Monthly Archives: October 2014

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Answers Your Questions on the Takata Airbag Recall

U.S. safety regulators are urging owners of vehicles involved in the Takata air bag recall to have their vehicles repaired.  Many have put off getting their cars fixed due to this series of recalls dating back to 2008.  The airbag recall now spans at least 7.8 million vehicles by 10 different automakers.  The threat posed by these defective airbags is great—they have been known to explode and spew deadly metal debris if they inflate in a crash.  Much confusion currently surrounds the recall, however, as it has just recently been drastically expanded.  The following are answers to some crucial questions surrounding the recalls:

Q:  How do I know if my car is among those recalled?

Most recalled vehicle owners will receive a notice in the mail.  If you have not received such a notice, or lost the notice, you can either visit the government’s website at safecar.gov or go to the maker of your automobile’s website.  Both these sites should allow you to enter your vehicle’s identification or VIN number to determine its recall status.  The government database site has experienced some technical difficulties in the wake of the recall, so at this time the automaker may be your best bet.

Q:  If my car is one of the recalled models, what should I do?

You should immediately contact a dealer for your vehicle and schedule a repair appointment.  Particularly if you live in an area of higher temperatures or humidity, you could be at serious risk.  Some automakers are currently experiencing long wait times due to part shortages.  Some individual makers are recommending you now allow passengers to sit in the front seat until the repair has been made.

Q:  How soon will my car be fixed?

It will depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers have plenty of the necessary replacement part, the airbag inflator, in stock.  For others, there will be a wait.  The government is pushing automakers to make quicker repairs and offer loaner vehicles to those who have to wait.

Q:  What will happen in the meantime?

This will also depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers, like Toyota, have disabled the passenger airbags and applied a warning sticker that no one should ride in the front passenger seat until the replacement has been installed.  BMW, on the other hand, is simply suggesting drivers not allow passengers to occupy the seat but has not taken more extreme measures to disable the device, which it believes has a low chance of abnormal deployment.

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

The recent airbag recall has millions of drivers concerned about the possibility of injury or death due to their faulty vehicle.  Details are still emerging and all car owners are urged to take proactive measures to determine whether their vehicle is impacted by the recall.  If your vehicle may be defective and an accident has results, the Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless is an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated personal injury attorney who will strive to obtain the recovery you deserve.  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 Personal Injury Attorney Discusses RV Travel Safety

Recreational vehicles, commonly abbreviated as RVs, offer a wonderful means of gathering family and hitting the road.  Traveling in RVs, families can reach anywhere in Kansas and beyond, exploring the countryside and many local attractions.  Kansas offers numerous destinations for RV travelers to visit and RV parks scattered throughout the state make this an easy and convenient form of transportation.

Mechanical defects, improper maintenance, and driver error are just a few things that can cause serious accidents and lead to devastating consequences.  The following is a look at the most common causes of RV accidents and some travel tips to help ensure you and your family stay safe while hitting the open road in your recreational vehicle.

      • Operator error:  RVs are massive vehicles that are far longer, heavier, and taller than the cars most drivers are used to operating.  Driving an RV safely will take practice, skill, and caution.  Drivers of RVs often fail to adhere to basic traffic rules, such as passing in a safe manner, stopping at all stop signs and lights.  When the drivers of these large vehicles violate safety rules, the consequences can be severe.  RVs do not allow for quick braking or turning, so drivers must exercise vigilance and not place themselves in the position of having to make sudden maneuvers.
      • Road hazards: Some roads can present difficulties for RVs due to uneven surfaces or sharp turns.  Poor road conditions can lead to a loss of control of the RV and accidents.  The drivers of RVs should pay close attention to road conditions ahead and keep their speed at or below posted minimums so as to prevent loss of control accidents.
      • Impaired driving:  Drinking and driving a large vehicle like an RV is not just illegal, it is extremely dangerous.  Driving an RV requires more focus and attention than navigating the average automobile.  Never drink and drive; instead, park your RV in a safe location and plan to stay if you intend to consume alcohol.
      • Maintenance Issues and Vehicle Defects:  Many things can go wrong with an RV which can cause serious problems, including:
      • Faulty brakes—due to their immense size, RVs require a sophisticated braking system that is kept in top working order.  Brake recalls are commonplace, so always check to see if your vehicle is included in the recall list before setting off on a road trip.
      • Worn tires—RVs can be rough on tires.  Tires that lack sufficient tread or are defective can cause road blowouts.  Properly maintain and replace all tires, and check for recalls on tires regularly.

Contact Michael R. Lawless Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Traveling in a recreational vehicle can be the perfect way to see more of Kansas or venture out of state all in the comfort of your vehicle, surrounded by your family.  RV travel is traditionally a safe way to travel, but accidents still can and do occur.  By adhering to the safety tips offered above, you can help ensure your travels are pleasant and accident free.  In the event you are involved in an accident, whether it is an RV accident or any other, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is here to assist you.  Michael Lawless offers excellence of legal services to all accident victims.  He will assist you in obtaining a full recovery for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more following a serious accident.  To schedule your free consultation, call our office at (913) 681-5566 or toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You can also use the contact us section of our website.

 

Kansas Automobile Accident Lawyer Discusses Seat Belt Failure

You have probably been instructed thousands of times over your lifetime to put on your seat belt, and if you are now the parent of young children, you probably utter that same phrase several times a day.  We take seat belt safety so importantly because we know that this device saves lives in the event of an accident.  Sadly, however, for thousands of drivers a year, defective seat belts lead to catastrophic injuries.  When your seat belt, your last line of defense, fails, you could become seriously or even life threateningly injured.  Car accident victims that lack the protection of a seat belt could suffer head injuries, spinal cord damage, brain damage and internal injuries, or even death.

Most seat belt failures will be traced to faulty manufacturing or poor design.  During an accident, it is imperative that the driver and all passengers be contained within their seat to minimize any injuries produced by the extreme force involved in the accident.  Seat belts are designed so as to hold the occupant securely in his or her seat, allowing him or her to safely ride down the crash. Seat belts eliminate or at the very least minimize the driver and passenger’s contact with the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, and roof.

Some defective seat belts have been known to allow complete ejection of the victim from the vehicle through the windshield.  This will often lead to catastrophic injuries or a painful death.  In other cases, a defective seat belt will allow the victim to crash into the dash or steering wheel, causing internal organ damage, spinal cord damage, head injuries, or broken bones.

Seat belt defects can stem from any of the following:

  • Latch problems;
  • Defective belt material or webbing;
  • Poor seat belt design or geometry;
  • Retractor failure;
  • Sensor failure.

The lap belt only design was one of the most dangerous seat belt designs.  The lap belt is known to cause catastrophic internal bleeding injuries.  Up until the 1980’s, it was not mandatory that shoulder belts be installed in rear seats.  Many manufacturers thus used lap belts, and these vehicles are still on the roads today.  The most common drivers of these older vehicles include teens, who are already at significant statistical risk of injury due to higher than average accident rates.  The lap belts harmfully isolate the impact of the crash to the victim’s mid-section, resulting in internal organ damage that can include lacerated spleen, lacerated liver, paraplegia, spinal cord fractures, quadriplegia, and death.

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

Defective safety belts are among the most dangerous automobile defect issues that exist today.  Seat belt failure can result from a number of defects, each of which holds the potential to eliminate your last line of defense.  If your seat belt fails, you could experience brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, or even death.  Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is helping to increase car and seat belt safety, one case at a time.  If you have been injured due to a defective safety belt, we will provide you with the experienced, dedicated, and skilled representation you need to obtain the recovery you deserve.  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 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Reports: Kansas Ranked One of Top Ten Most Dangerous States to Work

A recent report entitled “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” found that Kansas is one of the most dangerous states in which to work.  The study examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which revealed that at least 88 workers in Kansas perished in workplace accidents in 2012.  The analysis was compiled by The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Bruce Tunnell, Executive Vice-President of the Kansas AFL-CIO, expressed dismay at the report, stating that it should serve as a wakeup call to our elected leaders.  Kansas employees are in danger and drastic steps must be taken to ensure they can go to work every day without fear of being injured or killed on the job.

The “Death on the Job” report places Kansas’ fatality rate at 5.7 per 100,000 workers.  This far exceeds the national average of 3.4 per 100,000 workers.  The five worst states for workers were: Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia.  The safest states included Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington (tied) and New Hampshire (tied).

No employee should risk his or her life attending work each day, but for workers in certain careers danger has sadly become a routine part of the job.  Over 4,300 fatal work injuries are suffered each year.  Though this rate has been on the decline in recent years, this high figure is still considered unacceptable by most safety organizations and the public as a whole.  The most dangerous job on the U.S. is currently considered to be logging.  Sixty two loggers were killed on the job last year, and their death rate is currently 127.8 per 100,000 full time workers.

Fishermen and women now hold the second deadliest job in America.  Fishing related professionals lose their lives at a rate of 117 per 100,000 full time workers, equating to 32 deaths in 2012.  Fishing is a hazardous but popular occupation in Alaska, which also ranks as one of the top five most dangerous places to work.

Airplane pilots are considered to have the third deadliest job.  Pilots face the constant threat of malfunctioning machinery and falling objects.  In 2012, 71 airplane pilots were killed on the job, equating to 53.4 deaths per 100,000 full time employees.

Anyone injured in a workplace accident should be entitled to compensation through the workers’ compensation system.  Almost all employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which covers injured employee’s medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.  Injured employees should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to obtain a full assessment of their rights.

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

Kansas’ recent ranking as one of the most dangerous states to work in is frightening for many employees and something that must be addressed immediately.  Kansas workers are the backbone of our economy and their safety should be protected to the fullest.  Any employee who has been injured in a workplace accident in Kansas should contact Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted injured workers across the state.  Our workers’ compensation firm is dedicated to ensuring injured workers obtain the compensation they deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation 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 Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Animal and Dog Bites

Dog and animal attacks will nearly always inflict some mark on the victim.  Injuries are not limited to the actual physical mark or bite wound; dog attack victims often experience emotional and psychological effects.  Regardless of the size, age, or build of the victim any animal attack is traumatic and can lead to long term phobias or anxiety along with potentially serious physical damages.

Each year, over 1,000 individuals across the country will seek emergency care treatment for dog attack wounds.  While dog attacks are the most common, other pets kept by families across Kansas can also inflict injury.  Kansas residents sometimes own large birds, horses, cats, snakes, and sometimes even exotic and possibly illegal animals like monkeys or wildcats.  Children, particularly infants, are injured in dog attacks at the highest rates.  Each year, hundreds of postal workers and mail carriers are attacked by dogs.

Dog bite injuries will depend upon the individual attack.  They are often serious.  Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Deep cuts and scratches
  • Puncture wounds
  • Contusions
  • Fractures
  • Loss of limbs
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Head and facial injuries
  • Emotional and psychological scars
  • Transmission of diseases such as rabies or tetanus
  • Death

There is a common misconception that most dog bites happen to strangers.  In fact, the majority of dog bites involve friends or family members who are familiar with the dog.  Dogs that bite often have no history of aggression or attacks.  The most common victims of dog attacks are the very young.  Infants and young children can unknowingly provoke dogs with their small size, quick movements, and sometimes harsh petting manner.  Young victims will often experience catastrophic physical, emotional, and mental injuries as a result of the dog or animal attacks.

Kansas’ Dog Bite Laws

In recent years, many states have adopted a policy of strict liability, meaning that dog owners will be responsible for the injuries inflicted by their pets even if they did not act with negligence and did not have a prior reason to believe the dog was dangerous.  Kansas, however, is in the minority of states that has not adopted a general strict liability law.

Kansas uses a “one-bite rule” in which the dog bite victim mist prove the dog owner was negligent or had reason to know the dog was dangerous.  Generally, once a dog bites someone once, the dog owner is considered on notice of the dog’s dangerous propensity.  If it then bites another individual, the owner will be held liable.

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

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has years of successful practice representing the victims of animal and dog attacks across the state of Kansas.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has fought for the full recovery of dog bite and other animal attack victims.  Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has the knowledge, skill, and resources you need to obtain the results you desire.  From our initial investigation of the case to that final day of settlement or trial, Michael Lawless will skillfully handle your case so that you can get back to what matters most—your recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential personal injury 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 Personal Injury Attorney Offers Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a time for pumpkins, costumes, candy, and fun.  This classic holiday, however, also presents several hazards for adults, children, and even homeowners.  Most people do not dwell on the safety issues surrounding Halloween, but being award of the dangers that lurk could help ensure you and your family stay safe.  On Halloween, twice as many child pedestrians are killed than on any other night of the year.  Further, this holiday poses a threat of liability issues for homeowners.  These are just a few known risks.  The following is a look at some safety tips that can keep you safe and liability free this Halloween.

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

  • Supervise children at all times, even older children.
  • Choose a costume for your child that has bright colors and is made of a fire resistant material.
  • Sew or otherwise attach emergency identification information on your child’s customer or around your child’s wrist.  Include your name, child’s name, address, and phone number so that your child could be returned in the event he or she became lost.
  • If your child’s costume is dark, place reflective tape on the costume or trick or treat bags.
  • Make sure any face paint you use is non-toxic as face paints have been known to contain lead.
  • Do not allow young children to wear masks as they could obstruct breathing or vision.
  • Inspect all candy before your child consumes it.
  • Throw away any candy that may not be sealed.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Trick or treat only in familiar areas that are well lit.
  • Carry flashlights and keep to the sidewalks with your children whenever possible.
  • Watch out for animals.  Even dogs you know can become disoriented by costumes and chaos.
  • Use crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Do not allow your children to enter stranger’s homes.

Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners

  • Ensure all pets are kept away from trick or treaters.  Even friendly pets can become a liability when around crowds of people wearing costumes.
  • Repair any obvious holes or raised areas in your sidewalk or driveway that could become hazards to trick or treaters in the dark.
  • Clear walkway or porch steps of tripping obstacles, such as hoses, debris, or electrical cords.
  • Use flameless candles or flashlights in your outdoor pumpkins to prevent fire.
  • Do not make or give out homemade treats unless you know the children you plan to give them to well, as many children have allergies.

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

Halloween is around the corner.  While this holiday of fun, candy, and costumes can be a joyous occasion for your family, it also brings an increased risk of injury, especially to children pedestrians.  Following our safety tips can help ensure you and your family stays safe this Halloween.  If you or a loved one is injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted victims of all manner of accidents across Kansas.  Michael Lawless is the experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated attorney you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential personal injury 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 Reports: An Additional Three Million Vehicles May Have Defective Airbags

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged that an additional three million vehicles may be in need of urgent repairs to prevent drivers and passengers from being injured or killed due to defective airbags.  This makes a total of 7.8 million vehicles that are part of a massive recalls of airbags manufactured by Takata.  At least four deaths are linked to the defective airbags.  These four individuals died when the inflator mechanisms within the defective Takata airbags ruptured, sending shooting metal fragments at the unsuspecting drivers and passengers.  Now, automobiles manufactured by Subaru and Mitsubishi have been added to the recall list.

The NHSTA has warned owners who live in warm states, including Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Puerto Rico, parts of Texas, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Saipan, and Hawaii to aggressively act on the recall notice. This is in part because studies show that extended exposure to high temperatures and humidity may be a factor in the airbag problem.

All car owners are urged to check their manufacturer’s website for recall information, as so many makes and models are involved. Thus far, several hundred thousand vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are included in the recall.  Model years range from 2001 to 2008.  As more information unfolds, it is likely other vehicles may be added to the list.

Thus far, the airbag recall has been met with much scrutiny.  Several senators and lawmakers criticized the NHSTA for its handling of the recall, demanded a broader recall, and called for a further accounting of how recalls were handled.  Initially, a recall in June included faulty airbags located in just two states, Florida and Hawaii, and two territories, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Honda then expanded the recall to include another 2.4 vehicles sold in other Southern states.

Humidity is believed to cause the faulty airbags to erupt, sending shrapnel into car occupants.  At least four deaths and more than 100 injuries are attributed to these rupturing airbags.  Senators expressed concern over the limited nature of the recall, as several other states are also home to much heat and humidity.  Their strong push was likely a major contributing factor in the NHSTA’s decision to expand the recall to include another 4.7 million vehicles nationwide.

Anyone with an affected vehicle should contact their automobile manufacturer as soon as possible.  There is currently a shortage of replacement parts and many owners of recalled vehicles are finding themselves lengthy periods of time.  Those on Capitol Hill are pushing for automakers to provide loaner cars to the car owners unable to receive an immediate repair.  Automakers have been reluctant thus far, but given the grave danger of the airbags all car owners should demand something so necessary.

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

Millions of vehicles have been recalled thus far this year, leaving many drivers at risk of injury or death due to faulty cars.  If you have been involved in a car accident that may have been caused by a defective automobile, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless has the experience, dedication, and knowledge you need to obtain the recovery to which you are entitled.  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 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Examines Ladder and Scaffolding Accidents

Those in the construction industry often use ladders and scaffolds on a daily basis to reach elevated surfaces when repairing damage to structures or constructing new property.  When proper safety matters are not followed, construction workers may be placed at risk of catastrophic fall and potentially life threatening injuries.  In Kansas, employees who are injured on the job will usually be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which can include coverage of medical bills, time off work, lasting disability, and more.  Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, an injured worker can sometimes seek recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system, such as in the case of a defective scaffold or ladder.

Why Do Scaffolding and Ladder Accidents Occur?

Falls from scaffolds and ladders occurring on the job site are often the result of poor maintenance, safety standards, or a manufacturer defect.  Some examples of defective designs and improper safety measures include:

  • Loose rungs
  • Improperly positioned ladders
  • Missing guardrails
  • Broken parts
  • Ladders that are not tied off or secured properly

Ladder and scaffold accidents often involve extreme heights which can result in devastating consequences.  Construction workers that fall from the heights involved in ladder and scaffold accidents will sometimes require months or even years of ongoing medical care and rehabilitation.  Permanent disabilities are not uncommon for the survivors of these serious accidents.

A wide range of injuries can result from ladder and scaffold falls, including:

    • Head injuries
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Broken bones
    • Neck and back injuries
    • Spinal cord damage
    • Internal organ damage
    • Death

All employers are under an obligation to provide employees with a safe working environment, safe equipment, and proper training.  The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) publishes the following tips to employers to help keep employees safe when using ladders or scaffolds:

  1. Plan:  You must plan to complete the job in a safe manner before the task is started.  Identify the safety equipment you will need for each task and consider the fall hazards that could present each step of the way.  By anticipating potential falls and using proper safety equipment, you can minimize the risk of falls.
  2. Provide:  As an employer, you must provide your employee with proper equipment.  All scaffolds and ladders must be inspected prior to use and kept in excellent working condition.  Additionally, all necessary fall protection equipment should be provided to employees.  This equipment will depend upon the job at hand.  All ladders should be selected based on the individual job.
  3. Train:  Employers are responsible for training their employees so that they can perform the job at hand in a safe manner.  Employees must be instructed as to the proper set up and safe operation of scaffolds, ladders, and other equipment.  All workers should be trained to recognize potential hazards associated with the use of ladders and scaffolds.

Contact Michael R. Lawless Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

For over 27 years, Kansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has assisted injured workers across the state in a wide range of workers’ compensation matters.  Michael R. Lawless is an award winning workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight to see that you receive the compensation you deserve for your workplace injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, disability, and more.  For assistance with your workplace accident, call the dedicated workers’ compensation firm of Michael R. Lawless today at (913) 681-5566 or toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  We offer a free consultation to all new clients.