Workers Compensation Claims in Kansas City Affected By Kansas Governor Signing H.B. 2134 In To Law

Every day, each one of us goes off to work. We worry about traffic, workload, meetings etc., along with what we have obligated ourselves to after the work day and week has ended. We work to sustain and maintain a lifestyle. Seldom, do we ever think about getting injured at work, injured to the point of possible disability. Just think about that for a minute. . . . . . . Ok, now that you’ve thought about it, what would you do if your workers compensation claim was denied? Oh, so you think it “can’t” be? Well, it happens and it happens all the time. Due simply to lack of guidance and the knowledge of the victims rights people suffer when compensation is available. Legal advice is available to you, do not hesitate another moment before making a call that can easily improve the situation for the injured victim.

In April of 2011, the Governor of Kansas signed into law H.B. 2134. This is the first reformation of the states workers compensation law since 1993. The new law is seemingly a compromise between companies and their employees. Listed below is an overview of H.B. 2134:

* Ends payment of unwarranted claims by raising the minimum required for an incident to be compensable;

* Overturns court decisions that eroded the workers compensation system;

* Clarifies that employers are entitled to a credit for pre-existing conditions; and

* Increases benefit caps for injured workers who have lost the ability to work.

What does this mean to you? Once you have been injured on the job it is imperative you become immediately aware of your rights. Without knowledge and the proper legal guidance it is impossible to receive what you are entitled to and for any extended amount of time. Under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, the burden of proof is on the victim to prove their right to compensation and to prove the various conditions these rights depend upon. The whole picture is viewed when deciding whether the injured victim has satisfied the burden of proof.

Mike Lawless can advise on whether to bring a claim and provide the best legal advice. At Lawless law firm we work diligently with doctors and taking any and all legal action necessary to obtain compensation for injured or disabled victims. We will work for the victim in claims and denied claims to get the compensation you deserve.  Let us maximize results and get you what you deserve and are entitled to by law. Let us guide and help you, with our experience and knowledge, in making certain that your rights and your family are protected and taken care of. You cannot and should not do it alone. Call our Kansas City Workers Compensation lawyer today at 1-800-734-3771 for a free consultation! We are ready and waiting. We will gladly schedule weekend or night appointments to meet your working needs.

Kansas City Accident Attorney Explains What to Do Following a Kansas Auto Accident

Any Lenexa resident or other resident in the Kansas City area who is involved in a serious Kansas auto accident is likely to be overcome with stress and anxiety.  If a driver suffers serious injury in a car accident, the auto accident victim may be suffering from serious injuries that may make it difficult to focus on what needs to be done to preserve one’s legal rights and avoid jeopardizing one’s claim for compensation.  While legal and insurance concerns may not seem important when dealing with serious injuries, a successful and prompt resolution of these issues may be necessary in the face of significant medical expenses, lost income and other financial challenges.  There are certain steps that should be taken following a Kansas car accident to preserve a person’s right to financial compensation.  We have provided an overview of the important things that you can do following an auto accident to preserve your rights to financial compensation.

  • Make Sure Everyone Is Out of Danger: The first order of priority following a car accident is to make sure that everyone is out of the zone of danger.  Following a serious car accident, a driver should call 911 if anyone is hurt or there is significant vehicle damage.  A disabled vehicle or pedestrian in the roadway can mean people remain in danger even following the car crash.  It is critical to put out flares or warning signals and try to get vehicles out of the roadway.  If it can be done safely, anyone who might be in danger should be moved to safety.
  • Gather Evidence or Preserve Witnesses: If the police are summoned to the scene of a car accident, the officer will investigate and may interview you.  If you observed evidence that suggests negligence by the other driver, such as alcohol on the driver’s breath, speeding by the other driver or similar conduct, you should inform the investigating officer.  If there were witnesses to the accident, it is a good idea to get contact information for the witnesses and inform the investigating officer.  A car accident victim should also take pictures of vehicle damage, any evidence of injuries, the accident scene and surrounding area.  Because most people are fairly shaken following an accident, it is also advisable to keep a journal to help you remember what happened.
  • Seek Medical Treatment and Evaluation: If you are injured and paramedics are summoned to the scene, you should let them examine you.  Many car accident victims refuse medical attention or do not follow-up with their doctor because they believe that they have not been seriously injured.  This can be a decision with serious long-term repercussions.  Sometimes very serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries, severe spinal or neck injuries and other serious injuries are not obvious immediately after an accident.  Sometimes even fractures and broken bones can be masked because the shock of being involved in a traumatic car crash may make it difficult to fully appreciate one’s injuries.  If you do not obtain a medical evaluation or follow through on treatment, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Many people are pleasantly surprised when the other driver’s insurance adjuster calls.  The adjuster may be friendly and even offer to cut you a settlement check.  Frequently, an auto accident victim will discover that their medical costs, injuries and long-term consequence far exceed any such settlement offer.  When an insurance company offers to settle a claim, they will typically ask that a general release be signed that may prohibit you from going back and seeking damages for subsequently discovered injuries.  You should never settle an auto accident claim or even talk with the other driver’s insurance company until you have obtained legal advice from an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney.

Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law, has been representing car accident victims throughout Kansas for over 27 years.  If you have suffered serious injury or the loss of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss.  A Kansas City accident attorney from our law firm can represent auto accident victims who suffer serious injuries.  If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a Kansas or Missouri car accident, call us today at 1-800-734-3771 for your free no obligation initial consultation.

Dangerous Design Flaws and Defects Placing Drivers at Risk on Kansas Roadways

Sports utility vehicles (SUV’s) are among the most popular vehicles due to their functional benefits as a family vehicle, but they also have design defects that compromise the level of protection they offer motorists.  SUV vehicles are notorious for their high incidence of rollover accidents.  Attributes of SUV’s that increase their risk of rollover accidents include their weight, size and high center of gravity.

These contributing factors are also examples of design flaws and defects that may place the safety of others at risk of a serious Kansas auto accident.  The manufacturer of the automobile, the manufacturer of its parts, and other parties potentially may be liable in the event of an automobile collision caused by such defects.

Product liability law involves a defect in the design, manufacturing or marketing of a product that results in injury or wrongful death of an individual in a product defect related accident.  Consumers purchase automobiles with a good faith expectation that they are reasonably safe and free from defects that may cause a car crash or more serious injury in a collision.  Most consumers never consider the possibility that their vehicle has a product defect when they purchase it.  However, most product defects are not apparent at the time a vehicle is purchased but manifest themselves only under certain driving conditions or over prolonged use of the vehicle.  Manufacturers of automobiles and of defective parts can be held responsible for the resulting injuries if the defect of the automobile proximately causes an auto accident resulting in injuries or wrongful death.

There are several types of defects that may be associated with an automobile collision including design defects, manufacturing defects and marketing defects.  A design defect, such as the design flaw in sports utility vehicles that tend to contribute to SUV rollovers due to a combination of weight, size, and speed, is a defect that can be determined by the design plans, such as the engineering plans used to develop and assemble the vehicle.

The Ford Pinto provides the classical example of a design defect in a motor vehicle.  These vehicles had a design defect which caused the rupture of fuel systems in Ford Pinto’s that resulted in fuel tank explosions when the vehicles were involved in rear-end accidents.  Pintos were already on the assembly-line during the rear-end crash tests that revealed this very serious defect.

The automaker continued the manufacture and distribution of automobiles because they determined that it was cheaper to pay the lawsuits for those that were seriously injured or killed than to re-tool and correct the manufacturing defect.  This lawsuit became the classic case for imposing punitive damages on a product manufacturer that knowingly allows an unsafe product to enter the market and treats serious injury or wrongful death to buyers as a cost of doing business.

The next type of product defect that can cause severe injury to consumers involves defects in the manufacture process while assembling the vehicle.  Vehicles may exhibit a manufacturing defect with or without a design defect and may result in strict liability for damage on the manufacturers or the assemblers of the automobile.  Manufacturing defects can result in brake or tire failure, poor handling that causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle and suspension system failures. Any time an automobile part fails, the driver is at risk of potential accidents from losing control of the vehicle, compromising the driver’s safety.

Design, manufacturing, or assembly defects place users at risk of a dangerous collision in motor vehicles including SUV’s especially when there were no warning provided to consumers of any risk associated with the vehicle.  Other types of defects includes seat-belt malfunctions, failure of door latches, defects associated with airbags, and other types of design and manufacturing defects.

Failing to warn consumers of potential hazards and dangers of an automobile can also leave companies subject to a potential product liability claim.  One particular method of warning involves a product recall that provides notice to car dealers and consumers regarding potential hazards of vehicles.

Defective motor vehicles can cause devastating accidents that result in serious injuries ranging from broken or fractured arms, legs, or hips to permanent disability or paralysis.  If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective vehicle or car part which caused an accident or caused more serious injuries, a Kansas City accident lawyer from our law firm can review your case free of charge and will provide an honest assessment of your chance of receiving compensation.

Call us today for your free initial consultation at 1-800-734- 3771. Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law, P.C, provides personal injury representation in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, including the communities of Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Merriam, Mission, Roeland Park, Westwood, Fairway, Prairie Village, Lawrence, Topeka, Gardner, Kansas City, Grandview, Harrisonville, Belton, Pleasant Hill, Clinton, Lees Summit, Raytown, Peculiar, Lawrence, Strasburg, Freeman, and Garden City.

New Legislation May Reduce the Risk of Sudden Unintended Acceleration Accidents

Toyota has been hard hit by issues involving sudden unanticipated acceleration accidents involving its vehicles.  A new recall was recently announced that covers an additional 2.2 million vehicles linked to potential unintended sudden acceleration issues.  These accidents have been variously linked to sticky accelerator pedals, defective floor mats and faulty electronics.  The issue of unintended acceleration accidents associated with Toyota vehicles first became prominent in the wake of a 2009 fatal car crash involving a Highway Patrol Officer in San Diego who was killed when his vehicle accelerated to speeds in excess of a hundred mph.  The family of the San Diego victims settled a wrongful death lawsuits with Toyota for $10 million.  New legislation is now being discussed in Congress, which may help reduce the risk of sudden acceleration collisions by increasing certain safety standards that apply to auto manufacturers.

If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a serious car accident in Missouri or Kansas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  At the law firm of Michael R. Lawless P.A., Attorney at Law, we have been representing those seriously injured in serious car accidents in Kansas and Missouri since 1980.  As advocates for those injured by defective motor vehicles, we welcome the proposed legislation, which may help make Kansas and Missouri residents on our roadways safer.

Two specific legislative changes are being proposed that would have a significant impact on Kansas auto accident lawsuits. The first change being proposed would require installing an apparatus that gives an automobile braking system priority over its accelerator.  This change is a response to the massive recalls and growing number of accidents linked to sudden unintended acceleration accidents.  Many victims involved in these accidents have indicated that their vehicle continued to accelerate out of control despite desperate attempts to depress the brakes.

In theory, this safety improvement seems to make sense, but some contend that the requirement could be a double-edged sword.  If automakers implement such a system, it means that one’s car will respond differently and may increase car accident risk because drivers are not prepared for how their car responds in such a situation.

The other change that is being considered is to mandate data recorders that would record valuable information that could be used to provide critical information about braking, acceleration and speed that might be critical when the facts are in dispute regarding how an auto accident occurred.  Because there will be objective data to substantiate disputed testimony regarding the cause of such unintended acceleration accidents, the change could mean that Kansas auto accident cases may settle more quickly or litigation may be avoided entirely where there is little question of liability.

Our experienced Kansas City auto collision lawyers will continue to follow this legislation closely because of the significant impact it could have on Kansas auto accident litigation.  Our law firm continually implements the most current technology and most recent developments in the law so that we can devise the most effective legal strategy for our clients.  If you or your loved ones are involved in a serious Kansas auto accident, an experienced Kansas City car accident lawyer carefully investigate the circumstances of our clients’ cases and employ state of the art litigation technology to help obtain the best possible results for our clients.

We will discuss your case free of charge and will provide an honest assessment of your chance of receiving compensation.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Kansas or Missouri, call us today for your free initial consultation at 1-800-734- 3771. Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law, P.C, provides personal injury representation in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, including the communities of Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Merriam, Mission, Roeland Park, Westwood, Fairway, Prairie Village, Lawrence, Topeka, Gardner, Kansas City, Grandview, Harrisonville, Belton, Pleasant Hill, Clinton, Lees Summit, Raytown, Peculiar, Lawrence, Strasburg, Freeman, and Garden City.

Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Discusses Delayed-Symptom Injuries and Kansas Auto Accidents

Delayed-symptom injuries in automobile accidents are common, and the effect of a motor vehicle collision on the human body may not be immediately known. While some serious car accidents involve injuries that obviously require immediate medical attention, others may involve hidden injuries that do not surface until after the accident.  In these instances, a Kansas auto accident victim may not immediately notice that he or she even has an injury following a car crash and only discover later that he or she has potentially serious symptoms.

Commonly reported symptoms or injuries that may not become apparent until sometime after a Kansas City car accident include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Internal bleeding
  • Sprains
  • Back pain
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Individuals who are involved in a car crash should make sure to visit a medical professional if they experience any pain, problems with mobility, or health problems as soon as possible.  These types of delayed-symptom injuries occur in car accidents because of the sudden back and forth motion the body is subjected to upon impact with another vehicle or a stationary object.  The force of an abrupt stop is traumatic on one’s body, and the damage it causes can be quite extensive.

Delayed-symptom injuries are one reason an experienced Kansas auto collision attorney will advise you to seek a thorough medical evaluation before settling a claim.  Many times an insurance adjuster will try to settle a car crash claim quickly after the accident if you tell the adjuster that you have no injuries.  If you settle with the insurance company, the adjuster will typically ask you to sign a general release that waives all past, present and future claims including claims related to injuries that you do not even know exist.  If you suffer a delayed-symptom injury and settle the claim before the symptoms become obvious, you may not even receive enough compensation to cover your medical expenses.  This can devastate a family financially and even result in bankruptcy.

For example, a compression fractures of the spinal column is a serious delayed-symptom injury that results in a compressed or crushed vertebrae in your back.  This is a fairly common injury in rear-end collisions or when your vehicle crashes into a non-moving automobile or object.   After this type of collision, the car crash victim may simply feel sore at first, but after a period of time the pain may steadily increase to a debilitating level.

Without treatment, delayed injuries can damage the joints, discs, spinal cord, muscles, nerves and ligaments in your back and/or neck. Your injury can even result in a permanent life-long disability.  At the law firm of Michael R. Lawless P.A., Attorney at Law, we have seen the potentially tragic consequences when a Kansas auto accident victim does not seek immediate medical treatment.  Sometimes the delay in treatment results in a poor prognosis or creates obstacles to a car accident victim’s personal injury lawsuit.  If you are involved in a serious Kansas auto collision and suffer serious injury or lose a loved one to wrongful death, our law firm has been helping car crash victims in Kansas and Missouri since 1980.  A Kansas City car accident attorney from our office offers zealous advocacy to those who suffer injury resulting from the negligence of third parties throughout Kansas and Missouri.  If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a Kansas or Missouri car accident, call us today at 1-800-734-3771 for your free no obligation initial consultation.

Heavy Machinery Major Cause of Serious Construction Accidents in Kansas City

Anyone who has ever worked in the construction trades knows that a construction site is a dangerous work environment that can result in catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. There are approximately 150,000 construction site accident injuries each year with one in ten construction workers suffering a workplace-related injury.  Construction has long been the most dangerous workplace setting for workers with over 1,200 construction workers suffering fatal accidents in a typical year.  While there are a multitude of dangerous hazards at a typical construction site, dangers posed by heavy machinery are one of the most serious hazards.  Construction workers must deal with dangerous heavy machinery on a daily basis including power tools, bulldozers, cranes, forklifts, and dump trucks.

Because of the danger posed by heavy machinery on a construction site, construction workers must pay extra attention around such equipment.  It is important to make sure that heavy machinery is functioning correctly and kept well maintained.  Industrial work-related injuries rank third amongst the most common types of workplace injuries.  Eighty percent of such accidents result from the use or operation of heavy machinery and equipment.  Not only are construction accidents involving heavy machinery common, but they also tend to result in very severe injuries or even wrongful death because of the size, weight and power of such machinery.

A construction worker who uses heavy equipment can take certain basic precautions to avoid being involved in a serious construction accident including the following:

  • Immediately cease using heavy equipment that is not functioning properly
  • Put management on notice of any heavy equipment that is malfunctioning
  • Always wear safety equipment including a hard hat, goggles, work boots, reflective vests
  • Always avoid walking on areas that have elevated machinery carrying a weighty load without strong and solid support
  • Keep the construction site clear of unauthorized personnel who are unfamiliar with construction workplace hazards

The sheer size of the equipment itself makes a construction workplace more dangerous.  Other factors that often play a role in construction accidents involving heavy equipment and machinery include inadequate company training, co-worker negligence, defectively designed or manufactured machinery, or poorly maintained equipment.  Statistics show that some construction, landscaping, and farm equipment also is more commonly involved in causing injuries resulting from heavy machinery accidents.  Specifically, machinery manufactured by John Deere, Case, Chase Bobcat, Caterpillar, and Volvo has caused catastrophic injuries and fatalities in recent years.

Our Kansas City area personal injury law firm represents workers from a broad spectrum of industries and occupations, including the construction, agriculture (farming) and manufacturing industries whom have been injured by heavy machinery on the job site.  We are prepared to represent you and seek compensation for serious injuries such as third-degree burns, amputations, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and other serious injuries caused by any heavy machinery including cranes, backhoe loaders, dump trucks, excavators, forklifts, front end loaders, pavers and tractors.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death caused by a heavy machinery accident, an experienced heavy machinery attorney can help you and your family obtain the legal compensation that you deserve.

Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at our Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Our office in Lenexa is off of I-35 from 87th or 95th in Old Town at 93rd and Pflumm. Our Grandview office is conveniently located at the main street exit off of 71 Highway, next to Captain D’s. Call Kansas City personal injury lawyer Michael Lawless today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Why Social Networks Can Spell Doom for Your Kansas City Personal Injury Case

The Internet and more specifically the influence of social networks have changed our society so that most of us now live in a fishbowl of our own making.  Whether one’s social network of choice is Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkIn.  Many people live their lives in very public view through regular and detailed posts on social media sites.  While social media sites are immensely popular, they can be a huge liability if you are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit resulting from another person’s negligent or intentional conduct.  Insurance investigators, insurance defense attorneys, police and others now routinely search social media sites to develop evidence in personal injury lawsuits.  If you have pictures and content on social media sites, you may want to consider removing these pages during any pending personal injury lawsuit or at the very least be extremely careful regarding your activity on your social media pages.

Insurance company investigators in personal injury lawsuits routinely search social network websites for information on plaintiffs.  Investigators may look for evidence that contradicts your version of the facts on how an injury occurred or undermines your claim regarding the seriousness of your damages.  Damaging information on a social network site can constitute an admission and be used by an insurance company’s attorneys to undermine your claim.  Some courts have actually required an accident victim to turn over their social network log-in information and content to attorneys for the other party’s insurance company.

There are a number of ways that information on social media sites may be used by the other party’s insurance company to compromise your personal injury claim including the following:

  • Compromising Damage Claim: Investigators are often hired to take pictures of plaintiffs with serious injuries engaged in activities that are designed to suggest the victim’s injury claim is fraudulent.  With the explosion of social media sites, plaintiffs now often do this spying work for insurance companies.  If you have suffered serious back or neck injuries, the insurance company will look for pictures of you engaged in recreational or other physical activities to cast doubt on your claims of serious injury.
  • Impugning Your Character: Evidence is not generally admitted solely to establish a person’s character.  However, there are many exceptions to this general rule.  An insurance company may look for pictures or comments on social media sites that will make you seem unsympathetic or like a “bad person” to a jury.
  • Contradicting Liability Claim: Statements you make regarding your accident may be used to compromise or contradict your version of the accident.
  • Challenging Causation with Pre-Existing Conditions: A very innocent comment may be taken out of context or misconstrued.  You may make a rather innocuous comment on a social media site that “your back is killing you” which suddenly becomes the basis for claiming your injuries were the result of a prior incident or accident.
  • Discovery of Witnesses: Content on your friends’ social media pages may make it obvious they have damaging information that could harm your case.  The insurance company might attempt to friend that person to obtain damaging information or even subpoena that person to testify.

These are only a few obvious examples of the way that content and photos on social networking sites can have an adverse impact on your personal injury lawsuit.  There are a number of steps that you can take to prevent social media sites from compromising your personal injury claim.  The simplest solution is to remove all social media sites if you have a pending personal injury lawsuit.  Alternatively, you should be very careful what you post on your social media sites.  You should not post anything that has any connection to your accident or personal injury claim and avoid posting anything that the other party’s insurance company might use to undermine your claim or make you look bad.  You should also use maximum privacy settings and check to see what comes up when someone searches for you on the site with your privacy settings in place.  You should also refuse friend requests from anyone you do not recognize.

Free Consultation With a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer

Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at our Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Our office in Lenexa is off of I-35 from 87th or 95th in Old Town at 93rd and Pflumm. Our Grandview office is conveniently located at the main street exit off of 71 Highway, next to Captain D’s. Call Kansas City personal injury lawyer Michael Lawless today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Kansas City Tractor-Trailer Truck Accidents Pose Unique Litigation Challenges

When a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle collides with a fully loaded tractor-trailer that can weigh 80,000 pounds, the resulting collision often leads to catastrophic injuries or death.  The huge disparity in size and weight between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck as well as the laws of physics during an accident usually mean devastating results for occupants of a passenger vehicle.  One in every eight motor vehicle fatalities involves a collision with a tractor-trailer.  Big rig commercial trucking accidents account for over 400,000 accidents resulting in 4,200 fatalities and 90,000 injuries nationally though tractor-trailers constitute only 3% of registered vehicles on our roadways.  An 80,000 pound commercial truck traveling at the speed of 70 miles per hour delivers the same impact as a passenger vehicle moving at a speed of 360 miles per hour.  The result is that an accident involving a 18-wheeler is four times more likely to result in a fatality accident.  The driver of a passenger vehicle almost always loses in such encounters suffering 75% of all fatalities and deaths in collisions involving tractor-trailers.

Kansas City Tractor-trailer accidents are much more complex than accidents involving other motor vehicles because the trucking industry is subject to extensive federal and state regulations.  Federal regulations referred to as Hours of Service rules (HOS) stipulate the amount of time a commercial truck driver may operate his vehicle without a rest period as well as the duration of such rest periods.  Many tractor-trailer operators routinely violate these HOS rules with the tacit or open encouragement of the trucking company.  Driver fatigue is the leading cause of commercial trucking accidents, which often result from violations of HOS rules.  A trucking accident lawsuit requires extensive knowledge of trucking regulations and industry practices.

One of the biggest challenges in a Kansas City trucking accident is preservation of evidence.  Federal regulations require that tractor-trailer operators maintain logbooks that document rest periods and hours of operation.  These logbooks are so routinely altered and fabricated that they are sometimes referred to as “lie books” in the trucking industry.  An experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyer will use industry experts who know the tricks used to distort logbooks to expose HOS violations.  Most trucks also have on-board data recorders called “black boxes.”  These data recorders store a wealth of information that may be relevant to a trucking collision including such things as sudden braking, speed control issues, clutch application and shifting, following distance, HOS violations and may even have global positioning information or valuable email correspondence between the driver and trucking company.

Unfortunately, black box data is often conveniently lost or erased following a tractor-trailer accident in Kansas City.  The preservation of this data is critical in trucking accident lawsuits so an experienced big-rig lawyer will send special notice to the trucking company called a “spoliation letter.”  This letter will put the trucking company on notice that the tractor-trailer is the subject of a personal injury lawsuit and that the condition of the truck must be preserved including preservation of the black box data.  This critical evidence will then be analyzed by trucking and accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the trucking accident.  While obtaining prompt legal advice is important following any motor vehicle accident, it is even more imperative in commercial trucking accidents so that evidence is preserved.  A trucking company will typically have investigators on-call, who will descend on the scene of a trucking accident.

Tractor-trailer accidents often result from a number of common causes including the following:

  • Ÿ  Fatigue from HOS Violations
  • Ÿ  Time Schedules That Are Unrealistic
  • Ÿ  Improperly Loaded Vehicles
  • Ÿ  Vehicle Maintenance Issues (e.g. tire and brake issues)
  • Ÿ  Drivers under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Ÿ  Lack of Proper Driver Training or Supervision
  • Ÿ  Driver Inattention (e.g. texting or talking on a cell phone)
  • Ÿ  Excessive Speed

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a tractor-trailer accident in Kansas City, you may seek compensation for your injuries including medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, loss of consortium (loss of support and services of a spouse or sometimes child), pain and suffering, mental anguish and replacement value or repair costs of your vehicle.  It is imperative if you are involved in a commercial trucking accident to immediately seek legal advice so that evidence such as black box data and the condition of the vehicle is preserved.  There is absolutely no federal law that prohibits erasing black box data so any delay can mean critical evidence of a driver or trucking company’s fault may be lost forever.

An experienced Kansas City truck accident attorney will carefully investigate your accident, which may even include dispatching experts to the scene of the trucking accident.  Your truck accident attorney in Kansas City will also take steps to ensure that critical evidence is preserved so that your right to compensation is not compromised.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death caused by a heavy machinery accident, an experienced heavy machinery attorney can help you and your family obtain the legal compensation that you deserve.

Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at our Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Our office in Lenexa is off of I-35 from 87th or 95th in Old Town at 93rd and Pflumm. Our Grandview office is conveniently located at the main street exit off of 71 Highway, next to Captain D’s. Call Kansas City truck accident attorney Michael Lawless today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

How to Handle Lost Wage Issues

People tend to call their worker’s compensation lawyer whenever they have questions about a lost wage check. One of the most common questions is when they will receive their check. You may have been hurt a couple of weeks ago, and are getting mail about your workman’s comp claim, yet you have not gotten a check yet. The answer to that question is that the insurance company must send you a check 21 days after the day you missed work, not including the your last day of work. There are some rules that go along with this.

You must miss 21 days in a row in order to receive compensation, if not then you will not be paid for the first 7 missed days. If you aren’t absent from work for 21 days straight, then you should expect to receive two weeks of benefits by the 21st day following the first day of work that you missed. These rules are regulations regarding workman’s comp issues are incredibly complicated and confusing. The regulations can become jumbled if a person doesn’t deal with these rules on a daily basis.

The law’s main goal is to find a balance between the worker who needs money to pay their bills and expenses and the insurance company who must conduct an investigation and make a payment plan. Timing is so vital in these cases. Many times, companies have a list of doctors that an employee can go to regarding their onsite injury. These doctors try their best to get the employee back to work as quickly as possible. Sometimes, it can even be at the expense of the patient. The doctor’s main concern is to get the worker back before the 21 days are up. This can result in problems in the workman’s comp case.

Insurance can manipulate the medical aspect to affect your lost wage reimbursements. This is a startling thought. The lost wage payments may be necessary to your family, and it can be easily manipulated by the system. Because of this, a lawyer may be helpful to ensure that your rights as well as your needs are taken care of.

Changes are constantly made within the field of employment, so if you plan on filing a workman’s compensation claim, it would be best to seek professional help. It is important to have someone on your side that knows the law and knows how to make it work for you. Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law specializes in these types of case. He provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at their offices in Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Call today at 1-800-734-3771, 913-681-5566 or 816-966-0099.

Basic Concepts of a Negligence Lawsuit (Part 1) Differences in Duty Owed in Specific Cases

Many people find themselves the victim of the careless conduct of an individual or entity resulting in serious injuries including motor vehicle accidents (i.e. car crashes, tractor-trailer accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents or busing accidents), slip and falls and construction accidents.  The basis of liability will typically be the negligence of another party.  Many injury victims do not necessarily know what a lawsuit based on “negligence” really means.  In the simplest terms, negligence means the carelessness or lack of care by the party that caused your injuries.  A personal injury lawsuit requires more than simply showing that another party was careless and that you were injured.  An experienced personal injury attorney will be familiar with the legal and factual issues that must be established for you to obtain compensation for your injuries.  While this two-part article provides a basic overview of common negligence principles, only a qualified personal injury attorney can provide legal advice regarding the specifics of your personal injury case.

Elements of Negligence Cause of Action

An injured party must establish the following to make out a successful claim for negligence:

Ÿ  Duty: The party causing the injury must have a legal duty toward the injured party.  In an accident case, this element is not usually an issue in motor vehicle accident cases because all people who share  the roadways owe a duty of reasonable care toward others on the road.  In other cases, a duty may be based on a contractual relationship such as that between a doctor or patient or on warranty between the manufacturer of a defective product and a consumer.

Ÿ  Breach of Duty: This basically means that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury toward another.  An example of such as breach in a motor vehicle accident case may be based on driving under the influence, speeding, distracted driving or other unsafe driving practice.  The standard of care may be higher in some situations as indicated below.

Ÿ  Causation: This includes being the actual or “but for “cause of your injuries. This is causation in the ordinary sense of everyday language.  However, the law of negligence also includes another concept of negligence called “proximate cause”.  This term refers to the fact that though some things may be connected in a sequence of cause and effect they are too remote or unforeseeable to impose liability.  The concept of a proximate cause typically involves a policy decision not to impose liability in some situations where the result from an act is not a sufficiently foreseeable risk from the negligent act.

Ÿ  Damages: You must suffer actual harm to bring a claim for negligence.

Differences in the Duty Owed in Specific Injury Cases

Although the issue of duty is rarely at issue in a automobile accident lawsuit, it is often a significant issue in other kinds of cases.  Sometimes the law imposes a heightened duty of care on certain individuals or entities which means that these defendants must take more than just ordinary care to avoid injury to others.  Common examples include the following:

Specialized Knowledge: A medical professional or doctor is not expected to simply show the same level of care in treating a patient as an ordinary person.  Because of a doctor’s specialized training and experience, a doctor is held to the level of a professional with similar training and experience in the community.  Other professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, are held to a similar standard for determining professional negligence.

Extremely Dangerous Activities: There are certain situations where a defendant may be liable for injuries even when they have taken great care to avoid injury.  This concept is referred to as “strict liability”.  Strict liability often applies when people engage in inherently hazardous activities, such as doing “blasting” in a city.  If the blasting damages you, the company is liable for your injuries no matter how careful the company was to avoid injury.

Exclusive Control: The law also may impose a heightened duty of care when control of the instrumentality that causes injury is exclusively within the control of the defendant.  A “common carrier” like a busing company is an example.  Because the bus company has exclusive control over the maintenance of the bus as well as the training and supervision of the bus driver, there is little that a passenger can do to make bus rides safer.  Because passengers must basically entrust their safety to the busing company, the law holds bus companies to an extremely high level of care to avoid injury to patrons in busing accidents.

The first part of this article has addressed the concept of different levels of duty of care but only an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney can give legal advice with regard to the specifics of your personal injury case.  If you have been injured in an auto accident case, you may wish to read Part 2 of this overview of basic negligence principles which provides basic information regarding breach of the duty or care and issues related to causation.

Michael R. Lawless, P.A., Attorney at Law provides a free consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment, at our Lenexa, Kansas or Grandview, Missouri offices. Our office in Lenexa is off of I-35 from 87th or 95th in Old Town at 93rd and Pflumm. Our Grandview office is conveniently located at the main street exit off of 71 Highway, next to Captain D’s. Call us today at 1-888-843-9094, 913-284-0083 or 816-966-0099.