Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Save Lives: More Caution, Less Speed

Yet another life is tragically lost on the road and once again, car accidents proved to not discriminate against its victims. Beth Smith, the wife of PGA Tour Player Chris Smith was killed and his two children grievously injured last June 22, 2009 in a car crash in Indiana.

It was reported that Beth Smith and their two teenage children, Abigail and Cameron were returning from a trip from Toledo, Ohio, when their SUV collided with a Greyhound bus transporting a Canadian semipro football team.

Police said that the SUV lost control in the passing lane on Interstate 69, over corrected and crossed the median into the northbound lane.

The crash killed Beth and Abigail and Cameron Smith, were listed in critical condition at Fort Wayne's Lutheran Hospital. About 12 passengers on the bus were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.

94 percent of the 10.6 million vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes in 2007 are passenger cars and light trucks (pickups, vans, and utility vehicles).

A 1995 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study showed that swerving into another occupied lane account for 13 percent of all fatal crashes while turning left and colliding with an oncoming vehicle comprise 9 percent of traffic fatalities.

While statistics show that the Smith’s choice of vehicle as well as the conditions surrounding the accident that death and injury are almost a surety— motor vehicle related deaths are still considered as the most preventable deaths.

A little more caution and less speed could have avoided the Smith’s fatal crash. Loss of control of one’s vehicle is easily one of the leading causes of car crashes and most of this boils down to human error and driver error.

Navigating on freeways and intersections require the driver’s utmost concentration because of the sheer number of vehicles as well as the presence of stops, turns, and lanes.

A little more caution and a lot less speed could save countless lives. Cameron and Abigail have lost their mother, and everybody else is at the risk of losing beloved family members because of a driver’s mistake.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Loss and Liabilities of the King of Pop

“Like a comet blazing through the evening sky, gone too soon…”

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson is dead. News have shocked and deeply saddened fans across the world as the fifty year old music icon was found not breathing and in a coma when emergency paramedics arrived.

His personal physician was apparently trying to resuscitate him. Jackson was taken to the UCLA Medical Center where attending doctors tried to revive the musician for over an hour. It was announced that he died of a cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is an abnormal heart rhythm that stops the heart from pumping blood to the body. It can occur after a heart attack or be caused by other heart problems.

The news came as a shock to everyone as Jackson was busy preparing for his comeback. He was reportedly in a healthy physical condition after a medical screening and was rehearsing for a series of shows in London's O2 Arena

The concerts had been scheduled to kick off July 13 all of which have been booked and sold out.

Even while the whole world mourns the loss of such a wonderful talent, a lot of questions still remain up in the air.

Jackson has three children, Prince Michael 7, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11. At the time he died, he was also deeply in debt which is estimated to be around $400 million.

The massive debt is attributed to his years of excessive spending and little work. He has not toured since 1997 or released a new album since 2001, but continued to live an opulent lifestyle, spending $30 million more annually than he was earning.

Jackson has also amassed a debt of unpaid wages, lawsuits and unpaid keep on Neverland Ranch. Technically, it’s going to be a legal nightmare to find out what’s going to happen to Michael Jackson’s assets and liabilities as well as possible contractual obligations.

Under the laws of contract, excuses for non-performance is as follows: mistake, misrepresentation, frustration of purpose, impossibility, impracticality, illegality, unclean hands, and unconscionability.

The death of Michael will doubtless ripple through the industry. His massive debt will also take much, if not most of his fortune and estate.

He may have found peace in his sudden rest but for his family, handlers, and associates, his death is only the beginning.

Michael the Moonwalker and the man who had magic with music may have gone too soon but everything he’s left behind, from music to memories and everything else in between will remain.

Hit and Run Driver Caught and Charged for Biker’s Death

Remember Jim Gafney, the biker for a cause, who died in a hit and run accident? Well, the good news is that the driver was already caught and properly charged.

Attorney John Hudspeth of the Clinton County State said that Leon K. Marcum was in jail on a $100,000 bail. Hudspeth further said that investigation is on-going on Marcum’s blood–alcohol level. Moreover, the possibility of charging the latter of felony driving under the influence was high.

Police withdrew previous charges for misdemeanor DUI and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident pending review of all details of the case.

Gafney was a retired computer engineer who bike across country to protest government bailouts. He was gathering signatures to object to tax reforms and cuts of the Obama administration. But his noble pursuit for change was put on an abrupt halt upon his death.

With the arrest of Marcum, justice slowly becomes clear for Gafney’s loved ones. Surely, Gafney’s death would not be just an addition to numerous unsolved hit and run cases. The aid of a bike accident attorney would certainly make the case reach a favorable conclusion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

UCLA lab Trainee Dies, Family Criticizes Investigation

People dealing with dangerous chemicals and substances must have sufficient training in handling the same. For trainees or apprentices, strict supervision is necessary. Moreover, equipment that would be used in the experiment, procedure or process must be functioning properly.

Improper or unsupervised handling of hazardous chemical may result to accidents such as fire and burn. In a tragic incident that happened at UCLA, an unsupervised trainee suffered severe burn injuries when an experiment gone badly.

Sheri Sangji, a staff research assistant at UCLA, died of burn injury eighteen days after an experiment with air sensitive chemicals burst into flames. Shanji was neither wearing a protective lab coat nor supervised at the time of the accident.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) cited UCLA for three violations and ask to pay a fine of $3, 185 for each violation. The penalty was imposed upon finding that Sangji was improperly trained and not wearing protective clothing when the accident happened.

Dissatisfied with the findings, Sangji’s family appealed alleging that the violations should be considered “willful” and “repeat” thereby increasing the penalty to $70,000 each. Moreover, they also claimed that the state board failed to investigate regarding the safety of the equipment used or method used in the experiment.

Burn injuries as a cause of death are painful and horrific. This must be the reason why families of burn victims partake on a legal battle to seek justice. A wrongful death case may be filed against the school and all others who might be responsible for it.

A personal injury lawyer would be helpful in alleviating the pain and suffering of burn victims and their families by pursuing a case against them. Though filing a case would never make things normal, at least parties at fault could be taught a lesson.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Picking Up the Pieces of Air France Crash

Piece by piece, the tragic crash of Air France jetliner is painting a grim picture what happened.

Although French investigators still have no clue on what brought the plane down, with more than 400 pieces of debris recovered despite the unfavorable conditions, they appealed for patience as to determining the cause as Air France crash is one of the worst situations ever known in an accident investigation.

Recently, experts have also revealed that autopsies show that the recovered bodies of the victims had fractures in the legs, hips and arms. The fact that some were found with little to no clothing along with the large pieces of wreckage pulled up from the Atlantic strongly suggest the plane broke up in the air.

A former forensic expert at the U.S National Transportation Safety Board said intact bodies with multiple fractures and large pieces of the aircraft are a good indicator of a midflight break-up.

According to Jack Casey, an aviation safety consultant in Washington, D.C. said that the lack of clothing is significant in in-air break-ups. He confirmed that multiple fractures are consistent with mid-air break-up and that most victims would have been dead before hitting the water.

An explosion is still not ruled out as the crash’s cause and the plane’s flight data, voice recorders and black box are still missing.

The mystery surrounding Air France is enough to strike fear in the heart of many plane commuters. About 2.5 billion passengers board an airplane each year and while 90% of all plane crashes are survivable, the unfortunate 10% have a fate worse than death or is simply, death.

Air France should be a lesson especially to Trans-Atlantic flight providers that they owe their passengers extreme diligence and care since they hold the lives of so many people in their hands.

One fatal pilot mistake, one neglected airplane part or faulty maintenance, and everything will come crashing down.

The families left behind by the victims of Air France crash have lost much and for many, even the peace of having the bodies of their loved ones back is impossible. Air France will no doubt be facing a lot of lawsuits in the future.

Robes recalled for catching on fire

Product recall has bombarded the market place and created an alarm among consumers. The newest addition to the recall bandwagon was the Blair’s robe.

In April 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Blair LLC, of Warren, Pa. (Blair), announced the recall of 162,000 women’s full length Chenille Robes.

The recall was prompted by incidents of three robes catching on fire including one report of second-degree burns. After the recall was announced, Blair was informed of other incidents.

When the families of 6 people who had died of burn injuries came forward, CPSC and Blair re-announced the voluntary recall of the robes. Of the six new incidents, five of them were women who were cooking at the time of death. Of the five, three were in their 80s.

CPSC and Blair asked consumers to stop wearing the robes and return them in lieu of gift card.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fowl Trouble

Watch out “fowl” villain!

Following the crash of US Airways Flight 1549 crash in New York’s Hudson river and the National Transportation Safety Board’s determination that migratory Canada geese (Branta canadensis) caused it, Canada geese are going to be fair prey.

According to the NTSB’s investigation, at least two female and one male geese got sucked into the plane’s engines which disabled the flight. There were 155 people in the plane, who thankfully got evacuated on time and in one piece.

The Canada geese however, are not looking too lucky at this point.

A recent news update states that New York City plans to trap and kill up to 2,000 Canada Geese this summer in an attempt to avoid the same collision. The next plane must not be so lucky when the next bird strike comes.

According to the report, the Canada Geese hunt will within five miles of Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Aside from culling bird flocks on the airport property, it will now be expanded into other parts of the city including about 40 public parks.
Hmmm… animal rights groups will most likely be set to howling over this issue. But the question is, will saving Canada geese save human lives from bird strikes in planes?

But Canada geese are now considered as pests due to their huge number and since 1999, Wildlife Services has been engaged in lethal culls of Canada Geese primarily in urban or densely populated areas.

The Canada geese, aside from being a main culprit for plane bird strikes is also a suspect for the cause of an increase in high fecal coliforms at beaches.

The agency would addle goose eggs and destroy nests as part of their more humane population control methods for Canada Geese.

The roundup will be timed with the molting season, within a week when the geese can't fly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Drunk Driver Pleads Not Guilty to Murder of Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart and Friends

“Not guilty”.

At least that’s how Andrew Thomas Gallo pleaded at his arraignment when the 22-year old was charged with three counts of murder following the alcohol-related crash.

Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, 22, Courtney Stewart, 20, a college student, and Henry Pearson, 25, a law student were killed in the car crash when Gallo’s minivan ran a red light and broadsided the Mitsubishi Eclipse Stewart was driving.

The fourth passenger in the car, Jon Wilhite, 24 was seriously injured. The former standout player on the Cal State Fullerton Titan baseball team was hospitalized for weeks for “internal decapitation,” a rare and often fatal separation of the skull from the spinal column.

Defense attorney Randall Longwith even said that his client did not have any malice at the time of the crash and that his client cannot get a fair trial in Orange County and will file a motion for change of venue.

Longwith also revealed that there have been death threats against Gallo and himself via the Internet, phone and in a letter. According to him, his client is frequently in tears during their meetings and was crying when he came into court. Longwith said that Gallo is “pretty much in shock”.

Pretty much in shock? Tsk. The part about Gallo crying was obviously a play for sympathy. Tsk tsk. Too bad there was no mention of remorse or the humility to admit mistake and responsibility for the destroying the lives and futures of three young people.

Not guilty? No intent or malice at the time of the crash? In 2006, Gallo pleaded guilty in 2006 to driving under the influence and wrote on the guilty plea form, “I understand that if I continue to drink and drive it may result in death or serious bodily injury to another person.”

Gallo had a choice that night. He cannot be a victim if he knowingly got behind the wheel after drinking. Perhaps his attorney can say Gallo was forced to “drive” but then again, isn’t that what taxis are for?

Drinking and driving is obviously a bad choice. But drinking and driving, after a previous conviction, without a license and killing people and fleeing the scene is so unfair to the people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and to the families who will have lost their loved ones.

Gallo and his attorney hardly have the right to use the word, “unfair”.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Deadly Play: A Product Liability Case

Apparently, it looks like “Chuckie” (Child’s Play) isn’t the only dangerous toy to give your children.

A series of recalls were made by toy maker Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary in 2007, of nearly 2 million popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and other toys because of excessive levels of lead found in the paint on the toys. Barbie doll accessories and "Sarge" toy cars were also part of the recalls.
A $2.3 million civil penalty will be paid by both companies for lead paint violation involving children's toys according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Mattel and Fisher-Price were among dozens of manufacturers that yanked millions of Chinese-made toys from store shelves in the months leading up to the 2007 holiday shopping season. The recalls made parents uneasy as they shopped for gifts for small children.

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.

Lead poisoning in children can cause neurological damage, delayed mental and physical development, learning deficiencies, and other problems. At very high levels, it can cause seizures, coma, and even death.

Product liability, especially in cases of lead poisoning is an actionable claim. Treatment can be costly so if your child happens to be a victim of toy lead poisoning, it is of utmost importance that you quickly make a move that will save his life at the earliest opportunity.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rollover Accident Injures Five including 3 Children

Families are enticed into buying bigger cars with the belief that the bigger their cars are the safer they become. However, safety has always been a major concern for big vehicles such as SUVs. SUVs are more prone to roll over accident than cars.

Rollover accidents are rare but when it happens it could lead to serious injuries such as head injuries or may result to passengers being thrown out of the vehicle.

In a recent rollover accident, five people were injured including three children when their Ford Expedition rolled over on Interstate 805. The children sustained serious injuries but were expected to live nevertheless. The two adult passengers suffered moderate injuries and were fine.

The California Highway Patrol said that the incident involved two other vehicles. The cause of the accident was still undetermined as of the moment.

Car manufacturers were introducing trends or feature to make bigger cars safer. One innovation was the electronic stability control. Some manufacturers even planned to make so-called car-based SUVs wherein SUVs would be built lower to the ground.

In the meantime, those who plan on buying large vehicles should do a little research on what vehicle is less prone to roll over. For those who already owned one, extreme caution should be observed.

In case of accidents, victims may pursue a personal injury case against the negligent parties or a product liability case in case of any defect in the vehicle.