Schmitt Law Firm, LLC

Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Truck drivers need to avoid distracted driving

The busy roads of Kansas City, Missouri, have their fair share of traffic accidents. Those include truck accidents, which often happen because of distracted driving. For that reason, truck drivers should know some important information about distracted driving and the government's increasingly strong crackdown on it.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, both hand-held mobile phone use and texting are prohibited while driving a commercial motor vehicle that is used in interstate commerce. Drivers who are caught doing either may be subjected to fines of up to $2,750 or disqualification and being put out-of-service for a period of up to 120 days, with corresponding loss of income. The drivers' employers Safety Measure System (SMS) ratings will be adversely affected by driver infractions, and the employers will express their unhappiness about that to the drivers.

4 types of motorcycle accidents you can easily avoid

Motorcyclists face unique dangers on the road. Due to lack of a vehicle body, they are more likely to experience catastrophic injuries or death when involved in a collision. The Missouri Department of Transportation found that 251 motorcyclists died on state roadways between 2013 and 2015. The demographic most likely to experience a fatality are people between the ages of 21 and 25. 

It is vital for motorcyclists to remain defensive while driving. That means being aware of the most common accidents and knowing how to respond to them. 

Should you worry about asbestos in your makeup?

You might have heard the recent story about a mother who sent her daughter’s makeup in for testing and it reportedly contained asbestos. This can be a scary thought not only about children’s products, but about health and beauty products in general. What are the chances that Missouri residents might find a harmful ingredient like asbestos in their everyday items?

According to the news story, the girls’ accessories and cosmetics chain Claire’s recalled nine products nationwide after learning about the asbestos claim. However, additional testing conducted by the store led to Claire’s officials assuring consumers that its cosmetics are asbestos-free. Additionally, they said a certified asbestos-free vendor supplies the talcum used in their products. They plan to continue testing products to ensure none contain asbestos. What does this mean about products you have purchased that contain talcum?

Tragic accident kills 3

The busy roads of Kansas City, Missouri, see a huge number of vehicles each day, coming and going from work, home, school, shopping and many other places. The sheer volume of vehicles means that, of course, a plethora of car accidents each year is inevitable, and that was the case in late December.

The crash resulted in the tragic deaths of three innocent young children. The children, all Neosho residents, were brothers ages 7, 4 and 2. The brothers were all pronounced dead at the site of the accident. According to a county deputy coroner, they died due to the physical impact suffered in the accident. One had been in a car seat, another in a seat with a safety belt on and another in a seat without a safety belt on.

What are the types of product defects?

Product defects fall into at least one of three categories: design, manufacturing and marketing. A marketing defect is sometimes termed "a failure to warn" defect and is why some people joke about products that carry seemingly nonsensical warnings. Interestingly, many people purchase cotton swabs for use in the ear canal and yet the packages carry warnings that people should not use them for this purpose. They can injure the ear and damage hearing.

In any case, here is a look at each type of product defect.

Is General Motors creating a new market for deadly distraction?

Self-driving cars may be on the horizon, but some car companies are already ignoring the driver in their decisions. General Motors has created a new app that gives drivers the power to make purchases using their infotainment systems. We can now add dashboard shopping to the list of things drivers can do rather than pay attention to the road.

The app is called Marketplace and includes the handy feature of being usable while people are driving. GM dreams of a world where drivers can get a notice that the vehicle needs an oil change, schedule the service at a GM dealer and pay for it all in one seamless process. GM has apparently not considered the fact that a driver doing 60 mph will cross several football field length sections of road while focusing on anything but safe driving. 

Parents should not assume toys are safe

Toy manufacturers face enormous pressure to succeed this time of year. Having the top toy of the season can make or break an entire year. That pressure may contribute to situations where an unsafe toy is manufactured and sold before the danger it poses can really be understood. For those looking to buy gifts for a child this year, it is easy to assume that toy makers or federal regulators have taken the proper steps to ensure that the products on the shelves are safe. That assumption is, sadly, unsupported by the weight of history.

The worst of the worst

There is no shortage of stories about dangerous and defective toys being sold to unsuspecting consumers. Understanding just how bad things can get tells us all we need to know about how trustworthy the toy industry can be. Over the years, toy companies have exposed children to deadly chemicals, toys that catch fire, dangerous projectiles and more. Toys have been sold that were so dangerous, simply touching them posed a deadly risk. It is never safe to assume that a toy company has given any thought to whether one of its products poses an unacceptable risk. 

4 things parents can do about defective children's toys

You purchase toys to make your kids happy. As the holiday season starts, it is time for toy-buying mania. You might find yourself scouring the shelves and online shops for the best selections to bring smiles into your home. Unfortunately, some toys may be dangerous and cause injuries to your children. In fact, according to a Forbes article, toys cause children to go to the emergency room every three minutes. Do not assume every product available is safe.

What is a common carrier and why is it important?

A common carrier, in the United States, is simply a vehicle that transports something for commercial purposes.

A box truck could be a common carrier while transporting goods, for instance. A bus or a taxi count as common carriers while moving people from one location to another. Even larger vehicles, like commercial airliners, cruises ships and passengers trains fall into this category.

What to do after buying a house with asbestos

Asbestos is a common material that contractors used in building construction for several decades. It was primarily used throughout the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Asbestos is typically found in painting products that contractors used until 1977. 

Researchers have linked asbestos to several significant health problems, such as mesothelioma, so homeowners should stay away from it at all costs. However, it is not uncommon for people to buy a house and discover later the house contains asbestos. There are steps to take to ensure this does not happen and recover damages in case it does. 

Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.