How Fast did Your Airbags Deploy in a Recent Auto Accident?

How fast did your airbags deploy in a recent auto accident?

It was not that long ago that car manufacturers were trying to prevent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from requiring all passenger vehicles be equipped with automated safety technologies, such as airbags, to save lives.   That argument is over and now each manufacturer is trying to make those airbags safer and faster, to further reduce injuries during an accident.

John Wickersham was a pharmacist at a hospital.   He was driving back from working a night shift at the hospital. While attempting a left turn, the Ford Escape that he was driving went through an intersection, hit the curb, then struck a tree on the passenger side.  In the accident, Mr. Wickersham broke a rib, his upper jaw, and his left cheek bones. He also fractured his skull and ruptured his left eye.  The Ford Escort’s airbag deployed, but it was too late for Mr. Wickersham, who had permanent injuries, causing him to suffer from extreme pain on a continuous basis.

There were many surgeries performed to try to help Mr. Wickersham heal and recover, but he had to stay on many pain medications to deal with the extreme pain.  He was unable to work, which affected his finances and resulted in further emotional trauma.  Also, Mr. Wickersham had history of a mental illness. He became suicidal and, a month before he committed suicide at age 55, a psychiatrist recommended that he be hospitalized to protect him from his suicidal thoughts.  His wife sued Ford Motor Company for negligence, strick liability and breach of warranty.  She claimed that the airbag deployed too late, and was, thus, defective, as there were better airbag designs that would have deployed faster.  She also claimed that his death was the result of the accident.

In its defense, Ford Motor Co. argued that the alternative designs proposed by the plaintiff do not count as legitimate designs, as they were “purely conceptual.”  Ford also argued that Mr. Wickersham’s wife cannot sue for wrongful death, as he had commited suicide.  Finally, Ford argued that Mrs. Wickersham cannot recover puntiive damages, because there was no evidence that Ford acted recklessly, willfully or wantonly towards the victim’s rights.  In denying Ford’s motion for summary judgment, the court reviewed all of the evidnece and allowed the trial to proceed against Ford.

A jury was empannelled and heard all the evidence presented by both sides.  The trial lasted 10 days.  This was in an area of the country that is considered to be a very conservative.  Despite his suicide, the jury decided that Ford Motor Co. was responsible for the wrongful death of Mr. Wickersham.  The jury awarded $4.65 million to Mr. Wickersham’s widow.  The jury did not find the evidence sufficient to award punitive damages against Ford.  Ford has appealed.

 

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Accidents Happen! These Steps can Help!

Over six million car accidents occur every year in the United States alone! That is an enormous digit by most standards. This article will offer driver’s some important steps which you can implement to protect yourself, your passengers, and of course your loved ones-especially our children just learning to drive. We can and should teach them about how to be safe if this should happen to them out on the roads-in the likely event this should happen to any of us.

As a Personal Injury Attorney, and Consumer Lawyer, our firm serves all of Southern California. Los Angeles County, Irvine, Anaheim, Long Beach, and places like Glendale,  are densely populated, meaning the car and motorcycle accidents in more densely populated. Accidents happen frequently here to good people! We sadly know this.

In the event, you are confronted with an injury due to an accident, we offer a complimentary case review. Even if all we provide is some legal info, we are more than happy to help you understand your rights. For any accident or injury related questions, please get in touch with us 24/7/

  • Call us to schedule a FREE Consultation 323-486-0102
  • Email:  lapersonalinjurylaws@gmail.com

 

Accidents happen more often than we may realize. 6 million a year in the US alone! That is a massive number by any standard. A large potion of these accidents involve property damage only to the vehicle rather than it’s occupants. That’s the good news!  But  many do cause serious injuries!

Here are some of the yearly statistics broken down. One out of evert three 1 out accidents yearly, involve injury to the driver or passengers.  Sadly, two out of every ten accidents a year in the USA, has lead to fatal injuries. There are steps we can implement that can protect us and our loved ones, which are described  below.

An important step for all drivers is to never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.  Doing so can result in having your driver’s license revoked or you could be prosecuted for criminal charges. Even if the other party is at fault, be safe and exchange your driver’s license, registration card (evidence of financial responsibility) and your current address, with the others involved in the accident. If you can’t show proof of insurance from your current policy number, you face a potential citation and fine.  Our suggestion is,  have a backup of  all needed documents on your cell phone. It will come in handy! Simply, snap a photo of your drivers license, insurance info etc. and any other important info so it is always handy. Better safe than sorry.

A very important step for an accident victim to take is to exchange information with anyone around you who saw the accident. Witnesses who saw the accident, are ideal.   Don’t be shy to ask someone who witnessed the accident for their phone number. Exchange a text with them. This can prove vital on many different levels if you should make a claim, or someone make a claim against you. An impartial witness holds many cards.

Another important step to take, is when or if the police respond to the accident, make sure to ask them to provide you with a police report number before they leave. You can use that number later to obtain the report. If the accident occurs on a freeway or highway, you must request the report from the CHP.

Another important step, if you’re able is to set up flares. Flares can prevent another accident from happening, as they alert oncoming traffic. If you can not set up a flare,  keep your blinkers on. 

You should also have a flashlight in your car at all times. This can help keep you safe while waiting in your disabled car or by the side of the road. By the way, it is a great idea to have an emergency accident kit in the trunk of your car. Many insurance companies sell them. You can also purchase them an any auto store or online retail providers or get it free from AAA.

If there are serious injuries, call 911!  In this scenario, the vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they interfere with traffic. Be careful of oncoming traffic while doing so. And if you cannot perform these tasks, be safe and wait for help. When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened!  If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate information. If you are asked if you are injured say you are not sure rather than “no” if you are not certain.  More often then not, the pain and injuries from a car, truck or motorcycle accident become intense well after the actual collision. After an accident, your body is filled with adrenaline. This as well other conditions mask the pain you may feel later.

Next, you must notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. You pay extra for that type of coverage – known as “medpay”, so you should use it. In fact, if you have medpay coverage, you are required to submit your accident-related medical bills to your insurance company. Medpay coverage is primary for accident-related medical bills. Once medpay benefits are exhausted, private health insurance becomes your primary insurer. Medpay benefits are available to all the occupants of the vehicle.

Your insurance rates should not increase as a result of submitting claims for medpay coverage.  After an accident, you should see a Dr. Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent.  Clients report feeling the most pain a few days following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing your family physician. Even in accidents involving minor impact, you can sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. If you lost consciousness or were dazed for even a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury. This can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if left untreated.

There is no way to really tell if you have damage to your spinal cord unless you have an MRI. This is a great way along with an X-ray of your back and neck to really see what could have happened in the accident.  Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident. If you have been injured, it is also a GREAT idea to have a journal of your treatments and how you feel physically. Be specific and jot down all changes you feel in your body or even your personality or any sickness.

Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult a personal injury attorney, who can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. They do not care if you have a concussion or other ill affects. They simply want their bonus. They get those when accident victims don’t have a lawyer.

It is always best to have a lawyer as an advocate after a car accident.  Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated not only for your car, but lost wages, future medical, and pain and suffering! Also, a lawyer can make sure you are getting the most appropriate medical treatment available! This is very important. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries. Basically, you don’t pay your personal injury lawyer from your own pocket. That is standard. So find a good one, then focus on healing and getting back on your feet!

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