Increase in 18-Wheeler Accidents

With approximately more than 2 million 18-wheelers driving along U.S. highways, the number of crashes involving large trucks are on the rise. These “accidents” are usually found to be more than just accidents, usually with one party at fault due to a number of factors including fatigue, distraction, and prescription drug use.

18-wheelers have accounted for nearly 4,000 fatalities in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the fourth year in a row that large truck fatalities were on the rise.

The top ten most common factors causing these accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) include:

  • fatigue

  • brake problems

  • distractions

  • traffic flow interruptions

  • prescription drug use

  • drunk driving

  • traveling too fast for conditions

  • unfamiliarity with the road

  • over-the-counter drug use

  • inadequate surveillance

Although the driver can be the cause of accidents involving the above factors, he or she is often not the only party at fault. It is important to consider the involvement of the trucking company, the parts manufacturer, the truck manufacturer, the parts supplier, or any third party who may also be at fault.

One of the most important parts in handling any accident involving a large truck is completing a thorough investigation of the accident. Never rely on the findings of the trucking company’s investigation or their insurance company. It is critical that we arrive at the scene as soon as possible to survey the area, locate witnesses, and initiate the research of records.

If you’ve been in an accident involving an 18-wheeler truck, contact Caputo and Mariotti immediately to ensure you’re rights are being protected.


Accidents Involving Traumatic Brain Injuries

Not all injuries are easily seen.

A traumatic brain injury, is one of the most serious internal injuries than an individual can incur. Of the multitude of individuals who suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury each year, approximately 75% complete a path of recovery that allows them to return to their chosen career or level of schooling. Sad to say, the remaining 25% of individuals never reach that point of recovery, and are permanently affected.

If the loss of consciousness and confusion or disorientation is shorter than thirty minutes, a brain injury can be classified as mild. A victim can have cognitive problems such as difficulty thinking, headache, memory problems, attention deficits, frustration and mood swings even when an MRI or CAT scan looks normal. Because of this, these types of injuries are overlooked often. Other common symptoms include:

  • loss of smell

  • nausea

  • mood changes

  • sensitivity to light and sound

  • slowness of thinking

  • getting lost

Some of the highest causes of brain injuries involve open head injuries, closed head injuries, deceleration injuries, chemical toxic, hypoxia, tumors, infections and strokes.

If you’re the victim of an accident at work or on the road and believe that you have incurred any form of Traumatic Brain Injury as a result, contact the offices of Caputo and Mariotti today to set up your free consultation.


Product Liability On-the-Job

It’s your right to be employed and work in a safe environment, and unfortunately, for many individuals, their working environments just aren’t as safe as they should be.

Avoiding accidents at all costs should be the primary goal of any business, no matter what the industry is. Creating a safe working environment is essential for a number of reasons, but most importantly the well being of employees should always come before anything else.

Even when employers do everything they can to prevent accidents, some accidents still occur. This is often in part due to something that may be completely out of their control, such as faulty machinery. An employee who is unknowingly using a defective machine can easily become hurt on the job, even though all of the necessary precautions have been taken.

A defective piece of machinery can appear fully operational, and only when it does finally break down or cause an injury does the default become apparent. However, it is important to remember that not all defects easily recognizable, which is why company representatives will perform investigations into the cause of certain injuries. After the investigation is completed, it is very common that the findings will reveal the cause of injuries sustained is, in fact, defective machine.

With on-the-job injuries involving workers compensation claims, many times product claims are the result. Typically, the situation involving the injury is investigated to determine the cause and whether or not there was any type of faulty machinery involved.

If you’ve been hurt at work and believe that you may have sustained an injury caused by defective machinery in your workplace, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out more information.


The Impact of Defective Tires

When you have new tires put on your vehicle, they need to be safe and not adding potential risk when you and your family are driving. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that the tires are your car may have a defect that you’re unaware of, which is why it is extremely important to monitor and check your tires regularly.

Even checking your tires may not reveal an unseen problem which could cause serious harm or injury to you and your loved ones. Some of the issues that can occur include defects that cause blowouts or retreads long before you would normally think it’s time for your tires to be replaced. Any defects can greatly shorten the lifespan of a seemingly normal tire, putting you and your family at risk.

Defects can have an extremely negative impact, one of the most common being car crashes. Defects that cause car crashes are compounded when the weather is bad and you’re at a time when you’re relying on your tires the most. . Air, sunlight, and heat can cause the rubber the tires are made of to break down, and in tires that are defective, this breakdown process can happen faster than you would normally expect.

Defective tires can also cause serious injuries or death to the vehicle occupants, particularly in accidents that involve the rollover of your vehicle. If there is a defect discovered in a tire by the manufacturer, the manufacturer must inform the public of the defect and the potential risk associated with it. It is the consumer’s right to know, and failure to follow through with offering the information to the public is a serious offense.

If you’ve been involved in accident that you believe has occurred due to a faulty tire on your vehicle, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out more about your options.


The Dangers of Takata Air Bags

The dangers of air bags made by Takata Corp. are evident, and U.S. Government officials are alerting drivers with warnings declaring them unsafe. According to reports, the Takata air bags violently explode and can seriously injure or kill passengers sitting in the front seat of the vehicles in which they are being utilized.

The Takata air bags have being causing a considerable amount of injuries over the last several years. Experts believe that the defect is directly linked to the bags’ inflator systems, which cause material to be projected into the vehicle, causing immediate harm to its inhabitants. This shrapnel consists of sharp and dangerous metal pieces that have been known to cause several external and internal damage to vehicle occupants.

Not only are the Takata air bags extremely dangerous, they are also overly sensitive and have regularly gone off even during the smallest fender benders. The air bags made by the Tokyo based company are considered to be a serious danger to all passengers in the vehicles in which they are installed including Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and General Motors.

If you believe you have been the victim of an accident involving faulty air bags manufactured by the Takata Corp., please reach out to Caputo and Mariotti today to review your options.


Daylight Savings Time Connected to Rise in Crashes

If you are one of the billions of people located all over the world who observe daylight savings time, recent research has demonstrated that the time change may have a significant impact on your health. People have considered whether moving clocks ahead is really beneficial for the public as a whole for many years.

There are, of course, clear benefits to moving the clock ahead. The extra daylight gives people more incentive to exercise after work if they choose to do so, and also saves on electricity, cuts back on crime, and decreases the number of traffic fatalities. However, some of the research available contradicts several of these claims. Opponents argue that there are health risks potentially associated with turning the clocks ahead, including those associated with lack of sleep and increase in heart attacks.

One of these researchers, a PhD candidate named Austin Smith, studied the national data on fatal car crashes that occurred between the years of 2002 and 2011 and made a presentation regarding his information at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. His research was to determine what really happens immediately after people reset their clocks in both the spring and the fall.

Smith compared the number of accidents that happened immediately before and after these time changes were made on each of the years mentioned as well as daylight savings changes that took place in some years but not in others.

Smith’s resulted showed that the number of accidents increased by six percent during the spring time change, but there was no increase whatsoever during the fall time change. The six percent increase affected six of the days following the actual time adjustment. For a variety of reasons, Smith believes that the increase in crashes is a direct result of drivers losing one hour of sleep and how there bodies deal with the time adjustment.

If you’ve believe you’ve been involved in an accident that may have resulted do to lack of sleep from daylight savings time, don’t hesitate to give Caputo and Mariotti a call today to arrange a free consultation.


U.S. Trial Orders Toyota Payout of $11 Million

Toyota Motor Corporation was ordered to pay almost $11 Million on February 3rd by a jury that found a fatal crash in Minnesota back in 2006 was caused by a defect in the vehicle’s accelerator. The vehicle involved in the accident was a 1996 Toyota Camry. The jury found that the vehicles driver, to be 40 percent liable for the accident and the remaining 60% of fault was placed on the Toyota Company.

During the accident, the vehicle’s breaks failed to work properly. The defect in the accelerator caused it to become stuck while the vehicle was in operation, and was the main cause of the crash. According to Toyota Motor Corporation, the driver of the vehicle was the one at fault and not the defective accelerator. The vehicle in question had not been included in the over 10 million vehicles recalled by Toyota between 2009 and 2010. The vehicles recalled during this time were experiencing unexpected and sudden acceleration problems.

If you believe you or someone you know has been seriously injured due to an accelerator defect in a Toyota vehicle or any other type of vehicle, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to arrange your free consultation.


Trinity Industries Inc. Guardrails Causing Injuries

An appeal by Trinity Industries Inc. has been denied by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in their effort to eliminate a lower court’s $175 million judgment in a False Claims Act suit made against the company for selling the U.S. Federal Highway Administration dangerous guardrails.

The original FCA complaint was filed in 2012, claiming that Trinity had falsely stated that its modified ET-Plus guardrail was adequately crash-tested. The first ET-Plus was created to absorb and dissipate the impact of a car by flattening the guardrail and pushing it out into a ribbon that is deflected away from the collision. This reduces the impact that passengers experience inside the vehicle.

The original design was approved by the FHWA in 2000, but statements have been made that the company changed the guardrail’s design at some point between 2002 and 2005. The issue with the new design is that it locks up, folds over and protrudes in the crashing vehicle. According to several reports, these changes were never disclosed to the FHWA. The new guardrails were also not tested according to the FHWA protocols.

The FHWA did partially approve the guardrails after a 2005 crash test, but it is not clear whether Trinity used the new ET-Plus for that particular test. This obviously further complicates the current situation.

If you believe you’ve been affected by defective guardrails in anyway, please feel free to reach out to Caputo and Mariotti today to schedule a free consultation.


Boating Accident Update

The majority of boating accidents occur during the summer months and many of them are preventable. 77 percent of all boating accident deaths were caused by drowning, however, in 84% of those cases, the victims were not wearing a life jacket. Boating enthusiasts are faced with the same dangers as others operating a wide variety of vehicles.

For example, as with car accidents, there are a high number of boating accidents that occur each year involving the consumption of alcohol. Impairment plays as much a part in boating safety as it does when driving any other type of vehicle. Many states have made tremendous efforts to educate people on the evident dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol, as well as created very stiff penalties for those who refuse to abide by these laws. These penalties are typically severe for those who are convicted of multiple offenses.

Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore the laws, putting themselves and others at risk. Statistics show, many of those who choose to boat under the influence are the cause of serious accidents. It is extremely important to remember that, as with any other type of vehicle operation, your decisions affect other people.

If you’ve found yourself to be the victim of a boating accident, don’t hesitate to call Caputo and Mariotti to set up a free consultation. We’re here to answer all of your questions and happy to help.


Tractor Trailer Accidents Can Be Prevented

Many cases involving Tractor trailers and large trucks are caused by such things as driver fatigue, excessive speed and inattention to road conditions.  Others causes have been the result of a companies’ improper hiring and inadequate training of drivers. Tractor trailer drivers operate extremely large vehicles that have the capability to cause a great deal of harm to others on the highways. Drivers, as well as the companies that employ them, have to follow regulations that other drivers don’t have to follow. As a result, commercial drivers receive training that the rest of the general public does not have. Therefore, commercial drivers have a greater obligation to safety than other drivers on the highways throughout the country.

Establishing fault in an accident when a truck driver runs a red light or rear-ends a vehicle that is legally stopped isn’t all that difficult in most cases. But difficult issues can be involved even in those cases. It may be necessary to find out exactly why the driver wasn’t operating the vehicle responsibly and safely. The trucking company’s conduct, when it comes to the hiring and training of drivers, can also be involved. Many trucking accidents can be avoided, saving many lives simply by having a trained commercial driver behind the wheel of 18-wheelers on the road.

If you need more information on any aspect of truck litigation, contact Caputo and Mariotti today.