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Lexington Injury Law Blog

What to know about spiked wheel ornaments

Kentucky residents and others around the country may have noticed that large trucks may use ornamental spikes as lug nut covers. In many cases, these spikes are made from plastic, but they may also be made from metal or aluminum. If a spike comes too far from a wheel, it may increase the risk of an accident. Data indicates that half of bicyclists who are killed in accidents involving large trucks first collide with the side of the big rig.

About a quarter of pedestrians who are killed in an accident with a large truck do the same. As these spikes may intimidate other drivers, some trucking companies have discontinued their use. The state of Hawaii has passed laws regulating the use of such lug nut covers as well. According to the legislation, these spikes and other wheel coverings may not exceed 4 inches.

Volkswagen recalls over 200,000 cars for faulty fuel pumps

Kentucky owners of certain Volkswagen CC and Passat sedans can expect recall notices. Citing a fuel pump problem that can stall the vehicles, Volkswagen Group has chosen to issue a recall of CC sedans with 2009 to 2016 model years and Passat sedans with 2006 to 2010 model years. The manufacturer reports that the defective part has not caused any injuries in the United States, but the issue could halt fuel flow to engines and present a danger to drivers and passengers.

Disclosures from the company to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explain that the computers operating the fuel pumps could lose power and stop engines. The computer glitch could also cause the fuel pumps to keep moving fuel even when the car is turned off. The vehicles equipped with the fuel pumps all have four-cylinder engines. The automaker oversaw a similar recall last year in China after Chinese authorities investigated the fuel pump issue.

Nursing home abuse often goes unreported to police

Kentucky families who rely on a nursing home facility to provide the daily care of a loved one may be interested to learn that about 25 percent of possible cases of abuse went unreported to police during 2015 and 2016. This is despite the fact that there is a federal law that requires all nursing homes to contact authorities immediately if physical or sexual abuse against a patient is thought to have occurred.

Health and Human Services inspectors analyzed a large number of nursing home abuse cases from 33 states. It was found that 134 cases had records from the emergency room that indicated that physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect had occurred. In 38 of those cases, the investigators found no evidence that the nursing home reported the incident to local law enforcement authorities.

Mazda recalls over 79,000 vehicles over defective air bags

Kentucky motorists might have heard that Mazda is recalling 79,402 vehicles due to faulty Takata air bag inflators. The recall is part of a worldwide recall effort that involves 19 automakers and 100 million vehicles, including 2.7 million added by Takata in July.

The Takata air bag inflators contain a propellant that can decay over time, which could potentially cause the air bag to rupture and shoot shrapnel into the vehicle's passenger compartment. Vehicles that have had prolonged exposure to high temperatures and high humidity are more likely to experience the problem. Mazda is recalling certain CX-7, CX-9 and Mazda 6 vehicles from model years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012. The recall supersedes one made by the automaker in January that offered a temporary fix for air bags that were most at risk of failure. This time, dealers will permanently replace the faulty air bag inflator.

Nearly 7,000 vehicles recalled for software problem

Kentucky residents who own vehicles made by General Motors may be interested to learn that the manufacturer has announced a recall that effects more than 690,000 vehicles. The recall effects both GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the vehicles could have a software problem that could potentially cause them to suddenly lose their electric power steering assistance. Although this power loss only affects the power steering for about one minute, drivers could lose temporary control of their steering. In some cases, this could result in a crash. The NHTSA said that drivers were most vulnerable to the software glitch when making low-speed turns.

Nursing homes may return to arbitration agreements

Those considering Kentucky nursing homes for the care of their loved ones may want to know about proposed rule change that could shield facilities from lawsuits. A prior rule allowed facilities that receive federal funding to use mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts; however, they could not demand consent to arbitration as a condition of admittance. The new rule proposed in July would allow the inclusion of pre-dispute arbitration clauses as a condition of serving patients and their families.

Taking away the right of consumers to petition the courts could prove to be problematic. Pre-dispute arbitration clauses are commonly used in financial contracts, but the damages caused by nursing home abuse extend far beyond monetary value. Victims may suffer from neglect, which could include malnutrition, failure to monitor patient well-being, pressure sores and serious injuries leading to amputation or death. Since arbitration imposes confidentiality and other limitations, a victim and family may receive monetary compensation without exposing the nursing home to the community.

Automakers taking their time with massive airbag recall

Kentucky car owners whose vehicles are among the millions scheduled to be serviced for defective airbag inflators may have to wait longer than expected. According to a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Dec. 31 deadline to comply with the terms of the recall order on Takata airbags will not be met, which means that millions of drivers will continue to be at risk of serious injury and even death.

The Takata defective inflator recall has been one of the most prominent cases of negligent manufacturer action in history. According to a report by the Associated Press, 12 U.S.deaths have been attributed to Takata inflators that have either failed or expelled shrapnel during collisions. In the July 2017 death of a 34-year old driver in Florida, investigators are seeking to determine whether the airbag in that case exploded upon deployment.

Honda recalls 1.15 million Accords over fire risk

Kentucky Honda owners should be aware that the automaker is recalling 1.15 million Accord models in the U.S. to fix a battery defect that could cause engine fires. The recall covers 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years.

According to Honda, the affected models have a 12-volt battery sensor that can short circuit or become eroded because it is inadequately shielded from moisture and other elements. Four engine fires have been linked to the problem. The automaker stated that it will send out notifications telling owners when they can take their vehicles to a local dealer for an inspection and free repair.

CVSA conducts unannounced brake inspections

Kentucky motorists may enjoy more safety on the road after unannounced inspections took nearly 2,000 commercial trucks off the road. The effort was part of an annual drive by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. An announced event is scheduled to take place on Sept. 7, 2017. The purpose of these inspections is to reduce the risk of truck accidents caused by failure to comply with brake standards.

The one-day event featured 9,524 inspections in 33 states and 10 provinces in Canada. There were 1,146 trucks sidelined for brake issues. Another 843 commercial vehicles were placed out ofservice for unstated violations.

Airbag failure and injury risks

An airbag is a critical component of a car's safety system, and there is no question that it saves lives. Unfortunately, there is also the risk of an airbag failing to operate correctly and causing serious injuries or death during an accident. Kentucky residents are advised to ensure their vehicle's airbags are in proper working order and respond quickly to any recalls or maintenance requests.

Drivers became more concerned about airbag safety after major airbag manufacturer Takata recalled 65 to 70 million airbags across 19 different car manufactures. Very high numbers of Honda, Toyota and Subaru vehicles were impacted as well as smaller numbers of vehicles from other manufacturers for model years between 2002 and 2015. The recall was due to a failure of the airbag's inflator that may cause metal shards to pass through the airbag when it deploys.

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