Category Archives:All Posts

KC Auto Accident Lawyer - New 2017 Trucking Regulations for Missouri Truckers

Truckers in Missouri are required by law to maintain extensive safety measures, but whenever major rule changes are happening in a major industry, it can take a while for those changes to become a reality. Unfortunately, pressuring the trucking industry to make major safety changes can be difficult, but in 2017, there will finally be a few changes that could make the roads safer for the average driver.

KC Auto Accident Lawyer - New 2017 Regulations for Missouri Truckers

At Popham Law in Kansas City, we are the area’s leading auto accident lawyers, and if you were in an accident caused by another driver, make sure to call our personal injury law firm for the attorneys who’ll vigorously seek justice for you. For a free consultation, call our Kansas City law practice today at (816) 221-2288.

Changes for Truckers Coming in 2017

There are many reasons that commercial trucks get into accidents, and although some cases are the result of equipment failure or malfunction, the majority of accidents are caused by driver error.

Also, since these vehicles often pass through multiple states, they are regulated by both local and national laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), for example, requires certain minimum qualifications to be a commercial truck driver and limits how many hours a trucker may drive in a given period of time.

However, sometimes under pressure from employers to meet deadlines and sometimes due to other reasons, some truckers break these regulations, such as driving for longer than legally acceptable (or too long in general) or pass mandatory weigh stations.

To make the roads safer, some of the regulation changes include:

  • Training. First time and current CDL drivers may need to complete a course of instruction that meets the new Final Rule qualification standards.
  • Hours of Service. If a study showing that the 34-hour restart rule (two stretches of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. during the 34 hour rest) does reduce driver fatigue. If true, this rule may be re-enacted.
  • Electronic Logging Devices. These devices (ELDs) will be required for all drivers on December 16, 2017. While manually logged hours have been the standard since 1938, the ELD requirement will make logged hours much harder to falsify, and hopefully it will cut down on overworked drivers.

Common Trucking Violations That Result in Auto Wrecks, and Injuries

Most truck drivers must abide by the following rules:

  • Take 30-minute breaks every eight hours of being on-duty
  • After driving 70 hours in a week, the driver must rest for 34 consecutive hours
  • Not driver longer than 11 hours in a day
  • A weight limit that’s equal or less than the Federal limits
  • Stop at weigh stations in Missouri if the truck has a registered weight of 18,001 pounds or more

With these regulations in mind, and considering the conditions some truckers are put in, the most common ways that trucking violations can cause auto wrecks include, but are not limited to:

  • Over-loading the truck past cargo limit restrictions and not properly securing cargo using approved securing devices.
  • Not having a proper license. Most truck drivers in Missouri need a Class A license, which states that the driver can operate a truck weighing more than 13 tons, including a towed trailer weighing more than 5 tons.
  • Breaking hours-of-service rules, such as driving more than legally allowed.

What You Should Do If You’ve Been in a Trucking Accident in Missouri

If you were in a trucking accident in Missouri, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention for yourself and others, and make sure the police file an accident report. Additionally, it’s essential to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer who can look into your case and see if any trucking violations were committed.

Often, the trucking company may quickly seek to absolve itself of any wrongdoing with the goal of avoiding to pay for your accident and injuries.

Call the Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyers at Popham Law

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an accident with a truck, call our Kansas City auto accident lawyers ASAP. We will compassionately and vigorously represent your interest, collect the necessary evidence, and build a legal case to fight for the maximum available compensation for the financial damages you incurred.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Kansas City law firm, call us today at (816) 221-2288.

6 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your KC Car Accident Case

When injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s essential to speak with a Kansas City car accident attorney to ensure that you have comprehensive legal representation and counsel, as well as an accurate picture of what a reasonable and fair settlement will look like. However, following an accident, there are some actions that can completely ruin or damage a case.

6 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your KC Car Accident Case | Popham Law

By calling our Kansas City auto accident attorneys following an accident where you (or a loved one) was seriously injured or killed, we at Popham Law will compassionately and thoroughly guide you through the legal process, fighting for maximum compensation to fully cover the financial damages incurred. For a free, no-obligation with our auto accident attorneys, call our downtown KC law firm today at (816) 221-2288.

Filing a KC Car Accident Claim

When another driver is negligent or committing a traffic violation, such as speeding, and crashes into your car, you may be entitled to compensation for financial damages stemming from the accident, such as medical expenses, loss of income from work, pain and suffering, and more.

Like many states, however, Missouri applies the fault system when it comes to car accidents and financial responsibility. As such, following an accident that involved injury or death, you can:

  • File a claim with your own insurance company
  • File a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance company
  • File a lawsuit against the other driver in court

It’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can look at your case and determine whether or not you have a viable claim that’ll hold up in court.

8 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your KC Car Accident Case

In addition to helping you file a claim, your personal injury lawyer will also provide legal counsel so that you don’t hurt your chances of a successful claim. Some of the mistakes that claimants make include, but are not limited to:

1. Failing to call the police

Even minor accidents can cause injury, and no matter the case, it’s important to call the police and insist that they complete an accident report. This accident report is an important document when determining fault in the accident.

2. Not seeking medical assistance

Following a crash, you might feel as if you’re all right. However, some injuries don’t manifest right away (such as concussions or some brain injuries). By visiting a doctor after an accident, you may uncover a more serious injury that could require a lawsuit later on. Also, by visiting the doctor, you have a documented record that may support a claim.

3. Giving a recorded statement to anybody except your attorney

Insurance adjusters may be calling you after the accident, and they may seek a statement regarding how the accident happened. Even with your own insurance company, engaging the insurance adjuster without your attorney may cause problems, whether related to fault or anything else that could hurt your overall claim and/or potential settlement.

4. Accepting the settlement check right away

The insurance company may also want to close the case as quickly as possible, offering what might seem like a very attractive settlement. However, by accepting the first offer, you may be losing out on a much larger settlement. Additionally, when you accept the offer, you often cannot seek more money later on. If your injuries turn out to be much worse than you thought, then financial assistance to pay for the damages may be unavailable at this point.

5. Failing to disclose previous injuries and/or medical conditions

When the accident aggravated a previous injury or medical condition, you may still be entitled to compensation. As such, there is no reason to not disclose pre-existing injuries. Make sure to inform your doctor, your attorney, and your insurance company regarding pre-existing injuries that were aggravated.

6. Discontinuing medical treatment

Personal injury lawsuits can take time, as well as standard negotiations with the insurance company. As such, if you discontinue ongoing medical treatment, the insurance company may assume that you are better and may reduce the overall settlement amount. Always complete the full course of treatment.

Call the KC Car Accident Lawyers at Popham Law Today

Being injured in an accident is a terrifying, stressful experience, especially when serious injury or death occurred. However, you do have the law on your side when the accident was caused by the other individual. Make sure to seek justice for the injuries you didn’t have to incur and call the leading auto accident lawyers in Kansas City. For a free consultation, call Popham Law today at (816) 221-2288.

Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorney - Responsibilities When Riding a Motorcycle With a Passenger

As every mother knows, motorcycles aren’t the safest vehicles in the world, and there are many potential causes of motorcycle accidents in Missouri. Whether the other driver didn’t see the motorcycle, the motorcycle driver was acting negligently or wrongfully (e.g., speeding), or for any other reason, dangerous conditions can put the motorcycle driver and his/her passenger at severe risk for serious injury or death following an accident.

Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Attorneys | Popham Law

At Popham Law, we are some of the leading motorcycle attorneys in KC, and if you were the motorcycle driver or the passenger, and you were injured in an accident (or a loved one was killed), you need to call the personal injury lawyers at Popham Law ASAP. We offer vigorous, relentless legal representation to make sure that you receive justice.

To speak with our auto and motorcycle accident attorneys, call our KC law firm today at (816) 221-2288. Free consultations are available.

Legal Requirements for Passengers in Missouri

Missouri, like most states, requires that motorcycle passengers are only permitted on bikes designed to carry more than one person. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent and regular seat and footrests, and squeezing a passenger onto a single seat is illegal and highly dangerous.

Additionally, motorcycle passengers in Missouri must also follow the same safety requirements as the driver; for instance, passengers must wear a helmet (across the border and in the State of Kansas, only passengers under 18 years old must wear helmets).

Safety Tips for Passengers That Can Reduce Motorcycle Accidents & Injuries

Even with the proper safety equipment, both motorcycle drivers and passengers need to prepare for potential dangers by getting used to driving (and riding) on a motorcycle. Remember, if the passenger doesn’t really understand how motorcycles work and feel, then the passenger may inadvertently cause an accident by leaning the wrong way or resisting a maneuver, for example.

Some other safety tips for passengers on a motorcycle can include:

  • Drivers should consider the motorcycle passenger as an active rider, whereas the passenger helps follow safety and procedure operations.
  • Drivers should know that the passenger will affect the handling characteristics of a motorcycle, especially during stopping, quick movements, and more.
  • Emergency braking procedures will be impacted by the passenger’s weight and position on the bike.
  • Drivers need to take extreme caution during corners due to the added weight.
  • Drivers need to take more time when passing.
  • The effects of wind and side winds will be stronger with a passenger.

Insurance Considerations for Motorcycle Passengers

In Missouri, motorcycle owners are required to carry liability insurance. Generally, when a motorcycle driver crashes with a passenger, then the driver’s liability insurance should cover the passenger. However, the driver’s liability depends on the policy he/she has, and because motorcycle crashes can involve severe injury and death, it’s typically advised to get the highest level of liability coverage.

In cases when the crash was objectively caused by another driver, then the other driver’s insurance should cover the property damage and personal injury. Nevertheless, in any case (whether the accident was caused by the motorcycle driver or another driver), if the motorcycle passenger’s injuries are very severe, and the insurance company isn’t covering the full extent of the damages, then the passenger may have to file a lawsuit to litigate for reasonable and fair compensation.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Kansas City? Here’s What to Do

After a crash, one of the most important things to do is call 911 and get medical help for yourself and anyone else injured. At some point, you may be required to give an accident report to the police. Even if you think the crash was your fault, it’s a good idea to refrain from such comments when giving the initial report (some other situation, that you may not have known about, could have been the reason for the crash).

Other things you should (or may need to) do include:

  • Document nearly everything. Take notes, take photos, and get names and contact information of witnesses.
  • Provide insurance information. You should also give your contact information and insurance information to anyone else involved in the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company. It’s important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible; you may want to give them the contact information you collected from witnesses of the crash. Also, don’t admit fault and be careful with what you say to the insurance company. Admitting fault could reduce or eliminate an insurance settlement or payout.
  • Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. With the help of an attorney, you can acquire leading legal representation and counsel to fight for an insurance settlement or damages award that accurately reflects all the losses you suffered in the wreck.

Call the KC Motorcycle at Popham Law Today

Due to the nature of a motorcycle accident in Missouri, if you were in a collision, you may be dealing with life-changing injuries that may require medical treatment, surgery, and/or long-term care, among others.

For this reason, it’s important to speak with the KC personal injury attorneys who care. We’ll fight for your full and fair compensation, and we’ll always put your interests at the forefront of our litigation strategies.

Don’t hesitate and call the KC motorcycle lawyers at Popham Law today by dialing (816) 221-2288. Free consultations are available.

KC Car Accident Lawyer - Distracted Driving Car Accident Injuries & Compensation

Distracted driving can be just as deadly as drunken driving, but it is definitely more common. It has quickly become one of the most common causes of deadly accidents in Missouri. Whether the driver is looking at his/her phone, not holding the wheel to do something with his/her hands, and so forth, just a moment of distracted driving can lead to a crash and injury or death.

KC Car Accident Lawyer | Distracted Driving Car Accident Injuries

If you were the victim of a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for the medical bills, loss of income from work, and so on. The first step in getting peace and conclusion after this horrid experience is to call the KC car accident attorneys at Popham Law. We offer experience, compassion, and professionalism to help you hold the responsible individual(s) accountable.

For a free consultation, call our KC law firm today at (816) 221-2288.

Examples of Distracted Driving Accidents

There are three general types of distracted driving, including:

  1. Visual
  2. Manual
  3. Cognitive

Some of the most common ways that drivers get distracted on Missouri roads include:

  • Talking on (or simply using) the smartphone or cell phone and driving. As common as talking or texting on the phone is, this action is very dangerous as it takes the driver’s eyes (visual), hands (manual), and mind (cognitive) off the road.
  • Eating and drinking. When drivers eat and drink while driving, they are taking their hands off the steering wheel, and if they spill the food or drink, they can become especially distracted.
  • Getting ready and grooming. Many drivers finish their grooming in the car, such as on the way to work. Combing hair or putting on makeup leaves drivers with insufficient time to react to dangers on the road.
  • Following directions with GPS. Although many GPS devices and apps have hands-free modes and audio directions; however, when drivers are focused on their GPS, whether changing directions or looking for something nearby, their hands, eyes, and minds are off the road.

In addition to these common distractions that end up with deadly results, some other common (and deadly) distractions include fiddling with the vehicle’s controls or another set of controls, talking to passengers in a distracting manner, reading, or even watching videos (it’s hard to believe, but watching videos while driving is a growing problem).

Possible Injuries

Unfortunately, distracted driving can result in horrendous accidents, severe injuries, and death, and everyone from the distracted driver and his/her passengers to the other driver can be severely injured or killed in such an accident. In 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver, which is almost the entire population of Kansas City. In the years since this statistic came out, the frequency of smartphone use while driving certainly hasn’t decreased.

Victims of distracted drivers, that aren’t killed, may be looking at extensive and long-lasting injuries, ranging from concussions and traumatic brain injuries to amputations, paralyzation, and more.

Distracted Driving and Missouri Law

Missouri law prohibits teenagers and drivers under 21 from texting and driving, and drivers caught texting while driving may be looking at a fine of $200 and 2 points added to the driver’s driving record. Additionally, distracted teen drivers who got in an accident may lose their insurance coverage. Even if the insurance company doesn’t cancel the policy, an accident caused by distracted driving can increase rates by 50 percent for three to seven years.

Compensation in a KC Car Accident Case

Whatever the cause of your accident may have been, the KC car accident attorneys at Popham Law will relentlessly help you pursue the maximum compensation available for any losses stemming from the wreck, including but not limited to:

  • Medical bills, including surgery, prescriptions, and medical devices, among others
  • Rehabilitation and any costs for lifestyle changes (such as wheelchairs, ramps, etc)
  • Any calculated ongoing and future medical costs
  • Lost wages from missing work while injured
  • Loss of potential future earning capacity
  • Funeral expenses if a death occurred
  • Loss of consortium
  • Grief counseling and therapy
  • Pain and suffering

If the driver’s negligent or wrongful actions were particularly egregious, then you may be entitled to punitive damages as well.

Call the Popham Law Firm for Your KC Accident Lawyers

As in many other states, Missouri recognizes the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence.” This means that both parties can be liable for their percentage of fault. In a distracted driving case, however, a majority the legal fault is generally held by the distracted driver.

Nevertheless, although it may seem like an open-and-closed case (hint: it never is), it’s always essential to have the most experienced and talented personal injury attorneys on your side. With Popham Law, we’ll relentlessly help you seek justice while holding the responsible party accountable for his/her actions.

For a free consultation with the auto accident attorneys at Popham Law, call our KC personal injury law firm today at (816) 221-2288.

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Age discrimination occurs when an employer (or co-worker, supervisor, or another individual at the workplace) discriminates against another person because of his/her age. The discrimination can involve harassment, contributing to a hostile work environment, or it can involve adverse impacts on the victim’s career and prospects, such as hiring/firing, promotion, unfair opportunities for younger workers, and so on.

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act | Popham Law

Age discrimination in Missouri workplaces is a violation of federal and state laws, yet it still occurs with frightening frequency. In fact, in 2013, the EEOC received over 21,000 complaints about age discrimination.

For this reason, if you feel that you’re being discriminated against because of your age, call the KC employment law attorneys at Popham Law as soon as possible.

What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is one of the most well-known, and used, federal laws in these cases. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in terms of hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, or conditions of employment. This act applies to any employee over 40 years old. In short, an example of a violation of the law would be denying an employee fringe benefits solely because of the employee’s age. It’s important to note that ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

At the state level, the Missouri Human Rights Acts protects individuals over 40 (and less than 70) from age discrimination. This act applies to employers with 6 or more employees.

Examples of Age Discrimination & Harassment in the Workplace

Discrimination and harassment can either be “in your face” or quite subtle. Either way, it’s important to understand the difference between isolated incidents, violations of law, and actions that wouldn’t be a violation of law. Because every situation is different, you can find confidence and legal expertise and insight by calling a Missouri employment discrimination attorney.

Nevertheless, here are some common examples of what age discrimination and harassment might look like:

  • An individual is asked his/her age at the job interview, and he/she is unsuccessful because the employer said, “We need a more mature person for the role.”
  • An older, 55-year individual applies for a job and the employer asks, “Why do you want this job at this late stage in your life.”
  • An individual is an employee at a shop but is made redundant and replaced by a younger person. The manager reveals that he/she wants a new, “upbeat” feel to the shop in order to attract younger customers.
  • An employee notices that younger employees are receiving training on new equipment. When the employee asks why he/she isn’t getting invited to the training, the employer tells the employee that he/she is getting too old to learn new tricks.

Exceptions to Age Discrimination Protections

It is essential to remember that employers have rights as well, and so there are a few exceptions to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. These exceptions include:

  • Hiring a person to provide domestic or personal services in a home, including the care, instruction, or supervision of children. For instance, a person of a certain gender and age may be needed to help with toileting, showering, and rehabilitation.
  • The employer discriminates when it is reasonable to protect the physical, psychological, or emotional well-being of children in the employer’s care.
  • Hiring a person of a particular age when age is a genuine occupational requirement, such as drama or artistic performances, photographic or modeling work, or when it’s needed for authenticity or credibility. (Bona fide occupational qualification – BFOQ).
  • Employers that are members of an Indian (Native American) tribe are amongst the excepted employers.

It is important to note that, in Missouri, employers can fire individuals for a wide range of reasons. The business does not violate ADEA as long as it can prove that the individual was fired on other grounds (not age, or any of the protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

What to Do If You’re Being Discriminated Against

If you’re being discriminated or harassed at work, then it’s essential to speak up. One problem with age discrimination is that the victims are intimidated and/or fear retaliation; in other cases, it’s just difficult to prove that an employer was discriminating against you because of your age. Furthermore, the 2009 Supreme Court decision, Gross v. FBL. Financial Services, Inc., further restricted age discrimination claims as, because of this case, you (the plaintiff) needs to prove that age was the sole reason for discrimination.

However, there are a few things you can do:

  • File a discrimination claim with the state administrative agency, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR)
  • File a discrimination claim with the federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Don’t delay in filing your claim, as you must file your claim with the MCHR 180 days of the date you believe you were discriminated against; you have 300 days after the discrimination to file with the EEOC.

Contact the Popham Law Firm for Your Discrimination Attorneys

Victims of age discrimination may be able to recover remedies in the lawsuit, including:

  • Back pay
  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Reinstatement
  • Front pay
  • Liquidated damages
  • Payment of attorney fees, expert witness fees, and court costs

If you were discriminated against because of your age in a Missouri or Kansas City workplace, make sure to not hesitate and call the leading KC employment law attorneys at Popham Law. Consultations are always free, so call today at (816) 221-2288.

What to Expect in a Pedestrian Accident Injury Settlement

Pedestrians have rights in Missouri, and when a pedestrian is struck and injured by a negligent driver, that individual may be entitled to compensation to cover his/her medical expenses, loss of work, and other financial damages. When filing a personal injury lawsuit in these cases, one question we at the Popham Law Firm hear is, “What kind of settlement can I expect?”

What to Expect in a Pedestrian Injury Settlement | Popham Law

There are several factors that can indicate the settlement amount, from the severity of the injuries, the costs of medical expenses and other expenses, and the percentage of fault (remember, Missouri recognizes the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence”). If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, call the KC personal injury attorneys of Popham Law at (816) 221-2288.

The Personal Injury Process in Missouri

The settlement is an important part of the entire personal injury process. After recovering from the pedestrian accident and filing a lawsuit, it’s important to have as much evidence and documentation as possible to determine what will be an appropriate settlement amount. Remember, you have to cover for current damages as well as those in the future.

The process can be frustrating and stressful. Although every case is different, we’ve listed a few parts of the personal injury process in Missouri:

  • Your pedestrian accident claim. When you bring your case to a personal injury attorney, you’ll discuss the details of the accident, the injuries, and the current damages for which you may be compensated.
  • You may write a demand letter. When moving forward in the claim, you’ll identify the liable parties you feel are responsible for causing the injuries.
    • You and your attorney may send a “demand letter” that explains the reasons why you’re filing the claim, the injuries you’ve sustained from the accident caused by the party’s negligence, and the amount of compensation you may be pursuing.
  • The defendant may agree or negotiate the settlement, such as offering a lower amount in hopes of a compromise. The negotiations may go on for months, and if there is no resolution, the case may go to trial. Sometimes, the case may go through “mediation.”

Knowing the process can help showcase the importance of the settlement throughout the entire process. Although you and your attorney will be working out this estimate together, you should consider some of the key factors when determining the settlement amount.

Key Factors of a Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement

Below are some key factors that will influence the amount that you can receive in a pedestrian accident lawsuit. These factors include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The amount of work you missed due to your injuries
  • The nature and extent of medical treatment
  • The impact that your injuries have had on your daily life and routine
  • The prospects for a full recovery
  • Whether or not you had any role in the fault
  • Lost future opportunities attributed to your injuries
  • The impact your injuries will have on your future earning capacity

Insurance Adjusters and Your Settlement

Like many other states, Missouri follows the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence.” In short, this just means that fault is divided by the amount of negligence both parties played in the accident.

For instance, imagine you were crossing the crosswalk looking at your phone. A car isn’t paying attention either and hits you. While the car was mostly at fault for not respecting the pedestrian’s lawful right to cross the crosswalk, the pedestrian may be given a small percentage of the fault, as he/she also wasn’t paying attention.

You’re suing the other party for $10,000 in damages. The insurance adjuster found the other party at 90% fault, and you at 10% fault. Your share of the fault (10%) reduces the amount of available settlement respectfully. The maximum available, in this example, would be $9,000.

Call the KC Injury Attorneys at Popham Law Today

A pedestrian accident can present serious injuries, and it’s important to look at those injuries, consider if the other party was negligent and at fault for the injuries, and what you can do about it. After taking care of your injuries, one of the first things to do is contact the KC personal injury attorneys at Popham Law. Consultations are always free, so call us today at (816) 221-2288.

IT’S A LOT EASIER TO BREAK THE LAW IF NO ONE IS WATCHING

Remember Enron?  I know, some of you weren’t born in 2001, but it was a big deal back then.  Here’s the story in a nutshell.  Enron Corporation was a Houston energy company, formed in 1985.  Through a number of tax loopholes and questionable accounting, Enron was able to hide billions of dollars in debt from its shareholders.  When the stuff hit the fan, Enron’s stock plummeted from a mid-2000 high of $90.75 a share to less than $1.00 per share in November 2001.  Lawsuits followed, and some Enron executives actually went to jail.  Shareholders literally lost billions of dollars, and their accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, essentially dissolved.  Who knows how many lives wEnronere changed forever – some went to jail, but hundreds of innocent people lost their jobs and their savings.

If only someone on the inside had blown the whistle sooner.

Around the same time, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, right here in Missouri, was preparing an “initial public offering” – an “IPO.”   Thomas Dunn started as an accountant for Enterprise, and eventually became the company’s comptroller.  Among other things, it was his job to certify that the company was following appropriate accounting procedures – something investors in an IPO think is pretty darned important.  You can read the entire story in the Missouri Appellate Court opinion, Dunn v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, 170 S.W.3d 1 (Mo. App. E.D. 2005), but the short version is that Dunn was the whistleblower that Enron needed.  He warned the Enterprise executives about the deficient accounting practices, and told them the Securities and Exchange Commission would require different reporting.  This caused a delay in the IPO, and the company’s officers were not happy.  Dunn was fired on January 4, 2001.

Dunn sued, and a jury awarded him $4,000,000.00.  Enterprise never forgot.

Ever since, big money in Missouri has tried to protect corporations like Enterprise from whistleblowers.

That’s right – corporations like Enron and Enterprise don’t want people to know when they cheat.

Among many other problems with SB 43 (see my earlier blogs), the bill eliminates all protection for people whose very job it is to report when their employer has broken the law.  In a special section of the bill – ironically titled the “Whistleblower’s Protection Act” – big corporate interests have finally gotten what they paid for.  An employee has no protection if the “unlawful act or serious misconduct reported concerns matters upon which the employee is employed to report or provide professional opinion.”  In other words, if it is their job – as it was Dunn’s job at Enterprise – to report accounting fraud, and he reports it, he has no protection.  Heroes like Dunn are supposed to keep their heads down and their mouths shut, if they know what’s good for them.

SB 43 has passed in the Missouri Senate, but it still must be passed in the House.  Is this what we want in Missouri?  Big corporations buying laws that allow them to cheat?  Call your representatives and let them know how you feel!

Traumatic Brain Injury and Your Options in KC

Brain injury from a traumatic accident is a major cause of disability in the United States. Every year, over 1.4 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and an average of 50,000 people die while 23,000 survive, but must be hospitalized. Car accidents and slips and falls are major causes of TBI. Although some accidents are unavoidable and unpredictable, others are the result of a person’s negligence.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Your Options in KC | Popham Law Attorneys

If you or a loved one was injured due to a traumatic brain injury, it’s essential to seek legal action with the help of the top-rated personal injury attorneys in Kansas City MO. With the help of your personal injury attorneys at Popham Law, we’ll diligently investigate the circumstances of the case, counsel you through the legal process, and provide aggressive, yet professional, representation.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with our personal injury attorneys, call the Popham Law Firm today at (816) 221-2288.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is usually caused by a sudden impact to the head; even whiplash could be enough to rattle the brain and cause injury. A moderate brain injury is defined as a loss of consciousness for 20 minutes to 6 hours and a Glasgow Coma Scale of 9 to 12. A severe injury occurs when the loss of consciousness lasts longer than 6 hours, and there’s a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3 to 8.

Some other symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can include:

  • Deficits with attention, concentration, memory, language processing, and more
  • Problems with speech and language, including reading and writing
  • Difficulties with interpretation of touch, temperature, movement, etc
  • Partial to total loss of vision
  • Decrease or loss of hearing
  • Loss of diminished sense of smell and taste
  • Seizures associated with epilepsy
  • Physical paralysis/spasticity
  • Adverse emotional behavior

A victim of TBI can suffer from many symptoms, and it’s always important to see a medical professional after an accident. A diagnosis of TBI will be a fundamental piece of evidence when filing a personal injury lawsuit.

The Legal Options of a TBI

A TBI can pose serious consequences for victims. Even if you fully recover, you may still have to live with this life-changing injury. If the accident that led to the brain injury was caused by another person’s negligence, however, you can file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for the damages that this injury presents.

To know if you have a case, you should always have an experienced personal injury attorney review your case’s details.

Compensation for TBI

By filing a personal injury lawsuit based on the other party’s negligent actions that caused your TBI, you are seeking compensation to cover the financial damages that such an injury can pose. Some types of compensation can include:

  • Victims of a traumatic brain injury may require extensive treatment, including surgery, lengthy hospital stays, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and so on. As such, an attorney will help you fight for compensation for both present and future medical costs.
  • Additionally, victims of TBI often have to take off work for days, weeks, and sometimes months. A personal injury lawsuit may seek compensation for lost wages.
  • Because TBI can disrupt your life, victims in these cases often ask for compensation that covers their pain and suffering.

Brain injury settlements tend to be higher than other personal injury settlements due to the severity of these injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

In Missouri, a personal injury lawsuit can only be filed within the first 5 years after the accident or incident occurred. After this statute of limitations, you may be unable to file a suit and litigate to recover damages from the injury. In order to be successful in your personal injury case, you and your attorney will need to prove:

  • You have a brain injury,
  • Your injury was not pre-existing, and
  • Your injury resulted from the reckless or negligent actions of another person or entity

Proving negligence also means showing that the defendant caused the incident or failed to prevent it from happening. Nevertheless, due to Missouri’s comparative fault laws, if you contributed to the accident, the percentage of your involve will be considered regarding the overall settlement.

Contact the Popham Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to a traumatic brain injury, one of the first things to do (after getting the necessary medical care) it to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Kansas City personal injury attorney. By calling our law firm, our attorneys will carefully listen to your case and interests, investigate the circumstances of the case and build evidence, and vigorously litigate and/or negotiate for a full and reasonable settlement. For a free consultation about your case, call Popham Law in Kansas City today at (816) 221-2288.

How to Know If You’ve Been a Victim of Employment Discrimination in Kansas City

Discrimination is far from eradicated, and employment discrimination occurs in Kansas City workplaces when an employer treats a qualified applicant or employee less favorably merely because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

How to Know If You’re a Victim of Employment Discrimination in KC

If you believe that you’re the victim of discrimination, one of the first steps you should take is to contact a Kansas City discrimination lawyer. Consultations are free, and we can discuss your situation and whether or not you have a case. Call us today at (816) 221-2288.

Understanding Employment Discrimination in Kansas City MO

Discrimination and harassment can be hard to spot at times, while in other circumstances it is as clear as day. When something at work doesn’t go well, such as a firing or the loss of promotion, it can be tempting to jump to the conclusion that you were the victim of discrimination. You may very well be the victim of discrimination. Either way, it’s important to step back, look at the situation, and understand the case from a legal point of you.

There are several federal and Missouri laws making discrimination in the workplace an illegal act. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is perhaps the most well-known law protecting workers from discrimination on the bases of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. This law applies to any employer in Missouri with 15 or more employees. It is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Missouri Human Rights Act has the same protections, but it only applies to employers with six or more employees.

Examples of Employment Discrimination in Kansas City MO

Employment discrimination can painfully clear just as easily as it can be subtle. Additionally, it is important to remember that anti-discrimination laws do have limits. For instance, they do not protect individuals against foolish, rash, harsh, ridiculous, or generally unfair employment decisions. Missouri is also employment-at-will, and employers can terminate employees at any time (unless there’s a specific contract that details time).

In general, employment discrimination is coupled with an adverse employment decision, such as firing/hiring, promotion/demotion, unfair wages and/or benefits, unfair opportunities for growth, and so on. To get a better idea of what employment discrimination looks like, we’ve included several examples below:

  • Race — A person applies for a job. When the person calls the manager to ask why he/she didn’t get the job, the manager says, “We’ve employed people from your country before; you don’t share the same work ethic.”
  • Color — Same situation as above, but the manager says, “We don’t employ black or brown people.”
  • Religion — The manager refuses to hire a person because he/she is an Orthodox Jew. Examples can also include firing a Muslim because he/she missed work to attend religious holidays, and transferring a Rastafarian to a different department with less public contact because of the Rastafarian’s dreadlocks.
  • Sex — A woman isn’t hired because the manager says “the company’s clients prefer relating with men.” Another example could include getting laid off, while men in the same job and with less seniority get to keep their jobs.
  • National origin — An Arab is harassed for practicing Islam; a Mexican is paid less than other workers. Another example can occur when a Chinese person isn’t hired because the employer thought he/she was Vietnamese (this is still national origin discrimination).
  • Disability — An employer requires employees to take a medical exam, or disclose past or current medical conditions. Failing to provide reasonable accommodation for the disabled person’s needs.

Harassment and workplace retaliation are also unlawful activities in the workplace. In short, if you are being harassed based on your protected status, to the point where the workplace seems like a hostile work environment, then you may have a case. Additionally, if you are the victim of retaliation for reporting discrimiination, you may also have a case.

Ways to Prove That You’re a Victim of Discrimination

Workplace discrimination can be difficult to prove, and perhaps the best piece of advice is to contact an experienced discrimination attorney, or at least talk to a trusted non-work friend or family member. Also, try to document the discrimination in the most comprehensive way possible. Write discriminatory comments down, including the date, the time, and any witnesses. Also consider documenting emails, performance reviews, and any other materials or other things that could be used as evidence.

Contact the Employment Law Attorneys at Popham Law

At Popham Law in Kansas City, we’ve helped many clients with their workplace discrimination cases, and we have the resources and courtroom experience to help you too. If you believe that you were (or are!) the victim of workplace discrimination, it’s essential not to hesitate and contact the Popham Law Firm today. Remember, anti-discrimination statutes have a clock on them.

Call today at (816) 221-2288.

AT A TIME WHEN WE DESPERATELY NEED TO MOVE FORWARD, WE ARE BACKING UP

By Bert Braud, The Popham Law Firm

Discrimination is real, folks, and it’s on the front pages of the newspaper.  We saw its ugliness recently in a St. Louis cemetery (an act copied this week in Philadelphia).  Jewish community centers are receiving bomb threats.  Our neighbors to the west, in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, saw Bert Braudthe horror of discrimination in the killing of one man and wounding of another, based solely on the color of their skin.

Those incidents didn’t happen on the job, but they are rooted in the evil of discrimination.  And the same evil appears in the workplace.  I currently represent two African American men who were exposed to a noose hanging at work.  My colleagues and I in the National Employment Lawyers Association see it every day.

And instead of moving forward, protecting the hard workers of Missouri who just want to do their jobs, the Missouri Legislature is backing up.  We should be making it harder to discriminate, not easier!

Yesterday, the Missouri Senate began debating SB 43, a bill that makes drastic changes to the Missouri Human Rights Act (the MHRA).  For more detail on the specific changes, scroll down the Blogs page at www.pophamlaw.com.  Here are the highlights (discrimination comes in many shapes, but I’ll use a job termination of a disabled person in the examples below):

  • The burden of proof will be harder. Instead of discrimination contributing to the decision to terminate, the new standard will be that the termination was “because of” the employee’s disability.  That means that an employer who can come up with any other reason is not liable for discrimination.  It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to create a non-discriminatory reason.
  • Personal responsibility is gone. The new law would totally excuse the individual wrongdoer, no matter how ugly or vile his conduct.  This change protects someone who, for example, mocks or makes fun of a person with a disability.
  • Decades old caps on damages – taken from Federal Law – will be imposed on the victims of discrimination. Ironic, isn’t it?  Just last week Missouri Senator Will Kraus echoed the sentiment of many in the chamber, when speaking about the Real ID law: “I’m tired of federal overreach.”  Apparently, “federal overreach” doesn’t apply here, because in addition to the caps from federal law, the bill wants to make our own State Supreme Court ignore its past decisions and follow decisions from Federal Court instead.
  • Whistleblowers – who risk their careers to protect others – can barely recover at all.

When Rod Chapel, President of the Missouri NAACP, testified against a similar bill in the Missouri House on February 13, Committee Chairman Bill Lant cut him off, shutting down his microphone.  Rod accurately called the legislation a return to “Jim Crow” laws.

Sadly, he’s right.  We are backing up.  Please contact your representative and tell them we want to move forward, not backwards.