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Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. discusses defective retrievable IVC filter devices

Over the past half-decade, the medical device product liability attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. have been researching the adverse effects of retrievable IVC filters. As the epidemic exponentially grew, our firm has discussed potential lawsuits against the manufacturers of these filters. After NBC News's 2015 two-part series documenting the growing problems IVC filter patients have been experiencing, we began focusing great attention on clients who suffered injuries because of the filters.

Automatic braking to be standard by 2022

Twenty automakers that make nearly all cars driven in the U.S. have committed to making automatic emergency brakes (AEB) a standard feature of new cars starting in September 2022 at the latest. The brakes are intended to prevent accidents or make accidents less severe by stopping cars automatically when sensors detect an imminent collision. 

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) press release, the automakers who have committed to the change will install the AEB systems in nearly all cars and trucks that weigh 8,500 pounds or less. The AEB systems use sensor technology like radar or lasers to detect impending obstacles, and automatically apply the brakes after a warning when the driver fails to do so in time. According to the press release, the technology is estimated to prevent thousands of accidents and save thousands of lives every year. 

Trucking accidents could be greatly reduced if truck manufacturers implemented collision mitigation systems, according to NHTSA

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are between two and three rear-end collisions involving commercial tractor trailers every hour in the United States on average. There is technology that can help deter these accidents; however, most trucking manufacturers fail to implement the systems, despite the low cost. These technologies provide truckers with "following distance alerts" to let drivers know if they are too close to oncoming traffic. The systems will even automatically apply the truck's breaks if the driver fails to respond to these alerts. Tests show that the sensors can seriously help reduce damage during rear-end collisions with large trucks and have even proven to avoid collisions altogether.

Can you be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim?

Technically, no. When employers take adverse actions against an employee when that employee exercises rights, this is known as retaliation. If you do file a workers' compensation claim and you are fired shortly thereafter, you may have a retaliation case on your hands. However, employers are generally too savvy these days to state outright that you were fired because you filed a claim. Employers can state any number of "real" reasons for your dismissal, even if retaliation was the real motive. Retaliation claims can be very difficult to prove. 

This isn't to say that you shouldn't try to file a retaliation lawsuit if you believe you have been fired for filing a workers' compensation claim, nor does it mean you shouldn't file a workers' compensation claim in the first place to protect yourself from the possibility of retaliation. Workplace injuries can be severe and costly. They can result in long-term medical treatments and time away from work. Without workers' compensation, an injured worker can quickly face mounting an unmanageable debt, or even bankruptcy. 

Is your office a minefield of hidden dangers?

It's not hard to imagine how construction workers or others engaged in heavy industrial work could get injured on the job. Falls from a height, malfunctioning heavy machinery, chemical spills or fires can be serious dangers at such job sites, leading to potentially catastrophic and vivid injury scenarios. But how about people who work in an office? Are cubicle workers safe from such horrors in their relatively tame environment? 

Unfortunately, no. While office environments present a relatively tame image, workers in so-called 'cube farms' aren't immune from workplace dangers. Below is a list of potential hazards that can cause serious injury at an office workplace: 

April showers bring construction accidents

As we ease out of winter and into spring, construction crews will increasingly be working outdoors on projects like road repairs, bridge repairs and home construction. While the warmer weather allows these projects to commence or resume, spring rain can also create increased dangers at a work site. Construction workers who work on scaffolding can slip more easily on wet surfaces. Visibility on all parts of a construction site can be reduced, making collisions more likely. Mud can make the earth more unstable, which can lead to heavy machinery tipping over, or unsecured trenches caving in. Construction road crews can also be at particular risk of being struck by passing cars whose drivers lose control in slippery conditions or fail to see workers because of the reduced visibility. 

Construction workers who work outside in adverse weather conditions can help prevent certain injuries by wearing high-visibility rain gear, and taking extra precautions when working in slippery or potentially unstable conditions. But accidents can still occur even when workers take every precaution. 

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a brain injury?

The answer depends in part on when the accident happened and at what point you may have had reason to believe that you had been injured. In if you are injured in an accident, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The exception to this is when you didn't realize until later that you had been injured. In this situation, the "discovery rule" would apply. That is, you would have two years from the time you "discovered" that you had been injured before your statute of limitations would run out. 

The discovery rule is important because not all injuries are immediately apparent after an accident. This can be particularly true for brain injuries like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), where symptoms may not show up until years later. If, for example, you or someone you love played football in the past, and now, five later, have begun showing symptoms like aggression, inattention and confusion, you may be able to file a lawsuit for two years from the time symptoms started to appear. 

Dallas W. Hartman, PC lands landmark decision in distracted driving case

Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas, New Castle, PA extends liability to persons sending texts to drivers which results in distracted driving collision.

Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Electronic logging devices aim to prevent falsified records

As of December 2017, all commercial truck drivers who currently use paper logs to track their time will be required to make the switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs). The move is intended to cut down on driver fatigue by more accurately tracking the number of hours that drivers spend on the road, and preventing log falsification that could contribute to serious injuries on the road. Traditional paper logs have been so easy to falsify that some in the trucking industry have called them "comic books." 

The move to ELDs has been gaining support, with some drivers appreciative of having less paperwork to do. With ELDs, a push of a button eliminates the need to scribble data in a notebook. But ELDs are not cheap, and smaller carriers have objected to the costs and intrusion of the technology into their cabs. Many commercial drivers appear to be waiting until closer to the December 2017 deadline to outfit their rigs with the new devices. 

Can you get workers' comp if you get hurt helping someone else?

That's a question that will soon go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. An appeals court has ruled that an injured worker was, in fact, eligible for compensation for injuries sustained as he tried to help a fellow worker who had fallen into a pit of concrete and subsequently died. The worker's employer, Pipeline Systems, and the employer's insurer, Continental Western Insurance, had initially denied the worker's claim, saying he was not a trained first responder and that he was not engaged in an official professional capacity when he attempted to assist his fellow worker. 

The worker in question, Franklin Pound, had been employed as a pipe installer at a sanitation plant. When a fellow worker fell into a concrete pit, Pound tried to help, and injured his leg, ribs, knee, foot, head, back and lungs when methane within the pit rendered him unconscious and he fell 20 feet. Pound claimed that he had not been made aware of methane within the pit, and nobody attempted to stop him when he tried to render assistance to his co-worker. 

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