Monthly Archives: June 2014

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Reports Massive GM Recalls Widen

Earlier this year, GM recalled over 2.6 million older, small vehicles due to faulty ignition switches.  The defective ignition switches can slip out of the “run” position, shutting off the engine and disabling the power steering and brakes.  This can cause drivers to lose control of the car.  It will also disable air bags so that they will not inflate in a crash.  The faulty switch is linked to at least 54 crashes and more than 13 deaths.

Months later, the ignition switch recall widened to include another 3.4 million vehicles.  Those included in this recall were older, larger model cars.  GM revealed that the switches used in these larger vehicles, which are in fact different from the ones involved in the small vehicle recall, can be knocked out of the “run” position by the force of a large bump.  A heavy or swinging keychain can also trigger this dangerous switch in the ignition.  This ignition switch is linked to at least eight crashes and six injuries.

The following vehicles are involved in the recall:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt, 2005-2007
  • Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007
  • Pontiac G5, 2005-2007
  • Pontiac Solstice, 2006-2007
  • Saturn Ion, 2003-2007
  • Saturn Sky, 2007
  • Buick Lacrosse, 2005-2009
  • Chevrolet Impala, 2006-2014
  • Cadillac DTS, 2004-2011
  • Cadillac Deville, 2000-2005
  • Buick Regal GS & LS, 2004-2005
  • Buick Lucerne, 2006-2011
  • Chevy Monte Carlo, 2006-2008

The number of lawsuits filed against GM continues to increase, as the ignition switch has been linked to more and more accidents.  A series of investigations are underway and significant evidence as to GM’s longstanding knowledge of the problem has been revealed.  It appears that GM knew the ignition switch was faulty in 2001, but failed to issue a recall or otherwise alert vehicle owners to the problem.  In 2005, GM engineers developed a partial fix to the problem that would have cost a mere $1 per vehicle.  GM, however, elected not to make the repair.

GM is working to replace the ignition switch in some defective vehicles and the key for others.  It is attempting to devise a plan to compensate automobile accident victims who were injured as a result of the defective ignition switch, however details of the plan have not been released.  GM’s 2009 bankruptcy may become a factor in the proposed settlement, as GM could attempt to dodge liability for accidents occurring prior to this time.

This year alone, GM has recalled an astonishing 20 million vehicles in 44 different recalls.  GM has been fined over $35 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for concealing the ignition switch problems.  The company estimates its recall related costs to exceed $2 billion this year.  The cost of each replacement switch for the small recalled vehicles is .57 cents.

Contact Kansas City Defective Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas GM Recall Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured in a crash that may have involved a faulty ignition system to contact our firm immediately.   Our attorneys have over 27 years experience in the field of defective automobile accidents, and will examine your crash to determine if it was caused by a defective or recalled automobile part.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential defective automobile case, contact Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (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.

Fireworks Safety Tips to Help You Prepare for the Fourth of July

Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July, and are often set off by families celebrating this and other summer festivities.  Different towns in the Kansas City area set their own regulations concerning the lighting of fireworks.  It should be noted that fireworks are illegal within the Kansas City limits, and their use severely limited in several surrounding towns.  Check with your local leaders to determine whether and when the use of fireworks is permitted before planning your July 4th festivities.

For those who do plan to light some fireworks this Fourth of July, the following safety tips set out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should be observed to prevent serious injury or even death:

  • Be sure all other people are out of the way when lighting fireworks
  • When watching fireworks, do not stand too close
  • Never point fireworks at other people or throw them
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks or try to combine them
  • Do not stand directly over fireworks when lighting them; instead, always stand to the side and move immediately back after the fuse has been lit
  • Light fireworks in a clear area, outdoors and away from houses, dry grass, or anything else that could be flammable
  • Keep unused devices away from the area in which you are igniting fireworks
  • If a firework does not go off, do not try to re-light it or pick it up; rather, douse it in water and throw it away
  • Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in the event of a fire or other emergency
  • Douse all fireworks with water after you are done in order to prevent trash can fires
  • Never allow young children to play with fireworks and be aware that even sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees and ignite clothing
  • Keep small children well away from the area in which you will lit the fireworks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that over 7,000 individuals are treated annually in emergency rooms for fireworks related injuries. Some common injuries to arise out of a fireworks accident include:

  • Burn injuries
  • Eye injuries, including burns to the eyes or loss of the eye
  • Injuries to the hands and fingers, including amputation
  • Cuts, bumps, and bruises
  • Injuries to the head, including burns or blunt force trauma
  • Loss of limbs

If you or a loved one is injured by fireworks due to the negligence of another person or a defective firework, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  This could include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured in a fireworks accident to contact our office.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years.  We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your fireworks related injury and determine whether negligence or a product defect played a role in the accident.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential fireworks accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (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.

 

Officials Warn Kansas City Residents to Be Wary of Illegal Fireworks

Earlier this month, a south Kansas City house exploded, knocking off its foundation and injuring six people, two of them critically.  Investigators quickly uncovered the reason for the explosion—the people inside were manufacturing illegal fireworks.  Legally sold fireworks can have no more than 50 milligrams of flash powder.  Illegal fireworks, however, are often created to be 20 times more powerful.  As the recent Kansas City explosion illustrates, accidents involving these potent fireworks are not the typical fireworks burn; the results are often serious injuries and even death.  Three years ago, in Independence, an illegal fireworks explosion killed a man and threw his body in the backyard of another house.

Around July 4th, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives begins to hear more and more reports of illegal fireworks being sold on the street.  These fireworks are popular for their explosive capacity.  Materials cost little and the sale price of these homemade fireworks can be quite high, as manufacturers ask whatever they want.

The individuals inside the Kansas City house that exploded had been selling illegal fireworks for over two years.  One resident of the home reported that he helped make about 1,500 explosives last July. The residents further informed investigators that bowls of open explosives were left out in the basement.

ATF investigators find that often illegal fireworks manufacturers work in dirty facilities coated with explosive power.  They often find bulk powder and fuses. Sometimes, manufacturers actually disassemble consumer fireworks and remanufacturer them to a higher power, often leading to accidents.

John Ham, an ATF spokesman, warned that it does not take much for these illegal fireworks to go off.  Furthermore, it is often difficult to identify an illegal explosive.  Most fireworks do not come with labels and look essentially the same.

In 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of six fireworks deaths occurring outside the workplace.  At least two involved homemade fireworks.

Kansas City officials advise residents to use caution in purchasing fireworks.  Only buy from reputable stores and avoid any roadside or potentially homemade purchases.  If you observe activity that indicates a neighbor may be making illegal fireworks, report it to the authorities in order to protect your own home from the dangerous possibility of an explosion.

If you are injured in a fireworks accident involving a potentially illegal firework, the manufacturer of this product may be liable for your injuries.  Those who negligently sell such a dangerous product could be held responsible for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.  They will also face criminal charges.  Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a fireworks accident so that prompt investigations can ensue.

Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured in a fireworks accident to contact our office.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years.  We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your fireworks related injury and determine whether negligence or a product defect played a role in the accident.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential fireworks accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (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 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Discusses Repetitive Motion or Cumulative Trauma Injuries

Millions of workers each year suffer from injuries that are not the result of sudden or traumatic injury; rather, these injuries develop gradually over an extended period of time at work, during a course of repetitive actions.  Repetitive stress injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and cumulative trauma injuries are all terms used to commonly describe injuries that occur over time from actions or exposures on the job.  Repetitive stress injuries can have just as a debilitating an effect, if not more so, than sudden injuries, often leaving the employee unable to perform vital work tasks or even daily living activities.

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law, cumulative trauma and repetitive stress injuries are recognized to the same extent as specific injuries caused by a singular event.  However, it is often more difficult for an injured employee to prove the repetitive stress injury arose within the course and scope of employment, and the employer was timely notified.  As such, employees who are suffering from repetitive stress injuries will often require the assistance of an experienced Kansas workers’ compensation attorney to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Repetitive Jobs

Repetitive motion injuries can occur in nearly any workplace, but those jobs are require employees to repeat the same motions over and over are most likely to cause repetitive stress injuries.  Employees in the following occupations are statistically more likely to develop cumulative trauma injuries:

  • Factory workers, including shoe and clothing factory workers
  • Shipping and packing workers
  • Bus drivers
  • Fish processing workers
  • School teachers
  • Typists and secretaries
  • Machinists, insulators, and other employees who are exposed to harmful airborne substances on a frequent basis
  • Paints
  • Police officers and firearm, who often experience psychological injury from cumulative emotional stress
  • Janitors
  • Cleaning people
  • Administrative assistants
  • Truck drivers

Injuries Associated with Repetitive Motion and Cumulative Trauma

Some of the injuries most commonly associated with repetitive motion or cumulative trauma in the workplace include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Hearing loss
  • Back injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Asthma and lung disease
  • Knee injuries
  • Wrist or hand pain
  • Emotional injury
  • Epicondylitis

All of these injuries can have a debilitating impact on an employee, frequently resulting in substantial medical bills, physical therapy, and missed time from work.

Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Repetitive Motion and Cumulative Trauma Injuries

Under Kansas’ workers’ compensation system, repetitive stress injuries arising within the workplace are recognized and included within the system.  Employees who experience such injuries must notify their employer as soon as possible, as there are deadlines within which to provide notice or risk foreclosure of your action.

Contact Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Injuries due to repetitive stress or cumulative trauma can be among the most difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the prolonged nature of the injuries and often intensive medical treatment required. If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our office today by calling locally at (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 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Discusses Workers’ Compensation and Crush Injuries

Each year, over 120,000 workers will suffer from crush injuries which occur when the body is caught or trapped between two objects or entangled in machinery.  These hazards are sometimes referred to as “pinch points.”  The physical force exerted on the body when trapped in a pinch point can vary, resulting in injuries that range from scraping and bruising to mangled limbs, amputated body parts, and death.

Crush injuries are among the most serious injuries experienced by Kansas workers.  Employees injured in a pinch point can pursue compensation for their medical expenses, missed time from work, physical therapy, permanent disability, and more through Kansas’ workers’ compensation system.

Common Causes of Crush Injuries

There are a number of causes of crush injuries on the job site, including:

  • Being hit by a falling object, such as a piece of equipment or machinery
  • Being pinned down or stuck between two objects, such as a building and a piece of equipment or a motor vehicle
  • The collapse of a structure on top of the employee
  • Limbs stuck in machinery
  • Being run over by equipment or machinery
  • Equipment tipping over, trapping the employee
  • Defects in equipment or machinery

The potential for crush injuries exists in most workplaces, but they happen with regularity in the manufacturing and construction fields.

Injuries that Result from Being Crushed  

When an employee’s body is crushed between two objects, the muscle cells start to die almost instantly.  There are three mechanisms within the body that cause the cells to die.  The disruption of the cells experienced when a part of the body is crushed is referred to as lysis. The continued pressure exerted on the muscle cells causes them to become ischemic, during which period they generate lactic acid and begin to leak.  Vascular compromise refers to the lack of blood flow that often results from compression of vessels experienced during a crush injury.

Crush injury victims may sustain the following injuries:

  • Damage to muscles
  • Damage to skin tissue
  • Damage to nerves
  • Severing of limbs
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Amputation of limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Death

Crush injuries often lead to severe disability and have a high probability of complications, such as swelling, infection, blood clots, phantom pain, heart problems, and the need for further amputation.  The extent of the injury will depend on the unique circumstances, including the part of the body involved and the time spent being stuck between two objects.

A Kansas workers’ compensation attorney will help you to obtain coverage for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent disability, and more.  Even if the accident was partially your fault, you can receive compensation for expenses stemming from your workplace accident.

Contact Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Crush injuries in the workplace are among the most severe and more difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the serious and sometimes long-term injuries that result.   If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our office today by calling locally at (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.

Electrocution and Burn Injuries in the Kansas Workplace

Electrical accidents happen most frequently in the workplace.  According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of workplace related deaths.  Each year, over 500 workers will perish by electrocution on the job site.  Employees whose jobs place them in close proximity to electrical sources are at the highest risk for electrocution and electrical burns.

Those who experience an electrical injury on the job site in Kansas generally have the right to receipt of workers’ compensation benefits.  Workers’ compensation insurance will cover an injured employee’s medical bills and a portion of lost wages.  Further, all employees are protected from retaliatory action for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Shocked on the Job: Who Is Most at Risk for Electrical Injuries?

Employees working in the following fields have a heightened risk of electrocution and electrical accidents:

  • Electricians
  • Utility workers
  • Construction workers
  • Manufacturing workers

Overhead power lines are the number one source of electrical fatalities, so anyone who works at a job that requires contact with power lines is at a high risk for electrocution.

Electric Shock, Electrocution, and Burns

Electric shock occurs often as a result of ungrounded power supplies, wear and tear in machines or wiring, a lack of safety gear on machines, and contact with overhead or underground electrical cords.

Common electric shock injuries include:

  • Burns
  • Tissue, nerve, or muscle damage
  • Respiratory and cardiac arrest
  • Organ damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Neurological damage
  • Heart attack
  • Internal bleeding
  • Wrongful death by electrocution

Burn injuries are not caused solely by fires.  Electrical accidents, explosions, chemical exposure, defective products, and workplace accidents can also inflict to burns.  Electrical burns are often severe and lead to:

  • Infection
  • Tissue and nerve damage
  • Loss of sight, smell, hearing, or taste
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Inhalation injuries

Liability for Electric Shock Injuries

Employees injured in an electrical accident will often incur significant medical bills, require an extended recovery time, and be unable to maintain work obligations.  Workers additionally experience pain and suffering and sometimes troubling emotional or psychological affects.  Regardless of fault for the accident, Kansas employees injured in electrical accidents may pursue benefits through workers’ compensation.  Additionally, any family who loses a loved one due to electrocution may seek death benefits through workers’ compensation insurance.

The workers’ compensation process can be complex and often the insurer will deny coverage or limit benefits.  All injured employees, and particularly those who experienced an injury that resulted in a long term disability, should consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney early on who can help ensure they receive the full extent of the benefits to which they are entitled.

Contact Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Injuries due to electrocution can be among the most severe and more difficult to obtain adequate workers’ compensation coverage due to the serious and sometimes long-term injuries that result.  If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if you are confused as to the workers’ compensation claim process, Michael R. Lawless, P.C. can help.  The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, contact our office today by calling locally at (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 City Streets Become Increasingly Dangerous for Pedestrians

Tim Current learned firsthand the perils that exist for pedestrians on Kansas City roadways.  Current has been struck by a car while jogging not once, but twice.  He managed to walk away from both accidents with only minor injuries, but he is now understandably nervous when he takes to the road on foot.  Mr. Current, an avid jogger who logs over 60 miles a month, does not feel safe anymore.  He believes the danger stems from people not paying attention while driving.  He sees drivers texting, talking on the phone, and chatting to other people in the car, all while they hurry to reach their destination.

The number of pedestrian accidents in the Kansas City region has climbed over seven percent from 2008 to 2012.  Kansas City is not alone in this increase.  Nationally, pedestrian accidents, including injuries and fatalities, have increased ten percent in the past few years.  This rise in the number of pedestrian accidents has troubled many safety experts, as it comes at a time when fatal accidents, including drunk driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving accidents, are down.

David Goldberg of Smart Growth America, a group against sprawl, offers one possible explanation for the disturbing trend.  According to Goldberg, the increase in pedestrian accidents is the result of how we have developed, building wider roads designed to move more traffic, while placing pedestrian safety to the side.  A recent study conducted by Smart Growth America ranked Kansas City the 21st most dangerous place for walking.

Some cities in Kansas are already working to narrow their roads and widen sidewalks.  They are also attempting to enforce crosswalk zones and add signage to enhance safety.  Prairie Village is even considering placing decoy pedestrians to catch drivers who ignore cross streets.

A study conducted by Mid-America Regional Council found that pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur in urban areas, concentrated around down town areas.  The downtown highway look along Independence Avenue and areas from Midtown to the Country Club Plaza were home to the most pedestrian accidents.

Other researchers have discovered another alarming factor in pedestrian accidents: pedestrians are not always paying attention to their surroundings.  Like distracted driving, distracted walking comes with some risks.  Pedestrians who are texting, talking on the phone, listening to music, or otherwise not watching what is occurring around them, could accidentally walk in the street, cross outside the crosswalk, or fail to see an oncoming vehicle.  Several recent Kansas City accidents have occurred after distracted pedestrians darted out in front of cars, leaving them no room to stop.

Those injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the negligence of another will have the right to recover for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more in a personal injury action.

Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Lawyers at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years.  We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your pedestrian accident and determine whether negligence played a role in the accident.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (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.

 

            

Lenexa, Kansas Boy Seriously Injured in Lawn Mower Accident

Doctors are working to save the arm of a four year old boy who was seriously injured in a lawn mower accident.  A hand doctor and a vascular surgeon have already performed one surgery.  They are now monitoring the condition of young Truett Shacklett to determine what the next step should be following his unfortunate accident with a ride on lawnmower.

Truett’s father was mowing the lawn with a riding mower earlier this month when he accidently backed over his young son. Truett’s leg was lost in the accident.  He was transported by helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital, and then transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital.  Specialists there are working to save his right arm.

The accident occurred on June 9, 2014 at about 5:15 p.m.  Truett, who is described by his church pastor as a great kid that is full of energy, was evidently running around the yard while his father cut the grass.

Truett’s tragic accident highlights the dangers of lawn mowers, particularly to children.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals that lawn mower accidents are more common than most Americans would think.  An estimated 3,700 children under the age of 14 are brought into the emergency room following lawn mower accidents each year.  Over 17,000 children and teens are treated by doctors for injuries stemming from lawn mowers.

Riding mowers are among the most dangerous, as their large size holds the potential to inflict serious and sometimes deadly injuries.  Mowers traveling in reverse pose a particular threat to young children playing nearby, who are not visible to the rider.  John Deere and several other riding mower manufacturers have changed their mowers designs in the past 10 to 12 years to prevent the mowers from accidentally being thrown into reverse.  Many older mowers, however, still hold the potential for accidental reversing.  All lawn mower operators are encouraged to look down and behind before and during moving in reverse.

Lawn mower technology has improved greatly in the past few years, but some of these technological advances have come at the cost of safety.  Zero turn radius mowers are prone to hazardous rollovers, causing the rider to be thrown off and exposed to the mower blades.  Defective lawn mowers have caught fire when the fuel line separates from the tank.   Other safety defects, such as the failure to shut off properly, inadvertent moves into reverse, or blades loosening during operation, can cause serious injuries.

Anyone who has been injured in a lawn mower accident that may have involved a defective lawn mower, or was caused by the negligence of another, is advised to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  The manufacturers of defective lawn mowers can be found liable for the injuries resulting from their use.  Further, those who negligently operate a lawn mower and injure another can be held accountable in a personal injury suit.

Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a lawnmower accident, the Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years.  We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your lawnmower accident and determine whether negligence or a product defect played a role in the accident.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (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.