Monthly Archives: August 2014

Kansas Workers Compensation Lawyer Discusses Workplace Safety Tips for Kansas Employers

In the four decades since OSHA’s creation, the rate of workplace accidents has decreased dramatically.  Worker injuries and deaths are down significantly, from approximately 38 worker deaths in 1970 to 13 a day in 2011.  The increased workplace safety has not been the result of luck; rather, it comes after much hard work and vigilance.  Creating and maintaining a safe workplace is no easy task.  By creating a culture of safety within the workplace, your organization can flourish as an enjoyable and safe place to work.

  • Provide clear work instructions: It is imperative that you as an employer provide your employees with thorough training and clear, written instructions.  Further, make sure that each employee reads and acknowledges your safety program.
  • Involve your employees in safety planning: Involving your employees in the safety process serves as a great motivator, providing them with a stake and ownership in workplace safety.
  • Focus your safety efforts on the most likely problems: Eliminate those safety violations and concerns that most frequently lead to injuries, while still planning for less common but major safety concerns.
  • Engineer a safe work area: A work area can include furniture, benches, conveyors, equipment, and vehicles.  The layout of the area in which employees are expected to conduct a particular job is critical to preventing injuries.
  • Maintain a clean work area: A clean environment is a safe environment.  Removing clutter and ensuring clean, dry floors will greatly diminish the chance of slip, trips, and falls.
  • Maintain all machinery in good working order: Have a routine maintenance system in place as maintaining machinery is essential to preventing serious injuries
  • Supervise each employee thoroughly: By observing your employees as they work, you will identify any unsafe practices in time to correct them.  You can also identify any employees who are performing tasks in an improved manner that could be adapted by all employees, as well as those who are taking possibly dangerous short cuts.
  • Encourage your employees to report any safety concerns to management: Employees often have vital insight into potential safety issues.  Creating an environment that encourages employee communication concerning safety will allow you to correct safety issues before injuries occur.
  • Remove and avoid any unnecessary hazards: Do routine inspections of the entire workplace to identify any unnecessary hazards and promptly remove them.
  • Revisit your safety guidelines regularly: At least once a year, inspect your workplace and review your safety program.  Update and make any necessary changes to address current issues.

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

It is our hope that these safety tips and increased federal regulations over the workplace will decrease the incidence of workplace accidents.  If you are injured during the course and scope of employment, the Lenexa, Kansas Workplace Accident Lawyer at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  Our law firm is committed to seeing injured workers recover for their medical bills, lost wages, oncoming disability, and more.  For over 27 years, we have helped injured workers through the complex workers’ compensation process, towards a full recovery.  If you have questions about your rights following an accident or need assistance with your claim, the law firm of Michael R. Lawless can help.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential workplace 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 Car Accident Lawyer Reports: Kansas Woman Killed by Fleeing Driver

A Kansas woman in her late 70s was killed on Tuesday, August 18 by a driver fleeing a Kansas City, Kansas police car.  Police report that an officer attempted to stop a stolen Cadillac at about 4 p.m. on Central Avenue.  The driver fled.  Reports indicate that the officer did not go after the fleeing suspect.  Moments later, police were called to the scene of a crash involving that same stolen Cadillac and a Toyota Camry.

The driver of the Cadillac again fled, this time fleeing the scene of a serious accident.  The driver of the Camry had been ejected from the car.  She was rushed to the hospital but died a short time after.  The 79 year old victim was a former librarian and loved deeply by her family as well as those who knew her.

The family of the victim reports that they have heard conflicting stories surrounding the crash.  Apparently, Kansas City police officers have reported there was never a chase.  Other officials, however, have stated there was a chase but it stops minutes before the accident.

The driver of the stolen vehicle went to the hospital seeking medical assistance several hours after the crash.  There, he was apprehended and taken into custody.  Prosecutors have announced that he has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

While it is not a clear an actual police chase occurred in this instance, nationally police chases have lead to the deaths of many innocent individuals.  A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in a nine year period, over 3,000 individuals were killed in police crashes.  One third of the victims were not the suspect being pursued.  This means that over 1,000 innocent drivers and passengers were killed during police pursuits.

The cause of these tragic deaths is due to the high speeds often involved in any sort of police chase and the erratic nature of the driving.  Fleeing suspects will generally travel at very high rates of speed in order to avoid their capture.  They often make quick turns or enter highway ramps in an erratic manner in an attempt to lose the pursing officers. Studies also show that most police chases occur at night and suspects will most often take to busy roads in an attempt to conceal themselves among other drivers.

If you have been involved in any sort of police chase or fleeing suspect crash, contact a licensed automobile accident attorney as soon as possible.  The negligent suspect could be held accountable for his or her reckless actions that lead to your injuries.  Additionally, if the police officers involved acted in a negligent manner to contribute to the accident, you may have an additional avenue of recovery.

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

The Lenexa, Kansas Car Accident Lawyer at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are saddened to hear of the death of one of Kansas’ own due to the negligent driving of another.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, our experienced attorney and support staff can help.  For over 27 years, we have zealously represented the victims of all manner of car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, workplace, and slip and fall accidents.  Our attorney has the skill and knowledge to obtain the results you desire.  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.

Kansas Truck Accident Attorney Discusses Brake and Tire Failures

Mechanical failures are one of the leading causes of truck accidents and brake failures along with defective tires cause a large percentage of such crashes.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently revealed that nearly 30% of all commercial truck accidents involve brake related issues, such as brake failure or improperly adjusted brakes.

If you have been injured in a large truck accident, it is imperative that you know the common causes of brake and tire failure so that you can investigate whether either of these mechanical problems caused your accident.  An experienced truck accident attorney will more thoroughly assess the crash and, using his or her extensive knowledge in the field, provide an accurate determination of fault.

Who is Responsible for Defective Brakes?

When the brakes on a tire malfunction, the blame can be placed on several different parties.  Sometimes multiple parties will play a role in the malfunction.  Possible individuals at fault include:

  • The driver
  • The brake manufacturer
  • The party responsible for maintaining the brakes—often the trucking company
  • The company that loaded the truck

Following an accident that involves a mechanical failure, it is not uncommon for the trucking, leasing, and hauling companies to argue among themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim.

The Brake Manufacturer

Federal regulations impose strict requirements for truck braking systems.  A truck’s brakes must have a certain braking force, dependent upon the size of the vehicle, be able to decelerate to a stop from 20 mph at a certain rate, again dependent on size, and meet automatic brake adjustment system requirements.

If the commercial truck’s brakes do not meet these federal standards, you could have a claim against the manufacturer.  The claim will usually either be that the brakes were improperly designed or that they were designed correctly but a defect occurred in the manufacturing process.

Drivers and Trucking Companies

Sometimes the actually driver of the truck or the trucking company will take actions that cause the brakes to fail.  This can include depowering the front brakes, in which the owner of the truck actually depowers the front brakes and relies solely on the back ones.  This saves the trucker money but creates a safety hazard.  Additionally, the truck driver or the trucking company may fail to properly maintain the brakes in safe working condition.

Truck Accidents Caused by Tire Problems

When the tires on a truck blow, it can cause massive accidents.  Tires can blow due to defects within the tires or a failure to maintain and inspect the tires.  In either event, the manufacturer or trucking company can be held responsible.

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

Brake and tire failures are leading causes of truck crashes.  All too often, these mechanical failures can be traced to negligence on the part of the trucking company, truck driver, or the part manufacturer.  The Lenexa, Kansas Truck Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. will carefully investigate the cause of your truck accident to determine whether negligence or a mechanical failure caused it. Our attorneys has battled the trucking industry on behalf of the firm’s injured clients for over 27 years.  We are well versed in the intricacies of trucking law and federal regulations.  If your truck accident was caused by a mechanical failure, we will fight to see you fully recovery for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential truck 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 City Personal Injury Lawyer Reports: Kansas Toddler Injured by Lawnmower at Daycare

A Wichita, Kansas toddler was seriously injured in a lawnmower accident that occurred at a home daycare.  The 18 month old girl was apparently outside when her leg was run over by a push mower at approximately 9 a.m. on August 21.  At the time of the incident, there was one adult and five children in the backyard, including two one-year-olds and three three-your olds.

he toddler was rushed by EMS to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis.  She was later transferred to a Kansas City hospital.  Her leg injury is reported as severe, but her current condition is unknown.  Police said she may face amputation of the leg below the knee, though doctors at the Kansas City hospital are working to save her leg.

The daycare, known as Toytown Daycare, was issued an emergency order of suspension.  Its owner/operator has been charged and arrested for aggravated child endangerment.

One day later, in Hutchinson, Kansas, a man in Reno County died after a tractor lawnmower accident.  The man had finished mowing his field and headed across the street.  The mower rolled over in the ditch.  The man was trapped underneath the back mower attached to the trailer.  He perished as a result of the crush injury.  Investigators are still trying to determine why the deceased individual took that route through the ditch instead of his normal route to the garage.

These two tragic lawnmower accidents come two months after a Lenexa, Kansas accident in which a young boy was run over by a riding mower.  In that accident, the boy’s father accidentally backed over his son, seriously injuring the four year old boy.

This series of lawnmower accidents occurring in Kansas highlights the dangers posed by lawnmowers, particularly to children.  Lawnmower accidents occur more often than most would think.  About 3,700 children under the age of 14 are transported to the emergency room following lawnmower accidents each year.  Another 17,000 children are treated by doctors for injuries stemming from lawnmower accidents.

Riding lawnmowers are considered the most hazardous due to their size and, in turn, their potential to inflict serious and sometimes deadly injuries. Young children playing outside while someone is mowing are most at risk.  While newer models of riding mowers are designed so that they cannot be accidently thrown into reverse, older models still hold the potential for accidental reversing.

If your child has been injured in a lawnmower accident that may have involved operator negligence or a defective lawnmower, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  The manufacturers of defective lawnmowers can be held accountable for the injuries your child sustained, as can lawnmower operators who failed to act with reasonable care.

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 Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  Our personal injury attorneys have fought for the rights of victims injured due to negligence for over 27 years.  We carefully examine the facts surrounding any accident, looking for indications of negligence and evidence in support of your potential case.  Armed with this knowledge, we will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential lawnmower 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 Automobile Accident Attorney Explains How Older, Unsafe Drivers are a Growing Problem

As our population continues to age, elderly drivers are becoming an ever increasing hazard to users of the roadways in Kansas and nationwide.  Studies show that after the age of 65, the fatality rates for drivers begin to climb.  From ages 75 to 84, the fatality rate among senior citizen drivers is actually the equivalent of that of teen drivers, a notoriously dangerous driving group.  When drivers reach the age of 85 and older, the fatality rate shoots up to four times that among teen drivers.

These statistics highlight an alarming problem that is only expected to get worse. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be 9.6 million people over the age of 85 by 2030.  Road safety experts project that by that year, elderly drivers will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. This is a considerable increase from the current statistics that estimate seniors cause just 11% of all fatal crashes.

States across the country have taken note of the problem and are struggling to address it before the true boom of elderly drivers occurs. Several states have passed measures that require older citizens take more frequent vision and behind the wheel tests.  Kansas does not currently have any restrictions on the elderly. However, family members, law enforcement officers, and doctors can request that elders be re-tested if they pose a hazard to themselves or other drivers.

Thus far, research has demonstrated that the rate of senior crashes does diminish when seniors are forced to appear in person to renew their license and complete a road test.  Only two states, however, currently impose these restrictions.

Safety researchers are especially concerned with drivers over the age of 85, who are currently involved in three fatal crashes a day.  Over the years, much focus has been cast on teen drivers and ways to increase their safety.  This elderly population is actually far more dangerous than teens, yet little is being done to address the problem.

Normal aging is thought to contribute to the inability of some older Americans to drive safely.  Reflexes, memory, visual acuity, flexibility, and the ability to focus all decline with old age.  Further, many of the medications prescribed to seniors to treat a variety of ailments can make it more difficult to focus.

Studies show that elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents involving alcohol or high speeds than other drivers.  They are more likely, however, to be involved in accidents at intersections, often when they miss a stop sign or turn left into oncoming traffic.  Side impact crashes have thus become known as old person’s crashes, in the same manner that rollover accidents are generally thought of as young person’s crashes.

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

The Lenexa, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are concerned by recent statistics showing the dangers of senior citizen drivers on the road who do not have the eye sight, perception, or reflexes required to safely operate an automobile.   We support measures that would increase the safety of older drivers and other road users by ensuring elderly drivers are still safe on the road.  We will continue to fight for the recovery of accident victims injured in crashes caused by negligence as we have done for over 27 years.  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.

Kansas City Workers Compensation Attorney Explains the Most Common Workplace Injuries in Kansas

Over 4,500 American workers are killed on the job each year, while millions more suffer serious but non-fatal injuries.  Every year, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury that will permanently affect them.  Most of these accidents are entirely preventable and occur as a result of employers failing to maintain a safe work environment.

The following is a look at the most common types of workplace accidents in Kansas and nationwide.  This list is intended to help workers stay safe on the job.

    • Overexertion Injuries: Overexertion injuries can occur as a result of pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, holding, and throwing activities at work.  Overexertion injuries are not consistently the most common, but they are the most expensive.  These injuries account for $3.4 million in benefit costs annually.
    • Slipping/Tripping Accidents: Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are the number two cause of workplace injuries.  These accidents occur when employees slip on slick surfaces or trip over something lying on the floor.  Employers have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe work environment, which includes keeping the workplace free of known slipping or tripping hazards.
    • Falling From Heights: This type of fall happens from elevated areas, such as ladders, roofs, and stairways.  Falling from heights accidents can be caused by slippery surfaces or faulty equipment.  Employers can reduce the risk of these serious accidents by using proper personal protection gear, training all employees thoroughly, and overseeing employees with diligence.
    • Reaction Injuries: This type of injury is caused by slipping and tripping without actually falling.  Reaction injuries can cause muscle damage, body trauma, and other medical issues.
    • Falling Object Injuries: Objects that fall from ladders, shelves, roofs, and the like can cause serious injuries.  Head injuries most often occur as a result of this type of accident.  Use of proper protective gear, such as a hard hat, can prove vital in keeping employees safe.
    • Vehicle Accidents: Employees who drive as a part of their job are often injured in automobile accidents.  These accidents can be serious and even fatal.  Employee safe driving training and employer policies regarding safe driving can reduce accidents.
    • Machine Entanglement: Employees can find their clothing, shoes, hair, fingers, or other body parts trapped in heavy equipment or machinery.  This happens most often in factories where no precaution is taken.  Protective guards and other equipment can avoid this potentially catastrophic injury.
    • Repetitive Motion Injuries: This type of injury occurs over long periods of time, during which employees repeat the same motions.  Repetitive motion injuries often include carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, strained muscles or tendons, and vision problems.  The use of proper ergonomic equipment can reduce the incidence of these injuries.

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

The Lenexa, Kansas Workplace Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is committed to assisting injured workers across the state.  Our experienced team of workers’ compensation attorneys will fight to see that you receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, oncoming disability, and more in the event your are injured in the workplace.  For over 27 years, we have helped injured workers through the complex workers’ compensation web, towards a full recovery.  If you have questions about your rights following an accident or need assistance with your claim, the law firm of Michael R. Lawless can help.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential workplace 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 City Personal Injury Attorney Reports: Kansas Couple Killed In Loose Trailer Crash

A Kansas couple was recently killed while riding their motorcycle when they were struck by a trailer that broke loose from a towing pickup.  The couple, one of which was a jail deputy at the Reno County Sheriff’s Office, was riding with a group of other motorcyclists around noon.  Their two young children were present at the time of the crash. The group of motorcyclists was traveling westbound on 10th Street, a four lane street, when a trailer came loose from an eastbound pickup truck.  The trailer crossed over and struck the motorcycle holding the Kansas couple.

Both were airlifted to Via Christi Hospital at St. Francis in Wichita, where the where they perished shortly afterwards.  The couple leaves behind two children, ages five and seven.  Fortunately, the children were passengers on separate motorcycles during the accident and were not harmed.  A memorial fund has been established for these two children who just lost their parents.

The trailer has been seized by the police and an investigator will soon examine it in an attempt to determine what caused the trailer to come off the pickup.  The 6 by 12 foot trailer was hauling a riding lawnmower.  The trailer appeared to be homemade.  The ball on the pickup’s hitch was also confiscated for investigation.  It is not known whether a safety chain was used during towing.

This accident is one of hundreds occurring in the state of Kansas that involve trailers breaking loose from towing vehicles.  Since 2010, Kansas has had 534 accidents involving run away trailers.  Fifteen of these accidents resulted in the death of 21 individuals.

Common causes of runaway trailer accidents include:

  • Failure to attach the ball and hitch correctly: The driver of the towing vehicle may use the wrong parts or tools to attach the ball and hitch.  When the truck hits a bump or obstacle, or moves quickly the fastening device could unhitch.
  • Braking system failures: If the towing vehicle’s brakes fail when going down an incline, the vehicle and trailer may accelerate out of control and the trailer can become loose.
  • Improper maintenance: A trailer and its towing components must be maintained in safe condition.  Failure to inspect the hitch, ball bearing, and other towing parts could result in a runaway trailer.
  • Failure to use a safety chain: Safety chains are designed to increase the safety of towing trailers and decrease the chance of runaway trailers.  They are not always used, however.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a runaway trailer accident, contact a licensed accident attorney as soon as possible.  Vital evidence must be gathered immediately following this sort of accident to preserve your legal rights.

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

Loose or runaway trailer accidents can lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death.  The Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney at the Lenexa, Kansas law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A.  understand the severe nature of such accidents and will fight to see that any victim of a runaway trailer accident receives the compensation they deserve.  For over 27 years, we have zealously represented the victims of all manner of accidents, from car and truck accidents to motorcycle and pedestrian accidents.  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.

 

Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Car Accidents and Back Injuries

Thousands of car accidents occur each day.  Back injuries are among the most common of all injuries sustained by automobile accident victims.  Even a seemingly minor car accident can result in back injuries due to the jarring motion experienced during a crash.  The human body, and the spinal cord in particular, is not designed to absorb such a jar, even in low speed accidents.  Minor back injuries can have a significant impact on your daily life.  More serious back injuries can prove catastrophic, preventing you from being able to conduct basic living tasks or work duties.

Types of Back Injuries Following a Crash

The spinal cord can be divided into three regions: the neck or cervical vertebrae; the upper back or thoracic vertebrae; and the lower back or lumbar vertebrae.  Each of these sections of the back contain ligaments, discs, muscles, tendons, and nerves that when injured will cause varying degrees of pain and either temporary or permanent harm.

  1. Herniated Discs: Herniated discs are sustained by victims of many car accidents. Discs acts as cushions within the spine, separating vertebrae and insulating the spine.  A herniated disc occurs when a disc becomes displaced.  This displacement puts pressure on the spinal cord and causes intense pain and numbness in the legs.
  2. Thoracic Spine Injuries: Injuries to the upper or thoracic region of the back are generally the most serious.  The upper back connects the spine and the ribs.  Damage to this area most often occurs in high speed crashes.  Permanent nerve damage can be suffered in thoracic spine injuries.
  3. Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spine are among the most serious of back injuries.  These injuries range from bruising to permanent spinal cord damage, which will result in long term disability.  Spinal cord injuries often cause partial or total paralysis, loss of reflexes, or loss of feeling in certain regions of the body.  Treatment for spinal cord injuries generally requires surgery, medication, and much physical therapy.
  4. Lumbar Spine Injuries: The lumbar area contains most of the muscles necessary to provide stability to the rest of the body.  A strain or sprain to your lumbar back can be extremely painful.  Fractures in this region can result in swelling, bruising, tenderness, and limited movement.  These injuries often severely limit an individual’s ability to perform work or living tasks.

Following a car accident, your back injury will be evaluated to determine its severity.  Often, doctors will use x-rays, MRIs, myelograms bone scans, and CT scans to determine the severity of the back injuries.  Most back injuries will require physical therapy, pain medication, and chiropractic care.

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

Car accidents caused by negligent drivers or defective automobiles can inflict serious and sometimes permanent back injuries.  The back is a sensitive area of the body, easily injured in a crash.  Back injuries often require months or even years of treatment in the hopes of fully curing the ailment.  The Lenexa, Kansas City Personal injury Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is committed to helping you fight for your rights and legal interests. We will continue to fight for the recovery of accident victims injured in crashes caused by negligence as we have done for over 27 years.  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.