Munley News

GM recalls another 8.4 million vehicles and makes announcement of victim compensation program

new-gm-recallGM recalled another 8.4 million vehicles on Monday, which included more than 8 million for ignition switch defects. The latest recall brings the total vehicles recalled by GM this year alone to 29 million. U.S. News and World Report mentioned that 17.1 million of the recalled vehicles were because of faulty ignition switches.

Some of the latest vehicles recalled date back to 1997 and extend to 2014 models. According to Forbes, vehicles included in the latest recall include the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu, 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue, 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am and 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the automaker admitted it knew of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities involving the cars recalled for the new ignition switch problems. This was essentially the same problem with 2.6 million recalled Chevy Cobalts and other vehicles linked to 13 deaths and 54 accidents.

Apparently the problem is not limited to GM cars. Chrysler announced on Monday that is recalling 696,000 sport utility vehicles and minivans over concerns that the ignition key might turn off the engine.

On Monday, GM also announced that it would not cap the amount it will pay victims of the faulty ignition switch. A victims compensation program will give families a base of $1 million for the death of a loved one, plus $300,000 for each surviving spouse or dependent to try to cover the emotional damages caused by the crashes.

For those who suffered less severe injuries, initial compensation will be based on their time spent in the hospital, starting at $20,000 for a single night up to $500,000 for hospital stays lasting more than a month. More severe injuries will be compensated based on age and earning potential among other factors.

Politico reported that GM has acknowledged some engineers at the company knew about the problem for more than a decade, but an internal investigation found no deliberate cover-up, but rather a company culture that led to frequent buck-passing and poor communication.

Four other recalls announced Monday by GM were for various other problems. Chevrolet Trailblazers were recalled for a defect that can cause door or window failures, as well as fires. The National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Trailblazer problems in 2012, after receiving 12 consumer complains, many of which involved fires. By midyear 2012, the safety agency had received more than 240 related complaints and 677 related warranty claims had been filed at GM.

If you have been injured in an accident in a GM vehicle or another vehicle, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law. The Munley Law team has more than fifty years of experience in handling auto accident lawsuits, and has won some of the largest auto accident verdicts and settlements in the country. For more information, visit www.munley.com.

Tips to Avoid Car Accidents for the Fourth of July Weekend

Caroline MunleyBesides an abundance of national pride, barbecues, and fireworks, July Fourth weekend also sees a rise in travelers on the road. With this, comes a surge in road traffic and car accidents.

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Fourth of July weekend is either the deadliest day for drivers or the second-deadliest day, based on data collected for more than 20 years. While weather conditions aren’t much of a factor during the summer months, driving under the influence of alcohol is—and when it comes to Independence Day weekend, it’s the main contributor to these traffic fatalities. “During the 2012 July 4th weekend, in fatal accidents between 9 p.m. and midnight, 59% of the drivers were drunk,” reports the NHTSA. Their research goes on to state that 40 percent of all highway deaths between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk driving over this holiday weekend; what’s more, 40 percent of these fatalities involved drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.08 or higher, which is above the legal limit.

To combat these dangers, law enforcement, in conjunction with the NHTSA, has launched the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which includes numerous roadway checkpoints. However, you can help lower your own risk of being involved in a vehicle fatality on Independence Day (and throughout the year) by doing the following:

1)     Designate a sober driver. This seems like a no-brainer, but many people still believe that it’s okay to have a few and get behind the wheel. In reality, though, just having a slight buzz can impair your driving abilities. Why risk it? If you live in an urban area, you can also opt to take public transportation, such as the subway or a cab.

2)     Stay the night. Even if you’re not inebriated, you may want to consider spending the night at your friend’s or family’s house once the festivities end. The majority of drunk drivers are on the roads at night, so even one less car out there with them can help save a life.

3)     Notify the police. If you do decide to head home after your Independence Day celebrations, be extra vigilant about the drivers around you. If you happen to see someone driving erratically, maintain a safe distance away from them, and when safely possible, pull over and contact the police to let them know of the person’s license plate number, type of vehicle, and location.

On the chance that you do find yourself injured in an auto accident, contact the attorneys at Munley Law for your free consultation. We have more than 50 years of experience and will work hard to win your settlement or court case. Scheduling your free consultation is easy—e-mail us by clicking here or call us at 855-866-5529.

“What Do I Do if I Get Hit by a Car on My Bike?”

Road accident. Car and bicycleWhether you live in a small town or you reside in a more urban setting, chances are, now that summer is in full-swing, you’ll be breaking out the bike regularly to go for a ride around your way. Not only is bicycling great exercise, it also provides you with a chance to escape the confines of your office or your home and hit the open road, welcoming the feeling of a comforting, warm breeze at your back.

As with any form of transportation, though, there can be some risk involved. Since only two percent of all automobile deaths and only two percent of all injured parties from automobile crashes are cyclists, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, biking is generally safe. You can proactively help avoid an accident by signaling your turns, wearing reflective clothing, obeying traffic rules, and bypassing busy streets when possible. However, if you do find yourself involved in a traffic accident while riding, here are some steps you should be sure to take:

1)     Bring in the police. It doesn’t matter if you notice any immediate damage to your bike, your body, or to the other person’s vehicle, you should always be sure to involve the police immediately. You’ll want to make sure that the police hear your side of the story and accurately record your statements. Never apologize or admit fault, as that may be used against you in your case, whether you’re truly at fault or not, and do not discuss any aspects of the accident with the driver—you will want to get important data from the driver, such as his or her driver’s license number, insurance information, license plate number, and color/make/model of the car. Your statements about what happened, any citations that may be given to the driver, and other documents are excellent pieces of evidence that can bode well for your case.

2)     Assess the situation. Preserve and document the accident scene—as well as your own visible injuries—with your cell phone camera. Collecting photographic evidence to pair with your verbal statements may bolster your claim and be key to proving who is at fault, potentially getting you any compensation that may be owed, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, bicycle replacement costs, and medical bills. Also, make sure to take note of any witnesses nearby, and if you’re not badly injured, speak with them and obtain their contact information. The police can also do this, but rather than depend on others, make sure you do your own info gathering, as well.

3)     Visit the doctor—regardless of whether you think you need to or not. Sometimes, injuries can be internal and, therefore, only detected via X-rays and further examination from a medical professional. Any injuries sustained that the doctor finds resulted from the crash can be entered in as evidence and may be used to get you the help you need to pay for your medical bills.

4)     Contact the attorneys at Munley Law for a free consultation. Drawing on more than 50 years of experience, we have an established track record of representing bicycle accident victims and winning large settlements and court cases for our clients. Schedule your consult easily by sending an e-mail or by calling us at 855-866-5529.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer says driver beware on this dangerous holiday driving weekend

dumptruckcrashThe 4th of July may be known for fireworks, picnics and outdoor fun, but things can quickly turn tragic on the 4th of July as well, as it is one of the most deadly holidays of the year on U.S. roadways.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvania residents will be traveling by vehicle over the three day 4th of July holiday weekend. This is 35% more travelers than during Memorial Day weekend.

According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 150 people die in traffic accidents on July 4, more than any other day of the year. July 3 follows with nearly as many traffic fatalities.

According to a study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), during the 4th of July holiday period over the five years from 2008 to 2012, 765 people lost their lives in crashes with drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. These fatalities accounted for 40% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over that same period of time.

NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts 2012 reported that there were 179 people killed in crashes on the 4th of July in 2012. 44% of those accidents involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

In Pennsylvania, according to the state’s 2013 Crash Facts and Statistics Report, over the 3-day 4th of July holiday in 2013, there were 1155 crashes. The report states that this was not part of a holiday weekend as the 4th of July fell on a Thursday last year. When the holiday falls on the weekend, crash numbers are even higher. Pennsylvania State Police reported that between July 3 and July 7, 2013, they arrested 411 people for driving under the influence.

Alcohol is a significant factor in holiday driving fatalities. The increase of people on the roadways over a summer holiday period, coupled with a higher percentage driving under the influence of alcohol, makes it a dangerous time to be driving. According to the IIHS, teenage drives are significantly more likely to be involved in a car wreck than older drivers. Teen drivers are involved in four times as many crashes as those in other age groups, and car accidents are the leading cause of death for young drivers.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer Julia Munley offers the following tips to stay safe when driving this holiday weekend:

• Don’t Drink and Drive! Plan ahead. If you plan to drink, designate a non-drinking driver.
• Always wear a seat belt. Make sure every passenger in your vehicle is also wearing a seat belt before you begin driving.
• Refrain from using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving. If you need to make or take a call, pull over in a safe spot.
• Make sure children are properly fastened into safety seats.
• Observe speed limits.
• Stay alert and distraction free.
• Drive cautiously and be aware of the vehicles driving around you. Watch for signs of drunk drivers: making wide turns; weaving, swerving or drifting in the opposite lanes; driving at a slow speed; stopping without cause or braking erratically or responding slowly to traffic signals.

If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement. You could be saving a life.

The family of attorneys at Munley Law encourages you to drive safe and smart this 4th of July holida. If you have been injured in an accident, we can help. Visit www.munley.com.

Pennsylvania State Senate passes Kevin’s Law to increase the penalty for hit and run drivers

StoryState legislators passed a bill yesterday to strengthen Pennsylvania’s hit-and-run law. Kevin’s Law was named in honor of Kevin Miller from Dallas, PA, a 5-year-old boy killed by a hit and run driver as he crossed the street with his family in Wilkes-Barre four days before Christmas in 2012. Kevin Miller’s family, along with more than 60 local residents, traveled to the state capital yesterday to show support of passage of the law.

The original law carried only a mandatory minimum one-year in jail. Under the law change, the penalty for those who flee fatal crashes will be increased to a mandatory minimum of three year’s in prison. Kevin’s Law, amended into Senate Bill 1312, makes the penalty for fleeing the scene of a vehicular homicide the same as homicide by vehicle when drunk.

Alcohol is often a factor in these crashes, and pedestrians are often the victims, according to a news report by USA Today. A study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that about one in five of all pedestrian fatalities are hit-and-runs, and 60% of hit-and-run fatalities have pedestrians as victims. Many states, like Pennsylvania, are working to toughen the laws to address this troubling problem.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4% increase over 2011). The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and many involved alcohol. 4,743 pedestrian’s were killed in accidents in 2012 and 76,000 were injured.

In Florida, state police reported there were 70,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2012 and three out of every five road fatalities were pedestrians struck by hit-and-run drivers. In Los Angeles, hit-and-run accidents have reached epidemic proportions, being four times higher than the national average.

According to a report by the Times leader newspaper, there were 6 people killed in hit -and-run accidents in Luzerne County in 2012. The 23-year-old driver who kit Kevin Miller failed to stop and sped away, according to police.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, there are some important steps you should take:

• Immediately call the police.
• Try to record the license plate number of the car that hit you, and get a description of the car, including make, model, color and approximate year. Also, the direction in which the vehicle was traveling.
• Record as much information as you can about when and where the accident occurred.
• Record the names of any witnesses.

If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law can fight for you and your family. Call us today for a free consultation 855-866-5529

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer warns parents not to leave children in vehicles unattended in summer heat

James Christopher MunleyDuring the warm summer months, children left alone in vehicles are at a high risk of suffering from heatstroke and possibly even death. We just saw tragedy strike earlier this month when 22-month-old Cooper Harris died after been left strapped in his car seat inside of a hot car all day. Each year dozens of children left in parked vehicles die from heatstroke. The National Weather Service warns that during extremely hot and humid weather, the body’s ability to cool itself is affected. This is even worse when inside of a hot vehicle.

According to a research study by a San Francisco State University researcher, at least 619 children have died in similar circumstances since 1998. It doesn’t take long for the temperature to rise inside of a closed vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach deadly temperature levels when the outside temperature is in the low 80’s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 82% of deaths due to heat-related car injuries occur among children age 3 and under. Data from the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences found that at least 44 children in the United States lost their lives in 2013 after being left in attended motor vehicles, and an unknown number were moderately to severely injured. So far this year, the number of U.S. heatstroke deaths of children left in cars is already 13 with summer in the northeast just beginning.

According to a new study by Safe Kids Worldwide, heatstroke is the number one cause of non-crash vehicle related deaths for children ages 14 and under. 14% of parents say they have left a child alone inside a parked vehicle despite the risk of heatstroke. Based on the U.S. population, that translates to nearly two million parents transporting more than 3.3 million children. For parents under the age of three, the percentage rises to 23%.

The average number of U.S. heatstroke fatalities per year is 38. Young children are particularly at risk, because their bodies heat up much faster than an adult. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, it can be fatal.

The symptoms of heatstroke include:
• Altered mental state
• Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing.
• High body temperature
• Skin hot and dry, or possibly sweating
• Rapid pulse
• Possible unconsciousness

It is imperative that if you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, you get immediate medical attention. Move them to a cooler, air-conditioned environment and try to reduce the body temperature with a fan or sponging.

Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunk, even in your driveway, so children aren’t tempted to play in a parked vehicle. Keep your keys of out of the reach of children. When driving with a child in a child safety seat, create a reminder for yourself, such as placing your purse, cellphone or briefcase in the car next to the child. If you see a child alone in a car, take immediate action and call 911.

The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law can fight for you and your family. Choose carefully. Choose Munley Law.

Low T drug manufacturers create demand but hide side effects

Marion MunleyAre AndroGel and other low testosterone drugs worth the risk of heart attack? Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article linking AndroGel with testosterone death as well as other serious side affects. The study found that who used the drug were found to be 30% more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke or die within a three-year period than men with low hormone levels who did not take the supplements.

Several lawsuits have since been filed against the manufacturers AbbVie Inc., and Abbott Laboratories, Inc., claiming the actual risk of serious side effects associated with the drug were not disclosed and were concealed by the manufacturers. The company must face lawsuits consolidated in federal court in Chicago, because Abbot and AbbVie, a company that Abbott spun off last year, are both based there and there are already a significant number of AndroGel suits pending before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in Chicago as well. According to Bloomberg News, the decision to collect the AndroGel cases before Kennelly comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it would re-examine the safety of testosterone-replacement drugs.

One of the most-used medical products to treat Low T is AndroGel. Made and heavily marketed in the United Sates, AndroGel is prescribed as a testosterone-replacement drug, mostly to men whose bodies fail to produce sufficient amounts of the male hormone.

Abbott and AbbVie have been accused of starting an $80 million marketing campaign in 2012 to promote AndroGel to men for a condition called Low T. Television and other ads encouraged men complaining of low energy and lack of sexual drive to take the testosterone-boosting medicine, according to plaintiffs.

The market for testosterone replacement therapy drugs, which include AndroGel and Axiron, made by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., is worth $1.6 billion annually.

According to the study published in JAMA, by 2011 nearly one in 25 men in there 60’s took testosterone. Doctors blame the rampant advertising.

In a safety announcement released early this year, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), made clear that none of the FDA-approved testosterone products were approved for use in men with low testosterone levels who lack and associated medical condition. This is contrary to the many advertisements running for AndroGel and other Low T drugs.

Many of the lawsuits already filed against the drug maker are by men who suffered strokes, heart attacks and blood clots after using the drug.

If you or someone you know has suffered harm due to taking “low T” or other prescriptions drugs, contact Marion Munley and the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529.

Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer says untrained teens in summer jobs are an injury risk

Julia MunleyWith the end of the school year upon us, many young people are taking on summer jobs. According to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Young workers, ages 14-24, are at a high risk of workplace injury because of their inexperience at work and their physical, cognitive and emotional developmental characteristics. They often hesitate to ask questions and may fail to recognize workplace dangers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 80% of high school students work at least sometime throughout the course of a year, with many working during the summer. Young workers are employed in various industries and may engage in tasks that expose them to different workplace hazards, including operating dangerous tools, machinery, and vehicles, and handling cash in settings prone to robbery. Employers many not fully understand the laws or they may not recognize that these inexperienced workers need special attention.

In the U.S., young workers are protected from work-related safety and health hazards by two sets of laws. Young workers are protected by occupational safety and health regulations which apply to youth as well as adult workers, and children and adolescents under 18 years of age are afforded additional protection through child labor laws. Child labor laws identify the types of work that youth are allowed and not allowed to do, as well as work hours.

A 2012 CDC study entitled Health and Safety of Young Workers found that most youth workers in the U.S. are employed in the services and trade sectors, with lesser numbers working in healthcare, construction, agriculture and other sectors. 59% of all employed 16- and 17-year olds were employed in food services and retail trade in 2011. The study also reported that in 2012, 34 youth less than 18 years of age died from injuries sustained at work in the U.S. Nearly half were younger than 16-years of age. That same year, an estimated 26,600 youth less than 18 were treated in emergency departments for work related injuries. There were four times as many work-related fatalities in the agriculture industry as any other, with nearly 60% of the deaths of youth in that industry occurring on family farms. The study also found that youth working in construction were seven times more likely to die on the job than their peers working in other industries.

In summary, the study found that clerical work provided the highest quality employment experience for adolescents, while fast food appeared to be the industry causing the highest level of stress for young workers.

When properly trained and supervised, a summer job can be a wonderful experience for a teen. Earning a first paycheck is one of the most memorable events for a young teen and teaches a valuable lesson about hard work. Work experience is a critical component of preparing youth for adulthood, and summer jobs also help teens to stay engaged, learn new skills and about responsibility. Be sure that your teen is working in a safe environment this summer and has received the proper training needed to reduce the chances of workplace injury.

If you or your child has been injured at work and you need someone to fight for you, call Caroline Munley and the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law.

The Dangers of Driving Drowsy

Marion MunleyDriving impaired doesn’t have to mean driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It can also mean driving while drowsy—a practice that leads to more than 100,000 crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of this total, 40,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths are reported. In fact, a study done by researchers in Australia showed that driving while being awake for 18 hours was the same as driving with a blood alcohol level of .05. Driving after being awake for 24 hours was equal to a blood alcohol level of .10—a level of .08 is legally drunk.

As with drunk driving, sleep-deprived driving also inhibits a person’s reaction time, judgment, and vision; causes problems with information processing and short-term memory; decreases awareness; and increases aggressiveness.

Unfortunately, in the commercial truck driving culture, getting behind the wheel, despite a lack of sleep, happens all too often as drivers push to make their deliveries on time, so it’s no surprise that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that fatigue is a leading factor in large truck crashes. Last year, however, Congress mandated that truckers drive no more than 70 hours per week (down from a maximum of 82 hours), have at least 34 hours of rest in between workweeks, and drive no more than 11 hours per day with a 30-minute break thrown in.

One such crash that has recently brought more attention to the dangers of driving while drowsy took place on June 7, 2014—just one day after Senator Susan Collins proposed an amendment to curb restrictions on truck drivers’ hours—and involved comedian and actor Tracy Morgan. His limo was rear-ended on the New Jersey Turnpike by Wal-Mart truck driver, Kevin Roper, who had reportedly not slept in more than 24 hours. In the resulting six-car pile-up, Tracy Morgan and two others were critically injured and Morgan’s friend and mentor, James McNair, was killed.

Accidents involving sleep-deprived commercial truck drivers are not a new trend: In June 2009, a tractor-trailer whose driver had been on the road for at least 11 hours crashed into several vehicles that were stopped in traffic on the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma. Ten people died as a result. Since 2009, there has been a steady increase in accidents involving large trucks.

If you—or someone you know—has been a victim of a truck driving accident, contact the lawyers at Munley Law for a free consultation. Munley Law has an established history spanning more than 50 years of representing truck accident victims and winning large settlements and court cases for clients. We know how to secure accident scenes, preserve evidence, and take the necessary photos and witness statements needed to file your claim. Contact the attorneys at Munley Law immediately: Simply send an e-mail by clicking here or call them at 855-866-5529.

Economic cost of car crashes shows the importance of safety measures

Robert W Munley IIIAccording to a new study released by the U.S. Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the price tag of crashes comes at a heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. This includes $277 billion in economic costs, nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S., and $594 billion in harm from loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.

The study was based on 2010 statistics, which included a staggering 32,999 motor vehicle crash fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles. We all know that no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one or the pain and suffering when you are critically injured in a car crash. These figures show us the importance of a greater investment in vehicle safety, driver education and awareness, and also road safety.

The NHTSA’s study cited the following as contributing factors:

• Speeding: Crashes caused by a speeding vehicle accounted for 21% of the total economic loss due to crashes, costing the nation $59 billion. These crashes were responsible for $210 billion or 24% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.
• Drunk Driving: Crashes caused by drunk drivers accounted for 18% of the total economic loss, costing the nation $49 billion. These crashes were responsible for $199 billion or 23% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.
• Distracted Driving: Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17% of the total economic loss, costing the nation $46 billion. These crashes were responsible for $129 billion or 15% of the overall societal harm caused by crashes.
• Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Crashes involving this group accounted for 7% of the total economic losses, costing the nation $19 billion. They were responsible for $90 billion or 10% of the overall societal harm.
• Seatbelts: Preventable fatalities and injuries to unbelted occupants accounted for 5% of the total economic loss and cost the nation $14 billion. Failure to wear seatbelts caused $72 billion or 8% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes. On a brighter note regarding seatbelts, seatbelt use prevented $69 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury related costs.

These factors above show us that there are several things we can do as drivers to lessen the frequency of crashes and be overall safer drivers. They include wearing a seat belt at all times and requiring that all passengers in the vehicle wear their seatbelts as well, following the posted speed limits, keeping our full attention on the road and the vehicles around us at all times, paying attention to pedestrians and bicyclists that may also be sharing the road, and never drinking and driving. Click here to view the full NHTSA report entitled The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes.

If you have been injured in car accident, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law at 855-866-5529.