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Joplin Personal Injury Law Blog

Holidays prompt spikes in young adult drinking and driving

Holidays can be special days for fun and relaxation, as well as festivities that honor and celebrate important events and people. Each one brings its own unique joys, traditions and meanings not only to Joplin, but across Missouri and the U.S.

Unfortunately, some people use holidays as an excuse to drink and drive. In many cases, it’s because they are going from party to party or from bar to bar. In all case, it’s irresponsible behavior that can lead to drunk driving accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Honoring the memories of the loves of his life

The story in the Joplin Globe of a Pittsburg girl, her mother and her dad is enough to break your heart and at the same time reaffirm a belief in the goodness of most people. The girl was just 13 years old when she was killed with her mom in 2009 by a drunk driver in a car accident. The girl died at the scene of the crash; her mom died of injuries a few days later at a hospital.

The intoxicated driver survived the U.S. 69 rear-end crash.  Two years later, a Cherokee County judge overseeing a wrongful death civil trial determined that the man was 100 percent responsible for the needless fatalities. The girl’s father was awarded $5.7 million, according to news accounts at the time.

Missouri distracted drivers: "leading cause of all traffic crashes"

The words from a Missouri Highway Patrol sergeant hit hard: "Distraction is the leading cause of all traffic crashes in the state of Missouri," he told a Joplin news outlet. Hopefully, his words will also serve to awaken people to the dangers of distracted driving.

Those motor vehicle accidents cause injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The violent collisions can far too often also result in fatalities.

Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in U.S.

The statement is a shock to our national pride, but according to studies, it's true: medical negligence and preventable error is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It trails only cancer and heart disease.

According to a study published last year in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical negligence kills at least 210,000 Americans per year. That's the minimum number of fatalities by preventable harm in hospitals. At the other end of the spectrum, researchers said, up to 400,000 patients might be killed annually by medical malpractice

Distracted driving: by the numbers

Just one injury. Just one death. Everyone should understand that even a single distracted driving injury or one distracted driving fatality is one too many. Yet we still see distracted drivers every day all across Joplin and Jasper County.

Distracted driving isn’t by any means a problem restricted to our city, county or state. It’s a problem growing worse across the nation, causing an increasing number of injuries and fatalities in preventable auto accidents.

What causes truck accidents?

Those of us who live in the Joplin area are familiar with the web of highways and interstates that crisscross and surround the city. We depend on the large commercial trucks that make their way in and out of Joplin to carry our products off to others and to bring in needed merchandise and supplies.

Unfortunately, a part of the nation’s growing dependence on trucking is an ever-increasing danger to motorists who share the roads with the large vehicles. Far too often we see truck accidents causing serious injuries – and in some cases, causing needless fatalities.

Update on woman whose kidney was thrown away by nurse

Regular readers of our Joplin law blog will undoubtedly recall an article we published a little more than a year ago, telling the story of a woman whose donated kidney was thrown away. Her brother had donated the organ to help his then-24-year-old sister, but before it could be transplanted, a nurse at the hospital threw it away.

Back when we published the story in August of 2013, the hospital denied that “the mistake rises to the level of medical negligence.” In the 13 months since, things have changed.

What is medical malpractice?

When you go a Joplin hospital, you expect to get a certain standard of care in any treatment you receive for an injury or illness. That level of care should be what a reasonable, prudent physician or hospital staff would do (or not do) in treating a patient in similar circumstances.

Medical malpractice occurs when the doctor, hospital or other health care provider is negligent and does not provide treatment that meets that standard of care, resulting in injury or damages to a patient.

What can families do when road safety efforts fail?

This past weekend, police officers could be spotted in Joplin and across Missouri trying to slow drivers down as people sped home from Labor Day getaways and celebrations. In much of the state, law enforcement efforts were successful in keeping drivers safe. Unfortunately, at least one Missouri family has to grapple with the aftermath of a roadway tragedy.

Just across the border in Illinois, a Missouri woman was killed and her husband left with injuries described as “grave” after they were in an interstate highway car accident.  A TV station reporting on the violent, head-on collision noted that as drivers passed the scene of the wreckage, many of them were busy talking and texting on their cellphones.

Labor Day is time to go slow, sober, safe and focused

Like all of the major holidays, Labor Day is not only a celebration, but also an annual touchstone. When we get to Labor Day, we know a scorching Joplin summer is about to give way to a kinder, gentler autumn.

It's also a time to wrap up the summer with a last round of picnics, parties, family get-togethers, road trips and much more. Unfortunately, it's also a time when some people celebrate too much, drinking alcohol to excess and getting behind the wheel of their car.