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Ikea Pays $46M Wrongful Death Settlement to Parents of Toddler Crushed by Recalled Dresser

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Product Injury LawyerThe Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has agreed to pay $46 million to the parents of a toddler who was crushed to death by a recalled dresser in May 2017.

The January 6, 2020 settlement resolves a wrongful death lawsuit from Joleen and Craig Dudek, whose son, Jozef, died after Ikea’s popular Malm dresser toppled on top of him in the family’s California home. In 2016, the company reached a $50 million settlement with the families of three other children who died in similar incidents involving the same model of dresser.

The family sued Ikea in state court in Pennsylvania, where the company’s North America headquarters is located, claiming that Ikea knew the dressers were prone to tipping over but failed to warn customers about the unstable design.

According to court documents, Jozef’s father found the boy pinned under the 70-pound dresser in May 2017, while checking on him during a daytime nap. Lawyers for the family said Jozef died later that day of asphyxia caused by compression of the neck.

Ikea began offering free wall-anchoring kits shortly before it recalled the Malm dressers in June 2016, but plaintiffs’ attorneys said the company had not done enough to notify customers who purchased older versions of the furniture before the recall. The Dudeks, who live in Buena Park, California, bought their dresser in 2008 and said they were never alerted about the recall, the lawyers said.

Jozef’s death was believed to be the only one to occur after the Malm’s recall in 2016.

According to the lawsuit, Ikea was aware of the Malm dresser’s defects but never made any changes and continued to sell the model, despite knowing about safer alternative designs that could have prevented it from tipping over.

“Despite actual knowledge of the risk of serious injury or death associated with Ikea furniture, including the Malm line, that failed to meet minimum stability requirements for tip-over prevention, and actual knowledge that most consumers do not secure chests and dressers to a wall, the Ikea defendants chose to market and sell the Malm line in reckless and wanton disregard of the safety of consumers and their children,” the suit said. 

An Ikea spokeswoman confirmed the wrongful death settlement in a statement, saying the company had taken steps to raise awareness about potential tip-overs, including required safety training for employees.

“While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution,” the spokeswoman said. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue. Again, we offer our deepest condolences.” 

Thanks to our friends from Murphy & Landon for their insight into personal injury lawsuits.  

 

 

Know Your Options After a Traffic Ticket

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Know Your Options After a Traffic Ticket

Even the safest drivers can sometimes experience a momentary lapse on the road and incur a traffic ticket. If you’ve never had a traffic ticket before, you may not be aware of your options. When traveling out of state, your options following a ticket may be even less clear.

Some people choose to simply pay the fine just to be done with the whole matter. However, before you decide to do that, you should at least understand what other options you have.

Options for a Traffic Ticket in Your Home Jurisdiction

In addition to pleading no-contest and paying the fine, there are other options available to you after a traffic ticket:

 

  •  Contest the Ticket This requires preparing your case by gathering evidence in your favor. The results are not guaranteed, but you may be successful in having the violation removed. If the officer who issued you the ticket does not show up to court, then the judge will automatically dismiss the case. Another common scenario is that you still have to pay the ticket but the fine is reduced.
  •  Seek a Reduction This is a way of resolving the matter outside of court. The court clerk may be willing to reduce the violation, and therefore the fee, when you go to the office to speak with him or her and request it. However, you will have to go to court if you want the fee completely removed. The court clerk doesn’t have the capability to do that for you, and again, the fee will only be removed if the judge decides in your favor or dismisses the case.
  •  Go to Traffic School It costs money to go to traffic school, and you still have to pay the fine on top of that if you choose this course of action. However, if you qualify, you may be able to avoid points on your record by going to traffic school. That could save you money in the long run by preventing your insurance rates from going up.

 

If you are still not sure what to do, the traffic violations bureau in your state may be a good source of information. You can visit the office directly or access the bureau’s website.

Options for an Out-of-State Traffic Ticket

Driving in another state can be a bewildering experience because the traffic laws may be different than what you are used to. However, the consequences for an out-of-state traffic ticket are usually comparable to those for a ticket in your jurisdiction. The options are similar as well. The main difference is that you have to make a return trip if you want to contest the ticket. Depending on factors such as how far you have to travel, this can be costly in terms of both time and money, and potentially more trouble than it is worth.

Whether you are local or from out of state, a traffic lawyer in Salem, VA can explain your legal options to you after a traffic violation. Contact a law office for more information.

 

Thanks to The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into traffic law and your options after getting a ticket.

 

Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident

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Steps to Take Following a Truck Accident

A big truck accident is different than other types of accidents in many ways, but in terms of what you should do following the accident, it is pretty similar to other accidents. If you are involved in an accident with a big truck, whether as the driver of the truck or another car, the following are five steps to follow.

Stay Put

Leaving the scene of an accident is not only illegal, but it also makes you look like the guilty party. If you want to give your story to the responding officer, collect proper evidence and receive proper medical attention, it’s important you stay at the crash site. You might have to move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, but other than that, just wait until authorities arrive before making a move.

Call 911

You should always call 911 after being in an automobile accident. Even if you think the injuries aren’t very bad, you will want an officer there to make a report of the accident. If your accident involves a big truck, injuries are highly likely, as the size of the truck poses a greater risk to others who are involved in the accident. While you’re waiting for authorities to arrive, and if you are able, see what you can do to administer first aid to those in need.

Collect Evidence

Most people today have smartphones with cameras on them. Pull your phone out and start snapping pictures of the accident. Be sure to include the surrounding area, damage to the vehicles, injuries, a good view of what the weather was like and other details that might help your case. You should also collect contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident, whether they are bystanders or passengers in either vehicle.

Exchange Information

As a driver in an accident, you should exchange information with the other driver. This includes his or her name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance information. You should also give your information to the other driver.

Report to Insurance

You don’t have to give any details about the accident to your insurance provider right away, but you should report that it occurred. This gives the provider a heads up to send a claims adjuster out to investigate the crash.

Contact an Attorney

Being involved in an accident with a big truck is a bit more complex than other automobile accidents. If you are in such a situation, contact a truck accident attorney, like a truck accident attorney in Houston, TX, for help in fighting your case.

 

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into what steps you should take after being involved in a truck accident. 

How Drunk Do You Have to Be to Get a DUI?

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DUI Charges

Everyone knows how important it is to never drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, it is also important to understand the laws that relate to DUIs. For instance, did you know that there are two separate laws that govern impaired driving? If you have ever wondered how drunk you have to be to get in trouble for driving, you should take the time to learn what the law actually says. This guide will go over this.

The Two Laws

So there are two laws that establish what is and is not allowed when it comes to mixing alcohol and driving. These two laws are designed to complement each other and each cover aspects that the other does not. This is the reason why someone is often charged with two separate counts of driving while impaired. You can be charged for breaking these two laws independently. The two laws are:

  1. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level above 0.08.
  2. It is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired to the point where it is unsafe to drive.

At first glance, it seems like these laws are redundant. However, upon closer inspection, you can see that one is objective while the other is subjective. Generally, a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 is a good threshold for how much alcohol can be in a human’s system before it becomes unsafe to drive.

Alcohol affects people differently, though, and some people cannot safely drive a vehicle even with a blood alcohol content level below 0.08. In this way, you can think of the second law as a catch-all for all the irresponsible situations that do not technically violate the first law. For instance, the first law only forbids driving while under the influence of alcohol, but there are other mind-altering substances besides alcohol. If you drive while high on drugs, it is still illegal, and this is the law that governs it.

The Charges

If you violate the first law, you will be charged with a DWI, or driving while intoxicated. If you violate the second law, you will be charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence. The consequences are often exactly the same, but the name of the charge depends on which law is violated. Sometimes breaking the second law results in something called a “Per se DUI”. Ultimately, these minor distinctions will depend on what state you are in when you are charged.

Contact a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, if you were accused of driving under the influence. They will be able to help you navigate through the process and advise you of your next steps.

Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into how drunk you have to be to get a DUI.

Three of the Most Common Semi-Truck Accidents

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When crisscrossing the country, truck drivers may encounter some difficult circumstances. First, they have the weather to contend with moving from one type of climate to another. Then, they must also be able to successfully and safely deal with changing terrain, like mountainous areas.

Staying safe behind the wheel is the goal of every driver. When it comes to those who drive a tractor-trailer, this becomes a matter of life and death. The rate of fatalities in a truck accident is higher than any other vehicle. This applies to both the driver of the cars impacted and the driver of the semi. When it comes to an accident with a heavy machine, the odds of coming out with severe injuries depends on a few factors, one of which is the type of accident. Familiarize yourself with the most common accidents semi-trucks get in every day.

  1. Jack-knife 

If a trucker needs to apply the brakes suddenly, it may cause the semi to jack-knife. This accident causes the trailer to be brought forward towards the cab of the rig. When the semi finally comes to a stop, it usually does so at a 90-degree angle. If there are vehicles within the path of a jack-knifing semi, they may suffer severe damage, and the occupants may sustain catastrophic injuries.

  1. Tire Blow Out 

A tire on any vehicle can blow out. The usual causes are degraded tread, low tire pressure, and debris kicked up from the road that compromises the integrity of the tire. A tire blow-out on a semi-truck may cause it to swerve uncontrollably between lanes. It may sway into a barricade or off to the side of the road. There are times when a single tire blow-out may result in subsequent ones, which makes it almost impossible for the driver to maintain any control. Impacting an out-of-control semi would meet with disastrous consequences.

  1. Rollover 

Tractor-trailers carry heavy loads and during transit, these items can shift. If the driver needs to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision or an obstacle, the load may become unbalanced. The unfortunate side effect of this is a sudden jerk of the wheel, which causes the weight to shift may also cause the trailer to turn over. Rollover accidents are some of the most serious. They typically cover the roadway and steamroll over other vehicles.

Accidents involving semi-trucks are cause for serious concern. They often result in catastrophic injuries for occupants of surrounding vehicles and the semi driver. Consult a trucking accident lawyer in Trenton, NJ if you have experienced this type of trauma first hand.

Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into personal injury claims and common truck accidents.

Why It’s Difficult to Obtain Compensation After a Truck Accident

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Truck Accident Compensation

Losses experienced in a typical car accident can be life-altering. However, when a standard vehicle is impacted by a semi-truck, then the issue escalates to life-threatening. While each collision is dangerous, there are different rules governing each incident. For example, a typical car crash is handled through personal auto insurance policies, but semi-truck involved accidents usually involve commercial insurance. While this singular difference might not seem that significant, it contributes to at least three other reasons that it is difficult to obtain compensation after being involved in an accident with a commercial truck.

  1. Trucking Companies

One of the leading reasons these types of accidents are so tricky is that trucking companies are complex entities. Truckers typically work for huge, multi-state corporations and the trucks they drive are usually owned by those same companies. These professional institutions have deep pockets, enabling them to fight lengthy legal battles. Also, their extensive finances allow them to hire top tier legal teams and representation. The only job of these legal teams is to minimize the exposure and liability for the company.

  1. Federal Regulations

Federal regulations, or, more specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, govern the licensing of commercial drivers and the trucking companies. The FMCSA has set standard practices for the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel. They have also determined the safe loading and offloading methods for commercial truckers. Also, they have implemented standards for maintenance schedules. While all of these rules and regulations sound like they should help you win your case, these regulations are complex and in-depth, meaning that to find any culpability on the companies behalf, you will need an experienced attorney.

  1. Lawyers

In regards to the attorney you hire, find one who is experienced in trucking company accidents. While most car accidents fall under the general area of law known as personal injury, not all damages are created equal. You might find an attorney who specializes in car accidents, but how many of their cases have involved commercial vehicles and insurers? The regulations set forth by the FMCSA are detailed and complicated. An attorney who has little experience with these regulations will find it difficult to argue your case. Find a lawyer with experience fighting against commercial trucking companies.

Car accidents involving semi-trucks are not cut-and-dry. Commercial drivers work for large, multi-state agencies, and they usually do not own the truck. These companies have deep pockets and are likely willing to fight, and the regulations governing these companies are complicated and confusing. Therefore, to give your case the best possible chance, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer in St. Paul, MN.

 

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and why it’s hard to get compensated after a truck accident.

 

Things You May Not Expect From a DUI Conviction

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DUI Convictions

If you get convicted of a DUI, you’re likely going to lose your driving privileges. What you may not know, however, is that there are other ways your life will be impacted, too, and some of the effects can last for years. Contact a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO if you are currently facing a DUI charge so you have the strongest chance of the best possible outcome in your particular case.

Multiple Fines and Fees

Court costs and fines often apply to DUI convictions, and these expenses can add up quickly. First-time offenders in many states end up paying in excess of $1,000, and for a person who has a previous DUI conviction, fines can run into the thousands.

Loss of Employment

You could lose your job due to a DUI charge or conviction, depending on where you work, what you do and how willing your employer is to accommodate the time you need off from work to handle things associated with your case. If you drive a vehicle for your job, you will find it tough, if not impossible, to keep that job after a conviction.

A DUI conviction can also hurt your chances of getting a different job in the future. Since it is a felony, it has to go on job applications and will show up on your background check.

Insurance Hikes and Troubles

Your car insurance carrier can drop you for many reasons, including a DUI conviction. You may be able to get a policy with another company, but it will be expensive. Just one DUI conviction is enough to cause your premium to double.

A DUI conviction can also impact home and health insurance rates. This is because a DUI is treated as a risk factor, signaling poor decision-making.

DUI Classes and Ignition Lock Devices

After you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you may have to get an interlock ignition device on your car in order to drive. This will come at your own cost, and you must use it to start the car by providing a breath sample. The device estimates your blood alcohol level and determines if the car should start based on the result. In addition to the device, you may have to take alcohol and DUI-related education classes, which you will also have to pay for.

Loss of a Professional License

Many professions have bodies that govern their licenses, such as lawyers and doctors. If you belong to one of these professions, you could have your professional license revoked if you are convicted of a DUI. Generally, this doesn’t happen unless you have a poor track record, but many associations do have the ability to revoke a license for a felony.

Many things can happen to you once you’ve been convicted of a DUI, and your life will be impacted as soon as you are charged. Don’t wait to get help until it’s too late; the best Denver DUI lawyer can start working to protect your rights and your future from the very start of your case.

 

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into criminal law and DUI charges.

 

Is There a Time Limit To File a Lawsuit?

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If you were the victim of an injury that was caused by someone else, you probably are wondering how you can be compensated for your injuries. Filing a lawsuit may be your best option to achieve exactly this. However, this raises the question of whether there is a time limit on filing a personal injury case. This is what the statute of limitations is, and this guide will explain it. Remember that you should always hire a personal injury lawyer, rather than trying to represent yourself. Your attorney will be able to answer all your questions.

The Statute of Limitations

Your time limit to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations is two years, then you must file the lawsuit before two years have passed from the time of the injury. Remember, the statute of limitations is how long you have to file the lawsuit. It is not required that the case be resolved before the statute of limitations expires, or even that the lawsuit progressed to trial before that time.

The specific length of the statute of limitations depends on which state you live in and what kind of lawsuit you hope to file. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is almost always either two or three years. There are 10 states where the statute of limitations is one, four, five, or six years instead of two or three. This means it is always a good idea to do some research for your state, or speak to an attorney.

The Discovery Rule

If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations is expired, the case will almost certainly be thrown out. There is one major exception to this called the discovery rule. It applies only if:

  • The discovery of the injury was delayed
  • The discovery of the responsible party was delayed

For instance, you may have sustained a hairline fracture from a car accident, but not realized it until one year later. Or you may have been part of a hit-and-run, and it took one year to discover who the other driver was. In these cases, the statute of limitations does not begin until the discovery is made. So, if the statute of limitations was two years in the above examples, the victim would be able to file a lawsuit until three years after the accident. It is important to have a personal injury lawyer in Deer Park, TX who fully understand this and all the other rules surrounding personal injury cases.

 

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and the time limit to submit a claim.

 

Medical Malpractice Reform: Pros and Cons

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Thousands of medical malpractice cases are filed against individual doctors and hospitals each year in the United States. This number has had a serious effect on physicians and surgeons who require insurance protection against such actions. Some believe that medical malpractice tort reform is the only way to curtail this problem, but it is important to understand the pros and cons before new legislation can be created.

Pro: Reform Limits Non-Economic Damages 

Medical malpractice reform would place a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages to patients, which means this would limit the amount they could claim for pain and suffering. This may help keep lawyers’ fees and other court costs under control as well, allowing physicians to recover financially and possibly reduce the number of frivolous or fraudulent cases.

Pro: Reform May Help To Lower Malpractice Insurance Premiums 

Many doctors are concerned with the cost of medical malpractice insurance costs. While overall premium prices have declined in the past decade, this insurance is still quite expensive. In addition, malpractice suits have made coverage difficult to find for some physicians, which leaves them vulnerable to litigation. Reform would seek to lower insurance premiums further nationwide and offer healthcare providers other benefits, including:

  • A wider blanket of coverage options
  • Increased provider options for individual doctors and healthcare facilities
  • Improved access to customized coverage for specialists and surgeons

These positive aspects of reform look tantalizing on paper. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider as well.

Con: Federal Involvement Increases 

Many physicians are not in favor of federal reform because state torts are already in control of medical malpractice laws. Some believe that federal involvement is too intrusive and that new laws may give patients a better foothold when it comes to litigation. As such, this point is a deal breaker for many doctors who are already comfortable with state-driven malpractice laws.

Con: Medical Errors May Increase 

Current state medical malpractice torts require that doctors perform a distinct battery of tests before a surgical pathway is considered. These tests can shed light on certain ailments and lower the risk of malpractice suits. While reform may iron out some issues physicians face, it may also reduce the need for such tests, which in turn might lead to medical errors, such as unnecessary surgery or misdiagnosis of dangerous ailments. Over time, this may drive medical malpractice insurance premium costs back up and make it difficult for doctors and hospitals to find proper coverage.

Medical malpractice reform has a number of pros and cons for physicians, healthcare facilities and patients. For more information about this issue, contact a medical malpractice lawyer in Deer Park, TX today.

 

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into medical malpractice and the pros and cons of medical malpractice reform.

 

What Is the Time Limit to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

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Medical malpractice lawsuits usually fall under a statute of limitations. That means that you have a certain time limit to file a claim. However, statutes of limitations can be complex, because there are some exceptions to the general rules.

 

The Standard Statute of Limitations

Each state has different rules about medical malpractice statutes of limitations. Typically, the standard deadline is two to six years after the medical malpractice occurred. You would have to check the specific statute of limitation for your state. When a victim of medical malpractice doesn’t file a lawsuit within that time frame, he or she could lose the right to sue.

 

When Was the Malpractice Discovered?

One exception to the standard rule is the discovery rule. Malpractice victims who miss the standard statute of limitations because they didn’t even know that there was malpractice can use the date of discovery to start the deadline. For example, you took a medication that made you sick, but didn’t realize that it was the medication. Several years later, the manufacturer reveals that it was the medication that made people sick. Your statute of limitation may not start until the manufacturer revealed the data. It’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer because the rules are complex.

 

Minor Children May Have Longer Statutes of Limitations

Most states give minor children a separate deadline. If parents or guardians don’t file a medical malpractice lawsuit while the child was under 18. This deadline generally begins when the child turns 18, but specifics for each state do vary. 

 

Drop Dead Deadline

One further exception that may apply is if your state offers a “statute of repose.” This is an absolute deadline for medical malpractice that limits the deadline to a specific number of years after the act of malpractice. Not every state has this exception. Some states call the statute of repose by a different name. Laws change all the time as well.

 

Talk to a Good Attorney

Medical malpractice laws are complex. There can be many variables. Insurance companies will try to fight your claim, because they don’t want to pay out. It might be argued that you knew about the harm before you actually did.

Medical malpractice claims are best handled by those experienced in the law and medical malpractice claims. Proving medical malpractice is not always easy, either. Discuss your situation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Deer Park, TX to take the best steps to protect your rights and make a claim within the allowed timeline.

 

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into medical malpractice and time limits for filing a lawsuit.