What Property Owners Should Do To Reduce Slip and Fall Accidents

When things get icy, people are at a higher risk of slips and falls. Snow and ice on sidewalks, roads, and parking lots increase the overall amount of slip and fall accidents during winter. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that falls account for an estimated 8.9 million emergency room visits per year. With this in mind, here are some ways you can exercise caution at your property or place of business to avoid slip-and-fall liability claims and ensure that your walk-in traffic is always able to walk out. 

The Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries

Most Missouri walking surfaces tend to get slippery during the winter due to the dangerous conditions caused by cold temperatures, snowfall, and ice. Such conditions can cause the feet of walking pedestrians to slip out from under them, causing them to land on a hard surface.

This slip and fall scenario is likely to lead to injuries such as:

  • Broken ribs, ankles, and wrists
  • Sprains and strains
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
  • Concussions
  • Permanent disabilities or impairments (in severe cases)

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries on Your Property

As a property owner, you have the responsibility of ensuring that all walkways and entries are maintained in a safe manner for each guest and visitor. Some of these safety measures include:

  • Inspecting areas regularly – Prevention is the best cure in many ways. As a property owner, you are required to regularly check your property so you can identify hazards and correct them before they become a liability. 
    • Using mats – Property owners are required to use mats to soak up water brought in by people’s shoes to keep areas from becoming slippery.

 

  • Clearing hazardous areas – Snow and ice should be removed from sidewalks and other paths immediately after a snowfall.

 

  • Salting walkways – You are required to salt or sand your walkways after snowfall or an ice storm. This process can help eliminate dangerous slips by adding traction for people passing by.
  • Posting warning signs – As a property owner, you are required to provide visitors with adequate warning of the known hazardous areas on your property. This may include setting up visible signs or sectioning off dangerous areas.
  • Checking gutters – Property owners are obligated to make sure their gutters and downspouts drain water away from walkways. If directed to the sidewalks, this water could freeze and cause slippery and dangerous conditions for passersby.

Any property owner who fails to take or ignores the appropriate safety requirements could potentially be held liable for slip or fall accidents that occur on their property.

Protect Your Interests With Lanzotti & Rau 

If you have a liability claim against you for a slip and fall incident that happened on your property, the experienced attorneys at Lanzotti & Rau can help. We know how to navigate the tricky waters of personal injury litigation and can successfully argue on your behalf to get you your desired results. For a free consultation to discuss your options, call us today at 573-335-9300.

Best Practices for Filing a Product Liability Claim for a Recalled Vehicle

Most people attribute car crashes to driver negligence. However, as much as reckless driving and lack of concentration have contributed to auto accidents in the U.S., the possibility of defective vehicles and manufacturer error should never be ruled out. In fact, nearly 30 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S. by their manufacturer in 2018, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

Common Vehicle Malfunctions that Result in Recalls

A malfunction is the process where a product fails to work as expected. Some common vehicle malfunctions that lead to recalls include:

  • Defective gas pedals
  • Faulty brakes
  • Unresponsive airbags
  • Defects in vehicle electronic systems
  • Tires vulnerable to blowouts
  • Cars prone to rolling

Such malfunctions can lead to serious accidents and extreme harm to motorists and pedestrians. 

2019 Subaru Recall

The most recent incident involves Subaru recalling over 250,000 vehicles in December 2019. The shocking announcement revealed that some of the automotive giant’s 2017-2018 Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester, and Ascent models can suddenly lose power while being driven. While automotive recalls in general can cause a lot of inconvenience to a vehicle owner, this particular malfunction poses a significant danger to drivers, passengers, and the general public that can lead to catastrophic injuries, damage, or even death.

So, what happens if you are involved in an accident with a recalled vehicle? The law mandates that any person injured as a result of negligence is entitled to full compensation for pain, lost wages, and medical bills, just to mention a few. Here’s how you can obtain your due compensation from a recalled vehicle accident.

Filing a Product Liability Claim for a Recalled Vehicle

Whenever you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident caused by a defective vehicle, it is your right to get fair compensation. Furthermore, if the vehicle in question has been recalled by a manufacturer, then you have solid grounds to pursue a product liability claim. In such cases, you should always be sure to:

  • Seek medical attention – No matter how minor your injuries may seem, always go for medical treatment, as such documentation will play a big part in your injury claim.
  • Keep possession of the recalled vehicle – This is the most important step. In the event of an accident resulting from a recalled manufacturer defect, you must retain control and possession of the defective vehicle and not allow it to be impounded or destroyed — even if it is severely damaged or declared totaled. Essentially, the defective vehicle is evidence to prove your case.
  • Contact an auto accident attorney – Remember, pursuing a product liability claim can be a very daunting process. For instance, if you owned a recalled car for a relatively long period of time, the manufacturer’s defense may contradict your claim by trying to prove you knew about the defect and chose to ignore it. That’s why you need a professional auto accident attorney to protect your rights and best interests and increase your odds of getting fair compensation. 

Get Your Due Compensation

Products sometimes fail consumers, so protect yourself and your investment by hiring a professional auto accident attorney who is experienced in both personal injury and product liability compensation to help you with the undertaking. 

The lawyers at Lanzotti & Rau will help you expedite your product liability claim and can pursue legal action to make sure you receive compensation for your troubles. If you want to learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation, call us today to at 573-335-9300.

Steps to Take After Your Child Is Injured in a School Bus Accident

 

When your kid rides a school bus, the last thing you expect is that he/she will get involved in an accident. This is understandable since this mode of transportation is seven times safer than passengers’ vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, regardless of such safety reports, between 4–6 children die in school bus accidents every year in the U.S. — not the most reassuring fact to know. 

If your child is injured in a school bus accident, you should take the following steps to protect their legal rights.

Step #1: Seek Medical Treatment

The first step you must take after your child is injured in a school bus accident is to make sure they are medically treated. No matter how minor the injuries are, you must follow up with a doctor for a full medical evaluation. This step helps to generate a comprehensive medical record on the injuries sustained by your child. More importantly, the wellbeing of your child should always on top of your list. By having your child examined by professional medical personnel, they’ll get the attention they need to heal faster and better. Medical records also come in handy during claim compensation in determining the severity, nature, and relationship of the sustained injuries to the accident.

Step #2: Document Any Information You May Have on the Accident

Sometimes details about school bus accidents tend to disappear. No one wants to be held accountable and the perpetrators may tend to interfere with the evidence. This can significantly interfere with your compensation claim. In order to protect your child’s legal rights to the fullest, you need to preserve the information received from the school district concerning the accidents. Make sure you get an official statement from relevant authorities and police reports. Getting an eyewitness account is also beneficial.

Step #3: Document Injuries and the Child’s Healing Process

If you wish to pursue a compensation claim for your child, you will need to document their injuries and their healing process. After being treated by a doctor, you should make sure to take a few pictures of their healing injuries. In personal injury cases, visual aids can actually increase your odds for better compensation. Additionally, since the accidents involve a child, the photos can elicit favorable sympathy from the jury or the judge. Remember to also evaluate your child’s healing process. Document how the accident is affecting them emotionally and physically. Some of the things to look out for include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Physical pains

 

Write down all of the relevant issues as they may serve as evidence in your child’s personal injury claim.

Step #4: Contact an Auto Accident Attorney

Contacting an auto accident lawyer when pursuing compensation for a child who is involved in a school bus accident is the most crucial step. 

An experienced auto accident attorney will:

  • know how much the claim is worth
  • always improve your odds for a good compensation
  • be well-versed on legal matters and the procedures involved
  • help you take the case to trial if an outside court settlement fails 
  • be bound by oath to be their client’s voice
  • always be motivated to help

Your Local Auto Accident Attorney

If your child is involved in a school bus accident, the experienced auto accident attorneys at Lanzotti & Rau are ready to protect your child’s legal rights by any legal means necessary. We treat our clients like family and never have we ever turned away anyone in need. We will be with you all the way and help you get favorable and deserved compensation. For more information about our services or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 573-335-9300.

How You Can Prevent a Winter Slip and Fall Injury

 

Property owners, homeowners, and business owners are obliged to maintain their properties so visitors and guests are not in harm’s way. Sometimes, it is not always safe to entrust your safety to a property owner’s hands — especially when out running errands in the Missouri winter. Between all the layers, stores, and slush, it’s easy to forget to watch your step. Such to-and-fro distractions can oftentimes cloud your alertness of unmaintained icy patches and lead to a nasty slip and fall. To help you stay on your feet when on the go, here are some ways you can prevent a winter slip and fall injury. 

Winter Slip and Fall Injury Prevention Steps

Walk wisely

Never walk outside during winter with your hands in your pocket. Instead, wear gloves if it is too cold. By keeping your hands free, you might be able to brace yourself for a fall.

Wear appropriate footwear

Leather-soled shoes or heels during the winter is dangerous. Boots with rubber soles are the best for increasing traction on slippery surfaces.

Watch where you walk

It is best to test the ground in front of you before stepping forward with your full weight. If the footing seems questionable, take an alternate route.

Take your time

If you are walking somewhere, never try to rush yourself. Running on the ice is a sure way of earning yourself a slip and fall injury.

Use supporting objects

When an area seems slippery, supporting objects like handrails may help you keep balance and help you recover from a potential fall.

What You Should Do After a Winter Slip and Fall Accident

  1. Report the fall immediately to whoever is in charge of the property — for example, a manager on duty.
  2. Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contacts.
  3. If possible, try documenting the scene with videos or pictures, including the negligence that led to your accident. The best way to document at the scene is by taking pictures with your phone. 
  4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may want to document your injuries with a qualified medical practitioner as quickly as possible. You should also report additional symptoms of the damage as soon as you notice them while recovering.
  5. Keep detailed notes about what caused the fall, what eyewitnesses said, and injuries sustained for future use.
  6. Be sure to get a copy of your filled-out accident report and take a picture of it with your phone before turning it in to the store manager. After turning it in, it is very difficult to obtain a copy and can only be received late in litigation.
  7. Consult with an attorney before speaking to the property owner or insurance company again. 

If you slip and fall on someone’s property due to his or her negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the damages. A slip and fall attorney will help you file your claim if you follow the above steps immediately after a slip and fall accident. Please meet with our attorney to discuss the next legal steps to take for your full compensation.

Did Ice Get You Down? We Can Help!

If you or your loved one suffer a slip and fall accident, we can help. At Lanzotti & Rau, we specialize in slip and fall accidents and pride ourselves on getting our clients their full compensation. Get in touch with us today by calling 573-335-9300 to schedule your free consultation.

The Importance of Documenting All of Your Injuries After an Accident

 

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 2.35 million people are injured or disabled due to a car accident, costing the United States more than $230 billion per year. There is the potential of danger whenever a person is operating a car — this is why the majority of states mandate insurance for the majority of car owners.

However, not many drivers have a plan of action whenever a car crash occurs. While it is a subject that you probably don’t want to think about, it is a very real possibility that you could be involved in a future accident, especially if you are between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age.

In the event of a car accident, you must document all of your injuries. Documenting injuries is very important to ensure that you obtain the full and fair amount of compensation that you deserve. Here’s how to effectively document your injuries and medical care.

Take Photographs and Videos with Your Smartphone

Make sure to take pictures of license plates, and any injuries sustained by yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident.

Keep a Daily Journal

It’s essential to provide a full picture of your daily life post-accident to document any pain and suffering. If you are incapacitated and are not able to properly journal, then ask a trusted friend or family member for assistance. Writing about what you have to deal with daily and documenting how your injuries have affected your life will allow the jury to experience your pain and suffering vicariously.

Maintain Your Medical Treatment

Ensuring that you undergo proper treatment will demonstrate that you are committed to getting better and that your injuries are authentic. It also creates a paper trail demonstrating the ongoing cost of seeking treatment.

Hire an Auto Accident and Liability Lawyer

Obtaining counsel from an accident and liability lawyer will allow you to tap into in-depth knowledge and understanding of the law. Ensuring that you are made whole post-accident requires you to jump through a bureaucracy that might be confusing and even intimidating for the uninitiated — a lawyer will explain your rights, pinpoint any limitation periods that may apply to your claim, and ensure that the authorization attempts by your insurance company are made in good faith. 

To schedule a free consultation with dedicated and experienced personal injury attorneys, contact Lanzotti & Rau today at 573-335-9300 and learn more about how we can represent you.

Common Reasons Your Social Security Disability Claim Can Be Denied

 

Having a disability claim denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is an unfortunate reality for a majority of those seeking compensation as the SSA reports more than 65% of initial claims are denied. Re-considerations, which is typically the first step in appealing a denial in most states, are denied at an even higher rate of 85%, according to the SSA. 

To assess the legitimacy of a claim, the SSA will use a litany of factors including the impairment that was considered, the exclusion of non-medical and medical records, and the type of medical condition associated with the claim. Here are some of the more prevalent reasons why Social Security disability claims get rejected.

Lack of Hard Medical Evidence

Like many government identities, the SSA will not expedite assistance unless there is hard evidence. If you want to qualify for disability benefits, for example, you will need to prove that you are incapacitated and unable to work due to your condition.

For a successful claim, keep accounts of all medical records, as well as documents that show that your disability has interfered with your ability to maintain work or sustain work activities. The administration will not send doctors to gather evidence on your behalf — your claim is to be backed by medical records from your primary care physician.

Prior Denials

Government administrations work on their own time, so it is understandable if you grow impatient waiting for your disability claim to be approved. However, filing multiple claims at once is not recommended. Doing so will only net you negative attention as claims are typically denied when the administration notices a pending or previously denied one on your account. To avoid a logjam of multiple claims that will likely be denied, contact a social security lawyer who can help you navigate the appeals process and move your claim along.

Failure to Cooperate and Follow Treatment

No matter how you feel about the administration, it is in your best interest to not only cooperate with them but to also follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. The administration will be more steadfast in supporting an individual who is compliant and has demonstrated the ability to maintain their end of the bargain. To increase your likelihood of approval, follow all requests for documentation, show up to all of your scheduled medical exams, make sure that you archive your paper trail to support future claims, and seek the help of a local Social Security lawyer.

Hire an Experienced Social Security Lawyer

The fact that your disability claim was denied does not mean you can’t take proactive steps in obtaining further support. In fact, having a lawyer in your corner can increase your odds of approval by about 60%. Therefore, the moment your claim is denied, you must act fast by securing an experienced attorney. Re-considerations allow a 60-day window to submit a written request for a hearing with an administrative law judge. To expedite your appeal, contact the qualified attorneys at Lanzotti and Rau. We are savvy to the SSA’s process and will move quickly to ensure your appeal is properly supported by hard evidence. To learn more about our expertise and to schedule your free consultation, call Lanzotti and Rau at 573-335-9300 today.

What Does Attorney-Client Privilege Mean?

 

One of the oldest privileges when it comes to common law, attorney-client privilege represents a client’s right to refuse to disclose—and to prevent third parties from disclosing—confidential communications between the attorney and client.

The United States Supreme Court notes that this privilege is designed to assure confidentiality, encouraging clients to make frank disclosures to their attorneys who are then better equipped to represent the client, provide robust advice, and accurately represent them in court. In layman’s terms, attorney-client privileges mean that a person who seeks counsel from a lawyer should be completely free of any fear that their secrets will be uncovered or disseminated.

Attorney-Client Privilege Limitations

According to a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privileges, client communication isn’t protected if its intent is to commit or cover up fraud or a crime. Because these privileges belong to the client, the client’s intent decides if the exception applies. This exception applies if the client is showing intention or is in the process of committing a violent act or crime, or if the client communicated with their attorney with intent to further fraud or to cover it up. Some states have taken a step further to include civil tort. For example, the exception could apply if an apartment tenant wants to unlawfully rent out a landlord’s property without proper legal authorization.

Importance of Hiring a Trustworthy Attorney

Trust establishes open lines of communication, increases cooperation, and ultimately drives accurate representation of facts. Clients who trust their lawyers are eager to meet lawyers’ needs, while also encouraging lawyers to be steadfast in their explanation and interpretation of common law. Regardless of practice or specialization, lawyers are humans who have an augmented understanding of the law—they will be more adaptable to clients who are willing to trust them. When in the service of a trustworthy attorney, clients will be more frank with information—making the process that much smoother for both attorney and client.

Local Attorneys You Can Trust

When you need representation for your legal affairs, rely on the services of a local attorney who understands the value of discretion and confidentiality. Lanzotti & Rau can help handle your legal issues in a professional and respectable manner that always honors the privileges bound between client and counsel. To schedule your complimentary consultation with the attorneys at Lanzotti & Rau, contact us today at 573-335-9300.

Is Missouri a No-Fault Auto Insurance State?

 

No-fault insurance means that if you are injured in a car accident, your insurance coverage will pay for some or all of your medical bills ensuring that you are made whole — this is done regardless of who was at fault for the crash.

How Do Claims Work in a No-Fault State? 

A no-fault insurance claim is one you make with your car insurance for payment of lost earnings, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket damages after a car accident. However, keep in mind that with no-fault insurance, you aren’t allowed to get compensation for pain and suffering as part of the claim. You can also step outside of these no-fault rules and file a liability claim against the at-fault driver if you have medical bills that reach a certain level. Different states will have different thresholds.

Current No-Fault Auto Insurance States

Several states follow some sort of version of the no-fault car insurance system. These states include:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Utah
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Oregon

Missouri’s At-Fault Auto Insurance System

As you can see, when it comes to car insurance, the state of Missouri is not one of the states that follows the no-fault rule. As an at-fault state, Missouri represents the majority of states in its position that each insurance company pays for the damages sustained according to the degree of fault of each party involved. In other words, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages to the other parties involved. 

Furthermore, the insurance company indemnifies the person who caused the accident by paying after the policy limits that are predetermined on their policy. If the insured person does not agree with the amounts paid out by the company, they may elect to seek uncompensated damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

Your Local Personal Injury Attorneys

Involved in a Missouri automobile collision? Lanzotti & Rau specializes in personal injuries that result from truck and auto accidents. If you suffered an injury in an auto accident, the professionals at Lanzotti & Rau can help you collect fair compensation. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact us today at 573-335-9300.

Semi-Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue

Rain, sleet, and snow are visible hazards that make everyone move with caution; however, there are some road risks that aren’t as easy for drivers to identify. Fatigue in semi-truck drivers doesn’t fall from the sky or cover the roads in slick bits of ice, but it can be equally or even more devastating for those in nearby lanes. 

Why Is Driver Fatigue Common in Semi-Truck Drivers? 

Truck driving is a difficult and stressful job. Semi-truck drivers work incredibly long hours and often have a significant sense of pressure to meet thin deadlines and deliver results as quickly as possible. This sometimes forces them to put overtime hours on the road. After being behind the wheel for so many consecutive hours, even the most experienced drivers can fall victim to fatigue. 

Because of the stress and schedule of semi-truck driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) no longer permits interstate truckers to drive for more than 11 hours after a 10-hour break from duty. The FMSCA also requires a 30-minute break once a driver hits eight consecutive hours behind the wheel. However, truck drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a crash when they’ve operated a vehicle for just over eight hours, which means that current regulations still push the time and tire limit of any driver. 

How Are Companies Dealing with Driver Fatigue? 

From 2016 to 2017, there was a 10% increase in the number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents. Although there’s no data on exactly how much of the increase was due to driver fatigue, it’s clear that some companies aren’t careful enough with their industry standards. And, unfortunately, accidents due to driver fatigue are still common enough that large trucking companies have become increasingly adept at handling claims against their employees.

Whether they misrepresent driver hours in logbooks or work to deny any other evidence of fatigue behind the wheel, both the insurance and the trucking company will try their best to minimize the compensation given to victims and their families. Similarly, trucking companies work with large legal teams to put immediate hours into the defense of any semi-truck accident case, which is why any victim needs his or her own representation if they want to take on a trucking company for compensation.

What Should You Do After a Similar Semi-Truck Accident? 

Although there are many regulations to prevent and minimize driver fatigue, there are still countless drivers who feel forced into taking chances. If you or a family member was involved in a semi-truck accident that you believe to be the cause of semi-truck driver fatigue, contact the lawyers at Lanzotti & Rau. Our expert legal team works on a contingent fee basis to ensure that you have the best defense for even the most complex accidents. To get started on reaching the right settlement, call us today to schedule a free consultation at 573-335-9300.

Can Workers Compensation Benefits Be Denied?

Knowing that their employer has workers’ compensation insurance is a huge relief for a lot of employees. However, in the unfortunate event that a claimant has to take advantage of an employer’s policy, he or she might be surprised to find out that not every claim is actually approved. 

Reasons for Workers’ Comp Claim Denials

With few exceptions, the state of Missouri requires nearly every employer to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees in the event of a work-related injury. However, there are many black, white, and gray reasons why employers, attorneys, and insurance companies might deny a claim, including: 

  • The injury isn’t covered. Typically, injuries incurred on the commute to or from the workplace are not covered. Similarly, are injury or disability for which there is no known cause is not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. 
  • The claimant didn’t report the injury. Anyone injured on the job must report his or her injury within 30 days. If the trauma is from an occupational disease or a cause or repeat exposure on the job, victims must report their workplace injury within 30 days of the clinical diagnosis. 
  • The claimant didn’t file the claim in time. Employees must report work-related injuries to the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) within two years after the incident or last benefit payment. This extends to three years if the injured person’s employer fails to report the injury to the DWC in a timely manner. 
  • The claimant was under the influence. Of course, alcohol and illegal substances are strong grounds for an outright claim denial. Sometimes, however, employers and insurance companies will attempt to use reported prescription medications as a source for workers’ compensation claim denial. 
  • The claimant ignored medical treatment and advice. In the state of Missouri, employers are entitled to assign the physician in a workers’ compensation case. Therefore, if an employee fails to inform his or her employer about the decision to seek separate medical treatment, it can weaken his or her workers’ compensation claim. 

Fighting a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim 

Not all workers’ compensation claim denials are deliberate. When you receive your denial notice, there should be a summary explaining why your specific claim wasn’t approved. Sometimes, a misfiled piece of paper or a simple mistake that’s out of your control can get in the way of your settlement. Other times, claims are unjustly denied or undervalued by design. 

The unfortunate truth is that employers want to save money, so they will try to minimize the severity of your claim, demand even more evidence that your injuries are work related, or attempt to deny cases for any number of just or unjust reasons. To prevent your employer, insurance company, and their representatives from cutting your fair compensation, you’ll need a smart lawyer fighting in your corner. The knowledgeable and experienced lawyers at Lanzotti & Rau are ready to step in the ring. 

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Missouri 

Being injured at work can sometimes make it harder for you to actually get back to work. If you were involved in an accident and hurt on the job, contact the legal team at Lanzotti & Rau. We work to protect claimants under the Workers’ Compensation Act and strive to settle for nothing but the best. For more information or for a free consultation on your workers’ compensation case, call us today at 573-335-9300.