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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
February 1 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 3 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 10 - Newsblog #33
In the News: $7.8 Million Construction Injury Settlment Highlights Rash of New Contruction Accidents
May 17 - Newsblog #34
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #35
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #36
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #37
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #38
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #40
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #41
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #44
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
September 25 - Newsblog #45
Yes, Sex Trafficking is Happening in Indiana
October 30 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Product Liability Cases in 2019
November 13 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Arbitration Clauses Allowed in Indiana Nursing Home Contracts
November 27 - Newsblog #48
In the News: $101 Million Birth Injury Settlement Awarded
December 4 - Newsblog #49
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #51
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 29 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #54
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
February 26 - Newsblog #55
In the News: Teen Brain-injured at Birth Awarded $15.1 Million
March 4 - Newsblog #56
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 18 - Newsblog #57
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #58
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System
April 8 - Newsblog #59
In the News: Medical Malpractice Limits Challenged in California
April 15 - Newsblog #60
In the News: Indiana Supreme Court Issues Five Orders for Legal Proceedings
May 6 - Newsblog #61
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years
May 13 - Newsblog #62
In the News: Physician Not Negligent in Choosing One Treatment over Another
June 3 - Newsblog #63
In the News: Indiana Undercounting Covid-19 Deaths?
June 17 - Newsblog #64
In the News: Ruling Reverse on Police Shooting – New News, Old Story?
July 8 - Newsblog #65
In the News: What is This Thing Called Qualified Immunity?
July 15 - Newsblog #66
In the News: Sooner or Later for Virus-delayed Jury Trials
July 29 - Newsblog #67
In the News: Truck Driver Sentenced, Another Charged in Fatal Crashes
August 12 - Newsblog #68
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
August 26 - Newsblog #69
In the News: $4.9m Auto Accident Settlement Teaches Many Lessons
September 2 - Newsblog #70
In the News: Negligence Unmasked at Pennsyvania Trial
September 9 - Newsblog #71
In the News: Double-booked Doctors Cause Personal Injury to Patients
September 27 - Newsblog #72
In the News: Heart Rhythm Drug Poisoned Patient’s Lungs
October 14 - Newsblog #73
In the News: Prisoner Vs. Prison – a Tale of Two Medical Negligence Lawsuits
October 28 - Newsblog #74
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Texas Medical Malpractice Case
November 4 - Newsblog #75
In the News: Mesothelioma Trials Move Ahead, Pandemic Notwithstanding
November 4 - Newsblog #76
In the News: Richard Hailey Serves As Co-counsel in Tragic Medical Malpractice Case
November 4 - Newsblog #77
In the News: Mesothelioma Trials Move Ahead, Pandemic Notwithstanding
November 18 - Newsblog #78
In the News: Two-year-old Shoots Mom in Tragic Reminder of the Need for Safe Storage of Guns
December 30 - Newsblog #79
In the News: when ‘ghost Guns’ Cause Real Deaths
January 13 - Newsblog #80
In the News: when Police Dogs Cause Personal Injury to the Innocent
January 27 - Newsblog #81
In the News: Old List of Six Proves Very Relevant Today
February 24 - Newsblog #82
In the News: Indiana Nursing Homes Shielded from Covid-19 Liability Suits 

March 10 - Newsblog #83
In the News: Online Hunters out to Halt Child Abuse
March 17 - Newsblog #84
In the News: Toxic Talc Still a Problem
April 14 - Newsblog #85
In the News: Va Hospital Wrongful Death Verdict Increased After-the-fact
April 14 - Newsblog #86
Think You Don’t Need a Doctor After Being Hit by a Car? Think Again!
May 5 - Newsblog #87
In the News: Historic Police Reform and Training Bill Signed into Law
June 2 - Newsblog #88
In the News: Shaquille Kelly Shot by Police in Ft. Wayne
June 9 - Newsblog #89
In the News: Cement Plant to Pay $700k for Spewing Pollutants
June 16 - Newsblog #90
In the News: Estate of Man Killed by Police Sues Indianapolis
July 7 - Newsblog #91
In the News: Vehicular Homicide Result of Impairment and Speed
July 28 - Newsblog #92
In the News: Two Recent Drownings Call Attention to Dangers 

July 28 - Newsblog #93
Driving Phobia Ptsd Can Be Grounds for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
August 4 - Newsblog #94
In the News – Sexual Abuse Claim Ruled Outdated
August 18 - Newsblog #95
In the News – New Study Questions Pollution Levels in Franklin, Indiana
September 1 - Newsblog #96
In the News – Two Corporations Punished for Failure to Warn
September 8 - Newsblog #97
In the News – Tesla Autopilot Investigation Highlights Product Liability Issues
October 27 - Newsblog #98
In the News – Irish Hospital Apologizes to Six Year Old for Medical Injury
November 3 - Newsblog #99
In the News – Nursing Homes Fail to Report Covid-19 Deaths to Osha
November 11 - Newsblog #100
In the News: Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities Hit Home in Indiana
December 15 - Newsblog #101
In the News: Children Killed by Dui – the Wrongest of Wrongful Deaths
December 22 - Newsblog #102
In the News: Parents of Girl Who Drowned Sue City of Princeton
January 5 - Newsblog #103
In the News: 50 Indiana Children Dead of Neglect and Abuse in 2020
January 19 - Newsblog #104
Did Church Protect Pastor, Not Children?
February 16 - Newsblog #105
In the News: $10 Million Verdict in Rv/pedestrian Accident
March 30 - Newsblog #106
In the News: Carmel Priest Suspended for Alleged Child Abuse
April 20 - Newsblog #107
In the News: the Effects of Child Abuse – Way Beyond Blue Water or Pinwheels

Products Liability Newsletter

Crashworthiness and Automobile Safety

The principles of product liability provide consumers with some protection against injury from defective products and a means of recovering damages for injuries resulting from the use of defective products. The protection is in general provided by state laws. As a consequence, the nature, extent and procedures connected with this protection vary significantly from state to state. The most expensive product most people buy is a vehicle. Many kinds of defective products can cause serious injury, but vehicle defects have the potential for devastating and lethal consequences; in recognition of this, some states have adopted legal rules and principles that apply to vehicle accident cases.

Injury from Secondary Collisions

Many have pointed out that most vehicle accidents really involve two collisions. The first is the initial impact of the vehicle with another vehicle or object. The second impact has been described as that which occurs when the driver and/or passengers collide with various parts of the vehicle or are ejected and collide with something else, such as the pavement.

The law in many states considers it foreseeable that vehicles may be involved in collisions. Hence, manufacturers not only must design and construct their vehicles to be free of accident-causing defects, but they must also design and construct in a way that will protect the driver and passengers and minimize injuries in a collision or accident, regardless of its cause.

“Crashworthiness” and “Enhanced Injury”

The requirement that manufacturers design and construct vehicles to minimize injuries to the vehicle’s occupants is often called the “crashworthiness” or “enhanced injury” doctrine. It is not accepted in all states, but has been incorporated into such venerable legal authorities as the Restatement of Torts, a compilation of principles of law, periodically updated and often cited and followed by courts. It basically holds that the manufacturer may be held liable for injuries resulting from a failure to protect the vehicle’s occupants during a collision or other accident.

Examples include defective seat belts that tear, resulting in the driver or passengers being thrown from the vehicle, or a defectively designed roof that collapses when the car rolls over. Such defects probably did not cause the accident, but may cause or exacerbate injuries. In some jurisdictions, fault on the part of the victim may eliminate or reduce any award of damages, although it is the cause of the injury and not the accident that is the focus for a crashworthiness analysis.

Types of Defects

Generally, several types of defects may cause injury in an accident. “Manufacturing” defects are problems or flaws in a particular product item, such as a seat belt that tears, and not in the design of the product. “Design” defects, however, are defects inherent in the product. There may also be an additional duty to incorporate known safety devices (such as air bags or roll bars), or at least offer them as an option, in order to minimize danger to the vehicle’s occupants.

Establishing the Existence of Defects

The party claiming that an injury resulted from a defective product may have to present evidence to show that the injury, or its enhancement, was actually caused by the defect. In some states, the claimant or plaintiff may also have to produce a “reasonable alternative design” and show that it was available at the time the vehicle was produced and would have been a safer alternative than the vehicle component that was used. Many have criticized this requirement as placing too difficult and expensive a burden on the victim. In other jurisdictions, the alternative design is just one factor for determining if the design was defective.

Use of Expert Testimony

As a practical matter, most plaintiffs must rely on the testimony of an expert witness to establish that the product was defective or that there was a reasonable alternative design that would have been safer. Experts are generally those with special knowledge, expertise, or experience qualifying them to testify on scientific or technical matters.

Since expert testimony is often vital to the plaintiff’s case, defendant manufacturers often try to have the expert’s testimony excluded. The expert’s testimony must be relevant to the case and the expert must be qualified to testify as an expert. In a landmark 1993 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court set forth a test for determining the admissibility of expert testimony in federal courts. The relevance and reliability of proposed expert testimony is evaluated on factors such as:

  • Whether the expert’s theory or technique can and has been tested, and if control standards were maintained during the testing to promote accuracy.
  • Whether the methodology has been subjected to peer review and published.
  • The statistical potential for errors in the methodology.
  • Whether there is widespread acceptance of the methodology in the relevant scientific community.

Case Law Example

In 1993, Charles Clark was fatally injured when he was ejected from the cab of his truck upon a collision with a police vehicle. He was not wearing his seat belt. Clark’s passengers and the officer were not seriously injured, but Clark was thrown down a grass median strip and subsequently died. A jury found in favor of Clark’s widow, who presented expert testimony that the door latch on the truck was defective, resulting in Clark being ejected from the vehicle. Defendant Chrysler Corporation attacked the expert testimony, but the trial court and Court of Appeals for the 8th Federal District found that the experts and their testimony complied with the Supreme Court test for admissibility.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals found that Clark’s widow had established that the defective latching mechanism caused or enhanced the injury under the crashworthiness doctrine, although it unclear whether the doctrine applied in that state. The jury found Chrysler was 50% responsible for the injuries and Clark was 50% responsible for not fastening his seatbelt, resulting in a verdict for Clark’s widow of $471,258.26 in compensatory and $3 million in punitive damages (to punish Chrysler and deter similar future conduct). As Clark was found to be 50% at fault, the compensatory award was cut in half, but the punitive damages remained at $3 million.

  • Exposure to Toxic Substances at Work
    A “tort” is defined as behavior that harms an individual, but is not necessarily a criminal act. A toxic tort claim can be brought by an individual who was exposed to and harmed by a toxin due to the conduct of another.... Read more.
  • Commercial Motor Vehicles and Defective Brakes
    Because Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) are generally larger and thus potentially more dangerous than other vehicles, CMV brake safety is imperative. In 2003, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new rule... Read more.
  • Advantages of a Class Action Lawsuit
    A class action suit is a claim brought by one or more individuals on behalf of themselves and others with similar claims. There are several types of cases appropriate for a class action lawsuit including: A mass accident... Read more.
  • Amalgam Fillings and the Potential Harm Caused by Mercury
    Amalgams are a type of dental tooth filling which, unlike gold or porcelain fillings, contain mercury. In the past several years, the American Dental Association (ADA) and several state dental chapters have come under the attack of... Read more.
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