February 26, 2010

Seattle Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help With Your Washington Medical Negligence Case

Washington residents, who go to the doctor or to a hospital to receive required medical treatment, expect a high standard of care. Patients never believe or imagine that in getting the help they need, a procedure or surgery would leave them with greater injuries. However, this is the reality of medical negligence. Although mistakes made by medical professionals do not always result in serious injury, several incidents of misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose a condition, incorrect dosage of medication, or surgical error, do end up severely harming a patient.

Some of the most catastrophic of medical negligence incidents cause patients to suffer grave injuries. Far too many patients experience unnecessary surgery, pain and suffering, and additional treatment because of a doctor's error or negligence. Birth injuries may also occur, leaving a baby, and potentially the mother, with debilitating injury.

Whatever the nature of the medical negligence that has negatively affected you and your family, you need the help and guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney who will help protect your rights. Please remember that you need to choose an attorney carefully. You must choose a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer who is not only experienced and knowledgeable in these types of cases, but also one who has access to resources and experts in the medical field to help bolster your case. Such a lawyer will help secure the compensation you rightfully deserve for the injury, and the pain and suffering you have had to experience as a result of someone else's negligence.

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February 25, 2010

Shoreline Auto Accident Involves 23 Vehicles

At least 23 cars were wrecked and one person was injured in a Washington auto accident on the Interstate 5, King5 News reported. The chain-reaction car accident occurred near the NE 145th Street onramp in Shoreline, Washington. Washington State Patrol officials said the accident was caused by a mix of the rain, the brightness from the sunshine and cars following the vehicle in front of them too closely. Troopers say they expect to issue several citations in connection with this auto accident.

Auto accidents involving multiple vehicles and several parties can be extremely complicated. How do you deal with such an accident? Experienced Seattle car accident lawyers will tell you that if you are in an accident, the first thing you need to do is get as much information as possible. Get photographs of the accident scene. Make sketches of the vehicles' positions when your memory is fresh. Collect insurance, vehicle license plate and driver's license information from the parties involved. If you find eyewitnesses on scene, do get their contact information and statements as well. Eyewitness statements can be invaluable in any auto accident, especially in one where a number of vehicles and victims/parties are involved.

After the accident, please remember not to talk to insurance adjusters or attorneys for the other parties before first, consulting with your own attorney. Remember that insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They are certainly not looking out for you. Do not sign any papers or agree to any monetary settlement before speaking with your attorney.

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February 24, 2010

Toyota and Federal Government Knew about Product Defects for Years

State Farm Insurance Company officials are saying that they alerted federal safety regulators as early as 2007 about an increase in reports of unintended or sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. According to a news report, State Farm insurance said it noticed a rise in reports of such acceleration in Toyotas and notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The federal agency in fact received warnings about sudden acceleration in Toyotas as early as 2003. It is not clear whether the agency completely missed these warning signs. That is an issue congressional investigators are exploring.

Toyota, over the recent months, has recalled over 8 million vehicles for faulty gas pedals and floor mats, which are believed to have caused the sudden acceleration problems. Most recently, the auto maker recalled about 437,000 Prius and Lexus hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix a braking problem caused by a software glitch. The auto maker also stopped producing and selling eight vehicle models including the top-selling Corolla and Camry models. Federal officials said they are also looking into complaints from Corolla owners about steering problems. So far, consumers and Seattle personal injury attorneys are shocked by the fact that NHTSA has received 80 complaints from drivers of 2009 and 2010 Corollas.

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February 23, 2010

Reports of Toyota Corolla Steering Problems Trigger Federal Investigation

Federal auto safety regulators have now launched an official investigation into possible vehicle defects, this time involving the power steering in 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corollas. According to a news report in USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been getting complaints from Toyota Corolla drivers that they cannot hold the steering straight going down the highway. So far, NHTSA has received 168 complaints, including reports of eight crashes, involving this vehicle defect. NHTSA has opened a preliminary evaluation to determine whether it needs to take a closer look at steering problems in the Corolla and also, the Matrix models, which are quite similar to the Corolla. Much to the shock of consumers and Seattle auto product liability attorneys, about 500,000 vehicles could be involved in this investigation.

If this results in a recall, it certainly would not be Toyota's first in recent months. In fact, the number of vehicles that were recently recalled by the Japanese auto maker adds up to more than 8.5 million. That includes vehicles that were recalled for defective gas pedals, floor mats and brakes. Toyota also suspended production and sales of eight different models of vehicles including the Corolla, until all the defective vehicles can be fixed. Government officials are also looking into whether Toyota officials issued these recalls in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the company is also facing a slew of lawsuits over the unintended acceleration caused by the gas pedal and mat defects.

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February 22, 2010

Two Construction Workers Seriously Injured in Scaffolding Collapse

Two men sustained serious injuries after the scaffolding they were standing on collapsed, according to a recent report. The construction accident occurred in the 3900 block of 48th Avenue South in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. The two men were taken to Harborview Medical Center. One of the victims was listed in serious condition while the other was in satisfactory condition. Officials are looking into what caused the accident. The men were apparently construction workers who were working on a house in the area.

As a skilled Washington personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard is familiar with how falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers operate on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year. However, not all construction companies or contractors follow the safety standards and procedures that are meant to keep workers safe on scaffolds. These are injuries and deaths, which can be easily prevented.

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February 19, 2010

Man Killed in Washington Auto Accident

A 66-year-old man sustained fatal injuries in a Washington auto accident after his car collided head-on with a bridge support on the southbound Valley Freeway at 15th Street Northwest in Auburn. According to a news report in the Auburn Reporter, the man was driving a Toyota pickup truck, when he struck the bridge support at a high rate of speed. In fact, eyewitnesses told investigators that there were no brake lights from the Toyota before the impact. The man died at the scene. The incident is being investigated by the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

In such cases, it is extremely important to have a skilled Seattle car accident lawyer help you determine whether the accident was caused by a defective auto. The vehicle involved in this incident was a Toyota pickup truck. Witnesses state that the driver made no attempt to stop and went speeding right into the bridge support. It might be useful in this case to find out whether the vehicle malfunctioned and whether it is one of the models included in Toyota’s recall of more than 8 million vehicles for defective gas pedals or floor mats said to cause sudden or unintended acceleration.

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February 18, 2010

Bellevue DUI Car Crash Injures Driver

The driver of a Toyota was injured in a Bellevue auto accident after he drove the wrong way and collided head-on with a construction vehicle. According to a news report, the crash occurred when a man in a 1998 Toyota entered the Interstate 90 the wrong way from an HOV off-ramp. He ended up crashing head-on with a large road construction vehicle parked near an exit at 150th Avenue SE in Bellevue. The driver of the Toyota was trapped inside and had to be extricated. He was taken to a Seattle hospital with critical injuries. No one else was injured in this crash. Washington State Patrol officials say the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol.

This accident is yet another reminder that driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injuries or death. In this case, it is extremely fortunate that this wrong-way driver did not injure anyone else. Yet, it is unfortunate that the driver sustained injury. As any motorist or Seattle car accident attorney should know, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also a serious crime in Washington State. According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 46.61.502, driving under the influence is when "a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within the state." It is also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

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February 17, 2010

500,000 Defective Cribs Recalled after Infant Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about defective cribs, which have been responsible for three infant deaths. According to an Associated Press news report, the federal safety agency is recalling 500,000 drop-side cribs, manufactured by Generation 2 Worldwide and ChildESIGNS. The plastic hardware on these cribs can break and allow the drop side to detach, creating a space where the child can become entrapped and suffocated. Also, the mattress supports in these cribs can break away from the crib frames creating a gap where children can suffocate.

CPSC has received three reports of children who died after getting trapped and being suffocated in these defective cribs. The victims were an 8-month-old boy from Ohio who died in June 2007; a 6-month-old boy from Indiana who suffocated in a crib and died in October 2003; and another 6-month-old boy from Virginia who died in September 2002 after two missing screws allowed the lower drop-side track of his crib to pull away from the headboard post. These cribs were sold at retailers nationwide including Buy Buy Baby, Kmart and Wal-Mart.

Several consumers and Seattle products liability attorneys are aware of the fact that more than 5 million cribs have been recalled over the last few years because of similar defects and hazards. Almost all of these recalled cribs were drop-side cribs. These cribs were recalled because when the drop-sides detached, an entrapment and suffocation hazard was created. Inferior parts and poor quality control have also contributed to these product defects.

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February 15, 2010

Spokane Ranks among Nation's "Drunkest" Cities

Men's Health and USA Today released a recent study, which lists Spokane 51st among the "Drunkest Cities" in the United States. According to a KREM news report, these rankings are based on 100 major cities in the country that have high numbers of DUI car accidents, high death rates from liver disease, DUI arrests and severe binge drinking. In fact, Spokane ranked higher than Seattle on this list. Seattle is ranked the 64th drunkest city in the United States.

According to Washington State Patrol officials, there were 100 DUI auto accidents in Spokane County in 2009. Last year there were three high-profile DUI crashes in Spokane, which may have drawn attention to the Lilac City. In December, there was a triple fatal crash on the Interstate 90 where the driver was drunk.

Driving drunk is illegal in all 50 states. In Washington State, as in most other states, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI car accident caused by another driver, please remember that you have a legal right to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and loss. Seattle car accident attorneys may be able to help an injured individual hold a driver who was under the influence financially responsible for causing the accident and resulting injuries.

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February 12, 2010

New Washington State Law Will Keep First Responders Safe on Highways

Troopers and tow truck drivers in Washington State are supporting a bill that creates "emergency zones" which they believe will protect them and other first responders who help stranded motorists on the state's highways. According to a news report in King 5 News, 23 Washington State Patrol vehicles were hit in 2009 on the side of the state's highways. Under the proposed law, drivers who are caught speeding within 200 feet of a vehicle that has flashing lights – police cars, tow trucks or ambulances – would receive citations for double the standard speeding amount.

The new law, if passed, would also require drivers to move out of the far right lane as long as it is safe. Also, drivers who operate their vehicles recklessly in those zones could face a $5,000 fine and lose their license for two months. It is not known yet when this law would go into effect. However, Washington State Patrol officials would be responsible for educating and informing drivers about the law before they start writing out these citations.

As a Seattle auto accident lawyer, I'm absolutely in support of this law. This law is necessary to keep these first responders, who are the first to get to the scene of an accident on the highway, safe and secure so they can do their jobs. Anyone who has had their vehicle break down on the highway knows that it can be a very scary place. A lot of times, motorists are negligent, driving recklessly or simply not paying attention to their surroundings.

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February 11, 2010

Downed Stop Sign Causes Street Intersection Car Crash

A 78-year-old man suffered injuries in a Washington auto accident after he failed to yield to another vehicle at a Cle Elum intersection on State Route 903. However, according to a news report in the Yakima Herald-Republic, this accident occurred because the stop sign at that intersection had been knocked into a snow bank. Thus, the injured driver had no idea he had to stop at that intersection and yield right-of-way to passing vehicles. The man was making a left turn as another man in a Chevy pickup truck was passing the intersection. Police say neither driver will face charges. The 78-year-old man suffered shoulder and ear injuries.

If a vehicular accident is caused by a dangerous condition on the roadway, the injured victims could file a claim against the city or governmental entity responsible for the maintenance of that roadway. In this particular case, it is important to look into when the stop sign fell and for how long it was not fixed. If a reasonable amount of time passed without the stop sign being fixed, then the responsible governmental agency could be held liable for the injuries caused to the 78-year-old man. When it comes to governmental entities or agencies, there are time limits within which you need to file your personal injury claim. So, it would be in your best interest to contact a qualified and experienced Washington car accident attorney as soon as possible.

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February 10, 2010

Bicyclist Injured in Bainbridge Island Accident

A 35-year-old man was recently hospitalized with injuries he sustained in a Washington bicycle accident. According to a news report, the bicyclist was headed east on a road in Bainbridge Island when a driver pulled out in front of the bike and caused the collision. The bicyclist was transported to a Seattle hospital with serious injuries. However, officials said that his injuries were not life-threatening. The bicyclist was wearing proper reflective gear and had lights on his bicycle; however, the car's driver apparently told officials that he was not able to see the bicyclist. The Kitsap County prosecutor's office is reviewing the case to determine whether any charges should be filed.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 698 bicyclists died in 2007 nationwide and about 43,000 were injured. Bicycle accidents often occur because motorists are not actively looking for smaller vehicles such as bicycles or motorcyclists when they attempt a turn on the roadway or come out of a parking lot. As a bicycle accident victim, if you have been injured by a negligent driver, you could seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost earnings, cost of hospitalization, physical therapy and other related damages.

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February 9, 2010

Toyota to Fix Defective Gas Pedals

So far, Toyota has recalled more than 7 million vehicles over faulty gas pedals and floor mats. The auto maker has also stopped production and sales of eight models, including its top-selling Camry and Corolla models. The first Toyota recall was issued last year after an auto accident in California killed a highway patrol officer and three members of his family. The officer was in a loaner Lexus and the defective floor mat in the car allegedly caused the accelerator pedal to become jammed. The car accelerated out of control at 120 mph, crashed, and caused four fatalities.

Toyota officials say they have come up with a fix for the gas pedals, which has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The problem with the gas pedals was that the pedal mechanism could become worn and harder to depress or it could get stuck in a partially depressed position, thus causing sudden or unintended acceleration.

Toyota engineers have been working to insert a spacer in the pedal mechanism in order to increase the tension in a spring and reduce the risk of the gas pedal sticking or staying down. The auto maker has also come under quite a bit of criticism for failing to act quickly on unexpected acceleration issues related to the faulty floor mats. Federal officials say Toyota has known about the problem with the mats since 2007 and has still done nothing to fix it.

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February 8, 2010

Be Safe with Scaffolds - Kirk Bernard's 7 Construction Safety Tips

Falls from scaffolds are one of the main causes of Washington construction accidents. When a worker is on a scaffold, a number of things could go wrong. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2 million construction workers work on scaffolds each year. In addition, OSHA estimates that protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year.

As a skilled Seattle personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard knows that some of the most common hazards include falls from elevation due to lack of fall protection; scaffold collapse; being struck by falling tools or object; and electrocution because of the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines. If you work on scaffolds, here are the top 7 safety tips:

  1. Make sure that a competent person has inspected the scaffold before you work on it.

  2. Wear protective gear, including a hard hat whether you are working on or under a scaffold.

  3. Use a personal fall arrest system such as a harness.

  4. Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles.

  5. Always use common sense and move slowly and carefully. If you are not sure if a scaffold is safe, talk to a supervisor.

  6. Never overload a scaffold or hit a scaffold with anything heavy such as truck or forklift.

  7. Use an outdoor scaffold in stormy or windy weather or if it is covered with ice or snow.

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February 5, 2010

Kirk Bernard Explains How to Choose a Safe Car Seat for your Child

You could be left agonizing for days about the right car seat for your little one. After all, it is the car seat, which you count on to protect one of your most precious family members. So, how do you select a secure car seat that will not break the bank and keep your child safe and comfortable? Here are the top five questions you can ask yourself to help pick that perfect car seat:

  1. Is it easy to install? - If it looks too complicated, it's not the car seat for you. You need a car seat that is easy to install CORRECTLY. If you do not install the seat properly, your baby may not be secure. You also need to look for a base that you can permanently install in the car. After that, all you'll need to do is settle the seat securely into the base and buckle up your child. Life is busy enough with a little one around. Keep it simple.

  2. Are there adequate restraints? - Remember that you need to look for an infant seat with a five-point safety harness. The straps – one for each shoulder, one for each thigh and one between your baby's legs – are more adjustable and therefore safer for an infant. Car seats with plastic shields or T-bar restraints should be avoided.

  3. Are the belts easily adjustable? - Do not buy seats that require you to adjust the buckle from the back of the seats. Buy one that will allow you to easily adjust the belt from the front.

  4. Does it have a LATCH system? - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires that all child safety seats be compatible with a LATCH system, which is short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. This system enables you to attach the seat directly to the vehicle instead of using the seatbelt to secure it.

  5. How easily can it be kept clean? : Although this is not a safety issue, you want to make sure that car seats come with pad covers you can remove and wash easily. Let's face it, babies are messy. And finally, you want to buy a well-padded seat with good head support so baby has a comfortable ride. That way, so will you!

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February 4, 2010

Cadmium Contamination: Children's Necklaces Sold at Wal-Mart Recalled

About 55,000 children's necklaces sold at Wal-Mart stores are being recalled because they contain high levels of cadmium, according to a news report in consumeraffairs.com. Cadmium is a toxic metal listed high on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) list of substances most harmful to the environment. Cadmium is toxic when ingested by young children and can cause several adverse health effects including brain, kidney, lung and bone damage.

These defective products, which were manufactured in China, were sold exclusively in Wal-Mart retail stores across the country from November 2009 through January 2010 for about $5. The recalled jewelry is in the shape of a metal crown or frog pendant on a metal link chain necklace in a crown hinged box. If you have one of these necklaces at home, please take it away from your child and return the product to Wal-Mart to obtain a full refund.

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February 3, 2010

Surgeon Operates on Wrong Body Part

A surgeon in Orange County, California, operated on the wrong part of a child's body this week, according to a news report. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, this is the Children's Hospital of Orange County's third such surgical error in the last four years. The child was set to undergo a procedure to loosen a small fold of tissue behind the upper lip. What the surgeon did was to loosen the tissue underneath the child's tongue.

According to The Joint Commission, which monitors hospital safety and quality across the country, nearly 120 wrong-site surgeries took place nationwide just in 2008. The error at this particular hospital occurred in spite of safety procedures that were put in place after two prior wrong-site surgeries. In January 2006, a child had to undergo additional surgery after the surgeon cut into the wrong side of the child's skull. In June 2007, the surgeon inserted tubes into both of the child's ears instead of only the right ear. Wrong-site surgery is in fact the most common surgical error that occurs and most often, it is because of a breakdown in communication among the surgical team or between the surgeon and the patient or his or her family members.

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February 2, 2010

OSHA Program Raises Awareness For Underreporting of Workplace Accidents and Injuries

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun a one-year national emphasis program on record keeping to assess the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers. OSHA's move comes after recent studies show that employers have been underreporting injuries relating to construction accidents, industrial accidents and other workplace incidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 mandates the U.S. Department of Labor to collect and compile numbers about the extent of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths in the country. OSHA regulations also require employers to maintain accurate records with regard to such information.

This is an important step taken by OSHA because record keeping helps identify what factors cause these injuries and fatalities. This data and information helps address those issues and make sure that steps are taken to prevent such incidents. There were disturbing reports recently that employers intimidate, harass or retaliate against workers who reported injuries or illnesses or complained against safety hazards. This is unacceptable. If employers are not following safety standards, they should be reported. Cover-ups of any kind should not be tolerated. Workers who are injured should not quietly accept whatever settlement their employer gives them. If you were injured in a Washington construction accident or were injured on-the-job, please understand that you have rights.

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February 1, 2010

Washington DUI Car Accident Injures Two

Two people in Yakima, Washington, were hospitalized with injuries after a DUI car accident in which officials say the suspect was also speeding.

According to a news report in the Yakima Herald-Republic, a 44-year-old man driving a Ford Aerostar was speeding south on Martin Luther King Boulevard when he tried to pass a Dodge Caravan. The Ford van then crashed head-on into a Ford Mustang driven by a 23-year-old woman. The woman was seriously injured and sustained multiple leg and ankle fractures. The suspect was also injured and was taken to a Seattle hospital, but was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Officials are also considering vehicular assault charges.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime in Washington State. According to the Revised Code of Washington Section 46.61.502, driving under the influence is when "a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within the state." It is also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

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