Welcome to the Blog of The Glassman Law Firm, P.C., St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys

We blog about relevant issues in personal injury law, discuss the misconceptions surrounding personal injury law and some of the most popular cases in the news, inform on the legal and political landscape of tort reform and insurance company lobbying, and provide readers with helpful personal injury information and resources. Please visit www.glassmanlegal.com for more information.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Keep Your Family Safe And Buckle Up This Summer

After a six year decline, Missouri traffic fatalities are up 20%, this according to Missouri Highway Patrol. Statewide in 2011, there were 313 traffic fatalities. This year fatalities are up at 375. Of these crashes, two thirds of people were not wearing a seat belt.

Seat belts save lives. Seat belt use across the country is at 88% nationally, however there are still groups of people that are less likely to wear a seat belt. Teens, males in rural areas, commercial drivers, pick-up truck drivers, people driving at night and people who have been drinking all are less likely.

When preventing death and injury, wearing a seat belt is the singular most effective traffic safety device. From 2004-2008, seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives and reduced the risk of injuries in a crash by 50%.

There are safety belt laws in all states except for New Hampshire. In some states, like Missouri, adult seat belt laws only apply to front seat occupants. Police may stop a vehicle in 32 of our states solely for seat belt violations, in other states police must have another reason to stop a vehicle before giving a citation for failing to buckle up.

In 16 states, Missouri included, safety belt use can have implications in civil suits which is referred to as the “safety belt defense.” This defense can reduce damages collected by someone in a crash if the person was not wearing their safety belt at the time. By statute in Missouri, if the absence of a seat belt is found to have contributed to an injury, a victim's award may only be reduced by 1%.

All states have child restraint laws. These laws requires that children ride in approved devices until a certain age and weight, then use the vehicle’s own seat belt. A child 3 years and younger and/or 40 pounds or less must be in a child restraint. Children 4 to 7 years old who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and are 4’9” or shorter must be in either a booster seat or a child restraint. All children who are 8 to 16 years old, all children who are 4 years old and older who weigh 80 pounds or more, or are 4’9” and taller are permitted to use an adult safety belt.

There is no doubt that wearing a safety belt can save a life. When embarking on family road trips this summer make sure that your family is safe and that everyone is buckled up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stay Safe Around Fireworks

With the fourth of July just around the corner, many families have already begun celebrating. It is important to be aware of the dangers of fireworks and how to safely use them, if you choose to.

The U.S. Product Safety Commission has released a report stating that in 2011 approximately 9,600 injuries and 4 deaths were attributed to firework use; that’s 1,000 more injuries than recorded in 2010. It is estimated that between the months of June and July, roughly 200 people will go to the emergency room for firework related injuries.

The remedy to avoiding any potential danger is simple, do not use fireworks at home. Leave the explosive displays to the professionals. This is the easiest and safest way for you and your family to enjoy the festivities. Pyrotechnicians stress that it’s too difficult for a non-professional to gauge the risk involved when lighting fireworks at home.

"While fireworks are exciting to see, they are potentially dangerous and when misused can lead to serious injuries, fires, burns and even death," said Missouri State Fire Marshal Randy L. Cole. "Misuse of fireworks is not only dangerous for the user, but also for the bystanders and surrounding structures. Even a sparkler—which is often thought of as safe for children—burns at a temperature that is hot enough to cause third degree burns.”

In addition to the potential bodily injuries, injury to property is also a factor, especially during periods of extended high temperatures and drought, as we are now experiencing. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2008, 22,500 fires were a direct result of fireworks. That number included 1,400 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 20,600 various other fires. These fires have resulted in approximately $42 million in property damages.

It is legal to purchase fireworks from licensed seasonal retailers in Missouri from June 20th to July 10th. Look for a state permit displayed at the retail location. There are 1,199 seasonal retailers in Missouri.

If you choose to use consumer fireworks, use them safely. Here are some helpful safety tips:
  • Only purchase fireworks from a licensed retailer. Never purchase them illegally. 
  • Wear eye protection and ear plugs. 
  • Detonate only one firework at a time, after assuring that bystanders are a safe distance away. 
  • Do not ever try to re-light a “dud.” 
  • Wait at least 20 minutes and then douse with water to ensure it has been extinguished properly before throwing them away. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or a hose nearby when you are setting of fireworks in case of emergency. 
  • Children and fireworks do not mix! Do not permit unattended youngsters in the presence of unsupervised fireworks. 
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place and do not save them from season to season. 
Remember, the best and safest way to enjoy fireworks is to see a professional display at one of the local venues. Click on the link below for a listing. Have a safe and happy Independence Day from The Glassman Law Firm.