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Lexington Injury Law Blog

Parents awarded $42 million in birth injury case

Many Kentucky parents depend on doctors to safely deliver babies. However, medical professionals sometimes make mistakes during a child's delivery that can result in serious birth injuries.

For example, the federal government recently agreed to pay $42 million to a Pennsylvania couple whose son suffered brain injuries from the use of forceps during his birth. According to court documents, the boy was delivered at federally-supported Keystone Women's Health Center in February 2012. During the delivery, an obstetrician used forceps to pull on the boy's head, allegedly causing skull fractures and bleeding in his brain. As a result, the boy, now age 5, is unable to speak, read or write. He will also likely be confined to a motorized wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Drugs used to restrain nursing home residents

According to a report issued by Human Rights Watch, nursing home residents in Kentucky and the rest of the country who have dementia are given antipsychotic drugs on a regular basis so that they are more easily managed. This is in direct contradiction to nursing home regulations that prohibits the use of drugs as chemical restraints. It is also despite the fact that antipsychotic drug use is linked to a higher risk of death in dementia sufferers.

Information for the report was obtained from visits researchers made to over 100 nursing homes. The report estimates that over 179,000 older individuals in nursing homes in the United States are administered antipsychotic drugs every week without being properly diagnosed. In many instances, the drugs are administered without the informed consent of the nursing home residents or their families.

Automotive recalls hit record high in 2016

While the number of automotive recalls in 2017 has not yet been officially determined, it will likely not approach the figure posted in 2016. In fact, Automotive News has stated that 2016 was an all-time record, with 53.1 million vehicles being recalled in the U.S. In comparison, there were 50.8 million vehicles recalled in 2015, marking a 4.5 percent increase. Kentucky motorists should be aware of why 2016 saw such a spike.

One major factor was the Takata airbag recall. Takata Corporation recalled over 20 million airbags, and continues to recall them, because of defective inflators. The airbags were discovered to explode upon impact, injuring or killing the vehicle's occupants with metal shards. That year, General Motors Company was also recalling vehicles with faulty ignition switches. These switches would turn off the engine and disable the airbag, power steering, and other features.

Ford updates recall after confirming faulty airbag death

Kentucky Ford pickup owners may be interested to learn that, on Jan. 11, Ford Motor Co released a statement that confirmed that a second death was caused by a defective Takata airbag. The fatal accident occurred in July 2017 in West Virginia. The previous fatal accident occurred in December 2015.

Ford confirmed that the two vehicles involved in the accidents were 2006 Ford Rangers. Both airbags had actually been built on the same day. The death prompted Ford to issue an updated recall for vehicles that were recalled back in 2016. The affected vehicles included more than 391,000 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger vehicles. The updated recall also identified 2,700 vehicle owners in the U.S. who were at the highest risk.

Senators introduce bill requiring truck side guards

On Dec. 12, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would require all tractor-trailer trucks to have side and front crash guards. Safety experts say that the proposed legislation would make roads safer in Kentucky and across the country.

Federal statistics show that over 200 Americans are killed in side underride collisions with trucks each year. In this type of accident, a passenger vehicle slides beneath the side of a truck's trailer. When this occurs, the top of the passenger vehicle can be ripped off, killing the people inside. The National Transportation Safety Board says that side guards would prevent many underride accidents, but the trucking industry has resisted calls to install the safety devices.

Coal mining deaths up in the U.S.

While advancing technology and shrinking demand means fewer and fewer people are working in coal mines, a recent report shows that coal mine deaths nearly doubled last year.

With fewer regulators on the job, often the only incentive that mine operators have to protect their employees is the knowledge that somewhere out there, a trial lawyer will stand up for a miner's rights, when management neglected the miner.

What are your rights as a nursing home resident in Kentucky?

Sadly, some nursing home owners are extracting millions of dollars in profits while dramatically cutting spending on the residents in their homes. Laws like the Kentucky Resident's Rights Act are intended to prevent abuse and neglect of residents, but those laws only have teeth as long as there are lawyers who are willing to demand accountability from these owners in court.

What can you do if you or a loved one is in a long-term care facility? First, know your rights. Second, be vigilant. If something seems out of the ordinary, it probably is. Talk to nursing home management, but if the residents' needs are not being met, you should talk to a competent attorney with experience holding nursing homes accountable.

Takata ordered to recall 3.3 million more air bags

Takata Corp., the auto parts supplier that set off a massive recall of air bag inflators, is recalling another 3.3 million air bags under a U.S. order. The order also calls for repairs to be scheduled over the next several years. This is important news for drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. as the supplier identified 15 automakers that purchased its air bags. They include Toyota, Honda, GM, BMW and Tesla.

The initial recall was announced when defective inflators were found to explode after crashes and spray vehicle occupants with metal shards. So far, there have been 13 deaths as well as hundreds of injuries related to the inflators. Takata filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and will be acquired by Joyson Electronics.

Tips for avoiding crashes with tractor-trailers

Every day in Kentucky, passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks share the roads. The sheer size and weight of large trucks present significant dangers to smaller vehicles. However, drivers can apply strategies that will improve safety.

Drivers need to recognize that tractor-trailers require very long stopping distances. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. These trucks require about 550 feet to come to a stop when traveling at 55 mph. By comparison, a small passenger car only needs 178 feet to stop when moving at 70 mph. For this reason, people should not position themselves immediately in front of trucks. Space is also needed when merging. Drivers should accelerate ahead of an approaching truck to merge.

Inspection finds Takata airbag caused 20th death

Some Kentucky drivers may have heard about or even received recall notices for faulty Takata airbags. On Dec. 19, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Honda announced that a faulty Takata airbag was responsible for the July 10 death of a driver in a 2004 Honda Civic. The airbag had actually been salvaged from a 2002 Civic.

Takata airbags have been known to injure or kill people when they burst open and spray shrapnel. This accident marks the 20th death worldwide that has been attributed to the product. According to Honda, the owners had not replaced the airbags despite several recall notices.

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