3 (more) tips to avoid a backyard premises liability case

Kids, dogs, pools — what are your backyard hazards?

Hey, homeowner! Is your yard or property a breeding ground for a premises liability case or a personal injury case? Good question, right?! With spring just around the corner,  it’s time to make a to-do list.

Those that you invite on your property are your responsibility in a sense. You are responsible to protect them from known dangers and dangers that an ordinary inspection would reveal. Even uninvited guests, like child trespassers, pose a worrisome legal liability.

Most of the time we think of slip-and-fall accidents when we worry about getting sued in a premises liability case or a personal injury case. Living on a corner lot in town, we get a lot of foot traffic.  The sidewalks around my house are our responsibility.

Our town grants us 48 hours to get our sidewalks cleared. However, our sidewalks get cleared of snow and ice quickly! Then they get treated with ice-melt. The sidewalks are a long, narrow skating rink otherwise.

However, a few years back, the town decided to come in and redo the sidewalks. They also installed a handicapped accessible crosswalk on our corner.

Unfortunately the design engineers did not correctly account for the drainage on our street. Since then, the handicapped crosswalk section always floods in wet weather. In freezing temperatures the small pond turns into a sheet of ice. The “pond” is almost impossible to keep clear under those conditions.

Who would be responsible for a slip-and-fall on the section of sidewalk turned nightmare? It’s a question that bothers me every winter. What are your yard hazards?

1.) Sidewalk maintenance helps prevent slip-and-fall accidents.

Town rules differ. You’ll need to check with your town office or your neighborhood homeowner’s association as to your responsibilities.  Waiting until an accident occurs is not good game plan.  Clearly, cracked, uneven, or broken sidewalks are a slip-and-fall hazard.  The same goes for driveways.

2.) Remove tree and yard debris.

Interestingly factoid —  New York City is a prime place to get injured by a falling tree.  More than 2.5 million trees line New York’s parks and city streets!

What about your home and yard? Missouri weather is not a friend to trees!  Between the high winds, snow, ice, and maybe even a tornado, your trees get battered.

The Missouri Department of Conservation publishes a helpful guide to cleaning up damaged trees after storms. The MDC recommends hiring an arborist if you have trees you are unsure about saving.

If you have kids, especially, those downed tree limbs are a kid-magnet. War, fort building, limb-launching — you name it, they’ll do it. So if the neighbor’s kids gravitate toward your yard,  ward off a premises liability claim by removing temptation!

3.) Use a fence and “no trespassing” signs if your yard contains a pool or a dog.

Fido may be all bark and no bite, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. “Beware of the guard dog.” and “no trespassing” signs are preventative measures.

Since pools are “attractive nuisances” for child trespassers, secure fencing and a sign are a must. Although neither of these can totally prevent an accidental drowning,  good fences make good neighbors. Our youngest neighbors deserve our best protection.

If you’re getting your yard ready for spring and summer fun, here’s another article on backyard safety for you from your friends at The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC

BONUS TIP: Hide your grill behind that secure fencing, too. You never know when a child chef wanna-be might try out your grill.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s unsafe property conditions, you need professional legal help.  Call 636-244-3737 for free initial consultation with Nathan A. Steimel, an experienced personal injury lawyer serving the greater St. Louis area.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Semi-truck accident victim? Find help here!

Cleaning up after a semi-truck accident is not fun. Big rig — big destruction!

Big gratitude, also,  goes to the first responders who see the mangled messes and provide life-saving care. Firefighters, EMS crews,  police officers, and ER medical staff, our hats are off to you. Not all of us can stomach this line of work.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) regularly analyzes large truck accident data from the US Department of Transportation.  Here’s what’s surprising! Although our technology has improved, the death rates from semi-truck accidents do not show a huge improvement over the past 40 years!

The past ten years are slightly better than 1975’s data. (Though anything’s better than the statistics for 1979.)

The IIHS states that “about 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in a crash involving a large truck.”

Unfortunately, the fatalities are usually the occupants of the passenger vehicle. Weight is a major reason. Semi-trucks typically carry loads up to 80,000 pounds.

The sheer size and weight of a loaded tractor-trailer means braking takes 20 to 30% longer than a passenger vehicle.  Bad weather? Slippery pavement? Busy highways?  All of these factors drive those semi-truck accident rates higher.

Does anyone here feel that it is safe to drive 11 hours at one stretch? Did you know the federal hours-of service regulations allow drivers of large trucks to do this? Maybe it is time for a change!

Sadly, sleep-deprived driving is not uncommon. Just like folks push the speed limit, tractor-trailer drivers push  and stretch the limits of their driving hours.

As a result, fatality rates soar. Fatalities are not the only damage from a tractor-trailer crash. Multiple injuries, many of  them serious, are also common with semi-truck accidents.

Also, the devastation continues long after a semi-truck accident occurs. A December 2017 article in the St. Louis news reports a terrible recent accident. The semi-truck driver was momentarily distracted by reaching for a cup of tea and plowed into a car. This crash caused a chain reaction injuring ten people. Three of these injuries were serious!

Think of the ripple effect of even one tractor trailer crash. Families, friends, and employers/employees scramble to help the injured. As a result, plans are put on hold.

Everything starts revolving around doctor’s visits, therapy, and rehab. Recovery is often long, slow, and discouraging.

Because of this, financial stress piles up. Money worries and pain are a toxic combination. Since an accident victim may be unable to work, finding a way to pay those bills is an overwhelming challenge.

Survivors of semi-truck accident may never have a normal life again. Severe neck and spine injuries often result from these accidents. Can you imagine the life-long impact?

To be fair, not every semi-truck accident is the truck driver’s fault. It’s just that often multiple cars are involved.

In January 2018, FOX2 Now reports that a car cut off a semi-truck during the busy morning commute on I-64 east near St. Louis. The truck driver simply couldn’t stop in time. Multiple cars, a fatality, and multiple injuries — it’s a story no one ever wants to face personally.

If you are a St. Louis area resident and a victim of a semi-truck accident, you need expert, aggressive legal help. You need  an experienced semi-truck accident attorney!

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will evaluate your case at no charge.  Even better news — most semi-truck accident victims will pay no legal expenses out of pocket. Your lawyer will be compensated only if the case settles in your favor.  CALL 636-244-3736 for help today!


This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


What you need to know about a deer-related car accident (with a few tips to help avoid deer)

Courtesy of State Farm

Did you know Missouri drivers are considered at high risk for a deer-related car accident?  Car accidents are a major stress point. So watch out for those pesky deer! According to insurance data and claims forms analyzed by State Farm auto insurance, 1 in 117 Missouri drivers in 2016 were involved in a deer-related car accident.

Fox2 Now also reported in December of 2017 that Missouri is in the “high-risk” category for deer-related car accidents.

Fall and winter are the worst seasons for this type of auto accident. It pays to be alert.  Deer just can’t read those “deer crossing” signs!  They don’t warn you of their presence, either. They are silent and swift but none too smart, apparently.

Unfortunately, the size of the beast causes a lot of body damage to a vehicle.  According to one auto insurance site, the average cost of deer-related car accident damage is about $4,000. Thankfully, these accidents cause very few deaths. Just stress, stress, and more stress!

When you’re tired and on your way home from work, put yourself on high alert. Dusk is just the time when the deer love to come out to feed. If your drive takes you past woods, farms, and fields, chances are even greater of a deer encounter!

Deer are social beings. Expect that when one deer appears, their family and friends are not far behind. I’ve counted at least eight deer leaping across the road in front of me in one incident. Fortunately, I’d been warned to expect a crowd! Even better, I’d seen the leader of the pack  in time to actually safely brake.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) says you should not swerve to avoid hitting a deer.  That’s the natural reaction for most folks. Instead, use your brakes!  Swerving creates huge problems, especially if there is oncoming traffic. A deer-related car accident that involves a second vehicle becomes much more complicated.

What happens if you don’t see a deer in time?

courtesy of the American Automobile Association (AAA)
  • Document your accident. If you think you have any insurance coverage, make sure you call the police. Take photos. Note the time, date, and place of the accident.
  • Don’t approach an injured deer. You could put yourself in harm’s way. Again, this is the time for a phone call. Police will dispatch someone to put the creature out of its misery.
  • If another vehicle was harmed due to your deer-related car accident, you absolutely must call the police. Again, document everything you can. Take plenty of pictures.
  • Take a deep breath and do a self-check. Any potential injuries? Did you hit your head? You may discover that you have whiplash symptoms hours later.  This is another reason to document your accident for insurance purposes.
  • Don’t drive your vehicle unless you are totally certain that it is safe to drive.
  • Call your car insurance company if you plan to make a claim.
  • IF you need to call your car insurance company, you may also need the services of a car accident attorney.

Why should you even consider calling a car accident lawyer?

Your car insurance company will seek to settle for the lowest acceptable pay-out.

You may discover you have long-term chronic pain in your neck or back as a result of your car accident. Sadly, chronic pain makes working a challenge and may even lead to job loss.

Attorney Nathan A. Steimel expertly handles car crash settlement cases in the greater St. Louis area. Book a free initial consultation today at 636-244-3737

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

How to avoid common pitfalls that cause construction accidents

Does your work take you down in the trenches? Did you know that trench collapses are among the top hazards for serious construction accidents?

According to this 2017 OSHA news release, trench cave-ins  and excavation operations caused more than 20 deaths and 12 injuries in 2016. A St. Louis area plumbing company was recently cited in more than one incident of unprotected trench construction at construction sites.

Sadly the second incident came on the heels of their 33 year-old employee’s death due to a trench cave-in construction accident.  What a tragic waste of a life!

In the citations, OSHA noted that the employees of the plumbing company were not properly trained in the hazards of trench excavation. A 12 foot trench was not properly protected with a support system. Even more basic, no ladder was supplied for the employees to quickly exit the trench in case of emergency.

It’s hard to understand this lack of safety equipment and basic safety knowledge.

Small businesses work so hard to build their clientele. Hiring good employees is another huge challenge. Why would you not protect them on the job?

We’re all going to have bad days! However, safety systems, training, and equipment help us all have fewer bad days. Construction accidents equal a very bad day.

With spring just around the corner,  the construction industry is going to be picking up speed and adding projects. As a worker, what can you do to protect yourself from a construction accident?

  • If you’re a construction worker, you can research your own job. Take a little initiative. What’s the proper safety equipment you need? Ask your employer. If they downplay this question, it’s a sign. No fortune cookie needed. Keep your eyes open for a new job!
  • Does a procedure look unsafe? Question it! It’s okay to stand up for yourself and the safety of those around you.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. This may mean cranking down the music, and responding to calls or texts only on a break.
  • Don’t let fellow workers distract you!  Any parent knows that the worst  accidents happen in a moment of brief distraction. Same rule applies on the job.
  • Be careful with prescription medications on the job.  You need to make sure you are okay to operate heavy equipment on your current medication.
  • Arrive at work sober. This may seem like a given, but bringing “Jim Bean”, “Jack Daniels” or any of his cousins to work increases your risk of construction accidents.
  • Make sure your safety equipment is working properly. ( Like checking your own latch on an amusement park ride.) If you see other workers tossing aside the safety equipment, be the safety advocate.  Someone’s mother will thank you!

Maybe you’ve already been injured in a construction accident. The stress is real! Pain, time off work, mounting bills — just to name a few issues.

 Need help getting your workers’ compensation pay? You must prove that your injuries are due to an accident on the job, no matter who was at fault. Expert workers’ compensation lawyers from The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC are available to fight your legal battles for you. Attorney Steimel is licensed to represent cases in both Missouri and Illinois.

Call 636-244-3737 today to schedule your free initial consultation.


This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Aggressive drivers and your auto accident

Aggressive driver?

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation statistics, aggressive drivers top the list for causing serious injuries and fatalities in the state. That means aggressive drivers caused 400 more deaths between 2013 and 2015 than drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Anyone here ever had to suddenly change lanes or pull off to the shoulder to avoid being hit by a “NASCAR” driver? Even if you managed to avoid a car accident, you still experience the trauma. Shortness of breath. Heart pounding. Hands shaking!

You’re not alone. MoDOT’s top category for serious car accident injuries is sadly named “run-off-road” crashes.  This type of accident caused almost 6,000 serious injuries and over 1,000 fatalities from 2013 to 2015.

The problem with a “run-off-road” crash is that many times the aggressive driver is nowhere to be found.

It’s terrible to witness a bad car accident, and not be able to identify the culprit.  This happened to me once.  Out of the corner of my eye in my rear view mirror, I saw an 18 wheeler going at least 60mph suddenly change lanes in front of an SUV. I was stopped in the far left turn lane. The SUV swerved to avoid the truck .  It flipped across the intersection in front of me onto the opposite side of the highway. Thankfully the opposing traffic was stopped at a red light.

The SUV was totaled. The 18 wheeler was long gone. Perhaps the truck driver never even knew he caused a terrible accident in his haste and carelessness. I could only say it was a white truck. Not much evidence to go on, for sure! I could only hope the driver didn’t sustain serious long-term injuries.

If you’ve been in a serious car accident caused by an aggressive driver, please read on!  Don’t just let your insurance company settle for you.

Even the Department of Motor Vehicles admits on their website that the auto insurance adjuster is going to offer you a low settlement fee. It’s their job. They have to watch out for the bottom line of the company they work for — even if it is car insurance you paid for.

However, a serious auto accident can cause a multitude of “hidden” costs over the years such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Back, neck, and spine issues
  • Eventual surgery
  • Lost hours of work
  • Worry and emotional stress due to pain and financial losses

Worse than a low settlement fee, your insurance company may try to claim your car accident was partially your fault.

If you’ve been the victim of a “run-off-road crash”, this scenario is even more likely.  Let’s hope you have a good, solid witness to your car crash. Aggressive drivers are often hard to catch!

Did you know that a car accident attorney will often take your personal injury case on a contingency fee basis?

This means the lawyer only gets paid if he wins your case. Then he gets a percentage of the settlement.

You owe it to yourself and your family to get the best possible legal outcome if your auto accident was caused by an aggressive driver.  The Law Offices of Nathan  A. Steimel, LLC  has a top rating as car accident attorneys by AVVO.  Don’t hassle with the insurance company! Get expert legal help instead.

Call 636-244-3737 today for a free initial consultation.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship



What you need if you (or your daughter) are pregnant, addicted, and facing drug possession charges

help for an addicted pregnant mother

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare — you discover your daughter is addicted to opioids, pregnant with your grandchild, and facing drug possession charges!

In a recent 2017 study compiled by the Missouri Foundation for Health, in the past ten years, the number of babies born addicted to narcotics in Missouri has increased by an astounding 538%! This nightmare is a genuine reality for many Missouri grandmothers.

Add a mandatory minimum sentence to this scenario. Even a compassionate, reasonable judge will have no choice in the matter. A mandatory minimum sentence is just that — mandatory!  Judges are not allowed to rewrite the law.

Drug possession charges are no laughing matter in Missouri.

According to FindLaw.com,  cocaine possession charges start with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail.  That’s a Class C felony on a person’s record.

One year may seem like a small amount of time, but for a pregnant momma, that’s a hugely important year. Your pregnant daughter may end up in jail and even give birth while incarcerated. That’s enough to make you cry!

Prenatal care is sure to be less than “five-star” under these circumstances. Diet, exercise, and good environment help an unborn baby’s healthy development. The stress of the prison environment  is bad enough for mother and baby. Think about the roomies! How about frozen TV dinners every night?

If an expectant mother is addicted to opioids, she will need access to withdrawal meds such as Suboxone to wean herself and the baby off of narcotics. Getting access to these drugs can be challenging enough for an addicted expectant momma outside of prison.

A recent news story in The Riverfront Times reminds us of the grim facts. Pregnant, addicted women often receive bottom-of-the-barrel treatment by society and even from those who should be their most trusted ally — their OB-GYN.  Shame and stigma follow these expectant mothers everywhere!

It’s easy to understand this attitude, though. Addiction is so harmful to the unborn child. C’mon! Get your act together, right? Throwing stones only injures the innocent in this scenario.

Encouragement and compassionate, nurturing care are important for every expectant mother — for the sake of both mother and baby.  Mandatory minimum sentencing punishes an unborn citizen in this respect. It’s the legal setting for a modern-day Les Miserable.

Addiction and drug possession charges carry long-lasting consequences. Besides the social stigma, there’s the criminal record. Imagine spending a year in jail, then attempting to get hired or to rent a decent apartment.

Meanwhile, what do you do if you or a loved one are currently facing drug possession charges, pregnant or not? You need prompt access to both medical and legal help.

Hope and medical help for pregnant addicts is now available in the St. Louis area through the efforts of an amazing woman and a growing team — Dr. Jaye Shyken of the Women and Infant Substance Help Center (also known as the WISH Center).  It’s a branch of St. Mary’s Hospital.

Concrete personalized action plan. Proven ways and methods to break addiction. Accountability. Dignity.  One can only hope this one-of-a kind program at the WISH center will take off like wildfire around our nation. The epidemic of addicted mommas and babies is no longer an issue we can ignore.

Is there any legal hope or help, despite mandatory minimum sentencing?

Yes and YES!  You definitely don’t want to end up with the maximum possible sentence. Your very first step is to reach out for expert legal help.

You need an aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyer. It pays to explore and know your options — even possible probation for a first-time offender. Attorney Steimel of the greater St. Louis area knows Missouri drug possession laws. He will fight for your best future in court. Call 636-244-3737 today. Don’t face criminal charges without timely expert legal help!


Construction boss? How to avoid hypothermia AND a workers’ compensation case

If you’re a great construction boss, you know your men. You do your best to protect them and your company from personal injury and the risk of a workers’ compensation case.

Your radar is on “high alert” if you have  a worker who regularly shows up with that suspicious whiff of alcohol on his breath.   However, you may not be aware that drinking alcohol puts your worker at greater risk for hypothermia.

It’s the slow season for those who work outside — roofers, home improvement contractors, and anyone in the construction industry. So, you take work when you can get it, right?  Working out in the elements is just something you do to make ends meet.  Plus, you need to keep your crew busy so they can feed their families.

Finding skilled reliable help is always a huge challenge for home improvement contractors and the construction industry. It’s easy to ignore that whiff of alcohol, however, when a crew member shows up dependably, works hard, and does good work. Your sharp eyes will always be watching to see if they are able to safely and reliably do their job.

Prolonged exposure to frigid temperatures is a game-changer.

That’s right. According to WebMD, alcohol increases this risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia threatens the safety of your crew and those around them in several ways.  To prevent a  serious accident on the job and  avoid a personal injury or workers’ compensation case due to hypothermia, you need to know the signs.

  • Shivering! This is actually a good thing. While there’s shivering, there’s hope! While we’ve all done our share of shivering due to winter weather, there’s a difference. In the early stages of hypothermia, shivering is uncontrollable. As hypothermia progresses, shivering stops. I experienced this years ago during a surfing lesson in the Pacific Ocean. The thickest wet suit available did not shut out the cold ocean temperatures. My teeth would not stop chattering!  Burying myself in the sun-warmed sand did the trick.  The key is WARM UP immediately!
  • Confusion. If your worker is not making sense, this is an elevated cause for alarm. Hypothermia is a medical emergency. It should not be ignored. It’s time to bring your crew in out of the cold for regular “warm-up” breaks. If you see a confused worker, you need to take swift action. While you wait  with the victim indoors for the ambulance to arrive, remove any wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets, and apply dry heat to the neck and middle portion of the body. Offer warm fluids. (NO alcohol, as that speeds up hypothermia.)
  • Clumsiness and lack of coordination. Cold weather numbs both the extremities and the brain. That roofing nail gun or circular saw becomes a deadly weapon in clumsy hands! Avoid a personal injury case and a workers’ compensation case by checking for hypothermia, offering warm drinks, and frequent breaks to your crew.
  • Shallow breathing, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion — also watch for these signs of hypothermia.

The onset of flu symptoms combined with working in frigid temperatures is an added ingredient for a possible fatality.

It’s a rugged outdoor life as a construction worker. When tough guys try to power through  the weather, making that tough call may save lives and your business.

Injured on the job in Missouri or Illinois? You can find experienced, aggressive legal help today for your workers’ compensation case or personal injury case. Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC at (636)244-3737 for a free initial consultation.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.




Sports-related injuries on ice are slippery…

Kids and sports-related injuries go hand-in-hand. This time of year the ice-rinks are bustling with skaters large and small. Maybe ice-skating lessons or ice-hockey practice is on your family’s weekly schedule.

Surprisingly, according to this National Safety Council report, out of about 20,000 ice skating injuries in 2014, 30% of those injuries occurred in adults aged 25-64.

I can relate. At age 40, I broke my first bone ever — my left “funny-bone” (not kidding) — taking a normal turn around the ice rink with my daughter.  Wasn’t even trying to be fancy! Suddenly my feet flew out from underneath me.  I hit my head. Feeling sick and dizzy, I half-crawled and limped off the ice.

The ice-rink manager was by my side in a quick minute.  He had to call for a family member to drive me home.  After a trip to an urgent care, my weekly, then monthly visits to an orthopaedic specialist began.

The x-ray technician informed me that neither he nor his wife ever go ice-skating.  He’s seen too many very bad breaks due to falls on the ice. I got off easy.

I received a call from the ice rink for a week — every single day. Next, the rink called me every single week for a month. Just making sure I was okay.

In hind-sight, I realized they were worried about a premises liability claim or a personal injury claim. No worries for them! EVERYONE who ice skates falls sooner or later. My major concern was making it through work every single day and fitting in all my doctor’s visits. Thankfully, my therapy exercises at home paid off — my elbow healed beautifully.

Does a sports-related injury on a public ice rink entitle you to a personal injury claim?

The short answer is not necessarily. It’s complicated.  Only a personal injury attorney can truly help you sort out the facts and help you decide if you have a valid personal injury case.

If you could prove negligent care of equipment or poor ice maintenance, maybe you have a case? Proving this could be quite a challenge!

Why? When you put two thin metal blades on your feet  and purposefully walk out onto slippery ice, you know you are risking a potential slip-and-fall accident. Staying in an upright position on ice requires at least some skills. I thought I was golden because I had learned to ice skate on a bumpy country pond. Wrong!

However, just like police officers are obligated to pay attention and stop aggressive, hazardous drivers —  the owners of sporting facilities need to protect their clients from aggressive behavior, such as human “bulldozers” at their ice rink.

I’ve seen the “ice-patrol” at work removing ice-skating privileges from an out-of-control skater who thinks it’s fun to plow into people repeatedly.

So, if you or a loved one are suffering from sports-related injuries due to obvious negligence, it’s worth your while to call an experienced personal injury attorney.  If you merely lost your balance, probably not.

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will give you a free initial consultation.  Attorney Steimel  is an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in the greater St. Louis area. He offers a thorough knowledge of the local law and your personal rights. Call 636-244-3737 today.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Proper car inspections and car maintenance — PREVENT a felony charge

Licensed mechanic facing a felony charge? Yes, it happens.

In 2015, the Vermont Attorney General charged a licensed mechanic with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Unfortunately, a customer was killed in a 2014 auto accident partly due to brake failure. The guilty mechanic passed this vehicle through inspection just a few months prior.  After the accident, investigators discovered badly rusted brake lines as well as a badly rusted vehicle frame.


Sadly, the mechanic’s possible motive was to save an elderly couple in their 80’s some money. He warned them on a prior visit about the rusted brake lines, but the husband refused the repair. On a subsequent visit, he passed their vehicle through inspection.

Vehicle inspection laws in Vermont  changed in 2013.  Vermont car inspectors now MUST fail cars with rusted brake lines. Fellow Vermont mechanics say the judge used this case as a harsh example to warn them.

Now this mechanic is paying a heavy price. Loss of career. Ruined reputation in town. A felony on his record. Jail time. Just imagine if this happened to you in your early 30’s!

Other mechanics are rightly alarmed.  Brake lines rust quickly in Vermont.  Overzealous mechanics are often accused of price-gouging.  How often do you need your brake lines repaired, after all?

You may surprised, as I was.

Did you know that rusted brake lines are a common problem even if your car is only five years old?

Harsh winter weather attacks your brake lines. Washing the undercarriage of your car helps slow down the deterioration.  Obviously, the brake lines need regular inspection by a trained mechanic.

According to RepairPal (www.repairpal.com), you can expect to pay between $144 to $193 per brake line replacement. Dealers command the highest brake repair fees. If one brake line is going bad, it is likely the other three lines will fail shortly thereafter.

Forking out $600 or more dollars IS a small fortune if you are on a fixed income.  However,  facing a felony charge is far costlier.

On the flip side of the coin, if you fail to maintain your own car, you also could face a felony charge.

What if you accidentally kill someone because your brakes failed? Did you fail to have your brake pads, rotors, and lines repaired or maintained in a timely manner?

The courts in Missouri could potentially charge you with second degree involuntary manslaughter.  Why? When you don’t keep up with safety repairs on your vehicle, you pose a dangerous risk to other drivers.  In the eyes of the law, this is considered criminal negligence, according to NOLO.  Truthfully, we all let things slip at times when our lives are overwhelmingly busy.

Sometimes, though, a deadly auto accident due to brake failure occurs because of a defective auto part.

Have you been in an auto accident due to brake failure? Maybe you knew your brakes were due for maintenance soon, but should have lasted longer than they did.  Your criminal defense lawyer will leave “no stone unturned” to discover the truth on your behalf.

NO one should face criminal charges alone. You need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney to help you get a fair trial and preserve your rights.


The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC offers a free initial consultation!   Call 636-244-3737 today.


This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.



What if you commit accidental shoplifting in Missouri?

Not too long ago I “overheard” a conversation on social media about an accidental shoplifting.

The story ran something like this: a busy momma with little ones had a cart overflowing with groceries and other items at a large retailer. She distractedly went through the checkout.

Unfortunately she started to leave this store with an unpaid item on the rack beneath her cart.  Security stopped her and checked her receipt. She profusely apologized and offered to pay for the item. Security still called the store manager who made her wait for the police.

She was treated like a criminal in front of her children for an honest mistake.

Her very irate husband published a letter to this retailer on social media.  I can’t fact check any of their story.  However, it’s a personal phobia of mine.  I often check receipts after shopping to make sure items were charged.

Accidental shoplifting is an easy crime to commit!

What about you?

Ever take a call on your cell while the cashier is ringing up your items? Or have your child asking you a whole list of questions during the process?  Rush hour (4-6pm) at the grocery store and long lines equal stress, too.

More than ever, we function on “overload” setting in daily life. Sometimes this results in an accidental felony!

Retailers undeniably face a genuine epidemic of shoplifting. According to a Time.com article, stores lost 48.9 billion dollars of inventory in 2016!

Of this amount, almost 37% of this loss was due to customer shoplifting.  Employee theft accounted for 30% of the lost inventory.  However, accidental shoplifting cannot be ruled out!


If you shop at Walmart, be especially careful to avoid accidental shoplifting. They’ve adopted their own interesting twist in dealing with shoplifting in Joplin, Missouri.

If you accidentally walk out (never mind that the cashier should also be held partially responsible) with an unpaid package of water bottles under your cart, this could cost you $400 plus time.

Meet Walmart’s “Restorative Justice Program”!

According to The Joplin Globe, this program is designed to cut down on frequent calls to the police.


However, it only applies to those with a clean record. Welcome, accidental shoplifter!

You have the choice of paying $400 and completing an online course.  Said course surely restores your brain cells from accidental shoplifting mode!

Fail to complete the course?  Fail to pay in full? Walmart reports you to the police!

Don’t care for this option?

Walmart calls the police and files a report.  You will need to show up in court.

In Missouri, shoplifting items under a $500 value is considered a Class A Misdemeanor —  punishable by possible jail time and fines.

Unfortunately, unless you fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed  in court, you will end up with a misdemeanor on your record.

True, you may qualify to get your record expunged.  Expungement for a misdemeanor now only requires a three year wait from the completion of your sentence, parole, or probation.  http://steimel-law.com/blog/get-your-legal-record-expunged/

Starting 2018 with any shoplifting charges? A misdemeanor or especially a felony charge (items over $500)  radically changes your life! You need experienced, aggressive legal help TODAY.

At the Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC, you can pursue your best options for your future!  Call 636-244-3737 to get your free initial consultation today.

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