October 24, 2014

National School Bus Safety Week

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is currently observing National School Bus Safety Week. According to WJTV News Channel 12, officials with the MDOT are encouraging motorists and parents to take part by practicing safe school bus precautions and talking to children about school bus safety this week. School buses are actually the safest way to get children to and from school each day. They're large, highly visible vehicles that are designed to keep kids safe in the event of a crash. Actually, the most dangerous part of riding a school bus is boarding and exiting the vehicle.

The Danger Zone

Most school bus related injuries and deaths happen in the "danger zone." The danger zone is a ten-foot bubble around the entire bus. These injuries and deaths typically happen when boarding or exiting the bus, when bus drivers don't see children. Parents are reminded to talk to their kids about the danger zone, and tell them how to stay safe when boarding and getting off of the bus.

Tips for Kids

• Never walk behind the bus.
• Walk at least three big steps away from the side of the bus when walking around it and take at least five big steps when in front of it.
• If you drop something, tell the bus driver. Don't try to pick it up first. Let the driver know that you need to bend down to find your item.
• Make sure the bus driver can see you when you're walking in front of the bus. Make eye contact.

School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists

• Don't text and drive or participate in any other kind of distracted driving behavior.
• Don't overtake a school bus, unless you are on a highway or interstate with multiple lanes.
• Be mindful of pedestrians and children at bus stops and crosswalks.
• Red flashing lights means that children are boarding or exiting.
• Yellow flashing lights means the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children.

After a Bus Accident

Although school buses are statistically the safest way to get your children to and from school, they're not totally without risk. If your child has been injured in or around a school bus, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your case. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC is standing by to answer your questions about school bus accidents.

October 24, 2014

Suspects in Armed Carjacking Investigation Arrested

The remaining suspect in an armed carjacking that happened in September was arrested on Tuesday. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Monterrio Short, Tomokio Brock, Keisha Davis, Marquis Davis and Michael Gross were all considered suspects in the September 29, 2014 carjacking that happened on I-55, near a South Jackson apartment building.

Initially, police officers arrested Keisha Davis, Marquis Davis and Michael Gross within hours of the carjacking. On Monday, Tomokio Brock surrendered himself to law enforcement officers in connection with the crime, and on Tuesday the final suspect was arrested. Very few details have been released about these arrests, but if you or a loved one is facing armed carjacking charges in Jackson, contact our skilled criminal defense team as soon as possible.

And as a post script, it is worth mentioning that armed car jacking, along with armed robbery, and any other violent crime or crime committed with the use of the weapon, has enhanced penalties. If you get convicted of one of these crimes you can get a LONG LONG time in jail, and you half to serve at least 50% of your sentence before you get any benefit like earned time, good time, ect. Crimes committed with weapons, and violent crimes in general are punished very harshly. Don't ruin your life! Being broke and free is better than getting half your life committed to the Mississippi State Penitentiary Hotel, where you do get three bad meals a day, daily excitement in the form of crowded confinement, angry men who are bored to death and who might want to hurt you.

Be smart and don't commit the crime. If you make a poor decision and get in trouble, visit our website and you can see examples of Coxwell & Associates's lawyers who have real experience helping people. While many T.V. and internet lawyers tout their experience, at Coxwell & Associates we put before you the real cases so you can see our experience and dedication to our client's legal needs.

October 21, 2014

Do Mississippi Stores Have a Duty to Erect Barriers in a Parking Lot?

rover-detail-2-179751-m.jpgIn Cheeks v. AutoZONE, Inc., a Mississippi plaintiff was going into an AutoZone store when he was hit by a car driven by Jason Johnson. The plaintiff and a friend had gone to the store to buy car parts. The store had parking on two sides of the building. The building had a glass entryway that connected the storefront to a masonry wall. There were bollards on the storefront side and a raised sidewalk. However, cars on the north side faced a mostly solid wall. On the north side, there was no storefront, no raised sidewalks, nor any bollards. The plaintiff parked on the north side.

As the plaintiff opened the entrance door to the store, Johnson's car was driving towards him. Before he could get behind a bollard for protection, the plaintiff was hit by Johnson's car. He had serious injuries and sued both Johnson and the auto parts store. In the plaintiff's view, the bollards were there to protect pedestrians on the raised walkway. On the morning of trial, the parties dismissed Johnson from the suit.

The plaintiff testified at trial that he had been working on 2-3 cars at his shop when his friend came to visit. They went to pick up a car jack and decided to stop at AutoZone to buy parts for cars. It was drizzling when they parked at the store. He knew that the bollards protected the storefront but not the other side. He also testified that he believed the bollards were there to stop a car from getting onto the sidewalk. He heard his friend warn him of Johnson's oncoming car as he was walking up the handicap ramp. He had only a couple of seconds to react, and a store video showed that he tried to get protection behind a bollard.

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October 17, 2014

Woman in Jackson Arrested for Burglary

A woman has recently been arrested in connection with a house burglary that occurred on September 30, 2014. The Pearl Police Department has been looking for the suspect for weeks. According to WJTV News Channel 12, Zaria Khaleela Harris is now in custody. Additionally, two other people with outstanding misdemeanors warrants were picked up during her arrest.

There's no word on exactly what charges Harris is facing at this point, but burglary is likely one of them. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with burglary, theft or larceny, you need to speak with a proven criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether you're facing misdemeanor or felony charges, you need a lawyer who takes your freedom and your future seriously. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC is standing by to answer your questions at (601) 948-1600.

October 17, 2014

Pedestrians Killed by Train in Hazlehurst

Last week, two people were killed after being struck by a Canadian National train in Hazlehurst. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the incident happened at about 6:15 p.m. on Friday, October 10, 2014. For currently unknown reasons, one man and two children were sitting on train tracks near the Frost Street intersection prior to being struck. Sadly, the adult and one child were killed in collision, and the other child was rushed to UMC for treatment of injuries.

Deadly Train Crash Under Investigation

Andrew Gilmore, 43 years old, took his cousins three-year-old Rashad and four-year-old Rene out for a snack on Friday. There was some concern that Gilmore had a medical condition that lead to sitting on the train tracks. Initial reports indicate that the horn was blown. This tragic crash is still under investigation with the Hazlehurst Police Department, the Copiah County Coroner and CN Police.

Accidents Involving Trains and Pedestrians

Pedestrian versus train accidents rarely end well. There's just no way to take on a vehicle that big, no matter how fast it's moving. Even at relatively low speeds, a collision with a train can be deadly. They can't stop on a dime either, so even if an engineer is trying to stop the train, it may not prevent injury or death to the pedestrian. The most important part of any train accident investigation is determining if all crossing arms, signals and lights were working at the time of the crash.

Pedestrian Accidents

Whether a train or a car has injured them, pedestrians who suffer personal injuries are often out of work and in the hospital. Pedestrians don't have the benefit of seatbelts, air bags or steel cages. They are one of the most vulnerable roadway user groups, especially child pedestrians. If your medical bills are piling up and you are recovering from injuries after a pedestrian accident, it's time to contact an attorney. Getting your life back together starts with a call to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Jackson. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC sends their deepest condolences to the Gilmore family and wishes a speedy and full recovery to Rene Gilmore.

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October 15, 2014

Apartment's Liability for Third Party Attacks in Mississippi

iron-fence-1397500-m.jpgIn Bennett v. Highland Park Apartments, LLC, a woman and her minor children were tenants of an apartment complex. They were at home with a friend when around 8 pm, three people came into the apartment complex through an unguarded gate and forced their way into the apartment. The burglars asked where she kept drugs and money, and the woman and the guest were injured. The burglars left the property and were not apprehended.

The woman sued on behalf of herself and the kids against the apartment complex and the apartment manager. She claimed severe injuries and emotional and mental duress. The woman claimed she and her kids were invitees of the complex and that the complex failed in its duty to adequately and reasonably protect them as people who lived in the community. She claimed the complex failed to fix the gates, lighting, and surveillance cameras and failed to hire security guards. The complex denied it breached a duty owed to the woman or her kids or was otherwise responsible for the burglary.

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October 9, 2014

Is There Credit After Bankruptcy?

Is there credit after bankruptcy? Yes. You can and will be able to get credit after bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is thought to be an absolute barrier to future credit, but it's not. There are so many myths and misinformation out there about getting credit after bankruptcy that the most frequent answer you may hear on the street to this question is more than likely "no", which is simply not true. Yes, filing for bankruptcy will have a negative effect on your credit score. But if you are considering bankruptcy, your credit score may already be as bad as it can get - or soon will be.
No future creditor wants to see bankruptcy on your report, but the damage to your credit score depends on where your credit is now. If your credit rating is in the dumps now, bankruptcy will improve your future credit rating.
If you live check to check with no hope of paying off your old debts, you should consider your total situation. It's a choice between horrible credit and always being in debt, or a clean slate with your debts wiped out and a bright financial future.
Even if you have good credit now, you can probably see that your circumstances are getting worse. You know you can't keep on going the way you are now. It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. How much worse will your credit score be if you wait two more years before you realize that you have no choice of every paying a $20,000 hospital bill? You can't make decisions now about your current financial situation based solely on whether you can get credit in the future. Realizing where you are today and what is coming will allow you to be proactive and file for bankruptcy to get the clock started sooner rather than later.
Everyone's situation is different. Bankruptcy law is complicated and involved. Do the smart thing and consult with a highly qualified bankruptcy attorney. Do it now, before things reach a crisis. Find out what it is all about and what it can do for you. Get the information you need to decide what is best for your situation now, and how to rebuild in the future.

October 9, 2014

Semi Truck Overturns in Warren County

On Tuesday afternoon, a big rig carrying a load of raw chickens overturned on I-20. According to WJCT News Channel 12, the incident happened near the U.S. 61 North, Rolling Fork exit.

For currently unknown reasons, the truck driver lost control of the 18-wheeler. He was taken to the hospital, but there's no word on his current condition or the extent of his injuries. Traffic was backed up, and westbound lanes were blocked for hours as crews cleared the scene.

Although no other vehicles were involved in this crash, wrecks with 18-wheelers can be incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal for drivers and other motorists. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a semi truck, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation today.

October 8, 2014

Fatal Crash in Rankin County

On Friday night, a crash on Highway 469 in Rankin County took the lives of two teenagers. The incident happened on Highway 469, south of 468. According to WJTV News Channel 12, another person was airlifted to UMC with life-threatening injuries. For currently unknown reasons, a Dodge pickup truck heading north on 469 crossed into the southbound lane. The truck crashed head-on with an Infiniti, and the Infiniti caught fire.

Two Killed and One Injured in Highway 469 Crash

The female driver and male passenger in the Infiniti died on the scene, and the driver of the Dodge pickup truck was rushed to the hospital. A recent report indicates that his condition has been upgraded to fair. The driver of the Infiniti was 18-year-old Kimberly Copelan of Clinton, and the passenger was 19-year-old Joshua Page of Florence. There's still no word on why the pickup truck driver crossed into the southbound lane, and the wreck is likely still under investigation with law enforcement authorities.

Distracted and Impaired Driving

Although very few details have been released about the cause of this crash, it's not uncommon for distracted or impaired drivers to drift into oncoming traffic. Anytime a driver takes his or her attention away from the task of driving, they're putting everybody on the roadway at great risk. Equally as dangerous, drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking can endanger other roadway users and themselves. The cause of this crash still remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, two teenagers lost their lives.

After a Fatal Wreck

After losing a loved one due to somebody else's negligent, careless or willfully dangerous behavior, it's absolutely critical to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Surviving family members may be facing extensive medical bills, funeral expenses, a loss of income and the pain and suffering that goes along with losing a loved one. A skilled lawyer can be your family's advocate during a difficult time. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC sends their deepest condolences to the family members, friends and loved ones of Kimberly Copelan and Joshua Page.

October 8, 2014

Is There a Duty to Render Aid in Mississippi?

roulette-table-1379288-m.jpgIn general, there is no duty to take affirmative steps to help another person in Mississippi. However, the rules are a little bit different for businesses, which have a duty to act with reasonable care towards patrons. In a recent appellate case, a 67-year-old woman's heart stopped while she was playing slots at the Isle of Capri-Natchez in Mississippi. She collapsed and a patron told the employees. They called an ambulance and did CPR.

The EMTs worked on her and her heart restarted, but her brain had been fatally injured from lack of oxygen. She spent a week on artificial life support, and then her husband stopped support. Her death certificated stated that her cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest.

The husband sued the casino for wrongful death. He claimed the casino's negligence was the cause of death and that the casino had a duty to give aid to his deceased wife by timely starting CPR or using an AED. In his view, the AED would have prevented her brain death.

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October 7, 2014

The Importance of an Experienced Lawyer

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Anyone can put on their website that they are an "experienced" law firm, but not all "experienced" law firms are created equal. That being said, the importance of proven trial experience can't be overstated when considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, catastrophic injury lawyer or wrongful death lawyer.

Actual Proven Experience

Anyone can advertise that they're experienced lawyers, but experience can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The word "experienced" shouldn't automatically sell you on the right law firm. You need to dig a little deeper, and make sure you're actually dealing with an attorney who has actual case results and proven successes. If you're potential lawyer isn't forthcoming with case results, experience and trial history, you should be concerned. An experienced trial attorney is happy to speak about their cases and answer any questions about their trial results.

Red Flags

• Lawyers who don't have trial experience
• Big budget advertising without the credentials to back it
• Attorneys who don't answer questions about their experience or case results
• Lawyers who also work for insurance companies
• Law firms who ask for money up front in contingency cases

Why You Need to be a Savvy Client-Shopper

Don't just pick a lawyer at random, or the one with the flashiest advertising. Research the potential law firm you're interested in and meet with the lawyer in person or on the phone. Most good personal injury lawyers will give you a free no-obligation, initial consultation. He or she will welcome your questions and share their case experience willingly. You need to be a savvy shopper when choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent your case, because this is probably going to be one of the most important decisions of your life. Chances are, you're out of work, in the hospital or severely debilitated. Your family is suffering, and you need a lawyer with real-world-trial experience on your side. Choose wisely, and never pick the lawyer who doesn't go to trial for his or her clients.

Beware the Lawyer who Never goes to Trial

Especially in the case of personal injury law, where lawyers are frequently dealing with large, multi-national insurance corporations, beware of a lawyer who never goes to trial. It is true that most cases settle out of court, but before you get to court the insurance lawyers want to see if the plaintiff's lawyer is dedicated, smart, savvy and willing to put the money into the client's case. Pushy insurance companies are not looking after their policy holder's best interests, they're looking after shareholder's profits. That means they're more likely to deny claims or offer insufficient settlement amounts to lawyers who never go to trial. On the other hand, if they know a personal injury attorney is willing to go to the mat for you, they're more likely to treat your claim fairly.

Proven Trial Experience

Not only does a lawyer with proven trial experience command more respect from insurance lawyers, they also have the skills and experience necessary to persuade a jury to return a favorable verdict and substantial compensation for an injured victim. A lawyer with significant trial experience can handle the pressure of a high-stakes catastrophic injury or wrongful death lawsuit. They know exactly what it takes to win a case in court. It takes

Questions for a Potential Law Firm

• Have you tried this type of case before?
• Do you have time to take my case on?
• How does your contingency fee work?
• How long have you been practicing in personal injury?
• Do you have any expertise or additional knowledge that can help my case?
• Do you work with any other experts who can help my case?
• What is my case worth?
• Will you be the actual lawyer handling my case?
• Why should I chose your law firm over the others?

Don't Let Inexperience Botch Your Case

You typically only get one chance to try to recover compensation for your damages. Don't trust your case to a lawyer who doesn't have proven successful case experience and trial experience.

When to Contact an Attorney

Inexperience only works out for movie lawyers like Joe Peschi in My Cousin Vinny and Matt Damon in The Rainmaker. In real life, lawyers need years of proven case experience to represent clients successfully in catastrophic injury, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. If you or a loved one has been injured due to somebody else's negligence, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC for a free case consultation today. At Coxwell & Associates they have guided hundreds of people through the American Civil Justice System recovering judgments/settlements over $300 million.

October 6, 2014

New DUI Laws in Mississippi - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

On October 1 of this year, the DUI laws in this state got a face-lift. As with most changes to our laws, there are some very happy groups and some not-so-happy groups. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was very happy about this change in penalties for driving under the influence--though some groups originally pushed for a lower Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Luckily for restaurateurs and social drinkers, the desired change of BAC from the current 0.08 to 0.05 did not occur. However, the DUI laws did see some substantial changes in the latest legislative session. Thumbnail image for chuckscasedui-lawyer.jpg

THE GOOD: Until this new legislation went into effect, one convicted of a DUI could not get that DUI expunged from his record, nor was he eligible for non-adjudication. But now there is hope!

Any first-time offender (who does not have a commercial driver's license) may petition the Circuit Court of the county in which the conviction stands for an expunction of the charge. There are some restrictions, however:
• The petitioner must wait five years after the successful completion of all terms and conditions of his sentence.
• It is only available when all terms and conditions have been met (all fines are paid, all classes attended); if the person submitted to an Intoxilyzer test; if the results of that test were below .16%; if there are no other pending DUIs or convictions; and if the person provides justification to the Court.
Not only are there options for expungements, but there is an option for non-adjudication as well. Non-adjudication is a process allowed by our Courts to essentially give defendants a second chance after a mistake. When you enter into an agreement for non-adjudication, you enter a plea of guilty, but the judge withholds acceptance of that plea and gives you some conditions to fulfill. Once you've completed those to the Court's satisfaction, the charge against you is remanded and essentially dismissed. The catch is that you must complete the Court's terms and conditions--or else you have already pled guilty and will be convicted. A DUI non-adjudication will work the same way, but again with some restrictions:
• Applied to first offenders of any crime only
• Applies only when there was no refusal to submit to testing (unless good cause is shown)
• Must pay all fines as if you had been convicted; must attend alcohol safety classes; must surrender license for 90-days or use an ignition interlock for 120 days.
If you fit into either of these categories and want to speak with an attorney at Coxwell and Associates about your options for expunction, please call to speak with one of our attorneys at any time.

THE BAD: While the penalties did not get any harsher for those who are convicted of driving under the influence, the new law does make it more difficult to move on with life after your mistake. Under the laws as they were prior to October 1, 2014, those convicted of DUI could-- after a certain period of license suspension and after completion of the Court's sentence--petition the Court for a hardship license and essentially get their driving privileges back due to hardships due to work, school, or family. However, the new law does away with this option: Anyone convicted of a DUI will have their license suspended by the Department of Public Safety for 90 days (first offense); one year (second offense); three years (subsequent offenses). The hardship license is not an option.

While the loss of the hardship option is bad news for many, the new law does open up options. Though driving privileges must be revoked when there is a conviction for DUI, the new laws allow for limited driving privileges when the person agrees to use of an ignition-interlock device. If the defendant chooses the ignition interlock option, he or she must surrender her unrestricted license and instead get one from DPS indicating they are allowed to drive only with an ignition interlock. Though I am no scientist, these devices are installed in a car and provide a portable breathalyzer of sorts--in order to start the car, you must provide a sample proving you are not under the influence of alcohol.

THE UGLY: Despite some positive steps towards forgiveness and second chances, DUI laws still carry some very stiff penalties. When in doubt, follow Merrida's never-fail way to get out of a DUI: don't drink and drive. Hire a designated driver or take turns on nights out with your friends. It's not worth the bodily danger to you or others, and it's not worth the serious consequences of the law--even if no one gets injured. If you find yourself facing some of these serious consequences, call the experienced attorneys at Coxwell and Associates to discuss your options.

October 3, 2014

Pearl Police Chase Ends with Two Arrests

On Tuesday night, two people were arrested after a high-speed chase in Pearl. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the chase started just before 8:00 p.m. Law enforcement officials report that this was the third chase in Pearl over the past week. The chase happened near the intersection of Highway 80 and Airport Road and ended with a multi-car crash. Apparently, a tip about drugs at the Southern Gardens Trailer Park sparked law enforcement interest prior to the chase.

Drugs and Guns Found in Car

Very few details have been released about the tip, chase or the subsequent arrests, but officials reportedly found methamphetamine and two weapons in the suspect's car. Even though their car flipped multiple times during the crash, the two suspects were able to exit the vehicle. Law enforcement officers did arrest the suspects after pursuing on foot. Although the wreck was described as "multi-car," there's no word on whether or not anybody was injured or if the two suspects, who were able to exit the vehicle, were injured.

After an Arrest

Although there's no word on exactly what charges these two suspects are facing, they're likely looking at drug charges, weapons charges, fleeing, resisting arrest and endangering the public. The most important thing you can do after any arrest is contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are able to do so. Misdemeanor charges can land you in jail for up to a year, and depending on the quantity of methamphetamines or other type of drug is discovered, you could be facing felony charges carrying stiff penalties and sentences.

Whether you're facing drug charges in state or Mississippi Federal courts, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Weapons charges can only complicate the case, so you don't want your future in the hands of an overburdened public defender. Federal criminal defense cases are also much more difficult than criminal defense cases in State courts. Procedural rules vary from State to Federal Court. The ultimate goal of your attorney should be to get your charges thrown out completely.

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October 3, 2014

I-220 Fatal Crash

Last Friday night, a one-car crash on I-220 took the life of one person. According to WJTV News Channel 12, the incident happened near Watkins Drive. For currently unknown reasons, 33-year-old Anthony Roby lost control of his SUV. His vehicle struck the center median and rolled.

Roby was thrown from the vehicle and died as a result of his injuries. WJTV News does report that there were no passengers in his car at the time of the wreck, and the cause of the one-car crash is still under investigation.

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, it's a good idea to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Anthony Roby.

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October 2, 2014

Cargo Lift Accident in Mississippi

up-368123-m.jpgRecently, a Mississippi man was killed in a cargo lift accident in Bay St. Louis, and two others were injured. This was the third such accident in Hanover County, and the city has called for routine safety inspections in response, telling homeowners to inspect their lifts at least once a year. Among other things, cargo lifts may need greasing and their cables checked at the inspection. The city makes sure that the lifts and the hookups are within the code, but it recommends that cargo lifts be restricted to lifting cargo.

The accident happened on a Saturday night. The decedent built the utility lift that was attached to his home after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly before the accident, he had tack welded a new floor to the bottom of the lift. The floor fell out under the utility lift, and they fell on concrete. The decedent's friend and his friend's son survived the accident with minor injuries.

In Mississippi, if you are hurt on somebody else's property in a cargo lift or other accident, your ability to recover depends partly on your status on the property. Your status may be as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. An invitee is somebody who enters property in response to an express or implied invitation of the owner for mutual advantage.

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