Product Liability: Takata Airbags

Sometimes, social media curate the news, and sometimes they make the news with various memes and #hashtags that go viral to create news items of general interest of their own.

Sometimes, the news will create its own hashtag, and not in a good way. Why? Because this hashtag actually doesn’t make it into social media; it’s just a PR nightmare.

#Takata is not a thing on social media, but it is a dangerous word in the automotive industry these days. So in its own way, Takata has become a “thing.”

Takata is a Japanese firm that has a contract with many U.S. and foreign automakers for manufacturing the airbag systems in hundreds of models of vehicles on the road. It has been a trusted partner, until about two years ago, when an initial recall was ordered from some defective airbags. Those few defective airbags eventually morphed into the largest auto recall of any kind in automotive history.

How large is it? Well consider that Takata has been manufacturing and installing airbags into model cars for as many as 19 different automakers over 14 model years (2002 to 2015). If you carry the one, that’s an awful lot of cars to be recalled. Over the last year, the recall has tripled in size and now apparently involves as many as 37 million U.S. vehicles.

The recall stemmed from an inflator inside the airbags, which on occasion would ignite and explode. Other airbags would deploy and send shards of metal from a ruptured inflator casing into the passenger cabin, putting all passengers in the car at risk of injury. The recalls have resulted in several class-action lawsuits over the last couple of years, with many of the automakers suing Takata for relief.

The most recent result came in July, when Ford Motor Company settled with Takata with a deal that would put some compensatory damages in the hands of those involved in the class action p plus other Ford car owners who wish to participate; and Ford will give loaner cars while vehicles are waiting for repairs to the airbags. The parts are backlogged by weeks or months, so the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is helping with the delivery of parts by prioritizing areas with high concentration of Takata airbags, as well as those vehicles which seem to have a higher risk of explosion to gain top priority for any new parts delivery.

In the meantime, the NHTSA is asking owners of model-year vehicles from 2002 to 2015 to refer to their vehicle identification number (VIN) and enter it into an online database that can give status updates on any recalls pending for those vehicles, stop ensure that all affected vehicles are found and repaired as quickly as possible, So far, none of the models are deemed undrivable, but extreme caution is urged until the repairs can be made.

Autonomous Driving Car Accidents: Who Is Liable?

We’re entering a new age of automation that will affect all walks of life. The way we work, the way we manufacture, and the way we drive will all be replaced quickly by radically new paradigms. What does that mean for liability on the road? Sooner or later, it will likely be illegal to manually drive a vehicle on city roads. That day isn’t even close, but it’s coming. Sadly, regulations have yet to catch up to the technological reality of where driverless vehicles are today.

Autonomous Driving Cars

Tesla was one of the first automakers to release software for its line of luxury vehicles that even closely resembles a fully driverless capability, and it only works on certain stretches of highway. Although there have been accidents already (of course), the driver was always liable. Although autopilot was enabled for these vehicles at the time of the accidents, the software comes with the stipulation that the driver be ready to take over at any time. In one case, the driver was actually attempting to test the limits of the software when the crash occurred. Since then, Tesla has updated its vehicles to automatically turn autopilot features off when the driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel.

Who’s Liable?

Because driverless vehicles are allowed on our roadways but don’t have strict regulations governing liability, courts will have to deal with each situation on a case by case basis. If you were involved in an accident with a driverless vehicle, then you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with a car accident law firm to determine whether or not you have a case. Basic common-sense regulations govern these newly evolving laws. Negligence will likely determine whether or not someone will be blamed. If the manufacturer didn’t address an obvious technical flaw, then the manufacturer will be blamed. If the driver played around the vehicle’s electronics, then the driver will likely be blamed for any resulting malfunction, etc.

We can look across the Atlantic in order to have a better idea of where our own driverless vehicle legislation might end up. The UK parliament drafted The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill in order to determine liability for driverless accidents.

Under this legislation, insurance companies will be liable for general death and injury that occurs during driverless operations–so long as the vehicle is insured. If the human driver engaged driverless functionality when it was dangerous to do so, the human driver would remain liable. If the vehicle’s operating system was tampered with, then the insurance company would be freed from liability. If the driver failed to install required updates in a timely fashion, the driver would be liable. Last but not least, a mechanic might be held liable for an autonomous driving car accident if a repair failed or resulted in a defect.

These laws are just a framework, and they will pave the way to a world we’ll see soon enough.

How Do You Determine Lost Wages From A Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, then you know all about the uncertainty that results from that fateful moment. Will you recover fully? Will you still have the same earning capabilities that you did before your accident? Will your insurance cover the injuries that you incurred? If you were at fault, will your insurance cover any other injuries that resulted from the accident? What about the time spent recovering or going through physical therapy, when you’re unable to work? You’re in luck: the proper legal counsel will help you determine all this and more. Here’s how to determine the wages you lose after suffering an injury in a car accident.

Documents You Will Need

First of all, it’s important to know that you need the right documentation in order to prove that you missed out on wages due to your car accident. You can’t just take the time off from work. In order to show that you missed this time as a result of injuries sustained, you need to keep track of your medical expenses and ensure that the medical personnel looking after you have accurately described the ordeal. A doctor’s note will describe this in full, and provide an estimate of how much time a given injury will take to heal before you can reasonably be expected to return to your job.

Once that step is completed, you need to gather a few more things just in case: a month’s worth of paystubs in order to determine average earnings, a recent tax return or W-2 in order to provide similar information, and a letter directly from your employer. The letter should describe your employment status.

How to Calculate Lost Wages

If you make an hourly wage, then determine the number of hours you weren’t able to work. Multiply the wage by the number of hours you missed, and you have the lost wages calculation.

If you are on salary, then it gets more complicated. Your salary must first be divided by the number of work hours in a year (2080). After that number is calculated, you can multiply it by the hours missed.

These are basic calculations, but it can get more complicated if you were on the verge of a new promotion or another form of raise. This depends on where you live. Many states limit the recovering of lost wages to net income instead.

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These are the basics, and every situation is unique. If you were permanently disabled and suffer an injury that can reduce your productivity, then in all likelihood you won’t be able to achieve the same promotions and merit raises that you would have otherwise. If you believe this applies to your case, then be sure to discuss your circumstances with a qualified car accident law firm or personal injury attorney.

Common Injuries From Rear End Accidents

When you get into any accident, it’s important to take stock of what’s really important: you and the people you care about. That can be hard to do after you’ve been rear-ended in an accident that almost always isn’t your fault. It can be especially hard to do since even these collisions, the most common of all traffic accidents, can still result in terrible injury in the worst cases. Big vehicles leave behind big damage. Here are some of the most common injuries that result from the fender bender.

Common Injuries: Upper Body

Injuries that result from glass in the eye are common in any car accident, and you’re not exempt just because you were struck from behind. On congested streets, it’s likely that your car will be forced forward from the power of the rear impact, which could leave you squashed in between two vehicles. When your side or front windows shatter, tiny shards of glass can lodge themselves in your eyes. This damage can lead to diminished eyesight.

When involved in any high-speed impact of sufficient force, you’re likely to suffer from whiplash and concussion. Whiplash occurs when your head whips forward and back with great speed. This can lead to damaged tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your skull, neck, and back, not to mention fractured bones. In addition, the same motion can damage the most important organ of all: the brain. You might suffer from mild to severe amnesia, blood clot, or bleeding. These injuries don’t always present immediately, so be sure to keep your doctor on speed-dial if you notice any new symptoms.

Disfigurement of the face often occurs in the same situation. Although airbags can prevent a lot of the damage, you might still sustain severe bruising in the face. Sometimes lacerations or broken bones require the light touch of a plastic surgeon to fix completely.

When your body shoots forward against your seatbelt, the most common injury is the broken clavicle or collarbone. This can be extremely painful, and takes weeks or months to heal.

Common Injuries: Spinal

When your body senses an impending impact, the spine subconsciously braces itself. So do the muscles and tendons that protect it. If you get rear-ended, then you can’t see it coming and your spine doesn’t brace itself the way it normally would. This situation leads to spinal damage. You might sustain shattered vertebrae in the worst cases, or painful slipped or ruptured discs. Any of these injuries can take months to heal, and leave you in debilitating pain.

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If you were involved in any car accident, it’s important you seek qualified legal help as soon as possible. You may require representation to fight charges, or you may be able to seek compensation for your own injuries if another driver was at fault. Contact Memphis Law Firm, our experienced attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

What is “Pain and Suffering”?

Woman pain and sufferingIf you’ve ever been injured or involved in a car, on a property, or on a train accident, you know that collateral damages can be quite devastating. Seeking compensation for a personal injury is a good way to recoup some of the damages accrued during the incident. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for the emotional or non-economic burdens acquired during the accident, otherwise known as “pain and suffering” damages.

Pain and Suffering in Tennessee

In Tennessee, personal injury law establishes that you may be able to receive pain and suffering compensation if your injury is the result of medical malpractice, a slip and fall, a car accident, a dog bite, defamation, and many other types of personal injury cases. Personal injury cases also have a limit on the amount of pain and suffering compensation that can be received. Typically, pain and suffering compensation caps off at $750,000. In more severe circumstances, the cap may be pushed to $1,000,000. The cap can be disregarded, however, if the negligent party is proven to have acted intentionally, tampered with evidence, was intoxicated, or committed a felony.

As with all legal cases, there exists a statute of limitations that dictates the amount of time someone has to file for pain and suffering compensation.  In personal injury cases, noneconomic damages must be filed within 1 year that the accident occurred. Property damage cases can be filed within 3 years of an accident. Construction, construction defect, and warranty breach cases can be filed within 4 years of an incident.

According to Tennessee’s negligence laws, individuals who are 49% or less at fault for their own injuries may file for pain and suffering damage compensation. Basically, this means that in Tennessee, it must be proven that a victim’s injury must be proven to be at least slightly more the result of another’s negligence than their own. Moreover, if a victim received $15,000 in their personal injury case and were proven to be 49% responsible for their own injury, they would receive $7,650 for pain and suffering damages.

While financial compensation can help ease the stress and trouble involved in a personal injury, money can sometimes fall short of the emotional damage an injury can cause. Depending on the severity of the injury, permanent damage to health and well-being can occur, affecting quality of life for years to come. While the compensation received during the personal injury case can cover medical bills and expenses, pain and suffering compensation give victims peace of mind during the recovery process. Knowing that financial issues are one less thing to worry about during this stressful time is priceless.

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If you’ve been a victim of a personal injury due to the negligence of another party, contact our team of attorneys at Law Firm Memphis today. We are able to help you receive the compensation you deserve for your personal injury.

I Was Injured In A Hit And Run Accident: What Do I Do?

It is unfortunate that relatively few people are forthcoming and willing to own up to causing an accident on the roads. There are far too many hit-and-run accidents in America, and these kinds of incidents are difficult to prosecute and pursue when one of the parties to the accident disappears to try to escape accountability.

If you are involved in a hit and run accident and the other driver speeds away, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself so if you suffer injuries you can still file a claim and perhaps locate the other driver in time.

Be Quick

If you can write down anything you notice about the other vehicle – can you get a license plate number? What type of vehicle was it? Did you note the color or make/model of the vehicle? Was the car driven by a male or female? Which direction was it going and on what street? Take down as much information as you can, especially any distinguishing marks (a cracked taillight, a racing stripe, etc.) that can help distinguish it from similar vehicles. Take photos of your damage and any noticeable physical injuries.

Get Help

Call the police and file a police report about your hit-and-run accident. Give the police as much information as you can about the other vehicle, as well as information about your vehicle as well as the date, time and facts about the accident (do not point fingers; just state what happened). When possible, try to get witness statements and add them to the report.

Next, get medical attention. If you file a claim before you know the extent of your injuries, the insurance company will attempt to settle for less money if your injuries are believed to be minor or you do not get checked out within 12 hours of the accident. Some injuries may not manifest for a couple days or more, but they can be observed early on. Make notes of all the injuries that are observed and get treated.

Make the Call

Once you have been checked out and you have the police report and information about the other vehicle, contact your insurance company and a quality Memphis personal-injury attorney. With the insurance company, provide information about the accident, your known injuries, information about the other vehicle and state only the facts of the accident. Then, give much of the same information to the attorney when you meet, and allow for a thorough investigation of the accident and let the attorney work with the insurance company and the police to locate the other driver and protect your right to be compensated for your injuries.

If you have been involved in a hit and run car accident and you suffered an injury, whether mild or severe, contact Memphis Law Firm today. Our team of experienced attorneys and professionals will assess the damages and get you the compensation package you deserve.

Car Accidents: See A Doctor Even If I Don’t Feel Injured?

One thing is true about auto accidents – they can often leave their marks days and weeks afterward, even if it’s a minor fender-bender. Whether the marks are physical, mental or emotional, virtually no one gets away from an accident unscathed.

It’s like a good football or basketball coach who hardly loses a game – they remember every loss. The same thing is true with auto accidents for most of us; they happen so infrequently in our lives that we have very distinct memories of them.

The Hidden Injuries

If you go into an accident on the basic presumption that every accident will leave a mark in some way, then you will understand that even if you bump a car at 2 mph and you immediately get out of the car and feel no physical pain, it is always a good idea to take precautions because the body will sometimes have a delayed reaction to a quick trauma like a collision.

There are some physical injuries that won’t manifest themselves right away, especially in a more violent collision, where adrenaline is pumping and is distracting you from the injuries you have suffered. In any and every event, it is a good idea to have medical personnel evaluate you at the scene of an accident. Something like whiplash or other muscle or joint injury may be present and you may not be immediately aware.

Get Full Disclosure

Don’t assume that because you feel fine, that you actually are fine. Every accident needs to have a full accounting, and that includes any injuries to yourself as well as drivers and passengers in the other vehicles. If you refuse medical attention at the scene because you feel “fine,” then if and when you decide to file a claim for damages, your claim will be less-regarded if you delay in getting treatment.

Possible brain injury, whiplash, and internal bleeding are three serious conditions that may not manifest right away, but if they go unchecked or undiagnosed, could lead to serious problems later. For these reasons alone, get checked out to rule out these time-release injuries so you can have an accurate picture of the results of the accident and have everything ready in case you need to file that legal claim.

Take No Chances

Even if you feel perfectly OK following an accident, do not miss out on a chance to protect your health. You trust a professional attorney to secure your legal health in an auto accident; you should then protect your physical health by getting evaluated by a doctor to head off any “hidden” injuries that may impact you later. Don’t take unnecessary risks, especially if you are considering a legal claim. Your physical right to health is just as important as your legal rights!

If you have been in a car accident and suffered a car accident injury it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.  Contact us today for a consultation.

What Do If You’ve Been Injured At A Museum

Think about this: Memphis is the museum capital of the world with over 24 museums located in the area. But what happens when something goes wrong and you sustain an injury? This happens all the time all over the country. Whether it’s an experiment that goes wrong in the children’s museum like the video below or a slip and fall accident from the museum not maintaining their property properly or an injury suffered because the curator didn’t hang the exhibit properly, you have rights. Our Memphis Law Firm will help you seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. We are not afraid to fight for a settlement or go to court to litigate a verdict.

If you’ve been the victim of an injury at a museum in Memphis, then contact our experienced injury attorneys today! And remember we never get paid until we settle or get a verdict for your campaign.