Thursday, October 27, 2016

6 Scary Halloween Statistics

Halloween is one the most highly anticipated holidays among both children and adults. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most dangerous. A wide variety of dangers await children (and adults) on Halloween night. In order to keep your family safe, it is important to be realistic about the risks you face. Our personal injury attorney in Osage Beach MO is here to help you keep your family safe this Halloween.

Halloween Statistics
  1. 75% of parents admit to having fears about Halloween, but only 25% of parents talk to their children about Halloween safety every year.*
  2. Child pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night.*
  3. 12% of children ages 5 and under are allowed to trick-or-treat without adult supervision.*
  4. Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their children's costumes to make them more visible.*
  5. Most major brands of Halloween face paint contain detectable amounts of lead.**
  6. Drunk driving incidents skyrocket on Halloween. In 2015, over half of all driving fatalities that occurred on Halloween night involved a driver with blood alcohol content above 0.08%.***
* Source:
** Source:
*** Source:

Halloween Dangers

Many of the classic Halloween pastimes can pose significant risks for young children. As examples, children can get hurt by...
  • Cutting themselves while carving pumpkins.
  • Tripping and falling as a result of poorly fitting costumes.
  • Burning themselves with the candles in jack o'lanterns.
  • Injuring themselves with sharp costume props.

Keep your children safe by supervising their Halloween activities at all times. 

Halloween Propaganda

Fortunately for parents, some highly publicized Halloween dangers actually pose very little risk to children. For example, many people talk about increased incidences of child molestation and kidnapping on Halloween night, but crime rates show us that these crime are no more likely to occur around Halloween than they are at any other time of the year. People also talk about households passing out Halloween candy that has been randomly laced with drugs or poison, but there are no reports of this actually happening. (There are reports of children consuming candy that is laced with drugs, but this typically happens when children get their hands on candy that was intended to be kept in an adult's private stash.)

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney For Representation

We sincerely hope you and your family stay safe this Halloween. Unfortunately, life is impossible to predict, and sometimes even the best precautions cannot prevent accidents from happening. If you or a loved one suffers an injury at the hands of another this Halloween, our personal injury lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks will be here to defend your rights. Visit our website for more information about our personal injury representation in central Missouri.

Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 348-2211

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week ~ Consequences of Underage Drinking

Over 4,300 Americans under the age of 21 die from an alcohol-related incident every year. Missouri is responsible for over 100 of those deaths (Source: CDC). Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, but unfortunately, criminalizing the act has not seemed to really help - a shocking number of high school and college students under the age 21 still consume alcohol on a consistent basis.

October 17-21, 2016, is Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. It is a week designed to raise awareness of the potential danger alcohol consumption can be for college students. Universities host multiple programs to educate students and raise awareness of alcohol issues on their respective campuses. In honor of Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is dedicating our blog to the consequences of underage drinking.

Legal Consequences

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. Individuals ages 20 and under are breaking the law if they consume alcohol, and as a result they may be subject to legal consequences. These consequences may include:
  • Mandatory community service
  • Suspension of driver's license
  • Criminal fines
  • Jail time

It can also have farther-reaching effects. Because it is a criminal offense, a conviction of underage drinking may also go on your criminal record indefinitely. Having a criminal conviction can make it more difficult to secure employment, housing, loans, quality education, and more.

Other Consequences

The legal consequences underage drinkers risk should not be taken lightly, but unfortunately they barely scratch the surface of the potential consequences. Underage drinking puts people at greater risk for a variety of other consequences, including:
  • Abuse of and addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other substances
  • Car accidents
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Suicide

College students specifically face another array of potential consequences, such as lowered GPA, suspension from classes, and (depending on other circumstances) potentially even expulsion from their university.

The younger a child is when he begins drinking, the more at-risk he is for suffering any of these other consequences. Because the consequences range from lowered grade point average to serious illness and even death, it is easy to see why underage drinking is such a severe issue in our society.

Gibbons Law Firm Is Here To Protect Your Rights

Our Lake of the Ozarks legal team strongly encourages individuals under the age of 21 to refrain from drinking alcohol until they are old enough to participate without incurring legal charges. Even then, however, the other dangers of alcohol consumption can still be present. No matter how old you are, it is important that you respect the dangers alcohol may present so that you can take steps to keep yourself and others safe.

If you find yourself faced with criminal charges, our criminal defense attorney in Camden County MO will be here to ensure that your rights are protected. Our goal will be to ensure that you don't suffer unnecessarily harsh consequences. For more information on our criminal defense services in Osage Beach MO, call 573-348-2211 or visit

Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 348-2211

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No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

5 Factors That Influence Custody Arrangements

Divorce is a trying process with countless details demanding attention. If you have children, child custody will probably feel far more important than any other issue that may arise. It likely goes without saying that you'll want to do everything in your power to ensure you can remain actively involved in your children's life. If you are wondering how the Court determines custody and what you can do to improve your chances of being awarded full or partial custody, our family attorney in Osage Beach MO is here to help.

Providing For The Child's Best Interests

When determining whom should be awarded custody, the Court has one primary mission: to award custody in the manner that will best benefit the child. The Court is concerned only for the child's best interests; your and your spouse's emotions and desires will carry little weight. The Court will evaluate several factors to determine how well-equipped each of the parents are to care for the child's best interests. Here are a few examples of these factors:

1. Involvement In The Child's Life
No matter what your child's age is, he needs a parent who will be there to support him. Whether that support comes in the form of attending little league baseball games or helping him fill out college applications, the Court will want to see that you have been actively involved in your child's life in the past, that you continue to stay involved during the divorce proceedings, and that you can be trusted to remain involved in the future.

2. Lifestyle
Some lifestyles easily lend themselves to caring for a child, and others do not. If you routinely work 60 hours a week and frequently travel for work, for example, the Court may decide that you will not be able to dedicate appropriate time to raising your child and award primary custody to the other parent.

3. The Child's Wishes
If your child is old enough to express her opinion, her wishes will likely factor heavily into the Court's ultimate decision. The child must be able to articulate the reason for her opinion, and if the reason is valid, the Court may be inclined to oblige.

4. Stable Environment
Children need stability and consistency in order to thrive. If you change residences frequently or regularly have new romantic partners, this may negatively impact your odds of being awarded custody. The Court will want to see that you can provide a stable home for your child.

5. Alcoholism & Abuse
Obviously, alcoholism and abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or otherwise) do not lend themselves to a supportive, loving home. If one parent has a history of any of these issues, the Court will likely award custody to the non-offending parent. In these instances, visitation rights for the offending parent may also be severely limited (or denied altogether).

Proving You Can Provide For Your Child's Best Interests

These five are only a few examples of the countless different factors that can influence custody arrangements. The Court will also look at religious and cultural preferences, the parents' mental and physical health, opportunities to remain in contact with other family members (such as grandparents), and more.

When you file for divorce in Camden County MO, it will be up to you to prove to the Court that you are able to fulfill all of the responsibilities associated with raising a child. Fortunately, you do not have to face this journey alone. Our Lake of the Ozarks divorce attorney will be here to guide and represent you along every step of the way. Call us at (573) 348-2211 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

National Motorcycle Ride Day: 8 Important Safety Tips

If you've ever ridden on a motorcycle, you know that there is nothing quite like the thrill of the open road. Motorcyclists relish the feeling of the wind in their hair and the sense of freedom that can only be found on a bike. For many people, motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation - they're a hobby, a community, a culture, and a lifestyle. Unfortunately, under certain circumstances, they can also be very dangerous.

Saturday, October 8th is National Motorcycle Ride Day. In preparation for this upcoming observance, our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is here to help you stay safe on the roads with these important motorcycle safety tips. Whether you will be on a bike or sharing the road with one, there are things you can do to help keep our community safe.

Safety Tips For Motorcyclists

1. Wear A Helmet.
Not only is it a law in Missouri, it can potentially save your life. According to Consumer Reports, riders without helmets are 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash. They are also three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than riders who wear helmets. 

2. Watch The Forecast.
Poor weather make driving conditions more dangerous for everyone, but this is especially true for motorcyclists. Roads become slippery when wet, and it can be hard to keep your bike under control. Other drivers may also have more difficulty controlling their vehicles, so you should leave extra space between you and other drivers.

3. Wear The Right Clothes.
There aren't any laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear specific attire, but the clothes you wear can play a significant role in your safety. Ideally, you should wear long pants and long sleeves that can protect you from bugs, dirt, wind chill, etc. If you are breaking out the bike, leave the shorts and sandals at home.

4. Stay Alert.
Driving a motorcycle presents two primary dangers: your smaller size makes it harder for other drivers to see you, and there is nothing to protect you (except your helmet and your clothes) if you do get in an accident. For these reasons, it is especially imperative that you stay extra alert and focused while riding your motorcycle.

Safety Tips For Other Drivers

5. Leave Extra Space Between Your Vehicle And The Motorcyclist.
Because they are smaller and more lightweight, motorcycles can speed up, slow down, and change direction more quickly than other vehicles. A crash with a motorcycle can be fatal to the cyclist, so it is crucial that you allow yourself extra space and time to react to their movements.

6. Be Extra Cautious When Passing.
You are legally allowed to pass a motorcycle just as you would pass any other vehicle, but it is wise to exercise extra caution when doing so. Signal to give the motorcyclist notice of your intention to pass, and make sure you are several car lengths ahead of the motorcyclist before you move back into your lane. Be extra cautious during windy weather, as you may both be at risk for being blown in and out of your lanes.

7. Double-Check Your Blind Spots.
Their smaller size can cause motorcycles to stay in your blind spot longer, which makes it harder for them to be seen in your mirrors. Before turning or changing lanes, check your blind spot twice to make sure you aren't overlooking someone.

8. Handle Intersections With Care.
Accidents occur more frequently in intersections than anywhere else. No matter what kind of vehicle you're driving, approach all intersections with caution. Obey all traffic signs and check your surroundings multiple times. This extra caution may mean the difference between life and death for you or another driver.

Gibbons Law Firm Is Here For You

Our Lake of the Ozarks legal team wishes you safe travels on all of your journeys. Unfortunately, accidents can (and do) happen even with the best intentions. If you find yourself facing steep medical bills and expensive damages as a result of an accident you did not cause, you may have the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our personal injury attorney in Osage Beach MO for more information.

Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
4075 Osage Beach Parkway, Suite 300
Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 348-2211

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No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.