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 Hotze Runkle, 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 Hotze Runkle 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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