Answers to Your Personal Injury, Workers Compensation, and Medical Malpractice Legal Questions
Your Questions Answered - Your Legal Options Explained
At KCAIA we know that it is essential for every injury victim to get good information about how to pursue their accident claim. Following an accident that causes serious injury to you or a loved one, there are often many unanswered questions.
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from new clients. You can browse by category using the dropdown menu. Alternatively, for a quicker, more customized search, try typing your question into the search bar above.
Don't see what you are looking for? If you don't find the answers you need, contact us today for answers to your specific questions. Remember, the consultation is FREE and there is no obligation.
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How can a car crash result in a spinal cord injury?
When you or a loved one suffers a spinal cord injury in a car crash, it probably doesn’t matter a great deal to you how it happened. You are focused on recovery and facing a future of permanent impairment. However, when it’s time to look into seeking a recovery for an accident that was not your fault, how the injury occurred could become very important.
Your Spinal Cord Is Vulnerable in a Crash
While it may seem obvious that traumatic injuries are a likely outcome of high-speed, violent crashes, spinal cord damage can also be caused by less dramatic accidents. The following are examples of accidents and failures that could lead to a spinal cord injury:
- Rollovers. Most common in SUVs with a high center of gravity, rollovers are the likeliest cause of spinal cord injury in car accident victims. If the roof collapses, it can come in contact with the occupants’ head, neck, and spine even if they are wearing their seatbelts.
- Seatbelt failures. Faulty seatbelt design can lead to seatbelts that rip apart, don’t fit tightly enough, or unlatch during impact. If this happens, the occupant can be thrown about the car, or even out of the vehicle, where the impact can damage the spine.
- Power windows. Power windows do not retract when they come in contact with an object. As a result, young children suffer serious neck injuries every year by being caught in a closing window.
- Seat back collapse. A faulty seat back can collapse on impact, either causing the occupant to be thrown from the vehicle or crushing the occupant’s back as it collapses.
- Suspension defects. Suspension defects can affect the steering, causing the driver to lose control and crash.
- Tire tread separation. When tire treads separate unexpectedly, the driver can lose control of the car. looking at legal action against a negligent driver or against a manufacturer for a defective product. Either way, the attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys can help you. Call today for a free consultation.
How should my employer make sure I am safe when working with dangerous substances?
Knowing what we know now about the dangers of asbestos, it’s hard to believe that workers once handled the material with no protection and no concern for their own safety. It makes you wonder—what is the next asbestos? Is there a material we are working with today that will prove to be deadly down the road? There may be no way to know that, but we can make sure that all precautions are taken whenever workers are handling potentially harmful substances. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers guidelines for controlling exposure to toxic substances and chemical hazards that every employer should be aware of.
OSHA’s Recommendations for Controlling Exposure
The best case scenario, according to OSHA, is to eliminate the dangerous material from the workplace altogether by finding an alternate method of production or a substitute, safer, material. If that is not possible, the next step is to limit exposure. OSHA’s recommendations are in the form of a pyramid or hierarchy of desirable steps for worker protection as follows:
- Elimination or substitution. Through careful consideration, testing, and evaluation, employers may be able to find alternative materials that are safer for their employees and save them money in healthcare and workers’ compensation costs later on.
- Physical changes to the workplace. If elimination of the material is not possible, employers should implement changes to the way the material is handled. Contact with the substance should be minimized or isolated. Wet methods may be used with substances that create dangerous dust or other particulates. Finally, ventilation and fume hoods can reduce exposure to harmful gases.
- Work practice controls. Limiting exposure to an individual worker by rotating employees through more dangerous jobs and adjusting schedules to limit contact should be considered.
- Personal protection equipment. If there is no way around employees handling the dangerous material, then employers must make sure they are provided with state-of-the-art protective equipment such as chemical protective clothing, respiratory protection, gloves, and eye protection.
If you believe you may have contracted a serious illness due to exposure to toxic materials in the workplace, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys. Put our years of experience working with victims of workplace negligence to work for you. Call us now at (888) 348-2616.
What can I do to make sure I’m as safe as possible on my motorcycle?
Every motorcyclist knows the dangers he or she faces out on the road: being cut off by cars entering from side streets, potholes and soft shoulders, wet or icy pavement, shoddy safety equipment, semi-truck drivers that don’t see them—the list goes on. What can a driver do to stay safe? For one thing, they can avoid risky behaviors as they ride. For another, they can check out these safety recommendations.
Safety Measures Bikers Should Take
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), nearly 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year. That’s 56 riders per every 100,000 registered motorcycles, compared to only nine drivers killed per 100,000 registered passenger cars. In their recent report, the III identified the following four safety recommendations that, if heeded, could save lives:
- Motorcycle Training Courses. Taking a motorcycle training course can make all the difference. Many hazards to riders can be avoided with skilled riding. Knowing when and how to accelerate out of dangerous situations, how to maneuver your bike around obstacles, and how to stop a fast, heavy bike on a dime can all be life-saving skills. Training courses also stress the importance of helmets and safety gear.
- Antilock Braking Systems (ABS). Because motorcycles have front and rear brakes that operate independently of each other, it is easy to lock the brakes and flip a bike. With ABS, the rider can brake as hard as he needs without locking up the brakes. The proof of the effectiveness of this fairly new safety feature is in the numbers: bikes with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash and 30 percent less likely to have a collision claim in the first 90 days of an insurance policy than bikes without ABS.
- Helmets. The importance of wearing a helmet cannot be overstated. It is estimated that, in 2013, helmets saved 1,630 lives. An additional 715 riders would have been saved by wearing a helmet. Given the hazards you are already facing on the road, this life-saving gear is a no-brainer.
- State Helmet Laws. No one likes to be told what to do, but the fact is that in states that require helmet use, 89 percent of riders wear a helmet. In states with no law, only 48 percent wear helmets. While Missouri does have a universal helmet law, Kansas does not. Make the right choice and wear a helmet.
We Are the Experts
If you have done everything you can to be as safe as possible on your motorcycle and are still injured by someone else’s carelessness, call the motorcycle accident experts at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys. We know bikers and we know the law. Contact us now.
Are there ways my employer could have prevented my crane accident?
Crane accidents are common on construction sites and are one of the leading causes of construction workers’ deaths. Sadly, many of these tragedies could be prevented if employers implemented the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) safety guidelines for crane operations.
12 Safety Practices That Would Prevent Crane Workers’ Injuries
While employers may not be able to eliminate all crane-related injuries, they can take steps to reduce the number and severity of these accidents. Twelve OSHA guidelines they need to follow include:
- An inspector should inspect the crane thoroughly for any mechanical problems before it is used.
- All cranes should be inspected more comprehensively on a regular basis for cracks, faulty wiring, worn ropes, and defective parts that could lead to an accident.
- All repairs should be performed by a qualified repair person.
- Cranes should always be placed on a flat and level surface at least 10 feet from electrical cables.
- Cranes should not carry loads beyond their weight capacity. It is safest to limit the load to no more than 75 percent of the crane’s tipping weight.
- Fences should be installed around the construction site to prevent outsiders from going near the crane.
- The crane’s safety devices, such as the level operator, must be in good working condition whenever the crane is being used.
- A qualified “signal” person should help the crane operator maneuver the loads.
- Crew working at least six feet above the ground should use a fall protection system.
- A qualified “rigger” should set all loads to ensure the loads do not become loose and fall onto other workers.
- The crane manufacturer or an engineer should design the foundation for the crane tower and any other structural supports.
- Crane operators should consider the wind as a major safety concern as it is the leading cause of crane accidents.
If your employer did not follow these OSHA guidelines, it could have contributed to your crane accident and injuries. However, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits while you are off work healing. Start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn about your important worker rights.
Are there ways my employer could reduce janitorial workers’ injuries on the job?
If you are a janitorial worker, you face the risk of many injuries or illnesses on the job from slip and fall accidents, performing the same repetitive motions while cleaning, and being exposed to hazardous chemicals and infectious diseases. However, your employer could take steps to make your workplace safer and reduce the likelihood that you could be injured and need to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Three Ways Employers Could Provide a Safer Workplace for Custodial Workers
Employers could develop safer, more ergonomic ways for janitorial workers to perform their work—reducing the hazards for workers and the high costs of injuries for workers and employers. Ways employers could reduce workers’ injuries include:
- Chemical hazards. Workers need to be trained regularly in the hazards of the cleaning chemicals they use, how to use them safely, and the dangers of improperly mixing cleaning chemicals. In addition, employers need to provide proper safety equipment to prevent workers from inhaling dangerous fumes or exposing their skin to chemicals.
- Repetitive motion and overexertion. Employers could reduce the risk of repetitive motion and overexertion injuries by using lighter, microfiber head mops, adjustable mop poles, bottom-draining buckets, and buckets that can be filled with a hose. In addition, “no-touch” cleaning systems, such as movable tanks and carts of water, and newer, more lightweight vacuum cleaners could prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
- Slips and falls. Employers need to ensure that passageways and storerooms are kept free of debris. Signs and other warning systems should be used where slip and fall hazards are present. In addition, employers should provide workers with slip-resistant footwear and a reasonable workload that does not require them to unnecessarily rush to get to the next task.
If you are a janitorial worker injured at your job, do not delay in seeking the workers’ compensation benefits you could be entitled to. Call us at (888) 348-2616 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
If I was injured in a car accident, do I have to give the other driver’s attorney my complete medical records?
Dealing with the injuries that result from a car accident is often a difficult process. The impact can affect the lives of victims and their families in a physical, financial, and emotional capacity. As a result, many victims choose to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver in order to obtain compensation for their injuries and any property damage associated with the crash. Defense attorneys and insurance companies may then request that a victim provides medical records as part of the claim.
4 Tips for Dealing With Medical Records After a Car Accident
Since medical records are so private and personal, victims may be happy to learn that they do not have to blindly sign over authorization for another party to access their complete medical history. Often, however, the release that victims are asked to sign will grant such a broad scope of authority. Instead of proceeding, victims are advised to take the following advice into consideration:
- Consult with an experienced attorney. While medical records may be an important part of a personal injury claim after a car crash, the records that you release could also be damaging to your case if not handled properly. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process in the best manner possible.
- Consider limiting the scope of the medical records that you release to only those relating to your injuries caused by the car accident and subsequent treatment.
- You may also choose to provide additional medical records relating to the treatment you received for similar injuries in the past, if your attorney advises and if necessary.
- Remember that you are entitled to privacy protection laws under federal and state law. In the state of Missouri, medical records are available to patients and health care providers upon request. These records are considered confidential and can be shared only with those who need to know, such as health care providers, or who have been given permission. Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, your medical records are also treated as confidential.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident, it is important not to wait to contact an attorney. Personal injury victims have only a limited period of time in which to pursue a legal claim. We are here to help. To learn more, we encourage you to contact us today at (816) 471-5111 for a consultation.
I was injured in a car accident but I was overweight at the time of the crash. Am I entitled to less compensation?
After a car accident, you may find yourself dealing with lawyers and insurance companies who will try every possible tactic to minimize your injuries and losses. This can be especially true for people who are overweight. The other parties involved in the accident claim may try to say that you deserve less compensation because your weight contributed to the severity of the injuries that you suffered. Fortunately, the “eggshell plaintiff” or “thin skull” rule means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for your injuries, regardless of your weight.
4 Guiding Principles About the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule
What is the eggshell plaintiff rule? The following is an overview:
- Your physical state at the time of the accident is not relevant. Whether you are overweight or physically fit, the at-fault driver is responsible for your injuries regardless.
- Even if your weight meant that you suffered more serious injuries caused by the accident than another person would have who is not overweight, the at-fault driver is still responsible.
- The at-fault driver must “take you as he finds you.” This includes your weight, even if your weight created a unique susceptibility for certain injuries.
- The only way your weight can be taken into account with regard to your personal injury claim after a car accident is if your injuries would have occurred regardless of whether the car crash took place.
After an accident, it is important to take action quickly in order to protect your legal rights. Personal injury victims have only a limited period of time in which to pursue a legal claim. To learn more about how we can help, we encourage you to contact us today at (816) 471-5111 for a consultation.
Should I purchase a rearview camera to reduce the risk of hitting a child in a backover accident?
Backover accidents should definitely be a concern for any parent—especially if they have small children. These tragedies occur when a person backing up does not see a person behind his vehicle—usually in a driveway or a parking lot. Young children and the elderly are often victims of these accidents and can suffer serious injuries or death. One way to reduce the risk of this happening is for drivers to install a rearview camera on their vehicles.
How Rearview Cameras Can Reduce Backover Accidents
A rearview camera can allow a driver to see the area behind his rear bumper and objects or persons in the vehicle’s blind spot that the driver otherwise could not see. These cameras are especially important for SUVs, vans, and trucks that have much larger blind spots than other vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is so convinced that rearview cameras will help prevent these accidents that it issued a rule requiring that all new passenger vehicles come equipped with rearview technology by May 2018. While the rule does not explicitly require a camera, their requirement of a field of view that is a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle would be best met with a rearview camera.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that rear cameras could help prevent backover accidents caused when people are in the driver’s blind spot. The study, which relied on volunteer drivers, found that:
- Rearview cameras reduced the driver’s blind zone by 90 percent.
- Rear cameras are more effective than parking sensors in helping drivers see and avoid a child-size object that is behind their vehicles.
If you or a family member were injured in a backover accident, we’re here to help. Start an online chat to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options and the compensation you could be entitled to.
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
Most days, employees show up for work and perform their duties without incident. Unfortunately, however, some employees suffer an injury on the job. These injuries may result in certain financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost income. Workers’ compensation benefits are there to provide some relief in these cases, but it is crucial for a claim to be filed on time in order to be able to obtain the benefits you deserve.
3 Important Tips About the Timeline for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Kansas and Missouri
How long do you have to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits? Here are three important tips to keep in mind:
- File your workers’ compensation claim within two years of the date of the injury.
- If payment was made on account of the injury (or death), the claim must be filed within two years after the last benefit payment that was made.
- If a Report of Injury was not filed with the Division of Workers’ Compensation on time, you have until three years after the date of the injury, or from the last payment that was made on account of the injury.
During a workers’ compensation claim, you may need to work with large companies, insurance companies, government agencies and divisions, and other attorneys. Having an experienced workers' compensation lawyer who represents your interests during this process can improves the chances for an overall successful claim process. We can help you navigate this process. Our Kansas City workers' compensation attorneys proudly represent injured workers throughout Kansas and Missouri; view some of our many successful case results here for more information, then contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
How can I obtain the contact information of the insurance company during my workers’ compensation claim?
When dealing with an injury that occurs in the workplace, you may be facing significant financial stress and strain in addition to the health issues surrounding the injury. This is because your injury may prevent you from working in the same capacity as you did prior to your injury. You may see a significant reduction in your income as a result. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits can provide some measure of financial relief while you focus on restoring your health.
Important Information About a Workers’ Compensation Claim and Insurer Contact Information
As part of the process for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, you may need to contact your employer’s insurance company. Few employees know offhand who to call in these situations. The answer, however, may be closer than you think. The employer is required by law to post the following information within the workplace:
- The name of the insurance company or claims administrator.
- The address of the insurance company or claims administrator.
- The phone number for the insurance company or claims administrator.
When an injury or condition prevents you from being able to financially support yourself, workers’ compensation benefits become a critical tool. Many employees find that they need to advocate for themselves during this process. Having an attorney in your corner can help improve your chances for success.
Workers’ compensation benefits come in many different forms. We are here to help you understand your rights and obtain the benefits that you deserve. We encourage you to check out our many successful case results for more information.