December 2011 Archives

Frequently Asked Questions About Kansas City Car Accidents Answered

December 26, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

1193476_dark_question_3.jpgThe Kansas City Missouri car accident lawyers regularly answer our clients' questions about car accidents and personal injury claims. We thought it would help to share some of these questions and our answers with you.

I have been injured in a car accident. Do I have a claim? What should I do?
The only way to determine whether or not you have a claim is to contact a car accident or personal injury lawyer whose experience is with car accidents, including motorcycle, pedestrian, truck, and bicycle accidents. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation so they can learn the facts of your case and ask questions about your injuries and your particular situation. Not every car accident results in a personal injury claim. However, in the event of injury, you should call a lawyer as soon after the accident as possible: that way, if you have a case, your attorney can start working for you right away.

Do I have to meet with a lawyer in person to determine if I have a claim?
Each situation is different and many factors are involved. In some cases, we can determine whether or not you have a claim with a simple phone call and a brief intake interview. Also, many lawyers provide an e-mail request form on their website: you fill out the form, and the lawyers review your information. This practice allows them to decide whether or not they need you to come in for further questioning.

Why do I have to get a lawyer right away? What happens if I wait too long?
An accident case is built on the facts surrounding your accident and your injuries: the sooner you obtain counsel, the better. Quite often, a lawyer will use a professional accident investigator to gather evidence and establish the facts. This process needs to begin while the evidence is still available and while all the information surrounding the accident, such as witnesses, photographs, medical statements, etc. are easier to obtain. Also, there is a statute of limitations on injury claims, which means the case must be filed before a certain deadline. To build a case, your lawyer needs time to assemble the facts and evidence of the facts.

Continue reading "Frequently Asked Questions About Kansas City Car Accidents Answered" »

Risk of DUI Accidents Increased Throughout the Holidays for Motorists in Leawood, Missouri and Nationwide

December 24, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

The very first Alcohol and Highway Safety Report was released back in 1968, and since then, we've seen the numbers proving the dangers of drinking and driving. Our Leawood, Missouri car accident attorneys remind motorists of the risks as we head into the busy holiday season.

As we approach the end of the year, we're all looking forward to Christmas and New Year's. What many of us don't look forward to is the increased number of drunk drivers on our roadways.
In that first report of drunk driving statistics in the U.S., there were approximately 56,000 deaths on our roadways because of drinking and driving. About 800,000 people were injured because of drunk driving-related car accidents in Leawood, MO and elsewhere. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year, the U.S. saw nearly 11,000 deaths on our roadways resulting from alcohol-impaired drivers. Although this number is significantly lower than the number we saw in the 60s, DUI accidents still account for roughly a third of all traffic-accident fatalities.

William Haddon, the president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and former director of the National Highway Safety Bureau, says that these accidents are caused by all sorts of drivers. Every day, normal people (including students, fathers, mothers and hard workers) jump behind the wheel after consuming alcohol--and thereby endanger everyone on our roadways.

Back in the 60s, the legal drinking age was 18. Today, it's 21, and we're still seeing far too many fatalities resulting from drunk driving. Drunk driving arrests reached a high in 1983, with nearly 2 million people arrested for driving while drunk. Since then, arrests dropped by about 7,000 each year until the late 90s. In 1994, officers arrested about 1.5 million people driving drunk, according to TBD.

Continue reading "Risk of DUI Accidents Increased Throughout the Holidays for Motorists in Leawood, Missouri and Nationwide" »

$1 Million Settlement Verdict Upheld in 2006 Lafayette County, Missouri Motorcycle Accident

December 19, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

As Kansas City motorcycle accident attorneys, we know firsthand how damaging--and often deadly--motorcycle accidents can be. Motorcyclists often sustain extensive physical injuries when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles, simply because there's nothing to protect riders from the impact of collision. To drive defensively, motorcyclists must be constantly on the alert, making sure they are visible to other vehicles. Unfortunately, as many Missouri drivers know, even the best defensive drivers--no matter what kind of vehicle they're operating--can still find themselves involved in accidents when they're presented with circumstances they can't control.

1016169_speed_of_motorcycle.jpgLast week, litigation stemming from a five year-old motorcycle accident in Lafayette County finally came to an end. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, 58 year-old David Harlan, is a resident of Colorado who was traveling through Missouri on his motorcycle in 2006. He was heading west on Interstate 70 when he encountered a construction zone. Harlan moved into the left lane so that he could pass a tractor trailer--and when he entered the left lane, the pavement was even. While passing the truck, he came upon a stretch of highway where there was a short section of uneven pavement between the driving and passing lanes. When Harlan tried to return to the right lane, he hit the nearly two inch lip and lost control of his motorcycle. He narrowly missed being hit by the tractor trailer he had just passed.

Harlan suffered severe injuries in the accident and was airlifted from the scene to St. Luke's hospital in Kansas City. Eventually, he was transferred to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, where he continued to recover from an extensive list of injuries, including a laceration to his left leg (which severed his patellar tendon), a tibial plateau fracture, fractured ribs, several broken teeth and a concussion.

Harlan brought a personal injury lawsuit against the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission (MHTC) and APAC-Missouri, the general contractor for the I-70 road construction project. The lawsuit argued that there should have been warning signs to prepare drivers for the uneven lanes. In January 2009, a jury awarded Harlan a $1 million verdict. They found that MHTC was 70% responsible for the accident; that APAC-Missouri was 25% responsible; and that Harlan was 5% responsible.

Continue reading "$1 Million Settlement Verdict Upheld in 2006 Lafayette County, Missouri Motorcycle Accident" »

Answers for Questions Commonly Asked after Car Accidents in Liberty, Missouri and Surrounding Areas

December 18, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Car accidents rattle everyone. They happen so quickly and are so unexpected: it is hard to know what to do. But since they do happen every day in Liberty, Missouri, you should be prepared, just in case one happens to you. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about car accidents: knowing what to do under these circumstances can help you to remain calm and to ensure your rights are protected.

What should I do if I am in a car accident?145311_accidents_5.jpg
First, determine if you or anyone else in your car is hurt--and if so, how badly. If you are not badly hurt, you can check on people in the other vehicle(s) involved. Call 911 or the Liberty Police Department, even if the damages seem minor. Make a note of license plate numbers and then--if the vehicle(s) can be moved--pull to the side of the road or the closest place out of traffic.

Do not talk about who is at fault. Resist the temptation to share your side of the story with other drivers or witnesses. Calling the police creates a record of the accident, and law enforcement officials are trained to reconstruct the accident to determine fault.

Should I talk to anyone while I am waiting for the police?
If you are able, talk to witnesses. Ask them what they saw, and write this information down (along with their names and phone numbers). Put a small notebook in your glove box or center console so you can take notes if the need ever arises.

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Missouri Mavericks Support "Arrive Alive" and the Kansas City Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety

December 12, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

stop_fasten.jpgReducing the number of car accidents in Kansas City, Missouri and in the region is an important cause for many organizations. If you watch the Missouri Maverick hockey games, you might have noticed the Arrive Alive logo on their boards. The message for hockey fans and all drivers is to Buckle Up, Drive Sober and Don't Text and Drive. The Mavericks are just one of the organizations who support the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and have participated in Arrive Alive community events.

The Kansas City Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety
The Kansas City Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is the region's Arrive Alive resource. It reaches out to the community with organized events and school partnership events to teach children and their parents about safe driving, particularly in the areas of seat belts, drunk driving, and texting/cell phone use. And organizations like the Mavs help by providing resources like Mac, the Mavericks' mascot, as well as venues for these events. Recently, Coach Hillman recorded a safety message about seat belt use, drunk driving, and teen driving statistics.

Seat Belt Mascots Help

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety has a couple of mascots of their own. Buckle Bear is a teddy bear and Buckle Buddy is a dragon. Both tour community events and schools to help kids learn the importance of wearing a seat belt and to instill a desire to wear their seat belts all of the time. Buckle Buddy has a story book, mazes, zipper pulls, note pads, songs, and pledge cards, along with other resources to help send his message in a fun way.

Mac joined Buckle Bear and Detective McGruff the crime dog in Lee's Summit for the Missouri Department of Transportation's (MoDOT) Big Truck Night. This annual event is designed to give children and parents an opportunity to tour construction trucks, see law enforcement vehicles and watch demonstrations by K-9, Bomb Squad and SWAT units. The Seat Belt Convincer and Barrel Betty were also around to help educate people about traffic and construction zone safety and the importance of wearing a seat belt.

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Do You Know These Seat Belt / Car Accident Facts in Jackson County, Missouri?

December 11, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Many drivers who have never been in an accident begin to believe that old cliche: "It will never happen to me." Too often, this attitude leads to complacency and careless behavior behind the wheel, making it more and more likely that an accident will happen to you.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)78225_driving.jpg and the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and we, the Jackson County Missouri car accident lawyers, all believe that every accident is preventable. Ultimately, this means that every accident is the result of some kind of human error: someone's behavior somewhere along the line caused or influenced the accident, or perhaps even made it worse.

Here are some staggering facts about car accidents and seat belt use. Hopefully, they'll encourage you to change any of your own complacent driving behaviors (or perhaps they'll provide you with information to help change the behaviors of someone you care about).

Did You Know? Seat Belt Facts
Without a seat belt, if you are in a car accident going as slow as 30 miles per hour and you hit the windshield, steering wheel, dash board, or other hard surface of the car, the force of your impact is the same as if you fell from a three-story building.

Without a seat belt, death can occur from these types of impacts, even with speeds as low as 12 miles per hour.

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Drunk Driving Remains a Significant Cause of Missouri Accidents, in Kansas City and Elsewhere

December 6, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

1308588_motorway_at_twilight.jpgKansas City car accident attorneys know that drunk driving is an all-too-common problem on Missouri highways. It's not just an irresponsible choice - it's a criminal act. The decision to drive while intoxicated often causes tragedy for everyone concerned: the driver, their passengers, and those innocent passersby who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Statistics show that approximately 30% of Americans will become the victims of drunk driving accidents at some point in their lives. Appallingly, many of these 100% preventable accidents result in injuries and fatalities.

Such was the case recently in Jackson County. On November 18, Kansas City resident Nathaniel K. Williams, age 29, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and driving with a revoked license. The changes are all connected to an single-car accident early Thursday morning, November 17, which resulted in the death of his passenger, Jason T. Nelson.

The accident occurred near the intersection of 25th and Walrond Avenue at around 2:00 am. Another passenger, who escaped with minor injuries, told police that prior to the collision, he was afraid because Williams was driving erratically, speeding and swerving. By Williams' account, he blacked out while behind the wheel, and his vehicle struck a wooden street light pole, splitting it in half. Nelson, who was riding in the front seat, was killed.

When police arrived at the scene, Williams admitted that within the hour before the collision, he had consumed three cups of vodka. A preliminary report showed that Williams' blood-alcohol content tested at .11, which is above the legal limit of .08. He is currently being held on $250,000 bond.

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Kansas City Missouri Couple Experiences the Consequences of Distracted Driving

December 5, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

After a Kansas City, Missouri Food_Hamburger1.jpgcouple experienced a car accident caused by eating in the car, the Kansas City Missouri car accident lawyers thought it was a good idea to review the facts about distracted driving and what kind of impact it can have.

Eating and Driving Accident
The car accident happened on Sunday, November 20, 2011 around 11 a.m. The couple was driving on U.S. Highway 71 about a mile north of Anderson in southwest Missouri. The driver, a 75 year old man, started choking on a piece of food, lost consciousness, ran off the road, and hit an embankment. He and his wife were taken to St John's Mercy Hospital in Joplin with moderate injuries. Their Chrysler van suffered extensive damage and had to be towed.

Eating in the Car: What's the Big Deal?
When we think about distracted driving, most of us think of the cell phone and text messaging. To most people, the dangers of texting and driving are obvious. But as the above accident shows, texting is not the only dangerous distraction.

Distracted driving is defined as any non-driving activity that takes your focus from the primary task of driving. Distracted driving can be disastrous and it only takes a few seconds of distraction to lead to a car accident. The following are the major activities that constitute distracted driving.

  • Using a cell phone for talking or texting

  • Eating and drinking

  • Talking to passengers

  • Fixing hair, makeup, shaving, or other grooming

  • Reading, including maps

  • Using a PDA or a navigation system

  • Watching a video or trying to set one up for someone else

  • Changing the radio station, CD or other player

  • Checking the internet for directions or other information

Continue reading "Kansas City Missouri Couple Experiences the Consequences of Distracted Driving" »