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Missouri Law Blog

IRS warns about phone scams during tax season

The approach of the filing deadline for individual income tax returns also initiates the season for telephone scams predicated on the population's general anxiety about their income tax liability and the Internal Revenue Service. As a result, people in northern Missouri and Kansas may begin receiving telephone calls from individuals purporting to represent the IRS.

In the early days of telephone scams, scammers attempted to persuade victims to send money to a specified bank account that was unrelated to the IRS. Modern scams are more sophisticated. A common telephone scam occurs when a statement is made indicating that the victim's Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or concern that it may have been involved in a crime. The victim is then asked to confirm their Social Security number in order to reactivate it. The Social Security number is then used to charge purchases to a credit card or to withdraw money from a bank account.

Driver fleeing police collides with another vehicle

High-speed police pursuits are often controversial, not because the police vehicle is a hazard to other drivers but because the driver attempting to escape becomes a significant threat to other drivers. The degree of risk was tragically demonstrated in a recent motor vehicle accident when a car fleeing from Kansas City, Kansas police crossed into Missouri during a lengthy high-speed chase and collided with a sedan occupied by a husband and wife going out for dinner.

Kansas City, Kansas police said the driver hit a police cruiser in the city and then crossed the state line and led police on a 12-mile chase. The chase ended when the fleeing driver ran a red light and slammed into a sedan as it was pulling into a restaurant parking lot. The couple in the sedan survived the collision, but they appear to have suffered severe injuries.

How to spot nursing home abuse

You put a great deal of trust in the nursing home. After all, healthcare providers at the facility must provide for all your aging loved one’s needs. Unfortunately, though, not all professionals provide the same standard of care. Even worse, some engage in heartbreaking elder abuse. 

Because of communication difficulties and embarrassment, uncovering nursing home abuse can be challenging. Simply put, you may need to do some amateur detective work to determine if your loved one is receiving adequate and compassionate care. Here are four common signs of elder abuse in nursing homes: 

Suit alleges nursing home negligence caused death of patient

Patients of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable patients in the health care system. Many of them are unable to take care of themselves or to attend to their medical care. A recently filed lawsuit involving nursing home abuse in Derby, Kansas demonstrates the special vulnerability of these elderly citizens.

According to the complaint, the patient was an 89-year-old woman in the Westview of Darby nursing home. The woman fell from her recliner and hit her leg on a wheel chair. The woman suffered a three-inch bruise that did not heal on its own. Her legs also swelled up. She did not receive any antibiotics until almost a month after the accident. By that time, the wound was fully infected and leaking fluid. The complaint alleges that the nursing home staff failed to provide adequate care or to refer her to a wound clinic for specialized treatment. The complaint also alleged that the staff failed to take account of the woman' diabetes and edema, two conditions that increased her risk of developing skin ulcers. The woman died from the infection three months after the fall.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 7 of 7)

Huge Mistake #7

Not getting a free consultation when one is easily available to you

Now you know a general summary of the 7 huge mistakes that victims of accidents make. It's my sincerest hope that you feel empowered in your fight against the insurance company. The fight is hard enough without making mistakes. Don't be like the people in the stories in this book who botched their cases before they ever had a chance.

Many people feel intimidated by the prospect of seeking legal advice. You're probably already feeling uncertain, so setting up a free consultation can feel like just another complex system you have to negotiate. I can assure you that it does not have to be intimidating.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 6 of 7)

Huge Mistake #6

Waiting to hire a lawyer

You have probably seen shows on TV where a detective opens up a cold case from thirty years ago to go after the murderer and bring him to justice. The family of the victims are finally brought relief, and the detective is a hero for refusing to give up. This is not how it works with personal injury cases. After a certain amount of time, you are not allowed to pursue your case or seek settlement money. Waiting too long raises the question, why didn't you pursue the case right after it happened? People will question whether your personal injury deserves compensation if you take too long. Worst case scenario, the insurance companies will think that you are only looking for an opportunity for free money. Their assumption is that you would not wait to seek a settlement for a serious injury, so your personal injury case must be illegitimate.

Obviously, there are plenty of reasons that might make you wait to seek legal advice. You could be in physical and emotional pain. You're probably frustrated. You might even be humiliated or embarrassed, and the last thing you want to do is have to talk through the details of your traumatic experience. That being said, I have found that most people leave the free consultation that we offer with a greater sense of security. They can rest assured that they have all of the information they need to go forward and the peace of mind that they pursued all of their options. I understand that your personal injury case can be one of the most difficult times in your life, so it's always brought me satisfaction to help people through it.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 5 of 7)

Huge Mistake #5

Accepting an early settlement

Sometimes, it's impossible for the insurance company to avoid giving you money. In this case, they will try to get you to accept an early settlement. Usually, these settlements are not enough to cover all of your lost wages and medical bills. But, if they can talk you into accepting an early settlement, that is a huge win for the insurance company.

Insurance companies have experience with cases like yours. They know that injuries can appear small before they cause more serious problems down the road. If they can get you to accept an early settlement, they are happy that they won't have to pay you any more money for future medical treatment or loss of wages. To be clear, once you have accepted a settlement, you cannot go back and ask for more money.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 4 of 7)

Huge Mistake #4

Not being honest with your lawyer or doctor

Even though insurance companies are big, powerful entities, they usually avoid paying you money you deserve in one way: they try to make you seem like a liar. Insurance fraud is a legitimate reason for an insurance company not to pay you money. They will be on the lookout for anyone they can brand liar.

I had a client named Lou who fell in a parking lot and severely injured his back. At our first meeting, I asked Lou if he had ever injured his back before. He said, "Absolutely not." It turns out that he was wrong. Lou had previously been trying to remove a refrigerator from his basement, and the refrigerator fell on top of him. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and was treated many times by a doctor. When the defense found out about the refrigerator accident, they called my client a liar.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 3 of 7)

Huge Mistake #3

Trusting insurance companies to be fair and honest

As I have said, the insurance companies are working against you. Fair does not factor into their plans. They want to pay you as little money as possible. In fact, it would be a huge success for them if they didn't have to pay you any money at all.

But, they don't tell you this. They will pretend that they are being fair. They will make it seem like they want to help you in your difficult time. They will offer you money (a settlement). That seems like a good thing. But, this is all a part of their strategy to pay you little or nothing. Sometimes, they will tell you that the settlement that they offer will go away if you don't do exactly what they say. This is a lie. They lure you in with the possibility of money, so that you make a mistake so that they don't have to pay you anything.

The 7 huge mistakes accident victims make (Part 2 of 7)

Huge Mistake #2

Speaking to a claims adjuster without legal advice

DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE ABOUT YOUR ACCIDENT OR INJURY BEFORE TALKING TO A LAWYER! You especially don't want to speak to claims adjusters. They want to trick you into saying something that will deny you money. Insurance companies have access to all of your information, so even an accidental slip of the tongue can revoke your right to compensation.

It's no surprise that the other side wants to give you less money, but even your own insurance company has an interest in giving you little or no money. They want to keep their money too. Speaking to any claims adjuster without legal advice, regardless of what side they are on, can damage your case and leave you drowning in debt.

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