It constantly surprises me how often folks hire their acquaintances to handle serious personal injury cases. It makes sense that you want a familiar face during a difficult time. However, I find over and over again that we inherit cases because the divorce lawyer who said they would help out does not have the time or inclination to actively and aggressively pursue a case that is both outside of their comfort zone and also does not pay like their hourly cases do. Take the time to talk to a couple of attorneys about your case. Generally personal injury attorneys in Independence to Olathe, will talk to you for free because they want your business. Walk away from anyone who won’t answer your questions, tell you about their experience or who tries to pressure you into signing a contract before you leave. You will be trusting the attorney you hire with your future and you deserve to feel comfortable about that decision.
Missouri and Kansas personal injury law firm Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC, is proud to announce the inclusion of lawyers Rachel Smith, Mike Mohlman and Michael Stipetich in this year’s Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers list. Super Lawyers is a service that rates outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Ms. Smith and Mr. Stipetich have been named Missouri and Kansas Rising Stars as top up-and-coming attorneys. No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in any state are chosen as Rising Stars, and selection to this list is made by the research team at Super Lawyers. Ms. Smith has been named a Rising Star every year since 2009. This is the first year that Mr. Stipetich has been included.
Mr. Mohlman has been named to the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyer list as one of this year’s top attorneys in Missouri and Kansas. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in any state are selected as Super Lawyers. Selection to the Super Lawyer list is made by using a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and reviews by other lawyers. Mr. Mohlman has been listed as a Super Lawyer since 2009.
Ms. Smith and Mr. Mohlman primarily represent people that have been injured through no fault of their own. They focus their practice on serious injury cases caused by car, truck and motorcycle wrecks, wrongful death, premises liability and electrical shock. Mr. Stipetich also handles personal injury cases and other tort cases, but his primary practice is devoted to representing workers in employment matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination/retaliation, worker’s compensation, and wage and hour litigation.
Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC is moving to the Country Club Plaza on January 1, 2013. We have signed a lease for 5600 square feet of space on the 7th floor of the Plaza West Building at 4600 Madison, Kansas City, Missouri. We are all very excited about the new office which will provide us more space and better facilities as well as the latest in technology in order to better serve our personal injury and business clients in Kansas and Missouri. We will be providing more information as the move grows nearer. In the meantime, come see us at our current office at 7001 W 79th St., Overland Park, Kansas 66204.
Smith Coonrod Mohlman is proud to announce that Rachel Smith was
selected as one of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly “Up and Coming
Lawyers”. These lawyers were selected because they go above and
beyond in the legal profession for 2012. Attorneys were selected
based on their contribution to the legal profession in their
Rachel has been active in many philanthropic organizations
in Kansas City including spending eight years on the board of Big
Brothers Big Sisters, co-founding Smith Coonrod Mohlman Kids
Foundation, and supporting many, many others. She is a dedicated
personal injury attorney who handles a wide range of negligence cases,
including car, truck and motorcycle wrecks. She is devoted to her
clients, and to promoting community safety. She has obtained
significant recoveries for her clients, most recently a case involving
a child on an ATV, and a museum patron who had his fingers severed by
a defective and misused door.
Kansas City personal injury attorney Rachel Smith has spent a significant amount of time this year working on a very important safety case involving a child who was injured in an ATV crash. The defendants in the case were at a party in Leavenworth, Kansas drinking alcohol when they placed a six-year-old boy on a homemade ATV. The defendants gave the boy no instructions on how to operate the machine, no instructions on safety, no instructions on how to accelerate or brake, and no safety equipment besides a batter’s helmet.
The six-year-old lost control of the ATV and drove it into a ravine. The ATV flipped over and landed on top of the boy, fracturing his femur. The boy was life flighted to a nearby hospital. He underwent two surgeries and was in a body case for the majority of two years. The personal injury attorneys with Smith Coonrod Mohlman were able to resolve this case for over $250,000.00.
Our Kansas City area injury lawyers know the importance of following safety guidelines when operating any sort of vehicle, including cars, trucks, ATVs or tri-carts. National ATV standards require that any child under sixteen be supervised by a trained adult. In addition every ATV user should be trained in the safe operation of an ATV, and ATV’s should never be used under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The injury attorneys with Smith Coonrod Mohlman represent injured individuals across Missouri and Kansas. If you or a loved one have questions about a personal injury case, call us at 913-495-9965. It is always free to discuss your case and we charge no fees unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf.
Smith Coonrod Mohlman, LLC is pleased to announce that founding partner Rachel Smith has been named to the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of Women Who Mean Business for 2012. Each year the Business Journal selects 25 women from all types of businesses in the Kansas City metropolitan area. These women are selected by a panel of judges as being outstanding for their business accomplishments, growth plans for their companies, contributions to the community and efforts to improve the climate for women in business. Rachel and this year’s other honorees now join 300 other women selected over the past 12 years to join this elite group of business women.
Rachel and Brett Coonrod founded the firm in 2005 with the goal of assisting clients who have suffered personal injury accidents through the fault of others and in handling small business matters with an emphasis on litigation. They were joined by Rachel’s former classmate Mike Mohlman in 2011 who brought experience in complex personal injury cases from Independence to Overland Park. The firm now has six attorneys and practices on both sides of the state line. If you have personal injury or business related legal issues in Kansas City, KS or surronding areas, come see Rachel. She means business.
Nearly 3,000 Vehicles Will Send Wi-Fi-like Signals that Warn of Safety Hazards, Could Help Reduce Crashes During Year-Long Research Project
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses equipped with “connected” Wi-Fi technology to enable vehicles and infrastructure to “talk” to each other in real time to help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow will begin traversing Ann Arbor’s streets today as part of a year-long safety pilot project by the U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined elected officials and industry and community leaders on the University of Michigan campus to launch the second phase of the Safety Pilot, the largest road test to date of connected vehicle crash avoidance technology.
“Today is a big moment for automotive safety,” said Secretary LaHood. “This cutting-edge technology offers real promise for improving both the safety and efficiency of our roads. That is a winning combination for drivers across America.”
Conducted by University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the road test, or model deployment, is a first-of-its-kind test of connected vehicle technology in the real world. The test cars, trucks and buses, most of which have been supplied by volunteer participants, are equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication devices that will gather extensive data about system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.
According to DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), V2V safety technology could help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five unimpaired vehicle crashes. To accomplish this, the model deployment vehicles will send electronic data messages, receive messages from other equipped vehicles, and translate the data into a warning to the driver during specific hazardous traffic scenarios. Such hazards include an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle’s blind spot, or a rear collision with a vehicle stopped ahead, among others.
“Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety – but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “NHTSA will use the valuable data from the ‘model deployment’ as it decides if and when these connected vehicle safety technologies should be incorporated into the fleet.”
The model deployment is the second phase of DOT’s connected vehicle Safety Pilot, a major research initiative managed by NHTSA and the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office. Earlier this year, DOT released data from a series of “driver acceptance clinics” conducted during the first phase of the Safety Pilot. The study revealed that an overwhelming majority of drivers (9 out of 10) who have experienced V2V technology have a highly favorable opinion of its safety benefits and would like to have V2V safety features on their personal vehicle.
“Many significant advances in roadway safety resulted from the collaborations between government, industry, and academia,” said Gregory D. Winfree, RITA Deputy Administrator. “The deployment today is the culmination of years of cooperative research on forward-thinking technology designed to save lives and prevent injuries on America’s roads.”
The information collected from both phases of the Safety Pilot, and other key research projects, will be used by NHTSA to determine by 2013 whether to proceed with additional activities involving connected vehicle technology, including possible rulemaking.
For more information on DOT’s connected vehicle research, visit www.safercar.gov/ConnectedVehicles.
In November, Missouri voters will be asked to make changes to the way many of the state’s top judges are chosen. Known colloquially as the Missouri Plan, the rules, originally adopted by voters in the Show-Me State in 1940, have served the state well.
Under the Missouri Plan, commissions of lawyers and gubernatorial appointees nominate three finalists for open seats on the appeals and supreme courts, along with judges in urban judicial circuits. The governor picks one of the three. The process, while not perfect, minimizes political influence.
A group of deep-pocketed Republicans who would prefer to buy Supreme Court judges in expensive elections convinced the Legislature this year to ask voters to tweak the plan. The proposal on the November ballot is not nearly as bad as previous ones, but it would further politicize the selection of judges by giving more power to the governor.
Last week, some of those opponents of the Missouri Plan said that a decision by the Missouri Supreme Court striking down damage caps in medical malpractice lawsuits supported their case. The way folks like Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and lobbyist James Harris see it, the medical malpractice decision is proof positive that trial attorneys — who file malpractice lawsuits on behalf of aggrieved victims — have outsized influence in choosing judges. The 4-3 decision was the judges paying back their supporters, they say.
Expect similar allegations to be made in political advertisements this fall. Here’s what voters will need to know:
The allegation is laughable.
Missouri’s is not the only state supreme court to have overturned medical malpractice caps. Seven other state supreme courts have overturned similar medical malpractice caps in their states on almost identical legal grounds: Arbitrary caps limit a citizen’s right to a jury trial. Other states have specific constitutional prohibitions against such caps.
It’s easy to understand why. Our nation’s Founding Fathers thought it was important to preserve the right for all of us to be judged by a jury of our peers. That is often our final protection against the potential tyranny of the state, a state that often in our nation’s history has been influenced by corporate barons.
But with medical malpractice caps in place, here’s what can happen: Patients, or broken-hearted survivors, find a lawyer to sue doctors or hospitals that made preventable errors that led to serious harm or death. Lawyers take the cases on contigency — that is, they bear the considerable expenses of bringing the case in return for a percentage of damages, usually about a third.
If they lose, they get nothing. They can’t afford to take weak or frivolous cases. If there’s a cap on non-economic damages, it’s harder for injured parties to find a lawyer willing to bring a tough case.
Only a tiny percentage of cases make it to trial; most are settled out of court.
Fewer still end up with juries. Those jurors often shed sweat and tears over what’s right. They come to a number offering fair financial remuneration. They tell the judge.
In cap states, the judge thanks them for their service before they find out that they wasted their time. Lawmakers in the state capital already had decided what the number was. Much of their work was unnecessary.
Supreme courts in Illinois, New Hampshire, Washington, Oregon, Alabama and Georgia have overturned medical malpractice caps.
Not a single one of those states chooses its judges using the Missouri Plan. New Hampshire’s hybrid system comes the closest, but in the rest of the states, supreme court judges run for election in either partisan (Illinois and Alabama) or nonpartisan (Georgia, Oregon and Washington) contests.
We don’t think too many people are going to accuse liberal trial attorneys of having outsized influence in the selection of judges in Alabama and Georgia.
In fact, in 2003, the second and most recent time Alabama overturned medical malpractice caps, its chief justice was Roy Moore of the Ten Commandments-in-the-courthouse fame. Mr. Moore, a darling of the right, is no weak-kneed liberal.
So to say that trial attorneys and the Missouri Plan somehow led to the medical malpractice decision ignores reality. It’s a further example of how the campaign against the nonpartisan court plan is nothing but trumped-up political tomfoolery.
In fact, overturning medical malpractice caps is an old-fashioned conservative decision, protecting Missouri’s constitution and the basic right to a jury trial.
Standing up for “job creators” doesn’t make one a conservative; it makes one an opportunist or a plutocrat, or both. Thank goodness our Founding Fathers, and four sitting Missouri Supreme Court justices, knew the difference.