Southeast Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys





Ways to Spot Nursing Home Neglect

Designer Creative - Saturday, September 17, 2016

Placing a loved one in someone else’s care is never an easy process, and finding a trusted environment for those we love requires research, budgeting and overcoming emotional obstacles.


All of these things make cases of nursing home neglect even more traumatic for both the seniors affected and their family members. According to the National Council on Aging, as many as 1 in 10 Americans age 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse, including nursing home neglect.


If you’re suspicious that your loved one may be suffering from neglect, a few signs to watch for include:


  1. – Unusual bruising
  2. – Losing weight quickly or showing signs of malnutrition
  3. – Unprovoked fear
  4. – Lack of social interaction
  5. – Disruption in hobbies or interests
  6. – Abnormally lethargic behavior
  7. – Sores or bleeding spots


If your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse while in a nursing facility, those responsible should be held accountable. Consult with an attorney to learn more about your options. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

5 Tips for Teaching Teens to Drive Safely with Distractions

Designer Creative - Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We all know the hazards of distracted driving, but we don’t always let this knowledge stop us from peeking at our phones or playing with the radio dial.


Today’s teens have grown up with technology that many adults didn’t have access to in their first years of driving. This electronic familiarity in young adults leads many of them to believe they’re more than capable of juggling the road while texting, scrolling through a play list or checking social media.


Despite what young drivers may think, just talking on a cellphone behind the wheel puts them at a higher risk for severely impaired reaction time, according to the Pew Research Center.


Instead of only telling teen drivers not to text and drive, talk with your child about why they want to reach for their phone. When they receive a distracting notification, even when not driving, teach them to:


1. Pause before automatically reaching for their device.

2. Actively think about what’s making them respond abruptly to phone cues.

3. Consider how their focus has been interrupted.

4. Practice waiting 10 minutes before checking devices after receiving notifications.

5. Review their efficiency, self-control and concentration after 10 minutes are up.


The best way to engage your teen in safe driving habits is to have them practice being mindful of distractions in other settings. This works better when you lead by example. Avoid using your phone or hands-free devices while driving and when doing other tasks that might require precise attention—such as cooking. Put your own phone on vibrate, silence or power it off completely when driving.


Lead by example, and join your teen in taking the Road Rules pledge at today.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


4 Factors That Impact The Value of Your Case

Designer Creative - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Every personal injury claim is unique, but there are common factors that affect the viability of your case. Knowing what those are can help you improve your chances of fair compensation.



If the negligent party is clearly 100% at fault for your injury, this increases your case value. If your own actions contributed to some degree, you are less likely to receive full compensation. However, just because you may be partially at fault, does NOT mean you aren’t eligible to recover some damages. Missouri recognizes what’s known as the Pure Comparative Fault Rule, allowing a damaged party to recover even if he/she is 99 percent at fault, although the recovery is reduced by the damaged party’s degree of fault.



If your medical costs and treatment are well documented and are proportionate to your injuries, this will likely improve your claim. However, if your treatment was of short duration and had no objective confirmation of injuries, that may have a negative effect. If you’ve been injured and another party is responsible, it’s important to seek appropriate medical treatment, and secure related records of that treatment. A detailed narrative report from your physician is more effective than a standard, fill-in-the-blank medical form.




An objectively verifiable injury (like a broken bone), or a permanent injury (loss of limb) help substantiate a personal injury claim, versus subjective injuries such as whiplash or pain and suffering that may not be verified with diagnostic tests.



If your lost wages are well documented and easily verifiable, this will help support a personal injury claim. On the other hand, loss of income that cannot be confirmed may hamper your case.

If you’ve been injured and someone else is at fault, always consult an attorney to learn about your options. To take advantage of a free case evaluation from Cook, Barkett, Ponder & Wolz, call 1 (877) 337-6651.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Stages of a Personal Injury Case

Designer Creative - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Every personal injury case is unique – different contributing factors, different timelines, different impact on the victim’s life. Understanding the stages your case may go through will help you assist your attorney achieve the best possible outcome and also prepare you for the legal process.


Your Initial Case Evaluation

During this stage, you will have the opportunity to meet with a personal injury attorney to determine if he or she should represent your case. It’s important to ask questions during this meeting, as well as bring important documents that help the attorney understand your case, such as medical records and accident reports. Once you’ve agreed to work with an attorney, he or she will investigate claims and review documents you’ve provided while evaluating evidence.


Litigation Begins

Your attorney may next send a demand letter to the individual or company you intend to sue, demanding compensation on your behalf. In the next step, your attorney will file a legal complaint with the county clerk, listing your allegations. Once the complaint has been filed and the defendant has been officially served, the litigation process begins. A defendant will typically file a response to your complaint with the courts, which serves as an answer to your allegations.


The Discovery Process

During this stage, known as discovery, information is exchanged between both parties and their attorneys. This may be a lengthy process, depending on the complexity of the case.



Depositions are part of the discovery process. These meetings between attorneys, plaintiff, defendant and witnesses serve as official statements regarding the case. Depositions do not substitute for testimony during a trial, but allow each side to learn everything possible before taking the case to court.


Summary Judgment

A summary judgment is a court motion made after both sides have collected their respective evidence during discovery. This judgment, which is based on declarations under oath, depositions and admissions of fact, decides which side is most favorable in a lawsuit prior to a trial.


Going to Trial

In many cases, if a summary judgment favors the plaintiff, the parties may reach a settlement agreement. If the case is not settled out of court, it will then go to trial to be heard in front of a judge or be tried by a jury. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge or jury will then decide how much compensation to award.


Appeals Process

If either side believes an error was made in the case, they may seek an appeal. In this process, the appeals court will review in detail everything that was presented at the initial trial to determine an outcome.



Have questions about the process? Contact Cook, Barkett, Ponder & Wolz today.


Top Causes of Big Truck Collisions

Designer Creative - Thursday, March 10, 2016

For the most part, big truck drivers are skilled and patient drivers. Although the size and weight of semi-trucks are related to the dangers, additional components contribute to big truck collisions.



Speeding is the No. 2 cause of semi-truck accidents, involving nearly 23% of commercial truck crashes. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nearly 18% of all large-truck drivers involved in a fatal crash had at least one prior speeding conviction. Typically, commercial trucks weigh about 80,000 pounds, and as their speed increases the force is made even more deadly.


Unfamiliar Roadways

Large trucks travel thousands of miles to meet their destination, and through their travel avoiding an unfamiliar roadway is almost impossible. If a driver is forced to detour, they may be looking into the distance, or off to the side to find an alternate route. It’s a crucial aspect for truck drivers to plan trips accordingly and be prepared.


Blind Spots

The typical tractor trail is 12 – 13 feet long. Although drivers are trained to check blind spots frequently and carefully, inadequate surveillance accounts for 14% of semi-truck wrecks.


Driver Fatigue

In 2003, driver fatigue was one of the top two causes for large truck collisions. That same year, the National Traffic Safety Board issued a rule stating that semi-truck and bus drivers must get eight hours of continuous sleep after 15 hours of duty or 10 hours of driving. Although the law’s implementation has seemed to help, fatigue is still one of the top five causes of semi-truck collisions.


Missouri car wreck statistics

Designer Creative - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Missouri’s beautiful landscapes, rivers and tourist attractions bring in much traffic in and around Southeast Missouri. Many commercial and passenger vehicles regularly use our highways, along with our locals and visitors, to travel through the state. Car wrecks can still occur even when drivers are being cautious and obeying all traffic and speed laws.


Cook, Barkett, Ponder & Wolz is dedicated to finding justice for victims suffering catastrophic injuries due to car wrecks. According to the latest statistics published by the Missouri Department of Transportation, in 2013:

- 2,286 car wrecks occurred

- 377 people died from car wrecks

- 1,909 people were severely injured by a car wreck


The three main causes of car wrecks are distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving. Distracted driving continues to be the No.1 leading cause of car wrecks in America. Examples include talking on the phone, eating, reading, fixing make-up or talking to passengers. Speeding contributes to about 1/3 of all car wrecks.


It’s not worth it to send that text that can wait, drive under the influence or speed to get somewhere just a few minutes sooner. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car wreck, please call us at 1-877-377-6651 for a free case evaluation today. We care about our clients, and keeping our community safe. That’s the reason we get up every day and do what we do. We don’t sue unless we have to, and we only take cases we believe in.



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The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based upon advertisements alone.

© 2018 Cook Barkett Ponder & Wolz. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.



The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based upon advertisements alone.

© 2017 Cook Barkett Ponder & Wolz. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.