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Lane Departure Accidents Commonly Cause Serious Injuries in Joplin, Missouri and Nationwide

748825_crash_car.jpgOur Joplin, Missouri car accident attorneys have noticed that several recently reported fatal accidents share a common factor: many of them were caused by lane departure due to driver error. Sometimes these accidents happen when drivers - for whatever the reason - enter divided highways when they're traveling the wrong way. And sometimes the lane departure is just a momentary lapse, a short loss of focus (perhaps caused by a glance down at a cell phone) that causes a driver to veer into oncoming traffic.

Either way, these accidents can have catastrophic consequences: each of these head-on (or near head-on) collisions caused serious injuries and fatalities. Last week, we learned about a terrible head on crash near Tuscumbia, which claimed the lives of a young couple and their 3 year-old son: the only survivor in their vehicle was 2 day-old Gabriel Wilcox, who was thrown from the car. Over the weekend, there were other similar accidents reported, including one right here in Joplin:

March 2: Bowling Green, Ohio
3 young women were killed (and another 2 were seriously injured) by a driver traveling the wrong direction on the interstate. Law enforcement reports indicate that 67 year-old Winifred D. Lein had been driving on the wrong side of the divided highway for at least 7 miles when she hit a vehicle head-on. That vehicle was carrying 5 Bowling Green students - sorority sisters, heading to the airport to depart for spring break. Rebekah Blakkolb, 20; Christina Goyett, 19; and Sarah Hammond, 21 died in the accident: the 2 surviving passengers remain hospitalized.

Lein, the at-fault driver, was pronounced dead at the scene. She wasn't carrying any passengers. Ohio state troopers continue to investigate how and why she came to be traveling on the wrong side of the road. "I don't think the college girls ever saw it coming," said Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. "Nothing they could've done to avoid the crash."

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Joplin, Missouri "Dram Shop" Laws Give Additional Recourse To Victims Of Car Accidents And Wrongful Deaths Caused By Drunk Drivers

January 22, 2012

In 2010, more than 200 people were killed and nearly 1,000 more sustained serious injuries in car crashes involving a drunk driver in Joplin, Wheaton, and across Missouri, according to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
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Auto accidents involving drunk drivers differ from other car accidents because drunk driving is against the law, and causes accidents that would have been otherwise preventable. Also, accidents caused by drunk drivers often result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death.

Victims or family members of people injured or killed in Joplin, Missouri car accidents caused by drunk drivers may be able to seek compensation for their damages. In some cases, injured parties may even have a cause of action against the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver before he got behind the wheel. Under Missouri statutes traditionally known as dram shop laws, these establishments can be held liable for over-serving already intoxicated customers, underage drinkers, and other patrons.

In short, Missouri Statute 537.053 states that a claim may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered personal injury or death, against any person licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises--if it can be shown that the seller knew (or should have known) that alcohol was served to a person under the age of twenty-one or to a visibly intoxicated person.

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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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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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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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