More than three years after General Motors (GM) recalled 2.5 million of its 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalts, Pontiacs, and Saturns, the company recently lost its bid to prevent an Arizona driver some seeking damages for ignition-switch liability. The plaintiff, Dennis Ward, alleges that he was driving a 2009 Chevy HHR on March 27, 2014, when he rear-ended another driver in Tucson. The reason why he rear-ended the driver, he alleges, is because his vehicle “suddenly and unexpectedly lost power,” thus disabling his brakes and steering.

Faulty Ignition Switches

Beginning in 2001, several models of GM brands were fitted with an ignition switch that was found to be defective, causing cars to suddenly shut off while still in gear. These faulty switches could cause a loss of power steering, disable brakes, and prevent airbags from inflating. In some models, the key could even be removed from the ignition switch when it was not in the “off” position, which could cause the vehicle to roll away. The switches have been linked to at least 124 deaths and nearly 300 injuries. Once GM became aware of the problems associated with these ignition switches, it initiated a recall of about 800,000 vehicles in 2014, which was eventually expanded to over 30 million vehicles once the scale of the problem became apparent.

If you are involved in a car accident, you expect that, after the accident, the other driver will stop, get out of his car, and the two of you will call the police and exchange contact information. This is the normal way that most accidents proceed. However, sometimes the at-fault driver in a car accident does not stop after the accident, but keeps on driving. This is what is known as a “hit and run” accident. In this article, we will go over what to do if this happens to you.

Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. In Georgia, this area of the law is codified at § 40-6-270 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) and reads, in pertinent part:

As the heat of summer reaches full blast, it is imperative that parents and childcare providers take extra precautions to guard children from heatstroke and other heat-related injuries and death. During the hot summer months, the inside of a vehicle can reach 125 degrees within minutes, with 80% of the increase in temperature occurring during the first 10 minutes. Because children’s bodies overheat three to five times faster than adults’ bodies, leaving a child in a hot car even for a matter of minutes can be deadly.

This was tragically illustrated last month when a five-year-old boy was found dead inside a daycare van in Arkansas. Police said that the boy was found dead, strapped in a booster seat, more than eight hours after being picked up by the daycare van as staff members prepared to load the van for children to go home. The heat index on the day the incident occurred was near 100 degrees.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services stated that all child care service providers in the state must follow certain safety requirements, including installing child safety alarm devices in vehicles used to transport more than seven passengers. The alarm systems are to be installed in such a way that the driver is required to walk to the back of the vehicle to reach a switch that deactivates the alarm. The agency reported that a monitor inspected the daycare van in question in February and found that the alarm system was in working order. Further, the daycare facility in question had also been rated “highly compliant” with state safety rules and regulations.

2017 has not been a great year for the airline industry when it comes to customer service problems and personal injury lawsuits. This year alone, there have been several high-profile incidents involving possible abuses of customers on major airlines, including:

  • The infamous United Airlines incident in April, in which a man was forcibly dragged from his seat when he refused to leave the airplane due to overbooking. As a result of his confrontation with airline security officers, the passenger suffered a concussion and the loss of several teeth.
  • An incident on American Airlines in which a mother of twins alleged that a flight attendant hit her with a stroller during boarding of an aircraft. When a fellow passenger called out the flight attendant in question, he responded by challenging the passenger to a physical fight.

In a series of end-of-term decisions by the Supreme Court, one decision has quietly made it harder for plaintiffs from diverse states to sue an out-of-state defendant in a class action lawsuit. The case, titled Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, alters the rules governing the procedures whereby a particular state’s courts can exercise jurisdiction over litigants who do not live in that state. Before we discuss the case at issue, we’ll first give a general overview of how courts decide which cases they can hear.

A Primer on Personal Jurisdiction

In International Shoe v. Washington, the Supreme Court held that a particular state court (known as the “forum state”) could exercise jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants if the defendant had “minimum contacts” with the state. In subsequent cases, the court found that there are two ways of finding “minimum contacts.” The first is “general jurisdiction,” which requires the defendant to have “systematic and continuous contacts” with the forum state such that the defendant is at “home” in the state. If the defendant’s actions meet this test, then he or she can be sued for any actions in the state. The second is “specific jurisdiction,” which allows lawsuits against an out-of-state defendant only if the suit “arises out of or relates to the defendant’s contact with the forum” state.

Recently, several construction companies in Washington State were fined by the state’s Department of Labor & Industries for safety violations after a crane made contact with high-voltage power lines. An estimated 14 kilovolts traveled down the crane’s hoist line to the men working below the power lines, seriously injuring two of them. For reference, 14 kilovolts is equal to 14,000 volts. A standard electrical socket in the United States uses 120 volts. Thus, the men who were injured in this case suffered an electrical shock that was roughly 116 times as strong as one would receive from inserting one’s finger in an electrical socket. How did this happen, though? Aren’t there safety precautions in place to protect construction workers from dangerous electrical shocks when working near power lines? The answer is yes, but the sad truth is that many construction companies do not follow these standards.

Safety Code Violations Lead to Injuries

The state of Washington requires that power lines near construction sites using cranes be moved underground for the duration of the construction. The Department of Labor & Industries investigators found that the power lines in this case had been scheduled to be moved underground, but, instead of waiting for that work to be done, the construction companies continued to work under them. Further investigation revealed that the companies’ employees were not trained or aware of the dangers of working under power lines. As a result, the companies were cited for several workplace safety violations, including both “serious” and “willful” violations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition. A willful violation is one in which the state investigators find evidence of plain indifference or an intentional disregard for a hazard or rule. As a result of the severity of the injuries the workers suffered, as well as the egregiousness of the companies’ safety violations, they have been identified as “severe violators” and will be subject to follow-up inspections to ensure that safety regulations are being enforced.

Auto insurance protects you, your passengers, your vehicle, and other drivers and their vehicles when you are involved in an accident. After all, that is why we pay for auto insurance–to help us out in the event of an auto accident. But about injuries that are not sustained while you are actually driving, but you are still using the car in some way? For example, could you file a claim against your insurance company if you were burned by your car’s radiator when adding coolant? What about if you slip and fall when you have just parked and are exciting the vehicle? These incidents are auto insurance “edge cases” and auto insurance generally manage to avoid paying these types of claims.

But all of that might be about to change after a recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court.

What is “Transportational Use”?

Summer is fireworks season, and that can mean injuries and trips to the hospital for many people. In 2016, there were an estimated 11,000 fireworks-related injuries, 7,600 of which were treated in hospital emergency rooms between June 18, 2016 and July 18, 2016. Most fireworks-related injuries are burns, at 69%. Parts of the body that are most likely to be injured include:

  • Hands and fingers: 33% of injuries
  • Head, face, and ears: 28% of injuries

In March of this year, a 59 year-old woman, a woman in her 40s, and a 7 year-old boy fell about 12 to 15 feet out of a Ferris wheel in Washington State when the gondola they were in tipped over. The 59 year-old was hospitalized with serious injuries, while the others were treated and released. The company that owns the Ferris wheel claims that riders who fell out had been asked to remain seated during the ride’s rotation. However, a witness at the scene claims that it didn’t appear that the riders were moving around when their gondola tipped over, and a broken part was found on the deck of the ride shortly after the accident. The witness further claims that the riders did not start moving back and forth in the gondola until the car itself started coming apart and they were trying to hold on, and that she heard a grinding sound right before the accident.

This incident raises the question of theme park and festival safety, and what riders can do if they are injured on a ride. Below, we’ll examine some of the most common theories of liability for theme park accidents.

Negligence

Now that summer is officially upon us, it means that yard work has started to become a major priority for many people. One of the most ubiquitous summertime yard work tasks is mowing the lawn. In fact, the average American mows his or her lawn about 30 times a year, which adds up to a significant amount of time. Although mowing the lawn is a fairly mundane task, it can also be quite dangerous, especially for children. In 2011, 83,291 people were treated in US hospital emergency rooms for lawn mover injuries, including 3,780 children. This is due to the fact that it is very easy for children to get caught in the path of a lawnmower, often with devastating results.

Common Lawn Mower Injuries

For most people, lawn mowers are the biggest and most powerful piece of machinery they use besides their vehicles. Although modern lawn mowers are designed with very advanced safety features, this does not negate the fact that the primary moving part of a lawnmower is a sharp blade that is designed to slice through everything in its path. Some of the more common injuries from lawnmower accidents are as follows:

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