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DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR ACCIDENT CLAIMS RELATED TO GM DEFECTIVE IGNITION SWITCHES

Posted on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 at 8:44 pm    

It was recently reported by the New York Times that the deadline for filing a claim for payment under GM’s victim compensation program for victims of crashes involving GM cars with defective ignition switches has been extended for an additional month. According to The Times, Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the compensation fund, has decided to extend the deadline to January 31, 2015.

This extension apparently comes one week after the New York Times revealed the identity of an 81 year old who was killed in a 2003 crash involving a Saturn Ion. Apparently, the victim’s family was not aware of GM’s compensation program until they were informed of the program by The Times.

It was also reported that GM is sending out approximately 850,000 new letters to new owners and registrants of used vehicles and to people who apparently did not receive notices because the addresses on file were incorrect. GM had previously mailed out more than 4.5 million notices.

So far the victim’s compensation fund has received a total of 2,105 claims. A total of 33 death claims have been found to be eligible for compensation payments. GM had initially linked 13 fatalities to the ignition switch defect.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the carelessness of another or due to the malfunction of a product, contact the Law Office of Bill Pelhan at 717-392-6362 for the advise and attention of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: Article appearing in the New York Times on November 17, 2014 entitled Deadline Extended for G.M. Accident Claims by Danielle Ivory and Rachel Abrams.

GOOGLE’S LATEST ROBOTIC CARS HAVE NO BRAKE PEDAL OR STEERING WHEEL

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 at 2:49 pm    

By now you’ve probably heard about Google’s program to develop self-driving cars.  So far, Google’s experiments with self-driving cars have involved retro-fitting Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses with self-driving technology developed by Google.

In a new development, The Washington Post recently reported that Google will soon test  its own electric powered cars which Google has designed and which are being manufactured by an unidentified company in Detroit.  Unlike the retro-fitted cars, the Google car will not be equipped with a steering wheel or a brake pedal for the occupants to use in the event of an “emergency”.  However, the Google car is equipped with braking and steering systems operated by the computer.  The top speed is limited to 25 mph.

According to Google, the car can be summoned with a smart phone app and will pick up a passenger and automatically drive to a designated destination selected via the app.

Google plans to start testing these cars at its Mountain View campus sometime this summer.  Eventually, Google expects to have approximately 100 of the Google cars in its fleet for testing.

In case you are wondering how Google cars might be used in the real world, according to a Google spokesman, these cars might be used as taxi cabs in large metropolitan cities such as New York.  Research has shown that the average speed of a taxi in New York City is between 10 and 11 miles per hour.

 

For more information on this recent development see:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/05/28/googles-new-driverless-car-has-no-brakes-or-steering-wheel/

 

NHTSA PUSHES FOR NATIONWIDE RECALL OF TAKATA AIRBAGS

Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 7:38 pm    

According to a recent Washington Post article, NHTSA is calling for a nationwide recall of automobiles equipped with the potentially defective airbags manufactured by Takata. It is estimated that such a recall could affect an estimated 30 million vehicles in the United States, making it one of the largest recalls ever.

These airbags have been found in automobiles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.

This article also points out that such a recall could pose problems for the automobile manufacturers because replacement airbags are in short supply. In an effort to deal with this problem, Toyota has stated that it is instructing its dealerships to disable airbags and attach warning notes against riding in the passenger seat.

If you have been involved in an accident in Lancaster due to a defective product, a lawyer from the Law Office of Bill Pelhan may be able to help you hold its manufacturer accountable. Discuss your options in a free consultation by calling 717-392-6362.

Source: Feds push national airbag recall by Peter Whoriskey of The Washington Post appearing in LNP on Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT PODS POSE A RISK TO CHILDREN

Posted on Friday, December 12th, 2014 at 3:52 pm    

In a recent article appearing in the New York Times, the Times reported that according to a report out in Pediatrics magazine, poison control centers reported more than 17,000 calls in 2012-2013, or roughly one an hour, relating to children under 6 ingesting, inhaling, or squirting liquid from detergent pods into their eyes.

Of the 6,000 children seen in emergency rooms across the country, approximately 750 were hospitalized and half required intensive care treatment.

In one case involving a 24 year old mother in Levittown, PA, although she immediately saw her son place a packet in his mouth after it fell to the ground, she was unable to pull it out before he had swallowed its contents. By the time the ambulance arrived he was already lethargic, struggling to breathe and vomiting. This little boy spent 3 days in intensive care at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital before recovering.

Since initial reports of problems surfaced, some manufacturers have added warning labels and have made the packets harder to open and potentially less attractive to children. However, the report in Pediatrics emphasizes that it is not clear that the pod containers of any brand currently on the market are truly child-resistant. Last year, Consumer Reports called upon the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the pods and consider imposing stricter regulations on manufacturers. And, researchers are calling for new voluntary packaging standards to protect our children from this potential hazard.

Dr. Fred M. Henretig, an emergency medicine doctor and senior toxicologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that all of these products should have true child-resistant packaging. And, lead researcher, Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, goes so far as to advise parents of children younger than 4 years old to use only traditional laundry detergent, not detergent pods.

Source: Detergent Pods Pose Risk to Children, Study Finds by Catherine Saint Louis appearing in the New York Times on November 10, 2014 and an article entitled Report: Laundry ‘pods’ sent 1 child a day to hospitals by Kim Painter in a Special for USA Today appearing on November 10, 2014.

MORE NEWS ON TAKATA AIR BAG RECALL

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014 at 6:03 pm    

A recent New York Times article by Hirko Tabuchi and Christopher Jensen reported that on Monday, October 20, 2014, safety regulators issued an unusual warning urging the owners of more than 5 million vehicles to act immediately to get the air bags fixed. According to the article, David J. Friedman, deputy administrator of NHTSA stated “We want to make sure that everyone out there – and we’ve got millions of vehicles involved – is getting engaged and is getting their vehicles fixed to protect themselves and their families”.

However, the Times article notes that the urgent request was bound to create confusion among owners given that manufacturers such as Honda have stated they simply do not have enough parts to fix the cars immediately.

Further, the Times article states that “Air bags, particularly those made by Takata, have been one of the biggest and longest-simmering problems”. A New York Times investigation in September revealed that Honda and Takata had failed for years to take decisive action before issuing the recalls.

While the most recent warning included some models manufactured by Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and BMW, the Times article also points out that Takata-related recalls have included models manufactured by Chrysler, Ford, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

Source: It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer by Hirko Tabuchi and Christopher Jensen appearing in The New York Times on October 21, 2014.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS REACH ALL-TIME HIGH IN LANCASTER COUNTY

Posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 at 9:13 pm    

Bucking a statewide trend of falling numbers of medical malpractice lawsuits, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Lancaster County in the first 10 months of 2014 set a new record. Fifty-one medical malpractice cases have been filed in this 10 month period versus the previous high of 41 in the 2013 year.

By contrast, the number of medical malpractice cases filed statewide has dropped by more than 43% since the PA State Supreme Court enacted reforms in the early 2000’s requiring that such lawsuits be filed in the county where the cause of action arose.

According to an article appearing in LNP, Dr. Karen Rizzo, a Lancaster otolaryngologist and president of the PA Medical Society, believes these changes enacted by the Supreme Court have led to more cases being filed here. Dr. Rizzo stated that as a result of the new filing requirements, cases that were previously tried in Philadelphia where the juries are often more generous, are instead being filed in Lancaster. Other possible factors contributing to the increased filings may include a general deterioration in the doctor-patient relationship because of a corporatization of medicine and that the people moving into Lancaster County may be more likely to file a lawsuit than long time residents of Lancaster County.

Another factor according to attorneys practicing in the medical malpractice arena may be the 2.7 million dollar verdict entered in 2010 against a local plastic surgeon for severing a nerve during surgery. Some attorneys see this verdict as evidence that Lancaster County juries are now more willing to compensate victims of medical malpractice for their pain and suffering and other losses.

Source: Article appearing in LNP on Sunday, November 16, 2014 entitled Malpractice suits hit all-time high here by Gil Smart.