Summer is fast approaching and many are planning road trips with family and friends. In order to ensure a good time for all, keep the following safety tips in mind:
Prepare: Be sure to inspect your vehicle to ensure it has been properly maintained and is safe for travel. Functioning lights, properly changed oil, new windshield wipers and fluid, as well as rotated tires with good tread can be huge contributors toward safe traveling. Moreover, ensuring the hands-free features of your mobile devices are properly working before getting on the road will reduce distraction and help keep you and your family safe.
Drive safely: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2012 that speeding contributed toward over ten thousand deaths. Be sure to plan your trip so you have enough time to reach your destination without speeding. Avoid texting, eating, or drinking behind the wheel as well. If concentration is dwindling, pull over and take a break. Limiting the occurrences of things that impair focus can be the difference between safety and injury.
Moreover, driving predictably by using turn signals, flashing brake lights, gradually slowing down, and giving adequate warnings to other drivers can reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others while on road trips.
If a traffic collision does occur, don’t panic. Call emergency responders if someone is injured and encourage the police to document the event in a report. Take pictures with your cell phone and exchange information with the other driver(s). If there are additional witnesses at the scene, try to obtain their names and contact information as well. Then, call an attorney who can explain your legal rights.
All of us at Kershaw, Cook & Talley, PC wish everyone a safe and happy summer season. If you or a loved one unfortunately suffers injury on the road due to negligent driving, please contact our office at (916) 779-7000.
During Memorial Day, please take some time to celebrate and honor our nation’s fallen heroes with family and friends. While enjoying the weekend’s festivities keep the following safety tips in mind to ensure the holiday stays fun:
Make sure meat is sufficiently cooked in order to prevent food poisoning – up to 48 million Americans each year suffer from food poisoning according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Using a meat thermometer can ensure that your meat is not dangerously undercooked, as color is not always a good indicator of doneness.
Moreover, grills can be dangerous objects for young children to be around. The extreme temperatures and often sharp edges pose a risk of harm to our little ones. Make sure you maintain a three-foot radius around the grill that is a kid-free zone. Additionally, keeping the grill clean of grease and cobwebs (which can ignite) can also reduce the risk of grilling incidents.
Memorial Day brings with it an increase in vehicles on the road and, therefore, a higher likelihood of traffic collisions. About 400 fatalities occurred during the Memorial Day weekends of both 2015 and 2016, so driving safely is imperative on Memorial Day weekend in order to minimize the chances of those numbers repeating again in 2017.
Lounging by the pool and swimming is one of the most popular activities among families during Memorial Day weekend. Let’s keep this a safe and pleasurable event. Know the depth of the water before diving in as spinal injuries can result in paralysis or even death. A designated “pool-watcher” can help ensure that kids stay safe when swimming and that Memorial Day stays fun for all.
Kershaw, Cook & Talley wishes everyone a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend. If, in the unfortunate event that you or a loved one suffer harm or injury resulting from the fault of another that didn’t abide by our community safety rules, please contact our office.
Playground injuries are a fairly common and unfortunate occurrence at public schools, daycare centers, city parks, private schools, and private homes. The majority of these injuries result from either unsafe equipment or unsafe behavior by children.
Operators of playgrounds have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and inspection of their playgrounds so as to prevent foreseeable harm to children playing. If a child is injured on a playground, the operator can be held civilly liable if the following elements are met:
The “proper amount of care” that an operator must exercise consists of periodically conducting inspections of the playground equipment and repairing any problems. A court would find that a playground operator did not exercise a reasonable amount of care if the operator had never conducted an inspection of the playground and a child injures him or herself due to, for example, a crack in a metal slide that an operator would have noticed through a periodic inspection.
It is estimated that approximately 40,000 hospitalizations per year result from injuries to children on playgrounds. If your child or the child of someone you know has been injured due to a playground operator’s failure to exercise a proper amount of care, please contact our office.
Bike month is back in the Sacramento region. During the month of May, bicyclists will be out in full force on the roadways. Bicyclists and motorists need to share and follow the rules of the road.
In California, over 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle accidents each year. Some bicycle related collisions are due to the bicyclist’s behavior, while others to the driver’s distraction. As a motorist, it’s important to be aware of bicyclists to avoid accidents.
Here are helpful tips for motorists to prevent accidents:
A bicycle is a vehicle and have the same rights on the roadway. This means they are also required to follow the rules. Bicyclists and motorists can do their part to avoid an accident. Remember the 3 P’s:
CBS News reports that, according to a study conducted by physicians from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, paid medical malpractice claims declined by about 56 percent between 1992 and 2014. The average payout for a successful malpractice claim, however, jumped over 23 percent reaching a high of $353,000 for the 2009-2014 time period.
Dr. Adam Schaffer, lead author of the study, speculates that this change in medical malpractice payouts is due to recent tort reform that placed statutory limits on medical malpractice damages. The study could mean that, because of the statutory limit on damages, lawyers are less inclined to take medical malpractice cases. The study suggests that the cases lawyers do take, however, are those that might present a bigger payout at the end. This would explain why the overall number of medical malpractice claims went down while the average payout per claim would be expected to rise.
If Schaffer is correct about these trends resulting from tort reform, then tort reform has resulted in a 75.8% reduction in claims against pediatricians between 1992 and 2014 (the largest decline) and a 13.5% reduction in claims against cardiologists (the smallest). Researchers found that the average amount of the payments for medical malpractice claims increased by 23.3%, with claims against neurosurgeons yielding the highest payments and claims against dermatologists yielding the lowest. The number of claims yielding more than 1 million dollars also increased during the time period that the study measured.
While some would like to suggest that the decline in claims could simply be attributed to providing safer care, both Schaffer and Dr. David Troxel, medical director for the nation’s largest physician-owned malpractice insurer, say not so. Schaffer notes that other studies looking at medical errors have not found trends that mirror the Brigham study and Troxel says the fact that a similar decline occurred in other lines of casualty insurance undercuts the safer patient care theory.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a medical context, and it resulted from a professional failing to meet the ordinary standard of care set by professionals in that practice area, please contact our office.
As the winter comes to an end, the warming weather encourages the public to travel by foot rather than car in the pleasant conditions. While it is wonderful that people will be spending more time outdoors, it must be noted that an increase in the number of pedestrians traveling by foot will correlate with an increase in traffic injury rates if people don’t walk and drive mindfully during the Spring. This increased risk of traffic injury is heightened further in urban areas where traffic (both foot and vehicle) is concentrated.
During this time of increased accident risk, it is important for drivers to be on the lookout for pedestrians and drive defensively in order to prevent accidents, keeping in mind that even pedestrians that look as if they are walking steadily can trip and lose balance.
Pedestrians should choose to walk along designated walking areas, as well as maintain a reasonable distance between themselves and the roadway on which vehicles are moving. If walking for exercise and not to arrive anywhere in particular, it may be prudent to choose a path completely separate from roadways on which cars are moving so as to eliminate the risk of vehicular injury. Pedestrians can further minimize their risk by wearing colors that would be easily visible to drivers.
If a pedestrian injury or auto accident results from negligent driving, the driver is subject to civil liability for any resulting damages, reduced by the proportion of fault, if any, attributable to the person that was harmed. If you or someone you know has been harmed in an auto accident resulting from negligence, please contact our office.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a soft vinyl plastic that often contains lead and phthalates, and the production or destruction of PVC releases cancer-causing dioxins into the environment. Products that contain PVC include flexible plastic toys (e.g., rubber duckies, dolls, beach balls, infant bath books), bibs, rest mats, inflatable swimming pools, garden hoses, raincoats, wall paneling and flooring, window blinds, cosmetics, shower curtains, crib bumpers, imitation leather, and food packaging. Health concerns associated with PVC include cancer, birth defects, reproductive and developmental disorders, low sperm count, undescended testes, premature puberty, and liver dysfunction. Despite the dangers of these chemicals, they are not required to be approved for safety before they are placed in products that can end up in children’s mouths, schools, and homes.
According to a Daily Mail article, a recent German study revealed that many armbands used to help children swim, contain cancer-causing chemicals. The article delved into a German study, where tests were conducted using an inflatable beach ball, a pair of swimming armbands and two bathing rings, all of which are made with PVC. A small piece of material from each sample was analyzed using a variety of material analysis techniques. The researchers then investigated the molecular make-up of the distinctive smells emanating from the pool toys. They extracted detectable odors from each sample using solvent extraction and high vacuum distillation methods, and then identified the main odorants using a combination of sensory and common analytical approaches. Between 32 and 46 odors were detected in each sample, of which up to thirteen were quite intense. The researchers also found many dangerous organic solvents such as Cyclohexanone, Isophorone, and Phenol. These chemicals have significant dangers: Cyclohexanone can be harmful if inhaled, Phenol has been shown to affect hormone balance and affect genes in a way that could fuel tumor growth, and Isophorone is a category two carcinogen, which means that this is a suspect substance in the development of cancer in humans. The study further revealed that children can be affected simply by smelling the arm bands’ rubbery odor. The more pungent the smell, the higher the risk. This also holds true for other strong-smelling products such as inflatable beach balls and bathing rings.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has determined that PVC is a known carcinogen. Studies show that people who have inhaled PVC demonstrated an increased risk of liver, brain, lung cancer, and some cancers of the blood have also been observed. Children are likely more susceptible to PVC-induced cancer than adults. In addition, PVC contains a hormone disrupting chemical called phthalate, which has been linked to asthma, obesity, and lowered IQ in children. Phthalates migrate out of PVC products when they are exposed to heat and can be absorbed through one’s skin or taken in orally—such as when kids handle plastics and then put their hands in their mouths. Producing PVC pool toys also takes a toll on the environment. PVC factories release cancer-causing dioxin as a by-product, and a recent CNN documentary, reported that residents in one Louisiana town near a PVC-production facility had dioxin levels three times higher than the national average. As a result, residents were suffering from higher rates of cancer, kidney problems, and reproductive disorders.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product or device, please contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley at (916) 779-7000.
While fun to ride, motorcycles present a heightened risk of injury due to a relative lack of protection. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists face a risk of crashing 30 times greater than drivers of cars. Moreover, nearly half of all motorcycle-related fatalities result from single-vehicle crashes.
Many motorcyclists nevertheless manage to ride their entire lives without injury. The key is to be prepared in order to minimize risk. Consummerreports.org offers the following tips for avoiding injury while riding motorcycles:
While prevention is obviously preferable, sometimes accidents happen regardless of how careful and alert one may ride. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a collision while riding a motorcycle, please contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation at 888-997-5170.
Our office is located in Sacramento and we serve clients throughout California.
According to an article on Mlive.com, a recent Carfax study reports that one in four vehicles within the United States is operating with an unaddressed safety recall. The report stated that the number of recalled vehicles on the road today totals over 63 million vehicles, a figure approximately 34% greater than the number of recalled vehicles on the road in 2016.
In the event of a safety recall, the protocol is for the manufacturer to alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which then notifies vehicle owners that their vehicles are defective and that their local authorized dealership may perform the necessary repairs at no cost to the owner.
Recent Notable Recalls:
A significant portion of the recalled vehicles on the road are attributable to the 2016 Takata airbag recalls, which spanned 22 brands, 19 automakers and 42 million vehicles. Other notable recent recalls include:
If you or someone you know has been harmed as a result of a defective vehicle or product, please contact our office at (916) 779-7000.
On April 21, 2017, Judge Trenga in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia entered an order denying in part summary judgment in In re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, which involves Lumber Liquidators’ alleged marketing and sales of Chinese-manufactured composite laminate wood flooring products (“Products”) that contained excessive levels of formaldehyde. The California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) lists formaldehyde as a toxic air contaminant with no safe level of exposure and has set comprehensive and strict formaldehyde emission standards. Under the CARB-approved Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products (“ATCM”), Cal. Code Regs. tit. 17, § 93120, regular medium density fiberboard (“MDF”) and “thin” MDF products, which are at issue in the Lumber Liquidators case, should emit no more than 0.11 ppm and 0.13 ppm of formaldehyde, respectively. Cal. Code Regs. tit. 17, § 93120.2. While CARB standards are only applicable in California, Lumber Liquidators represented on a nationwide basis that its Products were CARB-compliant. It represented on its website that “NO formaldehyde” was in its hardwood floors. In re Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Flooring Prods. Mktg., Sales Practices and Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 1:15-md-2627 (AJT/TRJ), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61362, at *42-43 (E.D. Va. Apr. 21, 2017) (“Lumber Liquidators”). In addition, even after CARB notified Lumber Liquidators that certain tested Products had failed CARB’s emission testing in October 2013 and a 60 Minutes segment on March 1, 2015 alleging that Lumber Liquidators’ Products contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde, the CEO of the company represented that Products were “100% safe” and complied “‘with applicable regulations . . . including California standards for formaldehyde emissions for composite wood products . . . .’” Id. at *43-44 (citations omitted). Lumber Liquidators ultimately removed its flooring Products from the market in May 2015.
Lumber Liquidators filed a motion for summary judgment motion on August 1, 2016 and it was heard by the Court on September 13, 2016. The Court found that “the evidence is sufficient for a fact finder to conclude that Lumber Liquidators knowingly misrepresented within a nationwide marketplace that its flooring had ‘NO formaldehyde’ and was CARB compliant,” which, under Plaintiff’s theory of the case, “allowed [Lumber Liquidators] to charge a higher price for its Product than the Plaintiffs would have otherwise had to pay.” Lumber Liquidators, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61362, at *52. Plaintiffs are asserting a “price distortion” theory of injury, arguing that Lumber Liquidators would not have been able to sustain prices charged for its Products had it told the truth about them and Plaintiffs are entitled to the difference in value between the amount charged and what they actually received. Id. at *48. In addition, while the Court also found that, with the exception of two Florida Plaintiffs, reliance was not satisfied because none of the other Plaintiffs saw or heard Lumber Liquidators’ misrepresentations regarding formaldehyde or CARB-compliance before purchasing the Product, id. at *53-55, it held that Lumber Liquidators’ misrepresentations were material. Id. at *58 (“Even though a Plaintiff may not have actually relied on Defendant’s misrepresentation, he or she may still have attached significance to the formaldehyde levels in the Products and, in fact, Plaintiffs’ depositions indicate that most of them did.”) The Court distinctly analyzed issues of standing, reliance and materiality.
The Court also rejected Lumber Liquidators’ arguments that only CARB can determine if a product violates the ATCM and found that Plaintiffs’ testing evidence, if admissible, is “probative of whether, as a matter of fact, Lumber Liquidators’ Products contained more formaldehyde than Defendant publicly represented.” Lumber Liquidators, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61362, at *62 (emphasis in the original); see also id. at *65-66. According to the Court, each Plaintiff had his or her flooring tested by third party certifiers and “each Plaintiff’s flooring exceeded the 0.11 ppm limit established by the ACTM, including some that were 300% of that limit . . . .” Id. at *66. The Court further determined that there is sufficient evidence to establish that Lumber Liquidators failed to comply with its obligations under the ATCM to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure that its Products complied with ATCM emissions standards. Id. at *66-67.
Based in part on this analysis, the Court granted summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ California, Texas and Illinois statutory consumer protection claims. However, it denied summary judgment as to certain Plaintiffs’ class claims under Florida and New York consumer protection statutes. In addition, the Court denied summary judgment as to: Florida, Texas and two of the California Plaintiffs’ fraudulent concealment claims; certain Florida Plaintiffs’ negligent misrepresentation claims; Plaintiffs’ breach of implied warranty claims; and Plaintiffs’ Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claims.
This decision represents a significant victory for Plaintiffs and means that the Lumber Liquidators action will continue to move forward. Kershaw, Cook & Talley is counsel for plaintiffs in Flores v. Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc., et al. If you have any questions about the Lumber Liquidators litigation, or if you or someone you know have been harmed by a defective product, please call our office at 916-779-7000.
The attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley successfully represent consumers in lawsuits against manufacturers and companies involving defective products and product recalls. Our experienced trial attorneys recover thousands of dollars on behalf of injured individuals in cases involving defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, car defects and more.
At times, attorneys require further expertise and resources, legally and financially, to resolve a legal matter. We have the team, capability and dedication to handle challenging cases. If you have a case exceeding your resources with respect to workforce or experience, consider contacting our firm. We welcome referrals from firms in Sacramento and throughout the United States.
We provide free case consultations. If you, or a loved one, suffered an injury due to another’s negligence or wrongful conduct, call our firm. We will examine your individual situation and explain your legal rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing injured individuals, in both jury trials and settlement negotiations.
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We understand personal injury cases are often emotionally and financially straining. Our team of top personal injury attorneys in Sacramento is committed to seeking justice for individuals injured as a result of another's negligence or intentional misconduct. At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, our experienced personal injury attorneys will hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.