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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

What to do when auto defects cause serious injury or death

Pennsylvania residents expect their vehicles to be manufactured in accordance with current safety standards. That means that they should be free of defects that could cause serious injury or death. Sadly, not all vehicles or their parts are correctly manufactured, and numerous accidents each year are attributable to auto defects.

For example, it would be a challenge to find a Pennsylvania resident who has not heard about the millions of vehicles that had to be recalled due to defective airbags. Another example is those vehicles that were recalled due to faulty ignition switches. Even tires have been recalled because they would fall apart while vehicles are in operation. These are just some of the auto parts that have led to recalls in recent years.

Avoiding injury while decorating for the holidays

'Tis the season for holiday decorations! While lining the roof of your home seems like an excellent way to win the neighborhood decorating contest, it is important to remember that safety comes first.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 10,000 people per year are treated in hospital due to injuries related to decorating for the holidays.

Products liability news: Contaminated cookie dough recall spreads

Kraft Heinz Company recently announced that it is joining an ever growing list of companies by voluntarily recalling its Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae product due to contamination from Listeria monocytogenes. It was discovered that the cookie dough used in this and other products distributed nationwide, including here in Pennsylvania, were contaminated at a manufacturing and processing plant owned and operated by Aspen Hills, Inc. This potential products liability issue has not resulted in any illnesses -- at least not that Kraft is aware of so far.

Blue Bell Creameries first discovered the contamination. It notified Aspen Hills, which did recall a portion of its cookie dough, but that might not have been enough. Aspen Hills refused to release its customer list, but did verify that the recalled dough was only sold to commercial food manufacturers. Other companies that are involved in this recall include Blue Bunny, House of Flavor and Nurtrisystem, along with Publix and Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company Inc. All of these companies voluntarily recalled products that contain the contaminated cookie dough.

Daughter claims nursing home neglect killed her mother

Like many Pennsylvania residents, an out-of-state woman entrusted her mother's health and welfare to strangers. During the four years that her mother lived in a nursing home, she fell approximately eight times. When her mother died, she claimed that nursing home neglect was the cause.

In fact, she asserts that the nursing home staff lied to her about the true cause of her mother's death. She alleges that she was told her mother died of natural causes when she fell out of her bed. Oddly, when the woman viewed her mother's body, there was a towel around her neck.

Road construction workers' accidents can be devastating

As many Pennsylvania pedestrians know, it can be disconcerting walking near traffic. Road construction workers also have to work near traffic. This puts them at great risk for being involved in crashes. Because of some of the speeds involved, road construction workers' accidents can be devastating.

For example, a construction crew was working on a state highway when a vehicle barreled through area and struck one of the workers. The driver failed to stop but was later located by police. She claimed that it was an orange construction barrel that she hit and not a person, but photographs taken at the scene did not show any barrels. Officials have since charged the woman.

When household products do you harm

Are the products we are using on a day-to-day basis deleterious to our health? If so, some of them could be brand names we have trusted and purchased for decades. Even though products on supermarket shelves may be FDA approved, they could still hold potential risks. The injury from a defective product might be relatively minor, such as a mild rash from an improperly tested skin lotion, or it might be as serious as automobile brakes that fail under a particular set of circumstances.

Would you recognize the signs of nursing home neglect?

Every day, Pennsylvania residents come to the heart-wrenching realization that their elderly family members are no longer able to care for themselves. They decide to move them into a nursing home in the hopes that they will receive the care they need in order to enjoy the time they have left. Sadly, you cannot always judge a book by its cover, and sometimes, nursing home neglect is a carefully -- or not so carefully -- hidden secret.

The question then becomes how to recognize if your loved one is being neglected or abused. It might seem insensitive or intrusive, but a cursory examination of your loved one when you visit could reveal signs of neglect or abuse. Look for unexplained bruises, bedsores or abrasions. If your loved one appears withdrawn or dehydrated, those could also be signs. Some nursing homes will over medicate their residents or have a high instance of residents who fall.

Toyota becomes latest to issue recall for auto defects

Pennsylvania Star Trek fans are more than likely aware that Anton Yelchin who played Chekov in the popular movie franchise died when his vehicle rolled down the driveway and crushed him. As it turns out, Yelchin owned a 2015 Grand Cherokee that was subject to a recall by Fiat Chrysler due to a problem with the gear selector, which could fail to recognize whether the vehicle is in park. Now, Toyota recently announced that approximately 340,000 of its vehicles worldwide are being recalled due to auto defects.

According to reports, the vehicles in question are all 2016 and 2017 models whose parking brakes could fail. If that happens, the vehicle could roll away, much like Yelchin's did. Toyota believes that the recall includes approximately 92,000 vehicles here in the United States.

Construction workers' accidents are no strangers to tragedy

Falls from significant heights are not the only dangers that construction workers face when on the job. Faulty equipment and falling objects can create hazardous environments in which workers not only face the risk of injury, but even death. Because of this type of risk, construction workers' accidents in Pennsylvania rarely have a good outcome, and a recent accident in a nearby state cost one worker his life.

The accident took place at a construction site for a 13-story hotel, where a crane that was anchored down below the street level was in use. The crane also extended five stories above street level. A worker was stepping outside of the tower crane when tragedy struck, and a steel piece of the crane somehow came loose and plummeted 60 feet, striking him on the head. He died while still at the scene of the accident.

Arbitration clauses are bad news for nursing home neglect victims

Nursing homes serve an important role in the love and care of the elderly community in Pennsylvania. Most families are poorly equipped to care for aging loved ones, making nursing homes and other long-term residential facilities a necessity. Unfortunately, these necessary facilities are often plagued by nursing home neglect and abuse, and victims sometimes face an uphill battle when seeking justice.

By now most people are already familiar with the Wells Fargo scandal, in which millions of fake accounts were created using the credentials of real customers who were then charged related fees. The affected customers were unable to sue the company because of the arbitration clause placed in the contracts related to the accounts they had opened. The clause required that victims enter arbitration with the company rather than pursuing justice through the legal system, with mediators chosen by Wells Fargo.

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