Personal Injury

Serious injury caused by the negligence of others

For almost 30 years I have represented seriously injured individuals in a wide variety of cases in Missouri and Kansas including car and truck wrecks, rail crossing collisions, air crashes, fires and explosions, industrial mishaps, serious falls, unsafe products, and contamination by toxic substances.  If you are a loved one have been seriously injured as a result of negligence is very important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as practicable .

You need to be aware that every state has a statute of limitations that applies to a personal injury action.    If an action is not  filed within the applicable statute of limitations (and appropriately served on the defendant(s)) it will be forever barred. Under current (January 2019) law, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case for an adult in Missouri is 5 years from the date of the injury.    In Kansas the personal injury statute of limitations for an adult is two years from the date of the injury, (but under some circumstances can be extended by a discovery rule).  The most important point is that depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, the applicable statute of limitations may not be straightforward and sometimes can be challenging to determine.  The facts regarding who was injured, where they were injured, how they were injured, their age at the time of injury, and the kind of injury sustained (among other factors ), can effect what the statute of limitation for a particular claim will be.    Thus if you believe you have been injured through the negligence of a third party, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as practicable following the injury to avoid issues with the statute of limitations,

If you would like assistance in evaluating your potential claim, please contact me.at your earliest convenience.    Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning if there is no recovery, there is no fee.   

Wrongful Death

Unexpected loss of a loved one 

Over the last 30 years I have represented the families and loved ones of individuals who have been killed through the negligence of others.   Although most of the cases originated in Missouri or Kansas,  I have been involved in cases from many other states.  I have handled wrongful death cases resulting from car and truck wrecks, rail crossing collisions,  airplane crashes,  fires and explosions, industrial mishaps,  and dangerous products, 

It is important to be aware that every state has a statute of limitations that applies to a personal injury action.    If an action is not  filed within the applicable statute of limitations (and appropriately served on the defendant(s)) it will be forever barred. Under current (January 2019) law, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in Missouri is 3 years from the date of the death.    In Kansas the wrongful death  statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the death, but exceptions apply,   The most important point is that depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, the applicable statute of limitations may not be straightforward and sometimes can be challenging to determine.    Thus if you believe that a family member or loved one has been killed as a result of the negligence of a third party, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as practicable following their death to avoid issues with the statute of limitations.

In  addition to imposing a time deadline for how long you have to file a claim, wrongful death statutes also specify those who may bring the claim and those who are entitled to recover damages as a result of the death.

If you would like assistance in evaluating a potential claim for the loss or a relative or loved one,please contact me.at your earliest convenience.    Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning if there is no recovery there is no fee. 

Medical Negligence

Injury as a result of inappropriate medical care

 

 

I have handled medical negligence cases in  both Missouri and Kansas including cases involving birth injury,  stroke , heart attack, medication errors and numerous cases involving failures to diagnose and/or treat a wide variety of medical conditions.

It is important to be aware that every state has a statute of limitations that applies to a  medical negligence or malpractice action.    If an action is not  filed within the applicable statute of limitations (and appropriately served on the defendant(s)) it will be forever barred.  Under current (January 2019) law, the statute of limitations for a non- wrongful death medical negligence case in Missouri is 2 years from the date of the injury.   in some cases  continuing  treatment by the same health care provider for the same condition can extend the statute of limitations beyond two years.    In Kansas the statute of limitations for medical negligence is two years from the date of the injury.    In some instances a discovery rule may apply that can extend the statute beyond two years but no more than four years beyond the date of the alleged negligent act or omission that caused injury.   The most important point is that depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, the applicable statute of limitations may not be straightforward and sometimes can be challenging to determine.   

 

Both Missouri and Kansas  currently impose restrictions on damages and  both states have special rules of procedure that only apply to medical negligence cases, including rules regarding the need for expert testimony and and filing requirements.   Thus if you believe that a family member or loved one has injured or been killed as a result of medical negligence  your should consult with an experienced medical negligence attorney as soon as practicable to avoid issues with the statute of limitations and to allow sufficient time to evaluate the potential case. and to have it reviewed by a qualified medical expert.  

 

If  you would like assistance in evaluating a potential claim for the loss or a relative or loved one, please contact me at your earliest convenience.    Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning if there is no recovery there is no fee. 

Federal False Claims ACT

Qut Tam Whistleblower Actions 

The Federal False Claims Act provides protection and a potential for a Qui Tam award for those reporting fraud to the federal government involving federal funds.

I have successfully represented Whistleblower's in a variety of FCA cases over the last 20 years, resulting in substantial recoveries for the government and the client.

FAQs for Qui Tam Cases:
 

Q: What is a Qui Tam or False Claims Act case?


A: During the Civil War, military officers had the authority to purchase supplies and equipment from local vendors and from farmers and landowners. Military quartermasters often issued receipts to these individuals who presented these receipts for payment to the United States Government. However, many unscrupulous individuals routinely marked up or falsified these claims and they were bleeding the treasury dry. As a result, President Abraham Lincoln asked for, and received from Congress, a bill which deputized every citizen of the United States as a private attorney general. The Act provided that the citizen who reports the fraud to the government could share in a portion of money that is returned to the federal treasury. Although modified several times since the 1860's, the Qui Tam or False Claims Act still exists today and rewards "whistleblowers" who bring the existence of fraud by government contractors to the attention of the federal government.

Q: How is a False Claims Act case filed?


A: Under the False Claims Act, a Relator, or an individual with knowledge of fraud on the government, can make his or her allegations known in a lawsuit filed in a federal court. This lawsuit specifies what the government contractor or other individual did wrong. A "disclosure statement" is also filed which is a document that explains how the defendant defrauded the government of money by making false claims for payment of goods or services. This information is then communicated under seal to the United States Attorney's Office and to the United States Department of Justice who ultimately makes a decision with respect to whether to "intervene" in the case. The term "under seal" means that the information is kept secret and is not disclosed to anyone other than the United States Attorney's Office. This gives the government time to investigate the allegations in the Complaint prior to any public disclosure.

Q: What is intervention?


A: Intervention is the process by which the United States Department of Justice takes over the prosecution of a False Claims Act case on behalf of the federal government. Specifically, a Department of Justice lawyer will enter an appearance on behalf of the government and will undertake all of the costs and investigation necessary to litigate the claim. Intervention typically takes place several months after a case has been filed and after the government has conducted its preliminary investigation of the allegations made in the lawsuit.

Q: How does intervention under the Act work?


A: As explained above, a copy of the Complaint and all of the evidence compiled in a disclosure statement is sent to the Department of Justice. Both documents are filed "under seal," meaning they are disclosed only to the government. The Department of Justice then makes a decision whether or not to intervene in the case after the case is filed, usually within 60 days to nine months. If the Department of Justice intervenes, they take over the case and the percentage of an award to the Relator is between 15 to 25% of the amount recovered by the government. If the government does not intervene, then your lawyers have the option of prosecuting the action on your behalf. If your lawyers successfully prosecute the action and obtain a verdict at trial or settlement with the contractor, the claimant (referred to in qui tam cases as the relator) would be entitled to somewhere between 15 and 30% of the total amount of money recovered for the federal government.

Q: Is intervention in the best interests of the claimant?


A: Intervention is almost always desirable because it means that the federal government will undertake all of the costs of prosecuting the action. Intervention does limit the amount of money that the claimant can obtain from the federal government. One of the benefits of the qui tam or false claims provisions is that an individual who reports government fraud can obtain a reward between 15 and 25% of the amount recovered by the federal government.

Q: How much money can be recovered for the federal government?


A: The False Claims Act includes provisions that triple the amount of false claims recovered by the government plus civil penalties designed to punish the government contractor for making false claims. For example, if a contractor files a false claim with the federal government and cheats the treasury out of $100.00, under the tripling provisions of the False Claims Act (which multiplies the amount of the false claim by three times), the $100.00 false claim becomes a $300.00 false claim and that is the amount that the government obtains in damages. In addition to the tripling provision, a guilty party who submits a false claim to the federal government is liable for a civil penalty between $5,500.00 and $11,000.00 for each violation of the False Claims Act. Thus, an individual who submitted five false bills for $100.00 to the federal government could be liable for up to $1,500.00 in "tripled" damages and between $27,500.00 and $55,000.00 in civil penalties. If the full $70,000.00 was awarded by the court, the Relator would obtain somewhere between 15 and 30% of that amount, depending on whether a private attorney or the Department of Justice prosecuted the action.

Q: What if I saw this on 60 Minutes and want to bring a qui tam action?


A: Under the False Claims Act, publicly disclosed fraud (such as that shown in an investigative magazine) does not qualify for citizen recovery under the False Claims Act. The government may still be able to bring an action for violation of the False Claims Act, but individuals are barred from participating in a recovery because it has already been made public. The purpose of the Act is to reward those individuals with knowledge of fraud being perpetrated on the government who come forward and inform the governmental authorities of what is occurring. These individuals are often referred to as "whistleblowers" and in the past have saved taxpayers millions of dollars by reporting fraud and abuse.

Q: I have information about unreported government fraud. What should I do?


A: Contact a law firm with experience in handling this type of case. I have substantial experience in bringing and prosecuting False Claims Act cases and may be able to assist you in evaluating your case.