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Volkswagen Diesels Are Setting All The Wrong Records

Volkswagen Diesels Are Setting All The Wrong RecordsIt’s been an incredible couple of years when it comes to automobile recalls. Whether it’s ignition switches, airbags, or gas tanks set so far back that they could rupture and ignite in a collision, the overall number of recalls in 2014 and 2015 has been staggering, and in both years the total is double the third place figure. However, now that Volkswagen has admitted it deceived emissions tests with its diesel engine cars, the German automaker could be setting a few new records all on its own.

Why Did They Bother?

Diesel engines have a reputation for getting noticeably more miles per gallon than gasoline engines, and although they’re also usually more durable, the drawback is that they aren’t as fast or responsive. Diesel engines in personal cars never really took off in the United States until very recently, and it’s only because companies like Volkswagen successfully marketed diesel engines as being environmentally friendly since they can run on renewable biofuel and because more miles per gallon means fewer pollutants per mile.

However, that last... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

What Is Pain And Suffering Really Worth?

What Is Pain And Suffering Really Worth?“Pain and suffering” is one of those amorphous terms that often come up during personal injury cases. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think it’s just a reason for the jury to give someone thousands or even millions of dollars because whatever accident happened made the plaintiff sad. However, while the truth is more serious than a simple mope, it’s not exactly easy for juries to come up with a solid number, either.

Life Interrupted

Pain and grief are very subjective feelings, and if you put two different people through the same traumatic event, you’ll likely end up with two different results.

For instance, imagine that two factory workers are injured when an inexperienced forklift driver accidentally runs them over. Both workers are equally injured, but while the first person returns to her job once she finishes healing, the second develops post-traumatic stress and is unable to work at that factory or any other ever again – at least not before he gets a significant amount of therapy.

While the first worker can probably get through... full post

Working Out The Kinks: The Benefit Of A Good Chiropractor

Working Out The Kinks:  The Benefit Of A Good ChiropractorWhen you’ve been in a car accident, even if all your vehicle’s safety features worked correctly and you feel safe and sound, it’s possible that you still got injured in a way that’s hard to notice at first. Whiplash is easy to come by in a car accident, since getting it is simply a matter of having your head snap back and forth fast enough to injure the soft, sensitive interior of your spinal cord. Unfortunately, because whiplash is hard to pin down and easy to fake, a lot of people underestimate just how debilitating this sort of injury can be.

Popping Out Of Alignment

Whiplash occurs most often because of rear-end collisions, the sort of collision you see when someone isn’t paying enough attention at a stoplight and winds up ramming the person in front of him or her. The headrests on car seats are designed to prevent whiplash, but it still happens with some frequency.

Symptoms usually show up within 24 hours, but as with a lot... full post

3 Defensive Driving Tips You May Have Forgotten

3 Defensive Driving Tips You May Have ForgottenIn most states, qualifying for a driver’s license is a fairly straightforward matter of sitting through a few classes on basic traffic laws, going on a few practice drives with an instructor, and then going through a test which isn’t easy to fail (aside from the parallel parking, of course). But once you’ve done all that, all the DMV cares to know about when you renew is whether or not you can read road signs without any glasses. In other words, it’s rare to encounter any supplemental or refresher lessons even as the years and decades pass.

As such, here are a few defensive driving tips which you may have forgotten about or else dismissed because you were a teenager and you were certain you could drive better than your instructors.

1. Only Tailgate At Sports Games

No matter how much of a hurry you’re in, riding someone else’s bumper is not going to get you to your destination faster, and it’s rare that doing so will cause the car in front to speed up. All... full post

6 Things To Keep In Mind For A Long Drive

6 Things To Keep In Mind For A Long DriveThe end of the year is traditionally a time for families to get together all across America, and with the way American families move around, that means it’s the season for long-distance car rides. At All Injuries Law Firm, we’re all too familiar with what can happen if someone gets too fatigued from driving for too long, and we’d like everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season. As such, we’re offering a few tips to those of you who plan to save money on air fare and go on a road trip instead.

1. Tune Up Your Car In Advance

If your vehicle is in need of a tune up or a specific repair, then you do not want to drive hundreds of miles away from home with something like that hanging over your head. Like a long-distance runner getting in shape for a marathon, you want to make sure your car is in the best possible condition before you start on a long journey.

2. Don’t Drive Nonstop

Despite how driving requires... full post

GM Ignition Switches And The Public Good Of Tort Law

GM Ignition Switches And The Public Good Of Tort LawIn February 2014, GM issued a recall notice regarding faulty ignition switches which could jostle out of the run position during operation and thus shut off power steering, power brakes, and airbags, all while the vehicle is potentially moving at full speed on a highway. Internal documents suggest that GM technicians knew about this defect for around 10 years prior to the recall, but if that’s the case, then what caused this change of heart?

As it turns out, it wasn’t an internal decision, nor was it the result of a regulator’s investigation. The reason GM finally came clean is because of a personal injury (also known as tort) case which forced them to go public with some damning documents.

Pretending Nothing Is Wrong

As far back as 2001, GM engineers noticed that the ignition switches in the new Saturn Ion weren’t sticking in place the way they needed to. These engineers quickly fixed the problem, but as it turns out they didn’t fix it far enough. While the switches... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

How Do I Know My Personal Injury Case Is Valid?

How Do I Know My Personal Injury Case Is Valid?Every day, we experience irritations which, at a stretch, could be classified as a personal injury. Maybe you burn your tongue on some hot coffee, or maybe you get to work late so your coworkers insist you buy everyone drinks for lunch. Maybe a neighborhood dog gives you a playful nip when you pet her, or maybe an online troll makes fun of a social media post you made earlier at work.

Under the broadest of definitions, all of these inconveniences and annoyances could be called an injury, but at the same time none of them are anywhere near enough to justify litigation. So where exactly is the line between the daily inconvenience and a need for compensation? When is enough enough?

A Different State Of Legality

Part of the trouble with answering that question is that there is no hard, universal answer in the United States. Civil law is, for the most part, legislated and adjudicated at the state level, and so the details can all be different... full post

It’s Not Always Your Fault If You Get Hurt

It’s Not Always Your Fault If You Get HurtYou may not have heard the term “product liability” before, but you probably know the principle behind it: if you make something that gets somebody else hurt, you are responsible for that injury and you should have to pay something to make up for it. Product liability and personal injury lawsuits may sometimes have a bad reputation for being frivolous, but no matter how many people attempt to abuse the law to get rich quick, it remains true that companies have and will continue to try and cut corners that get their customers hurt or even killed. And if they aren’t held responsible for what they’ve done, they won’t stop.

Should The Buyer Really Beware?

There’s an old Latin phrase, caveat emptor, which means “let the buyer beware.” It means that the customer shouldn’t always trust what the seller has to say and he or she shouldn’t always take goods at face value. But while caveat emptor is a good way to shrug off the sort of guilt and anguish... full post

High-Profile Recalls Are Now Less The Exception And More The Rule

High-Profile Recalls Are Now Less The Exception And More The RuleLooking back over the past two years, it seems as though massive automobile recalls based around often fatal defects are growing more and more common. Each of the major automakers is taking a turn, and in most cases it seems as though they were aware of the problem and chose not to report it in time to prevent several fatalities. What’s more, each recall scandal seems bound and determined to top the ones that came before it.

In many cases the recall efforts are still ongoing, and so it may be a good idea to take a look back and take stock of all the major automaker scandals of 2014-15.

Takata Airbags

Technically, the recall of airbags which spew metal fragments like a grenade began in 2013, but it’s slowly expanded over the years as Takata, automakers, and regulators have discovered new, related defects in other makes, models, and years. Currently, the number of recalled vehicles stands at around 32 million vehicles across 18 separate brands, and of those... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

What Does It Mean To Settle Out Of Court?

What Does It Mean To Settle Out Of Court?If you’ve suffered a personal injury and you weren’t satisfied with the settlement which the other party offered, either directly or through their insurance, and if you’ve hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit, then even at this point the chances are very good that you’ll end up settling before you so much as select a jury.

But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of all the rigmarole? Why go through the trouble and the expense of hiring a lawyer and waiting for months or even years for a result when you don’t even get your day in court?

The Legal Duel

The short answer is that by the time the trial is held, it’s already mostly over.

The real meat of a trial happens during what’s called the discovery process. During this phase, both sides investigate each other’s claims and, in the interest of fair play, they pass along what they learn to the other side. This gives the legal teams the chance to build up counterarguments which are then also... full post

You Don’t Have To Settle For Less

You Don’t Have To Settle For LessIf you end up in an accident, or if you get injured on the job or while you’re at some other commercial location, then if your injury is serious enough it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with an insurance agency in order to get compensation for damaged property, medical bills, and lost wages. In fact, it’s very possible that you’ll lose track of the original person or business entirely and only ever speak with the insurance claims adjuster just as soon as you leave the site of the accident.

However, it’s worth pointing out that even though the adjuster is paying you money, he or she is not actually on your side. Paying out claims is the biggest drain on any insurance company’s revenue, at least if it’s operating correctly, and as the person who determines just how big this drain is, claims adjusters are strongly encouraged to make this drain as small as possible. That means keeping a watchful eye out for insurance fraud, but it also means that they may see fraud where... full post

Have You Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

Have You Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?Approximately 460,000 Florida residents receive Social Security Disability benefits. Thousands apply for benefits each year following following an accident or illness resulting in long-term or permanent disability. And each year 65% of Florida's initial Social Security Disability applications are denied by the Social Security Administration despite the fact that the majority of these are, in fact, legitimate disability claims.

Once an application is denied, the applicant can then appeal this decision. However, the vast majority of Florida's Social Security Disability applicants are denied once more during the Request for Reconsideration, which is the initial stage of the appeals process. In fact, most Florida applicants for Social Security Disability benefits must request a hearing before an administrative law judge before receiving benefits.

Of course, just obtaining a hearing before an administrative law judge is a process in itself, a process that can take quite a bit of time. In Florida, it takes between 376 and 682 days to be granted a disability hearing. Following the hearing, it takes another 45 to 90 days to get... full post

Is Volkswagen On The Hook For Repairing Your VW's Faulty Emissions System?

Is Volkswagen On The Hook For Repairing Your VW's Faulty Emissions System?If you have tuned into the news at all within the past month, then chances are you have heard or read at least the basic outline of the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal. On September 18th, 2015, the company was issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the EPA, Volkswagen deliberately programmed TDI (turbocharged direct injection) diesel engines to activate certain important emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing.

This intentionally faulty programming prompted the vehicles' emissions systems to put out only an acceptable amount of nitrogen oxide during regulatory testing. However, once the vehicles had successfully passed this emissions test, they would produce up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide under normal driving conditions. This amount far exceeds U.S. emissions standards. It is estimated that around eleven million vehicles worldwide are affected, including 500,000 in the United States. The faulty program affects vehicles manufactured between model years 2009 and 2015.

In 2014,... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

Workers' Compensation FAQs

Workers' Compensation FAQsIf you are an employee in Florida, you are entitled to certain worker's compensation rights under the law. It is important for any Florida worker to be familiar with the state's worker's compensation laws. However, for a Florida worker who has recently been injured on the job, such knowledge becomes crucial. Did you know, for example, that there is a statute of limitations for filing worker's compensation claims in the state of Florida? Read on to learn more about this and other commonly asked worker's compensation questions.

1. Statute of Limitations. When you are injured at work, or when you first become of aware of a qualifying worker's compensation injury or illness, you have 30 days to report your injury or illness to your employer. A failure to report your work-related illness or injury within this 30 day period may jeopardize your Florida worker's compensation claim. Once you have reported your illness or injury to your employer, you have two years to file your worker's compensation claim. If you fail to report your illness or injury to your employer in a timely fashion, this may be used... full post

All The Details Of An Accident Are Important

All The Details Of An Accident Are ImportantWhen an accident occurs the normal reaction is shock, usually followed by concern for the well being of everyone involved, especially friends and family. However, as difficult as it may be to maintain, one of the most important things that a person can do during any kind of accident, regardless of severity is to maintain calm, and be mindful of all the details surrounding the incident.

A calm attitude is important in almost any situation, especially one where emotions can run high and panic can lead to rash, occasionally harmful decisions. But keeping a keen eye on details helps to assess what needs to be done, and, for the sake of any legal proceedings, helps to paint a more complete picture of the events involved in the accident and correctly place responsibility where it belongs.

If an accident occurs where it is clear that you are the victim of someone else’s negligence—and that there may be severe injuries involved—every detail that you can record will be vital in going forward with a personal injury case. The extent... full post

Why Do Recalls Happen?

Why Do Recalls Happen?It is perhaps one of the most surprising and potentially upsetting events that can happen to an unsuspecting automobile owner. You read up on the news of the day, or check out your favored social media network and find stories talking about how a car manufacturer is issuing a recall on an automobile with a system-wide problem. Then you realize that you actually own the car in question, and that this isn’t some unfortunate problem that’s happening to someone else, you’re directly affected by it.

In recent months, observant people will have noticed that there have been quite a few automobile recall announcements. The Takata explosive airbag is a dangerous, recent example, while Volkswagen’s deception about its eco-friendly diesel engines is a less risky, but more anti-consumer incident that shows deliberate, immoral action on the part of a big business.

But why do these things happen? In both cases, a serious problem has come to light, and as a result, the company responsible has to own up to it, often with severe financial repercussions, so why bother creating a situation that would require a recall in... full post

Brian O Sutter
posted by Brian O. Sutter , in:

Florida Should Prepare For A Wet Winter

Florida Should Prepare For A Wet WinterWhen it comes to winter, Florida isn’t usually a state that has to worry about problematic weather conditions. In fact, the typical Florida winter is both mild and dry, which makes it the time we can stop worrying about hot, humid air and the occasional hurricane or tropical storm and instead relax and enjoy the holiday season. Unfortunately, all that changes when El Niño starts up in the Pacific.

The El Niño Cycle

El Niño is a pool of warm water that forms in the subtropical latitudes of the Pacific Ocean every few years or so. This change in temperature causes a change in global wind patterns, particularly affecting the eastern parts of Asia and just about every part of North and South America.

As far as Florida is concerned, the big effect is a shift in wind coming from the Pacific: during the low-temperature end of the cycle, subtropical Pacific air angles northeast into Texas and the Northeast, but when El Niño is in full swing the wind blows straight across Mexico and towards Florida, picking... full post