Car or Car Part Defects that Make Motor Vehicles Accident-Prone

Besides causing damage to property, a car accident can also either injure or take lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than five million motor vehicle accidents still occur on US roads and highways every year; more than 30,000 of these accidents are fatal, while at least two million are causes of either minor or severe injuries.

Due to the volume of vehicular crashes, it would not be a surprise if anyone would start wondering just how one motorist sees another driver, or how car and car parts manufacturers see those who they sell their products to. Is another motorist just a competitor for road space, or a car/car parts buyer just a source of profit?

In car accidents people who get injured or who die are not just casualties; they, like the driver at fault in the accident or like the manufacturer who designed and produced the vehicle or its parts, are also members of a family, so that their pain and suffering will also be their whole family’s pain and suffering. This is why the federal government never ceases to pass, amend and strictly enforce traffic laws and vehicle safety standards (which manufacturers are legally obliged to comply with) as these are aimed at significantly reducing fatal and injurious accidents on the road.

According to the NHTSA, while drivers are usually the ones at fault during accidents, there is a certain percentage in the total number of car crashes that is due to defective cars or car parts. Now, what’s scary about a defective car or car part is that car owners usually never get to know about the defect until the car or the faulty part actually malfunctions or causes an accident.

For car and car parts manufacturers, ensuring motor vehicle safety is a basic legal responsibility. Under Title 49, Chapter 301, of the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (this is the recodified version of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966), motor vehicle safety means a motor vehicle’s or motor vehicle part’s performance which, in a way, will protect the public against unreasonable risk of accident, injury or death. A defect, on the other hand, is any flaw in a motor vehicle’s or motor vehicle part’s construction, component or performance.

Some safety-related defects and failure to meet Federal safety standards which that have been reported to the NHTSA (since 1966) include a vehicle’s:

  • Steering wheel suddenly locking while turning or driving along a curve or steering components that suddenly break, resulting to loss of vehicle control;
  • Brake pads remaining partially engaged with the rotors due to the electronic parking brake piston actuation arm’s failure to fully retract;
  • Driver-side airbag suddenly exploding, a defect that has already resulted to more than 100 injuries and seven deaths;
  • Wheels cracking or breaking, resulting in loss of vehicle control;
  • Windshield wiper assemblies failing to operate properly;
  • Wiring system that causes problems, resulting in fire or loss of lighting;
  • Essential parts breaking, falling apart, or separating from the vehicle, causing loss of vehicle control or possible injury to the vehicle’s occupants and/or other motorists; and,
  • Child safety seats found to be with defective buckles, safety belts, or components that can cause injury.

The defects and non-compliance with safety standards mentioned above have, of course, resulted to NHTSA-ordered recalls which, since 1966, have totaled to: more than 390 million mopeds, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, buses, trucks and cars; 42 million child safety seats; 66 million pieces of motor vehicle parts; and, 46 million tires.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which is written and enforced by the NHTSA, lay down the minimum performance requirements for parts (such as its lighting, tires and brakes) that most affect a vehicle’s safe operation, as well as for parts (such as energy absorbing steering columns, child restraints, safety belts, air bags and motorcycle helmets) that are supposed to provide drivers and passengers adequate protection from serious injuries or death (in case of an accident).

As a car accident lawyer would probably mention, making sure that every unit of vehicle or vehicle part produced is safe, lies in the manufacturers’ turf. With the details on vehicle and vehicle part safety standards provided by the FMVSS plus manufacturer’s quality control and vehicle performance tests, it is mind boggling to even consider the possibility of manufacturing defects escaping watchful eyes.

Greed for profit or act of negligence? Whichever it is, the unsuspecting vehicle owner, in the event of an accident, victims have the legal right to pursue justice and compensation for all the damages he/she will be made to suffer.

Road Defects

When we hear of a car accidents, we often blame the car or cars involved. They may have failed to yield or ran a stop sign, causing an accident. While this is often the case, sometimes defective roads can be the real cause of an accident. Defective roads are often caused by not being properly maintained by local municipalities, leading to real dangers for unsuspecting drivers.

Some common causes of road defect accidents may seem to be just an annoyance to most drivers, but are often overlooked for their ability to cause serious damage and injuries. One of the most common frustrations is potholes that cannot seem to be avoided. However, most people don’t realize that running over a pothole can damage the tires, suspensions, and alignment of a car, according to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP. Road defects such as a shoulder drop off and uneven payment can lead to similar damages to a car as well as accidents that can leave an individual with serious injuries.

Another road defect caused by municipality negligence is lack of road signs. Signs such as stop signs and speed limit warnings are essential to safe driving conditions and regulating traffic. When a municipality fails to put these signs up or replace those that are damaged to a point that they are unreadable, they put drivers at an increased risk of an accident.

While car accidents are often caused by the actions of an individual driving a car, road defects can also lead to devastating accidents. These road defects may not just be frustrating but extremely dangerous. Even worse, these defects are often preventable and are caused by municipal negligence. With all the risks inherently present in driving a vehicle, negligent defects should not be another.

How Prolonged Exposure to Toxic PCBs Affect Human Health

The U.S. federal government imposed a ban on the manufacture and use of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs in 1979. Before this ban, which was acted up through the Environmental Protection Agency, PCBs were widely used in a variety of commercial and industrial materials as an effective coolant. Its production was led by the agrichemical company Monsanto and lasted for several decades. Only when reports of its devastating environmental effects surfaced that the debate around toxic Monsanto PCBs came to a full boil and urged government agencies to issue a regulatory ban. These arguments centered on data showing how PCBs have affected the wildlife surrounding Monsanto are manufacturing plants. Since then, numerous scientific research studies have looked into human health risks associated with PCB exposure.

A specific group of studies examined the pattern of symptoms caused by PCBs to people exposed to the chemicals in their workplace. These studies showed that high levels of PCB exposure caused individuals to develop an acne-like skin condition called chloracne. People with chlroacne experience a sudden eruption of blackheads, cysts, and pustules in areas of the skin that have been most exposed to PCB compounds. Another study suggests that workers who have been exposed to PCBs for a long period of time develop issues with their blood, liver, lungs, and gastrointestinal organs. These workers also experienced noted episodes of depression and fatigue. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, workers who come into close contact with PCBs are the ones most susceptible to these alarming effects. Anyone who has to repair or maintain old PCB transformers, as well as those who work in close proximity to hazardous waste sites is among the most susceptible.

Several other studies examine the link between cancer occurrence and PCB exposures. These studies were able to provide sufficient evidence that workers who have experienced prolonged PCB exposure have developed cancers in the liver or biliary tract. Evidence from animal experiments also shows the dangers of PCB exposure and the role it plays in the development of cancer. As such, both the Environmental Protection Agency and International Agency for Research on Cancer have classified PCBs as a probable human carcinogen.

Common Head Injuries

Head injuries range in severity. They can affect a person for a couple weeks, to as long as the rest of their life. Possible causes of brain injuries are sporting games, falls, or car accidents. Types of brain injuries include concussions, contusions, diffuse axonal, and penetration.

Concussions occur when there has been a direct blow to the head. They are the most common type of brain injury, and can result from many types of accidents. Possible instances in which concussions can occur include slamming into the steering wheel, hitting the ground hard, or collisions. Internally, a person’s blood vessels are stretched and nerves can be damaged.

Like concussions, contusions are also caused are direct impact to the head. However, contusions involve a bruise on the brain. If the contusion is significant enough, it may need to be surgically removed.

Diffuse axonal results when a person’s head has been strongly shaken or rotated, and the brain does not move in accordance with the skull. Diffuse axonals can cause nerve tissues to tear, thus leading to comas or permanent brain damage. Commonly associated with car accidents, this type of injury is very serious.

Lastly, penetration is when a foreign object enters the brain during an accident. This type of injury can cause tearing, stretching, or rupture of brain tissue. Penetrating objects can go through the skull, brain, and back out of the skull, or can ricochet throughout the skull. When a penetration accident occurs, the victim should be taken to the emergency room immediately.

A Lake Charles personal injury lawyer could tell you that all of these brain injuries can be devastating to a person’s life. While rehabilitation is an option for recovering from a brain injury, the process is often long and uncomfortable. When a person involved in an accident is inflicted with a brain injury, they should receive medical attention as soon as possible.

Birth Defects: An Unexpected Plot Twist

In an old film, it was been said that “to live would be an awfully big adventure”.

Well, in real life, the adventure can be that much more difficult when your first plot twist happens long before you are even actually born. There are many social stigmas that surround every little imperfection, even if these things were not things that anyone asked for. Being born with a birth defect can have many potentially psychologically scarring experiences as well as judgment from peers, therefore drastically affecting anyone’s self-esteem as well as limiting opportunities from the get go.

There are even some birth defects that affect the way one can live their lives or even shorten someone’s life span. Congenital heart defects are one of these possible difficult anomalies that come as a result of birth defect. There are a multitude of scientific reasons as to why someone could be born with these afflictions. Sometimes, however, it is due to medication that has these unprecedented side effects that the mother might have taken during the pregnancy.

One such drug that is currently being linked to the aforementioned defects is called Zofran. This is a drug more often used with patients being treated for cancer with chemotherapy. It is used to lessen the nausea and it is not exclusively for the use of cancer patients. Now, nausea is also often a side effect of pregnancy and some mothers-to-be still require being able to work for a while, even while pregnant, and so are sometimes advised to take medication to stay the nausea, Zofran being one of the more popular choices.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, if a fetus were to be exposed to the drug, it could result into defects that could be detrimental to the health of the child. If this is the case for you, however, there are some legal options that you could avail of because there are some possible rights that you might not be aware that you have.

Swimming Pools and the Laws of Premises Liability

The adage “strong fences make good neighbors” probably wasn’t meant to apply to avoiding premises liability but in the US this is actually a good thing to remember. Swimming pool injuries and fatalities are unfortunately quite common in the US, and according to the Consumer Produce Safety Commission far too many of these are children below 5 years old.

While children will get hurt if they are not properly supervised, the responsibility for this usually resides in parents, guardians, nannies, or other persons whose job is to look out for a child’s welfare while in their care i.e. teachers. However, the laws which apply to private swimming pools place all the responsibility of ensuring the safety of children on the pool owner, even if the child is there without the knowledge or consent of the owner. An article on the Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® website indicates that the pool owner may be held liable for medical and other expenses that you might incur.

Swimming pools are enticing to children, especially if the pool is well-maintained and the child is bored. This is the “attractive nuisance” theory of premises liability that pertains to small children. There is nothing more tempting than taking an illicit trip to the neighbor’s pool for a little dip. The pool owner has to ensure that their swimming pool has all the necessary safeguards to prevent a small child from wandering into the area and falling (accidentally or otherwise) in. State laws differ, but in general they require a pool owner to have the appropriate enclosure completely surrounding the area to prevent small children from getting in.

If the child is being supervised by a parent (not the pool owner) at the time of the accident, the application of premises liability law will be more complicated. However, if the accident was because the pool was poorly maintained, defective in some way, or the surrounding areas were dangerously slippery, the pool owner may still be held completely liable.

If a child has been injured or killed in a swimming pool accident because the pool owner was somehow negligent, you may file a lawsuit for compensation. Find out more about state laws on premises liability from an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.

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