Photo of man fastening seat belt over his lapThere’s truth behind the slogan, ‘Seat Belts Save Lives.’ In fact, last year alone seat belts were credited with saving some 14,000 lives. At the same time, however, these safety harnesses can contribute to the injuries drivers and passengers suffer as a result of motor vehicle accidents.

Part of the problem, according to researchers, is that seat belts essentially are designed to restrain middle-aged males, and the force they use could be too strong for smaller passengers, particularly women and older people. While these researchers encourage all drivers and passengers to continue using seat belts, there is one professor at Ohio State University’s School of Medicine, on a crusade to see improvements that would allow seat belts to adjust to the individual person. To learn more, read “When seat belts pose a safety hazard.”

accidental-poisoning-400-05670556dInjury is the leading cause of death of children and teenagers in this country and accidental poisonings rank among the top five leading causes of injury. Most of these poisonings occur when children accidentally ingest medications or common household cleaners.

Young children are particularly susceptible to this type of injury because they often experiment by putting things in their mouths. But even older children are at risk if they ingest a dangerous substance that isn’t clearly marked. This was the case recently in New Jersey when two children, in totally separate incidents, ingested industrial-strength cleansers that had been stored in an unmarked container. See, “Poison alert: cleaning product landed 2 …”

To learn how to prevent incidents like this from happening in your home, read the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Tips to Prevent Poisonings.”

personal-injury-400-06135599d
Personal Injury attorney, Victor Rotolo, and the attorneys of the Victor Rotolo Law Firm offer legal counsel to clients seeking to recover damages for injuries suffered as the result of accidents, including those related to defective products, accidental falls, and workplace mishaps.

Collecting damages for injuries you suffered as a result of another person’s negligence encompasses more than simply pointing the finger of blame. Laws governing personal injury cases vary by state. In New Jersey, those laws determine when you can file your claim, which injuries qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, and the type and amount of damages you can expect to collect.

When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

dwi-lawsuit-400-07662288dSince a Supreme Court ruling in 2008, breath tests have been admissible in court as proof of a driver’s impairment in a DWI case. However, certain criteria must be met in administering these tests for the results to be considered valid evidence. It is these criteria that are the basis of a federal class action lawsuit that could result in more than 20,000 New Jersey DWI convictions being overturned.

For the results of a breath test to be admissible in court, the device used to measure a suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC) must be in working order and appropriately inspected at the time of the test; the person administering the test must be a certified operator; and the test must be administered according to procedure.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in New Jersey last month, claims that a New Jersey State Police sergeant failed to properly recalibrate devices that potentially were used to administer breath tests in more than 20,000 DWI cases in five different counties throughout New Jersey. In addition to unspecified damages and court costs, the suit seeks to have a review of all DWI cases that may have involved the sergeant in order to determine if any of the convictions should be reversed. To learn more, read “20,000 DWI cases called into question in NJ: Is yours one of them?

teen-driverrs-400-05083531dA recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that the country has seen an almost 10 percent increase in fatal car accidents among teenage drivers this past year except in New Jersey where such accidents have actually declined. Could New Jersey’s graduated drivers’ license (GDL) program be the reason?

While all states have some sort of GDL program for teens, New Jersey’s system has some strict requirements. For one thing, any driver between the ages of 16 and 20 must first hold a learner’s permit before getting a probationary license that will last for at least one year. Elsewhere in the country, teens can opt out of their state’s GDL program by age 18. To learn more about how New Jersey’s GDL may be saving teen lives, read “More teens are dying behind the wheel – how NJ’s bucking the trend.”

social-media-PI-400-06419843dIt has been estimated that more than three-quarters of adults who use the Internet are actively engaged on social media. It can be an efficient way to keep in touch with a number of people, near and far but, if you’re involved in a personal injury claim, you may want to be careful about what you post. Even the most innocuous comments could come back to haunt you.

The idea behind a personal injury lawsuit is to attempt to recover damages resulting from medical expenses, lost wages and even pain and suffering, which can manifest itself in depression, anxiety and, in some cases, isolation. While it might be a natural instinct for someone laid up with an injury to reach out to friends and family through social media in an effort to pass the time, the content of their posts could actually be used against them in court. To learn more, read “Could Social Media Impact Your Personal Injury Claim?

driverless cars: photo of two men and a woman looking at two cars involved in crashIt has been predicted that by the year 2020 there will be some 10 million driverless cars on the roads. In preparation for this, the auto industry has been including such features as park assist and crash avoidance technologies on more and more vehicles in recent years. While drivers adjust to the thought of relinquishing all navigational control to their vehicles, the government is grappling with some practical matters that the new fully-automated vehicle technology will bring.

The Department of Transportation recently released new policies aimed at balancing safety with this new technological advancement. These policies address such issues as how to assess a vehicle’s crashworthiness, how to prevent hacking of the automated systems; and how to cope with a system failure. To learn more, read “Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Driverless Vehicles.”

Meanwhile, insurers and lawyers both are dealing with the question of responsibility in the event of accidents involving driverless cars. For more on this, read “Who’s Responsible for Self-Driving Car Accidents?

phone-batteries-400-06177414dThese days it seems almost everyone is attached to their smart phones. Not only do these devices keep us connected to colleagues, friends and family, they also provide access to a wealth of information with the touch of a finger. Along with all the advantages these mobile devices offer, there are risks -and not only those risks associated with distracted driving.

Samsung, a leading manufacturer of cell phones, recently launched a major recall of the Galaxy Note 7 due to a defective battery. According to reports, the batteries in this particular smart phone are at risk of exploding due to a “manufacturing process error.” There have yet to be reports of injuries stemming from these battery explosions, although investigators are looking into a possible connection between the battery problem and two massive fires (see “Samsung’s recalled Galaxy Note 7 blamed for Jeep and garage fires”). Even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is getting involved by asking customers to not pack these phones into checked baggage and to refrain from turning them on or charging them in flight. For further details, read “FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones …”

car-deaths-400-08315349dDespite repeated warnings reminding us how quickly the temperatures inside a motor vehicle can rise, we continue to see reports of children left forgotten in hot vehicles. Each year an average of 37 children die as a result of being left in a hot vehicle and many others suffer heat-related injuries. So far this year, 27 heat-related child deaths have been recorded.

Some reports link the increase in these heat-related deaths and injuries to passenger-side airbags. When passenger-side airbags were first installed, laws were changed requiring parents and caregivers to place child safety seats in the rear to protect young children from injuries resulting from a deploying airbag. Unfortunately, putting children in the rear seat puts them out of the driver’s sight.

Placing a purse, briefcase, or cell phone in the back next to the child’s safety seat forces drivers to look in the rear. Keeping the child’s diaper bag or school bag on the front passenger seat reminds the driver that a child is in the car. While these tricks may be enough for some drivers, child safety advocates want the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to require auto manufacturers to install electronic reminders in their vehicles and one major car maker has taken steps to do just that. For more details, see “Hot Car Deaths and What the Auto Industry Is Doing About Them.”

water-parks-400-05067547dWater parks, those adventure parks that feature waterslides and wave pools, are gaining in popularity as summertime attractions. According to the World Waterpark Association, about 85 million people attended water parks in 2015, up from about 73 million a decade earlier. While these parks offer fun and exciting ways for children and adults alike to beat the heat, they also present a risk for injury.

A recent tragedy that resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy at a Kansas City, KS, water park serves as a reminder that accidents can and do happen. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that over 4,200 people are treated at emergency rooms each year for injuries sustained on waterslides; that doesn’t take into consideration other water park-related injuries or near drownings. To find out more about the potential dangers of water parks and the steps being taken to improve their safety, read “Safety issues, statistics about water parks in the US.”