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What Are Owners Liable for in a Slip & Fall Accident on Their Property?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

When a person legally visits another person’s property, the visitor has a reasonable expectation to visit without fear of injuries. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure their properties do not pose any risks of injury to lawful visitors. They must take appropriate steps to address and correct known safety issues or at least provide adequate warnings to lawful visitors if those visitors are likely to encounter known safety issues while on the property. A personal injury attorney in Dallas can help an injured person understand his or her options for legal recourse after a slip and fall injury on private property.

Damages in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

A slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner will follow a similar framework to any other personal injury claim. The plaintiff’s attorney will need to prove that the property owner owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, failed to uphold that duty, and consequently caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Several types of damages are available in a typical personal injury claim.

· Medical expenses. Slip and fall injuries can cause cuts, bruises, broken bones, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and a host of other possible afflictions. A property owner who was negligent in the care and maintenance of a property and caused such injuries is liable for the victim’s immediate and future medical expenses resulting from the incident. This can include hospital bills, ambulance fees, surgical costs, and any costs for necessary ongoing treatment like physical therapy.

· Lost income. A slip and fall injury may cause the victim to miss work, and the defendant is liable for the wages lost during the victim’s recovery period.

· Property damage. If a slip and fall incident also damaged or destroyed the victim’s personal property (such as an expensive watch or smartphone), the plaintiff can claim compensation for the costs of repairing or replacing these items.

· Pain and suffering. The jury reviewing a slip and fall lawsuit will consider the plaintiff’s medical expenses as well as testimony from expert witnesses to determine a fair amount of compensation for the plaintiff’s physical pain, emotional anguish, and mental distress resulting from the incident.

· Punitive damages. In some cases, a jury may decide that a property owner was intentionally reckless or negligent beyond the scope of typical negligence and award punitive damages in addition to other damages. This discourages similar behavior in the future and the amount typically depends on the personal finances of the defendant; wealthier defendants pay more in punitive damages.

Determining Liability for a Slip and Fall Incident in Texas

Property owners are not automatically liable for any and all slip and fall injuries that occur on their property. Several factors may negate or mitigate a property owner’s liability. To succeed with a slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner, the plaintiff’s Dallas slip & fall injury lawyer must prove several conditions.

· The defendant owns the property where the incident occurred.
· The plaintiff was on the property lawfully. Property owners have no duty of care to trespassers.
· A condition on the property existed that created an unreasonable risk of harm.
· The risk of harm was foreseeable, or the property owner knew about the hazardous condition prior to the injury in question.
· The defendant failed to address the hazardous condition in a timely and/or appropriate manner, or did not take adequate steps to warn the plaintiff of the risk.
· The plaintiff suffered actual harm, such as a physical injury or economic expenses resulting from a physical injury.
· The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s damages.

When a slip and fall injury occurs on private property in the Dallas area, a Dallas slip & fall injury lawyer can help a victim recover his or her damages and hold a negligent property owner accountable. Call the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert today to learn more about our speciality practice areas.

Posted by admin at 12:29 am

What Is the Move Over Law in Texas?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Every state in the United States has some form of the Move Over Law. Although the stipulations of the law may vary by state, the main goal remains the same: to safeguard emergency personnel and others from collision when responding to jobs on the side of the road. Understanding and obeying the Move Over Law in Texas are requirements if you wish to avoid fines and penalties. Keep yourself and others safe while driving in Texas with this information.

The 2003 Texas Move Over/Slow Down Statute

Every year, workers in the U.S. die from vehicles striking them while they are working roadside. From 2003 to 2015, 1,570 workers died at roadway construction sites. Texas ranked highest in the number of these deaths, with 171 fatalities. This number only represents construction workers killed; it doesn’t refer to first responders. Each year, an estimated 12 police officers, five firefighters, and 60 state Department of Transportation (DOT) workers die in the line of duty. Many of these deaths occur while responding to roadway incidents.

Roadside worker safety is paramount in Texas and throughout the country. Improving the safety of first responders and emergency personnel starts with spreading awareness of the issue. Enforcing new laws is one of the most effective ways to get drivers to change their behaviors. In 2003, Texas passed its original Move Over/Slow Down law. The law’s language protected employees by requiring drivers to yield to certain vehicles. Yielding means to either move over to the next available lane away from the stopped vehicle or to slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.

The original law applied to police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services, and tow trucks on the side of the road with emergency lights flashing. In 2013, Texas legislators expanded the Move Over Law to also include Texas DOT vehicles. Drivers must now move over for all TxDOT vehicles stopped roadside with overhead blue or amber flashing lights as well. the announcement of the expanded law pointed out that more than 100 TxDOT employees working in construction zones had died after being struck vehicles since 1938.

Renewed Enforcement of Texas Move Over Law in 2018

On January 31, 2018, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced new enforcement efforts focusing specifically on the Move Over Law. The DPS planned periodic enforcement efforts at different locations in Texas throughout the year, starting in February. Data from 2017 showed more than 10,650 citations relating to the Move Over Law in Texas alone. By ramping up enforcement efforts in 2018, the DPS hopes to catch even more rule violators and enhance the safety of roadside service providers.

As a Texas driver, it’s your duty to obey the Move Over Law. This means you must slow down and/or switch lanes to give certain vehicles plenty of room when on official duty. If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, it’s wise to move over a lane or slow down to enhance the safety of any employees present. Moving over can reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries to roadside workers, who could otherwise lose their lives if drivers aren’t paying enough attention and driving too close to parked vehicles.

Violating Texas’s Move Over Law could result in fines of up to $2,000. It is a misdemeanor to break this law and a more serious Class B misdemeanor if you break the law and cause bodily injury. You may face criminal and civil penalties if you break the Move Over Law and cause a collision that injures or kills on-duty Texas workers. Stay on the right side of the law and protect others by obeying the Move Over statute and always paying attention to the road.

Posted by admin at 6:50 pm

Is There a Problem With Sleep Apnea Among Truck Drivers?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the sleeper experiences obstructed airways repeatedly during sleep. Some people may have obstructive sleep apnea, in which blockages in the upper airway reduce or stop airflow. Others may have central sleep apnea, in which the brain stops sending signals for the need to breathe. Sleep apnea suffers may experience interrupted sleep and feel more tired during the day.

As someone whose career relies on the ability to safely operate heavy equipment, it is clear how sleep apnea could be dangerous. Sleep interruptions due to this condition could make a commercial driver unfit to be behind the wheel. Studies on the rate of sleep apnea among truck drivers shows disturbing trends and correlations that could put lives at risk. Get the facts on sleep apnea and commercial trucking here.

3 Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea

Although anyone could develop obstructive sleep apnea, certain factors can increase the likelihood of getting this condition. Some have to do with age, while others relate to lifestyle. Your chances of developing sleep apnea increase if you have a family history of this condition or of snoring, a large neck circumference, large tonsils, and a small lower jaw. The following, however, are three of the most prevalent risk factors:

  1. Men are up to three times more likely than women to develop sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Central sleep apnea is more frequent in men than women. However, women may increase their risk if they are obese.
  2. Being overweight has one of the most significant correlations with sleep apnea. Obesity impacts sleep apnea by constructing one’s airways with extra fatty deposits around the neck. Obesity can obstruct breathing while a person tries to sleep.
  3. Middle-age. Sleep apnea is more common in middle-aged and older adults than younger people. As sleepers age and develop conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, the need to take sedatives, the risk of sleep apnea increases.

All three of these risk factors are prevalent amongst employees in commercial truck driving. The trucking industry today is mostly male, with the number of female workers driving trucks hovering only around 4-6%. Obesity is more common in truckers than other types of workers (69% vs. 31%, respectively), due to long hours sitting and having to settle for unhealthy meals on the road. Most truck drivers are middle-aged as well, with millennials statistically reluctant to join the trade. Thus, the most common factors in truck driving and sleep apnea are one in the same.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea in Truckers

The rate of sleep apnea in truckers puts everyone on the road in danger. It’s a common enough problem that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization in charge of commercial trucking safety, has a page dedicated to the condition. Although President Trump recently canceled the requirement for sleep apnea screening in truck drivers, it is still a serious safety risk of which everyone should be aware.

As a truck driver, learn how to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea and seek help if you believe you have this condition. You can manage sleep apnea and avoid drowsy driving. As a driver, pay attention when driving around truckers in Texas. Signs of a drowsy driver include drifting between lanes, coming to sudden stops, and driving off the road.

Keep your distance from commercial trucks and call the police to report the vehicle if you see signs of erratic truck driving behaviors. If you get into an accident with a trucker who has sleep apnea, the company could be liable for your damages. Contact a lawyer for more information.

Posted by admin at 6:48 pm

How Can Parents Set an Example Against Distracted Driving?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Although the media focuses on the issue of teenage distracted driving, parents are also guilty of using their cellphones and engaging in other distracting habits behind the wheel. In 2017, 100,687 motor vehicle accidents in Texas involved distracted driving. These crashes caused 2,889 serious injuries and took 444 lives. Teens aren’t the only ones responsible for these car accidents in Texas. Parents must also take responsibility – especially when it comes to setting an example against distracted driving.

Hold Yourself Accountable

As a parent with young children or new teen drivers in the vehicle, you set the standard for what’s normal behind the wheel. If your child grows up seeing you text, take phone calls, read emails, eat, drink, groom, and do other distracting things while driving, the odds are much higher that he or she will acquire the same bad habits when it’s time to drive. You can set a positive, distraction-free example by holding yourself accountable for your actions while driving. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your child to do when it’s his/her turn to drive.

Texas law imposes a statewide ban on cellphone use for texting or other electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Other municipalities have passed additional limits on cellphone use while driving as well. Even if it weren’t against the law, a parent should never text and drive. It is one of the most dangerous forms of driver distraction, impairing a driver’s abilities to watch the road, keep hands on the wheel, and keep eyes on the road. Hold yourself to the same standards you expect your child to keep in the future.

Pull Over to Use Your Phone

If you must use your cellphone for non-emergency purposes, pull over in a safe location (such as a parking lot) to write your text or make your phone call. This teaches kids in the vehicle that they only safe time to use a cellphone while driving is when pulled over – not stopped in traffic. Otherwise, use hands-free technology such as auto-reply to respond to texts or answer calls while driving. Waiting until you get home to respond to emails or texts can show your children that nothing is more important than safety.

Use an Anti-Distracted Driving App

Apps are available to help you avoid distracted driving. However, don’t expect your teen drivers to download anti-distracted driving apps if you don’t use them yourself. Download apps such as LifeSaver or Mojo as a family. Download it on every driver’s phone in the household, including you and your spouse. That way, teen drivers won’t feel like the app is a punishment or something only they should use. Apps can hold the entire family accountable for safe driving.

Give 100% of Attention to the Road, 100% of the Time

New drivers learn what to do and what not to do from watching other drivers – namely, their parents. If you often eat fast food behind the wheel, drink coffee, finish your morning grooming routine, rubber-neck accidents as you pass by, or engage in other common distracted driving habits, this will become what your children think is “normal” to do behind the wheel. You’re training future distracted drivers, even if you preach “Do as I say, not as I do.”

If you’re a prudent, attentive driver 100% of the time, however, you’re teaching the importance of safe driving. Your teen drivers may never even think of picking up their phones behind the wheel if they’ve never witnessed their parents doing it. If they’ve seen you reply to texts almost every trip for the last 10 years, however, they may be more inclined to think this behavior is safe and acceptable. Be a safe-driving role model from day one to encourage good driving behaviors in your young drivers. The future of distracted driving could rest with you!

Posted by admin at 6:43 pm

How Do Big Rig Accidents Happen in Winter?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Winter presents many challenges to drivers of all types of vehicles, but truck drivers who handle large tractor-trailers or big rigs need to be extra cautious on winter roads. Big rig accidents are some of the most damaging motor vehicle collisions possible and typically result in extensive damages for all parties involved. This winter, it’s vital for everyone to know how big rig accidents happen during the colder months. According to annual averages collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, about 21% of vehicle crashes logged over a 10-year period involved poor weather conditions.

Speeding

Speeding is generally dangerous for all drivers in any situation, but for big rigs the danger is exponentially greater. A tractor-trailer needs much more time and distance to come to a stop from high speed than a smaller passenger vehicle due to its heavy weight and large size. Speeding on roads with patches of ice or pools of water can be exceptionally dangerous. High winds also pose a risk to truck drivers driving tractor-trailers with empty trailers. These vehicles have high centers of gravity, and strong wind can be enough to cause a tip-over. Traveling at high speeds, especially around curves, compounds this danger.

Poor Visibility

It’s more difficult for all drivers to see in fog, rain, snow, or any other type of precipitation. Drivers should engage safety features such as lights and wipers as necessary and use extra caution during inclement weather. A study from AAA conducted over a five-year period concluded that rain contributed to more than 9% of crashes. Rain is dangerous, because it not only affects the quality of the road surface and vehicle tire traction but also impedes visibility.

During any type of limited visibility, all drivers should use extra caution and adjust their speeds as necessary. In some states, police have the power to conduct traffic stops if a driver is “traveling too fast for conditions.” For example, the posted speed limit on a stretch of road is 55 mph, and a driver is traveling at 52 mph during a severe storm. A police officer may conduct a traffic stop because it is too dangerous to travel at or near the posted speed limit.

Snow, Ice, and Sleet

One of the most prevalent dangers of driving in winter is icy or rain-slicked roads. Vehicles can lose traction with the road surface after hitting ice, snow, or water. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires skim across water on the road instead of the road itself, and snow and ice accumulation can make it difficult for a driver to stop or make necessary maneuvers. Winter precipitation can easily cause multi-vehicle collisions, resulting in significant damages, and determining fault for these incidents can be difficult.

Road surfaces may also sustain damage over time from typical wear and tear, but winter weather conditions can compound the dangers such damage presents. Damaged road surfaces may weaken further from expanding and contracting water as it freezes, thaws, and refreezes, and this may cause chunks of asphalt to separate from the road surface. Infrastructure damage is a common cause of truck accidents, and winter weather is one of the leading causes of infrastructure damage in the country.

Holiday Traffic Congestion

Winter coincides with the holiday season, and that means many more vehicles on the road than usual. Additional traffic congestion naturally leads to a higher risk of accidents, and there are generally more private and commercial drivers on the roads. Tractor-trailers help many companies restock their products for holiday shopping and several delivery services including UPS, FedEx, and the USPS handle the vast number of holiday gifts sent through the mail. This means not only are more private individuals driving passenger cars during the winter, vastly more large trucks and commercial vehicles are on the road as well.

It’s wise for all drivers to use extra caution during holiday season travel. Plan trips before leaving and take care in unfamiliar areas. Always drive defensively, and if you don’t feel comfortable driving in inclement winter weather, wait for conditions to improve before driving, if you can.

Posted by admin at 10:49 pm

What Should I Know About Commercial Truck Black Boxes?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

While many Americans are aware of black boxes in aircraft that can record flight data to help determine the cause of a crash, few may know that many commercial trucks feature black boxes as well. Most black boxes feature fireproof materials and multiple safeguards that allow them to survive even catastrophic crashes.

Black boxes record different types of vehicle data including speed, direction of travel, electrical interference, any disturbances to the vehicle’s systems, impacts, fuel consumption, and countless other variables that may contribute to crashes. Investigators often rely on black boxes to determine how catastrophic vehicle accidents happen when no one survives to offer a statement. They can also play a significant role in litigation for a commercial truck accident.

Black Boxes Help Prove Liability for Trucking Accidents

Modern tractor-trailers manufactured since the 1990s feature electronic control modules (ECMs) built into their engines. ECMs function very similarly to the black boxes found in commercial airliners and can help determine the cause of an accident. Commercial truck black boxes typically record and store data for a specified amount of time, usually 30 days. The black boxes can track a truck’s gas mileage, average RPMs, time spent traveling at high speeds, overall speed, idling time, airbag deployment, hard stops, GPS coordinates, and many other variables.

Truck manufacturers originally designed ECMs to discourage fraudulent warranty claims but ECMs have recently been more valuable as evidence in truck accident claims to help determine liability. Trucking companies can compare ECM data to driver logs to help with these investigations, and it’s important for injured claimants in truck accidents to secure legal representation as soon as possible. An attorney can help ensure a trucking company preserves potentially crucial black box data for use in a future lawsuit.

Most states generally uphold that the data contained in an ECM is the property of the vehicle’s owner. If a trucking company owns a truck involved in an accident, the trucking company technically has the right to destroy the ECM data. However, some states have enacted laws that prevent trucking companies from destroying ECM data when clear evidence that the data could be crucial to an official investigation exists. Trucking companies may also use tracking modules for their vehicles that record and store additional types of data. An attorney may request protection of these types of recording devices if they contain hours of service logs, pick up and unload times, or other data vital to an ongoing case.

How Can a Black Box Influence My Lawsuit?

A plaintiff’s attorney in a truck accident claim can file for a court order preventing the destruction of crucial data in a truck’s black box or ECM. If the truck driver or the trucking company is liable in any way for the plaintiff’s damages, the ECM data can help establish liability for all parties involved. For example, imagine a plaintiff suing a trucking company after claiming the truck driver made an illegal lane change and crashed into the claimant’s vehicle.

The ECM data may show that the truck’s computer logged a turn signal use right before the collision, countering the claim.

ECM data from consumer vehicles may also come into play in these cases. Many auto manufacturers include systems to record travel and crash data for use in investigations. Following the previous example, the claimant’s vehicle’s ECM data may show the claimant was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit immediately before the crash, establishing the claimant is at least partially liable for the incident.

If you are unsure if or how a black box could come into play for a truck accident claim, your attorney is the best resource for additional information. Your attorney can also file subpoenas for crucial data that can improve your odds of succeeding with a truck accident injury claim and handle insurance issues. Truck accidents often result in significant damages, and a black box is likely to be one of the most crucial forms of material evidence that will come into play in a truck accident lawsuit.

Posted by admin at 10:45 pm

Common Questions After Truck Accidents

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Motor vehicle accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks often cause significant damage. A person who sustains injuries or other losses from a truck accident will likely have several questions about his or her rights and legal options for recovery. Anyone injured in a truck accident should ask these questions to determine the best next steps.

Who Is at Fault?

One of the most important factors in a truck accident is fault. If one driver, several drivers, or multiple parties bear liability for a truck accident, they are responsible for the resulting damages. When a person suffers injuries in a truck accident, he or she may file an insurance claim to recover medical expenses and other losses. An injured claimant’s insurer will want to know if any other parties bear liability for the claimant’s damages, and the insurer may pursue legal action against the at-fault party to recover the amount paid toward the claimant’s compensation.

In some cases, it may be more beneficial for an injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, especially in cases in which the injured party’s damages exceed the scope of any available insurance coverage. In other cases, a claimant’s fault for a claimed event may come into play. Many states follow comparative negligence laws that limit a plaintiff’s recovery if he or she bears liability for claimed damages. A plaintiff’s comparative negligence in a truck accident claim could diminish the claim’s value, resulting in less compensation for the plaintiff, in proportion to his or her percentage of fault for the incident.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

If your truck accident claim falls within the scope of your insurance coverage or an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, you will need to supply evidence of the extent of your claims and their eligibility under the policy in question. If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit for your truck accident damages, you will need to provide clear evidence of not only the extent of your losses, but also proof that the defendant is directly responsible for those losses.

Insurance will generally cover a claimant’s medical expenses and property damage, and additional coverage types may also apply depending on the specifics of a claimed event. If a claimed truck accident escalates to a personal injury lawsuit, the claimant will need to offer evidence of his or her economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Non-economic damages generally include pain and suffering compensation, and different courts use different methods for calculating pain and suffering damages in civil claims.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A truck accident may result from the actions of one negligent party or several. It’s also possible for a defective product or the negligence of a third party to lead to a truck accident. An injured driver may not know the best course of action for legal recovery, and a reliable truck accident attorney will be a great asset in this situation. An attorney can help with insurance issues and build a strong case for a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent defendant or group of defendants. In the case of multiple defendants, a plaintiff’s attorney can consult with experts to determine each defendant’s level of liability for the plaintiff’s damages.

An attorney in a truck accident case can help an injured client maximize his or her recovery. Trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road, and truck accidents typically lead to serious injuries, expensive property damage, and sometimes loss of life. Victims of truck accidents should handle their immediate medical concerns after experiencing these incidents and then consult experienced attorneys about their legal options.

Posted by admin at 10:42 pm

Are Old Gas Lines Dangerous?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The infrastructure in your city or even your home could pose many hidden dangers. For example, we know that some old building materials, like lead and asbestos, can lead to detrimental effects like brain damage and cancer. However, what about materials like old gas lines? Can these pose a risk to you and your family?

America’s Aging Natural Gas System

Unfortunately, tales regarding the dangerous nature of America’s natural gas system abound. In 2014, news of a gas explosion in Harlem rocked the nation, after an aging infrastructure was responsible for the death of 8 and injuring dozens more. A crack in an old gas pipeline was reportedly responsible for the leak – piping that was more than 100 years old. Just how much of America’s gas infrastructure is like this? What danger does it pose to the average city dweller?

The nation’s natural gas pipeline is a large network of pipes that carry from underground wells to your appliances every day. This labyrinth of pipes comprises more than 2.4 million miles and distributes natural gas all over the country. Most of this network is smaller pipes that go directly to your stove, or water heater, or whatever other appliances in your home run on gas. The rest – about 20% — are larger pipes that gather gas from refineries and transport it long distances throughout the country.

Domestic gas production has increased exponentially in recent years thanks to practices like fracking. This means that higher volume may overburden the already aging natural gas system. To address this, municipal and energy authorities are announcing new gas projects, complete with plenty of new pipelines. Though new pipelines are in the works, municipalities have done little to address the current aging pipelines that run under community homes.

What Causes Gas Leaks?

Over time, gas lines can corrode and eventually rupture, leading to leaks underground. In other cases, gas leaks may arise from extreme weather like hurricanes and the high winds they bring.

Cast iron pipes are more likely to corrode and lead to catastrophic leaks. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that the majority of cast iron piping is isolated to five states:  New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Unfortunately, one of the main problems with America’s aging natural gas infrastructure is that gas companies lack the proper incentive to replace them with new ones. Under current law, gas companies can pass the cost of replacing pipelines on to consumers. While newer plastic models are much safer and more durable, it could be decades until gas companies replace them to protect the health of the consumers they serve.

What Can You Do About Gas Leaks?

Natural gas is naturally odorless, but most gas companies add scent to it so it resembles the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell leaking gas on your property, alert the gas company right away. It’s possible that you have a gas leak that needs immediate attention.

Similarly, be vigilant about any construction going on in your neighborhood. You may notice the utility company come out to mark the location of gas lines with flags – it’s important to leave these flags where they are and discourage children from playing with them.

Aging gas lines can present a serious problem to American families. Left unchecked, these pipes that run underground can cause serious harm from leaks and explosions. Gas companies have a responsibility to replace piping with more effective and durable plastic, and the government has a duty to protect the consumer from absorbing the cost associated with replacement. By addressing these points, we can protect everyone from the dangers associated with aging gas lines.

Posted by admin at 6:21 pm

Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Lithium ion batteries have been the subject of controversy in recent news. It started with the Galaxy Note phone, with reports of spontaneously combusting units on planes, and some even causing house fires. Now, reports of exploding e-cigarettes and vaping pens make big headlines.

An exploding lithium ion battery can lead to burns and other devastating injuries and property damage. It can occur in any item that contains one, from vaping pens to hover boards. Why do lithium ion batteries explode, and what can you do to reduce your risk of injury?

What Is A Lithium Ion Battery?

We consider Lithium ion batteries an important technological advancement in the 21st century, and for the most part this is true. These units boast a long battery life, they’re portable and lightweight, and can accommodate the shape and size of many different types of electronics. Chances are, if you have a newer cell phone, laptop, or electronic device, you have a lithium ion batter in your house right now.

Lithium ion batteries serve a great purpose. However, they’re not without their downsides. These units store a lot of power, and when they malfunction, the devastation can be great – for example, an explosion or other form of spontaneous combustion may occur. Overheated lithium ion batteries have been responsible for house fires, burns on the hands and face, and other devastating injuries.

Lithium ion batteries are particularly sensitive to high temperatures. When exposed, they can quickly overheat and the consequences can be dire. However, the nature of the battery’s construction can be just as dangerous as the battery itself.

Negligent Construction of Lithium Ion Batteries

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall of lithium ion batteries is perhaps the best-known debacle regarding the subject to date. Samsung traced the problem to a manufacturer of the battery in China, which has less stringent regulatory processes than other countries like the United States. By switching manufacturers, they assured the public the phones would be safe once again.

In the holiday season of 2016, hover boards were extremely popular. Unfortunately, similar stories of hazards began to come out. Stories of units exploding while they were charging had parents worried for their children’s safety. Retailers, faced with massive returns, encouraged parents to buy units with high quality lithium ion batteries to avoid the possibility of overheating and subsequent injuries and property damage.

Duty of Care to the Consumer

All manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products have a duty of care to their consumers. When a dangerous or defective product leads to injury, anyone in this chain might be responsible for damages. Any person injured by an exploding lithium ion battery may be able to collect damages from a liable party if the following apply:

  • The product was defective or inherently dangerous; in other words, it did not work in its intended way with normal use.
  • The defective product was the proximal cause of the victim’s injuries.
  • The consumer was using the product as intended.

Most product liability claims fall under the category of strict liability, which means victims will not have to prove that a manufacturer was negligent to collect damages. It does not matter if the party committed negligence or not; since a duty of care to a consumer is higher, the injured party only needs to prove that a defective product directly led to injury.

Lithium ion batteries pose a danger to the average consumer. Anyone who owns a product containing a lithium ion battery should keep it in a temperature-controlled environment and avoid charging it for long periods. Doing so could reduce the risk of serious injury.

Posted by admin at 6:18 pm

What Are The Leading Causes of Pedestrian Injury?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Pedestrian injuries are still unfortunately common occurrences. In recent years, public health authorities have attempted to control the amount of pedestrian death and injury by creating more walkable urban centers, installing more crosswalks in busy areas, and doing other things to reduce the risk of accidents. However, pedestrian accidents still can and do occur daily. In fact, a recent Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian deaths increased by 11% between 2015 and 2016. What causes these devastating occurrences? Here’s what you need to know.

Unmarked Crosswalks

Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. Crosswalks can help reduce the risk of being in a pedestrian accident, but unfortunately not all crosswalks have markings. Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at an intersection, but many people fail to recognize this. Statistically, pedestrian accidents at crosswalks are more likely to occur in the summer months when people are out and about. Designating lines at crosswalks and installing appropriate traffic signals is a simple and effective way to control this type of accident.

Use of Drugs of Alcohol

DUIs are serious offenses, and ones for which the state does not have much tolerance. Conviction of a DUI can lead to license revocation and suspension, fines, court costs, community service, and more. Unfortunately, not everyone pays attention to the rules. Drivers who operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol pose a danger to themselves and others on the road, and to pedestrians. Because of delayed reaction times and sloppy judgement, pedestrian accidents involving drunk drivers are often fatal.

Distracted Driving

Texting and cell phone use while driving are nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. Motorists can plow into pedestrians because they’re too busy operating a navigation system, sending a text, or perusing Facebook to pay attention to their surroundings. Accidents due to driver inattention lead to pedestrian injuries and deaths each year.

Accidents Involving Left Hand Turns

Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, but they’re slightly more likely to occur when a driver is making a left hand turn at a crosswalk. The reasoning behind this is that a driver and a pedestrian are more likely to be looking in opposite directions while making their commute.

Inclement Weather Conditions

Certain conditions like rain can decrease visibility and make it more difficult for drivers to see clearly. As a result, they may not be able to see a pedestrian before it’s too late. Though inclement weather may play a role in pedestrian accidents, drivers must also know how to drive in ambient weather conditions and make adjustments as necessary. As such, a driver who hits a pedestrian in an accident will likely still be liable for his or her injuries.

Arterial Roadways

Finally, so-called ‘arterial roadways’ can make a pedestrian accident more likely. These roads help improve traffic flow on and off freeways, but they serve particular dangers to pedestrians. Many pedestrian accidents occur on these roadways, especially since bus stops are often nearby. When drivers are still driving in “highway mode,” they’re less likely to notice pedestrians, which can lead to high-speed accidents. Unfortunately, arterial roadway accidents often prove fatal to the pedestrian.

Pedestrian injuries may occur in any number of scenarios, but some urban setups and driver behaviors make them more likely. Unmarked crosswalks and arterial roadways pose a particular danger to pedestrians, as do dangerous behaviors like electronic device use, driving under the influence, and general inattention. By avoiding some of the most common scenarios leading to pedestrian accidents, walkers can reduce their risk of injury. By understanding the risks involved with driver inattention and negligence, motorists can similarly take steps to reduce the risk their behavior has on others.

Posted by admin at 6:11 pm