Auto Accident


 

If you have been in an accident, there is no doubt your life has been disrupted. With the right help there are often ways to solve the problems. We might be able to get you a rental car under your own insurance policy or the insurance policy of the wrong doer. Even if we cannot get them to pay for this "up front", we can advise you about what can be done in order to recover that expense at the "end" of the case.

You often have the option of having your own insurance carrier repair the car or have the "other" insurer repair the car. There are advantages and disadvantages to either approach that vary from case to case. We can explain those issues and guide you through them.

Then there is the matter of injury. Who will pay for the medical treatment? Sometimes there are very few resources available and we can guide you to certain providers that understand enough to wait until the case is resolved in order to secure payment. Other times there are a multitude of resources available and surprisingly you can make multiple collections that are perfectly legal.

Sometimes the other driver does not have insurance. When that happens uninsured motorist laws make it possible to recover for your injuries against your own carrier. Many times our clients are not aware that they have coverage that provides for payment of injuries over and above what the "other" driver's carrier pays. We are familiar with all these policies and can help you with them.

Once we are through the initial problems of car rental, car repair or replacement and medical treatment, then we focus on settling your case. Hard work and preparation are the best ways to secure a favorable settlement and your assistance is important. We will need pictures of the damaged car. We will need you to keep a careful record of all medical treatment. We will need to help you get all of the medical treatment you need for a successful recovery. Sometimes we can help you understand the medical process.

If necessary, as we move toward trial, we have many things to do together to persuade the jury to do the right thing. We have years of experience in the presentation of evidence during trial that will give you the best chance of a successful outcome in your case.

We offer various types of contingent fee contracts. If you cannot afford to pay us "up front", and very few of our clients can, there is almost always a way we can work with you.

Please call us and we will help you through the process.

Employment Law


 

Most people are employed "at will" which means they do not have an employment contract. The primary exception to that is persons who are in a union. If you are in a union you may have extra rights that other people do not have. We will be glad to talk to you about those problems but you can also get help from your union and your union's lawyer.

Some white-collar employees have contracts of employment and those contracts often have rights and responsibilities in them that we can help you understand. Some employment contracts prohibit an employee from "competing" with his former employer for a period of time after he terminates his employment. Sometimes those clauses are enforceable and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they can be renegotiated at the time of termination. We are familiar with all of that and will be glad to help.

For those who are employed "at will" the general rule is that since you can quit any time you want, for any reason or no reason, you can also be discharged for any reason, no reason or a mistaken reason. This is very difficult for people to understand and accept. Unfortunately an employer can engage in a wide range of arbitrary and unfair behavior in discharging its "at will" employees.

There are certain exceptions. If the reason for the discharge is the age, race, sex, or disability of the discharged employee then the discharge may be illegal and may give rise to a claim for damages. Such claims should be filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within a certain time limits which generally are 180 days from the discrimination for the MCHR and 300 days for the EEOC. These times can vary depending on circumstances too complex to explain here. However, the most prudent thing to do is file the claims with both agencies within 180 days of the date you found out about the discrimination.

We advise you to file those complaints immediately to protect your rights. If you later decide not to proceed, you can always dismiss the claim. However, when the time limit expires, important rights under many of the anti-discrimination statutes are lost. Not necessarily all rights are lost if you fail to file timely administrative complaints. There may be certain theories left available for certain kinds of cases too complicated to explain here. But these are always difficult cases and you do not want to loose any rights you might have under any of the statutes that may apply.

The claims can be filed without the assistance of a lawyer. The telephone numbers to call are: MCHR, 314-340-7590 and EEOC, 314-539-7800.

It is also possible to recover for wrongful discharge if you are a "whistle blower". If you have been fired because you have reported or threatened to report illegal conduct to your appropriate superiors or to governmental authorities or because you have refused to engage in illegal conduct you may be able to recover damages under state law. We have handled such cases and know the law.

Employment discrimination is a difficult area of the law. Unfortunately there are many instances of outrageous behavior on the part of employers that is not illegal but other times there are things we can do.

If you need help, call us and we will work together to understand the problem to determine what we can do for you.

Medical Malpractice


 

If a health care provider harms you, by failing to exercise that degree of skill and learning ordinarily exercised by members of the profession, then he is guilty of a legal wrong for which you have a right to recover. Not every poor outcome of medical treatment rises to the level of medical malpractice. At times the poor outcome is a question of bad luck. Sometimes a doctor makes a mistake, but it is an honest mistake. If he was conscientiously exercising the best judgment that he could when he made the mistake it may not rise to the level of malpractice. However, other cases clearly do.

Unfortunately whether because of arrogance or fear the health care profession is generally very unhelpful in assisting the client to understand why something went wrong.

We have been through the analysis of hundreds and hundreds of potential cases. We are always glad to talk to you about your case to help you try to understand why a bad result came about. We will help you understand whether or not there is a high enough probability of winning the case for a large enough sum that we can proceed to represent you on a contingency fee basis.

We have handled cases involving infections, birth trauma, failed orthopedic appliances and implants, muscular disease, emergency room malpractice involving the failure to diagnose heart attacks and aneurysms. We have handled failed plastic surgery cases, failed abdominal surgery cases, failure to properly treat eye trauma, failure to properly screen for children's eye disease. In addition to actually handling those cases, we have spoken to and investigated cases involving a very wide range of medical treatment.

If you have a question in this area, please feel free to call us. We are eager to help you understand the problem and see if there is a legal aspect to your claim.

There is never a charge for our initial consultation. Generally there are contingency fee arrangements available if we believe your case has adequate merit.

Products Liability


 

Each year, many devastating injuries and deaths occur because of dangerous or poorly designed products and equipment. While some of the more highly publicized cases involve automobiles, especially Sports Utility Vehicles, and infant car seats, the types of products involved cover a wide spectrum and include both consumer and industrial products. And, “products liability” injuries and fatalities occur everywhere - on the road, on the job, even in the home, and no one, from the elderly to the youngest infant is immune from unknown and potential dangers caused by even the most commonly used product.

“Products Liability” cases wind their way through the legal system usually through one or more theories of product defect. One theory is the “defective design” case, where someone has been hurt or killed due to a flaw in the design of a product. In others, there may be allegations that a manufacturer “failed to warn” about a product’s particular dangerous propensity to cause an injury. Of course, many cases contain both theories depending on the facts unique to the product or injury. Likewise, if the product has component parts that may have caused, or contributed to cause, the injury, there could be any number of defendants. While liability or blame usually lies with the manufacturer of a truly bad product, other likely defendants may include sellers and distributors.

Regardless of the theory or number of defendants, these cases are complex, and require the attorneys for all parties involved to gain a thorough understanding of the many issues in such a case - just becoming “familiar” with the product involved and how, or why, it failed, is not enough. These cases demand precise, detailed investigations not just surrounding the product’s failure, but to determine how the defect caused the particular injury.

While every lawsuit has certain elements that must be met, in the products liability case, whether a case succeeds, or even gets to the trial stage, often hinges on the ability to prove that, more likely than not, the injury or death was caused by the specific defect; it is for this reason that expert witnesses, with specialized training and knowledge about certain products, are often hired to provide opinion testimony about the defect, as well as the injury. Expert witnesses are very expensive, but necessary, as is the investment of both time and money required when taking on a products case. However, for the products case with a successful outcome, the investment is certainly worth it for there is nothing that can compare to the satisfaction of getting fair compensation for victims or survivors of catastrophic injury, and, just as importantly, to get dangerous and defective products out of the stores, away from our children, and off the streets.

Workers' Compensation


 

Workers' Compensation cases present the injured worker and his lawyer with very difficult issues. The first question is whether the client's injury arose out of or in the scope and course of his employment. Then we must carefully consider when such a claim for that accident must be filed under law. There are numerous factors, which must be evaluated depending on the nature of the job incident, the course of medical treatment and the prognosis for the injury.

Under Missouri law, an employee is entitled to three major benefits. First, the employer has an obligation to provide medical treatment through medical care providers that they choose until the employee reaches what is described as maximum medical improvement. Second, an employer must pay weekly benefits called temporary total disability benefits, during any medically authorized period that the employee is off from work. Third, an employee is entitled to money benefits from the employer and/or insurer to compensate the employee for any permanent partial or permanent total disability, which is due to the injury. Additionally, an employee may be entitled to benefits from the Second Injury Fund if they have significant disabilities that pre-exist the on the job injury.

Sometimes an employer or insurer prematurely cuts off temporary total disability benefits or medical treatment or fails to offer appropriate sums of money for permanent partial or permanent total disability. Our firm is prepared to deal with all these issues by pressing the employer and insurer to live up to the letter of the law. We will try any case where the employer and/or the insurer do not provide the benefits the law demands.

Our firm has been dealing with all of these issues on a regular basis since the early 1970's. It is only by dealing with these matter on a regular basis that attorney learns the way the Administrative Law Judges and the Industrial Commission view these various benefits. That experience is the key to securing the proper and full benefits due an injured employee. We will deal with all aspects of the claim from initial filing to settlement or trial before an Administrative Law Judge. In some cases decisions of the Administrative Law Judge must be appealed to the Industrial Commission and ultimately to the Courts of Appeals. We have taken case after case as far as necessary.

Workers' Compensation cases present an employee and his or her attorney with a wide range of strategic and legal issues, which must be resolved and acted upon. An employee representing himself is often very much in the dark as to what his rights are and will very often be shortchanged. Our firm has the experience and perspective to effectively deal with the wide range of issues these cases present. We welcome any questions you have and we welcome the opportunity to serve the men and women of our work force who may be injured in the scope and course of their employment.