October 3, 2012

Should Lawyers be Allowed to Discriminate against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered Individuals in Jury Selection? A New Bill seeks to Prohibit this Currently Allowed Practice in Federal Court.

Currently, lawyers in federal court can discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered individuals when selecting a jury to hear their client's case. However, a new bill introduced in the United States Senate seeks to curb this practice.

A bill that would prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered individuals in the federal jury selection process has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

The bill is named the "Jury Access for Capable Citizens and Equality in Service Selection" and is referred to as the "Jury ACCESS Act." Senate Bill 3618 adds categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to race, sex, national origin, color, and economic status as protected categories.

How do you feel about this new bill? Would you want your lawyer to be allowed to select a jury based upon these categories of classification?

August 6, 2012

Megabus Crash in Litchfield, IL

A double-decker Megabus ran into an overpass support beam on Interstate 55 in Litchfield, Illinois on Thursday. At least one person has died and three dozen have been seriously injured. The bus was traveling between Chicago and Kansas City.

Thirty-eight people were taken to local hospitals for their injuries. Rescue teams had to use ladders to reach the victims trapped in the bus.

Amanda Byers, a Megabus spokesperson said the bus was at full capacity, carrying a total of 81 passengers. She reported that they do not know the cause of the crash, though she had heard reports that the accident may have been caused by a blown tire.

This accident follows several others in a string of bus crashes lately, which has raised the question if tougher regulations are needed in the busing industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that Megabus fared better than the national average in safety rankings in 2011. Megabus had three accidents in 2011, and one person was killed in one of the accidents.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Board said that is would work with local authorities “to determine if there were safety implications that merit agency action.”

The NTSB has also stated that “Motorcoaches are among the safest vehicles on the road; they are rarely involved in highway accidents.” They also added that because these vehicles transport large amounts of people annually (750 million), if something goes wrong, more people are at risk of injury and death.

July 30, 2012

After a Car Accident: Insurance Claim Dos and Don’ts

If you have been involved in a car accident, you are likely concerned how to handle your insurance claim. By being prepared, you can avoid making any potential errors that could jeopardize your claim.

Do

Do contact your insurance company right away. After you have sought medical treatment (if necessary), contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident as soon as possible.

Do take thorough notes of your conversation with your insurance company. Be sure to list the names, titles, and phone numbers of everyone you speak to.

Do have a clear understanding of your insurance coverage prior to speaking with the insurance company. Also, consider if you have any additional insurance coverage available. You may want to check your homeowner’s policy, or an umbrella policy for instance.

Do take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, and your injuries if possible. Your cell phone is excellent for this purpose.

Do contact a qualified Missouri car accident lawyer for advice. It is important to speak to legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected.

Do keep records of all of your expenses associated with pursuing your claim. This would include all receipts, purchases for lodging, and car rentals during the time of the accident until the time your claim is settled.

Don't

Don’t automatically accept an offer made by your insurance company. Insurance companies will likely offer you the lowest possible dollar amount, which may not adequately cover your losses.

Don’t immediately give a written or recorded statement to your insurance company. Be sure you completely understand your coverage first. If you are in any doubt, seek legal advice first.

Don’t sign a waiver or release without consulting legal counsel. Emotions often run high during this time, and you may be tempted to close the claim and settle for an amount less than your actual loss.

Don’t ignore any time limits set in your policy. Many policies require a proof of loss be filed within a certain time frame for instance. Also, if your claim is not being settled to your satisfaction and the clock is ticking, speak to legal counsel immediately.

July 23, 2012

Distracted Driving

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Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board called for a ban on the use of all portable electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a vehicle.

The NTSB reports that 3,000 people were killed last year due to distraction related car accidents. Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman for the NTSB said, “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth human life.”

Let’s face it, we have all become efficient multi-taskers. Our cars have become extension of our office and home, and are now equipped with CD players, navigation, cell phones, radios, DVD players and cup holders. A multi-tasking mom can now hold a phone conference while navigating the streets of St. Louis, while the kids are occupied in the back watching a movie. This type of distracted driving not only puts you and your family’s safety at risk, it endangers everyone around you.

This action taken by the NTSB carries important implications. It may encourage the development of new technologies that will prohibit the use of PEDs while a vehicle is on the road.

Here are some tips to avoid distracted driving:

1. Pull over if you need to make a call, or text;
2. Do not use your cell phone, or any other electronic media while driving;
3. Avoid all non-essential activities while driving (smoking, eating, drinking);
4. Plan your driving route before you leave home;
5. If you have children, pull the car over if they need something.

July 22, 2012

What to Do if You are in a Car Accident

Car accidents happen in Missouri everyday. Statistics show that in 2010 alone, there were a total of 54,875 people involved in auto accidents in the state of Missouri, and 821 people were killed. Whether you made an error while driving, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is important to know what steps you need to take if you are involved in a car accident. Taking informed action will protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome. It is important to speak with a Missouri personal injury attorney from our office as early on as possible in the process.

Stop

If you are involved in an accident, Missouri law requires that you stop at the scene of the accident. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately, which will summon the fire department and the police.

Exchange Information

It is important to collect as much information as possible from the other party. You may be shaken up, but it is important to obtain the name, address, insurance information and driver’s license number of the other party involved.

Take Pictures of the Accident

A picture really is worth a thousand words. They can be extremely important during any negotiations or trial. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage to your car, your injuries, and the immediate area surrounding the accident.

Do Not Engage in an Argument

Often in the heat of the moment, people say things regarding the accident that can hurt their case later on. Do not get into a discussion with the other party about the circumstances of the accident. If you are questioned by police, give your account of the accident.

Notify Your Insurance Company

It is extremely important to notify your insurance company right away after an accident. Failure to report an accident can prevent you from pursing a claim in the future.

Go to the Doctor

Often victims of car accidents put off going to the emergency room immediately following an accident, feeling that their injuries may not be serious enough. Failing to immediately seek medical attention can affect your ability to obtain a favorable settlement in the future. An insurance company can argue that you were not injured because you did not seek medical attention.

File an Accident Report

Under Chapter 300 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, a driver involved in a car accident involving more than $500.00 in property damage or bodily injury must report the accident to local police. A police report is also useful because it will provide important information such as insurance information, diagrams, witness information, and document whether someone was taken to the hospital.

Speak with a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

Many complex insurance issues can arise in car accident cases. There are specific insurance laws that limit what types of injuries can be legally pursued. To obtain the best possible chance of a just recovery for your injuries, speak with E. Ryan Bradley to ensure that your rights are protected.

June 25, 2012

Two Columbia, Missouri Residents Injured in Boone County Rear-End Collision

Two Missouri residents from Columbia sustained minor injuries in a rear-end collision that occurred in Boone County, Missouri. The collision occurred on June 24, 2012 at 11:35am.

Kathleen L. Moyer-Johnson of Columbia, Missouri was driving in a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina on northbound Nance Drive in Boone County. Marleene N. Archibeque of Columbia, Missouri was also traveling on northbound Nance Drive in a 1992 Ford. Archibeque was traveling behind Moyer-Johnson. The gas in Moyer-Johnson’s vehicle ran out while she was driving, which caused Moyer-Johnson’s Chevrolet Lumina to begin to slow down. Archibeque failed to notice that Moyer-Johnson’s vehicle was slowing down and collided into the rear of Moyer-Johnson’s vehicle. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage due to the collision.

The accident parties were subsequently assisted by Missouri State Highway Patrol. Medical responders determined that both Moyer-Johnson and Archibeque sustained minor injuries in the Missouri rear-end collision. Moyer-Johnson refused medical treatment while Archibeque was transported to University Hospital by ambulance.

There can be scenarios where it seems that both drivers are partially responsible for a car accident (or defense attorneys may try to raise this argument in court). In most negligence lawsuit scenarios, damages and liability costs can be computed in different ways. However, the amount of damages can have some very big differences depending on what state the accident took place in. For instance, states either have a “Contributory Negligence” or a “Comparative Negligence” theory when concerning how to compute damages. In a Contributory Negligence state, the party responsible for the accident must be entirely, 100% at fault. If the car accident victim was even 1% at fault in the accident, the victim would not be able to recover no matter how severe the accident and any injuries might have been. Contributory Negligence is essentially a complete defense to liability.

On the other hand, Comparative Negligence is a mere arithmetic formula for computing damages. If a car accident victim was 40% at fault for the accident while the responsible driver was 60% at fault, then the driver would only have to pay for 60% of the total damages in the case. Unlike Contributory Negligence, the Comparative Negligence is not a complete defense against liability.

While Missouri may be a Comparative Negligence state, it is important to note that different states have different formulations and treatment for Comparative Negligence situations (for instance, like requiring that the victim be not more than 50% at fault). In these kinds of situations, it would be best to consult with a Missouri car accident attorney for detailed information and representation.

June 24, 2012

Aurora, Missouri Infant Injured in Lawrence County Intersection Accident

An Aurora, Missouri infant under the age of one sustained minor injuries in an intersection accident that occurred on June 24, 2012 in Lawrence County, Missouri. The accident occurred on County Road near Marionville, Missouri and the time of the accident was approximately 12:00pm.

Sherry C. Marks, age 21, was driving eastbound on County Road #2210 in a 2000 Lincoln Navigator. Marks was also traveling with Caedryn J. Marks/Haumann, an infant that was under the age of one. Both Marks and Caedryn had safety devices activated while they were driving. At the same time, William A. Welch of Morristown, Florida, age 51, was driving southbound on County Road #1210 in a 2012 Toyota Corolla. At the intersection of County Roads #2210 and #1210, Welch failed to stop at the intersection. Welch subsequently drove in Marks’s path and collided with Marks’s vehicle. Both vehicles sustained moderate damage.

Missouri State Highway Patrol subsequently responded to the accident. Highway Patrol and medical first responders determined that Caedryn sustained minor injuries in the collision. Caedryn was transported to Mercy Hospital in Aurora, Missouri by ambulance.

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a vast amount of other studies have noted over the years, intersection accidents are often some of the most dangerous maneuvers that a motorist can do on the road. When done in an unsafe manner, it exposes a motorist to oncoming traffic and can even result in severe property damage, serious injuries, or even car accident fatalities. Unfortunately, intersection accidents are a fact-of-life for motorists across the world; as roadways become more intricate and complex, intersections will always remain. Outside of outright avoiding a street intersection, motorists must first train themselves to drive in a safe and careful fashion as to best avoid potential Missouri car accidents.

Missouri has well-specified law in terms of handling intersection scenarios. Statute § 304.341 details certain procedures drivers must follow when making left, right, or u-turns at intersections. Section 304.341.1(2) governs the procedure for making left turns. A motorist first needs to be in the extreme left lane to the point where the driver can avoid oncoming traffic (or in the scenario of double left turn lanes, in any left lane that legally permits a proper left turn). This is easier to follow when there are electric signals that explicitly specify when a driver can make a left turn. In the scenario of road signs or no road signs at all, a driver needs to make a turn in a safe manner as to leave the lanes of oncoming traffic.

Section 304.341 also provides certain punishments for violating the intersection-turn procedures. Missouri deems the violation of this statute as a Class C Misdemeanor, which can result in up a fifteen day-imprisonment (or possibly even more imprisonment time in some scenarios). If you were the victim of an improper intersection-turn accident, consult with a Missouri car accident attorney.

June 20, 2012

Two Missouri Drivers Involved in Deer-Crossing Accident on Route 6

Two Missouri residents were involved in a car accident arising out of a deer-crossing incident on the evening of June 20, 2012 on Missouri Route 6 in Daviess County. The time of the accident was at 9:37pm.

Sandra S. Smith of St. Joseph, Missouri was driving westbound on Route 6 in a 2006 Dodge Caravan shortly before the accident. A 2001 Suzuki Vitara driven by Brandon K. Curtis of Gallatin, Missouri was also driving westbound on Route 6. Smith slowed down when she encountered a lone deer that was crossing the roadway. Curtis did not slow down in time and ended up striking Smith’s vehicle in the rear. Both drivers directed their vehicles to the westbound shoulder of Route 6. Both vehicles sustained moderate damage due to the collision. The investigation report did not mention whether or not Smith’s vehicle ended up striking the deer as a result of the accident.

Both drivers were assisted by Missouri State Highway Patrol, Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, Gallatin Fire Department, and Kaw Fire Department. They determined that both drivers sustained minor injuries due to the accident. Curtis was transported to Liberty Hospital in Liberty, Missouri by a private vehicle. Smith was similarly transported to Heartland Regional Medical Center.

In rural areas of Missouri, deer-crossings are very likely to happen at random moments. The state often puts deer-crossing signs up to warn drivers that deer presence on the roadway is possible and that drivers should remain vigilant while driving. Hitting a deer can potentially cause severe damage to a motorist’s vehicle and insurance companies may differ on how and when they would provide coverage in these kinds of situations. However, this is not the only risk that deer-crossing poses for Missouri motorists. Deer-crossing can potentially affect the flow of traffic on a given roadway and can affect multiple drivers. If one driver yields to a deer but the traffic behind also does not drive with the same car, a Missouri rear-end collision accident is likely to occur. Such accidents can also result in minor, serious, or even fatal injuries for accident victims.

The Missouri Department of Revenue has disclosed some tips for avoiding Missouri “Deer-Vehicle Accidents.” They suggest drivers to remain alert and cautious while approaching areas marked with deer crossing signs. They also note that deer usually cross either after sunset or around sunrise. Additionally, they note that deer often travel in groups and that there is always a possibility that there are more deer near the roadway than a driver may spot. Finally, they note that swerving or coming to a sudden stop is dangerous and can endanger fellow motorists.

Keep in mind that the Department of Revenue’s suggestions all conform with legal driving rules in Missouri requiring motorists to adhere to road signs and to drive in a careful and safe manner according to Statute § 304.014. If involved in an accident, consult a Missouri car accident attorney.

June 18, 2012

St. Louis, Missouri Resident Involved in I-270 Accident

A 24-year old female was involved in a car accident on northbound Interstate 270 south of I-70 on June 15, 2012. The St. Louis County car accident occurred around 1:20pm.

Hope B. Sexton of St. Louis, Missouri was traveling northbound on I-270 in her 1994 Toyota Corolla. Shelbi K. Eads of St. Peters, Missouri was also traveling northbound on I-270 in her 2010 Nissan Altima. Both Eads and Sexton were forced to come to a stop due to traffic on I-270. Ryan D. Derryberry of Maryland Heights, Missouri was then traveling northbound on I-270 in a 1992 Dodge Dakota. Derryberry did not stop in time and ended up colliding with the rear of Sexton’s vehicle. Due to the force of the collision, Sexton’s vehicle was moved forward and also collided with the rear of Eads’s vehicle. Eads’s and Sexton’s vehicle sustained moderate damage in the three-car chain collision. Derryberry’s vehicle only sustained minor damage. Derryberry was the only driver that did not have insurance.

Missouri State Highway Patrol subsequently responded to the accident and determined that Sexton sustained moderate injuries due to the crash. Sexton was subsequently transported to De Paul Medical Center in St. Louis County by Maryland Heights Fire District.

Missouri requires all motorists to maintain “financial responsibility” for their vehicles. In other words, Missouri statute § 303.025 requires all drivers to have some kind of insurance policy for their vehicles that conforms to the requirements of the state. Such policies can include liability coverage, coverage for theft of one’s motor vehicle, or other types of scenarios which may lead to property damage of a vehicle. Authorities and Missouri municipalities typically punish the failure to drive with a valid insurance policy with a misdemeanor penalty. The statute also requires increasingly severe penalties for subsequent violations, including up to 15 days in a county jail. Unfortunately, different cities or municipalities in Missouri have different ways of enforcing the financial responsibility duty imposed on drivers.

In the case of a Missouri car accident, the responsible party’s lack of insurance can potentially make any kind of lawsuit much more complicated than it would have been if the party possessed an insurance policy. Without an insurance policy, the driver who is responsible for the accident would potentially have to pay for any liability damages out of his or her own pocket. This becomes somewhat troublesome when the responsible party does not actually possess the amount needed to cover for the damages. If the party did possess insurance, damages could swiftly come out of the insurance company’s costs. This could serve as a great hurdle to sufficient recovery of damages for injured victims of a Missouri car accident. Nonetheless, victims of a Missouri car accident should consult with a St. Louis County Missouri car accident attorney for information and assistance.

June 17, 2012

Three Vehicle Car Accident Occurs on Highway 30 and High Ridge Blvd

Three people were involved in a Missouri three-vehicle accident on Westbound Highway 30 and High Ridge Blvd in Jefferson County, Missouri. The date and time of the accident was on June 17, 2012 at 10:09pm.

Laura M. Wheat of St. Louis, Missouri was driving eastbound on Highway 30 in a 2003 Hyundai Accent. At the same time, Stephanie R. Roth of Brentwood, Missouri was driving westbound in a 2011 Mazda 3. John F. Massara of Fenton, Missouri was also driving westbound on Highway 30 in a 2012 Chrysler Town and County vehicle. As Wheat approached the intersection between Highway 30 and High Ridge Blvd, authorities note that Wheat made an improper left turn and subsequently traveled in the path of Highway 30’s westbound traffic. Roth could not stop her vehicle in time and struck the rear of Wheat’s vehicle. Massara attempted to swerve out of the way of the accident, but his vehicle swerved off of the road and traveled into a ditch. Wheat and Roth’s vehicles sustained extensive damage while Massara’s vehicle only sustained moderate damage.

Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to the accident and determined that Roth sustained minor injuries due to the accident. Roth was immediately transported to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri by North Jefferson County Ambulance services.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration routinely warns motorists that intersections can be the most complex and most dangerous scenario a motorist can face. If even a single motorist drives in an unsafe manner when crossing an intersection, a multiple-vehicle car accident is highly possible. In prior studies, the NHTSA has also noted that close to 40% of all car accidents either occurs at intersections or the accident involves an intersection in some way.

Missouri has imposed strict laws on intersection driving due to the potential safety risks. According to Statute § 304.351.3, any motorist wishing to make a left turn must give the right-of-way to any vehicle that is driving on the opposite direction of traffic. The law also allows Missouri authorities to set up yield or stop signs to further regulate the flow of traffic in intersections. Authorities can also forbid right or left turns at certain intersections if they wish. In a legal context, the statute states that driving above the speed limit in these kinds of areas will be “prima facie evidence of careless and imprudent driving” in a court of law. In other words, driving above the speed limit would make a very strong case of imprudent driving unless the driver could successfully rebut this kind of evidence. Missouri also makes the violation of § 304.351 a Class C Misdemeanor which can potentially imprison the violator for any amount of time less than a year.

Missouri takes intersection safety very seriously. If you were involved in a Missouri intersection car accident, please consult a Missouri car accident lawyer.

June 14, 2012

Fatal Head-on Collision Occurs on U.S. Route 160 in Howell County

Two Caulfield, Missouri residents were injured on June 10, 2012 in a car crash on Route 160 in Howell County. One Caulfield, Missouri resident was killed in the crash. The time of the Missouri wrongful death accident was 3:00pm.

Gary M. Ragar, age 53, was driving eastbound on Route 160 in his 1963 Ford Galaxie. At the same time, Ronald L. Becker, age 75, was driving westbound on Route 160 and was traveling in his 2001 Ford F250. Becker was also accompanied by Carolyn H. Becker, age 71. For unknown reasons, Ragar crossed the center line of Route 160. Ragar’s vehicle ended up striking Becker’s vehicle in a head-on collision. Both vehicles sustained total damage due to the head-on collision.

Carolyn and Ronald Becker both sustained some injuries due to the collision. Gary M. Ragar was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by Missouri State Highway Patrol. Highway Patrol examined the surviving drivers as required by Missouri law. Carolyn and Ronald Becker were both transported by ambulance services to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, Missouri. Ragar’s body was transported to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home in West Plains Missouri. Ragar’s next of kin has been since notified of the fatal Missouri car accident. None of the parties had their safety devices activated before the accident.

Missouri State Highway Patrol also notes that this has been the fourteenth (14th) fatality in this sector this year as opposed to the twelve (12) fatalities that occurred in 2011 in the same time period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and multiple other sources have noted that head-on collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents. Statistics show that close to 10 percent of all fatal car accidents are head-on collisions. From a scientific standpoint, head-on collisions are deadly because even a head-on collision with two vehicles traveling at moderate speeds can simulate an impact as if a vehicle had been traveling at extremely high speeds. Not only do head-on collisions often guarantee severe vehicle damage, but could also result in serious or fatal injuries. Wearing a seat-belt may potentially be the difference between a serious injury and a fatality, but the best protective measure is drive in a safe and careful manner.

Missouri car accident lawsuits can occur even if one or all of the parties involved in the accident are deceased (whether in the accident or afterwards). Parties can file lawsuits like wrongful death suits in a Missouri court of law that will litigate the issue of the car accident even if main parties are dead. In most cases, estates of the deceased will stand-in as a representative party. In some scenarios, family members may be able to act in behalf of a Missouri fatal car crash victim. However, these kinds of lawsuits are often very complex. In the case of a fatal Missouri car accident, it would be best to contact a Missouri car accident attorney for assistance and information.

June 11, 2012

Two Wentzville, Missouri Residents Injured in St. Charles Car Accident

Two residents of Wentzville, Missouri, one 25 years old and the other 2 years old, were injured in a Missouri car accident located on Route N and South Point Prairie Road in St. Charles County. The accident occurred on June 10, 2012 and happened at 5:40pm.

Earon M. Tourville of Wentzville, Misouri, age 16, was driving southbound in a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe on South Point Prairie Road. According to the traffic report, Tourville was also traveling with Jace C. Parker, age 2. Meagan K. Parker of Wentzville, Missouri, age 25, was traveling eastbound on Route N in her 2001 Ford Focus. When Tourville approached the intersection between Route N and South Point Prairie Road, Tourville came to a stop. However, he did not yield to Parker’s vehicle and attempted to turn onto Route N. Instead, Tourville’s Chevrolet Tahoe collided with the left side of Parker’s Ford Focus. Tourville’s vehicle sustained moderate damage while Parker’s vehicle sustained extensive damage due to the collision.

EMS workers determined that Jace C. Parker and Megan K. Parker were both injured in the accident. St. Charles County Ambulance later transported both to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

It is important for Missouri drivers to realize that if they are traveling with minors or infants, a Missouri car accident is always possible. Luckily, there are Missouri laws in place that regulate to what extent safety devices are needed for minors and infants. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and many other sources have noted over the past several years, safety devices like seat belts can only help potential Missouri car accident victims in terms of not allowing them to be Missouri car accident fatalities.

Missouri statute § 307.179 imposes certain requirements for all “passenger cars” on the road (passenger cars meaning “every motor vehicle designed for carrying ten persons or less”). Not only are the vast majority of motorists are required to use a seat belt, minors who are passengers are also required to use seat belts. Interestingly, the statute recognizes that in a Missouri car accident lawsuit, the failure to wear a seat belt will not be used as evidence of comparative negligent. Comparative Negligence is a legal doctrine where the amount a victim can recover is deducted based on how much “fault” the victim also had in the accident’s occurrence. Failure to wear a seat belt can only come up in limited circumstances like when the failure directly contributed to the injuries suffered by a victim. Statute § 307.179 also requires certain safety devices for infants like booster seats or other safety devices.

These statutes are important because it can help ensure that an infant (or a minor) will not become a Missouri car accident fatality as opposed to an injured victim. If a minor or an infant was injured in a Missouri car accident in your vehicle, please consult a St. Charles Missouri car accident attorney for information and representation.