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Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driving laws not having intended effect?

A recent analysis that has been reported in major media outlets suggests that the efforts on the part of states to crack down on distracted driving with tough penalties aimed at those who choose to text and drive or use their cell phones while driving might not be making much of a dent in the bigger problem.

For instance, the analysis suggested that many Kansas City motorists heed laws prohibiting the use of handheld electronic devices. Thus, overall, fewer drivers choose to use their phones while driving at all, and those who do are more likely to use a hands-free device.

Child dead after accident at preschool

In another part of Missouri, a four-year-old died in a tragic accident at his preschool. According to reports, the children were doing physical education at an Early Childhood Center, which is a preschool that is operated by public funds. The place where the children were doing their exercises served more than one purpose in that it was also the school's cafeteria.

The boy allegedly applied force to a bench that was attached to a table that was affixed to the wall. When the boy pushed on the bench, the table opened up and fell hard on the boy, presumably striking him in the head. While the boy was given first aid at the scene by his caregivers, he died a short time after arriving at a nearby hospital. The school indicated that at the time of the accident, there were several adults attending to the children.

Missouri falls short with traffic safety laws

According to an annual report about the status of traffic safety measures among the states, our state is coming up as a little lax on careless driving habits, particularly with respect to teen drivers. The report first compiled what might be called a wish list of traffic laws that many states have adopted, which, in the opinion of the authors, serve to promote safety on the road and reduce injuries. The report then asked how many of these laws our state has actually adopted.

The report concluded we are, first of all, remarkably tolerant of younger drivers. A resident can get his or her learner's permit before age 16, and they also do not have to deal with a rigorous graduated licensing system. In other words, unlike other states, a young driver is not automatically restricted from traveling unsupervised at night or with other young passengers in the car.

What is whiplash?

The term, "whiplash," may have a bad connotation in some circles. Some may even believe that it is not really an injury at all. They may believe that it is just a label that one puts on some aches and pains, perhaps, even just to increase one's chances at getting compensation in a lawsuit following an auto accident.

However, this bad connotation has very little truth associated with it. Whiplash is a diagnosable injury that requires treatment and time for recovery. People who experience whiplash will likely have medical bills and treatment costs, and they may be out of work for a long time. After all, how long it takes for a person to recover from whiplash depends on the severity of their accident and other factors beyond their control.

2018 traffic fatalities in Kansas City lower than 2017

Police say that the 85 fatal accidents in our area experienced last year, while not ideal, was good news for the city. According to these police, the number of fatal accidents in 2017 was right at 100.

Police say that the number is still higher than they would like to see, and they are unsure what exactly caused the 15 percent decrease in fatalities. They did point out that, in 2018, police made a concerted effort to write more routine traffic citations, like for failing to yield, rather than letting the offending driver off with a warning. By Nov. 2018, police in the areas had written 142,613 traffic citations, up considerably from 109,362 in Nov. 2017.

We are on the watch for negligent nursing homes

A previous post on this blog talked about how the federal government monitors nursing homes that are allowed to take in Medicaid and Medicare patients and get reimbursed through these federal healthcare programs.

This post discussed how some nursing homes, which to some degree have raised concerns about their safety and health practices, wind up on a kind of watch list published by the federal government. Those homes on the watch list may work hard to improve their practices and get off the list, or, alternatively, they may eventually be declared ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid funding. At least one of these facilities on the recent watch list was in the Kansas City area.

The importance of being prepared in case of an accident

Most people involved in car accidents leave their homes or places of business with plans in their heads for what they will do over the next few hours. Perhaps they have a project at work, a date in the evening or a quiet night of helping the kids with homework. Suddenly, they must set their plans aside and deal with the aftermath of a crash, perhaps including recovering from injuries.

No one adds "car accident" to their to-do list, but you may be able to take some steps so you are prepared if you should ever have the misfortune of being a victim of an accident on the road. Knowing what to do and having a plan in place may save you trouble and frustration in the days and weeks that follow as you get your life back on track.

Several nursing homes make watch list

Many nursing homes in Missouri and elsewhere rely heavily on income from Medicaid and Medicare, the federal government's programs that pays most medical bills for elderly and low-income patients. As part of their agreement to take Medicaid and Medicare patients, these homes must follow detailed safety and patient care standards and submit themselves to inspection from time to time.

While most homes that get inspected occasionally discover that they have a few areas to work on, there are a handful that wind up on a list of facilities that are being closely monitored by the federal government. This list can be thought of as a form of probation for these homes. They can either improve their practices, or else they may wind up being ineligible to take patients insured through government programs.

Even a small amount of alcohol can cause an auto accident

As is the case in the clear majority of other states, the legal limit in Missouri, is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). This is a measure of how much alcohol is in one's system and, thus, how much one has had to drink over the last several hours. Kansas City residents should know by now that trying to drive with 0.08 or greater BAC is extremely dangerous behavior and can lead to a serious auto accident.

However, it is important for accident victims not to lose sight of the fact that 0.08 is in some sense a line in the sand; it is not some magic number in which a driver instantly goes from sober to drunk.

What causes bedsores?

A previous post on this blog talked about what families in the Kansas City area can do if their loved one in a nursing home or other assisted living facility, or even in an in-home care program, winds up getting neglected or abused. The upshot was that, in addition to reporting the misconduct to regulators, families can consider filing a personal injury case against those responsible.

One of the more common signs of nursing home abuse are neglect are bedsores. To some extent, occasional bedsores are hard to avoid and will just need treatment, but a pattern of a patient's having bedsores is a sign that the nursing home, for whatever reason, simply is not providing adequate care to the patient. Likewise, bedsores that wind up getting infected and thus causing serious and sometimes irreparable damage are signs of medical neglect.

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