Monthly Archives: September 2014

Kansas Personal Injury Lawyer Reports: Missouri Man Killed On-the-job After FedEx Truck Pins him against House

Throughout Kansas, Missouri, and all across the United States, the issue of workplace accidents is a serious concern. Most states, and the federal government, have guidelines in place designed to protect employees from on-the-job dangers, injuries, and death. Unfortunately, accidents still happen far too often, and can result in traumatic injuries, death, and devastated families. One recent on-the-job death in Missouri highlights how catastrophic workplace accidents can be.

According to media reports, a 52-year-old man employed by Federal Express (FedEx) died on-the-job after being pinned by the truck he was assigned to operate. Police state that the man somehow became pinned between the truck and a house causing traumatic injuries. The man was transported to a local hospital but unfortunately, did not survive his injuries.

Authorities are investigating the cause of this tragic accident, including whether the truck may have experienced a defect in the braking or other mechanical systems. There are many reasons an accident like this may occur but nothing has been positively identified in this case. FedEx provided a written statement expressing the company’s condolences to the family of the victim. Reports indicate that FedEx is cooperating with authorities to investigate this incident.

 How Often do On-the-job Deaths Occur

On-the-job accidents resulting in death are more common than most people realize. Statistics provided from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that in 2011, 77 individuals died on-the-job in Kansas, and another 132 died in Missouri. More recent data released for 2013 indicated that, nationwide, more than 4,400 people suffered fatal work injuries. Most of the fatal injuries were among workers in transportation, agriculture, industrial, and manufacturing. Another large contributor to workplace fatalities was slip-and-fall injuries, which claimed nearly 700 lives in 2013. Workplace violence also accounts for a large number of injuries and deaths annually.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that transportation related incidents account for 40-percent of on-the-job deaths. With transportation related injuries and deaths so prevalent, it is important that any individual operating a vehicle be certain that they are aware of proper safety guidelines, and report any mechanical defects that may affect safety. It is also important for employers to maintain safe working environments and perform regular maintenance on any machinery and vehicles being operated by employees.

Get Help After an On-the-job Injury

If you or a loved one has been injured in an on-the-job accident, you likely have many questions about your future, your finances, and your legal rights. Personal injury and workers’ compensation are complex areas of the law, so anyone suffering from an on-the-job accident should seek legal guidance immediately.

At the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A., our Kansas Personal injury Lawyer understands how difficult it can be to face the aftermath of an on-the-job injury. Similarly, if you lost a loved one in an on-the-job accident, the stress of your situation is no doubt exacerbated by your grief and loss. Our Personal Injury Attorneys have been representing injured clients and their loved ones all across Kansas and Missouri for more than 27 years.  We are dedicated to helping you make sense of your difficult, complex situation and securing you the best outcome possible for your future security. Contact Michael R. Lawless, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. From there, we will explore your rights and get you the help you need. Contact our office toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also send us a message online, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Reports: Talented Kansas Boxer Killed in Workplace Accident

All Kansas employees expect to be provided with reasonable, safe accommodations in the workplace. Individuals who operate heavy machinery, manufacturing equipment, or work around dangerous chemicals or moving parts expect heightened attention be paid to the safety of all employees. Unfortunately, workplace accidents are far too common in Kansas, and across the United States. Workplace injuries can range from a scrape to for more traumatic injuries such as: a crushing injury, head trauma to broken or severed limbs.

Kansas workplaces are required to maintain a safe working environment, and are often regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. OSHA provides safety guidelines for most workplaces, and conducts investigations when workplace accidents occur. OSHA may be called in to investigate a recent workplace accident in Wichita, Kansas that resulted in the death of a talented boxer.

Media reports indicate that 22-year-old Tony Losey, a nationally known top-ranked amateur boxer, was working outside of a large tank at a steel plate fabricator when the accident occurred. Witnesses report that Losey was operating a sandblaster under a large tarp when a tank he was cleaning, upwards of 18-feet tall, shifted and fell on him. The estimated 12,000-pound tank crushed Losey killing him on impact. Investigators believe that the tank shifted without warning and that Losey attempted to get out of harm’s way but the weight and force were too great.

Investigators stated that such accidents are rare but do occur, and that generally, no one is injured when tanks like this one collapse. Investigators are working to determine if proper safety measures were in place to prevent such an accident. One nearby witness indicated that the tank was sitting on two sawhorses when it fell. Preliminary reports do not indicate whether OSHA is planning to participate in the investigation, though such action is likely.

Tragic Example for Kansas Workers

Stories like this one offer a tragic example of the dangers that workplaces can pose to employees. The young, aspiring athlete was operating in the course of his duties as a subcontractor when his life was taken. This story also highlights a common issue in workplace accidents – the issue of whether workers’ compensation benefits are available to subcontractors if they sustain a job-related injury.

Kansas law is broad concerning who classifies as an employee for workers’ compensation purposes, with exceptions for agricultural jobs, independent contractors, certain firefighters, sole proprietors, and certain vehicle drivers. The victim in this workplace accident, unfortunately, did not survive his injuries. His family, like so many others, may be left without a source of income, and no doubt are suffering from their loss. Many other Kansas workers do survive their workplace injuries and are left fighting for clarity on their rights and responsibilities while potentially living with a serious injury. Workers’ compensation is a complex area of the law that requires the skill of trained legal representatives.

Get Help Fast

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, do not wait to get help. Act quickly to see what your rights and responsibilities are, as well as what options may be available to you. Contact the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Michael R. Lawless, P.A. to find out more about our state’s personal injury and workers’ compensation laws. We have been fighting for the rights of injured clients for nearly three decades, and will fight for you. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us right away toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also leave us a message electronically and we will respond as soon as possible.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Explains How Elder Abuse Takes Many Forms

When most people hear the word “abuse,” they immediately think of physical abuse. Unfortunately, there are many ways that individuals may be abused. Elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable to abuse in many forms. Abuse can be physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, or financial. To make matters worse, abuse of the elderly is prevalent in their own home, the home of a loved one, as well as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The elderly population is more vulnerable to abuse for several reasons. Primarily, their advanced age makes their bodies weaker and more fragile. Additionally, changes in vision and hearing can increase vulnerability. Vulnerabilities are exacerbated when the individual suffers from mental incapacity or physical disability that requires them to rely on others for health and safety.

How to Identify Elder Abuse

Across the United States, more than 500,000 cases of elder abuse are reported every year, with estimates that millions of other cases are never reported. It is important for those close to an elderly loved one to understand what elder abuse is, and how to identify and recognize the signs that abuse has occurred, or is continuing to occur. Loved ones should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Physical Abuse – Common forms of physical abuse include shoving, hitting, slapping, improper administration of medication, or use of confinement or restraints. Signs of physical abuse may include bruising, scrapes, red marks, torn skin, broken bones, and other injuries.
  • Verbal/Psychological Abuse – Abuse that is verbal or psychological in nature can take an extreme toll on the emotions of an elderly person. Common forms of verbal or psychological abuse include yelling, threatening, intimidation, humiliation, and casting blame. Nonverbal forms of psychological abuse include isolating, ignoring, or menacing the elderly person. Signs of verbal or psychological abuse include depression, changes in mood or behavior, and failure to thrive.
  • Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse of the elderly is complex. Not only does sexual abuse occur when the individual is inappropriately touched without giving consent, but also if they are forced to perform sexual acts, look at sexually explicit material, or are forced to undress. Sexual abuse may be more difficult to identify, so if you suspect that sexual abuse has occurred, it may be necessary to seek the professional guidance of a counselor or social worker.
  • Financial Exploitation – Financial exploitation is one of the most critical issues facing the elderly population in the U.S. Financial exploitation occurs when a caregiver or scam artist steals funds or uses funds without authorization for their own betterment. Financial exploiters may target bank accounts, checks, credit cards, cash, or the elderly person’s identity. Any suspicious financial activity or proposed financial action should be carefully researched and documented with authorities.
  • Neglect – Neglect is a common form of elder abuse, and one that often goes unreported. Neglect occurs both intentionally and unintentionally, and often stems from ignorance or inability to provide proper care to the elderly person. Neglect may include failing to provide proper physical and hygienic care, nutrition, medication administration, exercise, and overall quality of life.

Get Help if You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you suspect that your elderly loved one has been victimized by elder abuse, you are most likely angry, concerned, and ready to fight back. Do not take on the challenge of elder abuse on your own. Contact the Kansas Personal Injury Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. to get help right away. We have worked with personal injury victims and their loved ones all over Kansas and Missouri for more than 27 years. To schedule a free consultation of your elder abuse case contact us today at (913) 681-5566, or toll-free at (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Personal Injury Lawyer Reports: Bus Accident Highlights Dangers for Traveling Kansas Sports Teams

Schools all across Kansas routinely host sporting events, and travel to other destinations to participate in sporting events. On these occasions, students often travel by bus, which can be stressful for anxious parents eagerly awaiting their return. In most cases, students are safely transported to and from their destination; however, in some cases, parents’ worst nightmares become reality when the bus their children are traveling in is involved in an automobile accident.

A recent out-of-state media account of just such an accident highlights the importance of roadway safety for buses. According to the article, a group of college softball players were traveling on Interstate 35 when a tractor-trailer drove through the median and struck the bus they occupied. Authorities stated that the road curved to the right, but the tractor-trailer continued straight, entered oncoming traffic lanes, and collided with the bus without braking.

National Transportation Safety Board officials commented that the tractor-trailer continued to travel for as much as 300-feet after striking the bus, crossed additional travel lanes, and drove into a group of trees. Investigators are working to determine if a mechanical problem contributed to the crash, though preliminary investigations indicated no problems with the truck’s braking system. Ongoing investigations are attempting to determine if the truck driver was impaired, indisposed, distracted, or suffered from a medical condition.

The bus involved in this tragic accident was occupied by 15 softball players and was driven by their coach. Four of the occupants were killed in the collision. All four victims were under the age of 21. Two occupants were seriously injured and remained hospitalized for days following the accident, and several others sustained minor injuries. Reports do not indicate if the truck driver sustained injuries in the accident, only that the investigation continues and he has not been criminally charged at this time. Officials stated that the truck driver claimed to have been distracted by something in the cab of the truck, but declined to provide further information.

Tragic Example of the Importance of Road Safety

This story occurred out-of-state, but it is relevant to all Kansas motorists. Buses and tractor-trailers are large, heavy vehicles and the result of an accident involving these vehicles is often devastating and catastrophic. Kansas motorists should be cautious and aware of large vehicles near them on the roadway and be diligent in following proper safety guidelines, including avoiding distraction. Distracted driving is a far too common cause of injurious or fatal automobile accidents in Kansas, and all across the United States. The majority of these accidents are needless and could have been avoided if proper care was paid to the dangers distracted driving poses to all those on the roadway.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver, contact a Kansas Personal Injury Lawyer right away. With more than 27 years of experience helping injured victims throughout Kansas and Missouri, the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help you. Let our team of skilled attorneys carefully examine every aspect of your case and explore all possible outcomes to be sure that you get the best results possible. Do not wait to get the help you need, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Call the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. today by calling our office at (913) 681-5566 locally, or by calling us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You also have the option of contacting us online, and can be confident that your message will be responded to as quickly as possible.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Pedestrian Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 4,400 pedestrian fatalities in 2011. In 2012, there were more than 4,700 fatalities, indicating a six-percent increase over 2011. This data is equivalent to one pedestrian suffering fatal injuries every two-hours.

Who is a Pedestrian?

In essence, everyone is a pedestrian. For safety guidelines, however, the NHTSA has classified several categories as pedestrians, including anyone who is:

  • On foot
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Sitting or lying down

Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas where roadway sidewalks are popular travel lanes for pedestrians. Crosswalks in urban areas are another common site where pedestrian accidents occur. Many pedestrians and motorists fail to follow rules and regulations regarding crosswalk safety and use.

How to Be a Safe Pedestrian

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operates a “Walk this Way!” campaign designed to bring awareness to pedestrian safety concerns. Part of the campaign is bringing awareness to the individuals who are most likely to suffer from a pedestrian accident. Such awareness includes the fact that almost one-quarter of traffic-related fatalities to children younger than 14 are pedestrian-related. Additionally, the chances of being seriously injured or killed in a pedestrian accident increases with age, making the elderly population a high-risk classification.

In order to reduce the number of pedestrian-related traffic injuries and fatalities, the CDC has offered the following safety tips:

    • Only cross the street at designated crosswalks, and only cross with the walk signal, never against a red light
    • Be mindful that some intersections allow drivers the ability to turn onto cross streets after yielding to pedestrian traffic. Exercise great caution when crossing the road at such intersections
    • If you plan to be near the roadway at night, wear reflective clothing and take a flashlight with you to increase visibility
    • If you cannot walk within an established sidewalk, walk on the road against the flow of traffic for ultimate visibility, and move to the shoulder when cars pass by
    • Practice safe pedestrian skills with children, especially those who may have to cross a street on school grounds or near buses

Unfortunately, even the most cautious pedestrian can fall victim to a serious accident. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another person, the trauma and stress of the situation can be even more difficult to bear. Fortunately, Kansas has laws in place designed to protect the rights and best interests of individuals who are injured due to the negligence of others. What’s more, injured victims do not have to face the aftermath of an accident alone.

 Get Help after a Pedestrian Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian, you likely have questions about how to proceed, if you can file a claim, and what your rights are. Do not hesitate to get the help you need after an injurious accident. Count on the experience of Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. With more than 27 years of experience, Michael R. Lawless knows how to examine every aspect of your accident claim to determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. Contact the law office of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. today to set up a free consultation and start getting the answers you need. Call our office toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You can also contact us online and we will promptly respond to your message.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney offers Tips and Tricks for a Safe Halloween

October is a prime time to highlight the importance of roadway safety. From interstates to quiet neighborhoods, cooler temperatures and the upcoming holiday, Halloween, means more drivers and pedestrians on our state’s roadways. Especially the weekend of Halloween when special events are held and trick-or-treaters are walking along the road, it is important that parents and drivers be aware of potential dangers and use caution.

What Parents Need to Know

As parents prepare their little ghouls and goblins for a fun weekend of make-believe, it is important that they also prepare them for possible dangers. According to the National Safety Council, there are several important things parents should keep in mind, such as:

  • Always pair children under age 12 with a responsible adult
  • Prepare in advance a route for children to follow while trick-or-treating
  • Know who your children are going to be walking with, and where they live
  • Instruct children to only approach well-lit homes or apartments, and to never enter a stranger’s home
  • Instruct children to keep all candy sealed until they return home and the candy can be inspected
  • Review traffic safety guidelines for your neighborhood before venturing out
  • Use a pin to attach your contact information to the inside of your child’s costume in case he or she gets separated from you or the assigned group
  • Establish a set time for children to return home, or to a rendezvous point before trick-or-treating

What Motorists Need to Know

While Kansas motorists are already tasked with being mindful of pedestrians near the roadway, the days around Halloween are special cause for caution and awareness. Motorists should be especially careful to avoid distractions and impairment during this time. The National Safety Council recommends the following safety guidelines for motorists on Halloween:

  • Drive slowly around parked cars and be on the lookout for children moving between them.
  • Be mindful of medians and curbs, and keep watch for children walking near these locations.
  • Halloween is a common time for children (and adults) to be dressed in dark clothing. During the evening and nighttime hours, be especially mindful of this and watch for pedestrians.
  • Proceed cautiously when entering or exiting driveways, alleys, or dimly-lit intersections.

Anyone Can Fall Victim

While Halloween may be more dangerous for children as they are often less visible and may not be aware of the dangers of the roadway, the dangers posed to pedestrians are real no matter what age. It is important that anyone venturing out on Halloween exercise extreme caution and communicate effectively with those around them. Halloween adventurers of any age should have a plan in case an accident occurs, and should seek legal guidance as soon as an injury occurs.

If you or someone you love has been injured as a pedestrian, contact the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. right away. Accidents involving pedestrians are often catastrophic and in many cases the result of a negligent action. At Michael R. Lawless, P.A., our Kansas Personal Injury Attorney and his team of legal professionals work diligently to protect our clients in the aftermath of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. With more than 27 years of experience, our Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney knows what it takes to explore every possible outcome and get results. Contact the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. by calling us toll-free at (800) 734-3771 to schedule a free consultation of your personal injury case. You can also send us a message via our website, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

 

Kansas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Discuss Failure to Yield as Cause of a Recent Fatal Kansas Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle accidents are one of the most prevalent causes of injuries and deaths among Kansas motorists. According to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KSDOT), in 2011 there were more than 1,100 motorcycle accidents across the state. Greater than 800 of these accidents caused injuries, and there were 45 reported deaths due to motorcycle accidents. Statistics in 2011 indicate a significant increase in motorcycle accidents in a ten-year period, with just over 700 motorcycle accidents having occurred in 2001.

One of the most common contributors to motorcycle accident injuries and deaths is failing to wear a helmet. Helmets are designed to reduce impact to the brain should an accident occur, which can be lifesaving for the individual involved in an accident. KSDOT estimates that of the 45 deaths that occurred in 2011 as a result of motorcycle accidents, only 12 individuals were wearing a helmet. Of the greater than 800 people injured, less than 50-percent of those injured was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Failing to use a helmet may be just one of multiple factors that resulted in fatal injuries to a Kansas motorcyclist recently. According to media reports, the motorcyclist, a 49-year-old man, was traveling near U.S. 24 on his Harley Davidson motorcycle when he was struck by a sport utility vehicle (SUV). The motorcyclist sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Investigators indicated that he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

While the motorcyclist’s injuries may have been lessened had he been wearing a helmet, the accident was caused by the SUV driver’s failure to yield to the oncoming motorcycle. According to investigators, the SUV driver, another 49-year-old man, was attempting a left turn when he struck the motorcycle. The motorcyclist reportedly attempted to avoid the turning SUV but was unsuccessful and struck the fender. The driver of the SUV was unharmed. It is unclear if charges are pending against him.

Tragic accidents like this one highlight the importance of safety for motorcyclists on Kansas roadways. Wearing a helmet is a great tool to help protect the fragile human body, but it cannot protect motorcyclists from the unexpected and often negligent actions of other drivers. For the family of the motorcyclist who was killed in this accident, there is likely no match for their grief and loss. In addition to funeral expenses, this victim’s family may suffer from a loss of valuable income, companionship, and support. Fortunately, some of their burden may be lifted if they are able to seek recovery against the driver believed to be responsible for their loss.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, or you have lost a loved one in a tragic motorcycle accident, contact a Kansas motorcycle accident attorney that you can trust. With more than 27 years of legal experience, the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help you navigate a civil claim and seek the recovery that you need.  Let our team of skilled personal injury attorneys work for you and the interests of your family. We take pride in providing every client with individualized service designed to suit the needs of individualized, complex matters. Contact the Kansas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at the law office of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. today by calling our office at (913) 681-5566 locally, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You also have the option of sending us an electronic message via our website, which will be returned as soon as possible.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Reports: Electrocution Death of Kansas Worker Highlights Importance of Bucket Truck Safety

A recent report regarding the death of a Kansas man after being electrocuted while working in a bucket truck highlights the importance that employers and employees understand proper safety guidelines. According to media reports, the 58-year-old man was working in a bucket truck when he came in contact with a live power line. The power line reportedly was charged with more than 7,000 volts of electricity. The man was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries. The local Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the accident.

It is common after accidents like this one for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to also investigate the cause of the accident, and whether the employer and employee were using proper safety guidelines. OSHA has strict guidelines for bucket truck safety designed to prevent similar accidents. Bucket trucks are dangerous for several reasons, with the most common accidents caused by a fall, tip-over, collision, electrocution, or improper use.

It is important that anyone working in a bucket truck be mindful of the possible dangers, and how best to avoid injury. Safety website www.buckettrucks.org recommends the following concerning avoiding common injuries:

  • Falls – Always keep both feet on the floor of the bucket. Never climb, stand, or lean over the edge. Never place any work item, such as a ladder, in the bucket in order to increase height. Before climbing into the bucket, be sure that there is no debris present. Always wear protection designed to prevent falls.
  • Tip-Over – Never pull the bucket toward another object, or push it away from an object while the bucket is raised. Do not place any item in the bucket that exceeds the standard weight capacity of 300 pounds. Always park the truck on level ground, and do not attempt to move the truck with the bucket raised. Do not raise the bucket in windy conditions.
  • Collision – Bucket trucks are large and have several blind spots. Be aware of blind spots and pay attention to nearby vehicles. Travel slowly when approaching gravel or uneven ground, hilly or curvy roadways, or sidewalks occupied by pedestrians. Be mindful of overhead obstructions and limitations.
  • Electrocution – Always maintain safe distance between the bucket, any tool being used, and power lines. Even protected, insulated platforms are not adequate to protect the individual from electrical current, either phase-to-ground or phase-to-phase contact.
  • Improper Use – It is important that the operator of the truck and the individual in the bucket are aware of proper safety guidelines. Never leave the truck unattended or allow untrained persons to operate the truck or bucket. Never leave the engine running while refueling. Never operate the truck or bucket if there is a mechanical defect.

Get Help if You Have Been Injured

If you have been injured in an accident while working in a bucket truck, you need the support of a competent attorney who is skilled in workers’ compensation and personal injury matters including bucket truck safety concerns. Contact Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless now to find out what your rights and options are under our state’s workers’ compensation and personal injury laws. At the law office of Michael R. Lawless, P.A., we bring to every case more than two decades of legal experience. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You may call our office toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You also have the option of sending us a message online, which will be reviewed and responded to promptly.