How Does a Lawyer Evaluate a Car Accident Case?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 18, 2018

The days following a car accident can be scary. If you’re injured, you need to plan your recovery. If your injuries will keep you from working, you’re probably going to be worried about finances. And lastly, you’ll likely be looking for an attorney to represent you. But which personal injury attorney should you choose? You’ll have a lot of options to choose from, no matter where you live. Here are 4 factors that a personal injury attorney will typically use to evaluate your claim:

  1. Medical Treatment. One of the largest factors for any personal injury claim is an actual injury. You can’t pursue a personal injury claim if an injury hasn’t occurred. If you are injured, you must have some sort of medical treatment in order for a favorable decision to occur. Medical evidence is the most important aspect of your case. Medical records from a credible medical professional are crucial.
  2. Time. When did the accident occur? A lot of people will start searching for an attorney quickly after their accident happens. That’s good. However, some people may wait. You shouldn’t wait too long. Timing varies from state to state, but most areas have a statute of limitations. In West Virginia, the statute is two years.
  3. Who is at fault? The police report will play a big part in determining who was at fault in a car accident. If you’re at fault for the accident you were in, you will have a difficult time receiving compensation or arguing your case.
  4. Have you settled? Insurance companies are notorious for under-compensating you for your Injuries. They will send you an offer that will likely be far less than you deserve. These offers can be tempting for accident victims. But if you accept the offer, you may not be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

Car accidents can be scary, but seeing an attorney shouldn’t be. We offer free case evaluations by experienced, caring professionals. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

Long Term Disability and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 16, 2018

Working every day in Social Security can be en eye-opening experience. Some of the stats we’ve learned over the years are staggering. For instance, did you know 25% of all 20-year-olds won’t work until retirement age? In 2017, 39% of all working Americans had no money saved. So, what are you to do if you can’t work? If you become disabled at an early age and you have no savings, it may be difficult to survive financially. If you decide to pursue Social Security Disability, you’re going to be in for a long wait. Some people prepare for this by purchasing long-term disability insurance (LTD). However, individuals who have LTD may have questions about how it impacts Social Security Disability.

Let’s start with an explanation of long-term disability insurance. For most, an LTD policy will take place after a short-term disability policy ends. Most short-term policies last about 6 months. According to insure.com, long-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary, usually 50 to 60 percent, depending on the policy. The benefits last until you can go back to work or for the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies pay out as long as you are disabled until age 65.

Many employers offer LTD insurance policies, but you must opt into these policies. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can purchase LTD through an insurance agent. Most LTD policies require a monthly fee.

If you’ve done any research on the Social Security Disability process, you know that it takes a long time for claims to be approved. Most people have to wait years before they get approved. Long-term disability insurance can be beneficial during this time because it does not take as long for an LTD claim to process. So, LTD can help supplement your income while you’re waiting to be approved for SSDI.

Can you get both?

One of the first things we’re asked when a client has an LTD policy is “Can I get both?” The answer depends upon a few factors. Keep in mind, SSDI is not an income-based program. The SSA does not care how much money or how many assets you have when you’re pursuing SSDI. You could have 27 houses and every Ferarri ever made and still qualify for SSDI. In other words, the income you receive from an LTD policy won’t keep you from receiving benefits. The limitations are usually found in your LTD policy. Some LTD policies require you to file for SSDI within a specific time period.

Once you’re approved for SSDI, most long-term disability policies won’t continue to pay you the full amount. Instead, the policy will offset the balance paid by the SSA. For example, if you were making $60,000 per year before you became disabled, and your policy paid you 60% of your annual income, you’d receive about $2,500 per month. If you’re approved for SSDI for an amount of $1,800 per month, your LTD policy should pay you the remaining $700 per month. Keep in mind though, this depends upon your LTD policy. Some policies may not pay anything if you’re approved for SSDI.

Know your policy.

Regardless of whether your employer offers an LTD policy or you purchase one from an agent, you should get to know it well. Don’t hesitate to ask your HR rep about specifics, or reach out to your insurance agent for clarification on the details.

If you’d like to know more about the ways in which SSDI impacts long-term disability, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise?

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 06, 2018

A recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) sheds new light on the increasing number of pedestrian deaths.  The article mentions an increase of 46% since 2009. Further, a February 2018 article by National Public Radio stated that pedestrian deaths have reached a 25-year high for the second consecutive year. The cars we purchase are safer than ever, but more and more pedestrians are being killed and injured.

Just how bad is this issue?

The NPR article listed above stated that pedestrian deaths have been at a 25-year high for the second year in a row. What’s even more alarming is the increase from 2016 to 2017. NPR claims the year-to-year increase is 27%. In 2017, nearly 6,000 pedestrians died. According to NPR, five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona, accounted for 43% of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017, despite being home to just 30% of the U.S. population. Another alarming statistic reveals that 8 of the top 10 most dangerous areas were in Florida according to the study by Smart Growth America.

Why are deaths increasing?

If you look at the increased numbers, you might assume it’s because drivers aren’t paying attention. While it’s true that distracted drivers are one reason that pedestrian deaths are on the rise, it’s not the only one. The IIHS stated that there are many reasons. Some, like distracted drivers, are obvious, but others are more nuanced.

 

Crosswalks

The IIHS found that pedestrian deaths are worse in urban areas. Larger cities are dense, with more people and more cars. However, rural areas are experiencing increased pedestrian deaths due to a lack of infrastructure. Large metropolitan areas are often set up in a grid pattern. There are usually crosswalks and traffic lights at every block, making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross. However, most suburban areas aren’t set up this way, and instead, force pedestrians to walk long distances without crosswalks or traffic lights. The long distance between crosswalks encourages pedestrians to walk across busy traffic areas, leading to more individuals getting hit by oncoming traffic.

Light

This cause of pedestrian death was brought to national attention recently when an autonomous Uber vehicle hit a pedestrian crossing a four-lane roadway. The individual who was struck was crossing traffic in an area not designated for pedestrians. The incident also occurred at night, which brings up another issue mentioned by the IIHS. Many pedestrians are hit at night due to low visibility. The problem with visibility is two-fold. The first issue is the result of poorly lit roadways. Street lights help with visibility, but the infrastructure in most cities doesn’t include proper street lighting. The other issue with visibility involves vehicle headlights. The IIHS states that current vehicle headlights may blind pedestrians, and they don’t provide good visibility, especially at a distance.

The things we drive most destroy us. 

In a situation in which a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the pedestrian is always at a disadvantage. However, being struck by a small economy car is much different than being struck by a crossover, SUV or truck. The way in which a vehicle impacts a pedestrian makes a big difference, as well. For instance, a small car may strike a pedestrian in the leg or the knees. A crossover, SUV or truck rides higher than a car, meaning the point of impact is also higher. So instead of being struck in the knee or leg, a pedestrian may be struck in the chest or head. An impact near your vital organs is more likely to result in a fatality. In 2018, we have more large vehicles on the road than at any other time in history.

Speed

In their report on pedestrian safety, the IIHS also mentioned increased speed as a major factor in pedestrian deaths. Speed limits nationally have increased. The IIHS suggests a way to decrease this issue is to decrease speeds. They also suggest increased use of speed cameras as a way to deter speeding. However, there is a lot of opposition to this proposal.

The Fix

The general public isn’t aware of the increasing number of pedestrian deaths. The IIHS and many other outlets are working hard to make the public aware, since raising awareness is one of the best ways to tackle this problem. However, some auto manufacturers are taking things a step further. Manufacturers like Subaru are creating crash avoidance systems which can detect pedestrians. Many automakers are starting to design their vehicles to minimize pedestrian injuries. Some cars now come equipped with explosive charges at the base of the hood. If your car hits a pedestrian, the base of the hood will pop up to push the individual back up. Volvo is currently offering this on some new cars with this feature.

We need to be more careful on the road. Too many people are dying because of these accidents. If you want to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like to sign up for a free consultation, give us a call today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Security Disability Video Hearings

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 29, 2018

When you’re pursuing a Social Security Disability claim, your hearing is one of the most important aspects of the entire process. We understand that a lot of our clients prefer to attend a hearing in person. There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with attending a hearing in person. However, there’s not always an Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) close by. When an OHO location isn’t close, a video hearing makes a lot of sense. Here are 5 reasons why you should embrace your video hearing.

Travel time.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, there’s a good chance you live near an OHO office. However, we’re based in West Virginia. A lot of our clients live in rural areas, and they often have to travel long distances in order to attend hearings in person. For instance, many of our clients near our Beckley, WV office were forced to travel over two hours in order to attend an in-person hearing at the Roanoke, VA OHO. Now that we’re able to complete video hearings at our Beckley office, what was once a four-hour round trip can be done by driving a few minutes to our office.

Less anxiety.

We understand that most of our clients haven’t hired an attorney before and they haven’t been in court. Though an ALJ hearing isn’t like something you’d see on an episode of Law and Order, it can still be intimidating. When you attend a hearing via video conference, your anxiety may be reduced because you’re not in the same room as the ALJ. Plus, if you’re attending a video hearing at a local SSA office, or at a location like our Beckley, WV office, you won’t have to search for a parking place and walk a considerable distance in order to arrive at the OHO. That’s not usually an issue when you have a video hearing.

Quicker hearing.

One of the biggest benefits of a video hearing is scheduling. The SSA can often schedule a hearing for a video conference much quicker than they can for an in-person hearing. This is a big benefit considering the backlog the SSA is currently facing. The quicker you can attend a hearing, the quicker you can get a decision.

Better for individuals with limited mobility.

 Individuals with severe disabilities or those who have mobility concerns may have issues when traveling long distances for an in-person hearing. The video hearing offers an alternative for applicants who can’t travel far because of their disabilities.

It’s not much different.

It may seem like a video hearing is a big change from a traditional in-person hearing, but in all actuality, it’s not that different. Other than looking at a camera and a video monitor, the procedure is the same. Your attorney won’t prepare you much differently than if you were attending the hearing in person. The judge will act the same as he or she would if you were attending the hearing in person. The questions and overall procedure don’t differ either.

Overall, the video hearing is a good alternative to an in-person hearing. They’re quicker, easier to get to, and great for individuals with limited mobility. However, if you would rather attend a hearing in person, we understand. We present our clients with both options, and we let the client make the decision.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, call us today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be called at a later time, fill out this form so our Intake team can call you at a later time.

What To Do If You Witness An Auto Accident

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 19, 2018

There’s a lot of information available on what to do if you are involved in a car accident, but not much information for people who witness a car accident.What to do if you witness a car accident?

Do you even have to stop if you witness a crash? Here is some helpful information you need to know:

Do I have to help?

It depends upon where you are. Most states don’t require you to assist if you witness a car accident. A lot of people believe the opposite but, if you don’t want to help, you are not required to do so by law in most states.

Should I help in an accident?

That’s up to you. However, many people are afraid to assist because of they’re afraid they’ll be held liable if they intervene. This, too, is untrue in most states. For instance, West Virginia has a Good Samaritan Law which protects citizens who intervene in an accident.

The law states that no person, including a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or to a victim at the scene of a crime, without remuneration, shall be liable for any civil damages as the result of any act or omission in rendering such emergency care.

So, in West Virginia, you will be protected if you help during an accident. But, What to do if you witness a car accident?

  • Don’t put yourself in danger

It’s good to help other but you should be in safe side first so think first and react and keep yourself in a safe zone. Don’t get panic and put some steps that encounter you in danger and difficulties. so if you witness a car accident don’t put yourself in danger.

  • Pull off the road as soon as it’s safe.

Turn your hazard lights on, and make sure your vehicle is in a safe position. Try not to park too close to the accident scene in case of fire or other hazards.

  • Call 911.

If the accident is severe, the occupants of the vehicles likely won’t be able to contact emergency services. Their cars may be equipped with a service like OnStar, but it won’t hurt to call 911 to be safe. Be sure to tell the operator you’ve witnessed an accident. Explain where the accident occurred, how many cars are involved and if there are any injuries.

  • Assist the drivers and passengers.

It’s possible the vehicle passengers may need help getting out of the car, even if they aren’t injured. Assist them if you’re available to do so safely. This process may be more difficult in modern cars. Each year cars seem to have more and more airbags. Extracting someone from the car may be more difficult with side curtain airbags and airbags found in the side of the door. Also, take extra precautions around electric and hybrid cars.

 

  • Help with hazards.

If there is a fire or another hazardous condition, do your best to help control the situation, but only if it’s safe for you to intervene. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a portable fire extinguisher in your car. It can come in handy in this situation or if you’re involved in your own accident.

  • Take some photos.

After the accident, the motorists might not be able to take photos of the scene. So, if you have a phone with a camera, or a digital camera, take photos of the scene. This may help later.

  • Give a police report.

It’s possible you’ll be asked to give a police report, even if you didn’t witness the actual accident. The police will want to know what you did when you came upon the scene, and they’ll want you to recount what you did, and how you helped the individuals involved in the accident.

An accident can be scary, even if you witness a car accident. While you are not required to help, it can make a big difference to the people involved in the wreck. Knowing what to do ahead of time can save time and possibly save lives.

If you know someone who’s been in an accident, you can help them by telling them to call Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our firm has battled government and insurance giants for over 20 years. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. We can also communicate electronically. Fill out this form so we can contact you at a convenient time.

Here Is What You Need To Know About Compassionate Allowances.

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 18, 2018

To say the Social Security Disability process is long is an understatement. It takes years for most claims to get approved. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

The SSA recognizes certain conditions and disabilities in which expedition occurs. Formally, this list of conditions is known as Compassionate Allowance.

What is a Compassionate Allowance?

According to the SSA, Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The Social Security Compassionate Allowance List (CAL) initiative helps the SSA reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities.

Which conditions are on Social Security Compassionate Allowance List?

There are over 200 conditions on the CAL. The list contains many types of cancer as well as terminal diseases. The full list can be viewed here: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0423022080

It’s important to note that a diagnosis alone is not necessarily enough to qualify for the Compassionate Allowance expedition. For instance, breast cancer is on the list, but the severity of the condition also plays a part. In order for breast cancer to qualify for the list, it must be inoperable with distant metastases.

 

How can you file for a condition on the Compassionate Allowance List?

As long as your medical evidence backs up your disability claim, it will be expedited. However, one aspect that may hold up your claim is medical records. Your medical records may be held up by delays at your medical office. However, once your records are sent, you should receive an expedited decision.

Unfortunately, even the Compassionate Allowances program can’t provide benefits immediately. Even with the expedited process, several factors such as the number of other applications, the speed of submitted medical evidence, and further required examinations can delay the decision.

However, most applicants do not have to wait long for their payments to start — most receive Compassionate Allowance benefits anywhere from a few weeks to 2 months after the application is received.

Overall, filing a disability claim while battling a condition on the Compassionate Allowance List can be difficult. If you’d like to know more about how to file for these claims, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

 

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Major Recall For Ford Rangers, Mazda B-Series Trucks

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 12, 2018

If you own a vehicle, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually receive a safety recall. Many recalls are important and should be taken care of as soon as possible. However, an occasional recall may be much less urgent. For instance, if you owned an early 2014 Honda Odyssey, you may have received a recall due to a misplaced model emblem. It may seem silly to take your vehicle to the dealer to have your emblem serviced, but Honda argued it could hurt resale values. So, the recall was issued. Most recalls aren’t as trivial but are instead for serious safety issues. Occasionally, a recall will be issued which stands out from the others. For instance, Ford Motor Company recently issued a recall for their 2006 Ford Rangers. This recall was different because Ford said owners should not drive their vehicle until the issue is fixed. Far worse than a misplaced badge, the Ford recall was issued due to faulty airbags.

Thousands of motorists have been impacted by the Takata airbag recall. The Takata airbag recall included 19 different automotive brands for vehicles made from 2002 to 2015. Ford, like other manufacturers, has issued a “stop driving” order due to the severity of this specific issue. Simply put, many airbags impacted by this recall won’t work in an accident. A faulty airbag can lead to injuries or even death. Ford initially recalled fewer than 3,000 trucks. However, they later added about 30,000 Ford Rangers and expanded the recall to include the Mazda version of the Ford Ranger, the B-Series truck. In the expansion of the recall, Ford mentioned they found at least two deaths related to the faulty airbags.

According to thecarconnection.com, Ford issued a “do not drive” order on the Ranger because two people were killed due to the malfunctioning airbags. In July of 2017, a West Virginia man was killed when the airbag in his Ranger didn’t inflate. In December of 2017, Ford found the death in West Virginia was similar to another accident in which the driver was killed. Both trucks had airbags installed on the same day at the same plant in South Carolina. Many people who drive different brands of cars have not had to stop driving. The website goes on to state that the NHTSA considers older vehicles located in high-humidity areas of the country a priority for repairs. Takata airbags exposed to high humidity and moisture have been found by an independent laboratory to be at a higher risk for rupturing. Therefore, Ford has issued the “stop diving” order.

If you own a Ford or Mazda truck impacted by the “stop driving” order, the manufacturers will pay to have your truck towed to a local dealership. Ford and Mazda will repair the trucks free of charge. Some dealerships will offer loaner vehicles if the repairs are expected to take longer than a day.

Aside from the issues with the Ford Rangers, 26 deaths have been linked to the Takata airbag failures. If you’ve been injured because of a faulty airbag, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today for a free 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 we can call you at a better time.

Uber Accident Leads to More Concerns About Autonomous Tech

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 01, 2018

The popularity of peer to peer ridesharing has increased exponentially over the past several years. Services like Uber and Lyft have their share of fans, but they also have a long list of detractors.

According to personal injury lawyers, several personal injuries like sexual harassment, protests by traditional taxi drivers, or their radical price surging,  are hiking with the use of Uber, in particular, has frequently found themselves in trouble lately.

At their core, Uber is actually a technology company, and they are looking at making changes to the ways that their vehicles operate. Since 2015, Uber has worked on a program to incorporate autonomous vehicles into their fleet.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the first vehicles used for research were seen in May of 2015. While working with Carnegie Melon, Uber Advance technologies created a fleet of “research” Ford Fusions to be used in the city of Pittsburgh.

These vehicles were primarily used for mapping services at the time. By September of 2016, Uber unveiled their first autonomous vehicles for use by the public.

These vehicles were used in the city of Pittsburgh, and they were equipped with “safety drivers.” A safety driver, according to Uber, is in place to take control of the vehicle in emergency situations.

According to WTAE-TV, there are 20 cameras, seven lasers, and three inertial measurement units used by the autonomous vehicles.

By the end of 2016, Uber expanded their autonomous fleet to cities in California and Arizona. They also added a new vehicle: the Volvo XC90. The XC90 is an SUV, as opposed to the Fusion, which is a sedan.

By March of 2017, Uber had their first real public issue with their autonomous cars when one was involved in an accident with another car. In this case, the police investigated the accident and found the sovereign driver was at fault because the non-Uber driver ran a stop sign, then struck the autonomous Uber vehicle.

The impact left the Uber vehicle disabled and it toppled onto its right side. At the time, Uber decided to place the autonomous car program on hiatus so they could determine what caused the accident. After finding that the accident was not the fault of their car, they reinstated the autonomous program.

A year later, in March of 2018, Uber had to halt the program once again. This time, a life was lost after an accident involving an autonomous Uber is Tempe, Arizona. According to multiple reports, a pedestrian was struck by an autonomous Uber while crossing a road at night. According to Tempe Police:

  • 49-year old Elain Herzberg was killed when the vehicle struck her
  • the vehicle was traveling near 40 MPH
  • the pedestrian was not in a designated crosswalk area
  • there was a driver behind the wheel of the autonomous Uber, but the vehicle was in the autonomous mode

After the accident, Uber halted the program until further investigations can be conducted. In addition to the Tempe Police department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the accident.

While this case is still in the early stages, many have made statements about who may be at fault in this accident. For instance, since the pedestrian was not in a designated crosswalk, many are arguing that she may be at fault.

Others are wondering why the car’s sensors didn’t detect the pedestrian. They are designed to avoid pedestrians, but in this case, they didn’t engage any type of braking system prior to impact.

Some are also faulting the safety driver who was behind the wheel of the Uber. All of these vehicles have cameras that record the driver at all times. In the moments leading up to impact, the driver can be seen taking her eyes off the road several times. It’s still early to truly determine fault, but it will be interesting to see what the investigating parties find.

As technology advances, we will likely see more cases like this in the future. Just because a vehicle is autonomous doesn’t mean that there isn’t a liable party.

If you’d like to learn more about the services we provide, please call our office for a free consultation from our  West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer. Our Number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.

 

How The New Medical Cards Will Impact You

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 21, 2018

Individuals who receive Medicare are likely accustomed to paper cards, which can cause issues with information security. However, change is coming. Medicare recipients in West Virginia will be among the first individuals to receive the new cards. Here is what to expect:

Safety is paramount with the new cards. The former paper cards featured your Social Security Number. This could be troublesome for many because it left important personal information exposed. The new cards no longer feature an individual’s Social Security Number. Each new card will feature a new, unique Medicare Number. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by 2019.

The new cards will not be released at the same time to all Americans. Instead, they will be released in waves. West Virginia will be a part of the first wave released, which started in April of 2018. Other states included in wave one are Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The new cards will be automatically sent via the United States Postal Service. Recipients won’t need to do anything to receive the new card. However, the CMS states that you should make sure your address is up to date. The CMS also states your benefits will not change with the new card. They also point out that the mailing will take time, and that your friends and neighbors may receive their cards before you do. The mail can be unpredictable, and the high volume of new cards being shipped can take a while to process.

You may wonder why the cards will remain paper. The simple reason is that, while a plastic card may be more durable, paper cards are easier for medical providers to make copies of. If you forget your card though, the provider may be able to look up your information by way of the new number.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you may also be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.

When you receive your new card, you should properly dispose of your old card. To see an example of the new card, click here.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free case evaluation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 16, 2018

RV Tires May Be The Cause Of Accidents, Deaths
8.9 million households in the United States own RVs

Summer is just around the corner and, for millions of Americans, that means it’s time to go camping. While the traditional image of a camping trip involves a tent pitched under a starry sky, these days more and more people are opting for recreational vehicles. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 8.9 million households in the United States own RVs. For many, RV travel is considered safe. However, recent reports show that a potentially deadly defect could be putting a lot of RV owners at risk.

It’s safe to assume many people don’t pay too much attention to tire brands. However, if you were playing a game like Family Feud, and you were asked to name a tire brand, you’d likely guess Goodyear due to their successful branding efforts for decades, including the familiar blimp that floats across the sky during sporting events every year. You may be surprised to learn this brand is the third largest tire manufacturer in the world, behind Michelin and Bridgestone. You may also be surprised to learn that Goodyear’s actions may have led to several accidental deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims it has received allegations that defective Goodyear motorhome tires caused crashes that killed or injured 95 people over a decade. The allegations were revealed in an information-seeking letter sent to Goodyear by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year, the agency began investigating whether Goodyear’s G159 tires are unsafe. The probe began after a judge ordered the release of Goodyear data that had been sealed under court orders and settlement agreements. Lawsuits and safety advocates allege the tires were designed for delivery trucks and not for recreational vehicles that travel at highway speeds. The NHTSA states that the investigation covers about 40,000 tires made from 1996 to 2003.

Several news outlets are now sharing this news. However, one automotive website has been sharing information about the possibly defective tire for months. Jalopnik is a non-traditional online automotive news and culture journal. According to the website, there have been more than 40 lawsuits filed against the tire manufacturer as a result of the defective tire. They go on to state that Goodyear has admitted in court to receiving over 98 death or injury claims due to the G159 tire.

Jalopnik journalists bring up a good question in their article: why wasn’t an investigation launched sooner? They claim that nearly every lawsuit involved a settlement with plaintiffs which prevented the sharing of documents and findings with other plaintiffs, citing an excerpt from the NHTSA which states:

“…the data produced in the litigation was sealed under protective orders and confidential settlement agreements, precluding claimants from submitting evidence to the NHTSA.”

Jalopnik also found that Goodyear believed the tires to be safe for RV use, stating they (Goodyear) believed the tread separation was the result of user error. Goodyear believed it could be the result of underinflating the tire and/or overloading the vehicle.

The NHTSA investigation is ongoing.

Product liability claims or personal injury are common, you can get assistance from Personal injury lawyer. If you’d like to know more about this type of claim, give us a call today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.