Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The odds of getting into a crash increase with the number of cars on the road and Memorial Day weekend is one of the most heavily traveled weekends of the year.  The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 34.6 million people will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during this holiday period, the most since 37.3 million in 2005 and an increase of 2.4 million people from last year.

National Safety Council put out their highest estimate of Memorial Day holiday accident fatalities since 2012. The estimated number of fatalities is 12% higher than the average number of deaths that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods.  The Council also estimates around 47,000 people may be seriously injured on the roads during the three-day holiday period, beginning Friday, May 26 and ending on Monday, May 29.

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“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not the start of another deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Paying attention, slowing down and being courteous can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it to picnics, beaches and BBQs rather than emergency rooms.”

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With the rising popularity of cell phone use over the years the amount of car accidents caused by distracted drivers has also increased.  More and more drivers are having trouble keeping their eyes on the road and instead are choosing to look at their cell phones to text, use Facebook and snapchat, read and send emails, or do any number of distracting things on their phone.  Even though almost all of the States ban texting while driving, the National Safety Council estimated that as many as 10,000 Americans were killed because of distracted driving last year.

If you are travelling at 55mph and are looking at your phone for 5 seconds you will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road and the possible dangers that exist on it.  By texting and driving you are essentially driving blindfolded and putting your life and the lives of others in danger.

In 2016, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found that 40% of drivers stated they have read a text or an email while driving, and nearly 1/3 reported typing one.  There have been numerous public service campaigns, such as “It can wait,” to convince people to put down their cell phones while they are driving but the distracted driving epidemic continues to exist at an alarming level.

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Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license.  It is one of the milestones of their life.  However, handing over the car keys to their child is one of the most stressful moments of being a parent. That stress comes from the fact that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 24 year olds.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month and PennDOT is encouraging parents of teenage drivers to review Pennsylvania’s Graduated Driver Licensing law.  The GDL law has been shown to be effective in reducing crashes and fatalities for teen drivers. The GDL lays out restrictions for drivers with a learner’s permit, as well as those with a junior license.

Last year, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards began delivering personal safety messages to young drivers convicted of moving traffic violations. Driver’s between the ages 16 and 20 who were cited for driving violations received a personal letter from Richards reminding them of the importance of following the law and the consequences of developing bad driving habits so early in their driving experience.

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Standard Homeopathic Company is recalling all of its Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Teething Tablets nationwide. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has concluded that the medicines have been found to contain inconsistent amounts of an herb that may differ from the calculated amount on the products’ labels and could potentially be dangerous.33864758052_e80c66630f_b

That herb is belladonna which has been used as a homeopathic medicine for many years but its scientific evidence of recommended use is insufficient.  Because the effects of belladonna are unpredictable, the FDA believes that belladonna represents a serious health hazard to children.  The FDA stated that “there is no known safe dose or toxic dose of belladonna in children because of the many factors that affect it.”

The FDA began investigating the products after receiving a September 2016 comprehensive report of a child having a seizure after using one. An FDA preliminary investigation found reports of adverse effects, including 10 possible deaths, seizures, shortness of breath and tremor.  Standard Homeopathic Company stopped making and shipping the medicines nationwide in October 2016.

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Spring is here which brings warmer temperatures.  Warmer temperatures mean that motorcycle riding season is here in Pennsylvania.

PennDOT is urging riders of all ages and skill levels to prepare for the season by taking the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program training course. The training courses are available throughout Pennsylvania and are free to all Pennsylvania residents and active duty military with a Motorcycle Learner’s permit or motorcycle license.  The free courses are for novice through seasoned riders and are under the supervision of certified instructors.

“Keeping skills sharp and reinforcing the importance of safety through Pennsylvania’s free motorcycle safety classes help both novice and experienced riders enjoy a safe and enjoyable riding season,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Riders can practice and refine their techniques while honing the split-second decision making required to safely operate a motorcycle.”

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Over the past few years consumers have been becoming more aware of the potential that the hoverboard (self-propelled scooter) they purchased may burst into flames and do untold damage to property and people.  Tragically, the first deaths in the United States related to a hoverboard ignited fire occurred this month in Pennsylvania.  Ashanti Hughes (2) and Savannah Dominick (10) both lost their lives as a result of a fire that destroyed their Harrisburg home on March 10, 2017.  The fire was caused by a hoverboard that ignited as it was charging in the home of the victims.  The fire also claimed the life of Harrisburg firefighter Lt. Dennis DeVoe who died from injuries he suffered in a crash on the way to the scene of the fire. Other injuries related to the fire were also reported.22011874862_770124302d_b

Hoverboards have been recalled, banned on airplanes, and removed from countless stores. In 2016, more than 500,000 hoverboards made by 11 companies were recalled.  The reason for the recall was that the products did not meet fire safety standards. However many still remain in circulation. This has encouraged a renewed call for officials to again warn consumers about the potential dangers of these products and to get these dangerous products out of stores and homes.

The reasons for the hoverboard igniting vary but the most common is the faulty lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire.  Many of the incidents have been reported to have happened while the hoverboard was charging but fire incidents have also been reported when it was sitting idle off the charger and while being ridden.

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Pennsylvania’s Autonomous Vehicles Testing Policy Task Force has created some recommendations for PennDOT to review regarding the testing of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs). The public even had the chance to be involved, with the ability to ask questions and review the report during an online public forum that occurred earlier this month. This technology could be the future for transportation, so it was vital that safety as well as modernization were both kept at the highest importance during testing.

“Autonomous and connected vehicles will change transportation and could bring benefits of safer travel and greater ease of mobility for all if rules are in place to ensure passenger and pedestrian safety,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards in a press release. “Since HAVs will bring major changes to our transportation system, it is vital for Pennsylvanians to be informed and engaged in this process, so I encourage the public to participate in the Dec. 12 on-line forum.”

Some key highlights from the recommendations included restricting testing on only certain routes, ensuring PennDOT is notified when any HAV is tested without an operator, and more.

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There’s nothing better than the smile on a child’s face when they are given ice cream, but that smile can’t come at the cost of safety. Blue Bell Ice Cream has recalled some of their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cookie Two Step ice cream products. The recall affects the Sylacauga, Alabama plant, where a potential listeria outbreak is suspected.

This is not Blue Bell’s first encounter with a listeria-related recall. In 2015, three deaths connected to a Blue Bell listeria outbreak resulted in a national recall. In this case, the following ten states are carriers of products from the Alabama plant: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. No illnesses have been reported thus far.

In a press release, the company stated, “Although our products in the marketplace have passed our test and hold program, which requires that finished product samples test negative for Listeria monocytogenes, Blue Bell is initiating this recall out of an abundance of caution.”

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When food product recalls occur, there is always a harmful or potentially harmful reason behind them. Most companies try to be as transparent as they can, but in some cases, that potential danger may be something you are not too familiar with. There are so many things that can affect or jeopardize a product and lead to a recall. Here are some of the common perpetrators behind food product recalls and the basics about each.

Listeria

listeriaFrom hot dogs to frozen vegetables, Listeria can send numerous products directly to the garbage or returned to their seller. A bacterium that infects and contaminates food, Listeria has around 15 species and can lead to serious illness or even death. According to the CDC, Listeria mostly affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include headaches, fevers, muscle aches, confusion, a loss of balance and convulsions. For pregnant women, the bacterium can cause premature delivery, stillbirth and miscarriages.

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reckless driverReckless driving seems easy enough to spot, right? But, accidents still happen and it’s important to know the signs so that you can avoid getting in one. What seems like common sense can sometimes be overlooked on the road. Keep an eye out for these kinds of driving behaviors to ensure you and your passengers remain safe.

Ignoring Traffic Signs and Lights

If a car is continually running stop signs, blowing through red lights and simply ignoring the rules of the road, they are a hazard. Make sure you are obeying all traffic signs and lights, as well as staying away from those drivers who don’t, to prevent a potential accident.