Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Helping truck accident victims assert their legal rights

Like most drivers in the country, Missouri drivers probably find the prospect of being in a truck accident frightening. Considering the number of lives lost on the nation's streets and highways every year, they should. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,900 people died and 104,000 people were injured in traffic crashes involving large trucks in 2012.

The number of casualties produced by truck accidents is not surprising. Motorists in most vehicles are at a disadvantage in an accident because of the sheer size of a commercial truck, especially one that is fully loaded and traveling over or even at the posted speed limit. Sometimes, just a seemingly minor contact between a passenger vehicle and a truck can injure or kill those in a car, van or pickup truck. Truck drivers themselves pose risks because some fail to adhere to federal and state regulations regarding hours of service and rest periods. Fatigued drivers are about as dangerous as drunk drivers in failing to operate their vehicles safely.

The many complications of brain injuries

One of the worst possible injuries that a Missouri resident could sustain in an accident is a brain injury. A brain injury is an incident of insult to the brain that causes damage that is sometimes immediate and sometimes delayed or gradual. Each type of brain injury is unique, because the damage may affect different parts of the brain. For example, traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force causes brain trauma, while acquired brain injury may arise from a tumor or neurological illness. Nevertheless, any type of brain injury can dramatically change anybody's life.

These changes arise from the various complications that may gradually occur in a brain injury victim. Some issues will happen immediately or soon after the brain is damaged, while others won't appear until days, weeks or months later. This is one reason why some cases of brain injury go undetected until severe complications show up. For example, a person suffering from TBI may experience seizures within the first week, but with nerve damage, a person may suffer a gradual increase in loss of vision, loss of facial sensation, paralysis and swallowing problems.

Why are patients in intensive care units at risk of misdiagnosis?

In many Missouri hospitals the intensive care unit is a specialized department that provides critical care for patients with the most serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. ICU patients require constant monitoring and support from specialized equipment and targeted medications to stabilize their conditions. To meet patient needs, physicians and other healthcare workers have enhanced training in caring for vulnerable patients. Unfortunately, as a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins University researchers revealed, even with enhanced training ICU medical workers are more prone to misdiagnosing patients than are other hospital personnel.

How common are misdiagnoses in ICUs? According to the findings of the Johns Hopkin (from a study conducted in 2012) patient safety experts, approximately 40,500 ICU patients die each year directly or indirectly from misdiagnosed medical conditions. The researchers, whose results were reported in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, 28 percent of patients suffered medical conditions that amounted to failures to diagnose by their doctors. That percentage equates to more than 1 in every 4 patients. Eight percent of those patients suffered serious diagnostic errors that might have contributed to their deaths. Fully 75 percent of those errors were missed infections and cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and heart attacks.

Missouri wrongful death claim for car crash names bar a defendant

When a fatal car accident happens in Missouri, the driver found at-fault for the crash can be considered the liable party. However, a drunk driver may be responsible for the actual crash, but the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver could also be held accountable for damages as well.

Take, for example, a car accident in Missouri that killed a 22-year-old woman. According to the report, a drunk driver drove the wrong way on a highway and collided with the victim's vehicle head-on. This deadly drunk driving car accident occurred a few months ago when the female victim was on her way home after work. The victim succumbed to the injuries she suffered from the incident. The accident investigation found that the alleged drunk driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent when the accident happened. Missouri's BAC legal limit is 0.08 percent. As a result, the 26-year-old drunk driver was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter for the deadly crash.

Spinal cord injuries present many challenges to patients

Many Americans, including some in Missouri, think that injuries to a person's spinal cord inevitably mean such severe loss of mobility that the person will be permanently disabled and can only look forward to a life of diminished quality. It is true that many people who suffer spinal cord injuries are permanently paralyzed and must change the way they live. Many others, however, are able to adapt to these challenges and live full and complete lives.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 12,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Most experience significant changes in their lives, including many secondary injuries caused by neural damage and restricted blood flow.

What are the most common contributing factors to truck accidents?

No accident is inevitable, but some failures drastically increase the chances that an accident will happen. Consider the truck accident, for example. Although less common than accidents involving other motor vehicles, an accident is probable if a driver fails to operate the vehicle safely or the vehicle is not well-maintained. Because commercial trucks are so much heavier and larger than other vehicles, they are far more likely to do considerable damage to property and to seriously injure and kill other motorists. This is as true in Missouri as it is in Arizona.

All too often, the cause of a truck accident is assumed to have been the reckless behavior of the truck driver. Certainly, drivers have their share of the blame because too many fail to drive safely and operate without enough rest before embarking on long road trips. In truth, though, truck accidents also have other causes. One of the biggest causes of truck accidents is equipment failure. A commercial truck has many different systems that are often operational for far more of the day than the usual passenger car or pickup truck, so any faulty part or failed system can spell trouble on the road. No matter how skilled or experienced a truck driver is, failed or improperly working equipment can mean trouble.

Dealing with a brain injury? We can help

Thousands of Americans are affected by traumatic brain injury, or TBI, every year. Loss of consciousness, stiff neck, swelling and bruising, fracture and nasal discharge are some symptoms of a head injury. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors find it difficult to determine whether an individual has suffered a brain injury. A brain injury may go undetected until telltale symptoms emerge, such as short-term memory loss, behavioral issues and paralysis, which are often present when a victim suffers accidental head injury.

Our Kansas City-based law firm is familiar with the brain injuries that can arise from accidents including car crashes, workplace accidents and medical malpractice. A serious brain injury can completely alter a person's life, cause permanent disability, and affect one's ability to do daily tasks and even walk.

OSHA: Vehicles cause 15 percent of fatal workplace accidents

Vehicle accidents are among the most common events that lead to wrongful death claims in Missouri. Not all vehicle accidents occur on public roads and highways, however. Many occur at worksites and involve one employee striking another with a vehicle.

Fatal accidents involving vehicles in workplaces are of particular concern because they are largely preventable. Victims can be struck by a variety of construction and manufacturing vehicles, including tractors, trucks, cranes, yard trucks and forklifts. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace fatalities involving motor vehicle accidents account for 15 percent of work-related deaths.

Missouri surgeon not sanctioned by state after medical error

A medical error can have serious consequences for those involved. If doctors or healthcare providers make a medical mistake, they may be held legally liable for damages if the patient files a medical malpractice claim. Sometimes, doctors who committed a severe medical error may also face a disciplinary action from state medical review boards or licensing agencies. In a recent Missouri medical malpractice case, however, the state declined to discipline a neurosurgeon who allegedly operated on the wrong side of a patient's brain.

According to a news report, the Missouri Board of Registration for the Health Arts is not pursuing disciplinary action against the neurosurgeon. Apparently, the surgical error happened more than a year ago when the neurosurgeon performed a procedure on the wrong side of a woman's brain. The patient's lawyer claims the wrong-site surgery has required the patient to have round-the-clock medical care. The victim's family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon and the hospital. Both plaintiffs and defendants decided to settle the case out of court. The plaintiff's attorney also filed a complaint with the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts regarding the incident.

Helping you overcome the expense of spinal cord injury

The spine is delicate, and although it is protected by bone, any trauma to the spinal cord could cause life-long damage. Spinal cord injuries may range from difficulty walking or moving to partial or even full paralysis. Some causes of spinal cord injury, or SCI, are: car or truck collisions, workplace accidents and slip and fall incidents.

Our law firm is dedicated in protecting the rights of spinal cord injury victims. We can provide information about this injury and how it may affect your life and the lives of people around you. While a spinal cord injury physically affects a person, it takes a heavy emotional toll as well.

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