Posts Tagged ‘car’

Always, Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Seatbelt

Seatbelts Save Lives!

WHAS 11 recently reported on a fatal traffic accident in the Louisville area, suffered after a driver struck a tree.  The woman driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police were investigating whether or not speed and alcohol played a part.  You can read the article and watch the report, here.

Although the woman was driving an older model Volvo without airbags, there is nothing to suggest that the accident would have been fatal had she been wearing her seatbelt.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), lap-shoulder belt systems reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used by drivers and front-seat passengers.

What happens when you are involved in a car or truck accident and you are not wearing a seatbelt?  Not only are you at a higher risk of serious injury and death, but you may be found entirely or partially at fault for your injuries.  In Kentucky, this finding of fault on your behalf may eliminate or reduce the compensation you get from the driver, who caused the accident injuring you in the first place.  For instance, if your failure to wear a seatbelt is determined to have increased your injuries by 50%, then your recovery will be reduced by 50% as well.

Despite their perceived inconvenience, the time it takes to put on a seatbelt far outweighs the cost in injury and death occurring without them.  While wearing a seatbelt doesn’t guarantee that you won’t suffer serious injury or death in an accident, it clearly reduces the chance that occurs.  For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, always, always wear your seatbelt.

If you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you may need the services of a qualified Kentucky accident attorney.  He can evaluate the significance of such a failure on your claim and advise you of the options you might have.  Do not take the insurance company’s word that because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you aren’t entitled to any recovery.

Toyota Casts Doubt on Runaway Prius Claim

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

2008 Toyota Prius

Toyota Motor Company dismissed the story of a Prius owner who previously reported that his car sped out of control on the California freeway.  I previously posted about the driver’s claim that his Prius sped out of control when he tried to pass another vehicle on the freeway.  He drove for about 30 miles before a CHP officer was able to assist him in stopping the vehicle.

Toyota claims that a review of the car, including the onboard computer, failed to identify a malfunction.  They also claim that the information gathered would appear to contradict the owner’s claims of how the accident happened. Toyota has maintained throughout that electronics are not to blame for sudden acceleration claims by Toyota owners.

You can read the entire article here.

Veil of Secrecy Surrounds Toyota Black Boxes

Thursday, March 4th, 2010
More Trouble for Toyota

More Trouble for Toyota

The AP reported on Toyota’s efforts to block access to black box information that could explain crashes blamed on sudden unintended acceleration.  The AP investigation found that Toyota was inconsistent and even contradictory in revealing what the black boxes record.  According to the report; “Toyota’s “black box” information is emerging as a critical legal issue amid the recall of 8 million vehicles by the world’s largest automaker. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said this week that 52 people have died in crashes linked to accelerator problems, triggering an avalanche of lawsuits.”

You can read the entire article recapping the AP’s investigation here.

I previously posted on Toyota’s problems back in mid-February.  At that time, I posted that more information was likely to come to light before Toyota’s problems faded from public view.  Looks like I was correct.  Toyota’s public image has certainly taken a hit.  Not only should we question Toyota’s reputation as an automaker who makes better more dependable cars, but perhaps more importantly, its reputation as an automaker that makes safer ones as well.

I’ll make another prediction.  Before this issue is over, embarrassing evidence will come to light showing that Toyota has known about the problem of sudden acceleration for years, but that it has tried to hide the problem from regulator’s and customers for some time.  Stop back by for results on my prediction in the weeks to come.

Courier Journal Article Highlights Winters & Yonker Case

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Kentucky Lawyers Defendants in Lawsuit

Kentucky Lawyers Defendants in Lawsuit

The Courier Journal has written an article on the lawsuit recently filed by a former client against Winters & Yonker.  The article looks in depth at the claim made by Sharon Langford.  The article focuses on the relationship between the law firm and the medical providers who treated Ms. Langford and the potential conflicts of interest that arise.  You can read the entire article here.

Lawmaker Alleges Toyota Withheld Evidence in Lawsuits

Saturday, February 27th, 2010
More Trouble for Toyota

More Trouble for Toyota

Things have not been going well for Toyota and it looks like things just got much worse.  The AP has reported that House oversight committee chairman Edolphus Townes accused Toyota of “deliberately withholding key vehicle design and testing evidence in lawsuits filed by Toyota drivers injured in crashes.”  Towns wrote that Toyota chose to enter hefty settlements with plaintiffs to avoid disclosing the database, which the lawmaker said was referred to as the “Books of Knowledge.”

Toyota said in a statement that it is confident it acted appropriately in product liability lawsuits and it looks forward to addressing Towns’ concerns. The automaker said it is not uncommon for companies to object to demands for documents made in lawsuits. “Consistent with that philosophy, we take appropriate steps to maintain the confidentiality of competitive business information and trade secrets,” the statement said.

You can read the entire article here.

If true, the article discloses another example of corporate business choosing profits over people.  These allegations along with those by the NHTSB that Toyota did not disclose problems to regulators continues to create a portrait of a company that hid significant safety problems with its vehicles at the expense of gaining market share and becoming the number 1 automaker in the world.  Toyota’s path to number 1 is littered with the bodies of people who bought their cars.  Next time you hear someone talk about frivolous lawsuits and tort reform, you might want to mention Toyota.

I am glad these Plaintiff’s received hefty settlements, unfortunately, their silence contributed to Toyota’s ability to hide problems for a much longer time, presumably at the expense of other people injured or killed by their products.  I wouldn’t be surprised if more information comes to light showing that Toyota knew about the unintended acceleration problems with its vehicles but didn’t take any comprehensive action to warn its customers about it.  I do know that you can disclose information in lawsuits in a manner which protects the “confidentiality of competitive business information and trade secrets.”  Toyota’s decision to settle those cases instead of disclosing that information, speaks for itself.

According to the Federal Government 34 “Deaths” Alleged in Toyotas Since 2000

Monday, February 15th, 2010
Toyota's Acceleration Problems Lead to Deaths

Toyota's Acceleration Problems Lead to Deaths

The Lexington Herald’s Kentucky.com reported on consumer data gathered by the federal government revealing 34 deaths linked to sudden acceleration in Toyotas since 2000.  Complaints related to acceleration in vehicles have surged in since Toyota’s recalls were announced.  According to the article:

The new complaints reflect the heightened awareness of the massive recalls among the public and underscore a flurry of lawsuits on behalf of drivers alleging deaths and injuries in Toyota crashes. Three congressional hearings are planned on the Toyota recalls.

In the past three weeks, consumers have told the government about nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problems, according to a NHTSA database. The latest reports are in addition to previous complaints from consumers that alleged 21 deaths from 2000 to the end of last year.

According to Toyota spokeswoman Martha Voss the company takes, “all customer reports seriously and will, of course, look into new claims.” According to Voss, Toyota was taking steps to improve quality control and investigate customer complaints more aggressively.

You can read the entire article here.

The data by the federal government suggests that Toyota knew or should have known of acceleration problems as far back as 2000, yet waited until recently to issue a massive recall of vehicles.  This has led the federal government to question Toyota’s commitment to safety and has shed light on its secretive corporate culture that encourages quiet design changes each model year over embarrassing public recalls.  While this corporate climate may have allowed Toyota to gain market share over the past decade, it has turned into a public relations nightmare with no sign of letting up any time soon.  More embarrassing information is likely to come to light before this issue fades.  Whether it will have a long term impact on Toyota’s reputation is yet to be seen.

Toyota’s Deadly Secrets?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

MSN Money has an informative article on the recent spate of recalls by Toyota Motor Company, including regulator’s doubts of Toyota’s commitment to addressing safety defects.  According to MSN:

On Jan. 19, in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., two top executives from Toyota Motor gave American regulators surprising news.

Evidence had been mounting for years that Toyota cars could speed up suddenly, a factor suspected in crashes causing more than a dozen deaths. Toyota had blamed the problem on floor mats pinning the gas pedal. Now, the two Toyota men revealed they knew of a problem in its gas pedals.

The article goes on to chronicle the tension between Toyota and federal regulators governed with overseeing the safety of cars.  You can read the entire article here.

CNBC also reported on Toyota’s problems in a video titled “More Trouble for Toyota”.  Click to play.

Kentucky Accident Information is Now Available on Your iPhone.

Friday, February 12th, 2010
Access Accident Information Directly from Your iPhone.

Access Accident Information Directly from Your iPhone.

You can now directly access Kentucky Accident Information directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch.  Simply type “kyaccidentinfo.com” into your mobile phone web browser.  A new easy to use mobile version of Kentucky Accident Information will appear.  Access information regarding your car, truck, or motorcycle accident, post comments or questions, or contact The Brutscher Law Office about your accident from your mobile phone.

Crash Test: ‘59 Chevy vs. ‘09 Chevy. Who Wins?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Two Pedestrians, Including One Teen, Killed While Crossing Streets

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Pedestrians At Risk

Pedestrians At Risk

Two pedestrians, including one teen, were struck and killed by separate cars in Lexington, Kentucky.  It appears that both accidents may have happened at night or at times of low visibility.  No information existed on whether the accidents occurred at intersections or crosswalks or in low lighted areas.  One of the drivers faces pending criminal charges for hit and run.  No criminal charges were reported in the other accident.

I recently reported on the Louisville area’s poor ranking for pedestrian accidents.  These recent accidents show that pedestrian fatalities continue to be a concern.  However, the most striking result of the Courier Journal’s article is not the discussion on ways to improve the situation, but instead the discussion on who was to blame for the accidents.  I heard many comment that since they had observed pedestrians crossing traffic illegally at one time or the other, the pedestrians were to blame.  This argument is similar to comments I hear when the subject of bicycle fatalities arises.

Blaming the victims of these terrible accidents does nothing to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.  Each accident is different and when it comes to blame, experience tells me there is plenty to go around.  While the lack of a citation may evidence a lack of criminal responsibility, it does not mean the accident was the pedestrian’s fault.  In fact, the driver may still face civil liability for the accident.

We have all experienced a situation where a pedestrian did not exercise the best judgment concerning where to cross, the type of clothing to wear, or the proper respect to show an oncoming car.  However, that fact alone does not excuse drivers from exercising caution or doing their best to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.  This is true whether or not the pedestrian is exercising judgment for their own safety.  Ultimately, nothing will reduce these accidents, if pedestrians and drivers fail to respect each other’s right to use the roadway.