January 29, 2010

Worker Fatally Injured On the Job in Washington Dairy Accident

Whatcom County Sheriff's officials are investigating the death of a worker at a local dairy farm north of Lynden, Washington, according to the Bellingham Herald. Officials say a large, overhead door fell on the 30-year-old worker and pinned him against an interior cattle gate. He died at the scene. Officials are looking into whether the door fell as a result of a mechanical failure. Authorities will report the findings of their investigation to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there were a total of 47 fatalities in the dairy industry in 2007. Out of these fatalities, 13 deaths were a result of contact with objects and equipment. That category includes dairy workers who were killed as a result of falling objects. In this particular case, it is not clear what caused the door to fall on the worker. In cases where industrial accidents result in death, the worker's family will be entitled to worker's compensation benefits. However, if the fatal injury involved negligence on the part of someone else or a defective product, a third party claim can be brought against the negligent party or the manufacturer of the defective product.

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January 28, 2010

Construction Worker Crushed to Death by Piece of Heavy Concrete

A Washington state construction worker was fatally injured by a large, heavy piece of concrete on a construction site recently. The worker was trying to remove a collapsed column with an excavator. Part of the column broke loose and crushed the cab of the excavator. That piece alone weighed about 18,000 pounds. Investigators from OSHA are trying to figure out how the piece of concrete broke loose and fell.

Construction site accidents, especially those that involve falling objects, can cause devastating injuries or deaths. Very often, workers get hit by falling objects at construction sites. Construction sites are inherently dangerous because of the presence of heavy columns, steel bars, scaffolds and trenches. There is danger lurking in each and every corner. That is why it is critical that builders and contractors follow safety standards mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The tragedies, which occur at Washington construction sites, can be prevented by following the safety standards spelled out by state and federal regulatory agencies.

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January 27, 2010

Spokane Man Killed While Crossing the Street

A 60-year-old man from Spokane was killed in a pedestrian accident after he was struck by a car while crossing a street. According to a KHQ news report, the man was walking across Division near the 9600 block in an unmarked crosswalk when he was struck by a southbound car. The injured pedestrian was transported to a Spokane hospital where he later died. The driver remained at the scene, but officials say he is likely to face charges.

Washington State law requires motorists to yield right-of-way to pedestrians walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks. According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 46.61.235 (1): "The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section "half of the roadway" means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway."

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January 26, 2010

Defective Cribs Recalled for Fall and Entrapment Hazard

Caramia is issuing a product defect recall for about 1,000 "Diane" drop-side cribs. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the slats on these recalled cribs' drop side can detach from the top and bottom rails posing fall and entrapment hazards to young children. So far, the company has received 18 reports of the slats detaching. No injuries or fatalities have been reported yet as a result of these product defects.

These cribs were manufactured in Slovenia from September 2002 and June 2004 and sold at Buy Buy Baby and other children's products and mass merchandise stores nationwide. They were sold for between $240 and $370. If you have one of these cribs in your home, preschool or childcare facility, please stop using them and call the company to receive a free replacement drop side.

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January 25, 2010

Construction Worker Dies As a Result of Equipment Malfunction

A recent news article reports that a 53-year-old Washington construction worker was killed when he and another employee were installing an electrical line at a shopping center. The accident happened when their bucket truck failed. The worker was thrown from the bucket and struck the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Washington State construction site accidents have the potential to result in debilitating injuries or even death. Where serious or catastrophic injuries are involved, construction workers and their families come under tremendous emotional and financial strain. In many cases, families lose their primary wage-earner or sole breadwinner, which puts them in quite a tough predicament. Still, the fact remains that a majority of Seattle construction site accidents, which lead to such tragedies, can be easily prevented and avoided by following safety standards. Sometimes, these tragedies are also caused by defective products and equipment malfunctions. Equipment failure can happen because of a manufacturing defect or because it was poorly maintained. If maintenance is the issue, the injured worker or his family could file a claim against the contractor or sub-contractor in charge of maintenance. If the malfunction was caused by a product defect, the worker or his family can file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the defective product.

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January 22, 2010

Washington Couple Injured in Rollover Accident

A Washington couple was injured in an auto accident after their pickup truck and trailer rolled over on the Interstate 82 near Prosser, Washington. According to a news report in the Yakima Herald-Republic, a 64-year-old man was driving a 2002 Ford pickup towing a 37-foot trailer. He lost control of the vehicle rolling both the pickup and the trailer on the inside shoulder of the highway. The man and his wife both suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital, but it is not clear whether they sustained serious injuries. Both were wearing seatbelts. Washington State Patrol officials say the driver's inattention may have caused or contributed to this accident as well.

In any rollover auto accident, it is also important to look into whether an auto product defect, design defect or mechanical malfunction may have caused or in any way contributed to the accident. The auto maker or the manufacturer of the defective product could be held liable for the injuries and damages, if so. If a vehicle defect is suspected in an auto accident, it is important to preserve the vehicle so it can be examined carefully for product defects, malfunctions or other evidence. Experienced Seattle personal injury attorneys will almost always suggest that, if possible, photos are taken of the accident in order to document the scene.

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January 14, 2010

Motorist Injured in Spokane after Collision with Deer

A woman was injured in a Spokane car accident after her vehicles struck a deer on U.S. Highway 2 near Bear Lake, The Spokesman-Review reports. Washington State Patrol officials said the accident occurred at Westwood Avenue after the woman who was driving on the highway hit a deer. The extent of the woman's injuries is not clear.

According to a recent news report, deer versus vehicle collisions in Washington State have increased by 15 percent just in the last five years. According to statistics released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are about 1.5 million deer versus vehicle collisions every year in the United States. These types of auto accidents cause more than 150 fatalities each year and typically occur in the months of October, November and December. In fact, the chance of a vehicle striking a deer is 1 in 516, according to deer claims data from 2007 and 2008 provided by State Farm Insurance.

Any Seattle personal injury lawyer will tell you that these accidents should not be taken lightly. Motorists – be it car drivers or motorcycle riders – should take every possible precaution to avoid deer collisions. Here are a few safety measures you can take to avoid colliding with deer. First, always be aware of deer crossing signs. These are usually placed in active deer areas. When you are traveling at night, be sure to use the high beam to light up the road ahead. Remember, deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Also, deer tend to travel in groups or herds. So if you see one, stop, because there may be others following.

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January 13, 2010

Kirk Bernard Discusses Dog Bite Statistics for 2009

American Chronicle recently published a new article by Kirk Bernard regarding 2009 dog bite statistics. This type of data helps spread awareness about the dangers of dog attacks, thus helping prevent such bites and injuries from taking place.

Recently, a Seattle Washington dog bite victims' advocate group has released statistics about dog attacks for the year 2009. According to the report by Dogsbite.org, in 2009 there were 32 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Pit bulls apparently accounted for 44 percent of all the fatal attacks. And pit bulls make up only 5 percent of the U.S. dog population! In 2009 alone, pit bulls and rottweilers together accounted for 56 percent of all fatal dog attacks. During the five-year period from 2005 to 2009, the same breeds were responsible for 70 percent of all the recorded deaths.

To learn more about dog bite statistics for 2009 and how you can help prevent dog attacks from happening, please read the entire article here.

January 13, 2010

Defective Gas Grills Recalled for Fire Hazard

Master Forge brand grills sold at Lowe's stores have been recalled because of a product defect, which can apparently cause fires. According to a news article in Consumer Reports, the flexible rubber hose on the LP gas tank can come in contact with the burner box, causing the hose to melt and rupture when the grill is lit. So far, Sagittarius Sporting Grills has recalled 10,000 of these Master Forge five-burner gas grills. The firm is aware of two complaints, and so far, no injuries have been reported. These defective gas grills were imported from China by LG Sourcing and sold and Lowe's stores from September to November of 2009 for about $500. Those who have these gas grills at home are asked to stop using them immediately and contact the company for a free repair kit.

Recently, many brands of gas grills manufactured in or imported from China have been recalled for these types of fire hazards. Some of the recalled models of gas grills have caused injuries and property damage. These are product defects, which have the potential to cause serious burn injuries and even death. Seattle personal injury attorneys are available to help when product manufacturers put defective or substandard products on the market without proper quality control. Those injured by such products may be able to hold negligent manufacturers responsible for resulting injuries or fatalities.

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January 12, 2010

Kirk Bernard Discusses Spinal Cord Injuries and their Catastrophic Consequences

A recent American Chronicle article posted by Kirk Bernard addresses different types of spinal cord injuries and their potentially catastrophic consequences. The article begins by stating that injuries to the spinal cord can be some of the most traumatic and life changing of all, mainly because the spinal cord is responsible for so many of the body´s functions. This long cord is protected by the vertebrae of the spine, and is responsible for transporting messages from the brain to other parts of the body. The spinal cord plays a vital role in movement, senses, and even unconscious bodily functions like respiration and circulation. Therefore, it´s not at all surprising that an injury to any area of the spinal cord can have catastrophic effects.

To learn more about the repercussions of spinal cord injuries and how you can better protect yourself, please read the entire article.

January 12, 2010

Woman Critically Injured in Spokane Valley Train Accident

A 44-year-old woman suffered critical injuries in a Washington train accident after her minivan was broadsided at a crossing by a train traveling at 48 mph. According to an Associated Press news report, the woman had just dropped off a child in an elementary school when the accident occurred. She was transported to a local hospital.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2006 alone, train accidents caused 909 fatalities and 8,244 injuries nationwide. Railroad employees, passengers in other autos at railroad crossings, passengers aboard trains, or pedestrians walking on or near railroad tracks are among those injured in these dangerous train accidents. Sometimes, these collisions happen because of the fault of other drivers. But very often, these accidents occur due to the lack of safety features at these street-level train crossings or when the safety features such as crossbars or lights fail to work at the crossings. These types of accidents could also occur as a result of the train operator's error.

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January 11, 2010

Washington Car Accident Injures Three

Three people sustained injuries in a rear-end car accident on the Highway 502. The accident occurred when an eastbound 2003 Mazda pickup stopped to turn left into a driveway when the vehicle was struck from behind by a Nissan Altima. The driver of the pickup truck sustained head injuries while the other driver and his passenger sustained head and neck injuries. Washington State Patrol blames the accident on speed and inattention and cited the driver of the Nissan Altima for speeding.

Rear-end auto accidents are usually caused as a result of carelessness. However, victims of such accidents are very often left with severe back, neck or head injuries that require continued treatment and medical expenses. Recently, The Bernard Law Firm obtained a $91,000 settlement for a Kirkland Washington woman who was rear-ended in Mill Creek. She was a professional body builder who was forced to quit competitive body building due to neck, back and right wrist strain that required surgery and lengthy hand therapy.

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January 8, 2010

Crimes by Convicted Felons in Nursing Homes on the Rise

An alarming report in the Chicago Tribune talks about an increase in reports of violent attacks by felons living in nursing homes. Many nursing home facilities are apparently not complying with a four-year-old disclosure law that requires them to notify state and public health officials when they admit offenders. As a result, some offenders in that state have been living in facilities undeclared for as long as a year.

There have been several recent incidents involving felons abusing or seriously injuring other nursing home residents. Most recently a 22-year-old mentally ill felon pleaded guilty to brutally raping a 69-year-old woman who lived in the same nursing home. In that case, the felon's background screening had been improperly handled by the nursing home because they used the wrong birth date. In Illinois, nursing homes are required to conduct criminal background checks on all new residents and immediately notify state health authorities when someone with a serious felony conviction is admitted.

However, some homes still fail to conduct these important background checks or make serious errors on the checks, or simply fail to report these felons to officials. Some of these offenders, as a result, went on to commit assaults and serious crimes inside the homes. As a result of the nursing home's negligence and their failure to take these background checks seriously, they exposed their own residents to danger.

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January 7, 2010

Kirk Bernard's 7 Tips to Prevent and Survive a Dog Attack

A recently published article by Kirk Bernard on ArticleBase provides 7 tips to help Washington residents prevent and survive a dog attack. This information is valuable to know even if you do not anticipate being attacked by a dog. No one ever does. However, in the U.S. alone, approximately 5 million people are attacked by dogs every year and about 1,000 dog bite victims go to hospital emergency rooms every day. It is also helpful to know that laws in Washington State protect dog bite injury victims.

To learn more about how you can help protect you and your loved ones from dog attacks, or help you or a loved one survive a dog attack, please read the entire article by clicking here.

January 7, 2010

Auto Recall for Range Rover Vehicles Involves Airbag Defects

Jaguar Land Rover North America is recalling 4,001 Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles because of possible airbag defects, which might prevent the front passenger airbag from deploying in the event of a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these affected 2010 Range Rover models may experience airbag lamp illumination on the instrument cluster. The NHTSA report states: “This warning lamp may clear on each subsequent ignition cycle. The passenger airbag will be disabled when the airbag warning lamp is illuminated as a result of this defect and the passenger airbag warning disable lamp in the overhead console will also illuminate.”

The deployment of the passenger side airbag may fail to occur in case of a car accident. This could cause devastating personal injuries and even death to the passenger. When this recall begins, Land Rover dealers will update the vehicles' restraint control module with the integrated diagnostics system tool with updated software.

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January 6, 2010

Fatal Washington Pedestrian Accident on Benson Highway

A 58-year old Seattle man was killed in a pedestrian accident after he was struck by a pickup truck while attempting to the cross Benson Highway in an unincorporated area of Kent. According to a news report, the man was not in a crosswalk when he tried to cross the five-lane highway. Washington State Patrol officials said the driver of the 2000 Toyota pickup truck could not stop in time to avoid colliding with the man.

This is apparently the second pedestrian-car collision in the last seven weeks along the Benson Highway. A 22-year-old woman was killed in October when she tried to cross the highway to catch a bus. That pedestrian was not in a crosswalk either. Officials say it is not illegal to cross the highway, but pedestrians must yield right-of-way to vehicles when they are not in a crosswalk. Officials say that pedestrians should use a crosswalk when crossing any street, especially at night time when visibility is greatly reduced.

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January 5, 2010

Nail Guns Can Cause Serious Construction Site Injuries

A Washington construction site can pose numerous dangers to a worker. One of the less-talked-about dangers in construction sites involves nail guns. There was a recent news report about a construction worker who miraculously survived a nail that went through his heart. The accident occurred when he was in the middle of a construction job. The nail gun bounced off a ladder and the worker's hand slipped and hit the trigger. He was taken to a hospital where surgeons opened his chest cavity and removed the nail. Doctors said that he might have bled to death had someone pulled out the nail instead of getting him to the hospital first.

Nail gun injuries have been steadily increasing over the last five years. According to a recent study, 42,000 people – more than 100 a day – show up in the nation's hospital emergency departments annually with nail gun injuries. Treating these wounds reportedly costs the United States at least $338 million a year in emergency medical care, rehabilitation and workers’ compensation, according to an estimate by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Accidental discharge and defective nail guns, which suddenly begin to shoot out nails, cause a majority of injuries at construction sites. If you have suffered a nail gun injury as a result of someone else's negligence or as the result of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation.

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January 4, 2010

Washington Hit-and-Run Car Accident Kills Pedestrian

Washington State Patrol officials are looking for a driver who they say caused a fatal car accident and then left the scene of the crash in Whatcom County. According to a KGMI news report, the car struck and killed and pedestrian on Blaine Road south of Lynden-Birch bay Road. Witnesses described the car as a dark-colored sedan. Authorities believe that the car may have front-end damage.

Leaving the scene of any traffic accident is a serious crime in Washington State, especially if another individual has been seriously injured or killed. According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 46.52.020: "A driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury to or death of any person or involving striking the body of a deceased person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to, and in every event remain at, the scene of such accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (3) of this section; every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary."

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