What Happens When Seniors Are Injured?

As a Kansas City injury lawyer over the past 25 years, I have handled hundreds of cases in which seniors have been negligently injured. While many of those cases are the result of a motor vehicle accident, I also have represented quite a few seniors who have been victim of a slip and fall or other types of accidents. Continue reading “What Happens When Seniors Are Injured?”

Distracted Driving Crash Investigations

My law practice, which is concentrated in handling motor vehicle accident cases, has changed dramatically over the last 8 years. Since 2009, I have a steady increase in the number of collisions caused by drivers who I suspect were using a cell phone while driving. However, because cell phone use behind the wheel is rarely admitted by drivers who cause crashes, it is important to identify independent evidence in an investigation that can lead to the conclusion that the driver at fault was engaged in manipulating a cell phone just before the crash.    Continue reading “Distracted Driving Crash Investigations”

What to Do Before You Meet with a Personal Injury Attorney

personal injuryYou may already know the importance of hiring an attorney for your accident or injury. Having a legal consultation after a car accident could be the fastest way to expediting your recovery – both financially and emotionally. The team at Horn Law knows how many questions and concerns that you will have after an accident, and we recommend speaking to one of our personal injury attorneys right away. But, before you come to your consultation, make sure that you get the most out of it by preparing for your appointment.

Why a Consultation?

The consultation is for you and the attorney. It is an appointment that lets the injury attorney assess your case to determine if you have a valid claim, but also gives you a chance to get to know the lawyer, and see if he or she is a good fit for your needs. It is also a time to ask questions, explore your options, and understand your rights.

Preparing for Your Consultation

Once you have selected an attorney and scheduled a consultation, the next step is to prepare for that appointment. Most attorneys offer a free consultation, but you want to make the most out of that free appointment. Some things that you should do prior to meeting with your attorney include:

  1. Police reports: Getting copies of all police reports and accident reports – especially if it was a car accident. This should have contact information, and possibly witness statements.
  2. Medical records: Gather all copies of medical records from healthcare providers, hospitals, emergency medical services, etc. You will want records that show in detail your diagnosis and anticipated future medical care.
  3. Medical bills: Gather copies of all medical bills that you have paid, or other claims filed with your health insurance regarding the injury.
  4. Insurance information: Put together information from your insurance for medical and auto cases. If you have received a lien letter from your insurer, you will want to bring that along, as well.
  5. Work documents: Write down and bring details about your work, as well as documents that provide information as to how many hours you have missed. You will want to gather past pay stubs, and possibly a letter from your employer stating how much money you have lost while not being able to attend work. Also, bring information regarding your current salary, as well as working hours.
  6. Important dates: Write all important dates – such as the date of the injury, your initial diagnosis, surgery, treatments, etc. – down on a calendar, and provide it in the consultation.
  7. Correspondence: Any correspondence with insurance companies or the negligent party should also be brought to the consultation appointment.
  8. Photos: Photographs of the accident scene (if any) or injury should be brought.
  9. Personal records: Journal entries that describe your injuries, concerns, emotions, etc. should be brought, if possible.
  10. Questions for the consultation: A list of questions that you have for the attorney should be prepared beforehand – these can include how you will pay for medical treatments, your rights, and anything that you are concerned about. Spend a few days writing down every question that you have, so that you do not have to try to remember them during your appointment.

Consult with Doug Horn, a Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, do not wait. Contact the injury experts at Horn Law, P.C. today. We offer free consultations, and we are here to help you recover from your injuries. Schedule your consultation now by calling 816-795-7500, or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.

Common Personal Injury Claims in Lee’s Summit

personal injuryUnfortunately, preventable injuries are a common occurrence in life. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that if you are injured in an accident, you should seek legal representation right away. Even if your injury is not one of the more common injuries, it is important to have an attorney assess your case. If it turns out that your injury was caused by someone’s negligence, starting the claim process early could help with your financial and emotional recovery.

Which Accidents Are Most Common?

  1. Car Accidents – Car accidents are by far the most common type of personal injury claim in the city, as well as the country. Vehicle accidents usually happen because someone is not following the laws of the road, or not driving as carefully as he or she should be. Careless driving means that the driver could be held financially responsible for the injuries caused by the reckless behavior.
  2. Slip and Fall Cases – Slips, trips, and falls are a common occurrence, and they happen year-round. They are not just limited to slippery floors in grocery stores, either. In fact, slip and falls can happen in the workplace, outside, and even in your own home. These types of cases are known as premises liability claims. In these cases, the property owner owed the victim a legal obligation to keep his or her property safe and free from hazards. Because there was failure to do so, injuries resulted.
  3. Defective Product Hazards – Sadly, not all products sold to consumers are safe. Defective and dangerous products cause hundreds to thousands of injuries each year. The law has strict rules for manufacturers and retailers of these products, and they are required by law to meet all expectations of safety before selling a product. When injuries occur, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can all be held accountable for those injuries – especially if one party in the chain knew of the defect and sold it anyway.

What to Do Immediately After an Injury

If you have been injured, it is important that you seek medical treatment right away. Even if you feel fine, you may have injuries that will not exhibit symptoms for several days or weeks. The sooner that you seek medical treatment, the shorter your recovery period may be. Also, seeking medical treatment right away is the first step in preserving your personal injury claim.

Contact a Lee’s Summit Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been seriously injured, do not hesitate to call legal counsel. The attorneys at Horn Law, P.C. can assist you with your injury – from car accidents to distracted driving incidents, premises liability, catastrophic injuries, and more. Get started by contacting us for a free, no-obligation legal consultation at 816-795-7500. You can also ask a question online, and one of our attorneys will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney Who Stays Up-to-Date

up to date attorney You already know that it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney after an accident, but not just any attorney will do. You need to hire a team of attorneys who specialize in your type of injury, and most importantly, attorneys who are constantly innovating their practice, and educating themselves so that they can better represent their clients.

In a recent news article, Horn Law featured our very own Laurie Del Percio as she attended the Trial Lawyers Summit. This summit included some of the top lawyers across the United States who specialize in injury law. It was an exclusive event that gave attorneys an opportunity to discuss innovative approaches toward maximizing the settlement values and increasing favorable verdicts – all of which benefit their clients.

For Horn Law’s attorney Laurie Del Percio, this event was all about selecting the right jury for a trial. She learned new techniques for picking jurors – because, as all trial attorneys know, jury selection is by far the most critical portion of a case.

The conference lasted four days; those who attended left with new opportunities and skills to use for their clients. This is merely one example of the importance of hiring an attorney who strives to improve his or her services.

Other Things to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney

Not only should you hire an attorney who attends seminars and teaching events, but there are a few other critical factors that you must consider before hiring an attorney. These include:

  1. Expertise in Your Injury – Not all personal injury attorneys represent all types of injuries. For example, some injury attorneys represent medical malpractice or brain injury claims, while others focus solely on car accidents. It is important that you find an attorney who specializes in your type of injury.
  2. Track Record – Just because an attorney specializes in your type of injury, doesn’t mean that he or she is successful in representing cases within that category. It is just as important that you assess the attorney’s track record. You can also look up potential attorneys on the bar association for any professional reprimands or licensing issues, check online review sites, and review customer testimonials.
  3. Preparation – You want an attorney who has the time to adequately represent your claim. Not all attorneys have the time to represent their clients, and in some cases, settlement amounts will suffer. Ask your attorney about how much time he or she has to devote to your case, if the attorney has staff in-house that will be assisting him or her, etc.
  4. Your Best Interests – The most important factor to consider when hiring an attorney is if he or she is looking out for your best interests – not his or her own pocketbook. You want an attorney who is there to resolve medical costs and insurance disputes, and who will work as your advocate.

Hire a Qualified, Expert Attorney by Contacting Horn Law

If you are injured and need to pursue a claim against the negligent party, Horn Law is here to help. Our attorneys are constantly refining their skills so that they can better represent our clients. See the difference for yourself by scheduling a free consultation at 816-795-7500 or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.

Can You Afford Not to Get a Lee Summit Attorney in Your Injury Case?

personal injury attorneyWhile it is true that, in an accident involving injury, the victim should receive a fair and FULL insurance settlement from the insurance company for the responsible party. A detailed study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), concluded that the payouts in personal injury claims were higher when the victim was represented by a personal injury attorney. Another study conducted by the All-Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC), found similar evidence – this makes it clear that accident victims are not receiving the right compensation amounts, unless they have legal representation. Having an attorney statistically yields a larger monetary settlement.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident (whether involving a motorcycle, distracted driver, premise liability, or car accident) in Lee Summit, you should speak with a personal injury attorney.

IRC Study

The study by IRC examined 6,000 claimants injured in car accidents across the country. They looked at their injuries, the extent of their treatments and economic losses, and the total reimbursements that they received for those injuries. One of the details that they focused on primarily in the study was the settlement amounts from insurance companies.

The results showed that plaintiffs with an attorney received settlements that were, on average, 40 percent higher than plaintiffs who did not have legal representation. This is a large discrepancy, and shows the value alone of hiring a personal injury attorney.

Behavior and Insurance Costs

Another report that was issued by IRC also looked at the relationship between insurance settlements and legal representation. The report had even more alarming numbers than their original study. In this report, the IRC found that an estimated 85 percent of settlements paid for bodily injury by insurance companies were paid to victims who had legal representation. In addition, the total amount paid on those claims was 3.5 times higher than those paid to plaintiffs without an attorney. For example, a person with an attorney would receive $35,000, while someone without an attorney would only receive $10,000. This is a drastic and unfair difference to plaintiffs. It also shows that insurance companies will use the fact that a victim doesn’t have an attorney to their advantage.

A Personal Injury Attorney (with a track record of success)  Does More Than Just Even The Playing Field

If you have been seriously injured, the statistics show that you cannot afford to go at it alone. An attorney will that ensure you are compensated for all of your damages, including mental anguish, stress, emotional distress, and more. In addition, your attorney will aggressively fight to ensure that lost wages and future medical costs are covered, so that you do not have to worry about what you may lose in the future. Horn Law is here to help you achieve the settlement that your case is worth. Get started with a free consultation by calling us at 816-795-7500 or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.

Common Injuries to Children in Daycare Facilities

You hire a daycare provider or child care center to watch after your children while you are at work. They are supposed to be responsible, hire trained care professionals and keep your children safe. Unfortunately, childcare centers can be a safety hazard for children. While these injuries are often labeled as “accidents,” the majority of them are preventable.

Unintentional Daycare Injuries Are Common

Unintentional injuries are extremely common in care facilities. That means that the care provider did not intend for these injuries to occur, but that does not mean that these injuries were not preventable. Some common unintentional injuries seen in daycare facilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Minor Injuries – These can range from cuts to scrapes to bruises. They often are the result of falls, trips, spills, etc. Some are explained by a child’s lack of balance or just child play, while other times safety hazards in the facility facilitated these injuries.
  2. Severe Injuries – These can include dislocations, broken bones, neck injuries or head trauma. While still accidents, these are more serious injuries that are often caused by some type of negligence – such as defective playground equipment, inadequate supervision or violence from another child.
  3. Poisoning – Whether it is from food poisoning or a dangerous chemical, poisoning cases are seen in daycare facilities. Often these are the result of improper food handling procedures, sick day care workers returning to work before they are cleared or improper storage of dangerous and hazardous chemicals.
  4. Burns – Burns can occur in the kitchens, near heaters, etc. These are often due to negligent supervision or a day care facility’s inability to properly childproof their grounds.
  5. Car Accidents – Some daycare providers will take children to and from school, transport them to special activities, etc. While often the car accident is caused by another driver, there are instances where the daycare worker was negligent – such as being distracted while driving or even under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  6. Choking – This can occur when a child is allowed to play with a toy that is too small or because of inadequate supervision. In these cases, a child could suffer from long-term injuries or even death.

What If My Child Is Injured?

If your child was injured at a daycare facility or in a car accident while being transported by the daycare facility, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney at Horn Law today. We can discuss the facts of your case and help determine if you have a valid claim against the daycare facility, employees or another party. To get started, schedule your case assessment appointment at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

Is Your Child at Risk for a Hoverboard Injury?

Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney - Horn Law, P.C.After the holidays, everyone is out testing their latest gadgets and toys. One of the more popular purchases for Christmas 2015 was the new hoverboard. While they’ve been out for a few months, hoverboards have already tallied up an excessive number of injuries – ranging from falls and slips to even fires. According to recent reports, hoverboards have been reported for randomly bursting into flames.

Already there are two lawsuits underway in the country. One is by a couple that is suing a retailer after their hoverboard caused a serious fire in their home. Another lawsuit comes from New York where a father has filed a suit against the manufacturer after his son’s hoverboard exploded into flames while charging.

While these are the only two lawsuits currently underway, the number of injuries and especially those caused by fires continues to increase.

The Risk of Hoverboards

Hoverboards cost upwards of $500 and are not actual floating devices; instead, hoverboards are electric scooters without handles. A rider must balance themselves on the platform while being propelled by two wheels. The hoverboards are designed to make balance easier, but that does not mean a person is free from the risk of falling – and encountering serious injuries because of those falls.

Already emergency rooms are seeing an increase in the number of injuries they have treated directly related to hoverboards. This includes fractures, sprains, contusions, lacerations, brain injuries, concussions and more.

There is an alarming number of reports that hoverboards have burst into flames – causing whole house fires or damaging the rooms they are in. Because of these reports, three of the country’s largest airlines – Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines – have all banned them from their allowed cargo lists. New York City has also banned the use of hoverboards and Amazon has started to pull certain models from their website.

Hoverboard manufacturers claim that the risks are spelled out clearly in their user manuals – but it is unlikely they address the risk of sudden explosions. Some manufacturers have gone as far to state that users are not charging with the proper charging device; therefore, they caused their own fire. In reality, the charger provided with the hoverboard is unique; and it is unlikely a user would find something similar on the market to replace it.

The cause of the fires is unknown, but some believe it is the use of inexpensive lithium ion batteries and battery defects.

Was Your Child Injured by a Defective Hoverboard or in Another Way?

When a child suffers an injury, it can be devastating. Young children should be able to enjoy their presents without risk of serious injury. If your child has been injured because of a defective hoverboard or they have suffered their injuries in another way, contact the Kansas City attorneys at Horn Law today for a consultation. Schedule your appointment at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.

Does My Injury Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?

Kansas City Punitive Damages Attorney - Horn Law, P.C.Punitive damages are designed to punish, not compensate. They punish a defendant for their actions, and can be awarded as long as actual damages have been encountered, even if those damages result in a minor reward. The egregious conduct by the defendant is often the driving factor in determining if a case warrants punitive damages.

How Punitive Damages Are Used in Justice

Once the wrongdoing has been established in court – such as a civil lawsuit that was found in favor of the plaintiff – the defendant’s wrongdoings are no longer alleged conduct. Punitive damages are then used only if they can ensure that the offensive behavior the defendant committed is not done in the future – by them or another person. The punitive damages will send a message to others that this type of conduct is not accepted by the courts, and similar punishments will be used on those who do the same.

Who Decides if Punitive Damages Are Awarded?

Not all civil cases receive punitive damages. Instead, the actions of the defendant must be so malicious or intentional that the courts feel the damages awarded are not enough, and punishment is necessary. Judges are given special authority to assign punitive damages or deny them in civil cases. They can also ensure that they are not excessive, but that they still serve a purpose in the justice system.

In most cases, whether or not punitive damages will be awarded, as well as how much will be awarded, is determined by the judge overseeing the case.

What Types of Cases are Eligible for Punitive Damages?

Certain classes of civil cases are more likely to have punitive damages than others. For example, acts against those who are disabled, intentional or malicious behavior, and even gross negligence may be awarded punitive damages.

In order for punitive damages to be awarded, the judge will look for the following elements:

  1. The plaintiff must have been awarded actual damages – such as economic damages for their losses. These do not have to be an overly high amount, but some form of damages must be awarded.
  2. The defendant must have acted in a way that is more than negligent or accidental; instead, it must be malicious or purposeful.
  3. The punitive damages must be relatively proportionate to the actual damages, and often do not exceed more than three times the amount of economic damages.
  4. The plaintiff must have suffered direct harm to be eligible for punitive damages.

Learn More About Your Case by Speaking with an Attorney

If you are not sure if your injury case qualifies for punitive damages, or you want to know what type of damages you are eligible for, contact the attorneys at Horn Law for a consultation. Schedule your appointment at 816-795-7500 or ask your questions online.

Tips for Preventing Injuries in High School Sports This Year

Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyers - Horn LawSchool is back in session, which means high school sports are also in full swing. For most students, practices begin before the first day of school. While athletics offer students numerous health and educational opportunities, they also carry great risk for injury. Parents, students and educators should be prepared for these injuries and look for ways to prevent them – so that everyone can enjoy the season.

How to Prevent High School Injuries

One of the most common injuries in high school sports is brain injuries. Second comes broken bones, serious lacerations and even spinal cord injuries. Some ways that students, educators and parents can help avoid these tragedies include:

  • Know the Risks – Do not assume that injuries only occur in sports like football. Brain injuries and other serious injuries can also occur in basketball, cheerleading, soccer and baseball. A concussion can cause memory loss or lead to neurological disorders later in life. Schools should already have a policy in place for how they handle athlete concussions and parents should be aware of what that policy is before allowing their child to play.
  • Proper Conditioning is Key – Inadequate conditioning can lead to injury – including sprains, tendonitis and strains. An athlete should be properly warmed up before practices as well as games to avoid any stress injuries.
  • Wear the Right Safety Equipment – Almost every sport requires some form of safety equipment. From helmets in football to adequate shoes in cheerleading, this equipment must be enforced and properly used to prevent injury.
  • The Coach – Parents should monitor the  coach and ensure they are properly trained for the position. It is not uncommon for public schools to be understaffed, which means most sport coaches are under trained or filling in until a permanent coach can be found. A school still must train that coach in proper safety techniques. To prevent injury, it is important for them to understand the basic aspects of any sport they teach.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions Should be Monitored – If a student has a pre-existing condition or previous injury, that injury should be monitored by parents and coaching staff to ensure it is not aggravated. Parents should speak to the treating physician to ensure the student is healthy enough to engage in sports activities.
  • Hydration – A common injury in sports is severe dehydration – and that can be avoided. Remind your athlete to always drink plenty of water while playing a sport and make sure coaches are on the lookout for early signs of dehydration.

Was Your Child Injured? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

When a child is injured because of a school’s relaxed policies or inadequate safety procedures, it can be devastating. Some children are left with fatal injuries, or long-term injuries that impact them for the rest of their lives. If your child has been seriously injured, contact Horn Law today online or by calling 816-795-7500 for a consultation appointment. We will aggressively protect your right to compensation and we are here to answer your questions regarding your child’s injury.