Articles Posted in Product Liability

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Seatbelts are arguably the single most important automobile safety invention in history. However, when seatbelts are defective, there is a serious risk of injury to car occupants.

Seatbelt use across the United States is at close to all-time highs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, seatbelt use across the United States reached 88.5%. That was an increase from 86.7% recorded in 2014. Although that is not believed to be a statistically significant difference, it is encouraging to note that Americans continue to buckle up even though cars now come with several high-tech safety features. The fact is that in many different types of accidents, it is the seatbelt that significantly reduces the risk of serious injuries or death.

Make sure that you and other people in your car are always buckled-up while driving. Children must not be restrained in seatbelts unless they have reached the proper age and weight.

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Everyone’s talking about the exciting new toy that has had even the Vatican horrified. Whether Santa dropped a hoverboard in your Christmas stocking, or you couldn’t resist the urge to buy one for yourself, there’s a lot to know about these very intriging, but dangerous toys.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hoverboards have been involved in a number of fire-related hazards. The CPSC is actively investigating reported fires and will continue to do so as new reports are made.

The agency is also testing these damaged and burned hoverboards for answers to several questions:

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Safety experts and Atlanta personal injury lawyers have been warning of the risk of child fatalities in furniture tip over accidents for many years.Last year, two toddlers were killed in furniture tip over accidents involving an IKEA dresser unit model. Now, IKEA North America is telling millions of owners of these dressers that these chests must be firmly anchored to the walls in order to prevent accidents of the type that killed the two toddlers.

IKEA has confirmed at least 14 tip over incidents that resulted in four injuries. The company says that the chest must be firmly anchored to the walls, in order to prevent injuries like these.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, one fatality involved a two-year-old boy in Pennsylvania who died in February last year, when a MALM chest of drawers fell on him. The boy was pinned to a bed, and died from his injuries. The second fatality involved a two-year-old child from Washington, who was killed in June of last year when a similar chest fell on him. According to IKEA North America, it has three other reports of child fatalities since 1989 involving tip overs of other models of chests. The company is offering free wall-mounting repair kits for 27 million dressers.

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A committee that is currently investigating car recalls linked to defective Takata airbags says that the Japanese auto parts supplier recently decided to update recall information. The updated toll from the airbags defect is now 105 injuries and 6 fatalities.

The earlier toll was 64 injuries and five fatalities linked to the malfunctioning airbag. However, since then, Takata has apparently identified at least 40 more incidents of malfunctioning airbags resulting in serious injuries, including one that resulted in at least one death.

The defect causes the airbags to shoot off potentially dangerous fragments that can seriously injure occupants in the vehicle. Occupants are at risk of serious injuries, including eye injuries, facial injuries and other injuries as a result of being hit in the face by these pieces of shrapnel.

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As we mentioned in a post back in September, 2014 has been a record year for auto recalls. And the year isn’t over yet. Approximately 14.3 million automobiles from ten different manufacturers have now been recalled for faulty air bags manufactured by Takata.

The air bags, which were installed in vehicles from 2000-2011, may explode when they inflate. The force of the explosion may shatter the air bag container, sending metal and plastic shrapnel into the driver and passenger. The problem has been linked to propellant chemicals in the air bag, and may be aggravated in high-humidity climates. As a result, there have been more widespread recalls in high-humidity areas, including Georgia. So far there have been five fatalities and over 100 injures attributed to the defective air bags. The most recent death, which sparked a new wave of recalls, was of a pregnant woman in Malaysia.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging owners of the affected vehicles, which include cars by Honda, Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, to act on the recalls. Car owners that have been contacted by their cars’ manufacturers should make repair arrangements with local dealerships. Consumers who have not been contacted and are concerned that their vehicles may be affected can check by their vehicle identification number (VIN) here.

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General Motor’s faulty ignition switches have been a hot topic in the news since the beginning of 2014. In February, GM recalled 800,000 vehicles due to defective ignition switches, and since then, the number has grown to 29 million vehicles recalled in North America. Vehicles affected by the defective ignition switch include the Chevy Cobalt, Chevy HHR, Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, and Saturn Sky

According to GM, a heavy key ring or a “jarring event,” such as hitting a bump in the road, could cause the defective ignition switch to slip out of position, shutting off power steering and brakes, and causing the air bags to fail in a crash.

Deaths & Injuries Linked to the Faulty Switch

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2014 is turning out to be a record year for recalls. Millions of cars already have been recalled this year, most of them from the General Motors. Fresh data released by Carfax confirms that as many as 36% of all recalled cars on American roads are not repaired.

In fact, last year, the auto industry recalled more cars than it sold. In 2013, recalls were up by approximately 25%, which is the highest increase on record since 2004. One of General Motors largest recalls this year, involving more than 2.6 million vehicles, was for a defective ignition switch that has already been linked to 13 fatalities. Clearly, car recalls are not always linked to defects that are inconveniences to customers, but possibly serious defects that could actually cause car accidents involving injuries and death.

Who is to blame for this poor response to recalls? According to Carfax, there are currently at least 36 million recalled cars being operated by motorists in the United States. In many cases, people are completely unaware of the recalls, while in the remaining cases, the people have been informed of the recall, but chose not to respond anyway.

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Most retailers across the country are reporting early holiday shopping this year as consumers start buying for family, co-workers, and friends.Many of those gifts will include children’s accessories, toys, and other products. This is the right time of the year to remind parents that the toys and products that they choose for their children must be safe from the risk of injuries.

Most injuries related to children’s products involve the face and head, including a large number to the eyes and forehead area. Unfortunately, there are far too many children’s toys that come with removable parts and sharp parts that pose a serious eye injury hazard.When you buy toys as gifts this holiday season, avoid toys that come with protruding parts, spikes, or sharp or pointed edges.

Avoid buying guns and shooting toys, or toys that come with parts that fly off. These can actually turn into dangerous projectiles, and can cause injuries not just to the child who is using the toy, but also other children and adults in the environment.

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Every year, there are variations in the number of car accident fatalities, but one fact remains the same — more fatal car accidents occur at night than in the daytime hours.Nighttime driving comes with its own set of challenges, and one of those is the lack of adequate roadway lighting.A new study focuses on the potential for improving nighttime driving through more advanced automobile headlight systems.

The research was recently presented at the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting in Germany.One scientist involved in the study presented a paper outlining the different types of lighting technologies that can help make nighttime driving both safer and easier.Specifically, these technologies involve headlights that can focus light onto particularly tricky and dangerous roadways.This would be done by using headlights that swivel or bend to put more light onto the turn of the road.

According to the report that was presented at the conference, earlier studies that compared cars equipped with these headlight systems and vehicles with conventional low beam headlights, found that the number of accidents occurring at night actually dropped. For instance, there was a drop of approximately 4% in nighttime accident frequency along low-speed roads. On high-speed roads with shallower curves, the drop was between 1% and 2%.

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The Food and Drug Administration has failed in its responsibility to maintain oversight over companies that manufacture disposable wipes.As a result, sanitation and hygiene standards at these facilities have dropped, and the result has been several fatalities and infections across the country caused by contaminated wipes.An investigation by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel found poor hygiene standards at a facility operated by yet another Wisconsin-based company that manufactures wipes.

Product liability claims are likely from any serious infection or wrongful death which arises due these wipes. A personal injury arising out of a serious infection often results in long-term hospitalization and continuing issues for the individual. Product liability claims which arise out of the improper manufacturing of a product can be very difficult to prove. However, personal injury lawyers have developed a variety of techniques of attacking these types of cases. The work of government agencies is often an important component in establishing civil liability in these matters.

That company, Rockline Industries manufactures baby wipes and other wipes that are used in hospitals and homes.According to the investigation, at least 5 years ago, employees of the company acting as whistleblowers wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration warning that thousands of contaminated wipes were being manufactured at the company’s Arkansas facility.The whistleblowers alleged that the company was aware of the contamination of these wipes, but failed to take action, and continued to ship these wipes across the country.