Seat Belt Defect: Cause of Thousands of Fatal Car Crashes Annually

If the same problem has been the reason why a group of vehicles of the same design has been involved in an accident, then it may be necessary that such vehicle be recalled. Vehicle recalls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), may be necessary:

  • If the defect complained about poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone else on the road
  • If the vehicle itself or any of its parts does not comply with the minimum performance requirement set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These standards help make sure that a vehicle can be operated safely and that the driver and passengers would have enough protection from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. Thus, there are standards for tires, brakes, lighting, child restraints, air bags and safety belts, among others.

Vehicle recalls usually happen due to complaints consumers make to the vehicle manufacturer or to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. Regarding safety belts or seat belts for example, Chrysler, specifically, is said to have recalled (in October of 2014) about 184,215 SUVs around the globe due to defective airbags and seat belts; this is besides the more than 850,000 Ford vehicles that were recalled a month earlier due to the same problems.

Seat belts are still considered the best protection for drivers and passengers during car accidents. This is because these crash-safety devices protect drivers and passengers from hitting with great force any of a car’s interior parts (such as a door window, dashboard, or windshield) after the primary impact, that is when a car hits another vehicle or object. But while seat belts may be said to save thousands of lives, there have also been instances when it was rather the cause of injury or death – due to defects.

A defective or malfunctioning seat belt, may be due to poor manufacturing or poor design, can cause a person to suffer serious injuries during a secondary impact (when he or she slams into an interior part of a vehicle, or is thrown outside, smashing into the windshield and then with whatever thing in the exterior environment). In fact, every year, at least 10,000 (of the more than 30,000) individuals who die in car crashes are said to have died due to faulty seat belts.

The Massachusetts car accident lawyers at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, know for a fact that all those who purchase vehicles fully assume that the vehicle, with all its parts, is in good operating condition, has complied with all the safety requirements set by the FMVSS and is free of any defect. While it can be said that no one more than the manufacturers would want their vehicles to be defective and, worse, be the cause of accidents and injuries, thorough tests on their vehicles’ design and performance may just show a flaw they never think might exist. In short, despite the never-intended defects, once an accident occurs, its consequences would be on their shoulders.

The website killeen.withviclegal.com/ also shares vital information on accident victims’ right to file a lawsuit against manufacturers of defective vehicles in order to seek compensation for all the injuries, pains, sufferings and damages resulting from the accident.

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Outsourcing in the Philippines: Types of Services and Its many Advantages

There are two factors that make offshore outsourcing a continuously growing industry in developing countries: the need of a host company (from a developed country, such as the United States or United Kingdom) to cut costs and maximize profits, and the capability of a third party organization to access and deliver digital data (fast and easy) almost anywhere around the globe through the use of global electronic internet network.

Offshore outsourcing refers to the practice of contracting out a business process to an external third party organization (located in another country). Besides cutting costs and maximizing profits as the main reasons why host firms resort to this business strategy, lack of individuals with the necessary skills is also cited as another essential factor – a concern that can easily be addressed by the chosen third party firm and at a much lower cost too. This is because cost of salary and operating costs in developing countries, considering currency conversion, is definitely so much lower compared to performing the same business functions in the host firm’s own country.

According to www.ppocoutsourcing.com, among the many developing countries, the Philippines is one country where offshore outsourcing has grown particularly fast. Some of the reasons for this include: the government’s increasing support on IT investment and the availability of good telecommunication infrastructures that are reasonably priced; high-quality locations at low cost; income-tax holiday offered by the government; and, a large pool of graduates (up to 400,000 every year) with good English communication skills and knowledge in ICT as potential candidates for needed job vacancies (this means that outsourced projects are handled by English speaking and highly-skilled professionals).

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Workers’ Compensation: Source of Cash Benefits to Workers Who Sustain Injuries or Illnesses that are Work-related

There are different reasons why workers get injured on the job, with some injuries being serious enough as to affect their financial capacity. This happens if an injury renders a worker not capable of reporting back to work immediately due to the severity of the physical harm that he or she has sustained. Some of the most common causes of injury that the US Department of Labor has identified include:

  • Arguments or office politics leading to violent acts
  • Continuous repetitive motion, which can result to back pains and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Getting entangled or caught in machines, a case most common in factories
  • Driving accident , a case common among company drivers
  • Being struck by a falling object, machine or vehicle, which is common among construction workers
  • Falling from a scaffold, ladder, stairs, roof or any elevated place
  • Slipping or tripping, which is actually the second most common cause of workplace injuries (the first is falls)
  • Overexertion due to pulling, pushing, carrying, or lifting heavy objects

The law allows workers who suffer job-related injuries or who develop an illness due to exposure to hazardous substances to receive financial benefits through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program (also known as Workers’ Comp). This financial assistance may be received by an injured worker, regardless of whose fault the accident (which caused the injury) is; it is specifically intended to cover cost of medical treatment, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation and death.

Workers’ Compensation is mandated and administered by the state. While the Federal government, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires employers to create a safe and healthy working environment where all their employees can perform their daily job without risk or fear of getting injured, this same government, as well as state governments, also require that employers make Workers’ Compensation coverage a part of employee benefits. Often, however, despite the injury or illness, employers and insurance providers make it so hard for workers to claim the benefits they are legally entitled to receive. The reason, clearly, is higher cost on the part of employers, meaning, the more workers getting injured or the higher the amount of benefits being claimed by an injured worker, the higher the insurance premiums the employer will have to pay.

Regardless of the costs an employer will have to pay though, the website of law firm Robert Wilson & Associates emphasizes the right of workers, whose injury or illness is job-related, to the cash benefits that they have a legal right to receive. It is necessary, however, that workers also understanding this right, its limits and the requirements that will make them qualify to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits.

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Severe Complications Caused by Zoloft and Stryker Hip Implants

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), about 118 million prescriptions are written by doctors for antidepressant drugs every year, making these the third most prescribed type of medication in the US. Antidepressants are usually prescribed by psychiatrists to people suffering from severe illnesses or severe cases of depression. Many doctors, however, prescribe this type of drug to those with only mild cases and even for off-label use, that is, for purposes not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as treatment for headache, insomnia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and as an aid in helping people quit smoking – this act is actually an issue of concern to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization, which says that so many people in the US, who should not be taking the drug, are being prescribed with it anyway.

One example of antidepressant drug is Zoloft (sertraline chloride), a drug developed by Pfizer in 1990 (in the United Kingdom where it was sold under the name Lustral). It was later introduced in the US and approved by the FDA as treatment for depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After being proven effective and with fewer side effects, as compared to other types of antidepressants, Zoloft eventually became the number one antidepressant in the US with close to 30 million prescriptions every year.

Zoloft actually comes from a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); these drugs have been formulated to control major depression and other types of mental illnesses by controlling the level of serotonin in the brain (serotonin is a neurotransmitter believed to affect sleep, mood and learning.

Zoloft may have been proven safe and effective in treating depression and certain types of disorders in patients, however, if used by pregnant women or those trying to conceive, risks of serious birth defects become a threat (there is also danger if Zoloft is taken while being treated with certain types of drugs, like methylene blue injection, pimozide, and MAO inhibitor, such as selegiline, isocarboxazid, rasagiline, phenelzine, tranylcypromine and linezolid). A website with the address, www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/zoloft/ offers helpful information about Zoloft and the serious threats pregnant women may face if they take the drug.

Prescription drugs are not the only ones identified as causing adverse effects in patients, though. Different kinds of medical products or devices have also been linked to the development of new and serious medical conditions instead of improving patients’ quality of life. One specific example of a medical device that causes complications is the Stryker Hip Implant, a prosthetic implant intended to treat people suffering from fractured hip joint, or improve or replace a patient’s biological makeup.

Introduced by Stryker Corporation in 2008 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a year later, this artificial medical device is placed inside the body of a patient through surgical procedure. Two products from Stryker Corp. obviously caught the attention of surgeons due to their advanced design which can be mixed and matched to suit a patient’s life style and preference: the ABG II Modular Neck and Stem and the Rejuvenate Modular Hip Neck and Stem.

As many as 20,000 patients were said to have been implanted either with the Stryker ABG II or the Rejuvenate Modular Hip Neck and Stem from 2009 to 2012. Then, in 2012, even as these Stryker products continued to be implanted in patients, Stryker Corp. had these recalled due to complaints, namely, implant failure and metallosis or metal poisoning, which is the buildup of metal debris in the body’s soft tissues, causing bone and tissue death and severe pain.

The website www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/defective-pharmaceuticals/stryker-hip-implants/ offers vital information about Stryker hip implants, examples of complications reported by recipients of these implants, Stryker’s responsibility over patients harmed by its defective products and rights of those injured by such products.

Patients have the right to demand, first, quality care and service from doctors, who they trust will effectively treat their condition and, second, safe and effective products from manufacturers, who they believe would produce only products that will neither worsen their condition nor develop in them worse complications. Surgeons and/or manufacturers who end up violating patient trust can be made to answer in court, where they may be ordered to compensate anyone they harm, as well as be prevented from making harmful mistakes in the future.

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Drunk-Driving: A Major Traffic Offense which continues to put Lives in Danger

Based on records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2010 due to intoxicated driving or driving under the influence (DUI), alternately referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in some states. Probably due to the strict implementation of anti-drunk driving laws and the zealousness of traffic enforcers in catching violators, the number went down to 1,171,935 in 2013; despite the decrease, though, the figure is undoubtedly too high still.

All across the US the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08% (this level can be reached after consuming four regular bottles of beer within an hour). This means that any suspected driver who registers a 0.08% (or higher) BAC level (after he or she is stopped by traffic enforcers) will be considered alcohol-impaired and charged with DUI or DWI.

Alcohol, as various studies have consistently shown, weakens an individual’s motor skills and mental capacity, thus, affecting his or her perception, judgment, coordination, reaction time, and overall capability in maintaining focus on the road. According to the website of David Ravid & Associates, it is primarily due to this weakened control over these skills why drunk driving is considered a major road offense. Simply put, alcohol impairs a driver, thus, increasing risks of accident and risks of harm or injury to other motorists and pedestrians.

Despite the overwhelming figures on arrests and fatal accidents (at least 10,000 annually), the gravity of the charge, the harsh punishments (heavy fines, imprisonment and others), the continuous educational and informative campaigns, and warnings of risks of accident and injury, some drivers are just either obstinate or too careless, as they continue to get behind the wheel even when intoxicated. Due to this careless attitude the law, therefore, holds them fully accountable for any untoward event that they may end up causing – property damage, but more so, injury or death.

Car accidents, however, have far more serious results than just property damage and physical injuries. These, as stressed by the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm website, also cause serious and long-lasting physical, emotional and, often, financial repercussions. Victims have a right to seek monetary compensation in court.

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Amusement Park Accidents: Usually a Case Decided Under the Laws of Premises Liability

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), more than 350 million guests flock to theme and amusement parks annually, and this is in North America alone. Theme and amusement parks are very popular destinations, whether for individuals, group of friends or families. These are among the best places where families can have a more meaningful bonding or where anyone can have his or her fill of thrill and adventure.

Behind the thrills and excitement offered and promised by theme and amusement parks, however, the law firm Williams Kherkher points out the risks of injury visitors may be exposed to. These injuries, which range from mild to severe, and in some instances, fatal, and which are sustained by thousands of visitors every year, may be due to any of the following causes: slip-and-fall accidents; trip-and-fall accidents; assault; ride malfunction or mechanical failure; operator behavior; and, defects in ride design.

Due to these risks, amusement park owners are, therefore, charged with the legal duty of making sure that all their visitors are safe; this means keeping all features and areas of their parks in safe condition, and adhering to regulations on ride design, construction and regular inspection.

While many lawsuits filed by those who get injured base their case on employee negligence, many more pursue injury claims based on premises liability. By premises liability, what is referred to is the responsibility of property owners and residents in maintaining their environment relatively safe, holding them liable for accidents and injuries that occur therein. There are many different kinds of incidences that can lead to premises liability claims, including slip-and-fall and, in reference to amusement parks, injuries suffered on rides.

The website of The Chris Mayo Law Firm also points out the responsibility of property owners in making sure that their visitors and guests are never exposed to health and safety threats or face accountability for the results of their negligence. Despite clear proofs of injury, there can be instances when proving a property owner’s liability may be more challenging.

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