Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones After Multiple Injuries, Property Damage

Samsung released its Galaxy Note 7 phone in mid-August in hopes of getting a jump on its competitor Apple releasing the latest model of the iPhone. On September 2, Samsung issued a recall of the Note 7 after finding that the batteries of some of the phones exploded while they were charging, and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall of the smartphones on September 15.

According to the CPSC, “Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage.” Consumers are advised to immediately stop using and power down recalled Galaxy Note7 devices purchased before September 15, 2016. They can then contact the establishments where they purchased the devices to receive a new Galaxy Note 7 with a different battery, a refund, or a new replacement device, free of charge.

One day after the CPSC issued its recall, Reuters reported that a Florida man filed what was believed to be the first (but probably not the last) lawsuit against Samsung over severe burns he suffered after his Galaxy Note 7 exploded in his front pants pocket. The 28-year-old man’s lawyer told Reuters that the man suffered “a deep second-degree burn, roughly the size of the phone, on his right thigh,” as well as severely burning his left thumb when tried to remove the phone from his pants.

The technology website CNET reported on September 14 that a Samsung spokesperson said the reason that the devices were exploding was “a very rare manufacturing error.” According to CNET, “Samsung’s preliminary findings show a production error that pushed together negative and positive poles within battery cells, causing it to heat up excessively.”

Product Liability Claims for Defective Devices in West Chester, PA

Like every other company, Samsung has a responsibility to ensure that the products it sells are safe for consumers and contain warnings that specifically address any possible dangers or hazards about certain uses. When normal use of a product results in serious injuries, the accident victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the company to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial harm.

If you or a loved one is ever injured by a defective product, here are the steps you should take in the immediate aftermath in order to preserve your legal rights:

  • Seek Medical Attention — People who have been severely injured will obviously call 911 when their injuries may be life-threatening, but even individuals who suffered seemingly minor injuries should still have a doctor conduct a formal review—and thus create a medical record.
  • Take Pictures — Try to take photographs of any injuries as well as the defective product after its use.
  • Save the Product — Whatever you do, do not throw away the defective product. Find some way to safely store the product somewhere that it will remain in its current condition.
  • Contact a Lawyer — You should call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you or your loved one has been injured by a defective product. An experienced lawyer will know how to conduct a thorough investigation and help you pursue legal recourse for your injuries.

If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries as the result of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 or some other defective product, it is in your best interest to speak to a West Chester personal injury attorney so you can understand all of your legal options.

Who is Liable in an Accident with a Self-Driving Car?

Self-Driving Cars in Chester County, Pennsylvania

 As technology continues to evolve and become increasingly capable of handling complex tasks, car manufacturers and technology companies are in a mad race to develop fully functioning driver-less cars.

Companies such as Uber, Ford, and Google have such a huge stake in the development of driverless cars that they have teamed up to create the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to help ensure policies are created to further their ‘self-driven’ interests.

Uber-CMU Partnership Makes an Abrupt Stop in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will play a substantial role in the advancement of self-driving cars. After all, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is the birthplace of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. However, after collaborating with Uber for only one year to advance AV technology, the Uber-Carnegie Mellon partnership has come to an abrupt halt. Could this be because they realized self-driving cars pose a serious threat to public safety?

If you were involved in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, commercial truck accident, or bicycle accident in West Chester, Philadelphia, or Lancaster, PA, and have medical bills or have been unable to work due to injuries from the accident, contact the team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190.

The Ciccarelli Law Offices have experienced personal injury attorneys with extensive experience recouping monetary losses stemming from car accidents. Ciccarelli Law Offices have multiple locations throughout Pennsylvania, including; West Chester, Springfield, Kennett Square, and Philadelphia.

It is important that you immediately consult an experienced personal injury attorney to preserve your case and recuperate your losses. Contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190.

Driver-less Cars May Endanger West Chester, PA Motorists

Since the early 1890s, automobiles have been under the direct control of human beings. That constant may soon change within the next decade when operating systems “take the wheel” and begin controlling automobiles.

According to PennDot (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation), passenger cars made up more than 55% of the car crashes that occurred in West Chester, Springfield, and Pennsylvania as a whole.  The large number of passenger vehicles involved in car accidents could be contributed to distracted driving.

Drivers have become more distracted over the years with production of products and features commonly used while driving, such as car radios, cell phones, text messaging, GPS systems, and display screens in the driver’s view. One could present a compelling argument that technology and automobiles aren’t a very good combination.

Recently, a Florida man was killed while his Tesla’s autopilot feature was engaged, which prompted the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a letter stating that it is investigating all Tesla vehicles equipped with any version of their “Autopilot Technology Package”.

With a 5% increase in the total number of car accidents in Pennsylvania, self-driving cars using busy highways such as US 322, PA 162, and PA 842 is a major concern for drivers in Philadelphia, Lancaster, and other cities throughout Pennsylvania. Especially when high-end car manufacturers like Tesla are having difficulty creating an autopilot feature that can simply distinguish a massive truck from the sky.

Keystone State Politics and Self-Driving Cars

Seven other states and the District of Columbia currently have legislation that authorizes self-driving cars to use public roads in some capacity. To help update Pennsylvania’s transportation legislation, a newly-formed think tank has been charged with assisting PennDot draft policies for autonomous vehicles.

The Autonomous Vehicles Policy Task Force is comprised of Pennsylvania legislators, transportation officials, and other key figures with public safety experience. As of July 2016, Pennsylvania legislatures have proposed State Senate Bill 1268 to the transportation committee, which would permit the testing of automated vehicle once a company has provided proof of $5 million in general liability insurance.

Common Types of Collision Injuries in West Chester, PA

A person involved in a motor vehicle accident could sustain a number of different injuries. A few of the injuries that could result from a car accident include:

  • Head – Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, coma, to lasting cognitive problems.
  • Back – herniated disk, spinal cord injuries which could result in paralysis
  • Neck – whiplash, neck pain, swelling, and temporary vocal cord paralysis
  • Chest –trauma to chest area, broken ribs, collapsed lungs, traumatic cardiac arrest
  • Other injuries – broken bones, torn ligaments, severed or amputated limbs, post-traumatic stress disorder

 Injuries caused by automobile accidents can get costly and become a huge burden for the victims involved. Some injuries may present themselves immediately after the accident, while others may go undiscovered for months after the accident. This is why it is important to contact the team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 so we can immediately help preserve your case.

The Future of Self-Driving Cars in Pennsylvania

 As self-driving cars are being tested on the streets of Pennsylvania, creating potential hazards for many drivers, confusion exists as to what impact autonomous cars will have on the law and personal injury cases. With so many unknowns, it is important to have a highly experienced attorney working on your behalf.

The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have years of extensive experience dealing with car accident victims. From the initial consultation, the seasoned attorneys will work together to obtain the best possible result in your case.

If you were involved in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, commercial truck accident, or bicycle accident in West Chester, Philadelphia, or Lancaster, PA, and have medical bills or you have been unable to work due to injuries from the accident, contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190.

Ciccarelli Law Offices have multiple locations throughout Pennsylvania, including; West Chester, Springfield, Kennett Square, and Philadelphia. It is important that you immediately consult an experienced personal injury attorney to preserve your case and recuperate your losses.

References:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2015&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=1268&pn=1835

http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/J-80-2013mo%20-%201020173292832303.pdf?cb=1

http://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/Documents/2014_CFB_linked.pdf

http://news.psu.edu/story/329056/2014/10/07/research/probing-question-will-americans-accept-self-driving-cars

 

Sports Waivers and Child Injuries in Pennsylvania: Do I have legal recourse?

iStock_000026508384SmallMany parents with physically active children want to support that energy by placing them in activities such as sports. As sports have been found to improve youth development and academic achievement, there is also a risk of sports injury, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

To minimize liability, school districts and sports teams often require parents to sign a waiver or consent form. Generally, these waivers state the school district, sports team, or body hosting the sports activity is not liable for any injuries, medical expenses, or other damages related to the sports activity.

Most parents believe these waivers are absolute and absolve the other party from any liability or fault in the event of injury. However, this is not always the case. There are instances in which the waiver does not apply or does not completely limit liability.

If your child has been injured which playing sports anywhere in Chester County, Pennsylvania, including the 12 public school districts in the area, which include Avon Grove, Coatesville Area, Downingtown Area, Great Valley, Kennett Consolidated, Octorara Area, Owen J. Roberts, Oxford Area, Phoenixville Area, Tredyffrin/Easttown, Unionville-Chadds Ford, or West Chester Area, it is imperative to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

What are Common Causes and Types of Sports Injuries in Pennsylvania?

Children and young adults throughout Pennsylvania and Chester County participate in a variety of sport activities, including football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading.

Unfortunately, every year young athletes are affected by injuries, some of which may have long-term consequences. Some causes of physical injuries would include but are not limited to:

  • Negligent Medical Care
  • Defective and/or Dangerous Equipment
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Improper Training
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Overuse injuries and/or Dangerous Workloads
  • Prior physical injuries/Re-injury

Some of the most common types of sports injuries in Chester County, include the following:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Broken Bones
  • Spinal Cord Injuries, which include quadriplegia and paraplegia
  • Head Injuries, which include concussions
  • Sprains and Torn ligaments.

According to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAP), approximately 156,000 concussions occur in Pennsylvania. Most of those concussions occurred during high contact sports, with more than 60 percent occurring during high school football practices and games.

Statistics also show over 1.4 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries of TBIs each year. Children between the ages of 0 to 14 years and teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19 years are at the highest risks for TBIs.

According to the Penn State Center for Sports Surface Research, approximately 22 or more injuries occur each day by high school and college athletes.

If your child was injured playing sports in Avon Grove, Coatesville or Downington school districts in Chester County, please contact Ciccarelli personal injury attorneys for a fee case evaluation.

Waivers

In Chester, Lancaster, Berks and surrounding counties, parents have the ability to excuse the school district, sports team, or other party of legal liability, including waiving the right to a lawsuit, by signing a properly executed waiver.

If the waiver is accurately worded, listed clearly on the document, complete with the signature against who it would be used, then it will usually be valid, even in the case of negligence.

Essentially, a waiver must be in the following form:

  1. The waiver must be in writing;
  2. The waiver must be clearly worded and clearly express the intent to limit all legal liability;
  3. The waiver must clearly list the types of risks, including serious injury or death;
  4. Waiver must be prominently displayed in the document. The waiver cannot be in the fine print or otherwise hidden;
  5. The waiver must be signed by the person excusing liability; and
  6. The waiver cannot violate any Federal or State laws or public policy.

However, no waiver or permission slip will be able to sign away a child or parent’s right to sue in cases of extreme or gross negligence. Gross negligence is behavior that is so careless that it does not come near to the duty of care that was called for.

An example could be, if a child breaks his leg during a soccer game and his coaches pressure he/she to continue playing without pursuing medical attention, this coach most likely would have committed gross negligence.

Conclusion

Figuring out whether or not a lawsuit is necessary or possible after a waiver has been signed can be a complex issue. Ciccarelli Personal Injury attorneys welcome your calls and will review your child’s case, claim and advise you. Our southeastern Pennsylvania attorneys are more than qualified to help you evaluate your case and get the best results you wish for.

Ciccarelli Law Offices has defended many personal injury individuals throughout West Chester, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Malvern, and the surrounding area.

Contact the West Chester personal injury attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 for a free, confidential consultation. Place your case in good hands at Ciccarelli Law Office.

 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania

MotorcycleBecause of Pennsylvania’s beautiful landscapes, varying terrain, and popular riding routes motorcycle accidents are frequent in the state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) annual crash statistics, 3,284 motorcycle accidents occurred in 2014. Of these accidents, 184 were fatal.

If you were injured in an accident with a motorcycle along Pennsylvania’s many popular riding routes, including PA 944 and PA 997, The Loop through Kennett Square, or 32 North along the Delaware River, it is imperative to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately.

Depending on the circumstances, an individual injured may be entitled to damages, including loss wages, past medical costs, future medical expenses, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and long-term rehabilitation costs. Obtaining damages can be a complex process. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

Common Reasons for Motorcycle Injury

Motorcycle accidents occur for various reasons, including the design of the motorcycle, Pennsylvania’s helmet law, road conditions, and fault of the rider and/or other drivers.

Motorcycle Design: The two-wheel, open compartment design makes motorcycles attractive vehicles for open road and recreational driving. This same design is the reason for increased injury. A motorcycle can weigh hundreds of pounds. For example, the Honda CBR1000RR weighs 439 pounds. The open design affords no protection in the event of a crash.

Pennsylvania Helmet Law: Pennsylvania law does not require drivers over the age of 21 to wear a helmet. Specifically, any person that operates a motorcycle must wear a helmet unless over 21 and has two years of riding experience or completes an approved driving course.

Helmets can provide considerable protection from injury. Research shows a helmet can reduce the chances of head injury, traumatic brain injury, and neck injury. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from 2009 to 2014, 53 percent of the 186 deaths involving motorcyclists involved a driver not wearing a helmet. 36 percent of the 3,207 motorcycles injured involved a rider not wearing a helmet.

Intoxication: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 4,769 motorcycles were involved in a fatal accident in 2014. Of those fatal accidents, 1,295 or 27 percent involved intoxication or a BAC over 0.08.

 The number of fatal accidents involving motorcycles and alcohol was higher than passenger vehicles and considerably higher than large trucks. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, approximately 9 percent of accidents involving motorcycles are considered alcohol-related.

 Distracted Driving: Distracted driving encompasses any activity that causes the driver from losing focus on the operation of the vehicle. Common causes for distracted driving, includes texting, eating and drinking, operating a radio or GPS, and using headphones while driving.

According to Pennsylvania Courts 1, 410 people were cited for texting while driving. Another 711 were cited for operating or wearing headphones while driving. Federal data shows 3, 154 persons died in crashes involving distracted drivers. Another 424,000 were injured.

Lack of Proper Training: The state of Pennsylvania does require operators of a motorcycle to have a Class M motorcycle license. However, sources, including the Alliance of Bikers Aimed toward Education (ABATE of PA) assert many motorcycle drivers do not have the proper training to avoid accidents involving serious injury or death. According to ABATE of PA, 90 percent of motorcycles crashes involved riders who have not taken a motorcycle safety training course. 33 percent of riders are not properly licensed.

 Vehicle Defects: Vehicle defects or malfunction are a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. The most common types of vehicle defects, including brake malfunctions, defective tires, and defective engines. According to PennDot over four percent of accidents involving accidents were caused by either a motorcycle defect or road conditions.

Does the Cause of the Motorcycle Accident Matter?

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident. The cause of the accident is very crucial when determining party liability and damages. For example, if the cause of the accident was a vehicle defect, the liable parties could include the motorcycle driver, motorcycle manufacturer, and/or the person or company that performed the repair or maintenance.

Also, if the liable party knew or should have known or such defect or risk of injury to others the injured party may be entitled to more damages. Pennsylvania law prohibits a limitation or cap of damages involving injury or death. The injured party may also be entitled to punitive damages (additional damages intended to punish the liable party) in certain circumstances.

Conclusion

The Ciccarelli Law Offices are experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients in all types of motorcycle accidents, including those involving DUI, distracted driving, and reckless driving.

The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices use the team approach to obtain the best results their clients based on their unique circumstances. The Ciccarelli Law Offices proudly represents clients throughout the Pennsylvania, including West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, and Kennett Square.

Liability after a Ride-Sharing Accident with Uber

Profile of red luxury sports sedan. Focus on side mirror.

Where you need a ride from West Chester PA to Media, or a ride from shopping at the King of Prussia Mall to dinner in Wayne, PA, Uber is starting to be a more common way in both Center City Philly and suburban Philadelphia. Ride-Sharing arrangements, like Lyft and Uber, have become a popular alternative to taxis since the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission granted both companies two-year experimental licenses.

Philadelphia was one of the last major cities to permit Uber and Lyft operations. Now Uber and Lyft drivers are available for fares throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, including West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Media, and Doylestown.

These ride-sharing companies have created a serious quandary regarding liability for occupants and other drivers following an accident.

Problems with Uber

Uber drivers are just as likely to get into are car accident as any other vehicle. However, the determination of liability is not as clear for Uber drivers as an ordinary driver of a vehicle or even a taxi driver. This is for two reasons.

1. Uber is not a transportation company. As indicated in their Terms and Conditions (last updated January 2, 2016), Uber technology platform that allows an individual to arrange transportation services. By using an Uber service, the rider and driver acknowledge that “Uber does not provide transportation or logistic services or function as a transportation carrier”. By defining itself as a “technology platform” rather than a transportation company, Uber attempts to escape liability and place liability for accidents on the Uber driver.

2. Uber drivers are independent contractors not employees. The distinction between employees and independent contractors is especially important when determining a company’s liability. Generally, an employer is liable for negligent acts of an employee but not an independent contractor. The classification of Uber drivers as an independent contractor further distances Uber from liability following an accident.

Insurance Coverage Provided By Uber

As of July 2014, Uber provides the following coverage:

1. $1 million of liability coverage per incident: Uber holds a commercial insurance policy with $1 million of coverage per incident. This covers the Uber driver’s liability to third parties during a fare only (from the moment a driver accepts a trip to the conclusion of said trip). This coverage does not apply when the driver is waiting and available for fares.

2. $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per incident: In the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle (driver does not have the state minimum coverage) or a hit and run, Uber offers $1 million of bodily injury coverage per incident. This coverage covers passengers injured if another driver causes the accident.

3. $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 of contingent coverage between trips: Uber provides insurance protection when the driver is available and waiting for another fare. Insurance coverage is up to $50,000 bodily injury per individual per accident with a total of $100,000 and $25,000 property damage. This coverage is only available when the driver’s personal auto insurance declines to pay or pays zero.

The “Other Driver”

Uber’s insurance seems adequate; however, there are still major issues, including:

  •  Uber may deny the claim: It is possible that Uber’s insurance will deny the claim, which would require the Uber driver to submit the claim to his or her personal insurance company. Generally, personal auto insurance companies will deny the claim, because the driver was using the vehicle as a business.
  •  The accident might result in catastrophic injury or death: Uber offers $1 million of liability coverage during a fare and $50,000 bodily injury up to $100,000 when the driver is between trips. Depending on the type of injury sustained or in the case of death, these figures are not sufficient.

When the aforementioned issues arise, it is likely the “other driver” will have to turn to the courts to recover damages incurred as a result of the accident. In addition to the physical damage to the vehicle, the “other driver” often must sue to recoup loss wages, medical costs, estimated cost of future medical procedures, and pain and suffering.

Pursuing a law suit against a ride-sharing company like Uber or Lyft will be a complex process. It is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney fighting on your behalf. The team of experienced attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices will work as a team to recover all that you’ve loss following an accident with a ride-sharing driver.

With offices in West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Malvern, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Kennett Square, our personal injury team proudly represents clients throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, including Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, and Montgomery County.

Contact the team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 for a free, confidential attorney consultation.