Articles Posted in Car Accident Injuries

Last month, automakers Toyota, BMW, Subaru, and Mazda agreed to pay a total of $553 million to current and former owners and lessees of 15.8 million vehicles that were fitted with airbags manufactured by Takata, the Japanese automotive parts company. The plaintiffs’ class-action lawsuit alleged that Takata airbags are prone to rupture, and have been linked to at least 11 deaths and over 100 injuries in the United States.

The cause of the ruptured airbags is alleged to be their inflation mechanism, which uses a compound called ammonium nitrate that fills the bags in a powerful controlled explosion. When ammonium nitrate is exposed to air or moisture over long periods of time, however, it can become unstable and explode more violently than it is intended, making the airbags particularly dangerous to consumers living in the Southeastern United States and Hawaii.

The defect has prompted the United States’s largest automobile recall ever, affecting almost 70 million airbags in 42 million vehicles.

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.

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”?

On December 1, 2016, a Ford F-150 truck driven by Dennis Mockenhaupt plowed through the entrance area of a Wal-Mart in Pella, Iowa at 48 miles per hour. The entrance to the store spanned about 25 feet and was surrounded by a set of five decorative bollards set eight to 10 feet in front of it. The bollards were made of an inner bollard about six inches in diameter, encased in a very thin steel wall, and filled with concrete covered with decorative cast iron. Mockenhaupt alleges that, at the time of the accident, he had lost consciousness because he was choking on coffee.

Although Mockenhaupt hit one of these bollards, it shattered instantly upon impact, allowing his truck to careen through the entrance of the store.

The accident claimed three lives–Lindsey Rietveld (whose family are the plaintiffs in the instant case), employee Carrie Zugg, and shopper Robert DeJong. When the truck crashed through the entrance, it hit Rietveld and Zugg first, then struck DeJong. Rietveld was thrown about 15 feet into the store when she was struck by the truck, where she became pinned between the truck and a large freezer. According to her family’s lawsuit, Rietveld’s official cause of death was “multiple blunt force injuries, that included multiple hemorrhages of the head and neck, fractured pelvis, ribs, T2 vertebrae, both legs, and lacerations to her liver, lungs, and aorta.”

Less than a decade ago, if you told someone to jump into a stranger’s car and let them drive you to their destination instead of hailing a taxi, they would have looked at you like you were crazy. Today, with the rise of ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, this idea is not so outlandish. App-based ride sharing programs have revolutionized the way we get around, making easy, affordable transportation a simple click away. However, one of the biggest challenges to the implementation of this new scheme is concerns about their safety. After all, it’s not always the best idea to trust just any driver with your life. To assuage fears that riders will be horribly injured in accidents and left to the mercy of their driver’s personal insurance policy (if they have one at all), ride sharing companies and the insurance companies who cover them have set up a new type of insurance program to handle these situations.

Ride Sharing Insurance Requirements

Uber splits all journeys into three phases, outlined below

Any type of car accident can be potentially deadly, but vehicle rollovers are among the most dangerous. While they are relatively rare, accounting for only about three percent of all crashes, they account for about 30% of people who are killed while riding a vehicle. Many people believe that rollovers only affect SUVs and large vans, but a rollover can happen in any vehicle under the right circumstances.

How it Happens

As we said above, any vehicle can roll over but these types of crashes are much more common to tall, narrow vehicles like SUVs, vans, and trucks because these vehicles have higher centers of gravity than sedans and coupes. Rollovers are most common in turns because what happens when a car rolls over is essentially a pendulum effect. When a car makes a turn, sideways forces shift the center of gravity to one side. The faster you’re driving, the stronger these forces are. If these forces become too strong, they can cause a vehicle to roll over.

No one is ever truly prepared for a car accident—you’re simply driving along, maybe listening to your favorite song, and out of nowhere your life changes in an instant. Although every accident is different, there are some important steps you need to take after you’ve been involved in one to make sure that the police and insurance companies have all of the information they need to make a determination of fault and compensate the victims. If an accident is particularly serious, you may even need to hire an attorney.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take immediately after an accident and when you might want to consider hiring an attorney.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Car accidents can lead to a number of injuries, including bruises, broken bones, and whiplash. One of the more severe injuries that are common in car crashes are brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14.3% of all traumatic brain injuries are caused by car crashes, affecting roughly 2 million Americans per year. These types of injuries are so severe because the brain is the most important organ in the body, and even minor injuries to it can have long-ranging and life-altering effects.

Causes and Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by violent blows to the head, either from being struck with an object or from the head coming into contact with a hard surface. There are two types of traumatic brain injuries: open and closed. An open traumatic brain injury occurs when a foreign object pierces the skull and enters the brain. A closed traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump or a blow to the head. Because closed head injuries are much more common than open head injuries in car crashes, that is the type that we will focus on here.

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over three million people are injured every year in vehicle accidents in the United States. Some of these injuries are fairly minor, but, depending on the severity of the accident, can require extensive hospitalization and recovery time.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of injuries that can arise from car accidents.

Whiplash

No one is ever truly prepared for a car accident—you’re simply driving along, maybe listening to your favorite song, and out of nowhere your life changes in an instant. Although every accident is different, there are some important steps you need to take after you’ve been involved in one to make sure that the police and insurance companies have all of the information they need to make a determination of fault and compensate the victims. If an accident is particularly serious, you may even need to hire an attorney.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take immediately after an accident and when you might want to consider hiring an attorney.

What to Do After a Car Accident

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