Kansas City Bicycle Accidents – Who Is At Fault?

More and more Kansas City residents decide each day to start riding bicycles as a form of transportation, leisure, and/or exercise.   As more bicyclists head to the roads, the risk of serious injury or death resulting from a bicycle accident increases.  Kansas City does have some bicycle lanes dedicated only to bicyclists, however, many streets do not have bicycle lanes, and are narrow, have very little room for cars alone, and place bicyclists in a very vulnerable position.

Bicyclists and Motorists Must Follow the Same Rules of the Road

Bicyclists are treated like any other motor vehicle when they are traveling on roadways.  For example, a bicyclist must signal when he or she changes lanes, and turns right or left.  Bicyclists must also come to a complete stop at stop signs and stop at red lights, just like other motorists.  This can be frustrating for many motorists who get stuck being slow moving bicycles.  Many motorists then try to quickly get around the bicyclists, and often do so despite heavy traffic.  This conduct creates a serious risk for an accident to occur.  If the motorist ends up colliding with the bicyclist or another motorist, he or she would be at fault for any injuries the bicyclist or other motorists have suffered.

On the other hand, bicyclists may be at fault for an accident if the bicyclist is not following all traffic laws.  For example, if a bicyclist fails to stop at a stop sign or runs a red light, and this conduct results in a collision with another vehicle, the bicyclist may be responsible for his or her own injuries.  To determine if a bicyclist is truly at fault for an accident, it takes the help of a seasoned Kansas City bicycle accident attorney to investigate the facts of the accident.  Were there any witnesses?  Are there traffic cameras at the intersection where the accident occurred?  Was either the bicyclist or the motorist involved in the accident under the influence of drugs or alcohol?  These are questions you should ask if you were involved in a bicycle accident to help determine the true negligent party.

Do Bike Lanes Help?

Some bicyclists believe designated bicycle lanes are helpful to promote safe riding, while other bicyclists believe they are either dangerous, or have no effect at all on bicycle and road safety.  Kansas City does not have a sufficient number of designated bicycle lanes to really know if they are creating a safer environment for bicyclists.

Many people believe bicycle lanes enable motorists to safely pass the bicyclists without having to change lanes and drive directly behind the bicycle.  However, many people also believe bike lanes create a risk for accidents to occur when a motorist is trying to turn right at a street while a bicyclist is close by.  The motorist may not see the bicyclist closely behind and could turn directly into the bicyclist.  Thus, there seem to be pros and cons to bicycle lanes.  Perhaps they help to reduce accidents, or perhaps they don’t.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries resulting from a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Determining fault in bicycle accident cases can be difficult, but with the help of a qualified Kansas City bicycle accident attorney, you are more likely to receive the compensation you deserve.  With 27 years of experience helping injured Kansas residents, Kansas Bicycle Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless has the skill and devotion necessary to advocate on your behalf and hold the negligent party responsible for causing your injuries and suffering.  Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today to schedule a free consultation.  You can reach us by calling locally at (913) 681-5566.  You may also call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771, or you may contact us online and we will get back to you right away.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Explains How to Prove a Slip & Fall Case

Most people associate personal injury lawsuits with automobile accidents and slip and fall cases.  While personal injury law is much broader, it is true that automobile accidents and slip and fall cases take up a large portion of personal injury lawsuits in Kansas.  As to slip and fall cases, they are not as easy to prove as many people believe. In fact, it is not as simple as falling in a store and blaming the store for the injuries you suffered as a result of the fall.  There must be additional evidence to show that the store was negligent in some way in causing you to fall and suffer injuries.

In order to determine who is responsible for the injuries you have suffered after a slip and fall accident, you must be able to prove one of the following:

  • The owner of the property where the slip and fall accident occurred (or an employee), must have actually caused the floor surface to be dangerous (such as spilled liquid, worn out floor surface, or icy floor surface);
  • The owner of the property (or an employee) must have known that the floor surface was dangerous and failed to take measures to remove the hazardous conditions; or
  • The owner of the property (or an employee) should have known that the floor surface was dangerous because a reasonable person in the same or similar situation would have discovered the hazard and taken steps to remove the hazard.

Sometimes it is easy to prove a slip and fall case if all of the necessary evidence is available.  For example, if there are witnesses to the accident and/or camera footage, it should be much easier to prove whether or not the owner of the property (or an employee) was responsible for causing your injuries.  On the other hand, if there are no cameras and no witnesses, it is easy for a customer to spill liquid him or herself, slip and fall, and claim the owner of the store (or an employee) is responsible for your injuries resulting from the accident.

Unfortunately, these are cases that give slip and fall claims a bad reputation.  Many people believe such claims are frivolous most of the time and have absolutely no merit.  This is certainly not the case, and with the help of a qualified Kansas City personal injury attorney, you can fight to receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered as a result of a slip and fall accident.

It is important to remember that while many slip and fall accidents occur in the commercial setting (such as a grocery store or other retail establishment), many slip and fall cases occur on private property.  To determine whether or not the location of your slip and fall accident will affect your ability to receive compensation, you will need the assistance and advice of an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

Slip and fall accidents are very common in Kansas, and they can often be difficult to prove.  If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  To find out if you may have a valid personal injury claim, you should consider speaking with a Kansas City personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Kansas Slip and Fall Attorney Michael R. Lawless has 27 years of experience representing injured individuals and has helped them receive the compensation they deserve.  Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential personal injury claim.  You may reach us by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Nursing Homes – When Medication Errors Cause Injury and Death

When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, the expectation is that he or she will receive quality healthcare by caring and professional healthcare providers.  However, this unfortunately is not the picture for many nursing home patients across the U.S. Nursing home staff members responsible for administering medication to patients have a responsibility to ensure that patients are receiving the correct medication and the proper dosage of same.  Even the slightest difference in a prescribed dose of medication could seriously injure or kill an innocent nursing home patient.  With this in mind, consider the following primer on medication errors:

Types of Medication Errors

Medication errors occur in a variety of situations, and are preventable.  Such situations include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to keep accurate medication records;
  • Failure to confirm that the patient taking the medication is in fact the correct patient (i.e., failure to read a patient’s wristband to match the name with the nursing home records);
  • Failure to give a patient his or her medication on time (this can cause patients to have adverse reactions and experience withdrawal symptoms);
  • Administering the wrong medication entirely; and
  • Administering either a lower or higher dose than prescribed by the patient’s physician.

Medication can save lives, but it can also end lives.  One small mistake could leave a patient injured or very ill.  Many patients are not aware of what their medication looks like, especially when they are reliant on a nurse to administer the medication every day.  Further, many pills look the same, and nursing home patients should not be expected to remember the small details of their medication.  Therefore, nursing home staff members have a heightened duty to ensure each patient is receiving the correct medication at the correct dosage.

Consequences of Medication Errors

If a nursing home patient falls victim to a nursing home staff member’s medication error, that patient is at risk for suffering any of the following injuries or illnesses:

  • Allergic reaction to medication administered in error;
  • Overdose of a particular medication;
  • Withdrawal symptoms;
  • Brain damage;
  • Internal bleeding;
  • Damage to internal organs;
  • Heart attack;
  • Blood clots;
  • Anaphylaxis; and
  • Death.

These are not the only injuries or illnesses that may result from a nursing home staff member’s medication error.  Regardless of how a medication error happens, it is more often than not something that could have been prevented with careful attention.  It may take a little extra time to double check a patient’s medication records, but taking such a step can prevent an innocent patient from suffering an injury or illness from taking the wrong medication, or the wrong dose of a prescribed medication.  Medication errors cause both physical and emotional pain and suffering, and injured or ill patients deserve to be compensated for their suffering.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

Nursing home abuse and neglect occurs much more often than it should.  Nursing homes should be a place of healing, but has instead turned into a place that many people fear.  If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should speak with a Kansas City personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  With 27 years of experience helping individuals receive compensation for their injuries and suffering, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless knows what it takes to hold nursing homes responsible for their negligent and reckless conduct.  Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA today to schedule a free consultation.  You can reach us by calling (913) 681-5566, or by calling our toll-free number at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will get back to you right away.

The “One Bite” Rule in Kansas for Dog Bite Accidents

Owning a dog can bring a family closer together. It can provide companionship for parents and kids alike. A dog can protect its family and provide joy in our lives. However, we all must remember that dogs are animals with instincts that go back for generations. Humans have domesticated what once was a wild animal. Therefore, dog owners must always be cautious and ensure their dogs are properly trained and socialized in order to decrease the chances that a dog bite accident may occur.

Under Kansas law, the common law rule regarding dog bites applies. If a dog owner knows, or has reason to know that his or her dog is dangerous, then the dog owner is therefore put on notice that the dog may attack or bite another pet or person upon contact. For example, if you own a dog and your dog growls or snaps at another person, this is sufficient to know that your dog is potentially dangerous. Thus, the owner is given “one bite,” or one warning that he or she will be liable for any future bites. However, it is important to understand that if a dog does bite or attack an individual, and the individual suffers an injury as a result, the owner is liable regardless of whether or not the owner was aware the dog was potentially dangerous.

A dog owner should be aware that his or her dog is potentially dangerous if the dog has a tendency to growl, snap or jump on other people, even if the dog does not actually bite. For example, if a dog frantically barks in its own backyard along the fence, and growls at people walking by on the visible sidewalk, this may be sufficient for the owner to be aware the dog is potentially dangerous. Further, if a dog jumps and knocks someone over, but does not bite, if that person is injured, the owner may be liable for the injuries.

What We Can Do To Prevent Dog Bites?

In order to minimize the serious injuries and deaths that occur everywhere across the United States from dog bites, dog owners must be overly cautious. This means that if an owner has even the slightest feeling that his or her dog may be aggressive towards others, it is best not to allow the dog to come into close contact with others. However, if a dog is socialized from an early age, this may prevent the dog from showing signs of aggression in adulthood. Socialization while on leash is the best thing dog owners can do, encouraging their dogs to be friendly with others (i.e., praising a dog for showing positive behaviors towards another pet or person. The bottom line is that dogs can be unpredictable due to their nature as animals, and dog bites are dangerous incidents that all dog owners need to take very seriously.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today To Schedule A Free Consultation

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as a result of a dog bite, you are entitled to compensation. Dog bites can cause permanent scarring and leave you in a state of emotional distress – thereafter leaving you afraid to interact with most dogs. To find out more about your potential personal injury claim for being injured as a result of a dog bite, you should speak with Attorney Michael R. Lawless as soon as possible. With 27 years of legal experience, Michael R. Lawless has the skill and knowledge to represent his clients to the fullest. He will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, contact our office today by calling our Lenexa, Kansas office at (913)-681-5566. You may also reach us by calling our toll-free number at 1 (800)-734-3771, or you may contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

What Does Standby Assistance Mean In Kansas Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes are supposed to provide care that enables individuals to recover from injuries or illnesses. Nursing homes are facilities that allow patients to avoid long hospital stays. While nursing homes have been helpful for many Kansas citizens, they have also left many unfortunate individuals even more injured or ill. Many nursing home lawsuits are based on a nursing home’s inability to provide the standard of care required by Kansas law. As part of this standard of care, if a physician orders that a particular patient receive specific treatment or care, nursing home staff members must abide by those orders.

Standby Assistance Under Kansas Law

For patients who are unable to walk on their own, they often require what is called “standby assistance.” These are patients that require the use of wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and other equipment to help them move from point A to point B. In Kansas, the definition of standby assistance “means the presence of another person, within arm’s reach of you, that is necessary to prevent, by physical intervention, your injury while you are performing an Activity of Daily Living.” Activities of daily living are basic functions, such as walking, bathing, going to the bathroom, and eating. For patients who cannot perform activities of daily living on their own, they need standby assistance so that they can get through the day.

When nursing home staff members fail to provide a patient with standby assistance, that patient is neglected, and does not receive the level of care required in order fulfill the basic necessities of life. For example, if a patient needs to go to the bathroom, and needs assistance getting into a wheelchair from the bed, a nurse or other staff member will need to help this individual into the chair. If the patient is asking for help and does not receive it, this patient may try to get into the wheelchair on his or her own. By doing so, there is a substantial risk that the patient will fall and suffer an injury.

While many people may say that the patient should not attempt to get into the wheelchair on his or her own, when the patient needs to go to the bathroom and nobody is around to help, that patient feels the only option left is to attempt to take the task on alone. Many patients have suffered broken bones, head trauma and other injuries from not having the required standby assistance when they need it the most. Nursing home patients are often fragile, and if they are ignored or allowed to move about without standby assistance, against a physician’s order, then any injury those patients suffer may be directly linked to a nursing home’s failure to exercise the required standard of care.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA Today To Schedule A Free Consultation

If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to speak with a Kansas nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Nursing home staff members are healthcare providers that owe you a duty of care and you do not deserve to suffer because of a nursing home’s wrongdoing. With 27 years of experience, Michael R. Lawless has devoted his career to helping individuals who have suffered injuries at the expense of another’s negligence. Michael R. Lawless will stand by your side to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call Michael R. Lawless today at (913) 681-5566, or you may reach us toll-free by calling 1 (800) 734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Beware Of Social Media

Today, we live in a world that is full of technology. Years ago simple tasks take days upon days to do such as properly doing laundry, communicating with others that are not relatively close, and even getting food. Today, we now do not have that of the same issues presently within our society and communities. Communication is done almost instantly to anywhere in the world in the palm of your hand, we have grocery stores and fast-food restaurants at our disposal, and we now rely on that of common appliances to help us complete our daily chores. However, is technology always helping us?

The United States is currently within an economic recession that is impacting the country in multiple ways. Individuals are losing their jobs, and if not, they are taking a heavy pay cut in order for the business to be kept afloat, or even that of other employees. If you experience an accident while at work that has to deal with the tasks and assignments that you are employed to do you are entitled to damages. When you have to take off work for your injuries, you are not only feeling the pain physically, but also financial due to medical bills and even lost wages.

However, social media is now not only connecting individuals to one another in a positive way, but is also hurting them and their workers compensation claims. With websites such as Facebook where individuals can check into locations, upload photos and videos, and let people know what is on their mind there is little privacy left in the life of an individual today.

Yet, the information you share and upload can easily impact your workers compensation claim damages that you are awarded. One story shows us just how far what you share can really go. A woman had filed a worker’s compensation claim for hurting her lower back and hips while on the job and stood to gain damages between $50,000-$70,000. However, the woman uploaded a video on Facebook of her son’s wrestling match that showed herself jumping in bleachers and seemingly moving without pain. As a result, she had to settle for less than $5,000. Make sure that not only when you are going through a worker’s compensation claim, but also always being cautious in the information that you share on the internet.

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.

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.

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.