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Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driving is a growing problem

By now, most Kansas City residents have probably been warned in some way that distracted driving, particularly texting and driving, is a very dangerous behavior. There are many ongoing public awareness campaigns that caution drivers not to try to use their phones while driving.

When those warnings do not do the trick, Missouri and Kansas law enforcement officers are able to issue citations to drivers they observe texting and driving.

Will hi-tech monitoring of drivers reduce accidents?

Some insurance companies are taking advantage of modern technology to keep a closer eye on their customers' driving habits. Even though such business initiatives are voluntary right now, some complain that this technology still has too much of a Big Brother feel to it. On the other hand, many proponents say that drivers operate their cars safer when they know that their insurance companies are watching their driving via the customers' mobile devices.

Moreover, this technology allows insurance companies to reward good drivers with lower prices while giving careless drivers appropriate and timely consequences in the form of more expensive car insurance. The whole process is called Usage-Based Insurance, or UBI. Basically, through a phone application, the insurance company can check to see how often a driver is on the road late at night, and, thus, possibly fatigued. The application can also check a driver's speed and determine how often a driver has to hit the brakes hard to avoid an accident. Frequent hard-braking is a sign of many poor driving habits, such as inattentiveness or distracted driving.

Studies say misdiagnosis a big reason for med mal claims

A pair of studies released recently further confirm that misdiagnoses are a big reason patients choose to file medical malpractice claims. According to one study of 1,800 medical malpractice claims, 46 percent involved either a missed or delayed diagnosis. Moreover, misdiagnoses accounted for the lion's share of compensation paid to victims, accounting for 68 percent of such costs.

Sadly, there is a reason why the overall payout for misdiagnoses is so high. The reality is that a mistaken diagnosis, or even an unreasonable delay in making a diagnosis, can spell the difference between a decent chance at recovery and an almost inevitable death. In those medical malpractice cases surveyed, 45 percent of those involving a misdiagnosis ended with the patient's death.

Missouri is a comparative fault state

Traditionally, all states allowed victims of accidents to pursue compensation only if they had no role in causing the accident. This legal doctrine, known as contributory negligence, could lead to some very harsh results. For instance, even someone with a very minor role in their own accident could wind up getting no help with medical bills, lost wages, and the like, at least not from the person primarily responsible for the accident.

Fortunately, most states have adopted another system to replace the traditional system of contributory negligence. Missouri, for example, uses what is called comparative fault. In a comparative fault system, the victim first proves that another person was responsible for their injuries. Once a judge or jury is sufficiently convinced, then they will reduce the amount of damages the victim receives, depending on what degree they believe the victim was responsible.

Breathing tube mistakes can have deadly results

As part of their jobs, anesthesiologists, emergency physicians and the like are expected to act quickly and carefully even when under profound pressure. Although not every undesired result is a case of negligence, if a physician's error causes a patient in the Kansas City area an injury, then that patient may be able to get compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. The fact that a doctor was under the gun or even in a life-or-death situation is not always an excuse for a mistake.

One situation in which doctors may have to act quickly, and, thus, are prone to errors, is in the insertion of a breathing tube. As the name implies, a breathing tube may be necessary to help a patient get enough oxygen. While they are also routinely used by anesthesiologists in the operating room, many times, a doctor has to insert a breathing tube under emergency circumstances.

Missouri has a high rate of drunk driving

People in the Kansas City area have probably heard many times, from many different sources, about how dangerous drunk driving is. One need only pay attention to the news, and they will likely hear a story about a family losing a loved one to an auto accident because of drunk driving.

It is unfortunate, then, that Missouri still has a remarkably high rate of drunk driving. When compared to other states, Missouri ranked 6th worst among the states for incidents of drunk driving. It should be noted, though, that information was only available for 38 of the 50 states. Still, the high rate is sobering for those here in Missouri.

Daylight Savings Time reminds us: Beware of drowsy drivers

You've likely been looking forward to springtime. Even in southern states, winter takes its toll. For many, spring becomes reality when Daylight Savings Time takes effect. Turning the clock ahead, though, also means an hour of lost sleep.

Turning clocks ahead typically increases the number of drowsy drivers on the road. You might be wide awake and aware of your surroundings but have no way of knowing if another driver is nodding off at the wheel. Sharing the road with drowsy drivers places you at great risk for collision and personal injury and it's a growing problem across the country, even well after Daylight Savings Time takes place.

Drivers on both sides of the line have issues with cell phones

According to a recent analysis, it seems that drivers in the Kansas City area, whether they live on the Missouri or Kansas side of the city, have some trouble staying off of their cell phones while driving.

The study analyzed the number of deaths, per 10 billion miles driven, that could be attributed to a motorist either texting and driving or otherwise being distracted by his or her cell phone. The study broke these results down state-by-state.

KC suburb accused of hiding record in auto accident matter

The City of Raytown, a suburb of Kansas City, has been ordered to pay $42,000 to a family in connection with a violation of Missouri's Sunshine Law. The case is related to a fatal auto accident that claimed the life of an area woman who was almost 70.

The family of the woman alleged that the Raytown government had a role in the deadly wreck, which happened at an intersection. Specifically, they say the view at the intersection was partially obstructed. The victim therefore had to pull out slightly in to the intersection, at which time she was hit by a vehicle entering the intersection from another direction.

Paralysis can be the result of surgeries gone wrong

No matter what the cause, paralysis is a very difficult condition for a Kansas City resident to endure. It not only means the loss of movement but also other unpleasant effects on one's physical and mental health. Paralysis actually comes in many different shapes and sizes. It can include the temporary loss of movement, as well as situations in which one's muscles can be moved, but only with difficulty. In the most serious cases, a victim of paralysis will not be able to voluntarily move any muscle below the neck. This means the victim will likely need constant care and assistance.

Sometimes, natural causes are to blame for one's paralysis, as there are medical conditions that can damage one's nerves or cause them to not work properly. Spinal cord injuries can also cause paralysis. Unfortunately, sometimes a spinal cord injury happens because of a surgical or anesthesia error.

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