Articles Posted in Maritime/Admiralty/Jones Act Accident

If a set of facts are enough to justify a jury in a criminal case (with proof required “beyond a reasonable doubt”) to convict someone for culpable manslaughter, then those same set of facts are enough to justify a jury in a civil case (with a lesser burden of proof) to consider the issue of gross negligence. Gross negligence requires less proof than culpable negligence and reckless driving. Turner. 735 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1999).
Section 97-3-47 of Miss. Code of 1972 states as follows:

“Every other killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, and without authority of law, not provided for in this title, shall be manslaughter.”
Culpable negligence means negligence of a higher degree than gross negligence in a civil case. If a defendant is guilty of culpable negligence in a criminal case, then that defendant will also be guilty of gross negligence in the civil courts. Culpable negligence is “the conscious or reckless disregard of the probabilities of fatal consequences to others as a result of the willful creation of an unreasonable risk.” Evans v. State, 562 So.2d 91 (Miss. 1990). Culpable negligence is also defined as “negligence of a degree that is so gross as to be tantamount to a wanton disregard, or utter indifference to, the safety of human life.” Clayton v. State. 652 So.2d 720 (Miss. 1995).
Moore v. State. 117 So.2d469 (Miss. 1960) (defendant’s conviction for culpable negligence was affirmed for going 55 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone). In Moore, the victim was crossing the street. The court held that the defendant could have seen the deceased and should have seen the deceased in time to apply his brakes; that he skidded 140 feet, hit a telephone pole and lost control of his vehicle; that the physical facts and the greater weight of the evidence contradicted the defendant’s testimony. The Supreme Court defined “culpable negligence” as follows: “Negligence of a higher degree than that which in civil cases is held to be gross negligence.” In other words, in order to sustain the jury deciding the issue of punitive damages as a result of gross negligence in a civil case, all one needs to do is prove more than simple negligence but less than culpable negligence.
Shows v. State, 168 So. 862 (Miss. 1936) (defendant convicted of culpable negligence for sideswiping another truck who was going over the speed limit and crossed over the center line -reversed because of improper jury instruction). The defendant was driving a big truck and after the impact he concluded that no damage had been done and proceeded on to his destination in Hattiesburg where he was arrested.
Goldman v. State, 406 So.2d 816 (Miss. 1981) (conviction for culpable negligence affirmed for defendant who was going 60 miles per hour, crossed over the double yellow line in a no passing zone, and hit somebody head-on coming from the opposite direction).
Section 63-3-1201 of Miss. Code of 1972 states as follows:

“Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or a wanton disregard for the safety or persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving shall be considered a greater offense than careless driving.”

In the case of Turner v. City of Ruleville. 735 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1999), the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of a complaint against the city for the actions of its police officer in allowing a drunk driver to continue driving after being stopped after the officer noticed that the defendant was driving in an erratic fashion and failed to have his headlights on. In reversing the case and allowing the jury to decide whether or not the city was liable for punitive damages, the Supreme Court held as follows citing Barnes v. State. 162 So.2d 865, 866 (Miss.
1964):The court held that for the purpose of the reckless driving statute, ‘reckless means ‘the commission of conscious acts or omissions which a driver knows or should know create an unreasonable risk of injury or damage…’.” The Court also stated: “For conduct to be ‘reckless’ it must be such as to evince disregard of, or indifference to, consequences, or the circumstances involving danger to life or safety to others, although no harm was intended’.” The Court defined “reckless disregard of rights of others” as follows: “…as used in automobile law, means the voluntary doing by motorists of an improper or wrongful act, or with knowledge of existing conditions, a voluntary refraining from doing a proper or prudent act when such act or failure to act evinces an entire abandonment of any care, and heedless indifference to results which may follow and the reckless taking of a chance of an accident happening without intent that any occur.” Id. at 229.
The Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows, citing Dame v. Estes, 101 So.2d 644,645 (Miss. 1958), which defined gross negligence as: “Gross negligence is that course of conduct which disclosed a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them.”
The defendants argued that intent was required in order to make the city liable. The Court held: “While we agree that reckless disregard would encompass gross negligence, we hold that reckless disregard is a higher standard than gross negligence.” Id. at 229-30. In refusing to require that the plaintiff prove that the defendant intended to do harm, the Supreme Court quoted Evans v. Trader. 614 So.2d 955, 958 (Miss. 1993), which held that in order to defeat an immunity defense under the common law, the plaintiff would not have to show that the officer entertained a specific intent. It would suffice to show that the officer acted with wanton and reckless disregard for the plaintiffs safety.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that “punitive damages are ordinarily recoverable where the negligence is so gross as to indicate reckless or wanton disregard for the safety of others.” City of Jackson v. Perry,764 So 2d 373 (MS 2000) (57 mph in 35 mph zone knocking vehicle 75 feet; punitive damages affirmed), Also see Maye v. Pearl River County. 758 So.2d 391, 395 (MS 1999) (backing sheriffs car out of parking space up an incline; punitive damages affirmed).

Punitive damages may be recovered, not only for willful and intentional wrong, but for such gross and reckless negligence as is equivalent to such wrong, since an act done in the spirit of wantonness and recklessness is often times just as harmful as if prompted by malice. Bush v. Watkins. 80 So.2d 19 (Miss. 1955). The definition of gross negligence is found in Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope, 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936), which held that there is no precise definition of gross negligence, but it might be defined as that course of conduct which, under the particular circumstances, disclosed a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them. Also see Reid v. Halpin, 178 So. 88 (Miss. 1938); Planters Wholesale Grocery v. Kincaid. 50 So.2d 578 (Miss. 195n: Belk v. Rosemond. 57 So.2d461 (Miss. 1952); and Dame v. Estes, 101 So.2d644 (Miss. 1958).
Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the master is liable for the acts of his servants which are done in the course of their employment and in the furtherance of the master’s business; punitive damages may be awarded against a master for the negligent acts of his servant. Sandifer Oil Co. v. Dew, 71 So.2d 752 (Miss. 1954). Employer held liable for willful and wanton acts resulting in injury to boy whom driver of truck had invited to ride thereon. Trico Coffee Co. v. Clemens. 151 So. 175 (Miss. 1933).
The most important case on the issue is U.S. Industries. Inc. v. McClure Furniture Co.. 371 So.2d 391 (Miss. 1979). In U.S. Industries, the Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows: “We have to keep in mind that the basic theory is whether or not there was sufficient evidence for the jury to award punitive damages even though the evidence might be conflicting. It is not the court’s prerogative to make the award. It is only for the court to decide whether or not the party requesting a punitive damage instruction has presented sufficient evidence for the jury’s consideration. Yazoo & Mississippi Valley R.R. Co. v. Hardie. 55 So.42 (Miss. 1911); Snowden v. Osborne. 269 So.2d 858 (Miss. 1972).” Id. at 393.
In affirming the award of punitive damages, the Mississippi Supreme Court held as follows:”The evidence was uncontradicted that Mississippi Highway 550 is a well-traveled road, that the tractor-trailer completely blocked both lanes of traffic and that this occurred prior to sunrise which was at 6:50 on the morning of the accident, and that visibility was at best limited. Prudence would have required Jones to have moved his rig on to the shoulder of the road either to await full daylight or to place the necessary flares, or to have continued in his own lane until he found an appropriate intersection for completing the maneuver. Instead, Jones risked the possibility of collision against the possibility of completing the dangerous turn within the few moments when the road appeared to be clear of traffic. He exercised bad judgment under the circumstances.” (emphasis added)Id. at 393-94.
The U.S. Industries court also cited the Fifth Circuit Mississippi case of Anderson v. Eagle Motor Lines, Inc., 423 F.2d 81 (5th Cir. 1970) for allowing the punitive damage instruction to go to the jury. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the award of punitive damages and held that the blocking of the highway was gross negligence entitling the plaintiff to a punitive damage instruction.
Also see Commodore Corp. v. Bailey. 393 So.2d 467 (Miss. 1981), whereby the Mississippi Supreme Court in affirming the punitive damage instruction held as follows:
“If the evidence presented by the party requesting a punitive damage instruction is such that the jury could find that the wrongful acts complained of resulted from such gross disregard of the rights of the complaining party as amounts to wilfulness on the part of the wrongdoer, or that the opposite party was guilty of such negligence as to amount to a reckless disregard of the complaining party’s rights, then the court is fully authorized to submit the issue of punitive damages for the jury’s deliberation. Fowler Butane Gas Co. v. Varner, 141 So.2d 226 (Miss. 1962).”Id. at 471.

See Paracelsus Healthcare Corp. v. Willard, 754 So.2d 437 (Miss. 1999), whereby the Supreme Court previously remanded two cases for consideration of punitive damages and then affirmed the jury awards of 1.5 million dollars to each plaintiff for punitive damages and held that the evidence supported the finding that the jury could find the actions to be in gross disregard for the rights of the plaintiffs.
Punitive damages are defined as damages given in enhancement of ordinary damages on account of the wanton, reckless, malicious, or oppressive character of the acts complained of. Interstate Oil Pipeline Co. v. Valentine. 110 So.2d 369 (Miss. 1959).
In Sandifer Oil Co. v. Dew. 71 So.2d 752,758 (Miss. 1954), the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decision allowing the jury to consider punitive damages for a truck driver who left his truck pumping gasoline into a storage tank and went across the street to a restaurant and drank a cup of coffee. When someone alerted the truck driver that the gas was overflowing, the truck driver turned off the switch and stopped the motor and the pump. A few minutes later there was an explosion. In affirming the punitive damages award, the Supreme Court held that: “It was difficult to conceive of a case of more reckless and wanton disregard of the consequences of his act. His negligence was gross, it was reckless, and it was wanton to such extent as to be tantamount to wilfulness…those who handle such dangerous agencies should be made to know the standard of care which is required of them. It is regrettable that such a tragic occurrence is necessary to again bring such knowledge to those engaged in such business.” Id. at 758-759. “It is interesting to note and we concur in opinion that the ($90,000) ninety thousand dollar verdict in 1954 was the highest verdict in the country for the death of a child at that time.”
Dame v. Estes. 101 So.2d 644 (Miss. 1958) (question of whether plaintiff was entitled to recover punitive damages should have been submitted to the jury when the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign.) In Dame, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision in refusing to allow the jury to consider punitive damages and held that the facts justified a punitive damages instruction and reversed for a new trial on damages only. The facts of the case were that the witnesses estimated the speed of the defendant to be 50 miles per hour. The defendant said she was going 30-35 miles per hour. The speed limit was 30 miles per hour. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the defendant either ignored or failed to see the stop sign which was staring her in the face and made no effort to stop at the intersection or to even check the speed of the vehicle she was behind. It was in broad open daylight, there was nothing to obstruct her vision and she wholly failed to see the plaintiff s pickup truck until it was directly in front of her. We think under this case that the question of whether plaintiff was entitled to recover punitive damages should have been submitted to the jury. The Court cited Hadad v. Lockeby. 169 So. 691 (Miss. 1936) for the definition of punitive damages as follows: “Punitive damages may be recovered not only for a willful and intentional wrong, but for such gross and reckless neglect as is equivalent to such a wrong, since an act done in the spirit of wantonness and recklessness is oftentimes just as harmful as if prompted by malice.” The Court also cited Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope. 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936), for the definition of gross negligence: “Gross negligence is that course of conduct which, under the particular circumstances, discloses a reckless indifference to consequences without the exertion of any substantial effort to avoid them.” The Court then cited Wilson v. State. 161 So. 744 (Miss. 1930), wherein the Supreme Court affirmed a manslaughter conviction, for culpable negligence, upon facts in which the negligence is no more culpable than in the case now before us. Id at 645.
Also see, Teche Lines. Inc. v. Pope. 166 So. 539 (Miss. 1936) (bus driver who failed to attempt to stop his bus until 10 feet from railroad crossing, held grossly negligent).The facts in this case are that the bus driver was driving his bus which was 30 feet long, weighed 10 tons, and had a 39 passenger seating capacity; the bus driver was traveling 25 miles per hour and approached the railroad crossing. The bus driver failed to stop until he was about 10 feet from the crossing, resulting in a disastrous collision and serious and permanent injuries to plaintiff who was a passenger on the bus.
Hadad v. Lockeby, 169 So. 691 (Miss. 1936) (award of punitive damages is affirmed for defendant driving 35-40 miles per hour in a 20 miles per hour speed zone without sounding his horn or giving any warning of his approach; he saw some pedestrians and struck them anyway). The defendant had three eyewitnesses who testified that the defendant sounded his horn and slowed his speed. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the defendant was driving his car at an excessive rate of speed, that he saw the plaintiff crossing the road and failed to slow his speed or sound his horn or give any warning until the accident. These facts if true constitute gross negligence on the part of the defendant. It is interesting to note the words of wisdom offered by the Hadad Supreme Court: “These machines upon the highways are extremely dangerous to others using the highways. The lives and limbs of persons should be safeguarded, and something should be done to reduce accidents to a minimum.” Id. at 694.
Southland Broadcasting Co. v. Tracy, 50 So.2d 572 (Miss. 1951) (jury authorized in finding that driver’s negligence was so wanton and reckless as to justify the infliction of punitive damages for speeding, failing to negotiate a turn, leaving the highway, and traveling approximately 720 feet after leaving the highway.)
Collins v. Black. 380 So.2d 241 (Miss. 1980) (Supreme Court reinstated jury verdict for punitive damages against defendant who was driving at an unreasonable rate of speed, on the wrong side of the road, and failed to stop after the collision.) The conduct of a driver of a vehicle in failing to stop after the accident when taken in connection with all the circumstances may authorize a finding of a lack of care, conscious indifference to the consequences, and aggravating circumstances authorizing the recovery of punitive damages.
So if you have a question about your 18 wheeler or other accident case which may justify punitive damages, give me a call or email me. 601-969-1977 paulsnowiii@msn.com paul snow.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have just updated my home page to include jury instructions for all aspects of a plaintiff’s trial practice. If you have any interest in using any of these instructions, fell free to download and/or copy. They are located under “referring attorney resources”. If it doesn’t open,you may need to try a different browser.

Call me if you have any questions about your particular case.paul snow.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circuit Judge Charles Webster has ruled that the limits on jury verdicts are unconstitutional because the legislature has no authority to interfere with the judicial branch of the government as found in our MS Constitution. american flag.jpg

A copy of the opinion can be viewed by clicking on the link here.

God bless Judge Webster and God bless our great state of Mississippi and its fine citizens!
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Last week, Ken Henderson and his best friend, Ed Coen went offshore fishing in Henderson’s offshore boat, a 30′ Scarab which is a sleek, fast offshore fishing boat. For some unknown reason, the boat started filling up with water;Henderson had four bilge pumps,but they could not keep up with the water coming into the boat, so the boat started sinking. The boat was unhooked from the rig that it was tied to and Henderson tried to crank the engines supposedly to run the water out of the hull. Henderson tried to call the Coast Guard,but his radio did not work properly. Because of all of these problems, Mr. Ed Coen lost his life at sea.ed coen.jpg

Because things happen fast offshore,one must equip his boat with the proper safety equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment is an EPIRB (emergency poistion-indicating radio beacon);it goes off automatically when there is an emergency. It automatically sends a signal to the Coast Guard that there is an emergency and tells the authorities exactly where the beacon is so that a rescue can be made. I have been fishing in the gulf of mexico for over 35 years and have my coast guard license. I have personally seen this device work while fishing off the Louisiana coast. There were about 30 boats fishing and shrimping in this large lake when all of a sudden a Coast Guard helicopter started making large circles in our area and then closed in on one shrimp boat. I could hear the pilot over the intercom ask if everything was all right because they received an EPIRB signal. The captain of the shrimp boat told the pilot that his bracket that held his EPIRB broke and that is what caused the signal to start by accident. So, if this boat were equipped with a proper EPIRB, Ed would probably still be here with us today.

Secondly, on offshore boats, the bilge pumps should come on automatically when water gets into the boat for any reason. When the bilge pump comes on, it is very obvious because you can see the water coming out of the side of the boat. Apparently, the automatic part of the bilge pumps did not work properly or else the boat would not have filled up with so much water. If they saw that the bilge pumps were running, then they could have done something sooner to solve the problem or save their lives, but, because the bilge pumps had to be turned on manually, the boat had too much water in it at that time and it was too late to pump the water out causing the boat to sink.

Thirdly, offshore boats should have a properly working VHF radio for emergencies just like this one so that the Coast Guard can come rescue them in time. The boat had a radio,but apparently it did not work properly because no one responded from the Coast Guard or anyone else. A lot of times, other boaters in the area will come assist if they know that they are needed. This is an unwritten law that we all just help other boaters out who are in trouble or who need assistance.

Fourthly, a wrong decision was made to unhook the sinking boat from the rig that they were tied to. This is especially true if there was a strong current which prevented them from simply swimming back to this rig.

Finally, the boat should have been properly inspected and maintained to make sure that it doesn’t sink in the middle of the gulf of mexico. Something bad had to happen to the hull in order for a hole to be so big that 4 bilge pumps couldn’t keep up with the incoming water.

The family of Mr. Coen could make a claim against the owner of the boat’s insurance company for causing his death which should be covered under the policy. Since it was his best friend, i’m sure that the owner of the boat would not object to his family making a claim. That is why you buy insurance in the first place.

All I handle are injury and death cases. I’ve been doing this for over 37 years. I represent clients on a contingency fee basis which means that no money is paid unless or until i recover money for you. If you want to discuss your case, call Paul Snow at 601-969-1977 or 1-800-640-4478 or contact us online.

Our prayers go out to the Coen family.

The cruise ship Costa Concordia with passengers and crew of over 4,000 crashed into a rocky reef because the vessel was 2.5 miles off course on friday the 13th, 2012. The island coast of Giglio is known for its rocky sea floor. Six people were killed, twenty were seriously injured and numerous others were unaccounted for. Because the size of the gash of over 160′, the ship must have been moving pretty fast in the water at the time of the disaster.120114092333_Costa_Concordia.jpg
Carnival Corp., a U.S.-based cruise giant,is the parent company who owns the company that caused the accident, Costa Cruises. This is not the first time that this company was involved in a deadly maritime accident. In 2010, the Costa Europa crashed into a pier in Egypt killing three crew members.
Some important questions need to be answered: why was the ship so close to the shore? why was the ship 2.5 miles off course? was the captain eating in the dining room or was he on the bridge? if he was on the bridge, what was he thinking? how fast was the ship moving? why didnt the captain, Francesco Schettino, call in a “mayday” at the time of the incident? why did the crew members tell passengers that everything was fine and there was no danger until the ship started turning over on its side? did the delay make use of some of the lifeboats impossible? why wasn’t the evacuation organized? why were the instructions from the crew contradictory?

There were about 1,000 Italians,500 Germans, 100 French, 126 Americans and other passengers on board at the time plus 1,000 crew members. Some of the passengers told of their account. Mike van Dijk said that he had to scream at the controllers in order to release the lifeboats. Valerie Ananias from Los Angeles told of a couple handing them their baby during all of the frantic confusion. She said that she thought they were going to die at four different times.

WHO CAN MAKE A CLAIM FOR WHAT AND WHY?
Anyone on the ship can make a claim under maritime law for any damages that they received as a result of the accident,either as a passenger or a crew member. The owner of the ship in addition to the owner of the cruise line will be responsible for those damages. Damages may include wrongful death for the families who lost loved ones;or for personal injuries for those who survived the disaster. These damages may include pain and suffering, medical bills , emotional distress, loss of income, loss of the cost of the cruise, any permanent injuries. Because Carnival Corp. is a U.S. corporation, suit may be filed in the United States, if required.

Don’t be fooled into hiring an attorney who claims to be an expert in personal injury and death cases. Research their track record and compare it to ours. We have been handling these type of cases for over 36 years and this is all we do. The law offices of Paul Snow has handled numerous maritime cases and has a license from the U.S.Coast Guard. We know these type of cases backwards and forwards. You can call us at 601-969-1977 or contact us online to ask any questions that you may have FREE of charge. WE do not charge any attorney fee unless and until we recover for you. If you were involved in this disaster or know someone who was and want to discuss the case, call now before it is too late. The insurance company for the cruise line hopes you don’t call us, we hope you do. We are here to help you and protect your rights.

Do I need to hire a Lawyer?

You probably never thought about hiring a Mississippi accident lawyer until an accident or injury completely interrupted your normal life. If you are now experiencing stress and anxiety because you are uncertain about your future, we can help you. We listen to your concerns and quickly identify how the legal system can solve your problems. We then start working on your case immediately.

Discover The Key To Winning Your Case

Many people do not understand the importance of choosing the right lawyer for their case. Simply put, the Mississippi accident lawyer that you choose to represent you can be the difference between you receiving a fair settlement or no settlement at all.

The key to winning your case is really no secret. It is common knowledge that the person with the best attorney most often gets the best result. Just ask athletes, celebrities and the wealthy who always have a top lawyer at their side. The key for you is finding the best attorney for your case.

Avoid The Biggest Mistake By Asking These Questions

Choosing the wrong lawyer is a huge mistake and can be devastating to your case. Many people simply hire the first lawyer they see on television or the lawyer with the biggest phone book advertisement without knowing anything about the ability of the lawyer. Will you make this crucial mistake simply because you do not know the right questions to ask before you choose your attorney?

With such an important decision, you must be equipped with the knowledge and information necessary to make the smartest choice. This means knowing the specific Questions You Must Ask before hiring a lawyer for your case. You should only hire an attorney after getting honest and direct answers to these questions.

Our Vast Experience Gives You the Advantage

We are the smart choice for your case. Our law firm has represented injury victims and their families since 1974. We have successfully obtained jury verdicts in the courtroom and have obtained millions of dollars in settlements for our clients.

When you become our client, your case will be handled with complete integrity and dignity.

It is essential that you choose a lawyer that has handled Mississippi accident cases just like yours and understands exactly what is needed to win your case, especially when the stakes are so high. We have. We utilize the latest technology, the best legal research tools, and work with world renowned experts on our cases. As a result, we have achieved extraordinary results for our clients. Let us do the same for you. Our record of successful settlements and verdicts is well-documented.

Warning: Secret Deadlines Can Destroy Your Case

The legal system can be very confusing and unforgiving. There are strict time limitations for filing your lawsuit and making your claims. If you miss these deadlines, your claims may be lost forever. A delay in hiring a lawyer will affect the outcome of your case. We will start working on your case immediately.

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When you choose our lawyers to represent you, we GUARANTEE the following:

An experienced trial lawyer is assigned to your case A complete analysis of your case Honest and direct answers to all of your questions Immediate investigation of your case Immediate preparation and filing of your insurance forms Immediate action getting your medical bills and lost wages paid Phone calls returned within one business day
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Oil spills are probably some of the most devastating disasters to occur. The Exxon Valdez oil spill happened more than twenty-one years ago, but its effects are still being felt today. This oil spill occurred on March 24, 1989 and the leak was mostly confined to the surface of the ocean. The BP oil spill began on April 20,2010 caused when a damaged well pipe burst resulting in an explosion on the oil platform owned by Deepwater Horizon releasing oil 5,000 feet below the surface.220px-Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010.jpg

The Exxon spill was limited to a single tanker and spilled about 11 million gallons of oil in one day covering 1,300 square miles. The BP spill has spilled more than the Exxon spill so far and it is still going strong. Both spills have and will kill brown pelicans, egrets, terns, sperm whales, tuna, sea turtles and more. But, fish can’t sue. Only people can.

The lawsuits in the Exxon spill were tied up in the courts for over 20 years. More than 32,000 fishermen, food processors, and Native Americans banded together to recover damages from Exxon. The case was drug out by Exxon lawyers for 19 years until it finally reached the Supreme Court. By this time, more than 7,000 plaintiffs have died. The lawyers won $500,000 million in actual damages and $5 billion in punitive damages. It took five years to get to trial;then it took another fourteen years in the appeals court where the case finally arrived in the Supreme Court before Justice John Roberts in 2008. By that time, the punitive damages were reduced to $2.5 billion.

The first question from Roberts was: “Isn’t the question here how a company can protect itself from unlimited damages?” If Bush v. Gore had been decided differently, you might have had a chief justice who asked: “How can a fisherman protect himself from an oil spill?” But, by a 5-3 vote, the Roberts court cut the punitive damage award to one-fifth from $2.5 billion to $500 million. Another justice, David Souter,ruled with the majority and stated that Exxon’s actions were not malicious. So if you drive a boat while drunk and cause millions and billions of dollars of damages, it is not malicious;but, if you drive a car drunk,it is not only malicious, but you go to jail. The Exxon case is a perfect example of judicial activism.

So, what is going to happen in the gulf of mexico? BP will pay for cleanup costs,various government agencies will assess huge fines for BP’s conduct, but the real money will come during the tort claims process and trial. If we can prove punitive damages, i.e., that BP’s conduct was grossly, wantonly, or maliciously done, then the door is open to punitive damages. The testimony of a rig worker claims that BP officials overrode rig operations and forced a speedy opening as opposed to considering the consequences of failing to repair several broken parts before opening. This proof, in and of itself, should make a jury issue on punitive damages.oil_shoveled-apha-100602.jpg

TYPES OF DAMAGES AND LOSSES: People can make a claim for damages for loss of business, loss of job or reduced income, damage to property, vacation losses,etc. Some examples are: fishing, shrimping, oyster companies and employees, hospitality and tourism businesses and employees,property and boat owners, shipping and trade business and employees, vacationers (lost vacation deposits and expenses), cruise ship employees, charter services, restaurant owners and employees.

COMPANIES THAT MAY BE RESPONSIBLE: BP, Transocean, Halliburton,Anadarko, Cameron,Mitsui & co. and more.

We are working on investigations and damage claims to get compensation for those of you whose income, business, health, property, or other assets have been affected by the BP oil disaster. Investigated claims are settled faster. Your case could be settled quickly out of court to avoid long processes.

We will supply you with BP claim forms and information for maximum recovery. Call our toll free number if you have any questions, 1-800-640-4478. We cannot send out any claim forms until you complete our form under “contact us” on our website at www.accidentattys.com.

Your BP claim forms and information are free as a service to you and we will help determine if you are eligible for any recovery of damages.

Why I became a Lawyer?

I was in the eighth grade and approximately 13 years old when I decided that I either wanted to become a golf pro or a lawyer. After graduating from high school, I was one of the best golfers in the State of Mississippi and received a golf scholarship to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). My freshman year, I became a pledge in one of the fraternities on the Ole Miss Campus among 50 other pledges. After the first semester, only 10 of the 50 pledges made passing grades. 40 of the pledges flunked out of college. Of the 10 pledges that made their grades the first semester, three of us became lawyers, two of us became doctors, and one of us became a flight instructor in the Navy. I knew then that I must have some common sense and hard-working ability to succeed in school. I married my high school sweetheart and went to a local community college for my sophomore year. My junior year, I returned to Ole Miss and graduated with a business degree in May of 1972. Two weeks later, I entered the University of Mississippi School of Law. Because I was paying my own way through law school, my goal was to finish the three year curriculum course in two years and three months. I worked extra jobs during college and knew that I would have to work extra jobs during law school, in addition to obtaining student loans. I took extra courses during the summertime in order to complete law school early. At that time, my income was below the average poverty level for the country. I was married and at that time, had one child, and just did the best I could.

Midway through my law school career, my father became paralyzed and I had to miss one summer of law school to help take care of my father. While I was taking care of my father, I worked for a local law firm as a law clerk and learned valuable experience in how a law firm operated. When I returned to law school, I had a new-found knowledge that assisted me in my classes. Also, while I was in law school, I was the President of the legal fraternity, President of the Lamar Society of International Law, and I drafted legislation which was passed by the Mississippi lawmakers. I graduated law school in December of 1974, which took two years and six months instead of two years and three months. Of the 360 students who started law school when I did, only 80 graduated.

After graduating from law school, I started working for the law firm of Barnett, Montgomery, McClintock & Cunningham. Ross Barnett was an ex-governor of Mississippi. These lawyers were trial lawyers and I received valuable experience learning how to try cases while working for this firm. I tried 10 jury trials by myself my first year out of law school. After a year and a half of working at the law firm, I went out on my own and have been on my own ever since, for the past 34 years. I was the youngest President of the Hinds County Trial Lawyers Association and joined numerous organizations during my career.

I have devoted my career to representing individuals who have been injured or killed in accidents or wronged by big corporations and insurance companies. I represent the little guy against the large businesses and corporations who try to take advantage of the less fortunate. There is nothing more satisfying than taking on one of the biggest corporations in the world and making them answer for the problems they have caused numerous victims. I am proud to be a trial lawyer who represents individuals against corporate America.

When those who have been injured or killed have nowhere else to turn, they turn to me. I believe one of my goals and duties as a human being is to help others. I am always in favor of the underdog. When we walk into the courtroom, there is no other place on this planet where an individual can stand on equal footing with a huge corporate defendant. This is the war that I fight. It is waged at a battlefield on which I gladly stand. My strength is derived from the belief that my God-given talents are given to me for a reason. My goal is to make myself available to those who have been wronged by others’ misconduct. It is not a glamorous calling and there is no guaranteed income. My goal is to achieve justice for my clients, working to right wrongs, not hide them, working against the wrongdoers, not for them. At the end of the day, I know that I have given someone without hope a fighting chance.

I have litigated and settled just about any type of accident or injury case that you can think of. I have spoken at seminars and taught other lawyers how to handle accident and injury cases across the country. I have written numerous articles, also teaching other lawyers how to handle these type of cases. A lot of lawyers hire my law firm in order to represent their clients in working-up serious injury and death cases.

If someone asked me what kind of lawyer I am, I say I am a trial lawyer. I believe in America, our form of government, individual freedom, and our American legal system. I represent and help people to protect, enforce and preserve those precious rights and individual freedoms which were so wisely granted by the founding fathers of our great nation. The spark that was ignited in me in 1964 has kept me satisfied for over 34 years of trial practice. I am proud to be an American and I am especially proud to be a trial lawyer.american flag.jpg

One day, we will all be judged for our actions. As far as my actions go as a plaintiff attorney, I look forward to placing them before the ultimate judge. I represent plaintiffs and I would not change that for all the money in the world.

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13.

Mississippi Accident Lawyer Paul Snow 601-969-1977.

You probably never thought about hiring a Mississippi accident lawyer until an accident or injury completely interrupted your normal life. If you are now experiencing stress and anxiety because you are uncertain about your future, we can help you. We listen to your concerns and quickly identify how the legal system can solve your problems. We then start working on your case immediately.

Discover The Key To Winning Your Case

Many people do not understand the importance of choosing the right lawyer for their case. Simply put, the Mississippi accident lawyer that you choose to represent you can be the difference between you receiving a fair settlement or no settlement at all.

The key to winning your case is really no secret. It is common knowledge that the person with the best attorney most often gets the best result. Just ask athletes, celebrities and the wealthy who always have a top lawyer at their side. The key for you is finding the best attorney for your case.

Avoid The Biggest Mistake By Asking These Questions

Choosing the wrong lawyer is huge mistake and can be devastating to your case. Many people simply hire the first lawyer they see on television or the lawyer with the biggest phone book advertisement without knowing anything about the ability of the lawyer. Will you make this crucial mistake simply because you do not know the right questions to ask before you choose your attorney?

With such an important decision, you must be equipped with the knowledge and information necessary to make the smartest choice. This means knowing the specific Questions You Must Ask before hiring a lawyer for your case. You should only hire an attorney after getting honest and direct answers to these questions.

Our Vast Experience Gives You the Advantage

We are the smart choice for your case. Our law firm has represented injury victims and their families since 1974. We have successfully obtained jury verdicts in the courtroom and have obtained millions of dollars in settlements for our clients.

When you become our client, your case will be handled with complete integrity and dignity.

It is essential that you choose a lawyer that has handled Mississippi accident cases just like yours and understands exactly what is needed to win your case, especially when the stakes are so high. We have. We utilize the latest technology, the best legal research tools, and work with world renowned experts on our cases. As a result, we have achieved extraordinary results for our clients. Let us do the same for you. Our record of successful settlements and verdicts is well-documented.

Warning: Secret Deadlines Can Destroy Your Case

The legal system can be very confusing and unforgiving. There are strict time limitations for filing your lawsuit and making your claims. If you miss these deadlines, your claims may be lost forever. A delay in hiring a lawyer will affect the outcome of your case. We will start working on your case immediately.

Our Guarantees To You:

When you choose our lawyers to represent you, we GUARANTEE the following:

An experienced trial lawyer is assigned to your case A complete analysis of your case Honest and direct answers to all of your questions Immediate investigation of your case Immediate preparation and filing of your insurance forms Immediate action getting your medical bills and lost wages paid Phone calls returned within one business day
We Answer Your Questions

At the Law Offices of Paul Snow, we give you honest and direct answers to your questions:

What does it cost to speak with Paul Snow?

How can I afford to have the Law Offices of Paul Snow to represent me?

How soon after my accident do I need to hire a lawyer?

Do I really need to hire a lawyer to settle my case?

What type of settlement should I expect?

Will I have to go through a trial in a courtroom?

Who will pay my medical bills?

How can I get paid my lost wages?

How long does it take from start to finish on a case?

To see how we can help make the legal system work for you, simply complete our Free Confidential Consultation Form or call us now so that we can start working on your case immediately.

In some instances, you may be able to settle your claim with the insurance company by yourself, without an attorney’s help. It’s important that you realize you are going up against trained adjusters who probably get praised and promoted for keeping their side’s cost down.

Still, you may be able to settle your claim by yourself:

1. When you don’t mind gathering all of the information necessary to determine the value of your claim;

2. When you don’t mind going to the time and trouble of interviewing necessary witnesses;

3. When you think you have all of the bases covered;

4. When you know the insurance company is not trying to take advantage of you.

If your case is complex, you should consider hiring an attorney. Your accident lawyer can advise you on the proper course of action, tell you your legal rights, tell you what to expect regarding the progress of your case, evaluate your case, negotiate a replacement auto and repairs, negotiate a full and fair settlement of your claim, put an estimated value on your case, and represent your interests aggressively to get you fully compensated for the accident.

Injured victims often share this concern: Will I get more money handling my case myself? Or should I hire an attorney?

As you may know, your attorney usually charges a portion of the amount he recovers for you as his attorney’s fee. Fortunately, the amount of money your lawyer recovers is usually much more than you could have recovered on your own. In nearly all cases, your lawyer gets enough money to pay his fee and add money you receive.paul snow.jpg

If you have any questions, call Paul Snow at 601-969-1977 or contact us online for a FREE consultation to discuss your case. DO NOT wait until it is too late to do anything on your case. There are time deadlines that must be met. Call now.

 

 

 

 

Seven Misconceptions About Injury Cases
MISCONCEPTION #1: I can settle my case without hiring a lawyer.

If you’re happy with the amount of money the insurance company offers for your car – and if you’re happy to have your medical bills paid – then you’re right. You don’t need to hire a lawyer.

Still, it’s important that you understand what you’re entitled to. In most cases, you are entitled to more than merely payment to cover your medical bills and repairs to your car. That’s why I urge you to talk with a lawyer over the telephone before you accept an insurance company’s offer.

When you speak with a lawyer, you’ll learn that a lawyer can help you in a number of ways. First, he can help you get your car repaired. Second, he can help you get the fair value for your car. Third, he can help you get a fast settlement on your car.

Your lawyer takes the hassle out of dealing with the insurance company. And, in our office, we provide all these services for our clients at NO CHARGE. In other’ words, we don’t take one penny of the money we collect for damage to your car. Our fee is limited to a percentage of what we recover for your injuries and damages – nothing more.

MISCONCEPTION #2: An attorney requires a down payment to accept your injury claim.

No. In our office, we accept most accident cases for a contingency fee. This means we get paid out of the money we recover for you. If you collect nothing, you pay nothing for our services. To start, you can talk with us for free. And if you hire our services, you pay nothing until your case settles and we recover money for you.

MISCONCEPTION #3: I’ll have to go to court to get what my case is worth.

Usually not. Most injury cases are settled before your case goes to court. When the insurance company realizes you and your lawyer are ready and willing to go to court, usually the insurance company starts making reasonable offers for your injury claim. If we don’t like the first offer, we make a counteroffer. Then we go back and forth until both sides agree on a certain amount. In most cases, injury claims don’t require a court trial.

MISCONCEPTION #4: You have to accept what your lawyer tells you.

Certainly not. Anytime you feel confused – anytime you don’t understand what’s going on anytime you don’t feel right about something – you’re entitled to get a second opinion. In the field of medicine, if your doctor suggests major surgery, you know it’s wise to get a second opinion. Likewise, anytime you speak with one lawyer, you’re perfectly free to confirm his advice by seeking a second opinion from another lawyer. In our office, we offer second opinions without cost or obligation of any kind.

MISCONCEPTION #5: Once you settle your claim, you can get more money in the future if you have additional medical bills.

Not true. Usually, once your claim is settled, it is over forever!

MISCONCEPTION #6: You have only one year to file a lawsuit.

No. You have three years from the date of the accident and, maybe, even longer if you were under 21 years of age at the time. Even so, the evidence you need to prove your case may disappear over time, so the sooner you contact an attorney, the better.

MISCONCEPTION #7: If you are partly at fault for causing the accident, you are not entitled to any money.

No. Both sides may contribute to an accident and you are still entitled to recover money.paul snow.jpg

If you have any questions, call Paul Snow at 601-969-1977 or contact us online for a FREE consultation. DO NOT wait until it is too late to pursue your case. There are time deadlines that will prevent you from pursuing your case if they are not met, so call now.