Munley News

At least 19 deaths now linked to GMs faulty ignition switch

Marion MunleyGeneral Motors will pay compensation for 19 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch, according to multiple news sources. This is more than the 13 deaths they originally estimated, and some lawmakers have estimate the death toll is close to 100.

According to the Automotive News, independent compensation expert, Kenneth Feinberg said the GM fund has now received 445 claims, including 125 for deaths, 58 for serious injuries and 262 for brief hospitalization or outpatient care. They have since approved 31 claims, including 19 for deaths. According to CNN, most of the remaining claims are still being reviewed. Camille Biros, the deputy administrator of the program, told Automotive News that no claims have been rejected thus far.

GM has admitted knowing about the ignition switch problem for more than a decade, yet it didn’t begin recalling the switches in small cars until earlier this year. GM’s ignition-switch recall began in February and expanded to about 2.6 million cars, including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. The faulty ignition switches can slip out of the “run” position into “accessory” or “off,” cutting off power to the engine. That can disable power steering, brakes and also air bags if there’s a crash.

GM’s decision not to recall the cars until early this year, despite evidence that some employees knew of the problem more than a decade earlier, triggered numerous lawsuits and investigations, including a criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department.

Greater scrutiny to GM’s handling of vehicle issues led to a stream of recalls; the company has issued 65 this year for a total of nearly 30 million vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has been under scrutiny for missing signs of the broader ignition-switch failures and passing on opening a formal defect investigation in 2007 and again in 2010.

GM set aside $400 million to fund the compensation program, although it is possible another $200 million may need to be set aside. There is no cap on the total cost for the number of claims to be accepted. Feinberg started accepting claims Aug. 1. The deadline to submit claims is Dec. 31.

If you have been injured in a car accident that was the result of a problem with a Chevy Cobalt or another GM vehicle, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529. The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law are experts on the GM recall case, as well as other car, truck and bus accidents.

Personal injury lawyers at Munley Law encourage the use of car seats and booster seats for children

trsbannerChild Passenger Safety Week is September 14-20 and it’s the perfect time to bring awareness to the importance of car and booster seats. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. The best way to protect your child in a vehicle is by using a properly installed car seat that is appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight. Often times, fatalities and serious injuries can be prevented by the proper use of car and booster seats, as well as set belts.

Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that children ages 2 to 5 who use seat belts prematurely are four times more likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash than those in child safety seats or booster seats. Safe Kids also reported that of those children ages 12 and under who died in vehicle crashes in 2011, 33% were unrestrained. That is a tragic statistic that is preventable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2012, more than 1,100 children ages 14 years and younger died in motor vehicle crashes and more than 176,000 were injured. The CDC found that in 2011, restraint use saved the lives of 263 children ages 4 years and younger. The CDC estimates that proper car seats can reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers age 1 to 4, and that booster seats reduce the risk of serious injury by 45% for children ages 4 to 8 years.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law want parents to know the stages for appropriate car seats. In addition to these appropriate age/weight recommendations, all children aged 12 and under should ride in the back seat.

Birth to 2 – Rear-facing car seat. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat buckled in the back seat until they are at least 2 years of age or when they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular sat. Check the manufacturer information for limits.

2 to 5 – Forward-facing car seat. When a child outgrows their rear-facing weight or height limit, they should be buckled in the back seat in a front-facing car seat. They should remain in the front-facing car seat until at least the age of 5 or when they reach the weight and height limits of the seat.

Younger school-aged children – Booster seats. All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until they achieve the height and weight that that the vehicle seat fits properly. The CDC recommends a height of 57 inches tall for proper seat belt fit. Again, children in booster seats and in seat belts should ride in the back seat.

The NHTSA recommends that for safety, children 4 to 7 years old should be in booster seats. The NHTSA also recommends that parents refer to the specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions on weight and height limits. Car seats on the market today can exhibit a wide variation in height and weight limits. If children over the age of 7 are still within the weight and height limits of their booster seat, they should be kept in that type of seat.

The 2013 NHTSA National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats found that 40% of children newborn to 12 years old who were 37 to 53 inches tall were either unrestrained or prematurely graduated to seat belts. 84% of children up to 12 who were 54 to 56 inches tall were either unrestrained or prematurely graduated to seat belts.

Regardless of the size or type of vehicle, the age of the child, or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained. When properly installed and used, car seats and booster seats can save lives. Remember, children learn by example, so always buckle up when driving, no matter how short the distance.

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have been fighting for clients for over five decades. They are experts in car, truck, bus and pedestrian accidents, representing clients throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. If you need a lawyer to fight for you, you need Munley Law. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

Another Victory For Munley Law

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A jury returned a verdict in the amount of $200,500.00 in favor of Sandra Seamans of New Milford, Pa. on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, following three days of testimony before the Honorable Malachy Mannion. Mrs. Seamans claimed she was injured following a rearend automobile accident that occurred in 2011 on I-81 South near Exit 223.  The Defendant in the case was Universal Technical Institute and its employee. The verdict awarded damages to Mrs. Seamans for wage loss and pain and suffering resulting from chronic neck and back pain that she suffered in the accident. “We are thrilled with the verdict” said lead attorney, Marion Munley.  Justice was served.  Sandra Seamans was represented by Marion Munley, Caroline Munley and Julia Munley of Munley Law.

 

Drunk driving plays a role in death of a 12-year-old boy in Old Forge, PA

Robert W Munley IIIDrunk driving continues to be a serious problem in our area and across the country. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that across the country, about one in every four people who were convicted for drunk driving was a repeat offender. A Philadelphia Inquirer article published earlier this week reported that Pennsylvania has a high rate of offenders. The article said that although someone dies on average every day in Pennsylvania from a DUI accident, it is one of the few states that require a conviction before yanking a license for DUI.

Although than 600 Pennsylvania police departments, including the state police, participated in a nationwide DUI crackdown over Labor Day weekend, with DUI checkpoints and roving patrols, drunk driving that weekend caused heartbreak for many families. Locally, there was much accident-related tragedy. WNEP TV reported that crashes killed nearly a dozen people, including a 12-year-old boy who was killed in a crash while driving with his father in Old Forge. Their car was involved in a collision with an SUV. The driver of the SUV, who ran from the scene and was caught a short time later, is suspected of DUI. Neither the boy nor his father was wearing a seatbelt, which also reinforces the importance of wearing seatbelts at all times.

The NHTSA reported that in 2012, more than 10,3000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one every 51 minutes. That accounted for 31% of the total traffic fatalities for the entire year. In 2012, 20% of the motor vehicle crashes involving children 14 and younger involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Of those deaths, 52% of the children were occupants of a vehicle with a drunk driver.

The Pennsylvania State Police just released these statistics regarding crashes over Labor Day weekend. Thirteen people were killed and 211 others injured in 686 crashes investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police. These statistics only included those crashes investigated by the state police, not those investigated by local authorities. The State Police reported that 70 of those crashes, including two fatal crashes, were alcohol related. The state police issued 10,050 speeding tickets and arrested 545 drivers for DUI. In addition, troopers cited 813 people for not wearing seat belts and 204 drivers for not securing children in safety seats.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law offer the following warning signs of a drunk driver:
• Tailgating
• Quick acceleration
• Excessive braking
• Veering through the lanes or swerving
• Driving very slowly or under the speed limit
• Almost striking an object, curb or vehicle
• Straddling the center line
• Driving off the road
• Slow response to traffic signals
• Not using headlights at night
• Turning abruptly
• Stopping abruptly

Munley Law encourages you to stay as far away from a potential drunk driver as possible and call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is driving drunk. Pull over to call 911, giving your exact location and a description of the suspicious vehicle. By calling 911, you could be saving a life.

If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver or another car or truck accident, call the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.

Munley Law encourages increased awareness of suicide prevention

Caroline MunleySeptember 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented. The tragic death of Robin Williams has drawn the nation’s attention to the topic of suicide. The outpouring of grief for Williams has including extensive conversations on the topics of mental health and suicide prevention. It was reported that Williams was battling severe depression when he took his own life.

Suicide is an increasing public health concern. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, 39,518 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death in America. It is estimated that one person will die as the result of suicide every 13 minutes in the U.S. The vast majority suffers from some sort of clinical depression or another mental illness, yet depression is still a misunderstood medical problem.

Psychology Today reported a large increase in suicide rates among 35 to 64 year olds. The publication also reported an increase in males 50 to 59 years old of about 48% and an increase in females 60 to 64 years of age of 60%. Economic factors may have contributed to these increases, as older workers often had a harder time recovering from recession. There is a significant relationship between suicide and unemployment among middle-aged Americans as well, according to a study published in the Social Science and Medicine Journal. Other research has also found a connection between a stressful economy and depression.

Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides may occur without warning, most people who are suicidal do give warnings signs. You can help prevent the suicide of a friend or loved one by learning to recognize the warning signs and learning what to do if you see them.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law shared the following warning signs of suicide:

• Threatening suicide or talking about wanting to die, many people do talk about it first.
• Seeming depressed or in a very low mood
• Pessimism
• Expressing a sense of hopelessness or desperation
• Anxiety
• Withdrawal – losing interest in family friends
• Changes in sleep
• Reckless behavior
• Increased alcohol and/or drug use
• Obtaining a means, such as a gun, poisons or medications.
• Setting affairs in order.
• Exhibiting anger or rage

Take any suicidal behavior or talk seriously, it is not just a warning sign, but also a cry for help. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

The family of personal injury lawyers at Munley Law is committed to fighting for the rights of our clients. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

$2,050,000 settlement reached in Wayne County pedestrian accident case

SS DisabilityOn average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes in 2012, the most recent year for which data was available. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,743 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2012 and an estimated 76,000 pedestrians were injured. The NHTSA reported that fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4% over 2011).

On August 27, a $2,050,000 settlement was reached in a wrongful death case scheduled to go to trial in Wayne County, Pa. The accident involved the death of 60-year-old Ruthann Malti who was struck and killed by a Ford pickup truck on the corner of 7th and Church Streets in downtown Honesdale, Pa.

A case was filed on behalf of the Estate of Ruthann Malti by attorneys Daniel Munley and Julia Munley of Munley Law, Scranton. As a result of the accident, Malti suffered significant pain and suffering, and irreversible brain damage, which lead to her death a few days later. It was always the position of the Malti family that the change to the one-way street configuration and misplacement of crosswalks led to this accident.

Over the course of the case, the attorneys from Munley Law retained engineers who, after reviewing the site, concluded that the intersection was unnecessarily dangerous to pedestrians. Further review showed that none of the supervisory entities took any action to remove the dangers and improve safety, despite numerous ominous warnings and near misses prior to this accident.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported a 15% increase in pedestrian deaths from 2009 to 2012, as compared with a 3% decrease in all other motor vehicle deaths during that same time period. Data from the NHSA showed that the majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and many involved alcohol. Although the GHSA says reasons for the increase in pedestrian deaths are not clearly understood, possibilities include more people walking in the aftermath of the economic recession and also the encouragement of walking for health and environmental benefits. An increase in distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians is also believed to be a contributor to the increase. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, in 2012, 44% of the pedestrian deaths occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and 25% took place between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law offer ten tips for pedestrians:
1. Walk on a sidewalk or path whenever possible. If none is available, walk facing traffic, on the shoulder, as far away from traffic as possible.
2. Make yourself visible to drivers. Wear bright colored clothing, and if walking at night, wear reflective materials or carry a flashlight.
3. Be cautious. Never assume a driver sees you.
4. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. If none is available, cross at a well lit area. Be careful at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield to pedestrians while turning onto another street.
5. Be alert. Watch for traffic before and while you are crossing a street.
6. Do not walk on highways or pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
7. Use extra caution when crossing driveways and alley entrances.
8. Never assume that a vehicle is going to stop at a light, wait until it stops before crossing.
9. Obey all traffic signals.
10. Stay free from distractions while walking, including cell phones and other electronic devices.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or a car crash, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.

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Personal injury lawyer warns about the dangers of general aviation

James Christopher MunleyJust this past weekend, two people were killed in a small plane crash in New Hampshire, five in a small plane crash in Colorado, one in Florida, two in Texas, and one off the coast of Virginia among others.

An investigation by USA Today that was reported in the publication this summer talked about the lack of safety and hidden defects linked to small aircraft crashes. USA Today reported that nearly 45,000 people have been killed in crashes of small airplanes and helicopters since 1964. While federal investigators are often quick to blame pilots, USA Today found many instances in which defective parts and dangerous designs were the cause of crashes, deaths and injuries. The USA Today investigation found that many defects have persisted as manufacturers covered up problems, failed to fix defects and lied to regulators. Apparently some defective parts remained in use for decades, and some are still in use today.

USA Today reported that the danger of private airplanes and helicopters, known as general aviation, far exceeds that of airline flying. They reported that in 2013, there were 1,199 general aviation crashes, more than three per day on average, killing 347 people, including 571 and destroying 121 aircraft. Statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for 2012 general aviation accident statistics included 1,471 accidents and 271 fatal accidents. NTSB statistics showed that in 2012, 95 percent of the aviation accidents and 97% of the fatalities occurred in general aviation.

According to the New York Times, an October 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office found that the highest incidence of fatal accidents in general aviation occurred with single-engine piston airplanes, on personal flights, in which pilots lost control of their aircraft. In some cases, bad weather was to blame, and according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, nearly 75% of weather-related accidents are fatal.

The New York Times reported that five years ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set a goal of reducing the accident rate in general aviation by 10% by 2018, but it has remained static, with the NTSB reporting an average of 1,500 aviation accidents a year, resulting in about 450 fatalities. Some of the new FAA safety programs include NextGen, an air traffic modernization program, and the Got Weather program, aimed at helping general aviation pilots prepare for potential weather challenges. The NTSB believes that adequate education and training and screening for risky behavior are critical to improving aviation safety.

According to the FAA, the top 10 leading causes of fatal general aviation accidents 2001-2011 are:
1. Loss of flight control
2. Controlled flight into terrain
3. System component failure – powerplant
4. Low altitude operations
5. Unknown or undetermined
6. Other
7. Fuel related
8. System component failure – non-powerplant
9. Midair collisions
10. Windshear or thunderstorm

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law are highly experienced in small plane crashes. The firm represented the families of several victims of a tragic small plane crash that killed seventeen passengers in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County several years ago, helping to get a $32.25 million settlement, the largest personal injury settlement in the history of Luzerne County. For a free consultation with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law, call 855-866-5529.

Personal injury lawyers encourage talking to teens about safe driving and the leading causes of teen crashes

shutterstock_47257468-1-300x199Over Labor Day weekend near the Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania, three teens died in a tragic SUV crash. According to NBC 10 Philadelphia news reports, an unlicensed 15-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the SUV.

The three teens that were killed in the vehicle crash were all sophomores at Council Rock High School South in Holland, Pennsylvania. The driver was injured in the crash, as well as a 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy. The Wayne County DA reported that the girl picked up everyone in the SUV to go to breakfast. A witness said the SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed before flipping over at a curve in the road.

This crash is a parent’s worse nightmare, and an all too common occurrence with teen drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that eight teens a day are killed in car crashes. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, taking about 2,800 young lives every year. According to the CDC, the main cause of teen crashes is driver inexperience.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law say talk to your teens about the risks of teen driving:
• Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car. Nearly two out of three teen crash deaths involving 16-year-old drivers happen when a driver has one or more teen passengers. Know who your teen is with when driving and limit passengers.
• Nighttime fatal crash rates for 16-year-olds are nearly twice as high as daytime rates. Restrict your teens from being on the road too late.
• Distractions increase your teen’s risk of being in a crash. Talk to them about the dangers of cell phone use, texting, eating and other distractions when driving.
• Discuss the hazards of speeding and other reckless driving. Talk honestly about the real tragedy that can happen if your teen does not follow posted speed limit signs and other driver safety rules.
• Talk to your teen about the consequences of drinking and driving. Set rules and demand they follow them.
• Talk to your teen about the importance of seat belt use. Simply using a seat belt on every trip can reduce your teen’s risk of dying or being badly injured in a crash.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is lead by example. Your children drive with you and see what you are doing. Drive free from distractions, use your seat belt at all times and follow all posted speed limit and other road signs. Practice safe driving at all times. Discuss all of the rules of the road with your teen, and drive with them as often as you can. The more experience they have behind the wheel with you in the car, the safer they will drive. Discuss why your driving rules are so important, and the consequences of breading them. Most importantly, set rules and be sure to enforce them.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law encourage safe driving for everyone at all times. Following the rules of the road can prevent tragedy for families. Munley Law has represented thousands of victims of car, truck, bus and motorcycle accidents. For a free consultation with the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law, call 855-866-5529.

Fatal truck crashes becoming a common occurrence

contactus_buttonThere were 3,921 fatalities and 104,000 injuries from truck crashes in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s over ten fatal crashes and over 284 injuries a day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that fatal truck crashes were up over 18% between 2009 and 2012, although the annual distance trucks travel on the highway is down 2.67% and the number of trucks is down 2.86%.

A recent story by NBC News talked about the surge in truck accidents and lack of public outcry. Fatal truck accidents are all too common, averaging nearly 11 times every single day in this country, killing nearly 4,000 people each year, and injuring more than 100,000, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The NBC report likened those numbers to a commuter jet crashing every single week of the year, killing everyone on board. NBC’s interviews with regulators, industry representatives, lawyers and victims, revealed a mix of causes for the deaths. Reasons included everything from overly tired drivers and companies that don’t screen for problem drivers to a government that is slow to demand new safety technologies and cars weaving too close to trucks. NBC said what is clear is that in any other industry, this many deaths each year would generate a national outcry, but because the accidents are scattered across the country, they often don’t receive national attention.

According to the FMCSA, 171,150 truck drivers were taken out of service once inspected in 2012 for having too many violations. That same year, 2,145,733 trucks were taken out of service once inspected for having too many violations.

Through all of the fatal accidents, the trucking industry is growing. There were 10,659,380 trucks traveling inter-state on American roads in 2012, according to the FMCSA. The American Trucking Association (ATA), reported that it expects overall freight tonnage to jump 23.5% from 2013 to 2025, making it necessary to add nearly 100,000 new truck drivers each year over the next decade.

The FMCSA attributes human error as the cause of more than 90% of truck crashes. Active safety and warning technology can play a vital roll in helping to prevent accidents. According to NBC, there are changes on the horizon that could dramatically change the trucking industry and increase safety on the roads. Volvo is working on trucks that use radar to detect cars ahead, and brake automatically if the truck gets too close. The company is working on similar technology that can adjust when a driver drifts out of his lane. Mercedes-Benz is working on a fully autonomous truck, a long-haul road robot.

We’re still years, if not decades away from driverless trucks, so carriers need to be sure to hire, fully train and monitor highly qualified drivers, and be sure their trucks are in proper working order at all times. Carriers and truck drivers need to follow all of the rules, including hours of service, at all times, as well.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, Dan Munley and the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law can help. Visit www.munley.com for more information.

$2,050,000 settlement reached in Wayne County pedestrian accident case

Daniel MunleyOn August 27, a $2,050,000 settlement was reached in a wrongful death case scheduled to go to trial in Wayne County, Pa. The accident involved the death of a Wayne County woman who was struck and killed by a Ford pickup truck on the corner of 7th and Church Streets in downtown Honesdale, Pa.

A case was filed by attorneys Daniel Munley and Julia Munley of Munley Law, Scranton.

As a result of the accident, the victim suffered significant pain and suffering, and irreversible brain damage, which lead to her death a few days later. It was always the position of the victim’s family that the change to the one-way street configuration and misplacement of crosswalks led to this accident.

Over the course of the case, the attorneys from Munley Law retained engineers who, after reviewing the site, concluded that the intersection was unnecessarily dangerous to pedestrians.

While no amount of financial compensation could ever make up for the loss of a loved one, the family of the woman killed takes great comfort in knowing that since the filing of the lawsuit, changes have been made to improve pedestrian safety at that intersection. It is our hope that these changes will prevent another senseless tragedy like this from happening to another family.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or a car crash, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.