August 19, 2011

Calirfornia teen arrest for fatal auto accident

I am disturbed by the story of a recent arrest of a California teen. As a Chicago auto injury attorney, I am all too familiar with the deadly combination of teens, alcohol and reckless driving.

18 year old Ryan Armstrong was driving under the influence when he crashed his car, killing his passenger. According to Officer Robert Lehman of the California Highway Patrol, the Carmel Valley resident was arrested on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Armstrong’s vehicle drifted off of the edge of Tasajara Road, and rolled several times. His passenger, Keenan Lucero, 19, of Carmel, was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle as it flipped. Lucero died at the scene.

Lucero was a well-liked student-athlete at Carmel High School and went on to Chico State University.

Two other passengers suffer minor to major injuries.

This tragedy might serve as a reminder to all about auto safety. I strongly urge my clients to always wear seatbelts when travelling in a vehicle and to be cautious and alert -- not only as a driver, but also as a passenger. The family of Kevin Lucero and other victims of careless drivers have the right to seek justice for their losses, pain, and suffering.

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August 1, 2011

$6.5 million settlement for Chicago auto accident

The Chicago Tribune reports on a recent lawsuit settlement.To summarize: seven years ago, Gregory Jones, 8, and Datondra Mitchell, 11, were hit by an unmarked police car. Jones died shortly thereafter, and Mitchell suffered serious injuries.

The officer who hit the children claimed that he was in pursuit of a vehicle, after he had seen a man in the vehicle pointing a gun at a pedestrian. However, police investigation never located the suspect, or the car Officer Mark Delboccio was chasing.

Recently, the City Council Finance Committee awarded $6.5 million to settle the lawsuit as a result of this horrific incident – $590,000 to the girl, now 18, and the remaining to the boy’s family for their losses. The full council will vote on the settlement this upcoming Thursday.

As a Chicago auto incident attorney, I see tragic cases like this that may call for a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims mean that a person, or an institution, wrongfully causes the death of someone else. Families who are dealing with tragedy of this sort have legal rights to financial compensation. A person who is negligent should be held accountable for their wrongful behavior that causes the loss of a loved one, pain, and suffering. A wrongful death claim may arise in many types of law including medical malpractice cases, nursing home cases, and like in case of Gregory Jones, auto accidents.

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May 20, 2011

Automakers investigate potential fuel leaks

Honda Motor Company announced this week that it's recalling more than 1,000 Honda Civics in the U.S. because the cars could leak fuel. Many of these 2012 models have not been sold yet, so the repairs will take place while still on the dealer lots. However, Honda will begin to notify customers on May 27, and owners can check the Honda website to determine if their car is affected.

This news comes on the heels of a report that U.S. safety regulators are investigating a fuel tank problem that could affect more than 2.7 million Ford F-150 trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the steel straps holding up the gas tank can rust and break, creating the potential for a fuel spill and fire. Owners of 1997 through 2001 Ford F-150 pickups should contact their dealer for more information. No injuries have so far been reported.

Fuel leaks and defects related to the fuel distribution system can lead to vehicle fires and have the potential to cause serious injuries. As a Chicago product liability attorney, I recommend that consumers adhere to all product recall warnings, both to prevent injury and to ensure complete economic recovery should an injury occur.

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April 12, 2011

Chicago attorney urges support for new effort aiming to increase global road safety

A promising new global initiative “intended to finance programs that would help reduce worldwide crash casualties was announced on Tuesday in London.” (T. Mohn, NY Times Wheels, 4/12).

The Commission for Global Road Safety has created the Driving Safety Initiative, which is “calling on the automobile industry to play a leading role in improving safety on the world’s roads through voluntary contributions added to the sale price of each new car.” Although consumers may opt out of the voluntary contributions, the vast majority of consumers are expected to be willing to contribute the equivalent of about two dollars. Bela Dinh-Zarr, the North American director of Make Roads safe, urges consumers to participate in this important cause because “it’s just $2, less than a cup of coffee, but could help buy a helmet for a child in some countries.”

According to the Commission’s chairman, Lord George Robertson, “car manufacturers and dealers can play an important, visible and positive role in saving lives and preventing disability, and we encourage them to support our proposal for a safety levy.” As a Chicago car and truck accident attorney, I join him in urging car manufacturers to take on this important task to make the roads all around the world safer.

The Driving Safety Initiative is “modeled on similar voluntary fundraising efforts for other public health epidemics, like Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign for cancer,” and the initiative is part of the United Actions Decade of Action for Road Safety, which begins on May 11, 2011. As a Chicago personal injury attorney, I fully support this important initiative.

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April 5, 2011

Highway deaths fall to lowest level since 1949

As a Chicago area car and truck accident attorney, I am thrilled by the recent reports showing that “highway deaths have fallen to their lowest levels in more than 60 years.” (K.Thomas, Washington AP, 3/31).

The U.S. Department of Transportation cited a 3% decrease in highway fatalities from 2009. Moreover, the total estimated number of fatalities at 32,788 people is the lowest number since 1949. Certainly, nearly 33,000 deaths is still far too many, but the government attributed decreases in fatalities to numerous factors including higher rate of seatbelt usage in consumers, technological increases making vehicles safer, and effective and widespread efforts to prevent drunk driving.

Even more promising is the fact that the decline in fatalities came during a year when Americans, on average, drove more miles. Although there is still much room for improvement, I am pleased with this report and am hopeful that seatbelt usage and other preventative measures will safe more lives in the years to come.

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March 21, 2011

Honda recalling new Civics due to fuel leakage

Honda Motor Co. is “recalling new models of the Honda Civic to prevent fuel from leaking from the car's fuel tank.” (Washington AP, 3/17). The recall targets approximately 18,000 2011 Model year.

Honda says the issue surrounds “a plastic case that covers a valve in the fuel pump module could break or crack.” This can potentially lead to a fuel leak in a roll-over crash, which could cause a fire. .

As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I encourage all consumers to stay up to date on recalls and to act quickly when their vehicles are affected. This recall is expected to begin in April. Affected consumers should take their vehicles to Honda dealers who will inspect the fuel pump module and replace it if necessary at no cost.

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March 14, 2011

VW to recall minivans for stalling problem

Volkswagen is “recalling 12,600 minivans because the ignition key could move while driving and cause the engine to shut off.” (Detroit AP, 3/10).

The recalls, which are scheduled to begin in April, follow a similar Chrysler recall, the company that makes the vans for Volkswagen. The Chrysler recall was in response to 32 customer complaints and at least two accidents.

VW says “the ignition key in Routan minivans from the 2010 model year can move from the run to accessory position on its own, turning off the engine. VW estimates that 378 of the vans have defective ignition switches.”

As a Chicago car and truck accident lawyer, I always encourage consumers to maintain awareness about vehicle recalls and safety issues, and to make sure their vehicles are fixed quickly.

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March 4, 2011

Chrysler recalling vehicles over engine stall

Chrysler is recalling “about 250,000 vehicles to fix potential engine stalling.” (Washington, AP, 3/3). The auto manufacturer says the recall affects 2010 Dodge Grand Caravans, Chrysler Town & Country Minivans, and 2010 Dodge Journey Crossovers.

The recall is in response to reports that “the ignition key could move while driving and cause the engine to shut off.” Chrysler says this defect increases the risk of a crash. To date, the government has received 32 complaints, two of which resulted in crashed.
Although the recall is expected to begin in April, owners can contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403.

As a Chicago area car and truck accident attorney, I urge all consumers to stay up to date on vehicle recalls and to have their vehicles repaired promptly.

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February 28, 2011

Ford to recall F-150 pickups over air bags

Ford Motor Co. says it “will recall nearly 150,000 F-150 pickup trucks to fix air bags that could deploy without warning.” (K. Thomas, AP, 2/23). The recall follows concerns raised by the government about the air bag issue.

Ford calls the risk of air bags deploying “relatively low,” and said the recall affects trucks from the 2005-2006 model years. However, the vehicles being recalled currently are much less than the government suggested as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Ford that the recall should cover over 1 million trucks from the 2004-2006 model years. So far, dozens have been injured.

As a Chicago car and truck accident lawyer, I am concerned that this recall is not expansive enough and drivers are still at risk. For those consumers whose vehicles are part of the current recall, please have the issue fixed quickly.

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February 22, 2011

GM recalling Cadillac CTS over vehicle handling

General Motors says it is recalling “more than 50,000 Cadillac CTS vehicles worldwide to fix a loose joint that could cause a rear wheel to become unstable, making it hard for drivers to steer.” (Washington AP, 2/17). Of those vehicles recalled, the majority are located in the United States. The recall targets Cadillac CTS vehicles from the 2009 and 2010 model ears.

GM maintains that the recall is precautionary and no injuries have been reported. The danger of the defect is the potential for a sudden change in the steering and handling of the Cadillac CTS, which could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I always encourage all Cadillac CTS owners to act promptly and address these issues, especially since steering issues are especially serious. GM says owners may call 866-982-2339 for additional information. Similarly, the NHTSA website is always a good source of information.

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February 14, 2011

Nearly 800,000 Dorel Child-Safety Seats Are Recalled

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 800,000 child seats are “being recalled because their harnesses may not hold the child securely.” (C. Jensen, NY Times Wheels, 2/14). As a Chicago personal injury attorney, I encourage parents to act swiftly to ensure their children’s safety.

The recall covers a “wide range of booster, convertible and infant seats, including some sold as part of a stroller travel system, made by the Dorel Juvenile Group of Columbus, Ind.” The recall was triggered by the NHTSA, after an investigation resulting from nearly 150 consumer complaints that the restraining straps had loosened over time.

The restraints were sold “under the brand names Safety 1st, Maxi-Cosi, Cosco and Eddie Bauer.” They were manufactured from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2009. A list of the affected models can be found .

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February 7, 2011

TSA to test new body scanning system

The Transportation Security Administration “is testing a new, more modest body scanning system at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.” (Las Vegas AP, 2/1). The new scanning system is an attempt at compromise for those passengers who take issue with the current scanners complainings that the full-body scans are overly intrusive.

TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird says “the software being unveiled Tuesday lets passengers see what its security screeners see, and it uses a more generic image.” Mr. Baird says that TSA is trying to improve privacy protections while maintaining high levels of security.

As a Chicago area personal injury lawyer, I am hopeful that the TSA will be able to find a balance between protecting privacy without sacrificing necessary security.

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