Year: 2015

Insurance Coverage for Dog Attacks

Insurance Coverage for Dog Attacks

Many people do not realize that most homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for dog attacks. Unfortunately, for victims of dog attacks, this means they often do not pursue an insurance claim and end up getting saddled with large medical bills. They also do not get reimbursed for their lost wages or for their pain and suffering.

Most dog attacks occur in or around the home of the owner of the dog. Naturally, the people most likely to be attacked by the dog are the friends, family members, and neighbors of the dog owner. Even though dog attacks frequently result in severe injuries which require extensive medical attention, the victims of the attack end up suffering in silence because they think the only alternative is to seek compensation personally from the owner of the dog.

The good news, for many of these victims, is that if the dog’s owner has homeowners or renters insurance, there is likely insurance coverage available to compensate the victim. An attorney who represents dog bites victims should be able to discover whether the owner has any insurance. If there is insurance, the attorney will be able help you navigate the claims process and make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries from the insurance company.

If you have been injured by a dog, please call Austin Bradley Law Office today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with an attorney. All our dog bite cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us a penny unless there is a financial recovery in your claim.

Also, feel free to send us a question about your dog bite through our website by clicking here.

workers compensation attorney

Can You Get Fired for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim?

In Missouri, it is completely illegal for your boss to fire you in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. Missouri’s workers compensation laws provide that “no employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his rights under this chapter.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 287.780.

Even though they cannot fire you, sometimes your boss may try to make you feel guilty for filing a workers’ compensation claim after a work injury. No one should feel bad about it.

Workers compensation is a government system setup by the State of Missouri. It is there to help injured workers pay for their medical bills and lost wages. The system was created by the Missouri legislature with the agreement and assistance of pro-business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce. These organizations represent most of Missouri’s employers. They signed on to creating the workers compensation system because it protects them from lawsuits when their employees get injured. Instead of filing a normal lawsuit, the injured employee’s “sole remedy” is usually a workers compensation claim. This saves Missouri employers millions and millions of dollars a year.

Plus, your employer is required to have workers compensation insurance, so the money is not coming out of their pocket.

If you have been injured on the job, then please call Austin Bradley Law Office today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with a local workers compensation. All our workers compensation cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us a penny unless we win your case.

Also, feel free to send us a question about your workers compensation case through our website by clicking here.


Missouri Attorney

Missouri Attorney Discusses Extending the Nets at Royals’ Games

In a Royals home game in 2011, 4-year-old Alexis Hoskey was sitting with her parents in seats located a few rows off the field on the third base side. During the game, left handed hitter Wilson Betemit hit a line drive foul ball into the stands. It struck Alexis in the face, fracturing her skull and causing a bleed in her brain.

Similar injuries have occurred in nearly all major league ballparks, and happen quite often. According to a 2014 Bloomberg Report, on average 1,750 fans are injured every year by foul balls and flying bats. Just this year, a woman at Fenway Park sustained life threatening injuries when a broken bat flew into the stands and struck her in the face. That injury garnered national attention and has led to renewed calls for Major League baseball to do more to protect fans.

Following that game, Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie tweeted that Major League Baseball should extend the protective netting at least to the dugouts. Guthrie has previously represented the players union in labor talks where he asked that the netting be extended to protect players and fans.

Currently, the netting is only behind home plate, and protects fans from foul balls and errant pitches that go straight back. Despite all of the injuries that occur past the netting, Major League Baseball and the team owners have collectively resisted extending the nets. The repeated reason cited is that it will negatively affect the fan experience.

As an avid Royals fans who has attended a ton of games, I call baloney on that. I have been lucky enough to sit behind home plate several times and I can tell you each time it was an amazing baseball experience. And, of course, the entire experience is from behind the protective netting. Before graduating law school and passing the bar, most of my Royals’ games were experienced from the cheap seats, free from any protective netting. I will take the view behind the netting any day.

One can also just look at the economics of ticket pricing. At Kaufmann Stadium, the seats directly behind home plate are some of the most expensive seats in the stadium. They cost upwards $250.00 a ticket, and that is for a regular season game. The same seats for Game 1 of the World Series are currently selling for over $7,000.00 a seat on StubHub! The price of the behind the net tickets alone shows the netting does not negatively affect ticket purchasing.  

Since the most expensive seats are behind the nets, it is difficult to conclude that Major League Baseball really believes extending the nets will negatively affect ticket purchasing or fan experience. What then, is responsible for baseball’s resistance to extending the nets? It is hard to say for sure. Tradition probably is a factor. The added cost of installing longer nets might play a roll, although that amount is probably very small compared to a major league team’s overall budget. Perhaps baseball is worried that extending the nets will start baseball down a road where more and more changes will be called for in the name of safety.

As a Missouri attorney who practices injury law, I know that the legal system does not do enough to encourage Major League Baseball to extend the nets. Missouri, and nearly every other state, provide legal immunity to baseball team owners and Major League Baseball for fan injuries that result from flying bats and balls. In the legal world, this immunity is simply known as “the baseball rule.” The baseball rule is nearly as old as the game itself. It is not in a statute passed by legislators. Instead, the baseball rule was created by judges who have long thought that a baseball fan assumes the risk of being injured when they enter the stadium. For a long time, the judges’ reasoning mirrored public sentiment.

As society progresses, technology keeps finding new ways to protect us and our families. These advances have made us as a society less tolerant of needless dangers. Our cars now have airbags, backup cameras, collision sensors, crash avoidance systems, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. When the baseball rule was created, cars did not even have seatbelts.

Our roads and bridges have guardrails that prevent us from rolling down an embankment or careening into a river. Railroad crossings have gates that warn us of approaching trains and prevent us from driving across the tracks when a train is approaching. The list goes on.

These safety improvements are, at least in part, the result of jury verdicts in favor of those who were injured by unsafe cars, roads, and bridges. There is no absolute legal immunity from a lawsuit for the producer of an unsafe car, or the designer of an unsafe roadway. Instead, when someone is injured by a defectively designed car or a dangerously designed roadway, a jury gets to pass judgment. Because of this jury system, the tools and products we use every day are designed to be safe.

Baseball stadiums should not be held to different standard. If Major League Baseball and its owners were subject to the same system as the rest of us, juries, not judges, would get to decide how far the nets should go. The result would likely be a safer ballpark, where parents can take their children to the game and be protected from a possibly life-threatening injury, even in the cheap seats.


Workers' Compensation Attorney

Workers’ Compensation Attorney – How Much Do They Cost?

A reputable workers’ compensation attorney will handle your claim on a “contingency fee basis,” meaning you only get charged a portion of the settlement.

At Austin Bradley Law Office, all of our workers’ compensation cases are handled as contingency fee cases. We never get paid and never charge any of our clients unless there is a financial recovery in their case. If you hire us to represent you, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will handle your case from beginning to end, making sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to receive under the law.

If you are already being paid for the time you are missing due to your work injury, that money will still be 100% yours. We do not take any fees out of money you are already receiving when you hire us. Instead, as your workers’ compensation attorney, our fees are paid out of the final settlement that we achieve for you at the end of your case. Our fees will never exceed 25 percent, even if we have to take your case all the way to trial to recover.

While not every claim needs a workers’ compensation attorney, the following situations usually require hiring a workers’ compensation attorney:

  • If your medical treatment is being delayed or denied.
  • If you have been denied payment for time you missed from work due to your injury.
  • If you employer is trying to force you to work while you are unable to due your injury.
  • If you have suffered a serious work injury that will result in a permanent disability.
  • If you have been offered a workers’ compensation settlement, but feel the amount is too low.

If you are thinking about hiring a workers’ compensation attorney, then please call us today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with a local workers’ compensation attorney for free. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.

workers compensation

Missouri Workers Compensation Benefits Explained

Most people know that if you are injured on the job in Missouri, then you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. Few people, however, are aware of all the different benefits you may be entitled to. Generally people understand that you are entitled to have your medical bills paid by the employer’s workers compensation insurance company.

Where most folks (and some lawyers) get confused, however, is when we start discussing payment for total disability and partial disability. There are four different kinds of disability that are paid under Missouri’s workers compensation system: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, and permanent partial disability.

Temporary total disability is fairly straightforward. If you are unable to work at all while recovering from your work injury, then you are entitled to payment for your lost wages. In Missouri, the amount you are entitled to receive is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The weekly amount paid, however, cannot exceed a cap, which in 2015 is $886.92 per week.

Temporary partial disability is a little more complicated. Temporary partial disability kicks in when you are able to work while recovering but unable to perform the same job as before the injury. Frequently this is called “light duty.” If your “light duty” job pays less than your pre-injury job, you are entitled to payment of two-thirds of the difference in pay between the two jobs. For example, if you pre-injury job paid $1,000.00 a week, but your “light duty” only pays $700.00, you are entitled to a weekly benefit of $200.00 from the workers compensation carrier. That amount is two-thirds of the $300.00 difference between your pre-injury wage and your light duty wage.

Permanent total disability, much like temporary total disability, is fairly easy to understand. If your work injury is serious enough to prevent you from ever being able to work again, then you are entitled to receive payments in the amount of two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage for the rest of your life, subject to the same weekly maximum as above.

The last benefit, permanent partial disability, is more complicated than permanent total disability. Permanent partial disability is required to be paid when your work injury resulted in a permanent injury that does not prevent you from working in the future. The Missouri Department of Labor publishes a Permanent Partial Disability Schedule that is used to calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive from a work injury that resulted in permanent partial disability. The amount will depend on what part of your body is injured and the severity of the injury. The best way to figure out what your permanent partial disability claim is worth is to speak with a qualified workers compensation attorney.

If you are thinking about pursuing a workers compensation claim, then call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.

motorcycle accident attorney

Motorcycle Accident Attorney Discusses Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Any motorcycle accident attorney will tell you that motorcycle accidents occur because people pull out into traffic after looking for other cars and trucks, but did not see the approaching motorcyclist because they were not looking for him.

“I did not see him,” however, is not a defense to a claim brought against the driver for the injuries the motorcyclist sustained in the collision. Even if they did not see the motorcycle, the collision is still the fault of the driver of the car. The law requires drivers of car and trucks to keep a careful lookout, not just for other cars and drivers, but also for motorcycles. When they do not keep a careful lookout, and as a result injure a motorcyclist, their car insurance company is legally required to pay for the motorcyclist’s resulting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

As a motorcycle accident attorney, I can tell you that the car driver’s insurance company will resist paying a fair amount for your motorcycle accident injuries. Insurance companies know that a jury, who will ultimately decide how much money to allow, might tempt to blame you as much as the driver of the car because “you were riding a motorcycle, and motorcycles are not safe.” An experienced motorcycle accident attorney should be able to explain to a jury that motorcycles are safe, when the safety rules are followed. These rules include keeping a careful lookout for motorcyclists. Unfortunately for you, the driver of the car broke those safety rules by not looking for motorcyclists. Your injuries are their fault, not yours. And the law requires them to pay for your injuries.

If you are thinking about hiring a motorcycle accident attorney, then please see our Practice Areas page for more information about motorcycle accident claims, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.

How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Cost?

Nothing, unless you win your car accident case. A reputable car accident attorney should be willing to take your case on what lawyers call a “contingency fee basis.” This means that you pay nothing up front when you hire the car accident attorney. The lawyer only gets paid when you get paid: at the end of the case when there has been a financial recovery. The amount of the lawyer’s fee will be a percentage of the financial recovery. If for some reason there was no financial recovery, then you would not owe the car accident attorney a penny, even if he spent hours working on the case.

In almost all car accident cases, there will be a financial recovery, usually in the form of a settlement. In almost all cases, a lawsuit will need to filed and your case will have to be litigated before an insurance company is willing to pay full and fair compensation. In some cases, the car accident attorney may need to take your case to trial to get full compensation. Usually, cases only have to be tried if the insurance company is still refusing to pay full and fair compensation for your injuries even after the case has been fully litigated and set for trial.

If you are thinking about hiring a car accident attorney, then please see our Home Page for more information about our law office, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.

Car Accident Claims Take Time

How Long Does it take to Settle a Car Accident Claim or other Personal Injury Claim?

It usually takes about 12 to 18 months to settle a routine car accident claim or other personal injury claim, but the amount of time can vary greatly depending on the severity of your injuries, the duration of your medical treatment, and the willingness of the insurance company to offer full and fair compensation.

Several things need to happen before you will be in a position to settle your personal injury claim for a fair amount. First, you will need to give yourself time to heal from your injuries. You never want to settle your personal injury case before you have received thorough medical treatment and have a very good idea of what injuries you sustained and what your prognosis is. After you have completed or nearly completed your medical treatment, your attorney will need to order all of your related medical records and bills so that he can provide them to the insurance company with a settlement offer. If you will need future treatment for your injuries, or have suffered a permanent disability from your injuries, your lawyer may also need to obtain a written medical opinion from a licensed physician. In order to give an accurate medical opinion regarding your disability and future medical treatment, the physician will perform a physical examination and review all of your medical records and radiology films. He will then issue a written opinion, which will be provided to the insurance company with your bills and records when your attorney makes a written settlement demand.

After the settlement demand is made, there usually will be negotiations with the insurance company. This process can take several months. If, at the end of the negotiation process, the insurance company is offering to pay full and fair compensation for your injuries, then your case will settle without a lawsuit being filed. In many cases, unfortunately, insurance companies are not willing to pay a fair amount, and a lawsuit will need to be filed. The same physician who provided a written opinion about your injuries will usually testify about your injuries in a deposition. You will probably also testify during a deposition, as will the person or persons who injured you.

After all the depositions have been concluded, your case will be set for a jury trial. The insurance company may offer you a fairer settlement once the depositions have been concluded and the case is ready for trial, but that is not always case. If the insurance company still refuses to pay a fair amount, your lawyer will try your case in front of a jury, who will then allow an amount that they think is fair to compensate you for your injuries. Usually, cases that have to be tried will not be concluded within the 12-18 month time period mentioned above. Those cases can take upwards of three years to be completed. That is one reason insurance companies do not frequently offer a fair settlement early in the process. They hope they can wear you out and get you to settle your case for an unfair amount. A good personal injury attorney will be able to help you stay motivated and will fight the battle for you, resulting in a fairer settlement.

If you are thinking about hiring a Joplin personal injury attorney, then please see our Home Page for more information about our firm, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.


Injury Attorney for Car Accidents

Joplin Personal Injury Attorney Sees Increase in Car Accidents Over Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is the official end of summer for most of us. It is also a time that we travel to see family and friends, or maybe to get one more weekend at the lake before the weather really starts to cool down. It is also a time when an injury attorney receives more phone calls from people who have been injured in car accidents.

According to AAA’s Labor Day travel forecast, 35.5 million Americans will be packing their bags and hitting the road this weekend. The increase in the number of vehicles on the road predictably results in an increase in car accidents and car crashes. Gas prices are also down this Labor Day weekend, which will result in an increase in travel throughout Missouri and the rest of the United States. According to AAA’s monthly gas report, gas is 99 cents per gallon cheaper than Labor Day last year. Gas is also at its lowest price since 2004 for Labor Day weekend.

So enjoy the long weekend, but be mindful of the increased traffic and drive safe! And remember, never text while driving and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, if you can avoid driving at night this weekend, that is a great way to reduce your risk of being injured by a drunk driver.

If you are thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney, then please see our Home Page for more information about our firm, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.


Joplin Personal Injury Attorneys - Which Attorney Should You Pick?

Joplin Personal Injury Attorneys: Which Attorney Should You Pick?

Searching for a personal injury attorney can be a difficult task. With all of the law firms and law offices in Joplin, Missouri, people looking for Joplin personal injury attorneys to represent them in their personal injury claim face many choices. The task of choosing the right Joplin personal injury attorney can become daunting for someone who just suffered a personal injury.

So how can you be sure you are picking the right attorney? First, don’t just pick a Joplin personal injury attorney because you have heard their name over and over on the television. Good advertising does not always equal good lawyering. Many times, lawyers who advertise on television are focused on generating lots of cases that they can settle quickly and cheaply. They are not, however, focused on maximizing the recovery of each client they take on. Their business model may be good for them, but it is bad for you.

Instead of focusing on advertising, make your choice based on the experiences you had with the law firms you contacted. When you called each law firm, did you speak with the attorney who will be handling your case or somebody else? Rest assured that if you did not receive personal attention from the attorney while he was trying to earn your business, you certainly will not receive it after you have committed to hire his law firm.

Also, how much time did the attorney take to speak with you and answer all of your questions? Did he seem rushed or irritated? If the Joplin personal injury attorney you were thinking about hiring did not have the time to answer all your questions, he definitely does not have time to take your case. You will likely end up on the backburner.

You also need to thoroughly check out the attorney’s website to see if he practices in only personal injury claims. Is he also advertising for DUI/DWI, divorce, family law, traffic tickets, criminal law, etc.? If so, it is likely that only a small portion of his practice is actually dedicated to personal injury claims.

Another good tip is to establish from the outset if the lawyer who you think you are hiring will actually be the attorney handling your case. If you cannot get a firm commitment that your personal injury case will be handled by the lawyer you initially spoke with, then you will need to decide whether you are comfortable with your case being handed off to someone else at the law firm whom you may have never met.

If you are thinking about hiring a Joplin personal injury attorney, then please see our Home Page for more information about our firm, or call us today for a free consultation at (417) 385-1338. Also, feel free to send us a question through our website by clicking here.