Recent Missouri Job Related Fatal Injury

May 18th, 2011

It’s getting to be that time of year again; thankfully, when working outside will be something we do without giving it a second thought. But give it a second thought you should, considering what can happen if you’re not paying attention.

Keep One Eye Open

Probably both eyes would be a better idea, but you get the point. Just when you thought it was safe to go back up into the trees and do some trimming, the unthinkable happens. A 30 year old male Missouri public works employee was recently fatally injured while tree trimming. You’re probably thinking “Oh it must’ve been windy” or “Oh he must have slipped and fallen.” But no, he was hit by a truck. Did I mention that no one was driving the truck? I’m not exactly sure what you’re thinking right now, but it has to be on the lines of “What the —-?” Yes it’s true. An unoccupied truck rolled down the hill and struck the public employee, killing him. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Where Does Missouri Rank?

Some will tell you that OSHA does not enforce strict enough penalties and fines for businesses in violation of OSHA rules and standards. The conglomerate presidents and owners would probably beg to differ. Missouri ranked third in penalties assessed by OSHA for violations ($21,000); with only New Hampshire ($142,000) and Minnesota ($26,050) beating them out. As I sit here and think about how much money these businesses are probably raking in, $21,000 covers what exactly? Someone forgot to put a band aid on a scratch? $21,000 is nothing compared to a fatal injury on the job.

Does OSHA have their priorities set up right? Are Missouri businesses doing what they can to prevent injuries on the job, fatal or not? Ask the tree trimmer’s family.

Missouri Injuries Provoke Fatalities

May 16th, 2011

Have you ever noticed that when a drunk driver kills a car full of people, the drunk driver always walks away with scratches and bruises? Without viewing the final accident investigation, looking at some of the fatalities occurring on Missouri highways I can’t help but wonder; how did that person escape injury?

Who’s Fault Is It?

An unhealthy number of the accidents which involved a fatality and injuries in Missouri happened when one driver turned in front of another driver (or crossed the center line for some other reason). You only get one guess as to which vehicle was carrying the fatality. That’s right, the car that was traveling along minding it’s own business when someone turned in front of it is the car whose driver never had a chance. The crazy part is, the driver that crossed the center line (without the formal accident report we’ll never know if they were drunk or not) ended up with moderate injuries. I ask you, where’s the justice. Now I’m not talking about someone that ends up in front of an oncoming car because of some unforeseen circumstance (i.e. Tire blows out, icy patch, mechanical failure); I’m talking about the numb skull that either got behind the wheel drunk or turned in front of the oncoming car without regard to anyone around them.

What’s Up With Missouri’s Highways?

For the highway patrol to investigate an auto accident, it ordinarily has to take place on a state highway. With 51 accidents on Missouri’s state highways in the last two days; one can only wonder…what’s going on, on Missouri’s state highways? Besides accidents involving injuries? Of course you know what my next line of research will be. Now it’s time to compare the number of accidents involving injuries to the highways of other states.

Missouri’s Flooding Racks Up Surprisingly Few Injuries

May 14th, 2011

The recent floods that have swept through southeast Missouri have thus far caused no fatalities and only minor injuries with their fury.

This One Was a Doozy!

It was the worst storm to sweep through Missouri is over 40 years. The national weather service quoted 1967 as the last year that the St. Louis area had been devastated to such a degree by severe storms. Winds measured as high as 200 miles per hour. How do you even measure a 200 mph wind? As many as four, possibly five, tornado touchdowns were responsible for the damage. North St. Louis County caught the worst of it. Neighborhoods were leveled, homes collapsed, families devastated; yet somehow, luck (or some unseen force) was on their side. You wouldn’t know it to look at photos from the media coverage, but injuries were not only few, but minor. And thus far, no one has reported any deaths resulting from the floods.

Only Buildings Suffered Injuries

Early reports of a minimum of 2700 buildings in the North St. Louis alone, including businesses and homes, suffered severe damage. 1178 buildings in Maryland Heights and 458 buildings in Berkeley were severely damaged as well. Missouri’s Lambert Airport shut down for the first time since 1995, due to weather related issues and it will reportedly cost millions of dollars to repair the damage. With so many homes and buildings being so severely damaged that the probability is high that they will be officially condemned, families are reeling from the consequences; yet many are thankful just be alive. One family in particular recalls hearing a loud boom with rumbling and shaking to follow. As a husband, wife and two daughters exited their home after all the commotion settled; they discovered the cause of all the noise. The roof of their house was completely torn off, yet they were left uninjured.

Missouri’s Car Accident Injuries

May 12th, 2011

How bad does it have to be if you can actually find a website listing the car accidents in the area in alphabetical order of the persons involved and by area? You can literally scroll down a list of car accidents that happened in the state of Missouri.

Get ‘em While they’re Hot

Current accidents only stay posted online for 29 days so you’ll have to hurry if you want to catch the one you were just in. Hopefully you’ll snap out of that coma in time. Of course these are only accidents that were actually investigated by the Missouri State Patrol. If your accident was investigated by outside agencies, it doesn’t get to be on this list. This site is awesome. It not only lists the age, name and home city/state of the person involved in the accident but lists where it happened, the date and time that it occurred, what troop investigated the accident, and my favorite; it rates personal injury. For instance: no injury; moderate; serious….. and fatal. Anyone besides me curious as to how many accidents have occurred in Missouri in just the last 2 days? Let’s find out.

50 and Counting

That’s right, no less than 50 car accidents in Missouri in the last 2 days. And only 12 out of 50 had no injuries at the scene. The reason I say ‘at the scene’ is because there’s always the guy that gets home after the accident and wakes up the next day and can’t move his neck. That counts as an injury, but it won’t be on the initial investigation report because the injured party didn’t realize it until the next day. That actually happens a lot, so the number 12 is actually relatively forgiving.

Injuries Reported on Scene in Missouri

May 10th, 2011

I’ve spoken before about Missouri State Patrol’s website regarding the last 2 days of car accidents. The website is an informal report but incredibly accurate for such. I won’t reiterate all the specific information that it lists regarding people place and time, but I will talk about the rating system that they apply to injury status on scene and accident scene description.

How Bad is the Injury?

The rating system for car injuries in Missouri is simple. Either you’re not injured (at least you’re not aware of it on scene); you’re moderately or seriously injured; or you just didn’t make it at all. That would be ‘fatal’. There were 50 injuries in the last 2 days when I pulled up the website to write about it. As I was writing, 50 became 51 with a moderate injury. Since only 12 of the accidents had no reported injury on scene, and only two were fatal; that’s a lot of injuries happening in the state of Missouri for any lawyer interested in boosting their business…

What Seems to be Happening?

The two fatal injuries that occurred in Missouri were single fatalities at the scene. One was a driver that went off the road and struck a pole in an SUV and the other was standing next to a patrol vehicle who’s officer had stopped him for a traffic violation. Both died on impact. What that means is that 37 injury lawsuits were there for the taking in Missouri. Of course that’s only one lawsuit per person, and some of those incidents involved more than one person at a time. If each person at an accident involving four people sues the other three… That’s a lot of injury lawsuits.

Shovel, Get Arrested, or Worse

February 2nd, 2011

In Columbia, Missouri a city ordinance on clearing sidewalks says all residents must keep sidewalks in front of or adjacent to property they own or occupy, clear of all snow and ice. Failure to do so is considered a misdemeanor offense. Some residents feel it is unfair for the city to put their resident’s record and lives in danger.

How do you Justify This?

“I guess some people think, ‘If I do nothing, then it’s someone else’s problem. They see it’s icy, and it’s their responsibility to be careful.” Columbia city representatives said. Many find fault with this statement. It is quite possible that a number of residents are physically incapable of shoveling snow and ice from the sidewalk. However, this is not a novel idea. Many states have laws that state the sidewalk is the responsibility of the owner of the property. This includes routine maintenance and upkeep. Furthermore, in many states the property owner can be held libel if injury occurs due to poor maintenance.

Taking Responsibility

I’m sure that many will feel this is an injustice. They think the city should be responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of icy and debris. However, in actuality it is the responsibility of every citizen to keep their neighborhood clean and safe. Instead of passing responsibility off to the next person, maybe its time we each did a little extra; if for no other reason, just so you don’t get a ticket.

Missouri Woman’s Blanket Heats Up: Personal Injury

January 31st, 2011

This case is particularly disconcerting. We like to think of our blanket as a good, cozy friend. You nurture one from birth to puberty, and then you pass that same memento onto your children. Yes, a blanket is supposed to be special, and above all, keep us comfortable. In this certain case of a Missouri woman, her blanket did far from keeping her comfortable. You never thought you would hear of a dangerous blanket, but here it is.

Hidden Danger

Though the actual incident occurred in 2008, a Federal jury has recently awarded an injured Missouri woman for injuries sustained from her blanket. The case was filed against Sunbeam Products, Inc. Her grounds for the suit were that she suffered third-degree burns after a Sunbeam electric blanket caught fire on her, which is, let’s face it, a pretty solid case. Last time anyone checked, blankets are not supposed to burst into flame on top of you. You may be cold enough for a blanket, but you’re never cold enough for a campfire in your lap.

Speedy Success

The court deemed the Sunbeam blanket to be defective, and it awarded the woman the hefty sum of $700,000 for the injuries she sustained. The original verdict had been for a $2,000,000 award, but upon determining that the plaintiff was also at fault, statistically by 65%, the verdict was appropriately reduced.

It appears that some personal injury cases are much more open and shut than others. Though the fault was still divided between the plaintiff and the defendant, the company was rightfully held responsible for the majority of the damages caused by their product. Unless the woman involved in this case was cozying up to a gas stove, there really was no question as to where to place the blame.

Microwaveable Popcorn- A Possible Cause of Personal Injury?

January 29th, 2011

We have been eating it our whole lives. Dad was responsible for making it on family movie night, we made it for our dates when we stayed in, you mixed it with peanut butter and candy to invent your own treat with grandma. Who would have ever though that it would come to this. A trial has been set to begin in Jackson County, Missouri, where the court with bring into question the safety microwaveable popcorn.

The Case

A Missouri woman by the name of Elaine Khoury, is taking ConAgra Foods Inc. to court for personal injuries inflicted upon her by their popcorn product. She claims to have been consuming Act II popcorn for years. She has developed lung cancer from, allegedly, a chemical used in microwaveable popcorn. This chemical is called diacetyl, and the jury will have to determine whether or not it is a defective product. Diacetyl is used for flavoring, or at least it was, until 2007 when, apparently, the FDA woke up.

The Twist

Surprisingly, numerous popcorn related lung cancer cases have been filed in Missouri. The difference with Elaine Khoury’s case is that she is actually a popcorn consumer. In all of the previous cases related to microwaveable popcorn and lung disease, the plaintiffs were all factory workers from a Jasper County popcorn factory.

While the plaintiff has the previous popcorn factory lawsuits on her side, there is no present evidence to support her claim that consuming the popcorn for years is what caused her cancer to develop. Also beneficial to her case, however, is the fact that ConAgra Foods Inc. has knowingly ceased the use of the chemical diacetyl in its products. If the company was aware of diacetyl’s defects, then the plaintiff has a solid case.

Frat Party Turns Personal Injury

January 27th, 2011

Though intended for fun and in the name of brotherhood (right?), we all know fraternity parties can get pretty wild, and at times even dangerous. That is exactly what happened to Matt Fritzie, a Stillwell, Kansas man who is suing a University of Kansas fraternity for personal injuries occurred at a frat party.

The Injury

Although the incident in question occurred in Lawrence, Kansas, the lawsuit was filed in Missouri. Apparently, the fraternity conducts business in Missouri and the chapter house association member who focuses on pledge matters is based there. The suit alleges that Fritzie, who is a fraternity pledge, was hurt at this Phi Gamma Delta’s “Fiji Island” party when he was ordered to dive into a homemade swimming pool. Fritzie suffered “severe injuries” according to his lawsuit. These include permanent spine damage and paralysis.

Fraternity Indiscretions

While it has come to light that the fraternity has made a practice out of bad behavior (aside from picking horrible party themes), the specific indiscretions related to this case put the odds I Fritzie’s favor. He claims that fraternity officials were aware of past problems related to the annual “Fiji Island” party. And though fraternity rules prohibit the building of pools or ponds, Phi Gamma Delta ordered pledges to build a pool out of sandbags in the house’s backyard. Adding onto the list, minors were allowed to drink alcohol at this party. Here’s hoping this house is not the gem of fraternity row at the University of Kansas.

The amount of damages being sought from this lawsuit has not been disclosed, and there has been no word from fraternity officials. The only news we have now is that Fritzie is badly injured, and that frat parties are bad news (although the latter isn’t really news).

Huge Settlement for Missouri Truck Accident Victim

January 25th, 2011

Personal injury claims occur on a regular basis, but it is the exceptionally expensive ones that typically stand out. Add on top of a huge price tag that a settlement was reached, and in no time at all, then you have a very impressive case. That is exactly what happened with the case of this Benton County, Missouri motorcyclist who was hit by an Allied Systems, Ltd. tractor trailer. They reached a settlement in the second week of trial, and he was awarded a whopping $6,500,000.

The Case

The back story of this case involves some faulty brakes and a poor repair attempt. The Allied drover had been to a shop to get his faulty breaks repaired, but left after an unsuccessful attempt to head out on a route Allied Systems had dispatched him on earlier that day. It was on this route that he crashed into the plaintiff. The plaintiff argued that because the crash occurred during the driver’s scope of employment, the Allied company was responsible. Though the Allied driver indicated that the plaintiff was slowing or stopping in the middle of Highway 65, the plaintiff has no memory of the crash. Also throughout the case, Allied denied that the driver was acting in the scope of employment.

Settlement Offers

The plaintiff was given several offers by Allied before settling. At the start of the trial it was $1.8 million, and it increased to $2.5 million, then again and again before the plaintiff accepted the offer of $5.5 million. The other $1 million came from the driver’s insurance policy.

Such a case is a success story for injury victims everywhere. It just goes to show that with a sturdy case and determination, justice can be served and amends made.