Chrysler Pacifica Recall could result in injury - Bailey Javins & Carter

Fiat Chrysler Recalls 50,000 Pacificas for Seat Belt Issue

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced it is recalling 50,000 Pacifica minivans in the U.S. and Canada following a company-issued report that said fast driving could cause a second-row seat belt to unbuckle. As reported by Fox Business, the recall applies to certain 2017-18 Pacifica minivans with the eight-passenger seating option. The recall affects roughly 48,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 1,900 vehicles in Canada. The recall is scheduled to begin Oct. 20.

The second-row center seat belt can inadvertently cause the left outside seat belt to unlatch in cases in which the vehicle undergoes “extreme handling maneuvers,” FCA said in a statement Wednesday. This happens when the buckle’s release button comes in contact with an adjacent buckle. If you Pacifica is involved in an accident, the seatbelt could unlatch, leaving the passenger in the left outside seat completely unprotected. This could result in a very serious injury to all passengers.

Issues and Recalls with Automobiles

The recall comes on the heels of a worldwide recall announced by the automaker on Tuesday that affects 494,000 Ram pickups. The water pump could overheat and potentially cause a fire.

Problems with seatbelts can be extremely dangerous. They have the potential to create situations where passengers can suffer very serious injuries where otherwise they would been restrained and in a position of safety. The issue was originally discovered during a test conducted by FCA’s interior restraints engineering department and reported on May 12, documents say. The company advises customers to refrain from using the second-row center seat belt if other second-row seats are occupied.

Contact an Experienced Auto Product Liability Law Firm

If you have lost a loved one to a vehicle defect, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for your loss. In such cases, it would be in the best interest of injured victims or families who have lost loved ones to contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who will help them hold the negligent automaker accountable and secure maximum compensation for their losses. Contact the skilled auto defect legal team at Bailey Javins & Carter at (800) 497-0234 or contact us online.

UTV Accidents and Additional Seats - Bailey Javins & Carter

UTV Accidents and Injuries from Jump Seats

A UTV, which stands for utility task vehicle or utility terrain vehicle, is a small, golf cart-looking contraption that combines all-terrain capabilities with more traditional passenger seating. And, like the ATV, UTVs are used to explore terrain that isn’t accessible in traditional vehicle types, and are often reserved for the adventuring soul. UTVs are also commonly called side-by-sides, or ROVs (Recreational Off-highway Vehicles), and are no doubt fun, a great way to explore, and an awesome way to pass a day.

But UTVs can be extremely dangerous too, and every year, there are numerous deaths reported following UTV accidents. In addition to the myriad inherent risks of UTV operation, something that may make UTVs especially risky is the addition of extra seats. Here’s what you need to know:

The Risks of Side-by-Sides

As reported by an article published in The New York Times back in 2011, side-by-sides had nearly instantaneous popularity when they were first marketed to the average consumer, and are now the preferred choice for many former ATV fans, but these vehicles are not without significant risks. In fact, at the time of the article’s publication, side-by-sides had already been linked to 160 deaths, and nearly two times as many injuries as ATVs over a 10-year time period. Some things that set UTVs apart from ATVs, and which could potentially make them more dangerous, or tempt operators to take more risks, include:

Of course, another thing that makes side-by-sides different is that they also allow for more than one operator. UTVs have two seats that are set side-by-side (hence the name), and some are designed with additional seating for more passengers.

The biggest risk that side-by-sides pose is the risk of rollover leading to passenger injury. In a rollover, or another accident type, particularly when an operator or passenger is not secured by seatbelt, injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, spine and spinal cord injuries, amputation injuries, internal injuries, fractures, and even psychological injuries. To highlight just how dangerous these vehicles are, consider that as early as 2009, there were more than 440 wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits pending against Yamaha, the maker of the Rhino (a UTV) that was involved in hundreds of accidents, many of which were rollovers.

Does Adding Additional Seating Increase a Vehicle’s Risk of Accident? 

As stated above, there is sometimes the option to add additional passenger seating to a UTV by purchasing products such as the Great Day Rumble Seat, which is advertised as being able to “double your UTV’s seating capacity.” Specifically, the Great Day Rumble Seat allows additional passengers to sit in the cargo bed of the UTV. However, the ATV Safety Institute, which provides warnings for users and manufactures of ATVs and UTVs, has identified this as hazardous, and has issued a warning to manufacturers, retailers, and users of UTVs to not permit passengers to ride in the cargo bed.

While little research into the effects of adding extra seating to a vehicle that is only designed to carry two passengers has been done, some of the risks are obvious.  First, a UTV is a vehicle that is designed to carry two passengers and is not structurally prepared, nor sound enough, to carry four. Further, adding extra passengers can cause weight imbalances in the already light vehicles, which could increase the risk of rollover. Further, the seats, at least the Great Day Rumble Seats, are designed for adults, which means that they may not safely secure children. Unfortunately, many people who are looking for a four-seater vehicle are doing so in hopes of bringing their whole family along for the ride, and may not notice this potential design flaws.

If you love UTVs, and if you are hoping to operate a UTV with more than one passenger, the safest thing that you can do is to use a four-seat terrain vehicle rather than attempting to add your own seats to a two-wheel vehicle. However, keep in mind that any time negligence is involved, no vehicle, regardless of its design, is necessarily safe.

Contact the Law Offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C. Today

At the law offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C., we know that ATVs and UTVs are fun to use, and we have nothing against having a good time. We also know, however, that UTVs are often designed and manufactured with defects that make them dangerous for use, and design flaws that increase the risk of accident. Our experienced West Virginia ATV/UTV attorneys are highly concerned about the addition of extra passenger seating to UTVs, and encourage those throughout West Virginia to weigh the risks before installing these seat types.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a UTV, please contact us today. Consultations with our law firm are offered free of charge, and we work on a contingency fee basis. Contact our firm at (800) 497-0234.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep Apnea & Tractor Trailer Accidents - Bailey Javins & Carter

Sleep Apnea and Tractor Trailer Drivers? 

Sleep apnea is the name given to a disorder characterized by persistently poor sleep at night due to shallow breathing and frequent wake-ups, which can occur as many as 30 times an hour. Since the state of normal deep sleep is not achieved, the sufferer seldom gets a restful night of sleep, and consequently experiences frequent periods of drowsiness during the day. The most common form of this disorder is known as obstructive sleep apnea, and it occurs when a person’s airway becomes blocked while sleeping, which then triggers the shallow breathing or pauses in breathing.

Sleep apnea and truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), sponsored a study at the University of Pennsylvania, in which it was determined that approximately 28% of all commercial truckers on the road were suffering from sleep apnea. Cases ranged from mild to severe in this sampling, and the vehicle operators reported varying degrees of difficulty with concentration, focusing their eyes, staying alert to traffic conditions, and even staying awake while driving. While none of the drivers reported actually falling asleep, it is known that accidents frequently occur simply as a result of reduced alertness or slowed reactions.

Can truckers with sleep apnea drive legally?

FMCSA regulations specify that any driver with a medical condition which might interfere with their ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle is ineligible to drive professionally. To be legally disqualified from driving, a trucker must be diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of sleep apnea. However, this assumes that the driver has been diagnosed with a medical condition such as sleep apnea in the first place, and there are undoubtedly a great many drivers on the road who have never been diagnosed by a medical professional.

If a driver has been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a competent physician, is being treated for that condition, and has been declared medically fit for driving, there are no further prohibitions against driving, at least from a medical standpoint. It should be understood however, that every state imposes its own standards for clearance in cases involving medical conditions in commercial drivers.

Legal obligations of a trucking company

Any trucking company or motor carrier organization is prohibited from requiring or allowing a driver to operate one of its vehicles when that driver has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and has not been medically cleared for work. This of course includes any medical condition whatsoever which might interfere with the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle, and potentially cause themselves harm or harm others.

There are times of course, when urgent business requirements supersede safe practices for some companies, and drivers may be sent out on the road without proper medical clearance, or even without the condition being diagnosed at all. These are situations which take on legal implications, because there is a factor involved of willful violation of safety protocols involving commercial vehicles.

Such scenarios can easily lead to truckers dozing for short periods or experiencing momentary loss of alertness, and when that happens, a tractor-trailer can be converted into a weapon weighing several tons, traveling at dangerous speeds. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) has estimated that more than 100,000 accidents in this country are annually attributable to commercial truck drivers dozing off on the road, causing 1,500 fatalities and another 40,000 injuries to individuals involved.

Have you been victimized by a drowsy truck driver in West Virginia?

The firm of Bailey Javins and Carter of Charleston, WV, has represented numerous individuals and families of individuals who have been victimized by truckers urged to drive longer hours than are safe, and from drivers not medically cleared for their conditions. Cases which involve driving fatigue of some kind can often have devastating consequences, due to the nature of large commercial vehicles traveling at high speed. There are accordingly some very strict federal regulations governing such vehicle operation, especially when it relates to driving long hours.

Regardless of the reason for an operator driving while fatigued, there is no legal justification for it, and if it causes an accident involving you or your family on the road, there is a high likelihood that you will be entitled to compensation. Contact Bailey Javins and Carter for a consultation about your case, and allow us to put our years of experience to work on your behalf. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Bailey Javins & Carter have helped many others recover from traumatic road accidents with commercial vehicles, and we are prepared to assist you with getting your life back in order as well.  Contact the firm at (800) 497-0234.

 

PTSD After a Car Accident - Fact or Fiction - Contact Bailey Javins & Carter

PTSD After a Serious Car Accident – Fact or Fiction? 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition which was formerly only associated with military personnel who had undergone the trauma of combat, and who experienced subsequent symptoms referred to as ‘shell shock’. The same collection of symptoms is now recognized as being indicative of a condition which also affects civilians who have experienced some kind of life-threatening event, and it has been given the broader designation of PTSD.

The effects of this disorder might cause the victim to re-live the event repeatedly, to have frequent periods of nervousness or agitation, or to have trouble sleeping, and these disruptions can make getting through a normal day problematic. It is also likely that the behavior of the victim will change significantly in the aftermath of such an event, for instance having a fear of driving in cars, or going anywhere near the actual site of the accident. While it’s fairly normal to undergo these kinds of symptoms for a time following such a traumatic event, when the effects persist into months or years, that becomes a sign that the PTSD has set in.

Is PTSD really possible after a car accident?

Many people have claimed to suffer from PTSD after living through some kind of horrendous auto accident, some of whom have undoubtedly been genuinely troubled by either witnessing or experiencing such an event. However, the condition is also claimed by a great many individuals whose intentions are less sincere, and who hope to profit through litigation.

Historically, in court cases dealing with claimants supposedly experiencing PTSD, the awards have been significant, at least when the court has ruled they are legitimate. In a review of almost 1,400 cases centering on PTSD claims, the plaintiff received compensation approximately 2/3 of the time, and of those recipients, roughly 1/3 were awarded amounts in excess of $1 million. In almost all cases though, legitimacy is difficult to verify.

Legal determination of PTSD

Therein lies the rub. Legitimacy – how is it confirmed or debunked?

The court does not consider there to be any ‘shades’ or degrees of PTSD – the condition is either present or it isn’t, and there are no gradations on the PTSD meter. There is a 6-point process for legal determination of the disorder, which follows the following guideline:

  • Personal exposure – the claimant must have personally witnessed or been involved with an event he/she perceived to be life-threatening
  • Recurring symptoms – the claimant must be re-living the event, in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, seizures, severe anxiety, or abnormal body processes, like excess sweating, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, etc.
  • Aversion behavior – the victim exhibits aversion to people, places, or activities associated with the event, for instance driving in cars
  • Change of personality – these can include loss of self-worth, disinterest in former habits and friends, memory loss, negative feelings, etc.
  • Sleeping problems – difficulty sleeping, recklessness or destructive behavior, frequently ‘on edge’
  • Condition is chronic – any or all of the above have persisted for longer than one month

Of greatest interest to the jury in cases like these is whether or not the event which triggered the condition is sufficiently traumatic to have caused all the observed symptoms. Generally speaking, when the jury is convinced of the seriousness of the incident, the plaintiff has received monetary compensation. However, there is always a great deal of supporting documentation necessary to prove that the symptoms are indeed present, and are contrary to the claimant’s prior behavior. This puts the onus for proof on the believability of the claimant, and the expertise of their legal team.

Representation for a PTSD case

Given the fact that a PTSD case generally hinges on proving severity of the incident, and the resulting symptoms in a claimant, it should be fairly clear that a legal team experienced in such cases would be of the utmost importance. When you, or someone you know, has been experiencing some or all of the symptoms described above, your first call should be to the firm of Bailey Javins & Carter.  The experienced and knowledgeable injury attorneys at Bailey Javins & Carter have successfully litigated hundreds of injury cases and are prepared to talk with you about your injury case.

Having earned a stellar reputation as West Virginia’s premier legal team in situations involving the state’s most catastrophic accidents, Bailey Javins & Carter is well-qualified to represent you. If your life has been turned upside down by a terrible accident, contact our legal firm at (800) 497-0234 to help you set things right again.

 

Gas Explosion Injuries Attorneys - Bailey Javins & Carter

Industrial Explosion at West Virginia Plant Leaves Two with Fatal Injuries

On Wednesday May 24, 2017, a terrible industrial accident at a West Virginia natural gas odorization facility, Midland Resource Recovery, left two of the plant’s workers with fatal injuries, and another seriously harmed. According to reports published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and U.S. News, the Barbour County explosion is currently being investigated, with important questions about what happened yet to be answered.

Report Indicates Workers Were Using Chemicals at Time of Blast

According to a report that was phoned in to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the workers involved in the blast – whose names have yet to be released – were cleaning a mercaptan tank when the incident occurred. Mercaptan is the chemical that is associated with a rotten egg smell, and is added to natural gas (which is otherwise odorless) in order to make it detectable. Typically, the biggest concern regarding mercaptan is inhalation and acute industrial exposure, which could lead to death in severe cases; combustion is not often a concern.

The explosion occurred within the empty tank, and news reports imply that the cause may have had something to do with chemicals that workers were using to clean the mercaptan tank. It is believed that workers were using bleach.

Little General Store Propane Explosion

The incident at Midland Resource Recovery is a painful reminder of the Little General Store, a gas and convenience store, propane explosion that occurred in Ghent, West Virginia, in January of 2007. Details published by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) reveal that the incident occurred when vapors from a propane storage tank ignited, causing the explosion that left four people dead and five others seriously injured.

Investigating Serious Workplace Accidents

When an explosion happens, federal agencies step in to investigate the precise cause of the explosion and make recommendations moving forward. The CSB conducted a thorough investigation on the Little General Store incident, ultimately uncovering that the cause was leaked vapors, as noted above.

Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the CSB have already taken an active role in determining the cause of the Midland Resource Recovery blast. A spokeswoman for the CSB told reporters that the natural gas odorization company had been contacted with a request for additional information; once information is received by the CSB, it will be thoroughly reviewed, and the agency will determine whether or not it needs to send a team of investigators to the site.

An OSHA spokesperson said that OSHA had launched an investigation. The spokesperson also stated that OSHA had no record of inspecting the Barbour County facility in the past five years.

Damages for Families of West Virginia Victims

Details of the injuries of the worker who survived the blast have not been published, but the worker was transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital via helicopter, implying severe harm. Injuries that are common in explosion accidents include serious burn injuries, blunt trauma injuries, amputation injuries, middle ear damage, hemorrhage, fracture, traumatic brain injury, and blast lung. These injury types can make returning to life as normal impossible, potentially leaving the affected victim dependent on medical care for the remainder of their life. This can be extremely painful, and psychologically challenging, for the affected victim and their family. Injuries of this nature and severity are also associated with economic losses.

The families of the workers who were killed suffered greatly too, even if their injuries are not physical. Losing a loved one, a partner, a child, a parent, a friend, an income earner, and someone you depend upon and cherish is a devastating experience.

To all of those affected by this tragic accident, the West Virginia gas explosion attorneys at the offices of Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. want to offer our deepest condolences.

When gas explosions change lives and leave victims and their families with irreversible harm, our legal team will advocate for you. Our experienced West Virginia gas explosion lawyers can represent you in seeking compensation for your losses in the form of economic and non-economic damages, and will work hard to help you understand your rights to pursue damages and hold the negligent party liable for harm. Bailey Javins & Carter, L.C. was one of the leading law firms in helping victims of the Little General Store recover the compensation they deserved, and can help you, too. Contact us today at (304) 345-0346 for your free consultation and more information.