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Newsletter – Summer 2012

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Casey & Devoti

Safety First! Beware of Children When Backing Your Car

Did you know that every year, thousands of children are hurt or die because a driver backing up didn’t see them? These incidents, for the most part, take place in residential driveways or parking lots.

  • The predominant victims are 1-year-olds. (12-23 months)
  • Over 60% of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle (truck, van, SUV).
  • Tragically, in more than 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2/18/05 study reports more than 2,400 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year due a child being struck by or rolled over by a vehicle moving in reverse.

In the U.S., 50 children are being backed over by vehicles EVERY week. Forty-eight are treated in hospital emergency rooms and at least two children are fatality injured every WEEK.

All adults should heighten their awareness before they engage a vehicle into reverse, especially when children are present. Young children are impulsive and unpredictable; they tend to have very poor judgment and little understanding of danger. In addition, young children do not recognize boundaries, such as property lines, sidewalks, driveways or parking spaces. Toddlers have established independent mobility between the ages of 12-23 months, but the concept of personal safety is absent.

Backovers are often the predictable consequence of a child following a parent into the driveway and standing behind their vehicle without their parent’s knowledge. Backovers can happen in any vehicle because all vehicles have a blind zone – the area behind a vehicle you cannot see from the driver’s seat.

The danger tends to increase with larger vehicles. It’s always best to look carefully behind the vehicle before you get in and again before you put the car in gear to back up. Remember to back up slowly, and pay attention to your mirrors., a national nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles, provides the following recommendations to keep children safe:

  • Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
  • Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.
  • Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.
  • Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.
  • Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.
  • Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
  • Hold children’s hand when leaving the vehicle.
  • Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake.
  • Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
  • Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.

For more great information and safety tips, please visit

About Our Firm


Casey & Devoti has been handling complex personal injury, automobile accident, and commercial cases since 1983. Our firm is dedicated to providing both individuals and small companies with first class, personal, professional, and aggressive legal representation. Our lawyers have extensive trial experience and over the years have tried a range of cases, including automobile accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, premises liability and commercial disputes.

To set up a free consultation, please call 314-421-0763 or send us an email.

Trending Topics

The Truth About Lawsuit Cost

Missouri politicians just can’t help themselves. We’re in the midst of another political season. And, once again, Missouri politicians are taking aim at one of their favorite targets – injured people and their legal counsel.

John Brunner is a candidate for the U.S. Senate. In a recent television ad, Brunner criticizes one of his opponents – Sarah Steelman – for “being in the pocket” of trial lawyers. The implication seems to be that a politician’s association with attorneys that protect your rights by advocating for safer workplaces, products, driving habits, hospitals and medical procedures is horrible. The inference also is that litigation results in additional costs to us as well as more litigation. Unfortunately, Brunner and those that campaign on the issue are wrong and continue to mislead you.

According to a report in Missouri Lawyers Weekly, medical malpractice payments in 2011 were “at their lowest on record.” In its July 30, 2012 edition, the newspaper reported the result of a recent study conducted by Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog. Public Citizen’s report found that both the number of medical payments and their inflation-adjusted value were at their lowest level since 1991, the earliest full year for which data is available. In the report, Public Citizen analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The NPDB is a federal service that tracks malpractice payments on behalf of doctors.

As all of us know, politicians and certain social commentators have advocated “tort reform” for many years as a way to manage health care costs. According to these folks, so-called “frivolous” medical malpractice claims serve to drive up the costs of healthcare. Besides ignoring the cost to the individual victim of malpractice, the position also fails to address the truth. Public Citizen’s report found that 80 percent of medical malpractice awards compensated victims for death, catastrophic harm or serious permanent injuries.

Perhaps it’s time to change the debate. Maybe we should ask politicians like John Brunner why they refuse to hold corporations and individuals responsible for conduct that result in death or catastrophic injury or a significant change in a victim’s life. Perhaps it’s time to challenge Brunner and his fellow politicians about questioning the decisions of juries that invest their time while hearing evidence rather than supporting the ill-informed rants of television personalities selling ad dollars.

We remain dedicated to representing victims of negligence and the intentional actions that result in injury. We realize that the hardest thing many of you will ever do is walk into our office to challenge a business or insurance company that won’t take you seriously. Please feel free to contact us should you, a family member or friend ever be in need of legal counsel or instruction.

Missouri Lawyers Weekly is the largest legal publication in Missouri. For more information about the newspaper, visit

To read the report of Public Citizen’s study, visit

-Matt Devoti

Latest News

Devoti Named to Board of Women’s Advocacy Group

Matt Devoti was named to the board of directors of St. Martha’s Hall. St. Martha’s Hall is a not-for-profit agency that provides a shelter care program for abused women and their children. Its mission is to help abused women and their children break the cycle of violence in their lives by offering an immediate, confidential place for the abused women and their children to live as well as a supportive environment emphasizing peer support and a self-help philosophy.

Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behavior that adults or adolescents use against their current or former intimate partners. In fact, the most common form of violence experienced by women is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner. Missouri has ranked 14 in the highest rate of men murdering women.

In 2009, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 36,689 incidents of domestic violence and 54 deaths involving domestic violence in Missouri; these include 7,146 incidents and 19 deaths in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis.

For more information about St. Martha’s Hall and the service it offers, visit

Tom & Trish Casey Celebrate 40 Year Anniversary

Casey & Devoti congratulates Tom and Trish Casey for celebrating 40 years of marriage. Tom and Trish were married on August 18, 1972 at Little Flower Catholic Church in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Tom and Trish have four children, Matt, Mike, Ellen and Anne.

For Your Information

Don’t Hire A Law Firm That Outsources Its Personal Injury Work

A colleague of mine recently shared with me an e-mail solicitation he received from Kangaroo Legal. Click here to see the email. Kangaroo Legal is a company that provides personal injury outsourcing support. It targets law firms whose primary practice is not personal injury litigation. Kangaroo Legal touts that it helps non-personal injury firms broaden the scope of their practice “by handling the back office portion of personal injury cases” … “from our offices in Mobile, Al.”

As a personal injury attorney, this disturbs me and, quite honestly, insults me.

It insults me that Kangaroo Legal implies that it can help any lawyer handle personal injury cases. Personal injury cases are extremely complicated matters. They require a deep understanding of the law as it pertains to personal injury actions. Even then, there are numerous nuances and intricacies to the law that one only learns through years of practice. For example, Missouri generally does not require the recipient of a personal injury settlement reimburse his health insurer for amounts paid to doctors in treating the injuries a tissue on the case. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. If your health coverage is through Medicare/Medicaid or your plan is established through the federal ERISA laws, then you are responsible for repaying the health plan. The rules of repayment are complicated, and the penalty for an error may be great. This is an area of the law that should only be traversed only by a seasoned injury lawyer.

It disturbs me because, as a personal injury lawyer, I understand how important it is to have a personal relationship with your lawyer. I understand the faith and trust placed in me by my clients. My clients come to me when they are hurt. Most are unable to work and provide for their families. This creates extreme stress and anxiety. I understand the importance of having a lawyer to call or meet with to answer questions and quell concerns. It is no time to have a lawyer that you have never met face to face in Mobile, Alabama.

Be aware that there are many lawyers that claim they do personal injury work, when they actually have little to no experience in the field. As evidenced above, there are now some that are even outsourcing their work. There are many good personal injury law firms. If you need to hire one, make sure it is firm that has the experience and resources to properly help you and your family.

-Matt Casey

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Casey & Devoti Welcome New Partner Anne Brockland

Matt Casey and Matt Devoti are pleased to welcome Anne Brockland to the firm as a new partner. The firm name will officially change to Casey, Devoti & Brockland, P.C. Anne joins the firm will over 10 years of personal injury trial experience with a special emphasis on medical malpractice. She takes great pride in helping people […] more

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