Monthly Archives: February 2016

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Explains the Importance of Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is a specialized form of driving that focuses on maximizing safety by using various safe driving techniques that give motorists advance time to identify and address hazards on the road. The purpose of defensive driving is to avoid collisions with other cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

While everyone in the state of Kansas is required to pass a driving test and written exam in order to obtain a driver’s license, it is fairly easy to pass these exams. In addition, many individuals cram a lot of information about traffic laws and safety into their brains in order to pass the written exam without retaining anything long term. Finally, Kansas only requires drivers to pass both exams once when they first apply for a driver’s license. There is no requirement for continuing education or courses nor periodic retesting. Many people on the road are simply unaware of certain traffic laws while other drivers are careless or even reckless when behind the wheel.

There were a total of 58,472 reported car accidents in 2013 that involved over 132,200 people. 13,106 of these involved serious injuries, and 327 were fatal. That means 1.94 accidents occurred for every one million miles driven by vehicles throughout Kansas. Over 50% of vehicles involved in accidents were cars. Likewise, the vast majority of victims were car occupants, though pickup truck and SUV occupants were close behind. The Kansas Department of Transportation estimates that 4 out of 5 crashes are caused by driver issues, such as failing to give full attention to the road, failing to yield right of way, speeding, and following too closely.

There are a variety of different ways to learn defensive driving in Kansas. Many organizations offer classes that teach students how to anticipate different dangerous situations that may require quick thinking and reflexes. Some of these courses involve discussion and hypotheticals, while others involve simulations and practice. The simulations replicate real-world situations, including bad weather, traffic, sharp turns, and poor lighting conditions. In addition, defensive driving courses give students a refresher on Kansas state traffic laws.

While defensive driving classes may sound incredibly boring, they can be life-saving. For instance, did you know that when parking on a hill facing downward, you turn your wheels toward the right shoulder, but when parking on a hill facing upward, you turn your wheels toward the left shoulder? Or that when your car hydroplanes during one of Kansas’s famous summer thunderstorms, you should never slam on your brakes? Defensive driving courses will provide you with a wealth of knowledge regarding unsafe road conditions, as well as how to react when other drivers on the road are careless or negligent.

In addition, defensive driving courses are usually fairly short and can be completed in one day. The Kansas DMV often gives credit for defensive driving courses by reducing points on your license or reducing a fine for a moving violation, and many insurance companies will agree to not raise your rates after a ticket or accident if you provide proof that you completed a course.

Defensive driving courses usually focus on:

  • Anatomy of a car accident
  • How to prevent or anticipate a collision
  • How to deal with road rage, exhaustion or stress
  • The effects of intoxication on driving
  • Available safety equipment in a car
  • Kansas traffic laws

Contact Our Kansas Personal Injury Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

For almost 30 years, Michael R. Lawless, P.A. has dedicated its practice to representing victims of heinous Kansas car accidents. Following a car accident, you need to focus on recovering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can assist you with reviewing your accident, conducting an independent investigation, negotiating with the other party, and zealously advocating for your best interests both inside and outside the courtroom. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. provides free consultations to potential clients throughout the state of Kansas. Contact our Lenexa, Kansas law firm at (913) 681-5566 or toll-free at (800) 734-3771 today.

Comparative Negligence in Kansas Slip and Fall Cases

Under premises liability law, Kansas property owners have a duty of care to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition, free from dangerous defects which can include slick floors, cracks or holes in sidewalks, poorly lit stairs, standing water or icy spots, loose floor mats, and much more. This duty of care generally extends to sidewalks, parking lots, and walkways owned by or adjacent to the property. When an individual slips and falls on the property of another, the victim can pursue an action against the owner or possessor of the property. For liability to exist, the plaintiff must establish that the property owner or possessor acted negligently.

Negligence can be established in one of three ways:

  1. The owner or possessor of the property or an employee must have created or caused the dangerous condition. For instance, in a store slip and fall, an employee who spilled a substance on the ground and did not remedy the slippery condition can be deemed negligent;
  2. The owner of the premises or an employee knew of the dangerous condition but did nothing to remedy it. Continuing the above example, in a store slip and fall, an employee notices a spill on the floor but fails to remedy it. The property owner can be held liable for this negligence; or
  3. The owner of the property or an employee should have known of the dangerous condition. For instance, in a store slip and fall, a spill has been present on the floor for several hours and a customer complained of it, but the store failed to remedy the spill. The property owner might be deemed negligent, as their knowledge of the dangerous condition is presumed.

Kansas has adopted the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, an individual who is partially at fault or responsible for the slip and fall accident will not be barred from recovery, so long as their degree of fault is less than the property owner’s. In other words, the victim will be barred from recovery if his or her negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s. A slip and fall victim’s recovery will be reduced by the degree of his or her negligence.

The law of modified comparative negligence can be illustrated through the following hypothetical:

  • Melissa drove to the supermarket at 8:30 a.m., an hour after it had opened, to grab some items before heading to work
  • It had lightly snowed the night before
  • An employee had partially cleared the parking lot early that morning, but patches of ice remained
  • Melissa was walking in her high heel shoes up to the store and fell on ice in the parking lot
  • Melissa was awarded $100,000 to compensate for her injuries, but her recovery was reduced by 10% because she was deemed partly at fault for wearing unsuitable footwear given the icy weather.

Contact Kansas City Slip and Fall Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Personal Injury attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Individuals injured due to a property owner’s negligence, including store owners, homeowners, hotels, hospitals, and the like, can be held liable for your damages sustained as a result of the fall. Slip and fall victims must act fast to preserve their legal rights. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential slip and fall 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.

Falls on the Jobsite in Kansas

Over 260,000 individuals across the U.S. will experience a fall on the job that requires time off work. Close to 1,000 employees will die in fatal falls in America. In Kansas, hundreds of work related falls are reported to the workers’ compensation board annually. Some of the most common falls include falling off non-moving motor vehicles and ladders. Over 100 employees die after falling off ladders each year and more than 60 perish from falling off non-moving vehicles.

Dangerous Occupations

            Falls can happen in nearly any workplace, but employees in certain occupations are at a greater risk of serious falls. The vast majority of workplace falls occur in the fields of:

  • Farming
  • Forestry
  • Fishing occupations
  • Construction laborers
  • Carpenters
  • Miners
  • Roofers
  • Structural metal workers
  • Construction supervisors

Studies show the majority of fall related deaths and injuries, some 50%, happen in the construction industry. This can be attributed to the fact that so many construction workers must perform tasks at high elevations, involving ladders and scaffolding. Further, the construction industry is generally fast paced and tough deadlines are enforced. Many temporary or seasonal workers are employed, who may or may not be properly trained.

Types of Work Related Falls

            Many different types of falls can occur on the jobsite. Some of the most common causes of falls while at work include:

  • Falls from ladders
  • Falls from one level to another, i.e. from the roof, down the steps or stairs, from building girders or structural steel, or from trees
  • Falls from scaffolding, staging
  • Falls on the same level
  • From nonmoving vehicles

Injuries Stemming from Falls

            An employee’s injuries will depend greatly on the cause of the fall and individual circumstances. Some of the most common injuries sustained in a fall include:

  • Head injury
  • Brain injury
  • Neck and back injury
  • Broken limbs
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal organ damage
  • Death

Obtaining Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Fall Injuries

            In the state of Kansas, nearly all public and private employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who are injured in a fall will generally be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits so long as they can show the injury arose in the course and scope of employment. Further, the employee must notify the supervisor of the accident and their injuries must be severe enough to require either medical attention or time off work.

Workers’ compensation benefits can include: payment for medical bills, prescription drug costs, rehabilitation, wage replacement, mileage reimbursement, and more.

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

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and stressful. Those injured in falls on the job may experience uncertainty as to whether they should file a workers’ compensation claim. It is important that any injured worker fully understand their rights and obligations that are attached to filing a workers’ compensation claim before actually deciding to file a claim.  To better understand what to expect, and what you might receive after filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should consult with a Kansas workers’ compensation attorney right away.  Kansas workers’ compensation attorney Michael R. Lawless of Michael R. Lawless, PA, devotes his practice to helping injured clients get back on their feet.  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.