Product Liability Cases: What to Expect in the Settlement Stages

Disabled person confined to a wheelchair

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson settled a class-action product liability lawsuit in November that will pay 7,500-plus complainants more than $4 billion. The lawsuit represented patients who were given defective metal hip replacements that caused pain, discomfort and metal debris to be released into their bloodstreams.

Carl Tobias, a product-liability professor at the University of Richmond, told Bloomberg that the amount of the settlement seems large, but is not near enough to compensate for the “grievous injuries” suffered by some of the patients. This highlights the give-and-take that comes along with product-liability cases.

Beginning Litigation

All litigation starts with filing a complaint and service of the summons to the defendant(s). The defendants will either file an answer or some type of demurrer to have the case dismissed entirely or get certain individual claims dismissed. If any claims remain unresolved, the judge will order the parties to commence the discovery phase.

At this point depositions are taken, expert witnesses are interviewed and documents are exchanged to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each claim. Defendants may ultimately concede the case against them is strong and want to end litigation before any more information is discovered that could damage them further.

Some companies have clauses with their insurance providers that gives them, as opposed to the insurer, the final say as to whether the case can settle before trial. These cases typically have a better chance of settling quickly, since the middle man is cut out of the equation.

Settlement Stages

Once it’s established that the defendant is responsible for your injuries, a settlement can be negotiated. Product liability claims are different in that they involve manufacturers, distributors and retailers, all who could be deemed individually liable in different capacities. Thus one defendant (the distributor) would settle, but the manufacturer may want to take the case to trial. There may also be statutes in certain jurisdictions governing the maximum amount of damages possible.

Subrogation claims can also factor in. For instance, your employer is entitled to recover lost wages it pays you via workers compensation, once a case involving a workplace injury due to defective equipment settles. An insurance company that pays your medical expenses in the meantime is also entitled to recover funds via subrogation.

Practical Matters

Once the court approves a proposed settlement, money can begin changing hands. Some attorneys work on a contingency basis (i.e. take a certain percentage of the settlement without any upfront fees to handle the case), while others draft more complex agreements. Make certain you understand the language of any agreement with your attorney before signing it.

The plaintiff’s cut can come in the form of a one-time payment or a structured settlement. The latter can potentially be liquidated later by selling the payments to a third party. More information about this option can be found at

Plaintiffs should stay heavily involved in their case through every phase. Call and ask the attorney you hired any and all questions that come to mind. The more informed you are, the better prepared you’ll be when the case concludes.

This article is from Jacob Reeves: Law professor, blogger, and father.

The Role and Importance of Immigration Lawyers


The role of immigration lawyer is somewhat distinctive when compared to other types of lawyers. Immigration lawyers help those persons who are facing difficulties with managing immigration needs. The immigration lawyer usually acts as an advisor or counselor or a consultant to foreign citizens and immigrants who should interact with US Immigration Authority. Immigration lawyers give recommendations and guidance for various matters like green cards, naturalization, citizenship, visa application, employment for non-citizens and deportation issues.

As compared to other types of lawyers, immigration lawyers spend less time in handling civil disputes in court. They sometimes act as mediators between immigration authorities (THE US CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES) and clients.

Moreover, immigration lawyers create appearances before immigration judges if a client is facing an immigration hearing in the court. Several immigration lawyers jointly handle matters that involve an interaction between immigration and criminal laws.



  1. If a person (Applicant) has been convicted of a crime: Almost all USCIS forms include whether or not the person has been convicted of a crime. The person should disclose their entire criminal records, even for the charges that were dropped or eliminated. It is not necessary to hire a criminal lawyer as immigration lawyers should always know how immigration and criminal law overlap.
  2. Previous immigration applications have been repudiated: An immigration lawyer will be able to determine the reason for the repudiation of application. They can tell if it is possible to request for the application or re-apply later in the future.
  3. If the person has antecedently deported or excluded from the entry into the United States: Sometimes the person is permanently barred from future applications (Deportation or Exclusion). An Immigration Lawyer a deportation lawyer can give advice on effects of exclusion and deportation.
  4. If a person incorporates some medical conditions: Not all, but some medical conditions may prevent a person from getting entry into the United States (such as communicable diseases).
  5. When a person is waiting for a long time during the application process without any reason: Immigration lawyers are aware of application processes, together with deadlines and waiting times. A lawyer generally facilitates the person in accelerating the process.
  6. If the applicant’s wedding to a US National was terminated: Visa applications based on marriages are generally filed together. In case marriage has been terminated due to death or divorce, it can be significantly troublesome to prove that the wedding was not fraudulent.
  7. If a person is immigrating to the United States with his or her family and their child would reach at the age of 21 before permanent resident status is granted: The eligibility criteria for permanent resident status is totally different for youngsters underneath the age of 21. An immigration lawyer will facilitate by determining the most effective method of filing for children above 21 years of age.
  8. If a person has started the application process but does not know the next step: Sometimes USCIS may request you do some extra work or documentation to support the claim for an applicant. Working with an immigration lawyer from the start of the process can help in preventing delays and make the process speedy.
  9. Conclusion: Immigration matters are often complex and difficult to understand and may take several months or years to complete. Working with an immigration lawyer can be helpful and save your time in sorting out the different immigration requirements.

This article is from Daniel Asara.

Happy Labor Day!


Happy Labor Day to you.

Please remember the purpose of this day — to honor the American labor movement, and all the benefits that have been brought to working people across the country.

Friday Fun

In this video of Stuff Southern Women Say, I’ve heard every one of them except the two comments about Clemson University.

How to Appeal if Your Social Security Claim is Denied

How to Appeal if Your Social Security Claim is DeniedImage Source:

If your Social Security claim has been denied, you have options. Deciding to appeal may get your claim approved or, if you’ve previously had Social Security benefits, have your benefits reinstated. Here’s what you need to know when pursuing an appeal.

Deciding to Appeal

The appeal process can be long and draining, both emotionally and physically. Before you appeal, ask yourself these questions:

Are you willing and able to commit to the time requirements of the appeal process? Unlike most kinds of court decisions, Social Security decisions may be appealed and litigated with no time limit for a final verdict. On average, reconsiderations take about four months. However, there are many examples of first reconsiderations taking longer than six months to complete.

Are you physically and mentally able to complete the process? Social Security appeals require accurate paperwork. If you are unable to complete the paperwork yourself, you are permitted to have an attorney, friend, or other person represent you.

But the appeal process will require more than just paperwork: it can be stressful and labor-intensive. If your condition will allow you to proceed, do so. Otherwise, you may need to hire a representative to handle your claim for you or give up the appeal.

Has your condition improved? If you are now able to work, an decision maker won’t overturn the denial. If, however, your condition has worsened, gather new evidence (such as medical records and witness statements) and get ready to appeal.

Was the reason for denial valid? Your denial letter will include the reason the decision maker gave for denying your claim. If the denial was for a valid reason, it is unlikely that the decision will be overturned on appeal.

Go over the denial paperwork in detail. Are there any incorrect statements you would like to challenge? If so, you may benefit from an appeal.

Guidelines for Appealing

Social Security appeals are subject to specific guidelines and rules. Knowing and following these guidelines is essential to successfully completing your appeal.

Once you decide to appeal, you have 60 days from the day you received your denial letter to submit a written appeal request. If you applied for Social Security benefits or Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and your claim was denied for medical reasons, you can request your appeal online.

Then get started on the required paperwork. Here are the most common appeal forms:

Form SSA-561-U2 (“Request for Reconsideration”): Fill out this form to appeal the denial of an initial claim.

Form SSA-3441-BK (“Disability Report—Appeal”): If you are appealing the denial of disability benefits, fill this form out in addition to the request for reconsideration.

Form SSA-789-U4 and Form SSA-3441-BK (“Request for Reconsideration—Disability Cessation” and “Disability Report—Appeal”): If you have received disability benefits before and want to appeal the decision to stop your benefits, you’ll need to fill out the appeal form as well as the disability cessation form.

You can get the needed forms online from the Social Security Agency’s website or at your local Social Security office.

Levels of Appeal

There are several levels of the appeal process. If your claim is denied in reconsideration, don’t give up! You have three higher levels you can appeal to that can reinstate your benefits.

Reconsideration: During reconsideration, your case and any new evidence is presented to an decision maker. The chosen decision maker will not be the same one who previously denied your claim. Reconsideration can take as little as four months, but may take as long as six.

Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge: If your appeal is denied, you have the option of having your claim presented before an administrative law judge. The judge will not have seen any part of your claim previously. Hearings are typically scheduled within 75 miles of the claimant’s home, within a year of the request.

Many people decide to represent themselves during reconsideration. However, 80% of claimants seek representation at this level. Talking to an attorney such as Iain T. Donnell , a lawyer in Markham, can ensure all your paperwork is filed correctly and no errors impede your appeal.

Appeal before the Social Security Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge does not rule in your favor, you may ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. If the Council decides there is merit to reviewing your claim, they may review it themselves or give the claim back to the administrative law judge. This process may take more than a year to complete.

Lawsuit in Federal Court: If you disagree with the decision reached by the Council, or the Council decides not to review your claim, you may file a lawsuit in federal district court.

Appealing a denied claim gives you a second chance to secure needed disability benefits. Follow the guidelines above and consult with the appropriate legal counsel to give your appeal the best possible odds.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All About Personal Injury Lawyers


Personal injury lawyers specialize in fighting for compensation on behalf of people that have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Examples of culprits can include employers or government authorities. People may seek personal injury claims after being involved in a medical, road or workplace accident to give just a few examples. They turn to personal injury lawyers in order to get the justice that they deserve. The compensation arising from a personal injury claim can cover various things, including loss of earnings, money spent on rehabilitation and the pain and suffering that they endured because of the accident. Some people may take action after a loved one dies due to negligence or carelessness. Personal injury lawyers work with insurance companies and any responsible parties in order to seek justice on behalf of their clients.

Keeping You in the Loop

A great deal of lawyers work on a no-win no fee or contingency fee basis. This means that if the claim is not successful, the lawyer is not paid. The client still has to pay for things such as court fees. Some personal injury lawyers focus on very specific fields such as road accident claims for instance. Some fields can be incredibly complex, which explains why specialist lawyers are needed. Changes in legislation can occur all the time, so lawyers need to constantly be aware of any developments that may be relevant to their work.

Choosing a Lawyer

To find a personal injury lawyer, potential clients can take a series of steps. They may decide to look online for reviews or recommendations, and may even ask friends or family members to point them in the right direction. It can be wise to draw up a shortlist of potential lawyers before choosing one. This helps you to find someone that you can trust. You’ll be working closely alongside your lawyer for a great deal of time, so it’s important to find someone who understands you and your needs. It’s advisable to meet your potential lawyer at least twice before you decide to sign up with them. The best lawyers always keep you up-to-date with developments as they happen and won’t leave you in the dark. Most lawyers will have several cases to take care of at once, but this shouldn’t mean that the service you are offered should be compromised. Patience is important, but you should still expect a good standard of communication.

Some Facts and Figures

There have been some statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics on personal injury law suits that make for some interesting reading.

Automotive and automobile accidents accounted for the majority of personal injury lawsuits with over 50 % and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ) say there are 6 million car collisions annually resulting in 3 million injuries and 40,000 deaths.

Automobile accident Lawsuits also have the highest success rate with over 60 % of automotive accident accidents being successful with one of the lowest being clinical negligence and medical malpractice at just under 20%.

Although automotive accidents account for the majority of all lawsuits and have the highest success rate they also have the lowest average pay-out award with only $16,000 opposed to something like product liability which has an average pay-out award of $748,000

Look for Integrity

Whilst there are undoubtedly some unscrupulous types working the profession, it’s generally accepted that the vast majority of lawyers have real integrity. Legislation in many states and territories means that lawyers aren’t permitted to engage in dubious practices, and they may lose their reputation if they do employ underhanded tactics. Personal injury compensation may never truly offset the pain and hardship caused by negligence, but it can pay for the treatment needed to overcome an injury. If you’re looking Kent based solicitors then Thomson Snell and Passmore may be able to assist you with you claim. To find out more information on personal injury you can visit TSP or our own site to learn more about a possible personal injury claim

Does Boehner Have a Case? Six Key Points to the Obama-House of Representative Lawsuit

President Obama and Rep. John Boehner

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225 to 201 to sue President Obama over allegations that he overreached his Constitutional authority when he made changes to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) without congressional approval. Here are six key points to consider about this historic lawsuit:

Goes Further Than Previous Lawsuits

According to, individual members of congress have sued the executive branch at least 14 times in recent decades, such as in 2011 when Democrat Dennis Kucinich sued President Obama on war-powers grounds, claiming that his intervention in Libya was unconstitutional. However, the current lawsuit goes further than any previous congressional lawsuit in that it is the entire institution of the House that is suing.

Poor Success Record

Although lawsuits against the President by members of Congress are nothing new, the record of success of such suits is dismal. The court has repeatedly ruled that Congress has other tools at its disposal to handle a misbehaving president, including passing laws, cutting off funding or just straight out impeaching the president.

Some Conservatives are Critical

Although this latest effort is coming from the Republican controlled House, some conservative commentators are critical of the lawsuit. They say that going to court is an attempt by Congress to dodge the far more difficult task of impeaching the president for abusing his office. They believe that impeachment is the only constitutional remedy for a presidential misuse of power.

Most Democrats are Critical

Democrats claim that the lawsuit is just a weak substitute offered by Republicans to avoid doing what they really want to do, which is to remove President Obama from office. They claim that the lawsuit is just a political ploy, and that the Republicans are simply grandstanding to attract votes from the President’s critics.

May Backfire

Some claim that even if the lawsuit is successful, it’s likely to backfire on Republicans in the long run. They point out that sooner or later the Republicans are going to control the White House, and they will not want congressional Democrats suing them over policy disagreements.

White House Not Concerned

How has the President himself responded to the lawsuit? In a recent Rose Garden speech, President Obama declared, “So sue me.” The White House appears confident that the suit against them will fail, and that the whole exercise is merely election year political theater that will ultimately go nowhere.

So, is the lawsuit congressional oversight or political grandstanding? Only time will tell, but the lawsuit will definitely be a 2014 election year issue.

Information credited to Gregory Rod, defense lawyers in Edmonton.

This article is from Kara Masterson, a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

Toyota in Talks With Justice Department Over Final Car Recall Settlements

The New York Times reports that Toyota “is moving to resolve the last major legal issues related to the unintended acceleration of its vehicles, which has already cost it billions of dollars and prompted the recall of millions of cars in 2009 and 2010.” Toyota “is nearing a deal with the Justice Department to settle a criminal investigation over the way the automaker disclosed complaints stemming from the sudden acceleration of its vehicles, according to two people with knowledge of the talks.” The Times notes that the discussions, “with the criminal division of the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, are the culmination of a roughly four-year investigation,” and that the Securities and Exchange Commission “is also involved, focusing on whether Toyota fully disclosed the potential financial impact of the vehicle problems.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Friday Fun

My wife and both our daughters have been teachers, so I can relate to this video of things teachers never say.

NHTSA Knew Warranty Claims on Cobalt’s Airbags Four Times Higher Than Peers

Bloomberg News reports that a NHTSA investigator found in 2007 that airbag warranty claims were four times higher for the Chevrolet Cobalt in 2006 than they were for its competitor’s cars. Bloomberg also notes that NHTSA received complaints about 25 crashes resulting in injuries and four resulting in fatalities involving air bag failures in the Cobalt with model years between 2003 and 2006. Bloomberg reports that a review group at NHTSA determined that there “wasn’t enough of a pattern to open a formal probe.” Bloomberg also features an except from an email from Frank Borris, the head of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, to Carmen Benavides, GM’s director of product investigations, that says that “the general perception is that GM is slow to communicate, slow to act, and, at times, requires additional effort of ODI that we do not feel is necessary with some of your peers.”

The APThe Hill, and the Detroit Bureau also reported the departures at GM.

The Detroit (MI) News reports that the relationship between GM and Delphi, the supplier who produced the faulty ignition switches, was “among the worst in the history of the automobile industry.” John Henke, the president of Planning Perspectives Inc., says that Delphi engineers “didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning” if they were working with GM during the time when the faulty ignition switches were being produced. Henke notes that GM was so adamant that its suppliers cut costs that GM was accepting parts that did not meet its specifications.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Five Things an Injury Lawyer Can Do For You After an Accident

5 Things an Injury Lawyer Can Do For Your After an Accident

In the aftermath of an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, an injured individual must take affirmative steps to protect his or her legal rights and interests. The most important element of that process is engaging the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. According to attorneys at Tony Zuber & Paul Brioux, there are five things that a personal injury lawyer is capable of doing for a person in the aftermath of an accident.

Deal with Insurance Company

The primary objective of an insurance company is to make money for its shareholders (or its members in the case of a mutual insurance company). As a consequence of this chief goal, an insurance company naturally attempts to limit its exposure when it comes to paying out claims to injured individuals.

Experienced personal injury attorneys understand the inner workings of insurance companies. A skilled personal injury lawyer has the tenacity to take on these oftentimes mammoth companies. They have the ability to take firm stands against attempts by insurance companies to unduly delay the settlement of a claim or attempt to force such a settlement at a dollar amount below a level that is necessary to compensate appropriately an injured individual.

Investigate Circumstances of Accident

A personal injury attorney is also capable of fully investigating an accident in its aftermath. This includes following up with witnesses to the event to obtain more complete statements. It also means obtaining an appropriate professional analysis of other evidence associated with the accident.

Appropriately Compile Evidence

In addition to investigating and compiling evidence crucial to an injured person’s accident claim, a lawyer is also in the best position to present the evidence in the most appropriate manner in the pursuit of a claim for compensation. This includes drawing together evidence that an injured person may have collected at the time of the accident (including photos of the accident scene).

Obtain Expert Witnesses

Oftentimes, expert witnesses are needed to pursue a claim for compensation for injuries arising out of an accident caused by the negligence of someone else. A personal injury lawyer has a network of experts he or she can access as needed to provide crucial support to a claim for compensation for accident related injuries.

Pursue a Lawsuit

Failing to reach a settlement of a claim for compensation, a personal injury lawyer is able to prepare, file and pursue a lawsuit on behalf of a client. The fact is that the judicial system is very complex. The laws governing a personal injury lawsuit are highly complicated. Thus, engaging a seasoned personal injury attorney is an advisable course to enhance the chances for ultimate success in a lawsuit of this nature.

If you have been in an accident recently, you want an injury lawyer on your side. This way you can have peace of mind during your recovery know that you have someone on your side fighting for you to make sure that you are compensated properly and that you are protected against any claims of negligence or fault. Whatever the case may be, having an injury lawyer after an accident is always the smart choice.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Boats And Financial Liability: What You Need To Know

Sinking Boat

Boating is one of America’s oldest and most enjoyable pastimes; the National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates that 88.5 million Americans go boating every year. However, boating is dangerous and, like everything else, comes with a risk. Recreational boating accidents accounted for over $39 million in total property damages in 2013 as reported by

The more people who are out enjoying the water, the likelier your boat is to be involved in an adverse incident. Boaters must know the basics as to legal and other ramifications that accompany accidents before getting on the water to protect themselves from civil and even criminal prosecution.

Boater Liability Insurance

There is no federal law mandating liability insurance for boaters and most states do not require it either. Alabama, for instance, specifically excluded boats from its 1975 Mandatory Liability Insurance Act, which established minimum levels of coverage for all motor vehicle operators. However, like most similar state statutes, the law does require all seafarers to take a Department of Conservation-approved boater education course as part of the process of getting a boating license.

The boating liability limits set by insurance companies typically offer a range from $100,000 to $1 million, depending on the size of the boat. Chantal Cyr of Travelers Insurance tells that customers can save money on their boat insurance premiums by bundling with home or car insurance, but a boat less than 30 feet will cost about $500 per year to cover.

Most policies will cover you if someone is injured while riding on your boat, but may require higher premiums if you host charters. They also typically cover property damage inflicted by your boat. Comprehensive policies are far more expensive, but protect you from vandalism, theft, and even uninsured boaters.

Float Plans

No matter how short a boat trip is, somebody needs to know where you’re going and when you’ll be getting back. Extended journeys lasting more than a few days require a float plan, which can save you from liability in the event of an incident.

A float plan is a document describing your boat, the people on board, all safety equipment being utilized, and the estimated time of arrival to your destination. A copy of this document should be left with marina personnel or someone else not taking the trip with you. Instruct said person holding the float plan to notify the Coast Guard if you do not arrive at the specified destination.

This document could limit your liability in boating situations. A float plan that lists adequate life boats and vests, along with fire extinguishers and first-aid kits, will show that all necessary precautions were taken in case someone is injured or worse. As long as passengers are briefed prior to setting out on your trip, a float plan can act as a de-facto liability waiver in court. and similar services offer float plan templates that can be filled in and printed directly from their websites.

Don’t Drink

Boat operators become intoxicated much quicker than drivers due to motion and other factors in the marine environment, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Boaters are less experienced than drivers simply because the latter practice their craft almost daily, whereas the average boater averages 110 hours per year on the water.

Boating under the influence will instantly negate any and all potential defenses in court in the event of an accident. The best way to avoid this entire scenario is by waiting to incorporate alcohol into your day until after you’ve been on the water. Intoxicated passengers present just as much of a risk as a drunken navigator. Make sure to take plenty of other fluids, particularly water and iced tea, if you plan on allowing alcohol on the boat while on the water.

Boater responsibility comes down to common sense at the end of the day. Despite it being a recreational pastime, safe and legal boating practices are your personal responsibility.

This article is from Brian Hopkins, a financial advisor and blogger from Upstate, New York. 

GM Disasters and the Aftermath: An Update on the Company’s Standings and Recovery Efforts


General Motors is still scrambling to deal with the legal, financial and public relations ramifications of the ignition switch defect that lead to the deaths of 13 people and caused the automaker to recall a record-setting number of vehicles. This has been a long, painful process for people on both sides of the problem, however, GM continues to deal with the issues that have persisted since the initial recalls. Read on for an update on where the company stands and how the future looks for them.

More Recalls

On July 23rd, GM announced another six recalls, which involve 717,950 U.S. vehicles, over various safety concerns. This is on top of the single-year record 54 recalls the automaker has already issued for 25 million other vehicles. The recalls were the first wave of quality assurance call-backs the company said it would make as part of more stringent company policies. “These recalls signify how we’ve enhanced our approach to safety,” said Jeff Boyer, Vice President of Global Vehicle Safety. “We are bringing greater rigor and discipline to our analysis and decision making.”

Compensation Fund Established For Victims

GM estimates that it will pay out at least $400 million in settlements to victims of the ignition switch defect. That number may balloon to $600 million depending on the number of people who file claims against the company. The assessment does not include costs for those who choose to forego settlement offers and sue GM. The car manufacturer has said it will fight those suits because its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, from which it emerged in 2009, protects it from prior claims.

Currently, the automaker is still being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The NHTSA has already fined GM $35 million for failing to report the ignition switch issue, which the company admits it knew about as far back as 2001.

Steady Sales Despite Tarnished Image

Despite the unprecedented amount of recalls, GM posted its 18th consecutive quarterly profit based on strong sales of SUVs and pickup trucks, particularly the newly introduced 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. On July 24, GM reported a North American operating profit margin of 9.2 percent for the second quarter, but, after factoring in recall costs, its $1.4 billion profit was 41 percent below last year’s figure for the same period. Investors were disappointed with the automaker’s earnings, and GM stock fell by 6.33 percent to close at $35.07 for the business week ending July 25.

Overall, GM’s management feels it has weathered the storm well. “I think we’ve demonstrated resiliency as we’ve gone through this,” Mary Barra, GM CEO, said in a conference call. Recalls of this nature are never easy for companies to overcome, especially when there are deaths involved. However, GM has taken a few notes from those who have experienced devastating blows to the company like this, and plans to rise above the literal and figurative wreckage and push forward.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and the home niches. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got her advice and information for this article from the Orillia lawyers at Littlejohn Barristers.

Friday Fun

25 Photos You Need To Really Look At To Understand. Just look. These are too complicated to explain.

U.S. Seeks Voluntary Limits on Car Touch Screens

Driving with GPS Computer


I love playing with gadgets. And I enjoy driving. Unfortunately, those two activities don’t mix well. My old car doesn’t have many gadgets to play with, but if I ever get around to replacing it I’m sure the new car will have lots of tech toys. That could be a problem for me, so I’m not unhappy that the government is asking car makers to cut back on the number and type of interactive technology tools installed in new cars. It’s way too easy to have a wreck while you’re fiddling with the navigation system or getting your e-mails through your car radio.

The government request was detailed in a story by the Associated Press. Here are excerpts:

The government is asking automakers to put stronger limits on drivers’ interaction with in-car touch screens in an effort to curb distracted driving. U.S. traffic safety regulators unveiled guidelines that would restrict the amount of time it takes to perform both simple and complex functions on a car’s entertainment and navigation systems. Regulators also want to ban manual text entry and display of websites, social media, books and other text distractions while the car is moving.

“Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible. It can have devastating consequences,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who announced the guidelines along with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Strickland.

LaHood and Strickland told reporters on a conference call that NHTSA has determined that over 3,000 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted driving in 2011 and more than 387,000 were hurt.

The guidelines are voluntary for automakers and will be phased in over three years.

But Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a frequent NHTSA and auto industry critic, said the guidelines will do little to halt distracted driving. “We’ve tried voluntary. Voluntary doesn’t work,” he said.

NHTSA based the new guidelines on a study it conducted on distracted driving. The results showed that tasks requiring drivers to look at touch screens or hand-held devices increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times. Texting, web browsing and dialing a phone were the tasks that kept drivers’ eyes off the road the longest.

The new guidelines limit simple tasks to two seconds. They also restrict the time allowed for complex tasks to 12 seconds, but do not limit the number of times a driver can touch a screen. The decision on whether a screen would freeze or shut down after 12 seconds would be left to automakers based on their own research, NHTSA said.

The auto industry’s current guidelines, which are a decade old, allow drivers to read text and perform other more complex tasks while cars are moving at less than 5 mph, Strickland said. Systems now are designed so multiple-step tasks take 10 or fewer screen touches for a total of 20 seconds with a driver’s eyes off the road. But the devices won’t turn off or stop a driver from doing something that takes longer than 20 seconds.

The new guidelines “will help us put an end to the dangerous practice of distracted driving by limiting the amount of time drivers take their eyes off the road,” Strickland said.

The guidelines cover any manufacturer-installed device that a driver can see or reach, but they do not affect video screens located behind the front seats.

Navigation maps that show movement as cars travel would still be allowed, as would the input of preset destinations, Strickland said. But a car would likely have to be stopped for a driver to manually type in an address.

Left in the Lurch: Helpful Legal Tips for Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents

Left in the Lurch Helpful Legal Tips for Victims of Hit-and-Run Accidents-1

All car accidents are scary, frustrating, and emotionally taxing, but none more so than hit-and-run accidents. Many victims of a hit-and-run are unable to prove their claims due to a lack of evidence, and don’t know where to turn to receive the justice they deserve. Fortunately, there are a few things that a hit-and-run victim can try in order to find justice after the accident. The following are a few tips to aid those involved in a hit-and-run accident in hopes of minimizing the damaging effects of an accident of this nature.

Don’t Chase the Driver

While it can be tempting, chasing the perpetrator of your accident can result in further harm to yourself. Unfortunately, pursuing the driver often results in further violence and damage to vehicles, so it is best to involve the police rather than trying to handle the situation on your own. In many cases, chasing the perpetrator can lead to another accident as a result of reckless driving and speeding.

Contact the Police

Before anything else, it’s critical that you contact the police with any and all information you have regarding the vehicle that hit you. This includes the make and model of car, as well as the location and time of the accident. Even if you feel that you don’t have enough information to give to the police, filing an accident report can improve your case down the line. Many victims do not remember these details even an hour after the accident due to the stress and trauma of the event. This is why it is best to call the police with specific information while it is fresh in your mind, and while they still have a chance of pursuing the perpetrator.

Call Your Insurance Company

After leaving the scene of the accident, your next step should be contacting your insurance company, to see if you are covered in the event of a hit-and-run accident. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, this is very likely. Even if you aren’t normally covered in the event of a hit-and-run, a quick call to your insurance company can get you started on the process to filing a claim and obtaining compensation. If you were a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident and have sustained injuries, you should contact your health insurance provider because you might be eligible for compensation for some medical costs in this situation.

Hire a Private Investigator

Researching hit-and-run drivers is one of the most common tasks for which private investigators are hired. Often, experienced private investigators will be familiar with repeated hit-and-run drivers in the area by vehicle, and can provide crucial evidence for your case. Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is not likely that the police will do much further investigation regarding the driver who hit you, so you must take this task into your own hands. Hiring one can save you the trouble of combing through vehicle registries, which can be critical if you are recovering from an injury due to the accident.

Obtain Private Legal Counsel

Depending on your coverage, your insurance company may or may not have hired an attorney to fight for your accident claim in court. If not, it is critical that you seek outside legal counsel: hit-and-run cases are some of the most difficult accident claims to prove, especially if the individual who perpetrated the crime denies their involvement. A good attorney, particularly one specializing in hit-and-run or general auto accident claims, can help you prove your case with the evidence you have gathered.

Hopefully you never have the serious misfortune of being a victim in a hit-and-run accident. Car accidents are terrible enough, even when both parties take responsibility afterwards. This type of situation is worsened when there are injuries involved, but if you want to receive what you deserve, you must act quickly and enlist the help of professionals. These cases don’t always end fairly, but if you don’t try, you’ll never see justice. Information for this article was provided by the professionals of Braithwaite Boyle Accident Injury Law who specialize in pedestrian injury cases in Alberta.

This article is from Ms. Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.

‘Talking’ Cars that Warn of Crash Expected to be Latest Safety Feature

I really hope this amazing “talking car” technology is wide-spread by the time my grand-kids are old enough to drive. This could save many lives.

Details are in an article in the Columbus Dispatch. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Your car might see a deadly crash coming even if you don’t, the government says, indicating it will require automakers to equip new vehicles with technology that lets cars warn one another if they’re plunging toward peril.

The action, still some years off, has “game-changing potential” to cut collisions, deaths and injuries, federal transportation officials said at a news conference yesterday.

A radio signal would continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Cars and light trucks would receive the same information from other cars, and a vehicle’s computer would alert its driver to an impending collision. Alerts could be a flashing message, an audible warning or a driver’s seat that rumbles. Some systems might even automatically brake to avoid an accident if manufacturers choose to include that option.

Your car would “see” when another car or truck equipped with the same technology was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle was hidden around a corner. Your car also would know when a car several vehicles ahead in traffic had made a sudden stop and alert you. The technology works up to about 300 yards.

If communities buy in, roads and traffic lights could start talking to cars, too, sending warnings of traffic congestion or road hazards ahead in time for drivers to take a detour.

Investigation Finds Guardrail Linked to Deaths Still OK for National Highways

WFTS-TV Tampa, FL reports on its website with embedded video on its investigation that showed “a common type of guardrail made by a highway manufacturing heavyweight is responsible for four deaths and nine injuries in states like Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Virginia, according to lawsuits filed across the country,” but the guardrail “remains approved for use on national highways.” The guardrail is made by Trinity Highway Products of Dallas, and lawsuits against the company say “a small alteration to a device at the beginning of guardrails, known as an end terminal or guardrail head, causes the device to perform incorrectly.” The report explains how different states have handled the issue, noting that an Arizona official said that state “follows directions from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and it has not received any advisories that would recommend changes.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Friday Fun

Everyone has seen the fascinating photo from President Obama’s in January 2009. You know the one — the wide-angle shot that let you zoom in to see incredible detail. Well, here are more great photos just like that one. Check it out. They’re fun to play with.

Four Ways the Workplace Has Become More Dangerous

Tips for Preventing & Handling Disaster
& Distress on the Job

Disgruntled employees, workplace bullies, active-shooter situations, illegal drug use, ex-spouses and dissatisfied clients – all can be found in a random sampling of the 2 million people affected by workplace violence in the United States, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Of course, of the millions of reported cases, there are many more that go unreported; workplace violence includes any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site,” says Timothy Dimoff, one of the nation’s leading voices in personal and corporate security who has worked with the U.S. Army, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, corporations, universities and non-profit groups.

“From demeaning jokes to sexual innuendos to genuine fear of shots fired at work, hiring managers and their bosses need to understand these problems of human nature and know how to react. In my decades of experience with law enforcement and as a security entrepreneur, I’ve seen the evolution of workplace violence and management often do not know how to respond.”

Dimoff, founder and president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., (, which analyzes and overhauls security for large public and private facilities, reviews today’s problems and offers a path for conflict resolution and prevention.

•  Inadequate use of hiring tools: Know who you’re hiring! “I can’t emphasize this enough; this is the age of information, yet potential employees often provide falsified or misleading details,” Dimoff says. “With so many candidates and so much information available today, employers often overlook useful tools in a hurry-up effort to maintain productivity with a premature hire.” There are many resources, including drug testing acknowledgment and consent forms; fully understanding laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act, equal employment opportunity guidelines and military leave guidelines; and simply knowing how to ask revealing questions to applicants. 

•  Workplace intimidation & cyberbullying: Bullying is not exclusive to the schoolyard; it can follow adults into the workplace, and even home via email, texts and social media. “The first and best thing employers can do is prevention, and you do that by creating a positive and fair company culture,” Dimoff says. “Next, implement a zero tolerance policy for bullying; encourage employees to document and report bullying, and take those accusations seriously. Hold occasional staff meetings so that employees are taught to recognize signs of bullying and everyone is reminded of the zero tolerance policy.”

•  Gun violence: It can happen at what appear to be the most secure places in the world, and it can happen to the most innocent among us. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist turned jihadi, shot 13 fellow soldiers to death at Fort Hood, Texas. Twenty first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School never had the chance to become second-graders. We hear story after story about shootings in movie theaters, parking lots and neighborhoods. Train managers to recognize and attempt to de-escalate the situation, which can include talking to the potential aggressor in an empathetic, non-judgmental way. Fail that, there are situations for which heroes are necessary.

•  Violence against women: Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace, according to OSHA. Of the 4,547 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2010, 506 were workplace homicides. Once again, this comes down to a zero tolerance policy for bullying and sexual harassment, applicable to all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel, such as an ex-spouse. A well-designed on-site security protocol can significantly reduce the risk of severe violence.

About Timothy Dimoff

Timothy Dimoff, CPP, founder and president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. (, is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in high-risk workplace and human resource issues, security, vulnerability assessments and crime. A former award-winning narcotics detective and SWAT Team member, Dimoff analyzes security for churches, businesses and other places where people gather, develops a customized plan for each, and implements it. He has multiple certifications, including as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP™), a designation that is recognized worldwide.