Hyland Law Firm, LLC
Free Consultation: 800-836-1439

Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

The risks of driving while sleep-deprived

Many Kansas drivers are aware of statistics that show drowsy driving may result in fatal accidents every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 71,000 crash injuries and 1,550 deaths occur annually costing about $12.5 billion. However, such accident statistics are the result of a less than accurate reporting system.

In a 2005 study, 37 percent of the respondents admitted to having fallen asleep while driving, with 13 percent of that number said that it happened fairly routinely. In addition, 60 percent of the adult drivers who were surveyed admitted to driving while sleep-deprived in the previous year. The drivers most likely to drive drowsy are those in the 18 to 29 age group. As drivers age, the incidence decreases, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Head-on collision in Kansas kills 3

An accident involving three vehicles left a trio of people dead in Butler County. The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that the head-on collision on US-54 happened when one vehicle left the eastbound lanes and went onto the westbound side. The reason they swerved was not yet known.

The driver of the westbound pickup truck was injured but survived. Of the four people in the eastbound car, three were killed, and the fourth suffered serious injuries. The survivor, a 21-year-old man who had been riding as a passenger, stated that there had been an argument among the deceased three immediately before the accident.

The risk of a 2-second glance while driving

Distracted driving on open highways in Kansas may not seem dangerous, but a study by Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety shows that even a brief glance at something in the car can greatly increase the chance of a crash. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers look away from the road for no more than two seconds, the study showed that there is a period of readjustment when individuals look away. Because of this readjustment time, a two-second glance could be more dangerous than previously believed.

The Research Institute used a driving simulator and eye-tracking equipment to monitor test subjects' reactions and performance in both hazardous and non-hazardous scenarios. Drivers in the study who experienced a two-second visual interruption proved less able to react to potential hazards. Moreover, drivers who observed an emerging hazard before the interruption tended to forget about it afterwards.

Both jaw fractures and dislocations may require long recovery

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the common causes of jaw injuries. A driver or passenger in Kansas who has experienced a hard facial blow in a car accident that injured the jaw will require professional medical attention. Weeks could be needed for recovery.

A jaw fracture differs from a dislocation. In a fracture injury, the lower jaw bone is cracked or shattered. A dislocation, however, involves the lower jaw bone moving out of one or both joints. An untrained person should not attempt to fix a jaw injury because it is crucial to get the teeth lined up correctly. Treatment of moderate to severe fractures can include surgery. The jaw may also need to be wired in place to restrain movement for a period of six to eight weeks. The person will be on a liquid diet during this time, and his or her ability to speak will be impeded.

Brain aging and traumatic brain injuries

Each year in Kansas, many people suffer from traumatic brain injuries in accidents or while playing sports. Aside from the immediate symptoms of a brain injury, the trauma may cause long-lasting changes to the brain that can cause problems throughout the victim's life.

A British study conducted by a researcher at Imperial College in London demonstrated that the brains of brain-injured people show signs of premature brain aging. Researchers reviewed the brain scans of 99 people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries in car crashes, assaults or falls.

Man charged in fatal Missouri hit-and-run crash

A 21-year-old Missouri man has been charged in connection to a fatal hit-and-run accident in Independence on March 27. The crash happened at around 9:15 p.m.

According to police, the suspect was driving a 2008 Dodge pickup truck east on Highway 24 when he slammed into the back of a 2014 Mazda 6 that was stopped for a red light at Blue Mills Road. Witnesses said the suspect kept going after the collision. At least two people followed him and tried to box him in with their vehicles until authorities arrived. He then reportedly jumped from his pickup and ran across the road into an industrial park near Fort Osage High School. He was eventually apprehended by police.

Teenagers and distracted driving

Thanks to multiple public education campaigns, most Kansas teens are aware of how dangerous texting and driving is. However, a recent study, while demonstrating a decline in the percentage of teens texting and driving, revealed that teens still engage in many other distracting activities on the road.

The survey, conducted by a researcher at Oregon State University, asked teens about other activities they engage in while driving. The results revealed that 27 percent admitted to changing their clothing or shoes while they were driving. Others reported doing homework, applying makeup or even changing their contact lenses.

Understanding comparative negligence in Kansas cases

People who have been seriously injured in a car accident in Kansas may benefit by understanding how degrees of negligence might be important. In assessing damages, juries will also assess the percentage of negligence held by each involved party, and the assessment may affect the plaintiff's ultimate recovery in a successful lawsuit.

In some car accidents, one person may be primarily at fault, but the other may also have shared a small degree of fault him or herself. In such a case, a jury's determination of the plaintiff's percentage of fault in the accident's cause will result in a reduction of his or her damages. This fault apportionment is called comparative negligence, a legal term of art used to describe such a division.

Causes, symptoms and treatment for whiplash

On Kansas roads and around the country, whiplash due to car accidents may happen. Whiplash is any sudden and sharp neck movement that results in strain, causing damage to the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the neck and spine.

Whiplash can mean serious injury. Symptoms may not be noticed for up to 48 hours following the initial injury. Such symptoms of harm may include dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, trouble swallowing, headache and possibly pain and stiffness reaching down the upper body and arms. Some individuals may experience vertigo, a ringing in the ears or other disturbances.

Motorcycle accidents and risks

Even though most Kansas drivers know that motorcycles can be incredibly dangerous, motorcycles have only continued to become more popular in the recent years. According to the United States Department of Transportation, there were approximately 8.5 million motorcycles using the nation's roadways in 2012. Of these, 60 out of every 100,000 motorcycles registered were involved in accidents.

Motorcycles themselves are not dangerous, as they are not as likely to crash as passenger vehicles or trucks. Because they are small, however, motorcycles are less visible on the road, making drivers more likely to hit a motorcycle without actually seeing it. Additionally, road hazards and weather conditions that may be mere annoyances for passenger vehicles are more likely to negatively affect motorcycles.