June 2011 Archives

Insurance Paperwork a Big Headache After Joplin Missouri Car Crashes

If you have been involved in a Joplin auto accident or truck accident, there will be various types of insurance paperwork that need to be filled out. However, there are some forms that Joplin Car Crash Attorney's advise never signing without first consulting a Joplin car accident lawyer.

The first thing you will have to do is to see medical care. At some point, you may want to notify your own insurance company. Typically, information they will discuss includes:

1221952_to_sign_a_contract_3.jpg• Date and time of the accident
• Location of the accident (be as specific as possible)
• How the accident happened
• How many and what type of vehicle(s) were involved, including make and model, and the year if possible.
• A thorough description of each vehicle's damage (if you had the presence of mind to take photos at the scene, that can really help your case)
• The names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident
• The names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident
• If the police were contacted (always contact the police, their report is invaluable evidence)

You might also be contacted by the other driver's insurance company, and they may request either a recorded statement or that you sign something called a medical authorization. Although the insurance adjuster will present these requests as just more "routine" insurance paperwork, we strongly recommend you don't agree to either one without first talking to a Joplin personal injury lawyer.

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Joplin Personal Injury Law Firm Shares Story of A College Student Who Goes Street-to-Street to Assist in Joplin Relief Efforts

At Aaron Sachs & Associates, It is our belief that you see more of a community's heart and soul in times of need than in times of comfort and safety. This has been proven by our Missouri community's response to their Joplin neighbors, following the recent tornado's devastation. We have heard many stories of local heroes, going above and beyond and reaching out to their neighbors in any way they can. This is the kind of story that we are pleased to share...

Sean's face says it all.jpgSean Brady is a Camdenton High School grad, currently enrolled at Missouri S&T. There was nothing in Sean's life that could have prepared him for what he saw arriving in Joplin the morning immediately after the tornado tore through the city. As Sean drove through Joplin moving closer and closer to the site where the tornado touched down, he was stunned by the damage--particularly along Rangeline Street.

Immediately stepping up to the plate, despite his shock, Sean unloaded his Bobcat (a type of tractor/heavy utility machine) and started looking for opportunities to assist others, going house-by-house and street-by-street, offering help to anyone who needed it. Sean assisted people with anything they needed, including turning cars right side up, removing trees and other debris, and moving other misplaced objects.

On one decimated street, Sean came across elderly man wondering aimlessly amidst the rubble of what used to be his home. When Sean asked the man how he could help, he discovered the man was diabetic and in desperately need of his medication.

Sean,Bobcat to the rescue7.jpgBoth the diabetes medication and all of the gentleman's money was in a chest of drawers, lost amidst a massive pile of debris. Sean spent over an hour, carefully moving debris in an effort to help locate the man's medications and money. He had looked almost everywhere, and was going through the last fallen wall of the man's house when he finally spotted the chest under a pile of bricks.

Continue reading "Joplin Personal Injury Law Firm Shares Story of A College Student Who Goes Street-to-Street to Assist in Joplin Relief Efforts" »

Increased Speed to Increase Risks of Car Accidents in Pineville and Elsewhere in Missouri

Speeding is one of the quickest ways for you to get into a serious car accident in Macon, Marshall, Diamond or elsewhere in Missouri. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding is the cause of roughly one-third of all motor-vehicle accidents.
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Speeding regulations were in the hands of the federal government from 1973 to 1994. Now, speed limits are the responsibility of state governments. There was always the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) policy, which used to set mandatory speed limit caps on interstate highways and other similar roads. The rule was repealed back in 1995, and most states have upped their speed limits since then. Still, many motorists feel the need for speed and neglect to abide by these laws as they continue to exceed speed limits everywhere.

Our Joplin car accident attorneys understand the overwhelming occurrence of speeding on our highways. As a matter of fact, there were roughly 6.2 million reported accidents in 2004 alone that were caused by someone exceeding the posted speed limit.

Speeding is a contributor of nearly one-third of all traffic accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if drivers were to abide by posted speed limits. In most cases, they would have had more time to react to dangers on the roadways. Speeding-related crashes are indeed a preventable accident.

Speed reduces the amount of time that a driver can use to effectively avoid an accident. It also increases the likeliness of an accident along with the severity of damage. Many safety advocates and local law enforcement have sought to decrease the amount of speeding on our roadways by installing video cameras, or "photo radar," and speed traps in an attempt to bust speeders and to make the roadway safer for everyone.

There are a number of reasons why we have speed limits. It's not just another way for the government to regulate your every motion. It's to help to ensure the safety of all residents. Speed limits are carefully determined upon a number of factors including highway design, highway conditions, highway operations, differences at state or municipal borders and regards for traffic safety.

Some important facts about speeding, provided by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:

-Traffic accidents that involve excessive speeding result in economic costs of more than $40 billion for a single year. These accidents make up nearly 20 percent of all of the crash costs. They cost each U.S. resident an estimated $144.

-When speed is increased from 40 mph to just 60 mph, the energy that is released in an accident is more than doubled.

-Speeding-related accidents took the lives of more than 14,000 people in 2005.

-According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when the speed limits were raised in a number of states back in 1996, motor-vehicle accident fatalities increased by nearly 20 percent on Interstate highways.

-The likelihood of speeding decreases as the driver's age increases. In 2002, nearly 40 percent of male drivers, ages 15- to 20-years-old, who were involved in a fatal accident were speeding at the time of the crash.

-In 2002, nearly 40 percent of all motorcyclists that were involved in fatal accidents were reported to have been speeding. Motorcyclists double their chance of being involved in a fatal accident when they're speeding.

Speeding in Missouri, according to GYSA:

-2001: Nearly 40 percent of fatal accidents reported speeding. Police issued nearly 132,000 speeding tickets this year.

-2002: Almost 30 percent of motor-vehicle accidents that resulted in death reported a speeding driver. There were approximately 133,000 speeding tickets issues throughout this year.

-2003: More than 40 percent of accidents were speeding-related and fatal. During this year, nearly 126,000 speeding tickets were issued to drivers.

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Motorists Urged to Check Tires to Avoid Car Accident in Joplin Missouri

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released a new consumer advisory urging all motorists to check their vehicle's tires to make sure that they're properly inflated and that the thread is not worn or damaged. The condition of your tires can drastically affect your chances of being involved in a car accident in Joplin, Carthage, Noel, Anderson or any of the surrounding areas.
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It is important to check the condition of your tires during these hot summer months as the mixture of poorly kept tires and the scorching pavement can result in serious accidents. This consumer advisory is released just in time for National Tire Safety Week. It is during these upcoming months driving increases with the kick-off of the summer travel season.

Our Camdenton car accident attorneys urge motorists to perform routine checkups on their vehicles throughout the entire year. The condition on your car can greatly affect your safety on our roadways.

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

The most recent data released by the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2005 to 2009, approximately 3,400 people died in tire-related accidents on U.S. roadways. It is also estimated that another 116,000 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."

The DOT strongly suggests that motorists keep an eye on their tire pressure. It's not only important to check this regularly, but especially before venturing out on long trips.
Motorists are also urged to keep an eye on the wear and tear of their tires. Aging tires and the summer heat can turn out to be a deadly combination. Older tires are oftentimes more susceptible to heat stress. This condition only increases when they're not properly inflated. A good way to check the aging of your tires is to take a look at the sidewall. You can also check the vehicle owner's manual or check with the tire manufacturer to see how often your tires need to be replaced.

Keeping your tires properly inflated not only helps to keep you safe on our roadways, it also helps to keep more cash in your pocket. Properly inflated tired helps you save on gas mileage. Properly inflated tires can save you nearly 3 miles per gallon. It adds up to big savings!

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Transportation For America Releases Report Illustrating Pedestrian Accidents in Southeast Missouri and Elsewhere

A new pedestrian safety report released by Transportation For America illustrates the risk of pedestrian accidents in Joplin, Webb City and Nevada.

The report looks at the 47,000 pedestrians killed while walking our country's streets from 2000 to 2009. It also examines the 688,000 injuries from these accidents.
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Dangerous by Design 2011 is researching how to prevent these accidents.

Our Joplin car accident lawyers recognize the severity of this epidemic. We also understand that the risks for a serious or fatal pedestrian accident have only increased with the latest weather conditions. As communities continue to repair the damage from the recent tornadoes, pedestrians find themselves at a greater risk. With debris, downed power lines and flooded streets, motorists are likely to be less aware of pedestrians as they focus on rough driving conditions.

The release comes equipped with state specific factsheets for all 50 states. Through this visual, you are able to look at your community to see just how common these serious pedestrian accidents are.

During the examined years, 2000 through 2009, more than 800 pedestrians were killed while walking in Missouri. These accidents cost the state nearly $3.50 billion. Our state ranks 17th on the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) out of all 50 states.

The most dangerous areas in Missouri, between 2000 and 2009, for pedestrians are as follows:

-Kansas City, 234 pedestrian deaths.

-Springfield, 49 pedestrian deaths.

-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, 46 pedestrian deaths.

-Columbia, 19 pedestrian deaths.

-Joplin, 19 pedestrian deaths.

-St. Joseph, 16 pedestrian deaths.

-Jefferson City, 10 pedestrian deaths.

When looking at a map that illustrates this data, it is obvious that a majority of these accidents occur along "arterial" roads. These are roads that have been engineered for speedy traffic and take very little precautions for pedestrians.

It is our federal tax dollars that fund these "arterial" roads. Even with little safety precaution for on-foot travelers, Congress is looking to eliminate what funding is left for projects to make these areas safer.

Highways-only lobbyists continue to insist that pedestrian safety is a feature that is a local responsibility. Ironically, nearly 70 percent of the pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last 10 years have happened on these federal-air roadways. These types of roads are the ones that are eligible to receive federal funding.

This makes it clear that federal programs have made speedy traffic as a priority over pedestrian safety. Shouldn't our tax dollars be used to build streets that are safe for all users and not to only accommodate speedy vehicles?

Fixing up a street to make it safe for pedestrians is pretty cheap. These funds account for less than 1.5 percent of the current federal transportation outlay. This is a fund that is now targeted, by Congress, for elimination.

If you think the government needs to hang on to the fund to keep our streets safe for pedestrians, you are urged to contact Congress and voice your opinion.

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Click It or Ticket Campaign Aims to Decrease Risks of a Fatal Car Accident in Joplin, Neosho and Carthage and Elsewhere in Missouri

This year's "Click It or Ticket" campaign will be backed by more than 200 law enforcement agencies in the state to help reduce the number of fatalities in car accidents in Joplin and elsewhere in Missouri. The campaign runs from the last week in May through the first week in June. Last year's results concluded that enforcement officers wrote more than 5,500 seat belt tickets, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The Click It or Ticket campaign runs for the week across the country and is meant to increase seat belt use and reduce highway fatalities. The campaign pairs together high-visibility law enforcement and education.
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"The best thing motorists can do to protect themselves while traveling in a motor vehicle is to buckle their seat belts and to make sure everyone else in the vehicle is buckled as well," said Colonel Ronald K. Replogle, superintendent of the Highway Patrol. "This type of campaign and enforcement effort is just one method used to heighten awareness about the importance of wearing a seat belt and saving lives. Highway Patrol troopers will continue to take a zero tolerance approach in the enforcement of seat belt and child restraint laws throughout the year in our effort to reduce injuries and save lives."

Our Springfield car accident attorneys would like to remind you that our state continues to remain below the national average for seat belt usage -- we comply only a mere 75 percent of the time. The national average complies 85 percent of the time.

Those among the least likely to strap on their seat belt are teens and pick-up drivers. Both parties are estimated to only buckle up approximately 65 percent of the time. The lack of seat belt usage contributed to seven out of ten fatalities that resulted from traffic accidents in Missouri in 2010.

"It's time we try some new things in our state to increase seat belt usage," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Saving lives is what it's all about, and seat belts are such an easy way to prevent tragedy, suffering, and grief associated with disabling or fatal traffic crashes"

Some of Missouri's new strategies to increase seat belt usage include displaying portable message boards. Law enforcement will also be partnering with high schools and large employers to get them to adopt new seat belt policies and to provide incentives to reinforce the importance of wearing a seat belt.

In Missouri, more than 180 law enforcement agencies participated in Click It or Ticket campaign efforts in 2010. These efforts resulted in 5,794 seat belt violations. They also handed out more than 200 child seat violations. The Click It or Ticket campaign also allowed law enforcement to issue more than 7,500 speeding violations, more than 200 DWI stops and more than 180 drug arrests. Throughout the entire 2010 campaign, law enforcement made a total of 27,072 stops and issued 22,395 citations.

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Newly Released Data Illustrates Dangers of Bicycle Accidents in Joplin and Elsewhere

Newly released information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 630 bicyclists were killed, and another 51,000 injured in bicycle accidents in 2009. This 2009 information was just released and provides the most recent statistics regarding these incidents.
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Our Joplin car accident lawyers urge motorists to be aware of our earth-friendly travelers as they are more vulnerable to injury in an accident with a motor vehicle. We would like to point out that the number of bicyclist fatalities decrease by 12 percent from 2008 to 2009, from 718 to 630. Still, riders are at high risk of hit-and-run accidents in Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the state.

Most of the bicyclist fatalities from 2009 happened in urban areas at non-intersections. Roughly 70 percent of the fatalities happened in these areas. This number illustrates a 5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Nearly three-fourths of the bicyclist fatalities happened during the daytime hours between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. The remaining 25 percent of fatalities happened during the evening and nighttime hours.

The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents was 41 years of age. In the past 10 years we have seen a steady increase in the average age of both bicyclists killed and bicyclists injured. Most victims are men. The sobering combination of these two statistics means that fathers and husbands are most at risk -- often leaving a family financially devastated.

Bicyclists ages 15 and under made up more than 13 percent of all bicyclists killed and 20 percent of all those injured in traffic accidents during 2009.

Bicyclists ages 25 to 64 made up the largest portion. The proportion of bicyclist fatalities in this age range was 64 percent.


The American Safety Council offers these tips to help keep bicyclists safe on Missouri roads:

-Remember that Missouri state and local law states that bicyclists are allowed to use the road. This law also states that bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers.

-Remember that front and rear lights are required by Missouri state law. Lights help you be more visible to other bicyclists and motorists during the evening hours.

-Always wear your helmet. Just like a seat belt in a car, it is used as "insurance" and helps to keep you safe should you be involved in an accident.

-Look for oncoming cars and other bicyclists before merging or turning, just as a car would.

-Use arm signals as your "blinker." This will help you communicate with other motorists.

-Be sure to ride with traffic, never against it. Riding against it can be anywhere from 5 to 20 times more dangerous that biking with the flow of it.

-In addition to having lights on your bike, remember to wear light colored or reflective clothing. This will help motorists to see you in your right in the p.m. hours.

Earlier this month, the Ride of Silence took place as cyclists took to the roads in a silent procession to honor all bicyclists who have been injured of killed while bicycling on public roads. Although bicyclists have the same legal rights to the road as motorists, most motorists aren't aware of these rights, and many times are not aware of the bicyclists themselves.

The Ride of Silence was a free ride that asks that cyclists travel no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the entire ride to honor the fallen bicyclists. There are no sponsors and no registration fees for this event. The ride is held during National Bike Month and aims to raise the awareness of motorists that bicyclists have this legal right to all public roads.

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Joplin Missouri Catastrophic Injuries Require Help From Many Quarters--Legal, Financial, and Emotional

Joplin Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys know that catastrophic injuries happen suddenly, without warning, and may cause permanent damage and disruption to the victim's life. These are the kinds of injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputation injury
  • 3rd degree burn injuries
  • Neurological disorders such as paralysis and quadriplegia

1118206_lightning.jpgVictims frequently experience trauma to the central nervous system which manifests in loss of movement, loss of sensation, loss of cognitive or vocal abilities, and many more symptoms which can devastate the life of not just the injured party but their family as well.

Long term management of these injuries is not only complex, but shockingly expensive. Joplin Catastrophic Injury attorneys know that frequently a legal claim or social security disability claim is required as the only way to find enough funding for the victim and their family to survive.

If a Neosho catastrophic injury was caused by someone's negligence, a defective product, or a surgical error, there is someone to sue for damages, but in many cases the accident causing the injury could be a fall, or an act of nature such as being struck by lightning or the tragic and shocking tornado that just killed and injured so many of our Joplin citizens.

In this case, an experienced Joplin Personal Injury law firm can still be of immense help to the injured party, helping them to get government assistance via the Social Security Disability system and any other available government programs.

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Joplin Missouri Personal Injury Firm Asks Everyone--Please Join Us in Contributing to Joplin Tornado Relief Efforts

joplin tornado.jpgHere at Aaron Sachs and Associates Law Firm, we have been devastated to see the paralyzing and destructive impact Mother Nature has had on Joplin. Indeed, our Joplin office was in the area affected by the tornado and will require rebuilding.

As local Joplin attorneys, we've been privileged to work with and for the people of Joplin for more than a decade, and consider ourselves a part of this community. It is our devout hope that we will see a speedy rebuilding of our homes and businesses...our parks and schools...and that out of this disaster can come an even better community for our children.

Please join us in assisting the people of Joplin to reclaim their lives.

There is a huge amount of work to be done, both for the immediate needs of those affected by the tornado, and in the long term re-building of our city. FEMA says that the best way to be of assistance is with a cash donation.

Please check out our facebook page Facebook Page--Law Office of Aaron Sachs and Associates, P.C donated $25,000.00 to Joplin Disaster Relief. Please check out our facebook page, and join by "liking" it. (To do this you need to have your own Facebook account set up, or start one.)

We firmly believe that through resilience, strength and determination, today's challenges will become tomorrow's achievements. It has always been the practice of the Sachs Personal Injury Firm to participate in the community via public service programs and various charitable events and donations.

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Missouri to Join Fight Against Fatal Car Accidents in Joplin and Elsewhere

While many continue to debate the role of government in the lives of U.S. citizens, most can agree on one thing -- more laws and action to improve roadway safety. A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety releases this data just in time to join the efforts of the United Nations 'Decade of Action on Road Safety' campaign in an effort to reduce the number of fatal car accidents in Joplin and throughout the world.
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"Despite shrinking federal and state transportation budgets and a public debate over the most appropriate role of government, it's clear that a majority of Americans want government officials to do more - not less - about highway safety," said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. "From passing and enforcing laws about teen drivers and distracted driving to programs that improve the safety of our roadways and add safety equipment to vehicles, there are many steps government can take reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths in the U.S."

Our Joplin car accident attorneys would like our local residents to join this global campaign, which aims to reduce and stabilize the number of fatalities from car accidents worldwide by 2020. We can join the rest of the United States, major economies of the G20, the World Bank and the World Health Organization to help contribute to the cause be practicing safe and alert driving practices to decrease the risks of an accident.

"At a time when more and more U.S. highway safety agencies are adopting "Toward Zero Death" goals, it is very heartening to see motorist support for more, not less action by government to make our roads safer," added J. Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, that commissioned this survey.

Survey results from AAA revealed that:

-More than 60 percent of Americans agree that the United States needs to enact more laws to help curb dangerous and distracted driving habits.

-Roughly 57 percent of Americans agree that their local government needs to step up and do more to make their own roads safer.

-Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed believe that all new drivers should have to complete a driver's education course before getting their license.

-Most Americans think that automakers and government officials need to do more to make cars safer.

-Nearly 75 percent of Americans think that safe driving laws should be enforced more strictly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 1,000 vehicles were involved in fatal car accidents in Missouri in 2008.

"As the global community has initiated action to combat the public health crisis associated with motor vehicle crashes, the U.S. should lead by example and invest even greater resources in laws, education, technology and road design to reduce the daily highway carnage," said Kissinger.

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