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.