Has Your Vehicle Been Recalled for Safety Defects?
Manufacturing or design defects in vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries or deaths. For instance, many recalled vehicles contain Takata’s airbag inflators, which are associated with multiple deaths and catastrophic injuries. The inflators can explode and send metal shrapnel flying into the cabins of vehicles. This is only one example that highlights the importance of knowing whether your vehicle is under recall.
A recent Carfax study found that 63 million vehicles with safety defects are being driven on roads across the country. Although automakers are required by law to inform their customers of recalls, there are several reasons why owners may not receive repairs. It can take months to get a vehicle with a Takata airbag fixed. Takata and multiple automakers have been chastised for not doing enough to facilitate more repairs for vehicles affected by the recall.
Vehicle owners may also not receive repairs because they are unaware that recalls have been issued. For whatever reason, they simply did not receive crucial recall notices from their auto manufacturers. Our blog is going to walk you through how to sign up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (also called NHTSA) and how to check the recall status of your vehicle online.
How to Check the Recall Status of Your Vehicle
To check the recall status of your vehicle, you will first need to grab your vehicle identification number. This is also called the “VIN.” Many auto insurance policy cards display this number. It may also be found on insurance documents, your vehicle’s title or on auto shop repair records. If all else fails, you can also check the driver’s side dashboard.
Once you have the VIN, it’s time to visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. After arriving at the website, type your VIN into the search feature at the top of the page. Search results could inform you of any open recalls associated with your vehicle. However, it may also say “zero recalls are associated with this VIN.”
This search tool covers vehicle safety recalls that are incomplete. It may also display vehicle recalls conducted over the past 15 years. Recalls for light automobiles (for example, if you own an ATV or motorcycle) may also be included. Search results will not cover recalls from more than 15 years ago or completed recalls. International vehicles and very recently announced recalls may also be excluded from the search results.
Even if the website informed you that your vehicle has no open recalls, you should still take action to register your vehicle with NHTSA’s website. Your vehicle could always be recalled later. If you register with NHTSA, you could receive an email notification for future recalls.
What Can I Do if My Vehicle is Under Recall?
If you discover that your vehicle has an unrepaired recall, then it is important to contact your dealership to schedule an appointment for repairs. Automakers are required by federal law to fix recalls at no cost. You could also inquire about a rental vehicle if the dealership does not have the parts to conduct repairs.
If you or a loved one were harmed by a defective auto part, then you should speak with an attorney to discuss legal options. It may be possible to hold the auto manufacturer or other parties accountable for injuries or deaths caused by defects.
Walsh Woodard, LLC has an extensive history of helping individuals who were harmed by the negligent actions of others. To speak with one of our Hartford product liability lawyers, you may call (860) 785-2011 or describe your situation by filling out our online case review form.
Am I Liable for Injuries on My Property on Halloween?
Halloween is the biggest night of the year where children with costumes go out to trick-or-treat and load up on sugary treats. Halloween night allows families to transform their front yards into haunted houses or creepy graveyards, and neighborhoods even have competitions to see who has the scariest home. With an increased number of kids near your home, someone might get injured.
What Happens If a Trick-or-Treater is Injured at My Home?
If a visitor is injured on your property, you might be found liable for their injuries if you were negligent. This concept is called premises liability. For instance, if you own the home, you could be responsible for any slips and falls on your front yard that lead to an injury. If a trick-or-treater was injured at a business that you own, you could also be liable if it was found you were negligent in keeping the property safe.
To be found liable in a premises liability case, you must have caused or created the dangerous hazard; known about the condition but failed to repair or warn others of it within a reasonable time; or it is proven that you should have known about the hazard and had a reasonable time to repair or warn others of it. Contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Walsh Woodard LLC today if you seek potential representation.
In order to prevent a premises liability lawsuit, you should make sure that you properly prepare your home for Halloween night. You should:
- Keep your front yard and any walkways well lit
- Ensure there are no trip hazards, such as cords, wires, or any decorations that aren’t easily seen
- Use battery-powered candles in Jack-o-Lanterns and other decorations to prevent a fire
- Use caution with fog machines or dry ice, since these can limit sight
- Make sure your dogs are kept inside
Different Types and Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that truck accidents killed 4,317 people during 2016. Countless others suffer life-altering injuries from these accidents. Statistics on truck accidents are not surprising once you consider that a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
In Connecticut and across the US, there are common factors that may lead to various types of truck accidents. The different types of truck accidents and their causes include:
- Drowsy driving accidents. Due to long hours on the road and other factors, commercial truck drivers can suffer drowsiness while driving. Drowsy driving accidents can occur when truck drivers violate hours of service rules. These rules dictate how long commercial truckers can work or operate their vehicles. Obstructive sleep apnea, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications may also contribute to drowsy driving accidents.
- Accidents caused by unsafe driving. Certain driving habits can cause truck accidents. Commercial truck drivers are more likely to crash if they are distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Speeding is a major cause of commercial truck accidents. Truckers can also cause accidents if they perform unsafe lane changes.
- Lost load accidents. Debris can fall from commercial trucks and hit other drivers. Motorists can also hit truck debris on the road. These types of accidents can happen when loads are not properly secured.
- Rollover accidents. There are a few reasons rollover accidents can occur. Cargo loads may shift while truck drivers are making turns. This could lead to a rollover accident. In other cases, commercial trucks can jackknife during slippery road conditions. Jackknifing, which may lead to a rollover accident, is where the trailer bends into a “V” shape towards the truck cabin.
- Underride accidents. Motor vehicles can be sheered in half if they pass underneath the back or side of a truck’s trailer. Underride incidents are an especially gruesome type of truck accident that often leads to fatalities. Truckers may cause this type of accident by suddenly hitting the brakes. Weak rear-underride guards can also lead to underride crashes.
- Accidents caused by mechanical failure. Poorly maintained trucks are more likely to cause accidents. Tire blowouts can cause truck crashes, as can poorly maintained brakes. These are only two of many possible examples of how poor maintenance practices could contribute to an accident.
Contact Our Hartford Truck Accident Attorneys with Questions
Do you have questions about your legal rights after a truck accident? Contact our Hartford truck accident lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We can help you determine whether it would be possible to seek compensation for your injuries or loss. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call (860) 785-2011 or use our online case review form.
Did a Birth Injury Cause My Child’s Disability?
There are multiple scenarios before, during or shortly after delivery that could cause a birth injury. Many cases involve doctors who fail to respond to adverse conditions or injuries during prenatal care. Birth injuries can cause multiple types of disabilities that may affect newborns and their family members for life. The different types of birth injuries include but are not limited to:
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect balance and posture. The condition can be caused when a developing brain suffers an injury. There are multiple ways cerebral palsy can occur before, during or very shortly after birth. For instance, a newborn can develop the condition if certain complications during birth are not resolved in a timely manner. Infections and blunt force trauma can also lead to the development of the condition. Children with cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling movements and may also suffer from an intellectual disability.
- Brachial plexus injuries: Injuries to the brachial plexus may cause Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy. The brachial plexus is a nerve bundle that runs along the fingers, arms and spinal cord. With Erb’s palsy, the damage is confined to the upper part of the brachial plexus. Klumpke’s palsy involves damage occuring on the lower part. Excessive stretching or force during the labor process may lead to a brachial plexus injury. The nerve damage caused by these injuries can affect movement of the arms, fingers and hands.
- Spinal cord injuries: Newborns can suffer spinal cord injuries. This may occur when the OB/GYN improperly uses forceps during delivery. Additional medical mistakes made during stressful deliveries could also cause spinal cord injuries.
Can I File a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
There are cases where birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice. In such cases, parents may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor, hospital or other parties who may be responsible for the injury. We discussed what constitutes medical malpractice in Connecticut on last month’s blog. Please see the footnote at the bottom of the post.
The Connecticut birth injury lawyers at Walsh Woodard LLC have experience with medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries. We could help you determine whether medical malpractice may have occurred.
How Can Parents Pick Out the Right Car Seat for Their Children?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that car accidents are a leading cause of death in the US for children 12 years old and younger. During 2015, 663 children were killed in auto accidents and another 121,350 suffered injuries. While this is alarming information, there are steps that you could take to reduce your child’s chances of death or injury during a crash. Statistics published by the CDC show that the proper use of car seats can significantly reduce the chances of a child dying or suffering an injury during a motor vehicle accident.
According to the CDC, the proper use of child safety seats can reduce the risk of death for infants by 71 percent. For toddlers between 1 and 4 years old, the risk of death is reduced by 54 percent. Not only can the proper use of seats reduce the risk of death, they can also prevent severe injuries. The CDC also maintains that booster seats can reduce the risk of serious injury by 45 percent for children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old.
Four Tips for Finding the Right Child Car Seat
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published several car seat safety tips for parents. You may improve your child’s safety by using the following tips from NHTSA.
- Pick the right car seat for your child’s age and size. Various types of car seats are made for children of different ages and sizes. There are rear-facing seats, forward facing seats and booster seats, each with their own height and weight limits. NHTSA has a calculator on its website that can be very helpful while car seat shopping.
- Perform the installation correctly. Installation mistakes could keep a car seat from being effective during a crash. Fortunately, many areas across the US offer free services that can prevent parents from making installation mistakes. Police departments, fire stations and nonprofit organizations may inspect or install car seats. NHTSA’s website has a search tool that allows you to find these services in your area. You may have to shop around and may be asked to make an appointment.
- Register the car seat with the manufacturer or sign up with NHTSA for recall notices. Car seats are occasionally recalled because they contain safety defects. Defective car seats could put your child at risk for injury or death. You can register on NHTSA’s website to receive notices when car seats are recalled.
- There are other things to consider. Avoid used safety seats if you can. Used car seats could suffer from basic wear and tear that reduce their effectiveness. In addition, there are certain types of clothing that can prevent car seats from working correctly. For instance, bulky winter coats can reduce the effectiveness of the straps.
Even if you avoid mistakes and select the correct car seat, there are reasons why your child could be harmed. Defective car seats may cause catastrophic injuries or death. If you suspect a defective auto product caused your child harm, then please reach out to Walsh Woodard, LLC. Our Hartford product liability lawyers could discuss possible legal options for pursuing damages against the manufacturer or other parties.
How Could I Be Harmed by a Misdiagnosis or Other Diagnostic Error?
Diagnostic errors are the most common type of medical mistake made by health care providers. These are cases where a health care provider misdiagnoses a patient or provides a delayed diagnosis. There are multiple types of diagnostic errors that affect thousands of patients in the US each year. The different types of diagnostic errors include:
- Delayed diagnosis: As the name implies, this is where a health care provider makes the correct diagnosis after a significant period of time has passed. In such cases, your health care provider may have delayed ordering tests or failed to recognize symptoms.
- Missed diagnosis: Your health care provider could discharge you with a clean bill of health when you are still suffering from an illness. This could lead to a missed diagnosis.
- Misdiagnosis: If you went to the hospital suffering from a heart attack but were misdiagnosed with acid reflux, it could be an example of a misdiagnosis. These are cases where a health care provider mistakes one condition with another.
- Failure to identify complications: You could be suffering from a health condition that is being aggravated by other complications. Your doctor could make the correct diagnosis while failing to identify complications that could worsen the condition.
- Failure to recognize related illnesses: Your doctor could fail to recognize that you are suffering from two related health conditions. He or she may diagnose one condition but not the other.
Diagnostic errors are more than capable of causing injuries or death. A diagnostic error involving bacterial meningitis is a perfect example. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is where a bacterial infection is responsible for causing this inflammation. Health care providers have a very limited window of time to treat this condition before death or permanent injury occurs. What could happen if you had this condition and did not promptly receive antibiotics and other treatment? You could die within hours. Brain damage, coma and limb loss are also possible outcomes.
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for a Diagnostic Error?
There are times where you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a diagnostic error. Certain criteria would have to be met to bring forward a successful claim. Before we are able to move forward in Connecticut, we are required to have a physician or similar health care provider review the medical evidence and provide us with a written opinion letter concluding that the diagnostic error was malpractice. The law on this is contained in Connecticut General Statutes section 52-190a.
You should never wait to speak with an attorney if you believe negligence caused the diagnostic error. Although there are a few exceptions, you have a limited window of time to file a claim. It is also possible that multiple parties are responsible for the diagnostic error. You may also be able to hold those parties accountable.
The Hartford medical malpractice lawyers at Walsh Woodard, LLC could review the specifics of your situation at no cost. We could help you determine whether medical malpractice occurred. If we believe there is sufficient evidence in your case, we also will seek out the physician review at no cost to you.
 The statute provides: (a) No civil action or apportionment complaint shall be filed to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death occurring on or after October 1, 1987, whether in tort or in contract, in which it is alleged that such injury or death resulted from the negligence of a health care provider, unless the attorney or party filing the action or apportionment complaint has made a reasonable inquiry as permitted by the circumstances to determine that there are grounds for a good faith belief that there has been negligence in the care or treatment of the claimant. The complaint, initial pleading or apportionment complaint shall contain a certificate of the attorney or party filing the action or apportionment complaint that such reasonable inquiry gave rise to a good faith belief that grounds exist for an action against each named defendant or for an apportionment complaint against each named apportionment defendant. To show the existence of such good faith, the claimant or the claimant’s attorney, and any apportionment complainant or the apportionment complainant’s attorney, shall obtain a written and signed opinion of a similar health care provider, as defined in section 52-184c, which similar health care provider shall be selected pursuant to the provisions of said section, that there appears to be evidence of medical negligence and includes a detailed basis for the formation of such opinion. Such written opinion shall not be subject to discovery by any party except for questioning the validity of the certificate. The claimant or the claimant’s attorney, and any apportionment complainant or apportionment complainant’s attorney, shall retain the original written opinion and shall attach a copy of such written opinion, with the name and signature of the similar health care provider expunged, to such certificate. The similar health care provider who provides such written opinion shall not, without a showing of malice, be personally liable for any damages to the defendant health care provider by reason of having provided such written opinion. In addition to such written opinion, the court may consider other factors with regard to the existence of good faith. If the court determines, after the completion of discovery, that such certificate was not made in good faith and that no justiciable issue was presented against a health care provider that fully cooperated in providing informal discovery, the court upon motion or upon its own initiative shall impose upon the person who signed such certificate or a represented party, or both, an appropriate sanction which may include an order to pay to the other party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, motion or other paper, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. The court may also submit the matter to the appropriate authority for disciplinary review of the attorney if the claimant’s attorney or the apportionment complainant’s attorney submitted the certificate.
(b) Upon petition to the clerk of the court where the civil action will be filed to recover damages resulting from personal injury or wrongful death, an automatic ninety-day extension of the statute of limitations shall be granted to allow the reasonable inquiry required by subsection (a) of this section. This period shall be in addition to other tolling periods.
(c) The failure to obtain and file the written opinion required by subsection (a) of this section shall be grounds for the dismissal of the action.
Are Medical Mistakes a Leading Cause of Death in the US?
Many of us already know that heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death in the US. You may not know that medical mistakes also kill hundreds of thousands of people in the US each year. Depending on who you ask, medical mistakes could be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 440,000 deaths annually.
According to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, 440,000 people die in the US each year from preventable medical mistakes. A study published in British Medical Journal (also called BMJ) put this number at roughly 252,000 per year. By comparison, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show that heart disease and cancer are responsible for 610,000 and 590,000 deaths respectively.
Why are so many people in our country dying while receiving health care? Unfortunately, the answer is never simple and varies substantially with each case. However, there are common errors that can be divided into specific groups.
- Diagnostic errors: Research has shown that diagnostic errors are responsible for more preventable deaths than any other type of medical mistake. Johns Hopkins University estimates that 80,000 to 160,000 patients die or suffer significant injuries each year due to diagnostic errors. You may never receive a correct diagnosis if you are affected by this mistake. In other cases, you may receive an incorrect diagnosis followed by a correct one at a later date. Your doctor could also fail to diagnose a second health condition caused by the first one.
- Medication mistakes: There are cases where patients are given the wrong medications. They may also be given the wrong dosages. Perhaps they are given two medications that should never be taken together. All of these medication mistakes could result in permanent injury or death. Medication mistakes can occur in any type of health care setting.
- Never events: The word “never event” is an umbrella term used to describe a specific group of mistakes that should never occur. This term could refer to specific types of surgery mistakes, such as performing a surgical operation on the wrong part of the body.
- Infections/poor sanitation: If your doctor does not follow basic handwashing and sanitation procedures, they could be putting you and others at risk of developing an infection. The same could be said if they failed to properly sanitize equipment before an operation.
When are Medical Mistakes Considered Medical Malpractice?
Medical mistakes have to meet certain criteria to be considered medical malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you make this determination if you or a loved one were harmed by a health care provider. Our law firm could review the details of your case at no cost to help you determine whether medical malpractice occurred. If we determined that malpractice did occur, we could begin laying the groundwork to pursue damages against the doctor, hospital, health facility or other parties.
Walsh Woodard, LLC has a proven record of success helping victims of medical malpractice and their families.
Hartford Personal Injury Lawyer
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, what should I do?
First, if you are injured, you should seek medical care for your injuries without regard to any potential lawsuit. If you are injured due to the fault of another person, you may well have the right to pursue a claim for injuries or losses against that person, probably through their insurance company. Because every case involves individual facts, your best course is probably to contact an attorney who can help advise you of the particular claim. Before you speak to any insurance personnel, you may want to at least engage in some sort of initial consultation with an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. You should also take photographs of the damage to the vehicles before they are repaired.
You can read more on this topic here
What compensation am I entitled to?
If you are injured in an accident due to the fault of another, you are entitled to the following types of damages:
- Lost wages, profits and future earnings
- Medical costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Mental and emotional injuries
For damages like pain and suffering, disfigurement, etc. that do not usually involve specific dollar amounts, compensation for those damages is based upon what constitutes fair, just and reasonable compensation. The amount of that compensation is an amount that can be agreed upon in settlement discussions, or ultimately, determined by a jury.
What is a contingency fee?
Most of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee agreement means that we are paid only if we are successful in obtaining a monetary recovery in the pursuit of your case. We typically will be paid 1/3 of the monetary amount awarded if your case involves personal injuries, including medical malpractice. With this type of arrangement, if the case is lost, and no money is awarded, you do not owe us any legal fees for our time.
See also, our Glossary of Legal Terms
Am I responsible for costs and expenses for bringing a personal injury case?
For cases handled on a contingency fee basis for personal injuries, we only require our clients to reimburse our firm for costs and expenses associated with litigation if we are successful in recovering money either by way of settlement or trial. In some circumstances, we do negotiate with a client who wants certain experts retained or cases investigated before we agree to accept the matter. However, in most instances, we only require costs and expenses for personal injury cases to be paid back out of the proceeds of the case.
Will I have to go to Court or testify?
Many personal injury cases settle before a case actually goes to trial. However, if the defendant or insurance company is unwilling to offer money towards settlement or the amount is not reasonable, the case will go to trial. If so, the person bringing the personal injury case needs to be present and involved in the case. If any other testimony is required before the trial, the attorney will prepare you for that process.
What is medical malpractice?
When a patient is harmed or suffers serious illness due to the negligence of a health care provider, he or she is a victim of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a complex area of law that requires experienced attorneys. Oftentimes until medical records are fully reviewed and investigated, it is impossible to know whether someone truly has been subjected to medical malpractice. Please see the practice areas or contact us directly for further information.
See also, our Glossary of Legal Terms
If I am injured, how long do I have to bring a claim?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. For your particular case, you should consult with an attorney to get an accurate answer to this question. In general, injuries for negligent drivers causing an accident must be filed within two years of the date of accident. Medical malpractice cases have a similar time frame, although there are certain circumstances that allow for extensions of the two year time frame. However, in some instances you may need to provide certain notice to the wrongdoers well before the two year time period. Therefore, if you are contemplating a claim, you should discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible after the event to preserve your rights.
Is money received for personal injuries taxable income?
In general, damages paid for compensation for personal physical injures or physical sickness is generally excluded from taxable income. However, if a component of your settlement is for lost wages, or emotional distress not tied to physical injury or sickness, or punitive damages, those items can be taxable. We are not tax attorneys and would always recommend that any compensation you receive be discussed with your tax advisor. However, in general, settlements or verdicts that are compensation for physical injures and physical sickness caused by the negligence of another person are excluded from income. For the most recent regulation from the IRS, please see the regulation at 26 C.F.R I§I.I04-1(c).
Glossary of Legal Terms
For our Glossary of Legal Terms click here
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