Monthly Archives: January 2014

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.

Kansas City Accident Attorney Reviews Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Laws in Kansas

Motorcyclists must follow the rules of the road just like any other driver of a motor vehicle. Due to their small size, anyone operating a motorcycle is at an increased risk of suffering serious injuries in the event of an accident. Some accidents may not be preventable, however, the severity of injuries may not be as extreme if all drivers pay attention to one another and take precautionary steps to respect each other on the road. One thing that many motorcyclists do that can lead to dangerous accidents is called lane splitting. This is where motorcyclists choose to drive between lanes in order to get through traffic. This is against Kansas traffic laws and can lead to severe injury or death both for motorcyclists and for other drivers on the road.

Why Is Lane Splitting So Dangerous?

Lane splitting is dangerous because drivers may not be able to spot motorcyclists as easily as larger vehicles. For example, if a driver of a car or SUV wishes to change lanes, that person may look in his or her car mirrors and the coast may look clear. However, the driver may not be able to see a motorcyclist speeding by in between lanes, and this may lead to the driver switching lanes and colliding with the motorcyclist. In such a case, most people may believe that even though the driver of the car hit the motorcycle, the motorcyclist should be at fault for the accident for breaking the law by lane splitting. This may be the case in some circumstances, but it is important to remember that drivers have a duty to avoid serious accidents to the best of their ability. As such, if a driver is inattentive and does not attempt to ensure the coast is clear, that driver could be just as much at fault as the motorcyclist if a collision occurs.

What Are Other Motorcycle Laws In Kansas?

Because motorcyclists have an increased risk of suffering serious harm if they are involved in an automobile accident, they should take all measures possible to reduce the severity of injuries they suffer. For example, wearing helmets and eye gear can significantly reduce the risk of causing head trauma that can result in permanent injuries. However, helmets are not required for all riders in Kansas, and eye protection is only required in some circumstances.

A summary of the key motorcycle laws in Kansas include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Daylight use of headlights is required;
• Eye protection is required unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen;
• Lane splitting is not authorized;
• Only a left mirror is required;
• A separate passenger seat is required if riding with a passenger;
• A skill and knowledge test is required to waive motorcycle education;
• A safety helmet is required for motorcyclists under the age of 18; and
• Turn signals are required for all motorcycles

The above-listed laws are typical of most states. Many people believe that helmets should be required for all motorcyclists, but this simply has not been the standard for the United States. Thus, if you are a motorcyclist, you should consider just how serious injuries may be if you are involved in an accident with any other type of vehicle. Regardless of whether or not an accident is your fault, you could suffer permanent harm that could prevent you from ever riding a motorcycle again.

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

Suffering an injury as a result of a motorcycle accident can leave you with devastating injuries and potentially the loss of a loved one. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Kansas motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Attorney Michael R. Lawless is a personal injury and automobile accident attorney with 27 years of experience helping individuals like you receive the compensation they deserve. To find out if your injuries were the result of another’s negligence, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless. You may reach us by calling our Lenexa, Kansas office at (913)-681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at 1 (800)-734-3771. You may also contact us online, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas City Truck Accident Attorney Examines The Dangerous Consequences of Driver Fatigue

Kansas residents are aware of just how busy our highways are. With I-70 spanning across the entire state, this highway is a main route for interstate commerce. Along with busy highways comes an increase in the amount of semi-trucks on the road. We need these trucks to deliver the goods we want, however, when truck drivers are working long hours, it is inevitable that they will become tired, increasing the risk for serious accidents.

There are rules and regulations that require truck drivers to get a certain amount of rest between shifts. Truck drivers are supposed to keep a log of their activity to ensure they are complying with the rules and regulations, but there is never a guarantee that a truck driver will comply with such rules. For example, if a truck driver is running behind schedule, he or she may be encouraged to catch up and drive for more than 10-15 hours at once.

When truck drivers are fatigued, they begin to experience some, if not all of the symptoms and behaviors listed below:

• Blurred vision;
• Road hypnosis;
• Headaches;
• Extreme drowsiness;
• An increase in the consumption of coffee, energy drinks and other substances used to stay awake; and
• Loss of control of the truck

When truck drivers find themselves having any of the above symptoms or find themselves drinking an increased amount of caffeine or taking supplements to stay awake, then this is an indication they need more rest. We all need rest to rejuvenate, and especially in cases where your job duties require you to drive on highways for hours on end. Further, I-70 is a busy highway with very few curves, so drivers simply go straight and can easily get “road hypnosis” where their eyes begin to play tricks on them. With highways that have more curves and turns, drivers must be a little more alert and this keeps them awake. Only driving straight for long periods of time can increase the chances of driver fatigue.

What Injuries Can Result From Truck Driver Fatigue?

When truck drivers are not well rested, they put both themselves and others on the road at risk for suffering severe injuries, and even causing death in the worst circumstances. The injuries resulting from truck driving accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Severe head trauma, such as concussions, skull fractures, and swelling of the brain;
• Broken bones;
• Soft tissue damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments;
• Internal damage to organs with extensive bleeding;
• Loss of limbs; and
• Becoming paralyzed

Each of the injuries listed above can be life-changing, requiring medical treatment for years on end, and possibly forever. Healthcare is extremely expensive and injured individuals may be stuck with a mountain of bills. When you or a loved one is injured or killed because of a truck driver’s negligence in causing an accident, you need to seek the advice of an experienced trucking accident attorney to explain what your options are. With trucking accidents, you may not only be filing a lawsuit against the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer. Employers must ensure their drivers are getting sufficient rest, and thus have a responsibility to ensure their drivers are being as safe as possible while on the road. By speaking with a Kansas trucking accident attorney, you will know for sure whether or not you have a valid cause of action under Kansas law.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA To Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you may be entitled to compensation. With how busy our highways are today, the risk of truck driver fatigue has gone up. Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas personal injury and automobile accident attorney with 27 years of experience. He has represented victims of serious accidents and has the skill to fight for your right to compensation. You should not have to suffer as a result of a trucking accident caused by driver fatigue. To schedule your free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our Lenexa, Kansas office today by calling (913)-681-5566. You may also reach us toll-free at 1 (800)-734-3771, or you may contact us online and we will respond 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.

How Do I Know if My Back Injury is Work-Related in Kansas?

Many workplace injuries are sudden, and it is clear when you have been injured or become ill due to something that happened on one occasion in the workplace setting. However, some injuries develop over time and are a little more difficult to link to the workplace. A very common injury that many workers have are a variety of back problems. Depending on your job duties, back problems can occur suddenly, or they can occur slowly over a period of time.

Does Your Job Description Require Physical Labor?

If you are required to lift heavy items as part of your job description, and you have been working in this position for quite some time, you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim that can link your back injury to the workplace. On the other hand, if your job function requires you to sit down all day and simply do clerical work such as typing, answering the phones and the like, then you may have a difficult time successfully filing a workers’ compensation claim. For you to recover, you would have to prove that your back injury was the result of some particular incident that happened in the workplace. For example, if you fell and hurt your back on one occasion while at work, then you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim where you can receive compensation to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. If you cannot link your back injury to any particular event, then you may not be able to receive compensation.

As part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to produce documentation that you did not have any back injuries prior to starting the job you currently have. If it is found that you have a previous diagnosis that relates to your back injury, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may have grounds to deny your workers’ compensation claim. However, if there is no record of you having a back injury prior to working at your current job, then you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve.

In order to understand the workers’ compensation process, and to know what documentation you will need, it is best to speak with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible before you file a workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can answer key questions before you start the process of filing a claim and having to seek medical treatment for your condition. It is best to know right away what you are facing. An attorney will evaluate your potential workers’ compensation claim and provide you with an honest opinion as to whether you will be able to link your back injury to a workplace incident, whether that incident was a sudden, one-time thing, or if it was a series of incidents that occurred over time.

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

If you believe your back injury is work-related, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to learn more, you need to speak with a qualified Kansas workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Instead of filing a claim on your own, allow an attorney to ensure you can prove that your back injury is a result of workplace activity. This can be difficult to prove at times, and Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless has the skill and 27 years of experience to link your injury to the workplace. To learn more, contact Michael R. Lawless today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential workers’ compensation claim. You can reach our Lenexa, Kansas office by calling (913) 681-5566, or you may reach us toll-free by calling 1 (800) 734-3771. If you wish to contact us online, we will get back with you as soon as possible.

Kansas City Workers Comp Attorney Answers Who Is At Fault For My Workplace Injury in Kansas?

Suffering any injury or illness can be detrimental to your health and quality of life. Whether you have been injured while on the job, or injured in another setting, such as an automobile accident or slipping and falling in a grocery store, you deserve to receive compensation. In order to receive compensation for your suffering outside of the workplace setting, you must prove that another person or party was at fault for your injuries. In order to do this, you must file a personal injury claim against the party you believe to be responsible.

If you have been injured or become ill as a result of a work-place incident or occurrence, you do not need to file a personal injury claim to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other individual was responsible for your injuries. It may turn out that someone else may have been responsible, however, for purposes of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you do not need to prove fault – you only need to prove that you were in fact injured while on the job.

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law, as in most states, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. Workers’ compensation is provided to ensure workers are receiving the care they need to recover and get back to work. It is in the best interest of the state of Kansas, employers and workers alike to return to work as soon as possible. For these reasons, it is often unnecessary to establish that anyone was at fault for your workplace injury or illness. The purpose of compensating injured and ill workers is not to place blame on either the employer or the employee. The purpose is only to ensure that Kansas workplaces are as safe and functional as possible.

By having a no-fault system for handling workplace injuries, most claims can be addressed outside of the courtroom, and this reduces the cost of legal representation, eliminates court costs, and eliminates the need for costly depositions and the cost to produce medical records and other documents. This is not to say that there will never be a need for a workers’ compensation case to go to court. There are a variety of reasons why some cases do need to be litigated, however, the majority of workers’ compensation claims resolve quickly and easily on their own.

However, if you have been injured or become ill due to a work-related incident, you need the assistance of a well-qualified Kansas Workers’ compensation attorney to make sure your employer is fulfilling its role under Kansas workers’ compensation law. Oftentimes, injured employees are not aware of how the process works and may mistakenly believe that in order to receive compensation, someone must be at fault for the injury, and this simply is not true. No fault is required for you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA for A Free Consultation To Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you or someone you know has suffered a workplace injury, you need the assistance of a qualified and skilled Kansas workers’ compensation attorney to stand by your side and make sure you are receiving the medical treatment, care and compensation that you deserve. Lenexa, Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless has 27 years of experience helping injured workers go through the workers’ compensation process and receive compensation for their suffering. Michael R. Lawless has the dedication to advocate for your rights and will work quickly to get your workers’ compensation resolved as soon as possible. To schedule your free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, call us 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 get back with you as soon as possible.

Kansas City Workers Compensation Attorney Regarding Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Kansas

Being injured in the workplace presents many obstacles. You must deal with your employer and filing a workers’ compensation claim, and this involves communicating with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You also have to deal with seeking medical treatment for your injury or illness, and oftentimes, you don’t have a choice of what doctor or healthcare provider to receive treatment from. You may like your primary care physician and wish to seek treatment from him or her. However, as part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to seek treatment and evaluation from a doctor chosen by your employer and/or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Kansas Law Regarding Choice of Doctor

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law, if you are injured on the job and file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer is allowed to designate what doctor you will see for medical treatment of your work-related injury or illness. This doctor is then considered to be authorized to treat you, however, if your employer fails to designate a specific doctor for you to see, you may then choose your own doctor. Finding the right doctor that will give you an honest opinion about your condition can be tricky. Therefore, it is important to seek the aid of a worker’s compensation attorney to ensure you are receiving adequate healthcare from the doctor your employer has chosen.

Many people have concerns about having a doctor chosen for them, and for good reason. There is a fear that the doctor is working in the best interest of the employer, and may seek to downplay the severity of your condition. Or, the doctor may try to say that your condition existed prior to the work-related injury and this information may be used to deny you workers’ compensation benefits. It is important to remember that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you do not need to prove that any particular person or employer caused your injury. As long as you suffered the injury while on the job, you should be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of medical bills, the cost of being out of work, and assistance in job placement once you recover from your injury or illness.

Because workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, it is sometimes easy for injured workers to be taken advantage of. By seeking the assistance of a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney, you will have assurance that the doctor you are seeing must evaluate your condition honestly and cannot seek to provide you with a medical opinion that is in the best interest of your employer. Before you file a workers’ compensation claim, you should speak with an attorney to make sure Kansas law is followed and your employer is not taking advantage of you.

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

A workplace injury can leave you feeling helpless. You need a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney by your side to assist you in receiving the compensation that you deserve. If you or someone you know has suffered a work-related injury, contact Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless today. With 27 years of experience, Michael R. Lawless will review each and every unique fact of your potential claim and will provide you with the advice you need to move forward. He will work diligently to ensure you are receiving the care and compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, contact our Lenexa, Kansas office by calling (913) 681-5566. You may also reach us toll-free by calling 1 (800) 734-3771, or contact us online, and someone will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. We look forward to helping you get back on track.

Kansas City Auto Accident Attorney Discusses Cell Phones and Driving

As technology has advanced over the last couple of decades, we find ourselves attached to our cell phones and other portable devices. Sometimes we feel naked if we leave home without them. In fact, many of us have forgotten how to function without a phone with us at all times. Further, people have become more accustomed to sending text messages instead of communicating by talking on the phone. This activity has proven to be extremely dangerous when combined with driving. When people text and drive, they are turning their car into a weapon.

Currently under Kansas law, drivers are allowed to talk on their cell phones without the use of a hands-free device. However, Kansas was the 26th state to ban texting while driving. Talking on the phone while driving can be just as dangerous as texting, but it doesn’t typically require you to take your eyes off the road the way texting does.

For example, even if you have a hands-free device to speak on the phone, your mind might be more focused on a conversation than paying attention to traffic lights and other vehicles on the road. I’m sure we have all experienced this at one point in our lives. We drive for five or ten minutes while talking on the phone, and realize we don’t even remember the details of driving for the period of time we were on the phone. We are on auto-pilot and go with the motions, but may not be prepared to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident, or use our turn signal to change lanes.

If driving while talking on the phone is dangerous by itself, it is no wonder that texting while driving has caused deadly accidents over the past few years. Texting actually requires drivers to take their eyes off of the road. The most devastating aspect of texting while driving is that most text messages don’t need to be read or answered while a person is behind the wheel. If a message is so important, a driver can pull to the side of the road, park, and read or write a text message. Motor vehicles are heavy machines that cause serious injuries when they collide with other vehicles. It takes concentration and coherence to drive a motor vehicle. Many people forget how much of a responsibility driving can be, and adding texting into the mix only creates for a dangerous recipe of injury and death.

Further, texting while driving can be just as dangerous as, or even more dangerous than, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While a driver under the influence may not see the road clearly, when someone completely takes his or her eyes off the road to send or read a text message, this is no different than having blurred vision because there is no vision at all if there are no eyes on the road. Don’t let yourself or a loved one suffer injuries because of a preventable accident. Follow Kansas law, and don’t text and drive. The innocent victims of these needless accidents are put in harms’ way for no important reason at all, and those victims deserve to receive compensation for their suffering.

Contact Michael R. Lawless, PA To Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident caused by another’s inattentive driving, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Too many injuries and deaths have resulted from distracted drivers using their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. With 27 years of experience, Attorney Michael R. Lawless will evaluate each and every fact of your case to help you receive the compensation you deserve. To speak with Michael R. Lawless about your potential case, call our office today to schedule a free consultation. You may reach us by calling our Lenexa, Kansas office at (913)-681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at 1 (800)-734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond as soon as possible.