent clients in auto accident cases throughout the Gulfport and Biloxi areas. From Interstates 10 and 110 to Routes 49 and 90, we handle cases involving all major highway accidents as well as collisions on local urban, suburban, and rural roads. Regardless of what happened, you owe it to yourself to find out if you have a claim for compensation. Our Gulfport car accident lawyers are happy to help you understand your rights in a free and confidential consultation.
Experienced Representation for All Types of Car Accident Claims
Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted drivers cause hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. From texting and talking on the phone to communicating with backseat passengers, all types of distractions have the potential to lead to dangerous collisions. It only takes a momentary lapse in concentration to cause a devastating collision, and we routinely hear from people who have been seriously injured due to other drivers’ careless mistakes.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving is a serious issue in the greater Gulfport area. Drunk driving is extremely dangerous. Yet, far too many people continue to make the incredibly poor decision to drink and drive. There are several telltale signs of a drunk driving accident. And if an inebriated driver is to blame for your injuries or your loved one’s death, our proven Gulfport car accident attorneys can help you collect just compensation.
Fatigued and Drowsy Driving Accidents
Driver fatigue is another all-too-common factor in serious auto wrecks. Fatigue can cause impairments similar to alcohol intoxication, and the obvious dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel should be enough to keep drowsy drivers off of the road. Unfortunately, they aren’t, and many people suffer tragic losses in accidents caused by drowsy driving.
Head-on collisions can result from a variety of factors ranging from distracted driving to an approaching vehicle swerving in an attempt to avoid another accident. These are among the most-dangerous types of car accidents, and victims of head-on collisions will often face exorbitant medical bills, significant limitations, and a lifetime of pain and suffering. Contact our highly skilled Gulfport car accident attorneys to discuss your case.
Accidents at intersections can result from a variety of factors as well, and they can also be extremely dangerous. Along with head-on collisions, other common intersection accidents include side-impact (or “T-bone”) and rear-end collisions.
In a multi-vehicle collision, sorting out liability presents additional challenges. Who triggered the accident? Were multiple drivers to blame? If so, who is responsible for your accident-related losses? With our extensive experience in auto accident settlements and litigation, our highly skilled Gulfport car accident attorneys can swiftly navigate these difficult questions and help you secure a maximum financial recovery.
In the vast majority of rear-end collisions, the driver who does the rear-ending is at fault. We can work with accident re-constructionists and forensic experts to establish liability for your injuries, and we can work with trusted medical professionals to calculate all of your current and future losses.
Side-Impact (“T-Bone”) Accidents
Side-impact accidents often involve violent collisions, with drivers and passengers routinely suffering severe traumatic injuries. If you suffered broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injury, or any other serious injury in a T-bone accident, it will be critical for you to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial harm.
Sideswipe and Merging Accidents
Sideswipe and merging accidents are typically the result of driver negligence. In many cases, one driver simply fails to look before changing lanes or merging. In others, the at-fault driver may attempt to look but neglect to check his or her blind spots. Or a driving distraction or other impairment may prevent the driver from noticing an approaching vehicle.
Speeding and Reckless Driving Accidents
From speeding to following too closely, all forms of aggressive and reckless driving will potentially support claims for financial compensation. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in any type of accident involving any form of driver negligence, we encourage you to contact our dedicated Gulfport car accident lawyers promptly for a free, no-obligation consultation.
FAQs: Understanding Your Rights after an Car Accident in the Gulfport area
Q: How can I determine if the driver who hit me was negligent?
When you are involved in a car wreck, it is not always (or often) easy to determine who is to blame. Establishing fault requires a detailed and thorough investigation, and it requires a comprehensive understanding of the various laws that apply. To find out if you are entitled to financial compensation for driver negligence, the best thing you can do is engage an experienced Gulfport car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Q: What if I was partially at fault in the accident?
Due to the inherent challenges involved in establishing fault after an car accident, it is important not to assume that you were partially to blame. Even if you may have made a mistake such as exceeding the speed limit or stopping abruptly, this does not necessarily mean that your action played a role in the collision. A thorough investigation and analysis are required, and for these you need the services of an experienced car injury attorney.
But, let’s say that an investigation reveals that you were partially at fault in the accident. How does this affect your rights? Under Mississippi law, as long as you were not the only driver at fault, you will still be entitled to collect at least a portion of your accident-related losses.
Q: What types of car accident injuries are eligible for financial compensation?
Under Mississippi law, all car accident injuries are potentially eligible for financial compensation. If someone else was at fault for your accident, our proven Gulfport car accident attorneys can help you seek compensation for injuries including, but not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Burns and scars
- Ear injuries (including tinnitus)
- Eye, nose, jaw and other facial injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Q: Can I seek financial compensation for whiplash resulting from a car accident?
Yes. Whiplash is a type of traumatic neck injury that can easily result from the extreme forces involved in a head-on, rear-end, or side-impact collision. While many people will recover from whiplash in a matter of weeks, severe cases of whiplash can require ongoing treatment, rehabilitative therapy, and use of prescription medications.
Q: Can I seek financial compensation for the time I miss from work?
Yes. In addition to seeking to recover your current and future medical expenses and compensation for the non-financial impacts of your injuries, you are also entitled to compensation for your loss of income. This includes both:
- Wages, salary, benefits, and other forms of income you lost while seeking medical treatment and recovering from your injuries; and,
- Your lost future earnings if your injuries will prevent you from working or force you to seek work in a lower-paying occupation.
Q: Will my car accident claim result in an insurance settlement?
Maybe. While most automobile accident claims result in insurance settlements, we cannot guarantee that your case will be successful and we cannot guarantee that we won’t have to take your case to trial. What we can promise you, however, is that we will fight to secure maximum compensation as quickly as possible. If we receive a settlement offer on your behalf, our highly experienced Gulfport car accident attorneys will help you evaluate the offer and it will be up to you whether to accept or keep fighting for more.
Q: How can a Gulfport car accident attorney help me?
If you were injured in an auto accident, it is important that you have a competent attorney who can help you with your claim. The insurance company is sure to have an attorney advocating for its interests, so having legal counsel can help you level the playing field. Our experienced Gulfport car accident lawyers can investigate the accident, preserve evidence and locate evidence to help establish how the accident occurred and how the other driver is responsible. Additionally, he or she can handle all communications with the insurance company and negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf.
Q: What is my deadline for filing a car accident claim?
In Mississippi, there is a strict statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This is the time limit that you have to file your claim. You have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This time limit also applies if you are filing a wrongful death claim because your loved one was killed by the negligence of another driver. However, it is important that you get started with your claim as soon as possible and contact an experienced car accident attorney who can protect your legal rights during this process.
Contact Our Gulfport Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
To learn more about your rights in a car accident or other accident and find out if you are entitled to financial compensation for your accident-related losses, please contact our established and winning Gulfport car accident lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation. You can reach us by phone at (228) 206-7076, or email and we will be in touch as soon as possible. Our Gulfport personal injury law firm is conveniently located in Gulfport, Mississippi and proudly serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties.Read More
Experienced Gulfport Truck Accident Lawyers, also serving Biloxi
Accidents involving semi trucks and other large commercial trucks are among the most dangerous types of vehicle collisions. These accidents result in serious and fatal injuries at a disproportionately-high rate. In the vast majority of cases (97% according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)), it is passenger vehicle occupants who suffer the consequences of truck drivers’ mistakes.
Truck accident cases present some unique and challenging legal issues. While these cases often involve claims against the trucking companies that employ negligent and reckless drivers, there are various other issues that can play a role in trucking collisions as well. Large commercial trucks are also extraordinarily complex. And when multiple vehicles are involved, it takes a detailed and thorough forensic investigation to determine who is liable for the victims’ injuries.
Experienced Legal Representation for Injured Parties of Truck Accidents
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, our Gulfport truck accident lawyers have the experience required to help semi truck accident victims and their families secure just compensation. If you are entitled to a financial recovery, we can make sure you win the compensation you deserve. With an aggressive and detail-oriented approach that leaves no stone unturned, we can conclusively establish who was at fault in your accident and make sure you seek maximum compensation for your injury-related losses.
With offices in Gulfport, we represent truck accident victims throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. Whether you were injured in an accident involving a delivery truck in Gulfport or Biloxi, or you lost a loved one in a fatal semi truck accident on I-10, we can do what is necessary to assert your legal rights. Our Gulfport personal injury attorneys will work quickly to negotiate a favorable settlement. And if a fair settlement is not on the table, we will meticulously prepare your case for trial.
Common Factors in Truck Accidents
Truck Safety Violations
Commercial truck operators are subject to strict federal safety regulations that govern everything from cargo weight limits to the number of hours drivers can spend behind the wheel. Safety violations in the trucking industry are alarmingly common, and they are to blame for a significant number of vehicle collisions.
Cargo Loading Errors
Cargo loading errors can cause truck wrecks in a variety of different ways. Improperly-balanced cargo can cause a truck to jackknife under heavy braking, and overloading a truck can prevent the driver from stopping in time to avoid a collision. Lack of pressurization of liquid cargo can cause truck drivers to lose control as well. These are mistakes that can, and should, be avoided. And individuals injured in accidents caused by cargo loading errors will often be entitled to significant financial compensation.
Truck and Trailer Defects
While a defect in any type of vehicle can be extremely dangerous, the risks of a defect are magnified for large commercial trucks. Trucks, tractors, trailers, and their individual components all have the potential to be defective, and everything from tire blowouts to failing cargo straps can cause dangerous trucking accidents.
Inadequate Truck Maintenance
Along with truck defects, inadequate truck maintenance is another common factor in commercial trucking accidents. Commercial trucks need to be serviced at regular intervals, and signs of potential failure should be addressed as soon as possible. Faulty brake jobs, failure to replace worn tires, failure to perform engine and transmission service, and various other types of maintenance issues can all easily lead to serious collisions.
Inexperienced and Untrained Truck Drivers
Due to the complexity of large commercial trucks and the dangers of failing to maintain control on the road, all truck drivers must have adequate training and experience. Unfortunately, many trucking companies hire inexperienced drivers – some even hire drivers who are not properly licensed. And these poor hiring decisions often have drastic consequences for motorists on the road.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), speeding is the most-common driver-related factor in fatal trucking accidents. Speeding trucks are more difficult to maneuver and they take longer to stop. Each of these factors can easily result in a serious or fatal collision.
Following Too Closely
Following too closely (or “tailgating”) is another driver-related factor that plays a role in a significant percentage of commercial 18-wheeler accidents. Heavy trucks need extra stopping distance. And when you add in the fact that many truck drivers are either distracted or drowsy behind the wheel (or both), it is not hard to see why tailgating trucks are often involved in rear-end collisions.
Failure to Stop or Yield
Failure to stop or yield is another common driving mistake that becomes even more dangerous when the vehicle involved is an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck. Too often, running red lights, failing to yield the right-of-way at highway interchanges, and other risky mistakes have tragic consequences for other drivers and their passengers.
Other Forms of Truck Driver Negligence
Similar to accidents involving passenger vehicles, if a trucking accident is the result of the truck driver’s negligence, any victims injured in the collision are entitled to seek just compensation for their injury-related losses. Along with speeding, following too closely, and failing to stop or yield, other common forms of truck driver negligence include braking too harshly, driving while distracted, driving while fatigued, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and failing to look before merging.
Negligence by Other Drivers
When seeking financial compensation for a tractor truck accident, it is important not to solely focus on the truck and truck driver as potential factors in the collision. In many cases, other drivers will be to blame as well – from forcing truck drivers into dangerous situations to failing to react appropriately in order to avoid a multi-vehicle collision.
Answers to FAQs: Seeking Financial Compensation for Serious and Fatal Truck Accidents in Mississippi
Q: What types of truck accident cases does your firm handle?
Our Gulfport and Biloxi 18-wheeler accident attorneys represent individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving all types of commercial trucks. This includes, but is not limited to, cases involving:
- Box trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Dump trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Service vehicles
- Tanker trucks
- Tow trucks
- Tractor trailers
Q: Should I file a claim against the truck driver's insurance company or the trucking company?
It depends. Some truck drivers are independent owner-operators, and others work for larger trucking companies. If the truck driver is legally classified as an “employee,” then you will most likely have a claim against the trucking company by which he or she is employed. This is true even if the driver was personally at fault in the accident. Under Mississippi law, employers are “vicariously liable” for their employees’ actions within the scope of employment. The employer can be held directly liable when their own mistakes (such as hiring an inexperienced truck driver) lead to serious or fatal injuries.
Q: How can I prove that the truck driver who hit me was distracted or intoxicated behind the wheel?
Proving the cause of a trucking accident requires a comprehensive and detail-oriented investigation. In many cases, it will not be readily apparent that a truck driver was distracted or intoxicated behind the wheel. However, evidence such as the police report or the driver’s phone records may shed light on the factors involved in your collision. And if necessary, we can seek to obtain the truck driver’s sworn testimony at trial.
Q: Am I partially at fault if I was in the truck driver's blind spot or a truck no-zone?
No, not necessarily. Like all motorists, truck drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles safely on public roads. This means looking before changing lanes or merging and not putting others in danger by acting without a complete picture of their surroundings. Truck drivers should know that they have blind spots and no-zones, and they should operate their trucks accordingly.
But, let’s say that you were in a truck’s no-zone at the time of the accident. Does this mean that you don’t have any legal rights? Absolutely not. The fact that you were in the truck’s no-zone may or may not have been a factor in the accident. Even if it was, under Mississippi law you would still have a claim for partial compensation.
Q: How long do I have to seek financial compensation for personal injuries or wrongful death resulting from a commercial truck accident in Mississippi?
Under Mississippi’s statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims, you typically have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for financial compensation. For accidents involving commercial trucks or vehicles owned and operated by a governmental agency or its employees, however, the Mississippi Tort Claims act stipulates a one-year statute of limitations.
Regardless of the circumstances, in order to collect critical evidence before it disappears and make sure you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery, it is important that you speak with an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Gulfport or Biloxy as soon as possible.
Contact our Gulfport Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident in southern Mississippi, we encourage you to contact our Gulfport truck accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys will fight aggressively to win the compensation you deserve. To schedule an appointment in Gulfport or Biloxi, please call (228) 206-7076 or get in touch online today. Our law firm is located in Gulfport, Mississippi and we serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties with many types of legal representation.Read More
Gulfport Wrongful Death Attorneys also Serving Families in Biloxi
If you recently lost a family member in an accident, seeking justice for your loved one’s death is an important step on the long road to recovery. No one deserves to lose their life due to someone else’s negligence, and no family deserves to face a future without the care, companionship, and support of someone they lost too soon. Our Gulfport wrongful death attorneys are here to help.
In Mississippi, seeking financial compensation after a fatal accident involves filing a claim for wrongful death. In these cases, eligible family members (or the personal representative of the victim’s estate) file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the financial and non-financial losses resulting from their loved one’s death. While wrongful death cases have many similarities to personal injury claims, they involve a number of unique aspects as well. As a result, it is important to hire an experienced legal team that is willing to fight for the compensation you and your family members deserve.
Experienced and Compassionate Gulfport Wrongful Death Lawyers
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we are committed to helping families secure just compensation for wrongful death in Gulfport, Biloxi, and throughout Mississippi. We understand the devastation that comes with losing a loved one unexpectedly, and we know the last thing you want to do right now is spend your time fighting in court. When you hire our firm to represent you, we will work closely with you to understand your situation and make sure we seek maximum compensation for your tragic loss. We will work tirelessly on your behalf so that you can focus on being with your family.
Due to the severity of the consequences involved, insurance companies, product manufacturers, and other large corporations will vigorously dispute virtually all claims for wrongful death. To overcome their aggressive tactics, you need attorneys who know the law and who are prepared to do what it takes to win the compensation your family deserves. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, our proven Gulfport wrongful death attorneys take a strategic and detail-oriented approach to every case we handle. And while many of our cases settle, we do not hesitate to fight for justice at trial when necessary.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Handling All Types of Fatal Accidents and Injuries
Mississippi has the highest rate of motor vehicle collision deaths per 100,000 population of any state in the country. Each year, hundreds of local residents lose their lives in fatal collisions that are the result of driver negligence and vehicle defects. With extensive experience in auto accident insurance settlements and litigation, our Gulfport wrongful death lawyers can act quickly to investigate your loved one’s accident and pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.
Due to the limited protection of a motorcycle, even slow-moving accidents can be fatal to motorcycle riders.
When bad drivers make poor decisions, even the safest motorcycle riders can be left helpless to protect themselves. Distracted driving, following too closely, merging without looking, and numerous other common driving mistakes can all have fatal consequences when motorcycle riders are put in harm’s way.
Truck accidents claim thousands of lives across the United States each year. Jackknifes, rear-end collisions, overrides, underrides, and other types of accidents involving large commercial trucks result in death at disproportionately-high rates. And in almost all cases, the victims are occupants of passenger vehicles. If you lost a loved one in a truck accident on I-10 or any other road in southern Mississippi, we can help you assert your family’s legal rights.
We can also apply our knowledge of federal and state trucking standards to show how the trucking company’s violation of the law requires it to provide compensation to your family.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Whether going to the beach or commuting to work, walking, jogging, and cycling are ways of life for many Gulfport and Biloxi residents. Tragically, drivers often fail to respect the risks of endangering pedestrians and bicycle riders, and fatal accidents are far too common. If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, the negligent driver deserves to be held fully-accountable. We want to help make sure justice is served.
Falls are among the leading cause of death on many types of job sites, and unexpected falls can result in fatal injuries regardless of a person’s age or physical abilities. Slips, trips, and falls from height can easily cause spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and other catastrophic injuries that can lead to death. In many cases, these accidents are the result of faulty construction or inadequate premises maintenance.
Dangerous and Defective Products
Fatal accidents involving dangerous and defective products occur far more often than any of us would like to believe. While manufacturers recall millions of products every year, many of these recalls come too late, and there have been several documented cases of companies knowingly putting their customers at risk for fatal injuries. If you believe that a dangerous or defective product may have caused your loved one’s death, we can help you assert your family’s legal rights.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Inadequate nursing home care is to blame for countless residents’ deaths every year. Sadly, the full extent of the problem is not known. Nursing homes will often attempt to hide their mistakes, and this leads to many instances of death in nursing homes that go unreported. If you have any reason to suspect that your loved one may have been a victim of abuse or negligent care in a Gulfport or Biloxi nursing home, we urge you to contact us for a free consultation.
Other Fatal Accidents
Our bodies are fragile, and the reality is that it does not take much to cause a fatal accident. Whether your loved one was killed in an accident at work or suffered a fatal injury under any other circumstances in which someone else may have been to blame, you deserve to find out if your family is entitled to a financial recovery. When you engage our firm to represent you, our committed Gulfport wrongful death attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of your loved one’s death, and we will help you make an informed decision about pursuing a claim for wrongful death.
Wrongful Death FAQs: Understanding Your Family’s Rights under Mississippi Law
Q: If the person who was at fault in the accident was arrested, do I still need to file a claim?
Yes. In Mississippi (as in all states), there are two separate legal systems: criminal and civil. While a person convicted of murder or manslaughter can face substantial fines and long-term imprisonment, the criminal justice system is not designed to compensate victims for losses. In order to pursue a claim for financial recovery, you will need to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.
Q: What is wrongful death in Mississippi?
Mississippi law’s definition of a wrongful death includes real, wrongful, or negligent conduct or the failure to act that results in a person’s death. It also clarifies that the law allows recovery when unsafe machinery or products cause your loved one’s death.
Q: What do we have to prove in a wrongful death claim?
You must be able to show that, if your loved one had survived, the facts would have given him or her a right to file a personal injury case. In many cases, this requires you to prove that the party who caused your loved one’s death was negligent. For a negligence claim, you must show the defendant had a duty to your loved one, then breached this duty and caused your loved one’s death. The duty may be established by law, such as the duty to safely drive or to follow trucking regulations. A breach is violating this duty, like driving while distracted or impaired. The defendant’s breach must be the main cause of your loved one’s death.
Q: Which family members are eligible to file wrongful death claims in Mississippi?
Under Mississippi’s wrongful death statute, the family members who are eligible to seek financial compensation for a loved one’s death include:
- The victim’s spouse
- The victim’s children
- The victim’s parents
- The victim’s siblings
In addition, in a wrongful death case, the personal representative of the victim’s estate can seek to recover damages on behalf of the estate as well. Any damages recovered on behalf of the estate will be distributed to the victim’s beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of his or her estate plan. Or, if the victim did not leave an estate plan, to his or her heirs in accordance with Mississippi law.
Importantly, there are restrictions on how and when family members and the victim’s personal representative can seek compensation for wrongful death. As a result, it is critical for the family members and personal representatives to work together and make informed decisions about asserting their legal rights. During your free initial consultation, our lawyers will walk you through everything you need to know in order to protect your right to maximum compensation.
Q: What types of losses are the victim's family members and estate entitled to recover?
Under Mississippi law, the victim’s family members and estate are entitled to recover different types of damages. Broadly speaking, the types of damages available include:
- Medical expenses incurred prior to the victim’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of earning capacity
Once we learn more about your personal situation, we can advise you as to the specific losses you are entitled to recover.
Q: What is Mississippi's statute of limitations for wrongful death claims?
In most cases, Mississippi’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is three years. However, if your loved one’s death was the result of an intentional act (such as an assault), you may only have one year to file your claim for compensation. The Mississippi Tort Claims Act, which governs tort cases filed against governmental entities and their employees who are acting within the course and scope of their employment are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. In any case, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a wrongful death attorney?
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we do not charge any out-of-pocket fees or expenses to our clients. We handle all wrongful death cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we help you recover financial compensation.
Contact Our Gulfport Wrongful Death Lawyers about Your Family’s Rights
For more information about the steps involved in filing a wrongful death claim in Gulfport and the surrounding areas, and to find out how much you may be entitled to recover for your loved one’s untimely death, please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation. You can reach our Gulfport law offices by phone at (228) 206-7076, or send us your information online and our Gulfport wrongful death attorneys will be in touch as soon as possible.Read More
Respected Gulfport Product Liability Lawyers also Serving Biloxi
The products we buy are supposed to make our lives better. From children’s toys to kitchen appliances, and from frozen foods to medications for older adults, we expect the products we buy to be safe and contribute to helping us lead healthy, fulfilling, and enjoyable lives.
Unfortunately, far too often, the products we buy are not safe for their intended use. Whether due to faulty design or mistakes during the manufacturing process, each year companies sell millions of products that are dangerous and defective. Products are also frequently sold without necessary warnings, leaving purchasers and users exposed to a variety of unexpected potential hazards. If this is your experience, you need one of our Gulfport product liability lawyers from Smith & Holder, PLLC.
Understanding the Mississippi Product Liability Act
The Mississippi Product Liability Act governs all personal injury claims based on defective products brought in Mississippi. The basic framework is that an injured person must show that the product is defective through either a manufacturing defect, a defect in warning or instruction, design defects, or the breach of an express warranty; that the defect in the product rendered the product unreasonably dangerous; that the defect and unreasonably dangerous condition of the product proximity caused the damages for which recovery is sought; and that the defective condition existed at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer, designer, or seller. Within this framework, injured persons may face additional context-specific hurdles depending on the type of claim begin made.
However, product liability claims are often more difficult to prove than other types of claims for financial compensation. Why? Because the companies facing liability will vigorously dispute any allegations that they have designed, manufactured, or sold a defective product. They will challenge any evidence that their products are defective, and they will use aggressive litigation tactics to try to convince victims and their families to give up on pursuing their legal rights.
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, our Gulfport personal injury lawyers do not back down in the face of conflict. We are passionate about fighting for our clients, and we pursue aggressive and creative case strategies that are custom-tailored to the facts of each individual client’s case. We know what it means to suffer a catastrophic injury or lose a loved one due to a product defect, and we are committed to making sure that all of our clients receive maximum compensation for their injury-related losses.
Product Liability Attorneys Serving Gulfport for Cases Involving Dangerous Products
Appliances and Home Products
We use countless products in our homes every single day. From kitchen applies and clothes washers to cleaning solvents and hot water heaters, all of these products have the potential to cause serious harm if they malfunction or do not operate as intended.
Building and Construction Materials
Defective electrical wiring, gas lines, and other building and construction materials have the potential to cause serious harm as well. From electrocutions to house fires, when these products fail, construction workers and homeowners can suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries.
Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, and SUVs
Some of the largest product recalls in modern history have involved defective vehicles and vehicle components. Airbags, brake pedals, electronic systems, engines, transmissions, tires, seatbelts, and other components all have the potential to be defective. And when they are, they can cause serious accidents and accident-related injuries.
Children’s Products and Playground Equipment
Baby slings, cribs, car seats, toys with small parts, playground equipment, and various other types of children’s’ products have all been the subject of products liability claims in recent years. If your child was seriously or fatally injured in an accident that you suspect involved a defective product, we want to help your family recover.
Our lives are increasingly revolving around electronic products. Many people use a cell phone and computer for several hours each day, and toys and tools are increasingly incorporating electronic components. From fires to auto accidents resulting from faulty GPS directions, electronic products can cause harm in a variety of different ways. The companies that make and distribute defective electronics deserve to be held fully accountable.
Defective medications can be extremely dangerous to individuals of all ages. Ineffective medications can leave patients without the treatment they need, while medications that cause overdose can trigger potentially life-threatening reactions. Inadequate warning labels, unsafe packaging resulting in child poisoning, and various other issues can support defective medication claims as well.
Sports and Recreation Equipment
Pool floats, items with ropes and other choking hazards, unsafe sports goals and gymnastics equipment, and rock climbing gear are just some of the types of sports and recreation equipment that can cause dangerous accidents if they are sold with defects. Even when these products are sold with labels stating that the user “assumes the risk” of injury or death, accident victims will still often be entitled to seek financial compensation.
Tools, Equipment, and Machinery
Defective hand tools, power tools, earth moving equipment, forklifts, and other types of equipment and machinery can present extreme risks for workers and homeowners. If you or a family member has suffered a head injury, back injury, broken bone, loss of limb, or any other catastrophic injury as a result of a defective tool or piece of equipment or machinery, you may be entitled to a significant financial recovery.
The types of products that have the potential to be defective are far too voluminous to list. If you or your child has been injured, or a loved one has been killed in any accident involving any type of product, it will be worth your time to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we are happy to discuss what happened and help you make informed decisions in a free, no-obligation initial consultation at our law offices in Gulfport.
Q&A with Our Mississippi Product Defect Lawyers
Q: When is a product considered to be legally 'defective'?
Under Mississippi’s products liability statute, there are four ways in which a product can be considered legally “defective.” A product will be deemed defective if:
- “[It] deviated in a material way from the manufacturer’s specifications or from otherwise identical units manufactured to the same manufacturing specifications; or
- “[It] failed to contain adequate warnings or instructions; or
- “[It] was designed in a defective manner; or
- “[It] breached an express warranty . . . .”
The first three types of product defects listed under the statute are commonly known as design defects, manufacturing defects, and “failure to warn.” In all cases, the types of compensation available to victims and their loved ones are the same and include damages for all forms of financial and non-financial harm.
Q: How can I prove that a product was defective?
Proving that a product was defective can be a challenge, especially where the product has been consumed (as in the case of food or medication) or destroyed (as in the case of a building material that causes a house fire). However, there are various forensic methods available for determining the cause of a product-related accident. By working with product engineers and other experts, we can gather the evidence needed in order to prove your right to just compensation.
Q: What should I do if I suspect that an accident or injury was caused by a defective product?
If you suspect that an accident or injury is the result of a product defect, there are several steps you should try to take in order to preserve your claim for maximum financial compensation. If possible, you should:
- Keep the defective product (or any remains of the defective product);
- Keep the defective product’s packaging;
- Take photos of the product if you are unable to keep it (i.e. if the accident involved a piece of heavy machinery or playground equipment);
- Seek immediate medical attention; and,
- Discuss your case with a products liability attorney as soon as possible.
5 Reasons to Choose Smith & Holder, PLLC for Your Product Liability Claim
When you need help recovering from an accident or injury caused by a product defect, your choice of legal representation matters. So, why should you choose the products liability lawyers at Smith & Holder, PLLC?
- A Creative Approach to Complex Legal Issues – We approach every case with an open mind and commitment to doing whatever it takes to win just compensation.
- Uniquely-Personalized Legal Representation – When we represent you, our focus is on helping you secure maximum compensation for your accident-related losses.
- Direct Access to Your Attorney – When you contact us, you will have the opportunity to speak directly with your attorney.
- Attention to Detail – From collecting key evidence of liability to ensuring that every last penny of your medical expenses is covered, we will focus on the details to help you win the compensation you deserve.
- Free Consultations and Contingency-Fee Representation – With us, it costs you nothing to learn about your rights, and you do not pay anything unless you win just compensation.
Get Started with Your Case Today; Call our Gulfport Product Liability Attorney
If you would like to speak with a lawyer about filing a products liability or other personal injury claim in Gulfport or Biloxi, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call (228) 206-7076 or tell us how our legal team at Smith & Holder, PLLC can help now.Read More
Skilled Gulfport Criminal Defense Lawyers also Representing Clients in Greater Biloxi
If you are facing criminal charges in state or federal court in Mississippi, you need experienced legal representation from Gulfport criminal defense lawyers. You could be facing substantial fines and long-term imprisonment, and the prosecutors handling your case will be pushing for a maximum sentence at trial. You could have several defenses available. But without an attorney who knows how to assert them effectively, you could easily find yourself facing a lifetime of unjust consequences.
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for individuals and businesses facing criminal charges in southern Mississippi. Licensed to practice in state and federal court, our criminal defense lawyers in Gulfport are strategic advocates and vigorous litigators who pursue all available opportunities to protect our clients against conviction and sentencing. Whether your best option is to negotiate a plea deal with federal prosecutors or take your case before a jury in state court, we can help you choose the best path forward and seek the best outcome available under the circumstances at hand.
Put a Former Felony Prosecutor on Your Side
Our Gulfport criminal defense attorneys are Chris Smith and Morgan Holder. Mr. Smith is a former Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted felony cases in state court prior to entering private practice. Mr. Holder also began his career in the public sector and handled hundreds of cases as a Mississippi public defender prior to co-founding Smith & Holder, PLLC. Together, Mr. Smith and Mr. Holder offer a wealth of experience in high-stakes criminal matters, and they rely on proven defense strategies to protect clients who are facing all types of charges in state and federal court.
Whether you are facing a first-time DUI charge in Mississippi state court or you are being prosecuted for a federal white-collar offense that carries the potential for decades of imprisonment, your needs are the same. You need a law firm with relevant experience, and you need a legal team that is prepared to do what it takes to protect you from a conviction at trial. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we will work tirelessly to defend you, and we will stay in the fight for as long as it takes to secure the justice you deserve.
Gulfport Criminal Defense Lawyers for State and Federal Charges
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
For many people, facing a DUI is their first introduction to the Mississippi criminal justice system. If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to understand what is at stake in your case. If you are convicted, you could lose your license to suspension, you could face up to $1,000 in fines, and you could be forced to spend 48 hours in jail. This is for a first offense. The penalties for repeat offenders are even greater. Having a number of DUI convictions on your record can lead to substantially increased insurance premiums, difficulty finding a job, and various other practical consequences.
Domestic violence offenses are among the most heavily-prosecuted criminal charges in Mississippi. The consequences of a conviction can be severe. Some of these consequences include fines, jail time, and being subject to a protection order that prevents you from seeing your children or spending time in your own home. Unfortunately, many domestic violence cases arise out of false allegations, and the facts are rarely as straightforward as conveyed to the police and prosecutors. Our Gulfport criminal defense attorneys can tell your side of the story, and we can make sure that you are not unfairly punished for something that didn’t happen.
We represent clients facing felony charges at the state and federal levels. Our practice includes defending clients charged with drug crimes, property crimes, and violent crimes such as:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated domestic violence
- Drug manufacturing, distribution, and possession
- Grand larceny
- Sexual battery
Although punished less severely than felonies, misdemeanors are still serious charges that can lead to fines, jail time, and other legal and practical consequences. We routinely represent individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses including:
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Criminal mischief
- Disorderly conduct
- Drug possession in small quantities (e.g., 30 grams or less of marijuana)
- Petit larceny (theft of less than $500)
- Resisting arrest
- Simple assault
White Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes are offenses that are non-violent in nature and that typically involve some form of financial motivation. These crimes are prosecuted at the state and federal levels, and they often carry severe penalties. Our highly respected Gulfport criminal defense lawyers defend individuals and businesses facing all types of white-collar charges, including:
- Bank, check, and credit card fraud
- Blackmail and extortion
- Computer and Internet crimes
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Mail and wire fraud
- Money laundering
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs): Defending against Criminal Charges in Mississippi
Q: Is there a statute of limitations for criminal charges in Mississippi?
Mississippi law establishes statutes of limitations for some criminal charges but not others. For crimes that are subject to a statute of limitations, in most cases, state prosecutors have two years to file charges from the date of commission of the crime. Crimes that are not subject to a statute of limitations in Mississippi include (but are not limited to):
- Aggravated assault
Q: What are some potential defenses to state and federal criminal charges?
There are numerous potential defenses to criminal charges at both the state and federal level. When we represent you, we will explore all potential defenses and develop a comprehensive case strategy focused on attacking the government’s case from as many angles as possible. Some of the types of defenses that we may be able to assert on your behalf include:
- Expiration of the statute of limitations
- Failure to meet the government’s burden of proof
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Violation of your Constitutional rights (e.g., unlawful search and seizure or violation of your right to a speedy trial)
In many cases, there will be charge-specific defenses available as well. For example, let’s say you are being charged with possession of a controlled substance. However, the arresting officer was mistaken as to the substance that was in your possession. This mistake can provide a complete defense to criminal culpability. Likewise, if you are facing a DUI charge and you blew a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) because you had recently eaten chocolate or breath mints (both of which can produce faulty breath test results), you should not be convicted of drunk driving.
Q: What is the 'burden of proof' in a criminal case?
In a criminal case, the burden of proof is the legal standard for establishing the defendant’s guilt. At the state and federal levels, the government has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the factfinder (either the judge or jury) is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime alleged, then you deserve to walk free at the end of your trial.
Q: What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is the legal procedure used to determine whether the target of a criminal investigation should be indicted on felony charges. Grand juries are used at the state and federal levels. Appearing before a grand jury is very different from presenting a legal defense during a jury trial. If you have been summoned to appear before a grand jury in Mississippi, you need to begin preparing with a Gulfport criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Q: What are my rights if the police arrested me illegally or performed an illegal search or seizure?
If the police arrested you illegally or performed an illegal search or seizure, we may be able to use this to defeat the charges against you. These are both violations of your Constitutional rights. As a general rule, any evidence obtained as the result of a Constitutional violation is inadmissible in criminal court. If we can successfully argue that the government’s evidence against you must be excluded from your trial, the prosecutor’s office may have no choice but to drop your charges.
Your Aggressive Gulfport Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested or are facing a federal investigation in Gulfport, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your case. Your initial consultation is completely free and 100% confidential. If necessary, we can take action immediately to protect your legal rights. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we offer:
- Former prosecutorial experience
- Experience defending clients in hundreds of criminal cases
- Detail-oriented legal representation focused on securing the best possible result in your case
- Direct access to your attorney
- An unwavering commitment to protecting your rights and preserving your future
Speak with a Gulfport Criminal Defense Attorney at Smith & Holder, PLLC
To speak with one of our Gulfport criminal defense lawyers about your case, please call (228) 206-7076 or send us your contact information online. You can contact us 24/7. If we are not available immediately, we will be in touch as soon as possible. Our law firm is located in Gulfport, Mississippi and we are honored to serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties with many types of legal representation.Read More