Most SUV and Crossover Headlights Fail This New Test

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 18, 2018

When you are in the process of purchasing your next vehicle, there’s a good chance safety will be a top priority in your selection. Modern cars are safe. They have crash avoidance systems, blind spot monitoring, and some cars even have autonomous features. However, a recent study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that one of the oldest features of our cars could be making them unsafe.

Every street-legal car must have headlights. Headlights have been a part of passenger cars for more than a century, yet many manufacturers failed a recent headlight evaluation performed by the IIHS. Nearly 40 crossover vehicles were evaluated by the IIHS, yet only two completed the test with a passing score. This may seem odd to anyone with even a basic knowledge of the automotive industry due to the technology and advancements that have been made in headlight manufacturing over the years. For instance, many cars are now available with LED lights that burn brighter and use less energy than traditional bulbs. Other cars have lights that rotate with the car’s steering wheels. So, the news that so many vehicles didn’t pass the test is surprising, to say the least.

Why did so many vehicles fail?

The IIHS is known for their tough automotive tests. The organization also finds new ways to evaluate cars. The IIHS evaluated the headlights in the following manner:

During the Institute’s evaluations, engineers measure how far light is projected from a vehicle’s low beams and high beams as the vehicle travels straight and on curves. Glare from oncoming vehicles is also measured from low beams in each scenario to make sure it isn’t excessive.

The IIHS also stated that a car can be configured many different ways depending on trim level. Some may assume that a high-end model will perform better than its base counterpart, but that was not the case with the Kia Sorento. The high-end SXL trim of the Kia Sorento can be equipped with cure adaptive headlights. However, the IIHS found that the headlights failed to illuminate well on a straight stretch as well as left turns and gradual right turns. For instance, the Sorento’s low-beam headlights only illuminate a distance of 148 feet. In contrast, the Volvo XC 60, which was one of only two vehicles to pass this test, can illuminate 315 feet in the same scenario. The other vehicle that passed the test was the Hyundai Santa-Fe which, ironically, has the same parent company as the  Sorento, and the two vehicles share a common platform.

Why is this important?

When you test-drove your last car, did you test it at night, or did you drive it during the day? Chances are you did the latter. Most consumers don’t test the headlights when purchasing a car. Did you know approximately half of all fatal accidents occur at night?

Keep the two cars mentioned above in mind for this scenario: the Volvo illuminates twice as far as the Kia. So, if you’re driving down the interstate at night, the Volvo will illuminate an object in the road 150 feet sooner than the Kia. So, let’s say you’re approaching a disabled car which has suddenly stopped. In the Volvo, you’ll have twice as much time to avoid the car than you would in the KIA. If you can see something sooner, you can stop sooner.

Car safety is very important. However, you cannot control what other motorists do. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, call our team to discuss your options. There is no upfront cost for our consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be called at a specific time, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a time that’s best for you.

What Happens If You’re Injured On A Cruise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 11, 2018

Here in West Virginia, we’ve had a tough winter. Mother Nature showed no mercy when she hit the Mid-Ohio Valley. It’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to spring, and that it’s time to start planning those early year vacations. For many people, this means taking a cruise this spring. Cruises can be a lot of fun, but they aren’t without incident. Many news stories over the past 5 years have detailed a lot of the more dramatic accidents that have occurred on cruise ships. While those large-scale disasters are rare, it’s important to know what you should do if you’re injured on a cruise this year.

The Statute of Limitations is much different for a personal injury on a cruise.

Some people may worry that they can’t pursue legal action against a cruise line because of the disclaimer they sign when they purchase a ticket. However, a legal disclaimer isn’t going to prevent all legal action. There is a difference between getting seasick on a cruise ship and receiving a physical injury due to negligence. Proving negligence is an important part of many personal injury claims, and the same is true when you’re injured on a cruise ship.

It’s important to keep the statute of limitations in mind when you’re injured on a cruise. Don’t put off filing a claim too long because it could hinder your case down the road. There are some roadblocks while you are on a cruise because there is a good chance that you are far from home. Further, unless the injury is serious enough to require evacuation by helicopter, you’ll likely have to wait a while until the ship returns to port before you can do much. However, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. In cases against a cruise liner, you may only have one year to pursue a claim. The best advice is to pursue action as soon as possible. Additional advice:

Seek treatment. Most ships have some sort of medical staff on hand to treat passengers. It’s important to be treated as soon as possible. Treating on the ship is important, but so is treating once you’ve returned to land. If your port is far from your hometown, you may want to treat with a local facility and also follow up with your primary care physician.

Don’t forget to report the incident. This may be more difficult depending on the severity of the injury, but reporting the accident will help with your case. Failing to report the injury will likely work against you. A report will help prove where the injury occurred. If you don’t report it, the cruise line may argue that your injury occurred elsewhere.

Seek witnesses. Most people don’t go on cruises alone. However, if you do, or if your family is not around, you may want to try to find witnesses. You’ll want to get their contact information in case you need their testimony later.

Don’t settle. The cruise line may want to offer you a quick gift or a free cruise to keep you from pursuing legal action, but a severe injury is likely worth more than a free cruise. It may be tempting to accept the first offer, but it almost certainly won’t make up for years of pain and suffering.

Does it matter if the cruise line is owned by a foreign company? For the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, every case is different, and it depends upon which country is the home base for the cruise company. Regardless, don’t let the foreign ownership keep you from pursuing a claim.

Cruises are a lot of fun, but they can be hazardous. Knowing what to do if you’re injured can prove beneficial. If you’ve been injured on a cruise, call us today for a free consultation at our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a member of our team can call you at a better time.

A Comprehensive List of Insurance Terms

POSTED BY Jon Corra . April 04, 2018

Unless you happen to work in the industry, auto insurance can be complicated. With so many options, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the different types of coverage available. For instance, if you have a car worth $65,000, and someone with liability coverage of only $50,000 totals your car , what happens? Do you have enough underinsured motorist coverage to cover the rest of the damages? And does your insurance include medical payments coverage? These are important questions to ask but, if you’re not even sure what these policies mean, it may be difficult to have a conversation with your insurer about them. Our guide below explains the most common types of coverage.

Bodily Injury Liability

Having the proper coverage for your vehichle can make a big difference.

If another person is injured because of your carelessness or the carelessness of someone driving your car, this coverage typically requires your insurance company to pay the claim.

The company’s obligation is limited, however, to the amount of coverage you purchased.  In West Virginia for example, the minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident must be purchased and your company will pay no more than $20,000 to each injured person and no more than $40,000 total for any one accident.  You could be held personally responsible for any damages above the amount of your insurance coverage.  You may see shorthand references to liability insurance limits as 20/40, etc.  We always recommend that our clients purchase additional coverage. It’s surprisingly inexpensive to increase your liability coverage above the minimum required by law.

Property-Damage Liability

This is similar to bodily injury liability except that it covers damage to another person’s property rather than physical injuries.  The company’s obligation to pay is also limited to the amount of coverage you buy.  The minimum property damage coverage in West Virginia is $10,000.  So, shorthand references to liability and property damage coverage combined may be written as 20/40/10.  Again, we recommend that our clients increase their property damage coverage above the minimum required by law.

Comprehensive

This category of protection generally requires your insurance company to pay for damage to your car caused by something other than an auto accident (for example fire, theft, or vandalism).  The company’s obligation to you will be limited by the amount of any “deductible” you may have purchased.  A $100 deductible means that you pay the first $100, then the company pays the rest.

Collision

This type of coverage means that your insurance company pays for damage to your car caused by an auto accident.  Deductibles also are common with this coverage.

Medical Payments Coverage

Your insurance company will pay the reasonable medical expenses of anyone in your car who is injured in an accident.  Under this coverage, it does not matter who was at fault in the collision.  You and most members of your household need not be in a car for this coverage to apply.  For example, you would also be covered if struck by a car while you were a pedestrian.  As with liability insurance, the company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you buy.  Medical payments coverage is available in West Virginia and is available regardless of who is found to be at fault in an accident. This coverage is not mandatory.

Underinsured Motorist

If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and his or her liability insurance is insufficient to cover the full value of your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will pay your claims for physical injuries.  It serves as a substitute for the bodily injury liability insurance that the other driver did not have.  This coverage also is limited to the amount of insurance you buy.  As with personal injury protection coverage, payment is not limited to automobile occupants.

Uninsured Motorist

If a driver injures you or your car’s occupants, and has no liability insurance to cover your claims for physical injuries, this coverage will take care of your claims.  Again, your company’s obligation is limited to the amount of coverage you purchase.  Like personal injury protection and underinsured motorist coverage, it is not limited to automobile occupants.

Insurance can be confusing, and claims can be tough. You probably wouldn’t want to fight an insurance company on your own. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we will contact you at a better time.

Winter Driving Tips

POSTED BY Jon C. . March 27, 2018

If you’re reading this blog, there is a good chance you live in an area that has the dreaded annual phenomena known as winter. Maybe you like winter, maybe you’re not a fan. Either way, we can all agree that winter causes a lot of driving hazards.

According to the Department of Highways, nearly 1,259,000 weather-related accidents occur each year. Further, almost 6,000 lives are lost each year to weather-related accidents. This is a big issue facing motorists in North America. Why are so many deaths a result of winter driving?

Before we get into the detailed reasons why, know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) places snow, rain, ice, and fog under the heading of bad weather—not just snow. However, for the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on why people wreck so often in snowy conditions.

  1. Speed. No, not the hit 1994 thriller starring Sandra Bullock, but rather excessive speed in snowy conditions. Speed is one of the biggest reasons individuals wreck in snowy conditions. Most experts agree that drivers should reduce their speed while driving on snow-covered roads. But, we’ve all seen the person on the interstate traveling 20 MPH above the speed limit in three inches of snow. There’s a good chance that person will eventually lose control and wreck his/her car. But they aren’t the only ones to blame. Even if you drive the posted speed limit in less than ideal conditions, you may be putting yourself and others at risk. One of the most common types of accidents involves a rear-end collision when the 2nd driver was following too close, and could not stop in time.
  2. Poor tires. Tires are much more important to the safety of your car then you may realize. This isn’t just true in winter, but all driving conditions regardless of the season. Let’s face it, tires are expensive, and they are easy to leave on well after they’re worn. Bald tires in the winter can cause a lot of issues. Canada and certain parts of Europe require drivers to use dedicated snow tires. In the United States, we don’t have any rules regulating tires for winter. So, a lot of people continue to drive in snow on bald tires or tires that weren’t designed for snow.
  3. Cruise Control. Once again, not a thriller starring Sandra Bullock, but rather the driving aid found on most modern cars. Using your cruise control may cause you to have an accident in bad weather. A lot of people drive on the interstate during winter. Traditionally interstates are the first roadways cleared by workers. While the roadway may be clear of snow, it does not mean that the road is dry. It may still be wet or even icy. If so, using cruise control in a situation like this may cause your car to hydroplane or spin out.
  4. Driving when you shouldn’t. We all get cabin fever. But too often motorists ignore warnings and venture out when they shouldn’t. This causes so many issues. No car is invincible. Even the best all-wheel-drive system can be taken down by snow. So, if local officials have advised to stay off roads unless it’s emergency, it’s probably a good idea to stay

 

Even if you’re a careful driver, the negligence of others can really cost you. Your insurance rates aren’t just dependent upon your driving record. The negligence of others will cause your rates to go up too. Also, what may seem like a minor fender bender can lead to painful injuries. If you’ve been hurt by a driver who was negligent in the snow or other bad weather, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.

How Helmet Laws Impact Motorcycle Rider Fatalities

POSTED BY Jon C. . March 27, 2018

It seems like motorcycle culture has exploded in recent years. It’s hard to turn on a television without seeing a show dedicated to motorcycle enthusiasts or their lifestyle. Sales are as strong as they were ten years ago, with a lot of people still buying these two-wheeled machines. In 2015, over 500,000 people bought a new motorcycle. While those numbers pale in comparison to car sales, it’s still a substantial number. Motorcycles aren’t as safe as cars. Most won’t argue that point, but there are laws in place to make motorcyclists safer. For instance, in West Virginia where our firm is headquartered, motorcycle riders must wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. Once you cross the river into Ohio however, that rule no longer applies. On a warm summer day, while driving through southwest Ohio, it’s common to see many motorcyclists riding their bikes sans helmet. Most argue that it offers them greater freedom, and it helps them “get away from it all”. So the question must be asked: “Does wearing a helmet really matter?”

Let’s examine what happened in the state of Michigan. For over 40 years, Michigan required all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet in their state. In April of 2012 that law changed. After the 12th of April, the only individuals who were required to wear a helmet were individuals under the age of 21. All other riders were permitted to ride without a helmet if they passed a motorcycle safety class, or if they held the motorcycle endorsement on their license for at least two years. It’s worth noting that Michigan also required riders to carry no less than $20,000 worth of medical coverage.

Overall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets cut the risk of a fatality by 37%. The NHTSA was not alone in their stance on helmet laws. The University of Michigan analyzed the fatal motorcycle accidents in Michigan during calendar year 2013. They suggest that 26 fewer fatalities would have occurred during the year if the riders would have been wearing helmets.  Helmets could have reduced fatalities 21%.

Every state in the union requires seatbelt laws in cars, so it seems contradictory that there are states that don’t require helmets. What’s staggering is that only 19 states require all riders to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. There are currently three states in which no helmet law exists. The remaining 28 states have some helmet laws, mostly requiring riders under a certain age to wear a helmet.

The stats regarding fatalities produce some interesting insights. For instance, when looking at the country as a whole, the number of motorcycle-related fatalities is down from 2008. It’s easy to argue that 2008 was the worst year for motorcycle fatalities as it topped 5,000 for only the second time since 1975. In 2016, the most recent year that statistics were available, there were 4,976 motorcycle deaths. It’s down from the high of 5,112 in 2008, but it’s rising. The most staggering change occurs when you compare today’s numbers with those reported 20 years ago. There were 2,077 motorcycle deaths in 1996. By 2016, that number more than doubled to 4,976.

So, do helmets really matter? The NHTSA offers one last statistic the sheds some light on the debate. In 2016, 91 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were helmeted in states with helmet laws that cover all riders, in contrast to only 27 percent in states with no helmet law. In states with helmet laws that cover only some riders, 40 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were helmeted.

The stats obviously show that a helmet won’t necessarily save one’s life in every situation. However, in states that don’t mandate helmet use, fewer people died while wearing helmets.

We know that it takes a special kind of person to a ride a motorcycle. You probably play by your own rules, love your freedom, and won’t take no for an answer. If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you’ll want an attorney who also refuses to take no for an answer. If so, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-JanDils (1-877-526-3457). If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can talk to you at a better time.

Bike Accidents: What to Do After the Crash

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 27, 2018

Today, more and more people are taking to the streets. Fortunately, more and more cities are adding bike lanes to encourage this environmentally-friendly and heart-healthy means of getting from point A to B. Of course, if you’re a biker, you have to be on your guard. The good news is that most bicycle accidents do not involve cars. However, if you are hit by a car, it is so important to keep your wits about you as what you do in the immediate aftermath may have a big impact on how much you recover for your injuries and damage to your bike. It may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the accident.

Wait for the Police to Arrive

It is vital that you wait for police to arrive at the accident scene so that they can take and file a police report – even if you think you are not injured. Some cyclists don’t realize they’ve been injured until several hours after the accident. And sometimes seemingly minor injuries later develop into serious and permanent problems. If you leave the accident scene, you may never be able to identify the at-fault driver.

Don’t attempt to negotiate with the driver. Many drivers initially apologize and accept blame, only to later deny their negligence or even deny they were present at the accident. Instead, wait for the police to come so they can document everything in the police report. Another advantage of waiting for the police: They may ticket the driver, which may be useful in settling the case with the insurance company.

Get Your Version of Events into the Accident Report

Sometimes, the police officer will take a statement from the motorist and not bother to talk to the cyclist. Do every­thing you can to get your side of the story into the police report. And by all means, report all of your injuries, no matter how minor. Remember, those minor injuries may later become more serious.

If despite your efforts, the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can later have the report amended.

Obtain Driver and Witness Contact Information

If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. In addition, try to get names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don’t assume the police report will include all of this information — it might not. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.

Document What Happened

If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions. Then, as soon as you are able, write all this information down.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To” width=”500″ height=”380″]

Document Your Injuries

Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Start a jour­nal of your physical symptoms and make entries every few days.

Preserve Evidence

Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident – don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing. And don’t send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney. Take photos of your damaged equipment.

Seek Advice from a Professional

Many accidents between bikes and cars involve complex legal issues. If you have any question, please contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at law for a free consultation. We have decades of Personal Injury experience – including bike accident cases. In the interim, do not commu­nicate with the insurance companies before contacting our team. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoid­ing legal pitfalls. In fact, most injury cases are settled without ever going to trial. If the case warrants it, we can hire a bike accident expert to investigate the accident. That expert might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, or measure and diagram the accident scene. In summary, if you ride, know that Jan Dils is always on your side!

Semitrailer Underride Guard Test Results Show Concern for Motorists

POSTED BY Jon Corra . February 15, 2018

80,000 pounds. That is the maximum weight of a semi-truck in the United States. The weight of the average passenger car in the US? 3,000 to 4,000 pounds.

It is common knowledge that bad wrecks and fatalities can occur when a semi-truck hits a passenger car. But what happens when the tables are turned? What chance does a regular car have when it impacts a semi-truck? More specifically, what chance does it have if it hits the rear of the trailer portion or the side of the trailer?

In recent years the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has asked these questions on a “semi” regular basis. Many are familiar with the IIHS from their appearances on the hit television series Dateline. They originally created stricter crash tests that went further than government regulations,  starting with a frontal offset test. Now, they test everything from roof stability in rollover accidents to pre-collision warning systems. However, they are currently making waves with their testing of semi-trucks. The IIHS has dedicated a lot of time and money to something they call “Truck underride guard evaluations”. In other words, this group investigates what happens to cars when they impact the sides or rear of semi-trailers. The IIHS recently held their 2nd national meeting and conference on the dangers associated with Truck underride accidents.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrL7AUMT4To” width=”500″ height=”380″]So why is the IIHS is putting so much effort into studying these accidents? One look at the crash tests will provide a frightening answer. Impacting the side or rear of a semi-trailer can be fatal, even for a car with an excellent safety rating. While every manufacturer is hedging their bets on crossovers and large trucks/SUVs, many Americans still buy cars. Traditional cars, like family sedans for instance, ride lower than a crossover or a truck. It’s easy for a car to become wedged under the trailer if it impacts the trailer from the side or rear. Depending on which trailer manufacturer is impacted, drivers can be decapitated. What the IIHS argues is that these deaths and injuries can be prevented by stronger or reinforced guards.

Currently, there are federal regulations in place for semi-trucks. The rear of every semi-trailer on the road has a guard on it to prevent a car from becoming pinned underneath. Some cars are safer than others, and the same holds true for trailer manufacturers. Some current trailer guards work very well. Others fail. Tragically, those failures can result in the loss of life.

Recently, the IIHS tested trailers from 8 different manufacturers. Each trailer was tested in scenarios mimicking a full impact, 50%, and 30% impacts. The results showed that many trailer manufacturers have made vast improvements over the past several years. However, a few manufacturers failed the test. Complete results can be found here.

Another area of concern: the sides of trailers do not have guards. Some have aftermarket materials in place to increase fuel mileage, but they do not prevent a car from being trapped. The IIHS is currently working on raising awareness for side trailer guards, as well.

Pre-collision safety systems are another issue with semi-trailers that warrants further discussion.  Depending on where the pre-collision warning camera or radar sensor is placed on a car, it may not detect the side of a trailer. If this is the case, the self-braking feature will not activate. This is believed to be the cause of a highly publicized accident involving a Tesla Model S and a semi-truck last year. Regulations for side-guards on trailers could help pre-collision systems work more effectively.

There is good news to report, though. Since the IIHS started their public awareness campaigns, several manufacturers have adapted their rear guards to pass the IIHS standards. Events like the conference bring together individuals with organizations that share the common goal of reducing accidents related to under guards.

To learn more about how the legal team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can help after an accident, call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and a member of the team can contact you at a better time.

How Risky Is Peer-to-Peer Transportation?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 20, 2017

The relatively new industry of peer-to-peer transportation is in the midst of an incredible surge in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. Services like Uber and Lyft seem unstoppable, with the former even showing some immunity to recent bad publicity. Despite several national headlines about incidents with drivers, Uber is bigger than ever. When someone enters an Uber, they’re likely concerned about making it to their destination, their star rating, and what they have planned for that evening. Chances are, they aren’t wondering if the driver has insurance.

The Uber website takes a laid-back approach to selecting drivers. Under the requirements section of the website, Uber states that drivers must be at least 21 years

of age, have at least one year of driving experience in the U.S. (3 years if you are under 23 years old,) have a valid U.S. driver’s license, and use an eligible 4-door vehicle. It’s not until one reviews the required documents that Uber states that a driver has to have proof of insurance. In other words, Uber does require drivers to have insurance to become one of their drivers. However, it does not specify the minimum amount of coverage. It’s possible that a driver may not have enough coverage to pay your medical bills if they wreck while you’re a passenger. Further, some insurance policies are void if the driver is engaged in “for-hire” driving.

What about Lyft? Honestly, they’re just as vague. Their site does not list minimum requirements for insurance. They are, however, thorough on the vehicle requirements. Lyft also appears to be stricter regarding who can become a driver. They check a driver’s background and driving history. Uber does this too, but they aren’t as strict according to many online resources.

Both Lyft and Uber offer supplemental insurance for their drivers while they are using the app. They offer up to $1,000,000 in third party liability coverage. The collision coverage from Uber carries a $1,000 deductible. There are also a lot of rules depending upon when the accident occurs. For instance, if a driver is on his or her way to pick up a passenger, they may not be covered the same as they are with a passenger.

Some drivers may also acquire commercial vehicle insurance to help supplement their coverage. However, there is a steep additional cost for this type of insurance. Most estimate that a driver will have to pay an additional $5,000 to $7,000 per year.

Ridesharing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s important for users to be aware of how they’re covered during a ride. If you’ve been injured while in a ride-sharing car, give us a call for a Free Consultation. Simply dial (304) 888-8888. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that a representative may call you at a better time.

A Disturbing New Trend Developing Among Motorists

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 13, 2017

When it comes to choosing a new car, there are several new safety features to consider. In the past decade, items like adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic alerts, and parking assist have become more common additions to today’s new cars. These features are designed to help drivers avoid accidents and, while they are helpful, there is a disturbing new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that reveals how often owners actually turn off one such safety feature: lane departure warning.

For those who aren’t familiar with lane departure warning systems in cars, they’re intended to keep a motorist from veering into oncoming traffic. This can be helpful, for instance, if a driver falls asleep while operating a vehicle. Depending upon the manufacturer, the warning system may work in one of several ways. In some vehicles, the driver will simply hear a warning chime and see an alert illuminate on the dash. Other systems are more aggressive and can be as intrusive as vibrating the driver’s seat or automatically steering the car back into the proper late. Regardless of the type of alert, lane departure warning works well to keep drivers in their lanes. In 2010, the IIHS estimated that lane departure warning could be a relevant safeguard in 23 percent of fatal crashes But, they only work when they’re on.

How often do drivers turn lane departure warning systems off? In their study, the IIHS reviewed over 900 cars from 9 manufacturers. They used real owners’

Some motorists turn their lane departure Warning control off because it’s too intrusive.

vehicles that came to the dealership for maintenance or service. Of those vehicles, only 51% of the owners left the lane departure systems on. In those same cars, crash avoidance systems like front collision warning had a usage rate averaging above 90%. The IIHS also found that the lane departure system was more likely to be disabled if it was more aggressive. In other words, the more invasive the system, the more likely the owner was to turn it off.

Some researchers argue that manufacturers make it too easy to turn off the lane departure warning system. To turn off the system on certain Honda models, for instance, one only has to push a button near the steering wheel. Other systems, however, are more complicated to turn off. Some require the driver to hold a button for a specified amount of time, while others require multiple steps in a sequence. This is also an issue if multiple people drive one car. Take for example a husband and wife who share a Honda Odyssey. Perhaps the wife wants the feature on, while the husband wants it off. With the system so easy to disengage, the wife may not even be aware that it has been turned off when she drives the vehicle.

Some users turn them off because they find that they aren’t always effective. For instance, the lane departure warning system on a new Chevy Malibu can fail when there is a lot of salt on the road. Some systems may not work in the rain or the fog, and lane departure warning systems that use cameras may not work if the lens is dirty. With these limitations in mind, it’s easy to understand why so many drivers choose to turn them off.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdX6J5KQXS0″ width=”500″ height=”380″]One final reason why many drivers may turn off their lane departure warning system is that it engages more frequently than other systems. Unlike a front crash alert or reverse sensors, lane departure alerts are activated much more often. On rural roads, many drivers like to cut corners and cross the yellow line when driving, especially on a road with a lot of turns. Driving like this can cause the system to activate several times on even a short trip.

So, what is the solution? Should automakers make these features less invasive? Should they limit the ability to turn the system off? Education may be the answer. The IIHS is bringing this issue to the public’s attention. Perhaps they can do more to instruct people about the dangers of turning off crash avoidance systems.

Accidents can be scary and confusing, and leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. The right attorney can help you find the answers you are looking for. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form and we will be happy to call you at a better time.

What Everyone Needs To Know About Talcum Powder Lawsuits

POSTED BY Jon Corra . December 05, 2017

For over 130 years people have trusted the brand name, Johnson & Johnson. The company is actually a conglomerate of multiple companies, including Baby Powdermany  well-known brands like Aveeno and Neutrogena, which are among the most recognized in the skin care community. However, the most well-known product Johnson & Johnson produces is also one of their oldest: baby powder. In recent months, there’s been a lot of coverage of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and the fact that their baby powder has been linked as an alleged cause of ovarian cancer.

One of the first lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson based on baby powder emerged in 2009. Diane Berg, a woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, when she was only 49 years old. She claimed to have used the powder every day for most of her life. According to the Huffington Post, the pharmaceutical company offered a $1.3 million settlement to Berg in 2013. She declined and was eventually awarded nothing in the way of monetary compensation. However, a South Dakota jury confirmed the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Soon after, two St. Louis judges awarded two families $127 million in similar cases. The Huffington Post went on to report one of these two sentences found the “Big Pharma” company guilty of negligence, conspiracy, and failure to warn women of the increased cancer risk linked to the use of cosmetic talc in the genital area.

More recently, the New York Times reported the story of another ovarian cancer lawsuit involving Johnson & Johnson. Eva Echeverria, 63, of east Los Angeles, was recently awarded $417 million by a jury. Many cases that go to the jury are successful. However, not all of the cases are favorable. In March of 2017, a St. Louis jury rejected a Tennessee woman’s claim that Johnson & Johnson’s powder caused her ovarian cancer, and a New Jersey judge dismissed two talcum powder lawsuits against the company.

The American Cancer Society states that talcum powder comes from talc. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos. In response to the question “does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer?”, the American Cancer states the following:

Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. But these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person’s memory of talc use many years earlier. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk.

For any individual woman, if there is an increased risk, the overall increase is likely to very be small. Still, talc is widely used in many products, so it is important to determine if the increased risk is real. Research in this area continues.

There are a lot of people offering opinions on this subject, and there are thousands of lawsuits pending currently. Cornstarch-based powder is often recommended as an alternative, as there is no current evidence that cornstarch-based powder causes cancer.

To learn more about this subject, or to set up a Free consultation, call the team from Jan Dils Attorneys at Law today. Our toll-free number is 1-977-526-3457. For individuals who’d rather receive a call at a later time, fill out this form now and we will return your call when it is convenient to you.