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The Dangers of Unsecured Cargo

susan_harr7 years ago

It might sound like a scene from Final Destination, but it is every bit real: steel coils, lumber, and other debris falling off trucks and striking people in the vehicles traveling behind them. According to AAA, approximately 25,000 crashes and 80-90 deaths are caused by vehicle-related road debris every year.

Unsecured Cargo Accidents

Debris can include anything from auto parts and trash to cargo loads and construction supplies. Load shift and falling debris can be deadly for anyone in the path of an 18-wheeler– where a quick turn, an uphill climb, or even a bump in the road can have deadly consequences.

Take for example an accident in 2006 on Highway 101 near Hoquiam, Washington. A woman and child were almost killed when a piece of plywood flew off the truck in front of them and crashed straight into their windshield, stopping inches away from the driver’s face.

But not everyone is so lucky, case in point an accident that occurred in 2010 off Highway 37 south of Indianapolis, Indiana. A flat-bed big rig carrying a load of steel coils was taking a curve on the highway, when one of the steel coils fell off the truck. The steel coil, which weighed almost 44,000 pounds, struck a pick-up truck, crushing the vehicle and killing the driver and one of his passengers. The steel coil then hit a car behind the pickup, also crushing that vehicle and killing the driver.

Secure Load Laws

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Cargo Securement Rules Section 393.102 states that:

1. Cargo securement devices and systems must be capable of withstanding the following three forces, applied separately:

  • 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction;
  • 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and
  • 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction.

2. Securement systems must provide a downward force equivalent to at least 20% of the weight of the article of cargo if the article is not fully contained within the structure of the vehicle.

3. If the cargo is fully contained, cargo securement devices and systems must be designed, installed, and maintained to ensure that the maximum forces acting on the devices or systems do not exceed working load limits for devices.

Safety Tips

Some accidents are unavoidable. However, AAA offers safety tips to prevent road debris from costing you your life:

  • Maintain a safe following distance. At highway speeds, this means allowing at least 4-5 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. Give yourself extra distance if following a vehicle carrying large or difficult-to-secure cargo.
  • Focus your vision further down the road. Scan at least 12 seconds ahead so you have time to react to changing highway conditions, including road debris. Sudden movements by cars well ahead of you often indicate a hazard in the road.
  • Sometimes it’s safer to run over debris rather than try to avoid it. Striking minor road debris can be far less dangerous than veering into oncoming traffic or swerving off the pavement. Knowing where the cars around you are will help you make the right decision.
  • Report unsafe vehicles, unsecured loads and road debris.
An Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate.

Thomas J. Henry are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter. Contact our offices– we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

Dangers of Bounce Houses

susan_harr7 years ago

Bounce houses, inflatable bouncers, moon jumps. Kids love them, and for good reason. They offer the excitement of a trampoline with the safety of a giant cushion. But how safe are they really? Reports of chipped teeth, scrapes, and bruises are unfortunate. Tales of broken necks, paralysis, and death are downright shocking.

Bounce Houses- How Safe are They?

While bounce houses have not gotten the same negative backlash as trampolines (some companies won’t even insure a home with a trampoline) more and more stories of freak accidents are popping up. Like when a bounce house went airborne with children inside, crossed three lanes of traffic and was deposited onto a busy street in Tucson, Arizona. A bizarre occurrence- yes, and with minimal injuries. But then there are the other stories- a child smothered to death under the weight of adults, a back flip that leaves a teenager paralyzed- that force parents to re-think renting that bounce house for the next birthday party or school function. Bounce house injury, statistical information, and safety tips below were provided by ConsumerReports.org.

Bounce House Injuries- Year-by-Year

  • 2007: a 3-year-old died when he was crushed by two adults in a bounce house.
  • 2008: a young girl broke her neck and died when she fell inside a bounce house.
  • 2009: a 17-year-old boy attempted a back flip in a bounce house, broke his neck, and is now partially paralyzed.
  • 2010: a Cleveland man died when a bounce house collapsed, pinning him underneath.
  • 2010: winds blew a bounce house from a birthday party into a pond, with a 5-year-old girl trapped inside. She had to be rescued from the water.

Bounce House Injury Statistics

Statistics show an alarming rise in the number of bounce house injuries- a 277% increase from 1997 to 2004.

  • 1997:1,300 injuries
  • 2004: 4,900 injuries
  • 2007: 7,297 injuries
  • 43% of injuries occurred with no adult supervision
  • 52% of injuries occurred when children of different ages were playing together

Bounce House Safety Tips

  • Supervise children playing on bounce house device.
  • Limit the number of users on the device.
  • Make sure the inflatable isn’t overloaded or unstable.
  • Securely anchor the inflatable to the ground with pegs.
  • Place the blower so it can’t accidentally be unplugged, causing the inflatable to collapse.
Contact An Experienced Child Injury Attorney

Bounce house injuries can be caused by a number of factors including improper anchoring or set-up, lack of rental directions and nonexistent operator supervision.

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

New Texas Barratry Law Passed

susan_harr7 years ago

The new barratry law passed in Texas is bad news for ambulance chasers. Barratry, also known as ambulance chasing and case running, is a form of illegal solicitation. It has always been a felony in the state of Texas, but the new barratry law now creates a civil cause of action: this means victims of illegal case solicitation who do not sign a contract can now sue for up to $10,000 plus attorneys fees.

S.B. 1716

  • Signed by Gov. Rick Perry May 19, 2011
  • Goes into effect September 1, 2011
  • Bill would create a $10,000 civil penalty for violating barratry laws

Important Sections

SECTION 2.  Subchapter C, Chapter 82, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 82.0651 to read as follows:

For Those Who Signed a Contract

(a)  A client may bring an action to void a contract for legal services that was procured as a result of conduct violating the laws of this state or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas regarding barratry by attorneys or other persons. (b)  A client who prevails in an action under Subsection (a) shall recover from any person who committed barratry:

  1. all fees and expenses paid to that person under the contract;
  2. the balance of any fees and expenses paid to any other person under the contract, after deducting fees and expenses awarded based on a quantum meruit theory as provided by Section 82.065(c);
  3. actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct; and
  4. reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.

For those Who Did Not sign a Contract

(c) A person who was solicited by conduct violating the laws of this state or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas regarding barratry by attorneys or other persons, but who did not enter into a contract as a result of that conduct, may file a civil action against any person who committed barratry. (d) A person who prevails in an action under Subsection (c) shall recover from each person who engaged in barratry:

  1. a penalty in the amount of $10,000;
  2. actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct; and
  3. reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.
A Breakdown of the Bill
  • The current law provides for voiding only contingent-fee contracts, but S.B.1716 allows for voiding of any type of contract for legal services.
  • If you are illegally approached by a lawyer and you sign a representation contract, you can sue to void the contract and for damages and attorney’s fees.
  • If you are illegally approached by a lawyer and you do not sign a representation contract, you can sue for the $10,000 civil penalty, plus damages and attorney’s fees.
Contact an Experienced Barratry Attorney

A lawyer, service provider, or health care provider who is willing to break the law by committing a felony or misdemeanor is also willing to ruin your case or take your money. Whether your case has settled or not, contact Thomas J. Henry to understand your legal rights.

Vaccine Victim Awarded $61M

susan_harr7 years ago

The family of a young girl will receive $61 million in a settlement over a severe vaccine reaction that left her debilitated for life. When she was 2 months old, the baby was given the standard diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccination- the next morning her heart stopped beating. Before being resuscitated, she experienced symptoms including:

  • Seizures
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Irregular Heartbeats

Injuries

The child, now 6, will require round-the-clock medical care for the rest of her life. Since the reaction, she has battled:

  • Cognitive delays
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Encephalopathy
  • Seizure disorder

DTaP Injury Statistics

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), from 1988 to 2011 there were a total of 3,979 claims of adverse reactions from the DTaP vaccine filed with the administration. These included:

  • 3,283 Injuries
  • 696 Deaths

Side Effects of DTaP Vaccine

Information below provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Mild Problems

  • Fever
  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Soreness or tenderness where the shot was given
  • Vomiting

Moderate Problems

  • Seizure (jerking or staring)
  • Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more
  • High fever

Severe Problems

  • Serious allergic reaction
  • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
  • Permanent brain damage
Contact An Experienced Child Injury Attorney

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

C.R. Bard to Pay $184M in Hernia Patch Suits

susan_harr7 years ago

C.R. Bard, parent company to Davol Inc., has reached a $184 million settlement involving more than 2,600 lawsuits filed against the company for medical complications caused by the company’s Composix Kugel Mesh hernia patch. Thousands of plaintiffs claimed the defective hernia patch, used to treat hernias, caused them grave personal injuries including:

  • bowel perforation
  • sepsis
  • intestinal fistulas
  • abdominal abscess formations

Class 1 Recall

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class 1 recall of the patch in 2005 after finding the “memory recoil ring” that opens the patch could break under the stress of placement and cause rupture of the bowel and/or chronic intestinal fistulae (abnormal connections or passageways between the intestines and other organs).

Other Lawsuits

  • C.R. Bard paid $1.5 million to plaintiffs in 2010 in Christopher Thorpe and Laure Thorpe v. Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc.
  • Also in 2010- John Whitfield v. Davol, Inc., et al. resulted in no payout to the plaintiff
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney

Thomas J. Henry are leaders in the area of product liability litigation. Our Defective Drug and Products Division has extensive knowledge and resources in order to represent our clients efficiently and aggressively. We represent a multitude of people who are battling against manufacturers of food, medical devices and defective pharmaceuticals.

Your choice does matter. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries because of any defective drugs and/or products, call Thomas J. Henry immediately. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

New Safer Cribs- It’s the Law

susan_harr7 years ago

Starting today, June 28, 2011, retailers are only allowed to sell cribs that meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) new crib standards. This is the result of a December 2010 unanimous decision to change crib standards industry-wide. This decision affects all importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers.

“Safer cribs will mean a safer sleep for babies across the country,” said the CPSC.

5 New Federal Requirements

Beginning June 28, 2011 all cribs sold in the United States must meet new federal requirements for overall crib safety:

  • Traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold; immobilizers and repair kits not allowed
  • Wood slats must be made of stronger woods to prevent breakage
  • Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off
  • Mattress supports must be more durable
  • Safety testing must be more rigorous

Crib Safety Facts

  • CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007.
  • Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000.
  • Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective crib hardware.
Contact An Experienced Child Injury Attorney

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

Pedestrian Accident Facts and Safety Tips

susan_harr7 years ago

At crosswalks and intersections, on sidewalks and in the street- every minute of every day, people are being injured and killed in pedestrian accidents. It’s a scary thought- you’re walking along a quiet street, minding your own business when you are struck by a negligent driver. The number of pedestrian accidents has gone down in recent years, but the problem has not been completely eliminated. Statistics below provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Pedestrian Accident Facts

  • On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every nine minutes in a traffic crash in 2009.
  • In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed and about 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States.
  • In 2009, pedestrian deaths accounted for 12% of all traffic fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or for the pedestrian — was reported in 48% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities.

Interesting Facts from 2009

  • 76% of pedestrian fatalities did not occur at intersections
  • Almost 90% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions, compared to rain, snow and fog
  • Older pedestrians (age 65+) accounted for 19% percent of all pedestrian fatalities
  • 20% of the children between the ages of 5 and 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of the pedestrians killed in 2009 were males
  • Nearly one-half (48%) of all pedestrian fatalities occurred the weekend (Friday through Sunday)

Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians 

  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing streets in marked or unmarked crosswalks in most situations.
  • When possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk. Always stop and look left, right, and left again before crossing.
  • Increase visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing that helps to highlight body movements.
  • It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk, but if you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic.

Contact an Experienced Distracted Driving Attorney

If you suspect you have been injured because of a negligent driver, contact Thomas J. Henry for immediate assistance. We have built a reputation for innovative investigations, creative litigation and maximum results for our clients.

Child Safety Leashes: Do or Don’t?

susan_harr7 years ago

We’ve all seen them- at the mall, at amusement parks, walking down the street. Children wearing backpacks attached to leashes. Child safety harnesses have been around since the ‘80s, but have recently gained popularity because of new designs and models. As anyone who has ever brought up the subject knows, there is a great rift between those for and those against child safety harnesses (or safety leashes). The debate is largely internet-based, and has been waged through sites like Parentdish.com, Helium.com, and Facebook.

The Argument for Child Safety Harnesses

The primary argument for the harnesses, like any child safety device, is safety. With the child secured in the device, parents have control over them and they are less likely to run away, run into the street, get kidnapped, etc.

Another point proponents bring up is the freedom factor. Children using safety harnesses have a sort of sphere of liberty. As long as they stay within the constraints of the leash, they are able to move around and explore in a way that they would not if they were constrained to a stroller or a parent’s hand.

Finally, there is the issue of disabled children. Parents of children with ADHD or other disabilities say these types of restraints are necessary for their child to be able to interact safely in public.

The Argument against Child Safety Harnesses

The main argument against child safety harnesses is that they look like dog leashes. There is a social stigma attached to these devices because those opposed often say that when a parent “walks” their child on a leash, they are degrading them.

Another argument of those against child safety leashes say that it restricts the child’s liberty by not allowing them to explore the world around them.

Finally, there is the safety factor. Some parents have argued against the leashes because of incidents of parents dragging their children by them, or tying them to a fence while at a sporting event or a chair at a restaurant.

The Debate Roars on

New designs, like belt-to-belt harnesses (parent and child each wearing the harness) and the backpack-style harnesses are likely taking some of the social stigma away; but, as long as the leashes exist, so will the debate. At the end of the day, it will always be up to the parent to assess their child’s individual needs and determine the best way to keep them safe in public.

Sexual Harassment in VA Hospitals

susan_harr8 years ago

There have been nearly 300 alleged sexual assaults at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from 2007 to 2010. According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), many of these incidents (even instances of rape) were never reported.

The Investigation

The GAO launched an investigation into claims that sexual assaults were going unreported by VA police officers. During the investigation, the GOA reviewed the VA’s safety policies, interviewed VA security officials and visited five VA medical facilities.

It was found that although VA police received reports of sexual assaults, they did not always pass the information along to VA management and the VA inspector general- which constitutes a regulatory violation.

Factors that Led to the Underreporting

The GOA report concluded that there were several factors that led to the underreporting of sexual assaults in VA hospitals including:

  • unclear guidance on what should be reported
  • unclear definition of sexual assault
  • oversight of alleged incidents
  • poor monitoring of surveillance cameras
  • alarm system malfunctions
  • failure of alarms to alert both VA police and clinical staff when triggered
  • VA police units were understaffed
Statistical Findings

Of the 284 alleged sexual assaults from January 2007 through July 2010:

  • 67 were classified as rape
  • 185 as inappropriate touching
  • 8 as forceful medical examinations
  • 13 as forced oral sex
  • 11 as other types of sexual assaults

Of those involved in alleged sexual assaults:

  • Victims were male and female
  • A majority of the suspects were men and included: employees, patients, visitors, outsiders not affiliated with the VA
Recommendations/Remedies

The GOA made several recommendations to help VA hospitals better track and report sexual assault allegations:

  • establish a consistent definition of sexual assault
  • clarify expectations about what information on allegations should be reported
  • develop a central tracking mechanism so that staff can monitor alleged incidents

Additionally, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs requested the GOA report and has introduced legislation that would require the VA to track all sexual assaults and to monitor veterans that may pose a risk of committing sexual assault.

2012 Volvo S60 Recalled

susan_harr8 years ago

Volvo has issued a recall of 7,558 S60 models due to faulty software in the fuel pump unit. The luxury sedan, released in the 2012 model year, has been in production since 2000.

About the Recall

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Volvo has issued a recall of the model S60 manufactured from November 18, 2010 through May 5, 2011. The recall was issued because “the software used for the fuel pump unit may not be compatible with all fuel pumps and components.” This can cause insufficient fuel transfer and lead to engine stalling even when there is a sufficient amount of gasoline in the tank. According to the NHTSA, this could increase chances of an accident.

For Volvo S60 Owners

Customers owning an affected vehicle will be notified by Volvo. The recall is staged to begin in mid to late June, with Volvo dealerships handling the upgrades to the engine control module software at no cost to the customer.

Experienced Product Liability Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry are leaders in the area of product liability litigation. Our Defective Products Division has extensive knowledge and resources in order to represent our clients efficiently and aggressively. The Defective Products Division represents a multitude of people who are battling against manufacturers of defective devices and equipment.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective device or product, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

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