The Threat of Defective Seat Belts

Oct 12

Of the more than five million vehicular accidents all across the U.S. in 2012, more than 2 million drivers and passengers required treatment in emergency departments, while more than 30,000 lost their lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that if only all drivers, who got involved in accidents, wore a seat belt, then the number of injuries and deaths could have been cut by at least half.

A seat belt is a crash-safety device that keeps vehicle occupants from sustaining serious or fatal injuries during crashes. It is designed to prevent their bodies from colliding into a vehicle’s hard interior surface or with another passenger, or from being thrown out of the car. To be truly effective and, so, be capable of providing the protection it is intended to provide, a seat belt should be a combination of shoulder and lap belts.

Seat belts have kept drivers safer since the 1950s. There are times, however, when these fail to totally immunize anyone from getting injured, like when the force created during impact if very strong (such as the force created upon the collision of two speeding vehicles) or if there is a defect in design or material of the seat belt. In these situations, rather than save lives, it can even be the cause of serious injuries or even death.

In 1995, as many as 8,428,402 vehicles in the U.S. that have been equipped with seat belts from Takata Corporation of Japan were recalled were recalled. The seat belt’s buckle was discovered to be latching and then automatically releasing, releasing during accidents, or failing to latch. In November of 2015, Tesla Motors Inc. also decided to recall its entire all-electric Model S fleet due to a single incident wherein its sedan’s seat belt assembly broke. Besides these two flaws in design or material, some of the other defects that were commonly reported about seat belts included:

  • Lap-only belt designs. Lap belts never really did a good job of providing protection; these rather caused more injuries and death during accidents;
  • Ripped or torn webbing. Seat belt webbings are strong and do not rip or tear easily. Poor material or flaws in weaving, however, can render the webbing to be less strong than it should be; and,
  • False latching and inertial unlatching. This happens when the latch plate feels and appears latched when, actually, it is not. Even the least amount of force can cause a falsely latched buckle to release the latch plate.

Defective seat belts can only be the result of an error committed because of carelessness or negligence. Due to this, what has been intended as a safety device has, instead,become a threat to life. Defective seat belts are products of negligent manufacturers and, under the tort law, innocent victims are given the right to seek compensation from parties whose actions unjustly cause injuries to others.

Car defects and malfunction lawyers from the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., hold auto manufacturers fully responsible for the dangerous products they distribute. Thus, if injuries are sustained due to these defective products or, worse, if these cause death, then the victim or his/her family should never delay pursuing a legal action against the liable manufacturer.

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Prenuptial v. Postnuptial Agreements

Jul 01

For many people, prenuptial agreements (or “prenups,” as they’re so commonly referred to) are the epitome of the death of romance. They can cover anything from how property should be divided up upon divorce to guidelines on the maintenance of a partner’s physical appearance. However, even more unromantic–read: practical–is the post-nuptial agreement.

According to Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, much like a prenup, a postnup covers the division and settlement of child custody, debts, assets, stocks, inheritance, and alimony. The only large difference between the two is that post-nuptials are decided on after the marriage has already occurred. For some couples, this might mean they just didn’t have enough time before the wedding to meet with attorneys and decide on the terms of their potential divorce. For others, post-nuptials are a saving grace, an attempt to revive the marriage and right any wrongs that have occurred. For the rest, a postnup might not even be necessary until an event–such as receiving a large inheritance–makes it necessary.

Postnups are relatively new on the scene. With the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act in June of 2015, many LGBT couples are signing into postnuptial agreements after the flurry of excitement to make their union official. In order to protect their finances and property in the face of pioneering legislation–and therefore uncharted legal territory–many couples see postnups as a means of protecting themselves less from one another and more from the government. Even for heterosexual couples, postnuptial agreements may become more appealing once children become a factor in the marriage. Having a set of rules for custody, child support, and visitation makes the divorce process much smoother and makes the transition for the family much easier.

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What Are The Benefits of Assisted Living?

Feb 15

They say life is a never-ending struggle, like the curse of Sisyphus and his eternal struggle of rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down over and over again. It’s an acceptable allusion to the human condition as, often, people struggle to achieve something only to have to struggle once again to another. Again and again and again does the boulder roll, and this does not stop until one gives in to the grave and there’s nothing else to roll.

And so, as one can probably surmise, struggling to live is difficult when one is of a certain elderly age. Though people age rather differently, depending on their lifestyle, it is to be expected that most are of a weakened constitution. It is only human, after all, to age. Bones just aren’t the same after a certain age and some medications become necessary on a day to day basis. One viable long-term option of care is that of assisted living. cites the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) to define assisted living as “long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and health care, as needed”. This could mean but a slight change from the day to day of the elderly person involved, only they now they have someone to care for all the things that they don’t have to or may possibly not be able to care about due to mental or physical strains.

Needing a bit of help once one has reached a certain age is nothing to be shamed about and the option of assisted living allows for one to live their remaining years happily and comfortably, as is due to them. If you want to know if assisted living would be the best suitable option, considering your circumstances, it is advisable to seek a consultation with professionals in order to be properly and efficiently guided.

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How the VW Scandal Began with a Small Research Team

Sep 27

The Volkswagen emissions fraud has rocked the automotive world as one of the biggest scandals in history. Volkswagen admitted to installing illegal devices in their vehicles that would cheat emission tests in order to pass diesel levels, while the actual numbers were up to 40 times the legal amount for vehicles. The company is facing billions in fines and class action lawsuits from owners of the affected vehicles. While it was originally reported that 400,000 vehicles were affected by the lawsuit, VW admitted to installing 11 million vehicles with the illegal device, according to the website of the Driscoll Firm. Although the scandal has gone worldwide, many are unaware of how the scandal started.

Back in 2012, the International Council on Clean Transportation noticed discrepancies between Volkswagen’s diesel tests in Europe. In order to perform tests of their own, the council gave a $50,000 grant to a small group of researchers at West Virginia University. While the VW vehicles had passed official tests, the West Virginia research group reported up to a 35 times difference between the expected diesel emissions and their real-world findings while driving the vehicles. After the data became public, the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency began to investigate the matter. VW first reported the discrepancies were due to a technical issue and only admitted to their cheating after the EPA threatened to stop selling their clean diesel vehicles in 2016.

The Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal has drastically affected the company, with the CEO resigning and the company stocks plummeting 30 percent. The company potentially faces $18 billion in fines on top of the $7.3 billion it has already set aside to deal with the scandal, a figure that is larger than half of the company’s yearly profits. While the company has publicly apologized, the future of their clean diesel vehicles is unclear.

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Motorcycle Injuries

Jul 22

Motorcycles, although fun and convenient to ride, can be incredibly dangerous. Even with proper training and protection, it is impossible to predict the actions of others or foresee conditions on the road. Accidents are all too common on roadways, especially involving motorcycles. Although any type of vehicle accident can be catastrophic, motorcycle accidents leave the victim more likely to suffer substantial injuries, due to the lack of protection on motorcycles, according to the website of personal injury lawyers of Williams Kherkher.

One of the best ways to protect against traumatic brain injuries on a motorcycle is simply by wearing a helmet. Even if the crash is the fault of another person, a helmet can still save the motorcycle rider’s life, as wearing a helmet can significantly decrease the chance of sustaining a brain injury in an accident.

The foam in the helmet crushes and cushions the blow during a crash, potentially saving the rider from a brain injury, and the slick outside facilitates skidding, providing further protection of the head and brain. Helmets are highly effective at preventing death and brain injuries, however only 19 states require all riders to wear them.

Although they cannot prevent negligence on the part of other drivers on the road, helmets are the best way to protect against fatal crashes. Compared to those driving cars and trucks, motorcyclists have many disadvantages on the road. They battle reduced visibility, road conditions like potholes, and far fewer protective barriers, according to the website of the Milwaukee car accident attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., which make it all the more important for motorcyclists to wear helmets for protection.

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Dangerous Pharmaceutical Products and Medical Devices

Jul 21

Off-label prescribing practices used by doctors has been a controversial topic since the start of the practice. The practice itself involves a doctor prescribing a medication for anything other than its FDA-approved use. Off-label prescriptions have had some success for many different types of illnesses, however, the longer this practice has persisted, the more problematic it has become. Although the FDA does regulate the testing and approval of prescription medications, it does not regulate how and to whom they are prescribed. Unfortunately, this leaves the potential for patients to take drugs prescribed to them that were not necessarily tested for the use they use it for.

This practice can sometimes be beneficial, especially in cases where all other options have been exhausted. However, in others, it can lead to dangerous side effects and damages. In particular, psychiatric drugs are the most commonly prescribed off label. For example, anti-depressants are used for pain management, and anti-psychotics for ADHD in children. This practice can produce many different results and consequences.

One particular atypical anti-psychotic, Risperdal, is approved for treatment of cases including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism spectrum disorders. Off-label, however, it is used to treat anxiety, ADHD and dementia. Risperdal has been found to cause many unintended and dangerous side effects, according to the website of Williams Kherkher. Risperdal has been shown to cause gynecomastia in boys and an increased risk of death, amongst other things, in the elderly.

When off label medications leave the patient with unintended side effects, they can often be eligible to file a lawsuit. In the case of Risperdal, patients afflicted with its harmful side effects are potentially eligible to file a claim against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the drug, according to the website of Williams Kherkher.

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Which Type of Bankruptcy to File For

Jul 20

When people become entangled in debt, it can seem insurmountable. Even hardworking people can fall victim to unforeseen circumstances, like job losses or medical bills, and the payments add up very quickly, according to the website of Greenway Law, LLC. For some, bankruptcy might be the most viable option in order to overcome their debt. After deciding to file for bankruptcy, there remains one more choice: to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Both offer different advantages to different people, depending on their amount owed and their current assets.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to help people with few assets. All unsecured debts are relieved when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which constitutes anything not backed by a big ticket item. This can often include credit card debts, medical bills, and the like. However, after these debts are forgiven, the liquidation process begins. The remainder of your assets will be divided up into exempt and non-exempt entities. Non-exempt items will be sold and profits will be returned to your creditors. For this reason, people with little property typically file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help people to make manageable payments on debts and protect their assets. The typical time frame used when completing Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives the person filing between three and five years to repay their debt, under a plan established by the debtor and their trustee. Disposable income is what people use to make payments, that is, the money they have left over after necessities like food and shelter every month. Unlike filing under a Chapter 7 plan, under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, property is not liquidated.

Although there are significant differences between these two types of consumer bankruptcy, it is always best to consult with a lawyer to determine which cases meet the requirements of Chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy.

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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Jul 19

It is an unfortunate reality that nursing home neglect and abuse are on the rise in the United States. However, there are telltale signs that can help identify neglect and abuse that can stop it before doing any more damage.

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, abuse is an intentional act of violence against elders, whereas neglect can be either intentional or unintentional, but ultimately involves improper care for an elder. Both have definite warning signs and serious implications on the health of nursing home residents.

Physical and sexual abuse and neglect typically have obvious physical manifestations upon the elderly. Bruises, broken bones and wounds are telltale signs of physical and sexual abuse. Neglect is shown through dehydration or malnourishment, rapid changes in weight, and bed sores. However, other lurking signs of abuse and neglect can be harder to catch. More often overlooked signs of abuse and neglect include a caretaker’s refusal to allow visitors alone in a room with the resident, sudden changes in behavior or temperament, heavy medication or sedation, and even personal hygiene neglect.

Emotional and psychological abuse of nursing home residents can often be even more difficult to detect, as it includes verbal abuse and degradation that do not leave physical traces. It often reveals itself through changes in temperament, depression and withdrawal from social activities, all of which can be tough to detect from outside the nursing home.

Although it is tragic to have a family member subjected to this kind of treatment, the website for the law office of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® says that whether the harm is intentional or not, there may be grounds for a negligence suit to give the abused elder and their family justice.

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Cerebral Palsy

Jul 18

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain and damages the part of the brain that controls the individual’s ability to control their muscles.

The damage to the brain can happen organically by head injuries after birth, or as the result of complications at birth, including medical malpractice or mistakes. Birth injuries, sustained during delivery, can severely impact a child’s physical and mental development over a lifetime, according to the website of the Driscoll Firm, P.C.

After diagnosis, cerebral palsy is classified into different types, based on which parts of the brain and body are affected and to what severity. Although every individual is different, and symptoms vary in severity, cerebral palsy is typically distinguished by four classifications: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic or mixed.

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common type of cerebral palsy. People with spastic cerebral palsy have increased muscle tone, which causes stiff muscles and awkward movements, and reflexes are exaggerated.

Individuals with dyskinetic cerebral palsy experience difficulties controlling parts of the body, because their muscle tone changes from tight to loose very often. This can lead to uncontrollable movements.

This also includes athetoid and dystonic cerebral palsies. Dystonic is distinguished by torso movements resulting in posture problems. Athetiod encompasses symptoms such as slow, involuntary movements.

People with ataxic cerebral palsy typically exhibit poor balance and coordination. It can affect the arms and hands resulting in shakiness, making activities like writing very difficult. Walking can also be very difficult for individuals with ataxic cerebral palsy.

People who experience symptoms of multiple kinds of cerebral palsy are described as having mixed cerebral palsy. The most common type of mixed cerebral palsy is spastic-dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

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Truck Driver Jackknifing Accidents

Jul 17

Although jackknifing accidents can seem to be larger than life, often the subject of horrific accident videos captured and shared on the Internet, the consequences and damages caused in jackknifing accidents are all too real. Jackknifing accidents are a major cause of multiple-vehicle accidents on roadways.

According to the website of Tennessee accident attorneys, truck drivers do assume greater responsibility while on the road because should an accident occur, the damages can be far more serious than just a passenger vehicle accident. In the case of jackknife accidents, the cause can be either driver negligence or due to a manufacturing problem of a part of the truck.

Driver negligence can involve errors in judgment such as speeding, over acceleration, over braking, and driver errors like slow reaction times or panic. These are often combined with specific conditions that can serve as a catalyst for jackknifing accidents. These kinds of accidents are frequently associated with light load size and poor driving conditions such as slippery roads and rain. Unfortunately, these errors made by truck drivers have the potential to cause severe damage and injury to others on the road, as pointed out on the website of Pohl Berk LLP.

Jackknifing can also be caused by problems out of the truck driver’s control. Accidents can also be caused by malfunctions in mechanics of the semi-truck. Issues with brakes are a major mechanical cause.

When these conditions are combined, they can easily produce a jackknife accident. The brakes on the truck can lock when rapidly approaching areas of slippery road, and when the truck crosses the area, although the truck itself attempts to brake or stop, the trailer’s momentum still propels it forward, and causes it to swing out to the side. After these types of accidents occur, it is always the responsibility of the plaintiff to prove driver negligence, should they think the driver of the jackknifed truck is to blame for the damages done.

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