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Helmets Do Not Stop Child Head Injuries and Concussions

July 29th, 2014 by admin

There’s an article from Slate magazine that has been published in various news publications around the country (e.g., Miami Herald, Huffington Post) which points out something that parents should know: those children’s helmets that you see sold everywhere, sized for infants through teenagers and young adults, are not going to protect your child from every kind of head injury.

The article, “There’s Something About Helmets You Might Not Know,” points out that helmets are not designed to be concussion-proof and that parents should not assume that their child is completely protected from a head injury just because they have a helmet.

Concussions May Happen Even With a Helmet

The Slate article references an 2013 study by the Institute of Medicine (read it here) that confirms that the way that helmets are currently made, the product design isn’t going to stop someone wearing that helmet from suffering a concussion while they are riding a bicycle or play a school sport like soccer, hockey, or football.

 

Helmets Are Still a Smart Move

The fact that helmets are not being designed at this point in time to protect wearers from concussion injuries does not mean that helmets are not a safety protection that does work to protect the wearer from harm. Consider, for example, this month’s warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), advising people who are riding bicycles in the nice summer weather to wear a helmet.

According to the NHTSA, anyone riding a bicycle should “wear a properly-fitted helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.”

Helmets may not prevent all injuries, but they can lessen the damage suffered during an accident. Consider the first-person account published in Yahoo News by Beth Greenfield last week; she described a bike accident where she did suffer injuries but they were significantly different than those suffered by a friend who was also biking but crashed without the protection of a helmet. The friend experienced massive brain trauma and a long term recovery; the writer did not.

Sports-related concussions in our children are a real problem in this country. This is a recognized national problem to be solved: for instance, President Obama hosted a national White House summit on the issue in May 2014.

Helmet design is key to finding better protections for our kids.

However, as Andrew Sullivan points out in his column, part of the issue with concussions and traumatic brain injury is the way a sharp and sudden blow to the head causes a brain injury: the brain moves within the human skull and is harmed by the force of that movement when the impact forces the brain to collide with the skull itself. That collision within the human head is the problem: that is where the brain Is hurt.

School sports and minor bike accidents can cause the brain to collide against the human skull internally in an event that isn’t thought to be life-altering or serious to the victim (or their parents, coaches, teachers, etc.) at the time. Nevertheless, these silent injuries to the brain can have permanent and severe repercussions.

Sullivan calls them “micro-concussions.” And as he points out, the bike helmet especially will not protect you or your child from them.

In fact, one neurosurgeon in Great Britain warns that bike helmets, as they are currently designed, offer much less protection than many may assume; he considers them “flimsy” and of little protective value to the wearer.

Should your child wear a helmet? Yes.
Should coaches, parents, teachers, caretakers, and others be aware and understand that anytime a child suffers any type of blow to the head they need to be monitored for minor brain harm? Yes.

Should you rely upon a helmet to keep your child safe?  No.  If you allow your child to ride a bike, or to play a sport, then you must be aware and alert to the risk of injury and make sure that those responsible for overseeing that child in any sport activities are closing monitoring play for the possibility of head injuries, even minor ones.

Top Hospitals in Indiana and Illinois According to Various 2014 Best Lists

July 24th, 2014 by admin

 

Where are the best hospitals in our part of the country? Depends upon who you ask, apparently.

Here are Indiana and Illinois hospitals who have been given high marks in three different awards compulations, and it’s interesting to see how these facilities overlap (or, more importantly, don’t pop up on various awards lists).

Feel free to surf around for other lists, there are more lists out there … and if you think that a defense lawyer won’t try and use one of these top ranking lists as a “fact” that the hospital that has been sued for malpractice is a stellar facility that does no wrong, well — think again:

Truven Health Analysis’ 100 Top Hospitals Everest Award, 2014

“The Everest Award honors hospitals that have achieved both the highest current performance and the fastest long-term improvement over five years.”

Condell Medical Center
Libertyville, IL

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Park Ridge, IL

MacNeal Hospital
Berwyn, IL

Parkview Huntington Hospital
Huntington, IN

St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese
Breese, IL

Major Teaching Hospitals

Christ Medical Center
Oak Lawn, IL

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
Chicago, IL

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Park Ridge, IL

Teaching Hospitals

MacNeal Hospital
Berwyn, IL

Riverside Medical Center
Kankakee, IL

Large Community Hospitals

Condell Medical Center
Libertyville, IL

Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, IL

Central DuPage Hospital
Winfield, IL

Medium Community Hospitals

St. Vincent Carmel Hospital
Carmel, IN

Small Community Hospitals

St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese
Breese, IL

Healthcare Quality Matters: Top Hospitals for 2014

“Healthgrades America’s Best Hospitals is based solely on clinical quality outcomes and it rewards excellence over a multi-year time period. This premier distinction provides a measure of confidence for consumers.”

  • America’s 50 Best Hospitals are the top 1% of hospitals in the nation for providing overall clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of conditions and procedures consistently for a minimum of seven consecutive years.
  • America’s 100 Best Hospitals are the top 2% of hospitals in the nation for exhibiting clinical excellence for at least four consecutive years.

 

Illinois (10)

Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical CenterOak Lawn, IL
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Downers Grove, IL (top 50)
Advocate Good Shepherd HospitalBarrington, IL
Alexian Brothers Medical Center Elk Grove Village, IL (top 50)
Carle Foundation Hospital Urbana, IL
Ingalls Memorial Hospital Harvey, IL (top 50)
Palos Community Hospital Palos Heights, IL (top 50)
Presence Resurrection Medical Center Chicago, IL
Presence Saint Joseph Medical CenterJoliet, IL
Saint Alexius Medical CenterHoffman Estates, IL (top 50)

Indiana (3)

Community Hospital Munster, IN (top 50)
Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital Indianapolis, IN
Indiana University Health University Hospital Indianapolis, IN

US News and World Report

There are too many to list here under their awards qualifications.

Here’s a list that would be good to see:  which hospitals got sued the most (or the least) for malpractice or wrongful death or settled the most (or the least) negligence or wrongful care claims in the past five years?  That would be a good list to compare, right?  

Tracy Morgan Has Filed Injury Lawsuit Against WalMart Over Semi-Truck Crash: It’s an Important Case

July 22nd, 2014 by admin

Comedian Tracy Morgan has filed a personal injury lawsuit against WalMart for injuries he sustained last month when the chauffeur-driven limo-van in which he was riding along with friend James McNair was hit by a WalMart big rig known to be driven way too fast by a truck driver who was at the least drowsy and at the most, asleep at the wheel. The trucker has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the accident because sadly, Mr. McNair died from his injuries.

Tracy Morgan survived and is recovering from serious injuries (there were rumors that he would lose a leg; luckily, that didn’t happen). The next step for Tracy Morgan, after his physical condition is stablized and recovery plans are underway, is the same as it is for lots of injury victims: suing those responsible for the accident and their resulting harm.

 

Popular Comedian Tracy Morgan Sues WalMart

An important twist to this story, however, is that WalMart, the owner of the semi truck and the employee of the truck driver, has been made a defendant in the case. WalMart is being held responsible for the crash in Morgan’s pleadings and this is important not just for Morgan’s case but for injury victims everywhere.

Why?

1. This lawsuit will focus upon WalMart’s standard operating procedures regarding its truck drivers. Is WalMart putting profits over people and pushing its truck drivers past reasonable limits just to get cargo delivered as fast as possible to WalMart stores? What are the company rules for WalMart truck drivers on the road?

2. Was this WalMart truck driver covered by the 40 hour work week (with overtime paid thereafter) established in the Fair Labor Standards Act — or is this driver not covered by this work week law? Many truck drivers aren’t paid by time, they are paid my mile driven on the road. Was the trucker feeling pressure to keep driving to make his paycheck? Should truckers be paid by the mile in this country?

3. Was this truck driver a member of a labor union? What is their involvement here? It’s known that WalMart sees labor unions as a challenge to the company’s bottom line, maybe the driver was not a member of a labor union. If he was, then what part does the union play in this lawsuit?

4. Was the truck itself routinely serviced and in proper working order? What are WalMart’s practices for making sure that its company trucks are safe on the road?

5. Did WalMart have any reason to know or be concerned that this driver might not be driving safely on the road? It is alleged, for instance, that WalMart was negligent and reckless when it assigned a driver who lives in Georgia to a company facility in Delaware. That is a 700 mile commute.

From the pleadings: “[T]here were many Wal-Mart distribution facilities closer to Mr. Roper’s home—including at least nine in Georgia alone—which would have significantly reduced Mr. Roper’s commute to work.”

WalMart Truck Driver Lawsuit Important for Other Accident Victims

This lawsuit is important to other injury victims, both those who have been or may be involved in accidents with WalMart owned or operated vehicles as well as those trucks driven by other major company retailers, who share the roads with us.

Companies will try to point the finger at the truck driver, or the road conditions, or the other driver, or even an “Act of God,” but the reality is that corporations — especially multi-million dollar national and international concerns (like WalMart and its competitors) — are going to try and avoid responsibility for these crashes as well as the responsibility for taking safety precautions against these kinds of accidents because both prevention and liability impact their bottom line.  (Forbes has written on WalMart investors being concerned about this case, FYI.)

Tracy Morgan’s fame may help lots of Americans realize that these big companies are known for cutting costs to the bone in order to jack their profits as high as possible, and that things need to change. Big rig crashes, tragically, often involve someone dying in the wreck – and it’s usually someone who isn’t as well protected from the force of the crash as the truck driver in the semi-truck cab.

Justice for these victims can come from individual claims and lawsuits; in the public arena that Tracy Morgan’s lawsuit will play out, maybe justice will be served by changes made in the law, in an industry-wide, national scope.  

General Motors NYT Expose: Documents Reveal GM Knew of Dangers and Kept Silent

July 17th, 2014 by admin

We know that personal injury lawsuits are sometimes the only way that people can be protected over those dedicated, even obsessed, with making more money and the pursuit of profits. It is why we do what we do (read our firm philosophy here). So, when the New York Times expose regarding the recent GM recalls was published this week, it only served to energize our passion for helping injury victims while enflaming our sense of justice: how can General Motors Corporation, of all the car makers out there, have ever thought that it could evade justice regarding these product defects?

1968’s Larsen v. General Motors: Landmark Case

Consider the Larsen case of 1968, the lawsuit that made GM liable for its cars: there, a man named David Larsen was driving his GM-built Chevolet Corvair when he was hit head-on and died horrifically as the car’s steering wheel was thrust by the force of impact into Mr. Larsen’s head.

GM’s design of the Corvair’s steering wheel column was shown to be defective. While General Motors argued that car manufacturers had no duty to design their products to make sure the car had protections for the occupants in the event of a crash, the court ruled otherwise.

Larsen was the cornerstone case that demanded car companies build their cars with safety in mind. Larsen has been cited by judges in literally 1000s of courts since the opinion was first issued over 45 years ago — and it was GENERAL MOTORS that was the defendant in that historic precedent.

From the opinion:

General Motors contends that it has no duty to produce a vehicle in which it is safe to collide or which is accident-proof or incapable of injurious misuse. It views its duty as extending only to producing a vehicle that is reasonably fit for its intended use or for the purpose for which it was made and that is free from hidden defects; and that the intended use of a vehicle and the purpose for which it is manufactured do not include its participation in head-on collisions or any other type of impact, regardless of the manufacturer’s ability to foresee that such collisions may occur. ….

The intended use and purpose of an automobile is to travel on the streets and highways, which travel more often than not is in close proximity to other vehicles and at speeds that carry the possibility, probability, and potential of injury-producing impacts. The realities of the intended and actual use are well known to the manufacturer and to the public and these realities should be squarely faced by the manufacturer and the courts. We perceive of no sound reason, either in logic or experience, nor any command in precedent, why the manufacturer should not be held to a reasonable duty of care in the design of its vehicle consonant with the state of the art to minimize the effect of accidents.

The manufacturers are not insurers but should be held to a standard of reasonable care in design to provide a reasonably safe vehicle in which to travel. Ford Motor Company v. Zahn, supra. Our streets and highways are increasingly hazardous for the intended normal use of travel and transportation. While advances in highway engineering and non-access, dual highways have considerably increased the safety factor on a miles traveled ratio to accidents, the constant increasing number of vehicles gives impetus to the need of designing and constructing a vehicle that is reasonably safe for the purpose of such travel. At least, the unreasonable risk should be eliminated and reasonable steps in design taken to minimize the injury-producing effect of impacts.

New York Times Reports GM Documents Show General Motors Knew of Defects As People Were Dying

In a report written by Rebecca R. Ruiz and Danielle Ivory this week, the New York Times is reporting (”Documents Show General Motors Kept Silent on Fatal Crashes,” July 15, 2014) their investigation has revealed that while people were dying from product defects now subject to recall and federal agencies were asking GM questions about these fatal crashes, General Motors was shrugging its shoulders to the federal questioning while internally, its own people had determined that the car’s components were causing the deaths.

In sum, GM may had hidden known flaws in its products, and continued to sell them for well over a decade, and then gone so far as to keep silent about this when the federal safety people came to question GM about what was happening with its cars.

Read the entire NYT expose here.

Think of the billions of dollars GM took in over those 10 years — was it really worth the deaths of all these people?

When people argue that personal injury law isn’t a worthy endeavor and is, in and of itself, motivated by a love of profits, consider Larsen and what is happening right now.

It is through personal injury litigation that those who have been hurt by GM’s wrongdoing will find justice — and it is through personal injury cases that have been filed and will be filed in the future that General Motors will be made to understand that this kind of behavior is intolerable in the United States using the only language that GM apparently understands: the bottom line.

U.S. Industrial Workers In Growing Danger: American Job Safety Rapidly Declining in 2014

July 15th, 2014 by admin

A new worldwide job safety report has been published by non-profit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and it’s a scary one for the United States. According to their research findings, within the past year alone, the safety of the American Worker has been drastically lowered and most people don’t realize it.

“America is on a trajectory toward Third World industrial safety,” warns PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Just as our bridges, highways and other public infrastructure require reinvestment so do our industrial plants if we are to avoid the damage and dysfunction driven by a crumbling core.”

Major United States Industries: Who Are These Endangered Industrial Workers?

Not every worker is on the job doing industrial work. Manicurists, graphic designers, actors, politicians, and police officers are just a few examples of work that isn’t included in this shocking new research warning.  However, for Indiana and Illinois, this warning of increasing danger and risk to workers on the job doing industrial work applies to a great number of employees.

Shipyard Workers: Increased Risk of Injury on the Job

 

According to the Dow Jones, the following are the major American industries in the United States:

  • Construction & Materials
  • Building Materials & Fixtures
  • Heavy Construction
  • Industrial Goods & Services
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Aerospace
  • Defense
  • General Industrials
  • Containers & Packaging
  • Diversified Industrials
  • Electronic & Electrical Equipment
  • Electrical Components & Equipment
  • Electronic Equipment
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Commercial Vehicles & Trucks
  • Industrial Machinery
  • Industrial Transportation
  • Delivery Services
  • Marine Transportation
  • Railroads
  • Transportation Services
  • Trucking
  • Support Services
  • Business Support Services
  • Business Training & Employment Agencies
  • Financial Administration
  • Industrial Suppliers
  • Waste & Disposal Services

Industrial Workers Are In Increasing Danger of Serious Injury or Death While Working on the Job

What PEER has done is to collect published reports summarizing research findings for various nations and various aspects of the industrial workplace. The PEER study then compares and summarizes these research findings.

Shockingly, it appears that the United States industrial workplace is falling short of keeping its workers safe, and that things are getting worse. For instance, from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine entitled, “Occupational Fatality Risks in the United States and the United Kingdom,” the following facts:

1. American workers are 3 times more likely to die than British workers doing the same job
2. U.S. workers died 10 times more often from exposure to chemicals than those doing the same job in the United Kingdom
3. American workers died 5 times more often from fire than British workers doing the same work
4. U.S. workers died 4 times more often than workers on the same job in the United Kingdom.

What is going on here?

According to the PEER study, the failure involves not only maintaining industrial conditions but to allow them to fall behind. PEER points to a study by Swiss Re (a big insurance concern) that reveals the insurance industry has experienced 3 times the losses in the refining, petrochemical processing and gas processing industry from American losses than any other sector on the globe.

New safeguards are not being considered and implemented in the American industrial sectors. Plants are getting more dangerous over time because, as Ruch explains, “ … plant operators do not have a sufficient economic incentive to invest because the real costs are borne by sacrificial workers and sickened communities.”

What Should Industrial Workers Do?

No one should be more aware of declining safety in their workplace than the workers who are on the job there, day after day. Taking personal precautions for you and your work buddies is important.

Filing complaints with management over shoddy safety situations is also important — that complaint might save your life or that of your co-worker. Sadly, it isn’t looking like those complaints are resulting in changes in job conditions, unfortunately.

Which means that the PEER Study is warning American industrial workers will be seriously injured or killed because of dangerous work conditions. Keep safe, and if you are injured then be ready to pursue justice with a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Accident Injury is Number 1 Cause of Death – New CDC Study

July 10th, 2014 by admin

A recent study published in the internationally acclaimed medical journal, The Lancet, reveals that almost 80% of U.S. deaths for Americans who are 30 years old and younger are caused by accidents.

Accidents, which means these are deaths that could have been prevented and were not — and all but 20% of our young people who perish are dying because of them.

The research was undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) out of Atlanta. From the study, we know that each year in the United States:

  • The numbers equate to a person dying from injuries sustained in an accident every 3 MINUTES.
  • Around 180,000 people under the age of 30 die from things like car accidents, slip and falls, and drug overdoses.
  • In 2010, among people of all ages, 121 000 died due to unintentional injuries, including automobile crashes, poisoning, and suffocation.
  • Accident injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1–44 in the U.S.
  • 2,800,000 are hospitalized with injury each year
  • 31,700,000 get medical treatment in an U.S. Emergency Room for injuries sustained in accidents each year
  • Violence and injuries cost more than $406 billion in medical care and lost productivity each year in the United States

Personal Injury Law Exists to Combat Accident Injuries and Wrongful Death

There are many that argue against tort reform in this country, and who see lawyers who choose to practice personal injury law as greedy, self-serving “ambulance chasers.” However, the truth remains that personal injury attorneys and the reality of lawsuits being filed by injury victims seeking justice on the grounds of negligence, product liability, defective products, malpractice, and the like fill a critical need in the United States.

Look no further than the recent revelations about General Motors Corporation.

We now know that GM allowed cars with known, dangerous product defects to be sold in the United States and that people died and were critically and seriously injured in crashes and accidents caused by those same defects. Why did this happen? Because this was one more company that put profits over people.

How will these victims get justice? Through the legal system, where personal injury claims are filed and pursued on their behalf based upon personal injury laws.

This new CDC research published in the Lancet is disturbing, even shocking. However, one must wonder how much higher these numbers would be without the active efforts of personal injury lawyers across this country, demanding justice for accident victims and seeking to prevent accident injuries and wrongful deaths in the future.

 

Congress Nixed Raising 30 Year Old Insurance Limits for Truckers

July 8th, 2014 by admin

The trucking industry, like other big commercial enterprises, has to carry insurance on its employees in case they hurt other people while they are working on the job. When big rig truck drivers are in crashes, that trucking company’s insurance policy comes into play to cover the damages and harmed caused in the semi truck crash.

However, there is a huge problem with the truck driver’s insurance coverage in these big rig wrecks. The insurance policy limits — how much the trucking companies had to buy as a minimum coverage in their insurance policy — has not been changed under federal law for THIRTY YEARS.

The minimum coverage limits for commercial motor vehicles right now is $750,000 for general freight carriers.

Think about that — and consider what things cost back in the mid-1980s. Think about the cost of gasoline, cars, tires, food, clothing, medical care, your insurance coverage for your car. Those have all risen, right?

So why hasn’t the trucking insurance coverage changed in all these years? Good question.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Report

FMCSA completed a report earlier this year and sent it over to Congress providing detailed analysis on why the trucker’s insurance coverage should be legally required to be higher. We provided details about that FMCSA report in an earlier post and you can read the details in “The Cost of Commercial Truck Accidents: FMCSA Pushes for Commercial Carriers to Take Greater Financial Responsibility for Big Rig, Semi Truck Crashes.”

Congress Votes Against Raising Liability Insurance Coverage Requirements for Truck Drivers

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives voted for HR Bill 4745 as part of 2015 funding and HR4745 blocked the federal agency, FMCSA, from taking action to increase the minimum insurance limits for both commercial trucking companies as well as bus companies like Greyhound and other bus operators.

What This Means to The Truck Crash Victim

By keeping the current minimum insurance limits for the commercial trucking and bus industries, accident victims and their families are facing medical expenses that in no way correlate to the 30-year old insurance coverage limits that remain in place.

Medical costs for doctors, hospitals, drugs, therapists, ambulance calls, long term care, rehabilitation, medical equipment, etc., are nowhere near their mid-1980s prices. This means that the truck driver’s insurance coverage may not be enough to cover the accident’s aftermath especially in catastrophic crashes involving wrongful death of bus passengers or traffic victims in semi tractor trailor big rig crashes.

The Trucking Alliance, for instance, has found that the current $750,000 limit is not enough to cover 42% of commercial truck crashes.

What Happens Now?

Right now, if the trucking company does not have sufficient insurance coverage, then it becomes responsible for providing financially out of its own resources (and victims must hope that the trucking company has sufficient assets to cover their long-term damage needs).

Collection of a judgment can be another huge fight after the courtroom battle over liability for the wreck has been won.

In Congress, there are continuing efforts underway to pass legislation that does allow for increasing the limits here. For instance, the American Association of Justice has supported an effort by one Congressman to increase the limits to $4.422 Million which reflects the present day medical costs in the same proportion that the $750,000 reflected when it was first established.

Eventually, this wrong will be righted.

GM Car Crash Since 1997? Do You Have a Claim Against General Motors?

July 3rd, 2014 by admin

The recalls from General Motors Corporation (GM) just keep coming and within the news releases from the GM CEO, it’s assumed that more GM recalls are coming in the near future. This week, for instance, the car maker issued another recall announcement where SIX additional recalls of its vehicles are issued.

This week’s recall announcement alone would be a major recall. GM recalled 7.6 million GM vehicles — and especially concerning about this week’s GM Recall was the revelation that cars made and sold almost 20 years ago are dangerous.

That’s right. For almost two decades, GM has been selling cars, and the American public has been buying GM cars (and trucks and minivans) that we now know to be defective and unsafe.

 

 

1997 – 2005 Chevy Malibu and 2003 – 2014 Cadillac CTS Recalls

Specifically, the Chevrolet Malibu has been recalled for model years 1997 through 2005 in this recall. Also, the Cadillac CTS model years 2003 through 2014 has been recalled. Why? Both the Chevy Malibu and the Cadillac CTS have “unintended ignition key rotation” — which is dangerous and a potentially deadly defect.

In fact, this ignition switch problem is the same product defect that resulted in some of the other MILLIONS of GM model vehicles being recalled in the past few months. It is this same ignition switch defect that forms the basis of the controversial GM “victims compensation fund” that was announced this week, providing settlement offers to some GM car owners (not all, and not for every situation).

Check Your General Motors Vehicle Here Using Your VIN

If you can find the vehicle identification number for the GM model (hint: if not in or on the car, check your insurance paperwork, auto insurance policies will have the VIN), then you can go online and check to see if your General Motors vehicle has been recalled.

Go HERE to input the VIN and find out at the General Motors website.

 

What Does This Mean? Millions of Crash Claims and Accident Causes May Be Reexamined for GM Liability

As more and more General Motors cars and GM trucks and GM minivans get recalled, the time period for these model years seems to be increasing. It is shocking to consider that models like the beloved Chevy Malibu (so popular that if you haven’t owned one, you know someone who has) have been dangerously defective since 1997.

Which means that wrecks have happened because of these product defects over the years and there may be claims paid and verdicts issued where the fault was not found to lie with General Motors. We wrote earlier about the Texas driver who had a felony conviction on her record after a fatal car crash involving a GM car, where no one knew the GM vehicle defect had caused the accident and the resulting death of her passenger (and fiance).

Now, she is in the process of pursuing justice against GM and getting that criminal record erased. See: “GM Recalls: What is General Motors’ Liability for Crashes Going Back 10 Years?

Her story will be among many others where GM has evaded justice in car crashes and traffic accidents for years as these serious car defects were not revealed to the public and GM just kept selling cars.

Products Liability Law Exists for Justice

In both Indiana and Illinois, state products liability personal injury law provides the basis for victims of defective products, like these GM vehicles and the dangerous components within them, to find justice from the businesses that chose profits over people.

If you have questions regarding a GM recall issue, then please feel free to contact our offices for more information.

You can also read our past coverages of this evolving GM Recall Crisis, including details on what cars are involved in the various recalls:

  1. GM Recalls Millions of GM Cars and SUVs: Congress Is Investigating while Justice Department Begins Criminal Investigation – Is Your GM Car Dangerous?
  2. GM Recall: GM Ignition Switch Dangers Grow – Moves to Stop People from Driving these Cars, Get Victims’ Claims Recognized
  3. RECALLS JUST KEEP HAPPENING: CAR MAKERS LIKE GENERAL MOTORS MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANY, MANY SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATHS

 

Have a Safe Independence Day Holiday – Don’t Become a 2014 Fourth of July Traffic Statistic

July 1st, 2014 by admin

Throughout Indiana and Illinois, lots of plans are being made for enjoying the upcoming Independence Day holiday. Officially, the Fourth of July Holiday begins tomorrow and continues through midnight, July 6, 2014; maybe you or a loved one is taking a couple of days off work this week for some welcomed rest and relaxation.

Almost 400 People Planning Their 4th of July Holiday Today Will Die in a Car Crash

Many people in our neck of the woods may be planning to take a short road trip; in fact, AAA has announced that it is predicting the highest number of Americans to be traveling over U.S. roads this Fourth of July than we’ve seen in the past 7 years. According to AAA, 80% of those traveling over the Fourth this year will be driving.

Put together lots of people on the road, coupled with festive holiday plans, and it’s sad but true that we’re also going to experience an uptake in the number of car crashes and other kinds of accidents over the next week.

In fact, over in Itasca, Illinois, the National Safety Council has announced that it is predicting 385 fatal traffic accidents over this Fourth of July weekend holiday.

According to the NSC, we may also have almost 50,000 people suffering from serious injuries in traffic accidents needing medical care. That’s in addition to other injuries, like burn injuries from fireworks, and other types of accidents (slip and falls, drownings, etc.).

Safety Tips for Your Independence Day Weekend

From the Illinois NSC offices and the American Red Cross come the following tips for a safe Fourth of July Holiday:

  • Refrain from all cell phone use while driving your car – both hands-free and handheld
  • Do not drink and drive your car, motorcycle, truck, van, boat, ATV, etc.
  • If you drink, designate a non-drinking driver or take alternate transportation
  • Place children in age-appropriate safety seats
  • Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted in campsites or near lake shores and beaches.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Don’t drink while operating a boat.
  • Make sure kids have protective floating devices to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Never dive headfirst into lakes, rivers, or other natural bodies of water.
  • Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach or in camp sites.

______________________

 

Be careful out there and Happy Fourth of July from everyone at the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group!

 

Fireworks Accidents: Be Very Careful of Fireworks Over Fourth of July Holiday

June 26th, 2014 by admin

A national non-profit group based in Chicago has gone into high-gear this week, trying to spread the word that next week’s big holiday, the Fourth of July, is unlike most other fun weekends we celebrate around here because so many people take advantage of the warm weather and outdoor festivities to buy and use consumer fireworks.

Fireworks Hurt Kids, Can Cause Blindness

Prevent Blindness wants you to pass on buying your own fireworks because they are dangerous. Instead, go out to the nearest fireworks display where professionals are providing those beautiful fireworks shows.

In our local area, for example, there are the following fireworks events planned, beginning tomorrow throughout Indiana (click on FireworksinIndiana for details to find a fireworks display near your home):

  • June 27, 2014 — 2 fireworks displays in Indiana
  • June 28, 2014 — 13 fireworks displays in Indiana
  • June 29, 2014 — 5 fireworks displays in Indiana
  • July 3, 2014 — 24 fireworks displays in Indiana
  • July 4, 2014 — 82 fireworks displays in Indiana
  • July 5, 2014 — 28 fireworks displays in Indiana

According to the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), 8700 people were rushed to hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries last year, and a third of these accident victims were kids under the age of 15.

Fireworks Also Cause Fires and Serious Burns, Other Injuries

There are groups that suggest consumer fireworks be banned in this country because of the high risk of personal injury and even death from using fireworks. Of course, right now the legal limitations on fireworks bans their use except for certain time periods, like next week’s Fourth of July holiday weekend. Legislatures try and maximize safety while allowing fireworks to be purchased and used by all of us during these holiday periods by enforcing rules like where you can set off fireworks (you cannot do it in your Valpo backyard, for instance).

Why are fireworks so dangerous?

Because they can burn people and things, and because they can explode (injuring hands and face).

Sparklers, for example, burn at over 1000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. Bottle rockets are notorious for going off-course and slamming into people, setting clothes on fire or puncturing faces / eyes. Homemade fireworks are even more dangerous that commercially manufactured fireworks, but both are the cause of serious injuries over the Fourth of July holiday each year.

Kids, especially small children, are particularly vulnerable to injury from fireworks because they are so entranced by the magical sparkling light and the pretty colors. Teenagers are also particularly suspectible to getting hurt while handling fireworks because they may forget to keep their distance from the fire and close proximity to explosions causes injury.

Some scary facts from the National Fire Prevention Association:

Fireworks caused (in 2012):

  • 1,200 total structure fires,
  • 400 vehicle fires, and
  • 16,300 outside and other fires.
  • These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32,000,000 in direct property damage.
  • In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,700 people for fireworks related injuries; 55% of 2012 emergency room fireworks-related injuries were to the extremities and 31% were to the head.
  • The risk of fireworks injury was highest for young people ages 15-24, followed by children under 10.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

Be Careful Out There!

And if you decide to buy and use fireworks over the holiday, then please keep your safety as well as your loved ones in mind. Personal injuries due to fireworks accidents and fires started by fireworks being set off during the Fourth of July holiday can result in serious injury and even wrongful death.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!