Preventing Child Injuries in Kennett: Drowning, Burns, Poisoning too Common

1134596_swim_time_.jpgRecently, a 2 year-old Missouri boy was saved from drowning by a political candidate who just happened to be knocking on his front door. It happened in St. Charles County: according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an O'Fallon parent had stepped inside his home for a moment, and when he returned, he found his young son unresponsive in a small rubber swimming pool. Luckily, just about then, state representative candidate Rod Hoffman approached the family's front door, and heard a scream. Hoffman ran to assist the child and immediately performed CPR. The boy survived and has since been released from the hospital.

Hoffman, a former assistant principal, said his former employer required CPR training. "I would sit in those meetings, and it would be pretty much the same stuff over and over, but I'm glad they made me go," he told the Dispatch. "I recall a couple of instances in the last four or five years that a co-worker, teacher or administrator saved a kid or two from choking. It has paid big dividends."

Drownings are the number one cause of injury deaths for children age 4 and younger. Every single day, at least three children die because of drowning. What's more, there are roughly 7.1 million children under age 16 who visit the emergency room each year for various injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a majority of child injuries are unintentional, like suffocation, burns, ingestion of harmful substances.

There are nearly 450 children under the age of 20 that are treated in emergency rooms for burns every day. Of these incidents, roughly two die every day. Young children oftentimes acquire these injuries because of steam or hot liquids, while older children experience more of the burns as a result of direct contact with fire.

Children are also commonly injured in non-fatal accidents like falls. This type of accident is the number one cause of non-fatal injuries for those under the age of 20. There are approximately 8,000 children sent to emergency rooms in the U.S. for fall-related injuries every day - which means roughly 2.08 million kids are treated every single year.

Finally, it's prudent for parents to monitor their children's access to dangerous chemicals.Children can be poisoned from a number of products, not just marked products in your home. The most common dangerous chemicals that your child can be exposed to are medicines and household cleaners. Nearly 400 children under age 19 are taken to emergency rooms every day. About two children die every day from unintentional poisoning.

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Cape police chief retires from department; accepts position as director of SEMO's Law Enforcement Academy

685439_police_5.jpgCarl Kinnison, former Cape Girardeau Chief of Police, will serve as the new director of Southeast Missouri State University's Law Enforcement. KFVS reports that Kinnison, who retired from the police department on July 31, will also teach criminal justice and sociology courses at the university. At present, Assistant Chief Roger Fields has been named interim chief, and he will serve the department while the city searches for Kinnison's replacement.

Kinnison spent 33 years with the Cape police department, serving the last seven years as its Chief. During his tenure, he made auto accident prevention a priority. Last year, Kinnison discussed the hiring of two additional officers in an interview with the Southeast Missourian, and he said the move was made in response to an increasing number of Cape crashes. "Our goal, our mission in life, is to keep those numbers down, and, more importantly, injuries and fatalities down," he said. "That's what we're trying to do."

In 2007, budgetary restraints caused city leaders to reduce police funding. This in turn forced the Cape Girardeau PD to eliminate two positions in the department's traffic division. Kinnison maintained that fewer traffic officers meant fewer tickets issued, which ultimately caused an increase in crashes: between 2007 and 2010, the number of traffic citations steadily declined, while the number of traffic accidents, including fatal car crashes, increased. In 2011, after reviewing Kinnison's data, the Cape Girardeau City Council restored funding to the police department, which allowed the department to hire the new officers.

Is there a connection between traffic citations and auto accidents?

On the surface, a decline in traffic citations might appear to be a good thing. After all, no one likes to get a ticket. In an ideal world, a drop in the number of tickets issued would simply mean that fewer drivers were breaking traffic laws. But in Cape, the numbers told a different story. In 2006, Cape Girardeau police officers issued 8,900 traffic citations. In 2010, they issued 5,587. Over roughly the same time period, traffic accidents rose by 4.5%.

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Boating while intoxicated increases injury risks on Missouri waterways

Thumbnail image for 548713_boat_wake_2.jpgAugust is upon us, and many Missourians are hitting our state's waterways to enjoy the last days of summer. With so much traffic on the water, safe boating is paramount: the Missouri Highway Patrol is calling for the public's assistance during these last few weekends of summer fun. To promote safe boating on Missouri's rivers and lakes, the Patrol wants to remind boaters of the dangers associated with boating while intoxicated (BWI).

"The Missouri State Highway Patrol continues to ensure that Missouri's waterways are safe and enjoyable to the public," said Capt. Juan Villanueva, Troop D's commanding officer, in a news release. "Boaters are reminded that designating a sober skipper is always the safest bet if alcohol is going to be included in their boating experience."

Since Memorial Day, state troopers have conducted several boating sobriety checkpoints at various locations, issuing numerous tickets and warnings and arresting BWI offenders. During a recent enforcement effort that focused on the Niangua River and Table Rock Lake, four people were arrested for BWI and 15 minors were cited for possessing alcohol.

In terms of the law, a BWI offense is similar to a charge of drunk driving. And like drunk driving, boating while intoxicated can lead to dangerous accidents with serious ramifications. According to the American Boating Association (ABA), boating while intoxicated is the leading contributing factor to fatal boating accidents.

In Missouri, if your blood alcohol content is above .08%, you are legally intoxicated - and therefore, you are unable to operate a motor vehicle or water vessel safely. A first-offense BWI is a Class B misdemeanor, a second offense is a Class A misdemeanor, and a third offense is a Class D Felony. In addition, impaired boaters who cause injury to others can face additional criminal charges and legal consequences.

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15 dead after pickup truck loaded with 23 passengers runs off road, hits tree

921217_crashed_car.jpgOn Sunday evening, a truck accident in southern Texas left fifteen people dead and nine others seriously injured. NBC News reports that 23 passengers were crammed into a Ford F-250 when the truck ran off the road and struck a twin-trunked tree on U.S. 59 in Goliad County. Federal officials believe the occupants of the vehicle were illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. However, officials have not yet identified all the passengers in the vehicle because many were not carrying I.D.

The accident happened about 150 miles northeast of the Mexican border: authorities say this stretch of highway is a popular route for illegal immigrants trying to travel north. "We suspect at this time it is going to be illegal immigrants that were in the vehicle, based on the way they were traveling," Lt. Glen Garret of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Reuters. The incredibly large number of passengers in the pickup contributed to the severity of the accident: five or six passengers rode in the cab, while the rest were lying on top of each other in the truck's bed. Many people were ejected from the vehicle upon impact: one passenger was found nearly sixty feet from the truck.

Many emergency responders were shocked by the brutal aftermath of the wreck, according to My San Antonio. "It's certainly disturbing when you walk up and see the yellow and blue blankets that you know are covering victims, and realize that there are still five or six bodies in the vehicle because it's so badly damaged that they can't get them out," said Goliad County Judge David Bowman, who pronounced 11 people dead at the scene, including the truck's driver. Four more passengers have since died as a result of their injuries, and the others remain hospitalized, many in critical condition.

Investigators believe that a tire problem - specifically, front right tire separation - played a key role in the crash, causing the driver to lose control of the truck and leave the roadway. Speed is also a likely contributing factor: the pickup was traveling at an estimated 70-75 miles per hour when it struck the large tree.

Of the dead, eleven men and three women were found to be citizens of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. The driver of the vehicle was born in Mexico, but had become a naturalized citizen of the United States. The truck's owner, however, was not in the vehicle: he has been notified, and claims to have sold the truck. At present, investigators are focused on identifying all the occupants of the pickup.

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Illinois family members file wrongful death lawsuit against excavating company for employee's role in fatal crash

file000956395960.jpgOn Tuesday, a family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Illinois construction company in connection with a fatal crash in June 2011. The lawsuit, filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court, claims a driver employed with Martin & Company Excavating was negligent when he failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another vehicle, killing three of the occupants. The lawsuit names the driver, 34 year-old Nathan Merrill, and Martin & Co. as defendants.

The crash happened in Lee County last summer. Merrill was traveling south on Harmon Road in a Martin & Co. semi-truck, while 25 year-old John Parrett was eastbound on U.S. 30 in a Dodge Intrepid. According to the Lee County Sheriff's Department, Merrill ran the stop sign at Harmon Road and struck the driver's side of Parrett's Dodge.

Three occupants of the Dodge were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, including Parrett; his 14-month-old daughter, Inara; and his mother, 51 year-old Kim Gregorich. In addition, Parrett's fiancée, 22 year-old Elizabeth Johnson, was injured in the crash. Merrill was treated at a local hospital and released the same day.

The accident investigation revealed that Merrill was going too fast to stop; that his truck was between 2,501 and 5,000 pounds overweight; and that the tread on his tires was less than 2/32 of an inch deep. However, investigators also determined that Parrett was "using an electronic communication device" to "command or request an internet site" when the accident occurred, reports SaukValley.com. In addition, Parrett's autopsy revealed that he had "more than trace amounts of marijuana at the time of the crash," and did not take any action to avoid the collision. On September 2, a grand jury opted not to indict Merrill on any criminal charges associated with the accident.

Now, three of Parrett's family members - Tiffany Parrett, Jeramie Morris, and Elizabeth Johnson (Parrett's fiancée, who was injured in the crash) - have filed suit against both Merrill and Martin & Co. The three allege that they have lost the "comfort, society and valuable services" of their loved ones because of the crash.

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2 men charged with vehicular homicide following road rage crash death

263198_traffic_jam_siam_square_bangko.jpgRoad rage has become so common that it's expected: in fact, it's almost socially acceptable. However, the consequences associated with aggressive driving and road rage behaviors can be extremely serious.
Many drivers aren't aware that anger and aggression regularly contribute to car accidents, but the unfortunate truth is that many crashes begin with road rage.

On July 1, two drivers were charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a road rage incident on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. Witnesses reported that a Honda Pilot and a Chevrolet Trailblazer had been driving erratically, making dangerous lane changes, speeding, and tailgating each other when both vehicles merged onto an exit lane. At that point, the Honda attempted to pass the Trailblazer on the right, which caused the Honda to lose control, run off the road and strike a guardrail. The vehicle was then propelled back into traffic, where it overturned and smashed into the side of the Trailblazer. The Trailblazer then ran into the guard rail. During the crash, a female passenger in the Honda - 63 year-old Annetta Billingy - was ejected from the vehicle. Billingy was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but she later died as a result of her injuries.

Could this kind of crash happen in southeastern Missouri?

A fatal car accident is a possibility anywhere there are aggressive drivers on the road. Recently, an aggressive driver in Kansas City pulled a gun on another motorist, eventually leading police on a pursuit that ended in a crash: thankfully, no one was injured in that incident. And in June, in O'Fallon, a grandfather shot and injured a motorcyclist after being punched during a road rage dispute.

Aggressive driving behaviors include the following:

• Following too closely
• Weaving in and out of traffic
• Slowing down or stopping abruptly in front of other drivers
• Edging into adjacent lanes trying to push other drivers out of the way
• Running red lights and ignoring other traffic devices and laws
• Speeding up to keep another driver from changing lanes
• Racing or driving faster than surrounding traffic

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Personal injury claims: Basic information for car accident victims

68916_law_education_series_2.jpgThe period of time following a serious car accident can be extremely stressful. From medical bills to insurance coverage, you want to make sure your rights are protected and that your expenses are covered. That is where a personal injury lawyer can step in to act as your advocate, explaining your options and guiding you through the process.

Personal injury is a legal term used for an injury suffered to your body, mind or emotions, as opposed to property. A personal injury lawsuit alleges that an injury was the result of someone else's negligence or intentional wrong-doing. (For more information about personal injury visit LawInfo.com.)

What are the benefits of hiring a lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer can be an intimidating process, but doing so can be beneficial for many accident victims. A lawyer can handle your case in a professional, objective manner. They are familiar with both the laws and how insurance companies handle claims and benefits. Consulting a lawyer gives you a chance to find out whether you have a viable case and how much compensation you may be entitled to receive. But most importantly, a personal injury lawyer can answer your questions and explain what you can expect to happen next.

What can I expect from an attorney?

We can't speak for all attorneys, but at Aaron Sachs and Associates, our attorneys do the following:


  • Focus on your rights and interests.

  • Apply the most recent statutes and case law to your case.

  • Handle all communications with the court, other attorneys, insurance companies, and the medical staff and administration for medical bills.

  • Collect and preserve case evidence.

  • Interview witnesses.

  • Hire expert witnesses as necessary.

  • Obtain a fair settlement or take your case to trial.

  • Apply the formulas to ensure you receive financial compensation for the damages you've suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, lost benefits, and pain and suffering.

  • Reduce your stress and take the burden off of you so you can focus on healing and getting your life back on track.

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Highway Patrol announces plans for sobriety checkpoint and DWI saturation efforts in southeastern Missouri

707642_police_motorcycle.jpgThe Missouri Highway Patrol will conduct a sobriety checkpoint and DWI saturation enforcement operations sometime during the month of July, according to a recent news release. The sobriety checkpoint will be in Butler County, and the DWI saturation enforcement operations will be in Butler, Cape Girardeau, Scott, Stoddard, Dunklin, Pemiscot and New Madrid counties.

This important highway safety operation will be conducted by the MSHP in cooperation with other local law enforcement agencies. The proposed checkpoint will be a static operation on a specific highway: its purpose is to check every driver who passes by to ensure they are sober. The DWI saturation is "a mobile operation in which troopers saturate a specific area in an effort to arrest intoxicated drivers," the news release says.

In addition, Troop E officers will participate in the 20-Mile Trooper project on Tuesday, July 3 and Sunday, July 8: troopers will be posted every 20 miles on Interstates 55 and 57, and on a few selected secondary roads. This project aims to "place a trooper in close proximity of motorists who may need assistance and to aggressively enforce all traffic violations which may contribute to unsafe traveling conditions." In particular, officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers, since Troop E reported a 9% increase in car accident fatalities during the 2011 July 4th holiday travel period.

The effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints in reducing alcohol-related car crashes

According to a review from the CDC, fewer alcohol-related crashes occur when sobriety checkpoints are implemented. CDC scientists and other experts reviewed the results of various scientifically sound studies from around the globe, and each study came to the same basic result: sobriety checkpoints consistently reduced alcohol-related car crashes, by an average of 20%.

Interestingly, the results were similar regardless of where in the world the study took place, or how the checkpoints were conducted. Whether the checkpoint was done as a "short term blitz" like the upcoming Cape Girardeau effort, or conducted in the same place continuously over several years' time, researchers found significant reductions in auto accidents and their resulting injuries and fatalities. These results suggest that the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints does not diminish over time, even though residents are aware the check point is there.

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Recent Auto Accidents Involving Missouri Teens Demonstrate Increased Summertime Risks

file8181245785200.jpgUnfortunately, Missouri is beginning to feel the impact of the summer months on teen accident rates. In early June, two teens were killed near Poplar Bluff when an Amtrak train struck their vehicle, according to the Southeast Missourian. Meanwhile, in Greene County, the Springfield News Leader reports that a total of five pedestrians have died since April. Of those five fatalities, three were local teenagers.

Then, on Wednesday, two people were killed near Festus in another crash involving a teen: the 17 year-old male ran a red light and struck the passenger side of a vehicle passing through the intersection. The occupants of the vehicle - 75 year-old Raymond McLean and his 70 year-old wife Carolyn - were pronounced dead at the scene. The 17 year-old driver was airlifted to St. Louis with serious injuries. KDSK reports that the Missouri Highway Patrol will investigate the accident and determine whether to bring charges against the teen.

Auto accidents remain the leading cause of death for American teenagers: over 5,000 teens die each year in crashes throughout the country. In 2010, drivers under 21 were involved in 15.1% of all fatal Missouri accidents, but this age group made up only 9.3% of Missouri's licensed drivers, according to data from the Missouri Highway Patrol.

And the months ahead are particularly dangerous, since summertime typically brings an increase in teen fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), May, June, July, and August are the deadliest months of the year for teens. "Each month in the summer, we lose the equivalent of an entire high school class on America's roads," Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, NHTSA Administrator. "Young inexperienced drivers spend more time behind the wheel in the summer, often with tragic results."

With school out of session, more young drivers are on the road, increasing the already-high risks to those drivers, their passengers, and the motorists traveling near them. It is imperative for parents and guardians to regulate and enforce safe driving practices. Sadly, all too often, adolescents make rash decisions which put themselves - and others - in danger.

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Summer Traffic Means More Car Accidents Expected, Reports NHTSA

768180_urban_traffic.jpgOur Jackson car accident lawyers would like to warn motorists about the increased numbers of car accidents that our area typically experiences during the summer months. As a matter of fact, MSN Money reports that August ranks as the deadliest month of the entire year on our roadways, with September ranking second and July a close third. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records continuously report that more Americans are killed because of car accidents in August than during any other month out of the year.

According to NHTSA, August has a death rate of 1.09 per million miles traveled. That number takes the top spot for deadliest month on our roadways. In second place is September with a death rate of 1.08. March may be your best time to hit the road as it ranks as the safest with a death rate of 0.94. In addition, the deadliest holiday weekends also take place during the summer months: the top three are Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

An average of 93 people were killed every day in U.S. traffic accidents in 2009, meaning a life was lost every 16 minutes.

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that August is the deadliest month as well. The government reports that, from 2005 to 2009, seven of the 25 deadliest driving days were in the month of August. Officials believe that the high death rate for this month is directly related to the increased number of roadway travelers. This month is typically a time when people are hitting the road and covering more miles than any other time during the year.

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26 Bus Companies Shut Down, Declared "Imminent Hazards" to Roadway Safety

Bus.jpgLow-cost, curbside buses have been under a microscope ever since a New York City crash killed 15 people and injured 18 others in March 2011. In an attempt to ensure that these buses meet federal safety standards, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently shut down 26 curbside bus operators following a year-long investigation that revealed multiple violations.

Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a study to determine just how dangerous these particular passenger buses are. The study found that you are seven times more likely to be involved in a curbside bus accident in than in an accident on a more expensive conventional bus.

Other key findings of the NTSB study:

• Curbside carriers that have fewer than 10 buses and have been in service for more than 10 years have higher accident rates.

• Curbside carriers have higher driver fitness and logbook violation rates than other types of motorcoach carriers. Nearly 20 out of every 100 curbside buses were taken out of service because of driver fatigue between January 2005 and March 2011. Only about 11 out of every 100 conventional buses were taken out of service during the same time period.

• Driver fatigue is also a top contributor to many bus accidents.

The curbside bus industry has experienced swift growth in recent years, and our Sikeston bus accident attorneys understand that the federal government has had a tough time monitoring these companies. Many carriers have been able to avoid regular enroute inspections because they pick up passengers at the curb instead of at a traditional bus terminal. Likewise, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also struggled to monitor these companies' ticket sales because the tickets are sold through online bus brokers, who are not under the FMCSA's jurisdiction.

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Motorcylist Killed, Passenger Critically Injured in Recent Missouri Crash

648267_modern_mechanical_art.jpgOn Wednesday night, a motorcycle accident in Mexico, Missouri left a man dead and a woman in critical condition. According to local police, 48 year-old Michael Woodruff's motorcycle rear-ended a pickup truck that had slowed to make a left turn, and the impact caused the motorcycle to catch fire.

Woodruff was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 41 year-old Kimberly Holmes, was airlifted to University Hospital in Columbia, where she remains in the intensive care unit. The accident remains under investigation: according to KRCG 13, witnesses reported that Woodruff's motorcycle had been traveling at a high rate of speed as it approached Mexico city limits.

Our Popular Bluff motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable drivers on our roadways. Many car accidents that involve a motorcycle turn deadly. Because riders are often overlooked on our roadways, passenger vehicle drivers must practice cautious and alert driving to help protect our two-wheeled drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) understands the dangers that these motorists face on our roadways and for that reason has placed motorcyclists on their "most wanted" list. This list is part of a safety campaign that is aims to increase the public's awareness of, and support for, actions that can help prevent accidents and save lives on our roadways.

According to the NTSB, the number of motorcyclist fatalities has doubled from 2,116 in 1997 to 4,462 in 2009. It is estimated that 12 motorcyclists are killed on our roadways every day. Even though these two-wheeled travelers only make up 3 percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads, they account for nearly 15% of all highway fatalities. Nearly 75% of these motorcyclists were killed in broad daylight, between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

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Expert Witnesses & Their Role in Missouri Personal Injury Cases

An expert witness is "a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case." As Cape Girardeau personal injury lawyers, we know that it's common to utilize expert witnesses in cases involving car accidents and other kinds of injuries. Indeed, expert witnesses are used more often in tort cases - usually personal injury or medical malpractice - than in any other kind of trial, according to a Federal Judicial Center publication.

Experts use their experience and education to support or disprove evidence, and their testimony can help establish both fault and damages. The best expert witnesses are experienced professionals in their fields, which may range from medical doctors to crash reconstruction specialists to economists to vocational rehabilitation professionals and even life care planners. Below, you'll find a discussion of these different kinds of experts and the relevant testimony they can provide.

Thumbnail image for 1314902_medical_doctor.jpgThe Experts We Commonly Use:

Medical and mental health specialists are the most commonly used category of expert, especially in personal injury cases. For example, a treating physician can testify that a car accident caused your injuries, the extent of your injuries, and your prognosis for the future. An expert medical or mental health specialist can also testify about possible complications and loss of physical capabilities.

Accident reconstruction experts can help establish fault in a car accident case. After careful consideration of the accident scene, evidence, and witness statements, this professional determines what happened, how it happened, and what caused the accident. Skid marks, gravel yaw marks, pictures and relevant mathematical formulas are used to analyze the accident and assess its cause.

Economists are sometimes used to demonstrate the extent of damages you have suffered in a car accident case. They analyze and compile all the relevant data, such as the cost of your life care plan; all related medical care, now and into the future; and lost wages and benefits, past and future.

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Car Accident Injuries & Compensatory Damages: A Basic Overview

Thumbnail image for 865435_money_matters.jpgIf you've been injured in a Missouri car accident, you may be entitled to compensatory damages, which are awarded in civil court "to indemnify a person for the particular loss, detriment, or injury suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of another." Before agreeing to accept any settlement offer, you'll need to consider the full extent of your compensatory damages.

Your compensatory damages may include the following expenses:

Medical costs. Medical costs include hospital bills, surgeries, doctor's visits, nursing care, medical equipment and prescription drugs.

Rehabilitative costs. Rehabilitation costs include expenses connected to physical therapy, nursing home or rehabilitation hospital care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other therapies or treatments required to help you rehabilitate from your injuries.

Out of pocket personal expenses. If you spent any money as a result of your injuries such as for day care, taxis, bus fare, cleaning help, or other expenses that you had to pay because you were injured, these can be compensated.

Lost income. If you had to miss work, reduce the number of hours you work, or stop working altogether, your lost wages can be compensated. In addition, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for lost income if you had to change jobs or careers as a result of your injuries.

Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is considerably harder to measure than other kinds of damages. However, under certain circumstances, you can be compensated for pain, embarrassment, or physical suffering connected to your injuries, if your daily routine and normal activities have been impacted.

Property damage. Any personal property that was damaged as a result of the traffic accident can also be compensable.

What can limit compensatory damages in a southeast Missouri personal injury case?

Your percentage of fault. Compensation will be reduced if you were partially at fault for the traffic accident. Your damages will decrease based on your percentage of fault: for example, if you were 50% responsible for the crash, your award will be reduced by 50%.

Previous injury or medical conditions. Only injuries sustained during the traffic accident are compensable.

Pain and suffering are subjective and not easy to quantify. Compensation can be reduced if the pain or suffering is not easily identifiable.

Previous law suits or prior claims can reduce the amount of your settlement.

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Are Your Vehicle's Tires Ready for Summertime in Missouri?

562530_wheel.jpgAs the weather warms up and more drivers hit the road to enjoy the summer travel season, poorly maintained tires can pose an increased threat to Missouri motorists. Your vehicle's tires might be increasing your chances of being involved in a car accident in Jackson, Perryville, Kennett or any of the surrounding Missouri areas.

"Tire care, while important throughout the year, is especially critical in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, high speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on your tires," reports The Weather Channel. Indeed, that additional stress can cause a sudden blowout, a "bursting tire accompanied by a rapid loss of air pressure." When blowouts happen - and particularly, when they happen on highways - they can create ideal conditions for a serious or even fatal accident.

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a consumer advisory urging all motorists to ensure that their tires are properly inflated and there are no severe signs of tread wear and damage. Given the unseasonably warm temperatures we've already experienced this year, we can expect to see another hot Missouri summer in 2012.

"As the weather warms up, it's especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in 2011. "For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 3,400 people died in tire-related accidents between 2005 and 2009. An estimated 1,166,000 motorists were injured in these incidents.

"While it's true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland warned. "Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster."

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