The derailment of a Metro-North Hudson Line train in the Bronx in early December made headlines around the country as investigators rushed to understand what had caused the accident that claimed four lives and injured dozens of passengers and railroad employees. Early reports confirmed that seven coaches and a locomotive derailed when the train went into a turn at nearly three times the posted speed limit. The sharp curve where the derailment occurred has been the site of past accidents. According to standard practice, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) assumed responsibility for investigating the derailment. Several days after the accident, William Rockefeller, the train's engineer, issued a statement via a union rep in which he accepted responsibility for nodding off while driving and potentially causing the fatal accident. For victims of the crash, the engineer's apology can only go part way towards addressing their losses. Many will also work with FELA attorneys to receive redress and recovery from the accident. A Closer Look at the Metro-North Derailment Rail transport has been one of the most cost-effective, efficient means of moving people, goods and livestock from one location to another since its introduction in the American East in the 1820s. Railroads are still widely used by commuters in the East in particular, where train travel is a good alternative to crowded freeways and long drives between major metropolitan centers. While generally extremely dependable, trains do derail, often causing casualties. For railroad employees injured during the Metro-North Hudson Line crash, it may be necessary to consult a FELA claim lawyer to learn more about their options from this incident. A train accident attorney has noted that this was not the first crash along this section of track, which is notorious for its sharp curvature. Investigators have pointed to the degree of the curve and the train's speed as a disastrous combination. Some thought back to an incident in July where a train left the tracks at the same curve, damaging 1,500 feet of track. The Hudson Line crash is even more harrowing in light of the fact that some 15.9 million people used the line in 2012. Inspectors have recommended that the railway's engineers carefully evaluate the track and consider redesigning and replacing it. In the case of the Metro-North derailment, the NTSB's investigators discovered that the true cause of the accident had most likely been Rockefeller nodding off while driving the train and losing control of its speed. Of particular interest to the NTSB team was whether or not the safety mechanisms on the train were in working order during the accident. In the cabin where the engineer was located, a dead man's pedal was meant to slow the train immediately if the engineer stopped applying steady pressure to it. The NTSB was unable to determine if the pedal's safety mechanism was activated at the time of the accident. Some who observed the investigation also questioned why Rockefeller was operating the train from a front car when the rear locomotive was equipped with an updated safety system that requires engineers to respond to a beep every 25 seconds. Addressing Human Error on the Metro-North Avoiding the type of human errors that cause fatal train accidents can be challenging for railway companies and engineers alike. As became clear in the aftermath of the Metro-North crash, not even modern safety systems can always prevent crashes, especially if they are not used as designed. Labor experts have also pointed to the probability that a recent change in Rockefeller's schedule caused him to be unusually drowsy during his shift. Despite the fact that Rockefeller admitted to nodding off while driving the Metro-North Hudson Line, lawsuits in the case must be brought against the railway, not the engineer. While this may frustrate some victims, these regulations are designed to ensure that victims and their families can secure just compensation for their injuries or losses. Because FELA (the Federal Employers Liability Act) is a complex body of law, railroad employees who were injured during the Metro-North derailment are generally represented by lawyers who have experience working with train accident victims and the legal system.
Insurance companies do not want to pay your claim. They take the premiums that their clients pay every month and invest the money in various ventures, including stocks, real estate, bonds and venture capital. If insurance companies must pay large claims, this leaves them with less money to invest in the stock market, for example. Therefore, they work very hard to keep from having to pay these large sums of money. If you have been injured in a collision, you will need money for your medical bills and to have your vehicle repaired. However, officials with the insurance company may employ tactics that will help them to avoid paying you. This is when you will need to hire a knowledgeable 18 wheeler accident attorney. Delaying Payment An experienced truck accident lawyer is very familiar with the tricks that insurance companies use to keep from paying you what you deserve. For example, insurance companies often delay making payment. They hope that you will become so frustrated with the wait that you will accept their low offer or give up your claim. By hiring a truck accident attorney, they can protect you from the delay tactics that insurance companies use on unsuspecting accident victims. Hiring the Wrong Experts In some cases, the insurance companies hire "experts" that are not experts in your particular case. For example, in one instance, the victim had an injury that required the expertise of an orthopedic surgeon. However, the insurance company hired a neurologist as the expert. In another case, the insurance company hired the correct type of expert, but officials at the company did not provide the expert with films from the injured party's diagnostic tests. The expert was also not allowed to examine the victim personally. Not surprisingly, the expert came to a conclusion that favored the insurance company. Keeping Attorneys on Retainer Insurance companies keep attorneys on retainer so that they can fight every claim whether it is large or small. Officials at these companies know that they have unlimited funds to fight your claim and that you, most likely, do not. They are hoping that you will accept a lower offer than you deserve or drop the case altogether after becoming tired of fighting a large insurance company that has expensive lawyers at its disposal. Denying Responsibility In some cases, it is fairly obvious that one party is responsible for the collision. However, officials with the at-fault party's insurance company may deny that their client is at fault just to avoid paying the claim. Refusing to Pay Medical Bills After a collision with an 18-wheeler, you may have injuries that need immediate treatment, but the at-fault driver's insurance company is refusing to pay your medical bills. Insurance companies justify doing this by claiming that your injuries are not the result of the accident but are the result of a pre-existing condition. Asking for a Recorded Statement Insurance companies ask for a recorded statement to strengthen their cases and to damage yours. They are hoping that you will say something that they can use against you inside or outside of court. Fighting Your Own Insurance Company It may be expected that the at-fault party's insurance company will try to keep from paying you what you deserve, but if you are dealing with your own insurance company, the same thing can occur. According to the law, your insurance company is required to act in good faith. This means that your claims must be paid in a reasonable amount of time without engaging in any of the tricks that were described above. If they have been acting in bad faith, you are entitled to sue them, and you may receive payment for your legal bills after prevailing in court.
Effexor is a prescription medication manufactured by Wyeth. Also referred to as venlafaxine, Effexor belongs to a class of medications known as serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) that reduce the symptoms of depression by increasing levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Research studies indicate, however, that Effexor can cause serious birth defects when taken by women during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancies. For those injured by these side effects of Effexor, consulting a class action lawsuit lawyer may be a solid first step in holding the pharmaceutical firm responsible for these tragic events. Legal Recourse for Injured Parties Enlisting the services of a qualified birth injury from prescription drugs attorney can help families obtain compensation for the damage caused by Effexor and other medications. These funds can help to pay for any medical expenses incurred in repairing the damage and may provide added incentives for drug companies in performing comprehensive testing on their products before releasing them for public use. A pharmaceutical lawsuit lawyer can provide guidance and support throughout the legal process and can often obtain sizable settlements for clients injured through the negligence of drug manufacturers. Unacceptable Risks to Women and Babies Medical studies have shown a 40 percent increase in the risk of congenital defects in the babies of women who used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during the first weeks of their pregnancy. A 60 percent increase was seen in heart defects for these babies. As a result of these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classed Effexor and other similar medications in Pregnancy Category C due to possible risks to unborn children and nursing babies. Health Canada also warned pregnant women regarding the serious risks of Effexor during gestation and when nursing their babies in the first months of life. Exposure Later in Pregnancy Also Carries Risks Along with a heightened risk of birth defects, Effexor has been implicated in development disorders in otherwise healthy babies. A study published in the scholarly journal Pediatrics in 2010 indicated that a link may exist between the use of antidepressants like Effexor during pregnancy and delayed development in babies during their formative years. According to the study, babies exposed to these drugs during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy began walking on average one month later than babies born to women not using Effexor or other antidepressants. Early signs of attention deficit disorders were also seen in older babies who had been exposed to Effexor and other SNRIs and SSRIs during the later stages of their mothers' pregnancies. A Wide Range of Potential Problems Although heart malformations are the most common congenital defect found in babies exposed to these antidepressant compounds, many other birth defects have been linked to the use of SSRIs and SNRIs during pregnancy. Malformations of the skull and neural tube, club feet, cleft lip, cleft palate and defects in the abdominal wall and gastrointestinal tract openings have also been reported in infants exposed to these drugs during the gestational period. Correcting these medical conditions can require multiple surgeries and extended hospital stays, creating financial stress and emotional distress for families injured by the use of Effexor and other similar medications. Failure to Address the Issue Despite the obvious risks of Effexor for pregnant women, Wyeth has failed to alter the safety information provided with the drug to indicate that it should not be used by these at-risk individuals. Instead, the advisory material states only that pregnant or nursing women should not take any antidepressant without consulting their primary care physician. This has led to a number of lawsuits against the pharmaceutical manufacturer for its negligence in failing to warn women about the risks of birth defects inherent in their product. Unfortunately, legal action may be the only practical solution for women and babies who have been injured due to Wyeth's negligence. By retaining the services of a qualified pharmaceutical injury attorney, these families can potentially make a positive difference for other patients by highlighting the risks of Effexor and other popular antidepressant medications.
When most people think about the weather in Texas, they do not usually think of ice and snowstorms. They think of sun-baked deserts and coastal beaches. Texas weather, however, runs the full gamut of heat in the summer and spells of intense cold in the winter. It is also not uncommon for Texas to suffer the brunt of hurricanes and tornadoes that cause property damage from Amarillo to Houston.
A tragic accident that claimed the life of a Rusk County truck driver has resulted in legal action against the man's employer, against the individuals to blame for the accident and against Mack Trucks Inc. The family of Andrew Mayfield has retained the services of a truck accident attorney; they are seeking $15 million in actual damages and an additional $20 million in punitive damages for negligence on the part of the defendants that contributed to the death of Mayfield. Enough Blame to Go Around Andrew Mayfield's 18-wheeler was hit head-on by defendants Jose Pereira and Osvaldo Rodriguez on Interstate 20. This initial collision caused the semi to collide with the inside guardrail and subsequently to burst into flames. The 18 wheeler accident attorney representing the family has filed for damages from the two individuals who caused the accident as well as the trucking firm for which Mayfield drove. Mack Trucks Inc. has also been named as a defendant in the suit; the truck accident lawyer for the Mayfield family has cited evidence that negligent design played a role in the truck driver's death after the collision with Pereira and Rodriguez occurred. Design Issues and Testing Failures The Mayfield family is seeking damages from Mack Trucks for what they claim is the negligent design and inaccurate marketing of the truck involved in the accident. Specifically, Mack Trucks is accused of negligence for locating the battery in close proximity to the fuel tanks of the vehicle, for failing to perform thorough testing on the performance of those fuel tanks and for placing the battery on the exterior of the truck outside the frame rails of the vehicle. The suit also alleges that Mack Truck knew of the risks involved in the co-location of fuel tanks and the battery present on the truck and failed to warn consumers of these risks; instead, Mack marketed the truck as a safe vehicle. A Legacy of Liability The outcome of the Mayfield case is still to be determined. Class action suits and liability claims against truck and auto manufacturers, however, are nothing new. The classic example of poor design leading to legal liability is the Ford Pinto, a subcompact vehicle that was constructed with the fuel tank directly behind the back bumper. This ill-considered design led to several incidents in which serious car fires were caused by relatively minor rear-end collisions. Several deaths resulted from these car fires and led to litigation against Ford Motor Company and multi-million dollar awards to the victims of these accidents and their surviving family members. Holding Companies Responsible In many cases, filing suit against major car and truck manufacturers is the only way to persuade these corporations to make much-needed safety improvements to their vehicles. Cost considerations may play a significant role in the decision to remediate these problems or to ignore them altogether. In the Ford Pinto case, for example, Ford Motor Company openly admitted that it used a risk/benefit analysis strategy in deciding not to fix the dangerous fuel tank position after it was first called to the company's attention. Ford justified this strategy by citing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration policy that stated that companies need not correct safety issues if the costs of doing so outweighed the societal benefits achieved by correcting these errors. By suing companies for damages resulting from negligence and failure to correct design errors in their vehicles, accident victims and their family members can provide valuable motivation to make much-needed safety improvements. This can reduce the risks for other drivers and can provide a cautionary example of the financial repercussions possible for companies that fail to take the steps necessary to protect drivers and passengers against death or serious injury due to negligent design or substandard construction techniques.
On February 10, 2013, all the hallmarks of a potential tragedy struck the Carnival Triumph as it sailed the Gulf of Mexico on its way back from a stop in Cozumel. Engine No. 6 had a leaky hose, causing what turned out to be a major fire. Thankfully, there was no injury at sea that day, but the fire was enough to turn the mighty vessel into little more than a floating raft. Now, new information gleaned from court filings shows that Carnival Cruise Lines was aware of leaky hose dangers in advance of the cruise, and failed to take the recommended precautions. Chief among the incriminating documents is a compliance notice report which was sent to the cruise ship a month before its February 7th departure date. The document recommended that Carnival maintenance staff should install spray shields on the fuel hoses to prevent fire from breaking out in case of a leak. The report, which surfaced in Miami court filings on December 17th, was sent by Carnival itself to the staff of the Triumph. Still, Carnival argues that the report was centered only on fuel hoses above the engine floor plates. The fuel hose that caused the fire of February 10th was located below the floor. Maritime law firms will undoubtedly note that nothing in the report makes a distinction between the two. Also of interest is the fact that the maintenance staff of the Triumph appeared to have made at least some progress toward installing the recommended spray shields. Many of the shields were completed at the time of the fateful cruise, though not the ones on Engine 6, the site of the fuel fire. For their part, Carnival is adamant that their shielding recommendations went above and beyond the call of legal regulations. For a maritime attorney invested in the case, this denial will likely form the crux of any successful defense of the company. All of this new information about Carnival's responsibility and foreknowledge comes as a result of a lawsuit being filed against the corporation on behalf of dozens of Triumph passengers. Frank Spagnoletti, an attorney of record for the plaintiffs, went on record to claim Carnival was willingly negligent in letting the ship sail from Galveston without addressing the recommended maintenance. While no one was killed or injured as a result of the fire, it left more than 4,000 passengers stranded at sea for several days before being towed into Mobile, Alabama. The ship's journey came to be known by its passengers as the "poop cruise", so named for the lack of working toilets that left travelers stranded in their own sewage for close to a week. While the incident was a public relations nightmare for the popular cruise company at the time, the details emerging from the lawsuit could prove to be even more disastrous. Adding insult to injury, CNN, in their coverage of the released documents, pointed out that Carnival's fine print makes no guarantees for safe travels, living conditions, or even a vessel worthy of the sea. While this fine print may be adequately laid out on the ticket, few legal analysts would expect such a disclaimer to protect Carnival from liability in a case such as this. If anything, publicity surrounding such a disclaimer may make it even more difficult for the cruise line to recover from the negative press. For now, Carnival publicly derides the lawsuit as a waste of time and money, issuing a statement which calls the suit frivolous. They note in their statement that the Coast Guard cleared the ship as the result of an inspection before its February 7th departure, and claim the incident was nothing more than an accident. Time will tell if an eventual jury sees things the same way.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the Class I recall of Medtronic guidewires due to serious safety concerns regarding these medical devices. These guidewires were originally designed to guide catheters along arterial pathways to provide improved flow in these blood vessels and to allow the introduction of stents and other medical devices during cardiovascular procedures. However, a number of incidents have provided evidence that the coatings on the Medtronic guidewires can become detached from the devices and can remain in the patient's bloodstream to create blockages in arterial channels. These blockages can lead to strokes, cardiac arrests and other serious medical issues for patients who have been treated with the Medtronic guidewire product line. Holding Manufacturers Responsible Patients who have been adversely affected by the Medtronic guidewire devices or by any other type of medical equipment or prescription medication may require expert legal help to ensure that the manufacturer provides appropriate compensation for injuries or, in extreme cases, the death of a loved one. Class action suits are often filed to protect the rights of patients and injured individuals who may have ongoing medical expenses associated with damage caused by defective devices or pharmaceutical materials. A qualified class action lawsuit attorney can represent and protect the rights individuals who have experienced injury due to the negligence of the manufacturer and can obtain sizable settlements. Drug Recalls In the pharmaceutical field, recalls are relatively frequent and may be caused by a number of different factors:
The driver of an 18-wheeler truck has the responsibility of transporting large and heavy cargo. That is why trucks need a powerful engine that can pull these massive loads for extremely long distances, and diesel engines fit this description. Although the massive power that these trucks have is good for consumers who need to purchase the things that these trucks bring to the stores, this power can also cause devastating consequences if you are hit by an 18-wheeler truck. If you are injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler, a truck accident lawyer will need to represent your interests so that you can receive the treatment that you require. You may need medical care for several years. Your car will need to be repaired, but you cannot expect the truck's owner to volunteer to offer you the money that you are entitled to receive. That is why a qualified truck accident attorney is essential in this situation. Why Do Large Trucks Use Diesel Engines? The first question you may ask your 18 wheeler accidents attorney is, "Why do these large trucks use diesel engines if they are so dangerous?" Just one of the reasons is the fact that an 18-wheeler has to travel so far. Generally, a gas-powered engine can last for approximately 125,000 miles. This would be impractical for an 18-wheeler because these vehicles can reach 100,000 miles in just one year. Fuel Economy Also important to the owners of 18-wheelers is the price of fuel. It is not as difficult to refine diesel fuel as it is to refine gasoline, so the price of diesel fuel can be lower than gasoline. Furthermore, trucks with diesel engines offer 25 to 30 percent better fuel economy than vehicles with gasoline-powered engines. This definitely benefits truck drivers who are traveling long distances every year. Fuel Efficiency Diesel fuel is also much more efficient than gasoline. One gallon of gasoline contains 125,000 BTUs of energy, but one gallon of diesel fuel has 147,000 BTUs of energy. This means that it takes more gasoline in a gas-powered engine to equal the power that can be derived from diesel fuel in a diesel engine. Furthermore, fuel mixes with the incoming air in the gasoline-powered engine's intake manifold, and this is an inefficient use of energy. The diesel engine, on the other hand, injects fuel directly into the cylinder, and this causes more fuel to be burned in a diesel engine than can be burned in a gasoline-powered engine. Trucks are often left idling for long periods of time. When an 18-wheeler with a diesel engine is in an idle state, only one-third of the amount of fuel is burned as would be with a gas-powered engine. Less Maintenance Is Required The fact that 18-wheelers have so far to go to arrive at their destinations would mean that these vehicles would need to be serviced on a fairly frequent basis. This would only be the case if the engine is gas-powered and is another reason that people favor diesel engines for their 18-wheelers. Diesel engines do not have spark plugs, so they do not require the ignition tune-ups that gas-powered engines do. Therefore, they can last for more than 300,000 miles before they need to be overhauled. The Need for Greater Torque It goes without saying that 18-wheelers are large vehicles, so starting them and pulling loads of at least 20 tons for many miles requires a powerful engine. The diesel engine can produce more torque than a gas-powered engine, and torque is needed to physically pull extremely heavy loads especially if the truck is going uphill.
Expecting to be fairly compensated following an injury that happened because of someone else's negligence is not realistic. The courts can only do so much, and it is all too easy to be shortchanged by letting the process unfold without professional help. Still, how can you tell when it is right to hire a personal injury lawyer? After all, you do not want to pay all those legal fees if it is not going to benefit you in any way. While it is true that people sometimes needlessly hire a personal injury attorney, it is also true that they are often necessary. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer if Any of the Following Things Apply to You Depending on the nature of your injury, you may need a work injury lawyer or a lawyer who specializes in some other area of law. In any case, you should always get legal help when any of the following applies to your situation:
Drivers are notorious for not taking railroad tracks seriously, and they cause many collisions between themselves and moving trains. This is just one of several reasons that a job as a railroad employee is so dangerous. In the late 1800s, Congress became aware that people employed in the railroad industry entered a perilous profession, so members adopted the Federal Employers Liability Act to protect your rights. If you were injured in a railroad accident while you were on the job, FELA gives you the right to hire a railroad accident attorney to obtain monetary compensation for your injuries. Unlike with Workers Compensation, FELA attorneys can take your employers to court to show that they are responsible for your injuries. Then, they can help you obtain compensation that may include payment for pain and suffering. Before it becomes necessary for you to hire train accident attorneys to represent your interests in court, the preferable solution is for motor vehicle drivers to follow some safety rules. Know that a Train Can Always Be Present Everyone must be aware that a train can approach at any time. When the train's engineer encounters a vehicle on the tracks, they can only apply the emergency brakes. Unless you are at least a mile away when this occurs, there is a very good chance that you will be hit. Do Not Ignore Automatic Signals Take automatic signals seriously. They are letting you know that a train is near. Rather than trust that this is the case, some people drive around these flashing lights in order to outrun the train. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds. Do Not Try to Beat a Train The reason that drivers believe that they can beat a train is because they appear to be traveling at such a slow speed, but this is only an illusion. How the rails are situated on the horizon creates another illusion that the train is farther away than it appears to be. With this being the case, you cannot expect to judge the speed of a train or its distance from you. Drive Cautiously Near Railroad Tracks In 25 percent of the collisions between a train and a motor vehicle, the car was driven directly into the side of the train. These crashes happened because the driver of the vehicle was conducting the automobile in an inattentive manner or was driving too fast for the conditions on the highway. Do Not Pass Slower Vehicles near Railroad Tracks Sometimes, drivers are impatient with other drivers, and they pass slower vehicles when they are near railroad crossings. Avoid doing this because the vehicle ahead of you may be obstructing the view of an approaching train. Because you are traveling too fast at the moment that you pass a slower vehicle, you run the risk of running directly into the train. Beware of the Manual Transmission If you are driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, your automobile is in danger of stalling on the tracks. This happens when the tracks are on a higher plane than the road. The only thing for you and your passengers to do if a train is approaching is get out of the vehicle and run toward the train to avoid being hit by flying debris. If no train is coming, retire to a safe place and call the railroad's toll-free number to let them know that a vehicle is stalled on the tracks. Know How Many Tracks Exist before Crossing Sometimes, there is more than one track, and unless you are paying attention, you may not notice this. Make sure to read the sign underneath the crossbuck that lets you know how many tracks there are at that particular crossing. Know that Railroad Property Is Private Property Stay off of railroad property. It is private property and only authorized railroad personnel is allowed.
The Metro-North derailment in the Bronx on December 1, 2013, claimed the lives of four people and left more than 60 people injured is still under investigation. Sources have indicated, however, that driver inattention may have been to blame for the accident. William Rockefeller, the driver of the train, at first claimed that the brakes failed to engage as he entered the sharp turn at the junction of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers. According to officials at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), testing revealed no drugs or alcohol in the driver's system. Rockefeller's attorney, Jeffrey Chartier, stated that an episode similar to driver fatigue caused temporary inattention and was responsible for the accident. Rockefeller has been suspended without pay pending the final results of the NTSB investigation. The Cost of Failure Under the provisions of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), railroad workers can seek damages for accidents incurred during the course of their duties. A qualified FELA claim lawyer can obtain sizable financial settlements for clients who have experienced pain and suffering due to injuries caused by unsafe practices or negligence on the part of the railroad companies. Passengers can also file suit for damages by engaging the services of a train accident attorney. Depending on the extent of their injuries and the culpability of the railroad in the accident, the damages awarded to victims of these incidents can be exceptionally high. These financial costs may represent the most effective pressure possible to spur the implementation of advanced safety systems for railway travel. Safety Measures Could Have Saved Lives The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) serves New York City and the surrounding areas. After the deadly Metro-North derailment, the MTA announced that it will implement new safety systems to warn engineers of upcoming curves and required slowdowns while in transit. Automatic enforcement of speed restrictions will also be put into place to prevent accidents on particularly dangerous curves. The NTSB is recommending the placement of cameras in train cabs to monitor driver attention levels and to allow intervention before accidents occur. For the victims of the Metro-North train wreck, however, these new safety features are a case of too little, too late. Advanced Systems Offer Hope Safety experts within the railroad industry have lobbied for the implementation of a new technology that could reduce the risk of accidents and save lives. Positive train control (PTC) systems use a combination of computer controls, wireless radio signals and GPS positioning to provide exact location and speed information for every train on the tracks. Similar systems are currently used to manage and monitor the safety and efficiency of large-scale vehicle fleets on the roadways. PTC goes one step further in allowing computer control of certain elements of train operation to prevent collisions and derailments before they occur. The railroads themselves, however, have been resistant to these systems, citing the high costs of implementation and the potential for computer error as obstacles to the installation of PTC systems on a comprehensive basis. An Ounce of Prevention While the expenses involved in implementing PTC systems are likely to be significant, the costs of doing nothing are far greater. Federal legislation requires the full implementation of PTC systems throughout the nation's railroads by December 2015. Ironically, the MTA had already begun work on implementing PTC for the Metro-North railroad system. The implementation is still unfinished, however, and is unlikely to be completed prior to the December 2015 deadline. For now, the legal system represents the only practical way to hold the rail industry responsible for failing to protect the safety of passengers and railroad employees. By obtaining qualified legal counsel and seeking damages for accidents caused by human error or negligence on the part of the railroads, accident victims can make a positive difference in encouraging improved safety systems and reducing the risks involved in modern railway travel.
One of the best ways for a trucking company to minimize its risk of liability is by having a clear hiring process in place. After all, a company's safety record rests almost entirely on the shoulders of the drivers it hires. Without carefully vetting potential hires and following a strict hiring procedure, a trucking company can easily hire drivers with blemished records and too little experience. By investing time and effort into the hiring process, these risks can be minimized to a significant degree. When a clear hiring process is established and followed to the letter, a company demonstrates its commitment to safety. Establish a Hiring Process A trucking company's hiring process should not be a vague concept that is loosely followed. Instead, it should be clearly documented and carried out for each and every prospective employee. This step alone is one of the best ways to avoid 18 wheeler accidents. No trucking company wants to have to deal with an 18 wheeler accident attorney claim for traffic accident injuries due to their inexperienced truck driver, and hiring safe, experienced drivers is one of the best ways to reduce that risk. The hiring process should outline the company's requirements and clearly list state and federal regulations concerning employment. It is also crucial to adhere to DOT regulations. Many trucking companies think such regulations do not apply to them, and they run afoul of them without even realizing it. The Importance of MVRs One of the biggest mistakes a trucking company can make is to not check the driving history report (MVR) of a potential employee. Some companies just get lazy about this step while others feel that the cost just is not justified. In reality, MVRs are very inexpensive. In the long run, they can save a company huge amounts of money. Simply being able to avoid an accident claim filed against the company by a truck accident attorney should more than justify the extra expense. These records will reveal a driver's violations and other problems. As a general rule of thumb, companies should only hire drivers whose records have been clean for at least three years. Drug Tests, Credit Checks and More As important as it is to check a driver's MVR, it is not the only step. The more thorough a trucking company is with hiring drivers, the less likely it is to hire unsafe drivers. For that reason, it is well worth it to perform pre-employment drug tests. Periodically performing them after a truck driver has been hired is also a good idea. Some companies perform credit checks because potential employees with major financial problems could be risky propositions. Another option is to obtain approval from an insurance carrier prior to hiring a driver. Perform Thorough Interviews All too often, trucking companies are careful about vetting potential employees and then perform very basic interviews. Just because a driver passes background checks with flying colors does not mean they are good fit. A carefully conducted interview can reveal a lot about a driver. At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer should let the potential employee know what will be covered. The interviewee should also be told about the company's commitment to safety. Open-ended questions should be posed to the driver, and they should focus on their driving record, past violations and similar topics. There is no surefire way to strictly hire safe drivers. With a thorough hiring process, however, a trucking company can significantly reduce its risk of hiring drivers who will increase its risk of liability. There is also the added bonus of hiring drivers who will actually do good work and stick with the company for the long haul. Investing time, money and effort into the hiring process pays off in a number of ways, but the most important one of all is that it helps trucking companies put safety first.
On December 5, 2013, a train traveling through New Jersey carrying toxic materials derailed, and it caused backups on the New Jersey Turnpike near exit 12. This train wreck is the second one to occur on the eastern side of the U.S. during a five day time period. Fortunately, this incident did not cause any fatalities, but the derailment in New York on December 1 killed four people and injured 70 others. Do the Toxic Chemicals Pose a Danger to the Local Area? Although officials indicated that both of the train cars that derailed during the New Jersey accident remained completely sealed, there are still some concerns about the possibility the toxic material may been released. In order to help prevent any serious issues from occurring, a nearby school, hotel and warehouse were evacuated until after the train cars were removed from the area. It is important to note that any leakage could have put the local water supply risk, and it would also have been very dangerous for all of the employees working on the train. What Caused This Train Wreck? Officials are still trying to determine exactly what caused the train cars to derail as they were entering a petroleum storage facility. However, it is known that the incident occurred as the train went around a corner. After this happened, one tanker car carrying flammable vinyl acetate rolled down an embankment, and this was followed by the derailment of another tanker car that also contain combustible materials. Conrail has not given any official statements about the accident, but the engineer has been being interviewed to help investigators piece together each of the factors that led to this accident. The Reaction of Local Government According to Mayor Daniel Reiman, this incident highlights one of the main reasons that he has opposed Conrail's plan to expand their existing tracks closer to residential neighborhoods in Carteret, New Jersey. In fact, the mayor went so far as to accuse Conrail of being irresponsible, and he also publicly criticized the company for the fact that they have been storing trains filled with hazardous chemicals on railroad tracks that are near residential neighborhoods. Reiman believes these trains present a health and safety hazard for everyone in the local area, and he does not think that Conrail should attempt to expand their tracks until they take the time to address the quality of life and safety concerns of Carteret's residents. How did this Accident Impact Train Employees? Fortunately, none of the employees working on the train or in the storage facility were injured as a result of this incident. However, if the tanker cars had been breached in any way, the employees would have been exposed immediately to the toxic chemicals. In an incident like this, it is a good idea for any impacted employees to contact a FELA attorney to assist them with any applicable lawsuits. After all, the Federal Employers Liability Act of 1908 was specifically designed to provide benefits to railroad workers who are injured in a wide variety of accidents, including situations just like the one that happened in New Jersey. Taking Legal Action It is important for railroad employees to be aware of their legal rights, especially because train derailments seem to be on the rise. If you find yourself dealing with an injury, you should seek out a railroad accident attorney to help you determine whether or not you have a viable FELA case. Keep in mind that exposure to toxic chemicals can cause both immediate and delayed health issues. Due to this, if you believe that an accident has caused you to come into contact with something toxic, you should file a report and visit a doctor right away.
Regardless of the nature of the business, employees expect some assurance that their work environment is reasonably safe and hazard-free. However, workplace injuries happen even with safety practices in place. If it happens to you or someone you know, consulting work injury lawyers immediately to clarify your course of action is advisable. The Limits of Workers' Compensation Benefits The workers' compensation program ensures that workers are compensated for acute injuries suffered on the job, long-term ailments developed as a cumulative result of working in a particular environment and any acquired illnesses traceable to occupational hazards. The program compensates workers for medical treatment and vocational retraining if needed. Workers' compensation benefits extend to replacement of lost wages in cases of temporary and permanent disabilities as well as survivor benefits for job-related wrongful death cases. Workers' compensation benefits do not include punitive damages and reparation for pain and suffering. Injuries due to Exposure to Toxic Substances Industries that handle toxic substances including benzene, asbestos and a host of hazardous materials should have stringent safeguards in place to protect workers. However, acute injuries such as burns and poisoning still happen. These incidents are easy to document and prove because legal action typically comes soon after the incident. Contact a personal injury attorney to know your legal rights. Long-term exposure to toxins can lead to debilitating illnesses with symptoms that are not immediately apparent such as those with asbestos-related illnesses. You will need the help of work injury lawyers with expertise in your case to research your work history and prove causation. The manufacturers of toxic substances, makers of safety gear designed to protect workers and intermediaries who sold the product can be held liable for workplace injuries related to exposure to toxic materials. Injuries due to Defective Products and Equipment The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates workplace safety practices and monitors businesses for compliance. If you are injured by defective equipment, the manufacturer can be held liable for your injuries. Even if the product was not defective, manufacturers can still be found liable for failure to caution users of the possible dangers of using the equipment. Dangerous machines can cause lacerations, amputations or mutilated hands and fingers. When you lose a limb or the use of your arms or legs, you may require extended rehabilitation, and still end up shifting careers entirely. Seek the advice of a work injury attorney who will help you navigate the complicated process of a product liability lawsuit. Injuries due to Intentional and Callous Acts When employers or their representatives put workers in a dangerous environment without providing appropriate training, safety equipment and emergency plans, these entities may be held liable for workers' injuries. In these cases, companies can be sued outside the workers' compensation system so that employees may receive appropriate payments for personal injuries and punitive damages. Employers who fail to address safety issues brought to their attention may be held responsible for injuries that can be traced to their inaction. Failure to conduct OSHA-compliant risk assessments are grounds for compensation claims by injured workers. Injuries Caused by a Third Party If you are injured on the clock but the cause of the injury is not your employer, toxic substances or defective equipment, a personal injury attorney can sue the third party on your behalf and collect damages to pay for your rehabilitation and lost wages. Injuries suffered from vehicular accidents while you happen to be traveling for work may be compensable by the other party's insurance if your attorney can show that they caused the incident. You may be able to collect damages for workplace injuries even if the incident is not recent. Consult a personal injury attorney to examine your options.
We trust pharmacists and pharmacies to take good care of us when we are ill, and in the vast majority of cases that trust is warranted. However, there continue to be patients who suffer when pharmacies cut corners or provide service that is less than ideal. Even the most stringent FDA regulations cannot absolutely guarantee that no defective medications will make it through the pipeline. Individual pharmacists sometimes make errors when they are preparing medication for a patient. Such mistakes affect only a small number of people. On the other hand, when pharmacies must create medications for large numbers of individuals, errors and shortcuts affect a far greater number of patients. Of note in recent years have been the problems created by large compounding pharmacies. A compounding pharmacy will process various medical ingredients in order to tailor a medicine to specific people or groups of people. Large compounding pharmacies must do this on a scale that is many times larger than smaller pharmacies, and so the temptation to use substandard ingredients or to not be as thorough as is necessary when formulating medications is much greater. Such negligence is inexcusable no matter whether it is motivated by the intent to create a bigger profit margin or by the need to manufacture a large number of drugs quickly. It leads to injuries, allergic reactions, and even death. As such, victims should seek compensation by hiring a qualified class action lawsuit attorney. One of the most notable cases in which a large compounding pharmacy created a medication that ended up injuring a large number of people came to light in the fall of 2012. In this instance an outbreak of meningitis was linked to steroid injections that originated in New England. As a result of unsanitary conditions, vials of the steroid were contaminated with a fungus that led to the death of more than fifty people and illness in almost seven hundred others. In addition to this problem caused by the New England Compounding Center, there have been problems with compounding pharmacies in other states. Axium Healthcare Pharmacy in Lake Mary, Florida, for example, reportedly sent out vials of medication that included black particles whose origin was unknown. Many have hired the services of a drug lawsuit attorney to help them with any medical damages and expenses that may result from their exposure to the drug. These cases are only a few representative examples of many others that are popping up around the country. The federal government is looking into these problems, but many more issues may arise before they find the right combination of regulations and enforcement to cut down on the number of cases that arise each year. If you believe that you have suffered an injury from prescription drugs, lawyers and law firms that specialize in such lawsuits are the best way for you to find justice for your situation. When compounding pharmacies cause illnesses in their patients, those who have suffered are often entitled to compensation for their injuries. The best way to figure out if you will qualify for damages is to contact a quality firm that deals with these cases on a regular basis. They offer a complementary consultation to help you determine if you will benefit from the services of a class action lawsuit attorney. You should not take poor heath care in stride but should look to protect your rights and your health. There are attorneys who specialize in compounding pharmacy cases, and they want to help you get the best representation and compensation so that we can help prevent others from being injured by the same mistakes that have hurt you.
A train derailment and railroad disaster with at least four reported deaths has occurred on Metro-North's Hudson Line in New York. The NTSB is analyzing data recorders removed from the commuter train that derailed in New York City yesterday morning to determine the cause of this, the latest deadly accident. The train's derailment occurred in a swampy, marshy area close to the Spuyten Duyvil station and left a scattering of railcars just inches from the river. Fatality reports suggest four people have died and at least 60 others were injured in this commuter train debacle. The accident occurred close to a sharp bend where the Hudson and Harlem rivers intersect. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Earl Weener, a NTSB member, sited this morning that a second event recorder has been found in the train's front car and has been shipped to Washington for analysis in efforts to determine the cause of the crash. Another event recorder was found yesterday in the mangled rear locomotive. Weener said investigators hope that downloading event recorder information from the memory cards found this morning will provide crucial information on the speed of the train at the time of the derailment, as well as brake application and the throttle settings. The National Transportation and Safety Board in Washington has suggested that it could take as many as 10 days to investigate the accident; however, with the speed limit on the curve posted at 30 mph, compared with 70 mph in the area approaching it, Weener suggest "speed" could be an early guess. Purely speculative, according to the NTSB, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that speed will turn out to be a factor. "It was actually much worse than it looked," Cuomo said. "As the cars were skidding across the ground, they were actually picking up a lot of debris, a lot of dirt and stones and tree limbs were going through the cars so it actually looked worse up close," he said, calling it "your worst nightmare." A reporter from the New York Post has identified the operator of the train as William Rockefeller, of Rockland County, New York. While citing law enforcement sources, the paper ha also reported that Rockefeller insisted to investigators that he had tried to hit the brakes going into the Spuyten Duyvil bend, but they didn't work. According to the reporter, sources have also delved into Rockefeller's past work-history and have reported him as a 20-year veteran of the MTA with a clean disciplinary record. If the operator of the train is correct in that the brakes of the train failed, then a FELA investigation - Federal Employers Liability Act investigation - will ensue. FELA Law covers injuries and accidents involving train derailment injuries, accidents in railyards, accidents on railroads or train tracks. For more information involving FELA injury and accident claims and the laws surrounding them, visit the Federal Employers Liability Act site.
Accidents involving trains point to gaps in safety measures used by the railroad industry. While train derailments are rare, these accidents still happen in the United States each year and can cause injuries to railroad employees. Anyone who suffers from railroad work injuries should consult with a legal professional to learn more about their rights. A railroad accident lawyer is skilled in helping individuals get the compensation they need and deserve when an accident occurs because of negligence. Employees who experience hearing loss or respiratory ailments while working for the railroad should also contact a FELA attorney. Amtrak Train Derailment The safety of the railroad industry was recently called into question when an Amtrak train from New Orleans that was headed for New York was derailed in South Carolina. While no one was seriously injured during the derailment, the situation had the potential to hurt hundreds of passengers. Seven cars were bumped off of the track during the incident, and passengers were forced to wait in the freezing cold for hours before alternate forms of transportation arrived. Many of the passengers were headed to New York to visit family for Thanksgiving. Electricity in the train was restored shortly following the accident, but only two cars were able to be heated while passengers waited. Victims of accidents like the South Carolina train derailment may suffer from injuries that do not show up right away. Seeking medical attention and consulting with a lawyer is important for this reason. Life-long medical conditions that start after a railroad accident could take months or years to manifest. Safety in the Railroad Industry While the passengers aboard the train that derailed in South Carolina were lucky to avoid being injured, railroad accidents that occur every year in the U.S. result in injuries and even fatalities. One reason that derailments and other accidents are becoming more common is because of an increase in railroad congestion. Freight trains are being increasingly used today, but the miles of available track for these trains to travel on has been reduced significantly. Collisions are more likely with the high concentration of trains traveling on the tracks each day. This is especially true when freight trains are expected to maintain certain speeds in order to make the method of shipping goods worth the cost for manufacturers. FELA Protection For Railroad Workers The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) offers protection to railroad workers who are injured in an accident. This law goes beyond workers' compensation by allowing railroad workers to collect compensation for pain and suffering resulting from railroad related injuries. However, workers who seek compensation under FELA are required to prove that someone acted negligently to cause the incident. Passengers on a train are also able to seek compensation in the event that they are injured due to the negligence of another person. Getting Help After an Injury The unfortunate truth is that passengers and railroad workers often become victims when safety procedures are ignored on the railroad. Congested tracks carrying passengers and freight trains make accidents more likely. Compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering is available for victims of train derailment and other railroad accidents. Victims of train accidents have the right to seek compensation if their injury is caused by the negligence of another person. There are laws protecting people who work or travel on the railroad, but understanding the rights afforded through these laws can be confusing. A railroad accident lawyer is able to analyze the situation and apply laws to the specific events to determine how to best fight for the rights of their client. Some law firms even offer free initial consultations, so there is no reason to put off contacting a legal professional for help.