In The News
Dangers Of Neglected Appliances: Water Heaters
Learn about the dangers associated with neglected water heaters.
Even though RingsmuthWuori throughout the years have handled cases throughout Michigan, we have also handled cases in many states, from Colorado, to North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, and most recently Phoenix, Arizona. A vibrant and healthy woman was going to work in Phoenix. While turning on a green light, another car driving about 50 mph ran a red light and crashed into her:
The client lost consciousness and the forces of the crash caused the seat belt to impact her body such that she had internal injuries. She didn’t know what had happened and the driver who hit her said that she had the green light and that the car she hit was turning on a red light.
We were contacted in Michigan to see if we could help even though we were located in Michigan. We encouraged her to make sure she saw and followed up with her doctors to make sure all of her injuries were addressed and so that she could get the appropriate care and treatment to try to heal, recover, and get back to what she loved doing (she did Zumba daily, was in incredible shape, worked as a nursing assistant full-toile, and was married to a very supportive husband). We agreed to help investigate and pursue any legal claims that we determined she had.
As a result of our investigation and contacting witnesses and reports, we were able to show that other independent witnesses saw what really happened and who ran the red light and violated one of the main safety rules that protect all of us on the roads–no matter where we drive throughout this country. You have to pay attention at all times and don’t get distracted by cell phones, texts, eating, and so on. Millions of crashes occur every year in the U.S. because of distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation reminds us all why community safety rules have to be enforced and protected by us all—police, judges, and juries—when looking at a text in a car while driving your car may have travelled the length of a football field. That is only at about 55mph. Many highways have speed limits at 70 mph and normal traffic drives at speeds above 70 mph–you would cover more than a football field in those 4-5 seconds, including time to perceive and react.
She did not suffer any broken bones and her internal injuries needed some initial surgical intervention but overall she was very fortunate for what could have been a deadly result or catastrophic injuries.
Over the course of about a year, our client and her husband worked hard to go through the necessary medical treatments and therapies to get back as much as she could. Her treating doctor believed that she was at about 90 to 95% of her recovery because she worked so hard at it but that she would still have some ongoing difficulties. She is back to Zumba and can now look for new employment.
Our representation in Arizona resulted in a $640,000.00 settlement. Our client wanted to express her thanks to our entire team, and we wanted to celebrate all of their hard work to get back as much as they could from this preventable crash, so they were in Michigan over the holidays and stopped by to see us all:
“Another satisfied customer with your amazing and talented team. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.”
Our client also wanted us to emphasize again–don’t be a safety rule violator. Drive safe at all times. Protect everyone in your community and prevent crashes from happening in the future. She experienced first hand how your life can be upended in a flash–and she was fortunate to have been able to recovery very well over the course of a year compared to many, many others.
Traffic Safety For Community Upheld In Trailer Runaway Case
The Publication, verdictsearch.com, recently published a significant traffic safety case. Tom Wuori of RINGSMUTHWUORI PLLC was contacted to represent a family from Northern Michigan involving a crash and injuries from a trailer runaway case in the Upper Peninsula. Statistically, thousands and thousands of runaway trailers cause significant injury and death on our public highways. In this case, the responding police reported the crash as being just an “accident.” The driver of the truck with the attached work trailer said that it just happened and maybe it was a defective hitch. However, following significant investigation into responding 911 callers and identifying other witnesses with knowledge of how the load on the trailer was loaded, a different story emerged. We presented a significant and what we believed was truthful evidence from independent witnesses who established that the known and accepted community safety rules that protect us all were violated. Among those known safety rules are (1) all drivers must use safe and properly equipped trailers; (2) all drivers must use safety chains (and that are well-maintained and not old, rusted, and bent); (3) all drivers must have and use safety equipment such as lights and brakes; (4) all loads must be loaded safely and secured so that the trailer does not sway and swing; and (5) all drivers must drive slow enough to keep the trailer safe and if not stop and pull over. What we presented was strong evidence that (1) the trailer that ultimately became unsecured and went travelling down US 2 until it crashed into our client’s truck was old, improperly equipped, and unsafe; (2) the lights weren’t hooked up, the safety chains were not hooked up or were so old and bent as to become useless, (3) contrary to what the driver said, the load was not secured with safety straps and was loaded so that the trailer was prone to swing and sway, and (4) the trailer, according to the witnesses who called 911, was in fact swinging and swaying significantly and they saw it well down the road and commented that “that guy is going to lose that trailer.” The trailer missed them when it did unhitch down the road but struck our client, who was significantly injured.
There are many resources for trailer hauling on the internet and from public agencies, including police, auto clubs, and trailer or hitch manufacturers. This case did not involve a defective hitch but when the trailer driver blamed them, they had to hire an attorney to respond to those claims and they joined with us in showing what really happened. Community safety is important and only when jurors choose to enforce safety rules in these types of cases can we help obtain safety in the future. Otherwise, if jurors give passes to rule violators, what happened in the past will continue to happen in the future. The citizen juror can be the highest office in the land, and one of the most important, when these types of safety cases have to be filed and heard by a jury.
Celebrate And Participate In National Fire Prevention Week (October 6-12, 2019)
A National Fire Protection Group will be spearheading and participating, along with many other organizations and fire departments, in National Fire Prevention Week. Click Here To Learn More
Each year, there are too many injuries and deaths from fire. Many of these fires and injuries are preventable. There can be many sources of these fires, including mechanical or structural issues, to electrical wiring defects, to the improper use and storage of flammable liquids, to human carelessness (with matches, cigarettes, fuel sources, heaters, fireplaces, and so on). There are many excellent resources available from your local fire department to on-line fire prevention checklists that will guide you through the safety assessments you should make each year to make sure you and your family and friends are safe from fire. The fall is an excellent time to not just turn your clocks back to daylight savings but to install and check your batteries in your smoke detectors and other detectors. There are many new and inexpensive products that detect (with much longer life) not only smoke but also leaking gas and also carbon monoxide dangers. Work to educate the entire family, including children, about the many dangers that can be created with the careless use and storage of flammables, with fireplaces, and not following safety instructions and not performing needed home maintenance.
Many of the matters Ringsmuth Wuori have handled over the years involve significant burn injuries and deaths—all of which were preventable. Safety rules exist to protect us all—if they are violated, the consequences for all are significant.
Below are just a few of the areas in which fires have caused major injuries and the preventable cause of those fires:
Result of propane leak and explosion.
Close-up view of house explosion and fire depicted in the photograph to the left.
Unsupported gas lines, gas lines without shut-off valves and uncapped gas lines were the cause of the explosion and fire depicted in these photographs. The occupant of the home was blown out through the front window and landed in the yard. She received third-degree burns on much of her body.
The above photographs show a massive propane explosion because of an unsafe propane system, causing deaths. Company managers violated safety rules regarding maintenance, inspection, and how to turn on and off the propane system. Consequently, there was a propane leak and soon thereafter, unbeknownst to the family, the leaking propane in the basement became ignited most likely by the furnace flame and erupted. Propane, like regularly gasoline, is heavier than air and will stay low to the ground and its vapors will migrate and ignite from many types of ignition sources in a home. Moreover, most people do not know that you can have a gas leak outside your home and the ground/gravel can leach out the added odorant (the rotten egg smell) and the odorless gas still be drawn into a house through piping/crash and become ignited. Hence, the need for reliable gas detectors as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Below are some photographs of an explosion in a different state, in which there were multiple violations by a gas company and a landlord with respect to an entire propane system. The tenant was just moving in and the entire house blew up—again because critical but known safety rules were violated. Propane should never have been introduced into the system. There was an uncapped gas line in the house unbeknownst to the tenant and gas escaped through this gas line, causing a significant explosion. Based upon our experience, it was clear just looking at the propane tank and connection that it was an unsafe system.
Further inspection into the debris field showed multiple more violations.
The majority of fires are caused by safety rule violations and are preventable. The elderly are at significant risk for fire and the National Fire Protection Association has many helpful tips: Click Here To Watch The Video
There are many resources to use and review with everyone in the family, young to old, to protect everyone from preventable fires.
Un/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you are injured in a car crash, how do you get fair compensation from a negligent driver if they have no insurance? The sad answer is generally you do not. What if the negligent driver only has $20,000 of coverage and you or a family member has life changing injuries? $20,000 would be just a “drop in the bucket,” and certainly not enough to fairly compensate your family. In Michigan you only have to have a minimum of $20,000 of liability coverage. Most other states require more. Unfortunately we see this situation more and more. People let their car insurance expire, or even cancel it, but continue driving. While this is actually a crime, it happens all the time. The good news is that most car insurance companies offer “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage. This allows you to buy insurance in case someone with no or very little liability insurance hurts you in a car crash. You are actually able to protect you and your family, at least financially, from irresponsible drivers with no or little insurance.
Ringsmuth Wuori PLLC highly recommends that everyone purchase this insurance. You can choose from different dollar amounts of coverage, but we suggest at least $500,000 of coverage. This amount of coverage is not expensive, and should cost less than $30. All of us know the tragedy that happens when the safety rules are violated. These tragedies become worse when the unsafe driver has no (or little) insurance to compensate the victim’s family for their loss. While you cannot make other drivers follow the safety rules, you can protect your family from the financial losses they cause. Please look at your car insurance coverage and be sure you have enough “un/under” insurance coverage. If not, call your insurance agent or get online if that is the way you buy your insurance. While you may never need it, the cost is well worth it if you do.
Thomas Wuori Included In 2015 The Best Lawyers In America Listing
The Best Lawyers in America released its 2015 publication listing its identification of top lawyers in America. Thomas J. Wuori was previously selected in prior editions of this publication.
Vaccines And National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The Centers for Disease Control have continued to report on epidemic levels of flu throughout the country.
There also has been recent news articles about the pros and cons of vaccines and their effectiveness and risks.
About 80 percent of disease is transmitted through touch and routine, but proper hand-washing can be one of the simplest practices to follow. http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/cold-prevention-hand-washing
In the event that someone does become ill and have a complication from a vaccine, there is a legal remedy that Congress created years ago called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. It is a Fund that was established under the federal legislation and is funded by a small percentage/tax that allows for those injured by a vaccine to seek compensation for any such injury or death. It is a federal law claim where you can hire an attorney and seek to present your claims that you or a loved one was injured by the vaccine. The case/claim has to be filed in federal court and in the Federal Court of Claims, where your attorney will have to be admitted to practice. The cases are heard before a Special Master and evidence can be presented, along with attorney arguments, to establish the causation link between the vaccine and the injury. There are essentially three different types of claims that can be presented and require medical proofs (and which can include aggravation of a pre-existing condition by the vaccine). The court is based in Washington D.C., but it allows for video-conferencing (testimony and argument).
This legal remedy is not well-known but it’s existence will be beneficial for those small percentages of the population who do suffer health problems from a vaccine. There is a wide variety of research and discussion about vaccines (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/vaccine-decision/side-effects.html) but many people are unaware of a legal remedy because of a complication, which the government established as part of a comprehensive law to provide an adequate supply of vaccines, control costs, and provide a legal framework by which those injured by vaccines can seek assistance upon appropriate proof of causation.
Carbon Monoxide Dangers
As the winter season begins, inevitably the risk of carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning increases. Furnaces are turned on, heaters are used, and snowfall can pile up and cause airflow blockages that can lead to carbon monoxide dangers. Inside homes and businesses, carbon monoxide may occur because of a back-drafting heating appliance, stoves, heaters, a faulty chimney, a faulty or unmaintained furnace, or blocked air flow/vents, among many others. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless gas and can be deadly. It forms during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels containing carbon. Exposure to carbon monoxide can inhibit the transport of oxygen to the blood and cause serious health problems and lead to death. Thus, the use of the carbon monoxide detectors is critical. The maintenance and checking of these detectors is equally important.
Recently, the firm has resolved several cases involving carbon monoxide exposure at hotels in the swimming pool areas, causing damage to multiple people.
Upon investigation in all of the cases were dangers and defects from, among other problems, a rusted vent pipe that caused carbon monoxide not to be vented outside properly and a blocked air intake and unmaintained heaters. Even in residential homes, fireplaces and attic fans can create back drafts and prevent the proper air exchange/venting of carbon monoxide into the home.
Below are links to some government links addressing carbon monoxide dangers and safe practices to address carbon monoxide protection:
Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide Safety Facts and Tips – How to prevent poisoning from a gas with no odor.
Safety Tips | Safe Kids Worldwide
Top 10 Tips on Carbon Monoxide Safety | Quantum Group Inc.