November 9, 2011

5-Star Ratings and Crash Avoidance Technologies Can Reduce the Risk of Injuries in Naples Car Accidents

Purchasing a car with 5-star safety ratings may reduce the risk of severe injury or death in a Naples car accident , but it doesn't give motorists a free pass to drive recklessly or get distracted when they are operating these highly rated vehicles. Safety ratings only help consumers make an informed decision on what vehicle is most equipped to withstand a rollover crash or other dangerous rear-end or forward collision impacted crash.

Our Cape Coral car accident lawyers agree that car safety is an important consideration when purchasing a vehicle but nothing can guarantee safety like motorists playing it safe every time they get behind the wheel. However, consumers are encouraged to check out crash test ratings before you purchase if you want to reduce the risk of injury to you or your family in a collision involving a drunk, distracted or aggressive driver in South Florida.
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Family Car Guide recently reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in the process of finishing up crash testing for 2011 models but has recently released the list of more than seventy 2012 models that will be put through rigorous testing next year. The 2012 vehicle list will be comprised of 42 passenger cars, 2 minivans, 8 pickup trucks and 22 SUVs and crossovers which is over 80 percent of the vehicle models on the projected market for 2012.
The following are samples of some of the 2012 vehicles being tested:
-Family cars: Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CTS, Nissan Maxima, Chrysler 300, Toyota Camry, Volvo S60 and the Volkswagen Passat.
-Minivans: Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country.
-SUVs and crossovers: Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sorento and Subaru Outback.

For a full list of which vehicles will be crash tested and assessed a star rating for 2012, visit NHTSA online.
In a recent press release, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated "Our 5-star ratings program is a critical resource to help consumers make the best possible decisions about the cars they want to buy. People should remember: More stars, safer cars."

In recent years, crash avoidance technology has been an important added feature in warning motorists that they are about to leave the roadway, veer over the center line or hit someone or something head-on or from behind. For the first time ever, the NHTSA will make recommendations to consumers about vehicles containing forward collision warnings (FCW), lane departure warnings (LDW) or both features. Last model year crash avoidance technologies were offered in 45 vehicles as optional equipment. There are 68 models for 2012 that have FCW (18), LDW (12) or both features (38) standard equipped in the vehicle.

Safercar.gov will post the results of the Government 5-star safety ratings program for the selected 2012 models once the crash tests have been performed. You will also be able to find the NHTSA's recommendations for which vehicles have the best crash avoidance technologies for 2012 models available on this website.

Continue reading "5-Star Ratings and Crash Avoidance Technologies Can Reduce the Risk of Injuries in Naples Car Accidents" »

July 4, 2011

Fort Myers Defective Products, Premise Liability Issues a Holiday Weekend Danger

Defective products in Fort Myers create substantial hazards for consumers. Holiday weekends can be a particularly dangerous time for both defective product injuries and premise liability injuries in Fort Myers and elsewhere in South Florida.

Our Fort Myers accident lawyers encourage you to check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for defective product news when making a substantial purchase, such as a crib, gas grill or portable pool. And to use extra caution in supervising children around swimming pools this holiday weekend and throughout the year.
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Recent defective product news in South Florida includes:

-A 1-year-old child drowned in the family swimming pool after getting out through a dog door in Deltona Beach, Pet Access Dangers reported. It was the sixth reported drowning in Volusia County so far this year. The site reports 70 percent of preschoolers who drown are in the care of both parents at the time and 75 percent are missing from sight for 5 minutes or less. Even portable pools may pose a significant risk. CNN reported recently that 244 submersion incidents have been reported involving small portable pools in the last decade -- in 209 cases the accident resulted in fatal injuries.

-Those concerned about defective vehicle injuries in Fort Myers should be aware that the Detroit News recently reported a recall of 50,000 Cadillac SRX crossovers, which need to have the airbag reprogrammed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the right side airbag won't deploy in a crash if no one is in the front seat -- as a result, backseat passengers may not be fully protected.

-The Consumer Products Safety Commission is warning about the risks of small fireworks, such as bottle rockets and firecrackers, whether defective or not. “From purchase to ignition, know how you and your family can stay safe and which fireworks are allowed in your state if fireworks are part of your July 4th celebration,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Never assume that a fireworks device is safe based on its size and never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. By knowing the dangers of all types of fireworks, consumers can prevent tragedies.”

Last year testing of fireworks shipments found that 43 percent were not compliant with the Federal Hazardous Substance Act, meaning users could be at increased risk of serious or fatal injury.

-The government has also announced a recall of 460,000 bottles and jugs of Pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL. The gel fuel distributed by Napa Home and Garden of Duluth, Georgia can ignite unexpectedly and splatter onto people and nearby objects, creating the risk of Fort Myers burn injuries and of structure fires. The product was sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Shopko, Restoration Hardware, and other stores nationwide. Consumers should stop using the fuel and return any unused portion for a full refund.

Continue reading "Fort Myers Defective Products, Premise Liability Issues a Holiday Weekend Danger" »

April 11, 2011

Lawmakers Could Put Blame on Drivers for Vehicle Defects in Fort Myers Car Accidents

Automotive Discovery reports lawmakers are considering a pair of proposed bills that would limit the rights of accident victims in crashes involving defective vehicles.

The bills (Florida Senate Bill 142 and House Bill 201) may place undue blame on drivers involved in car accidents in Fort Myers and elsewhere in the U.S., instead of keeping the blame on manufacturers for their faulty products.
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Our Fort Myers defective products attorneys know that hundreds of recalls are issued each year involving defects. Many of those have the potential to either cause an accident or increase the risk of serious or fatal injury in the event of an accident. Defective car parts and manufacturing can pose potentially deadly threats when car makers put profits ahead of people.

The two bills proposed in legislature will attempt to allocate blame. Currently, Florida law places blame in the lap of the manufacturer in accidents involving defective vehicles.

The bill “changes Florida law to permit juries in a Florida courtroom to hear all of the facts leading up to a products liability case, thereby allowing that jury to apportion fault,” said Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, sponsor of SB 142. “It’s an opportunity to put all the facts on the table.”

Richter is also backing insurers in opposition of a bill that would require them to pay upfront replacement costs in the event of an accident -- current law permits them to withhold part of the payment until proof that repairs are being made.

The occurrence of crashworthiness-related cases have increased nearly 400 percent in Florida over the last 10 years while national cases are down roughly 50 percent, according to The Florida Bar News.

“We Floridians buy these vehicles and we are led to believe that they will be safe, and safe from inherent defects that will cause secondary issues that can cause even more damage, injuries to people,” said Sen. Maria Sachs, R-Delray Beach. “Those manufacturers should be held accountable whether it’s a tractor, or a motor vehicle.”

Regardless of driver error, the company should still be held liable for producing a defective product.

With the new bill effective in Florida courts, drivers may fall victim to faulty products twice, once in a car accident and once in court. The house bill will not apply to law enforcement first-responders involved in car accidents, according to Automotive Discovery. The average motorist should be afforded the same protections.

We urge you to contact our Florida State Lawmakers to oppose this bill and keep responsibility for faulty products where it belongs -- with the manufacturers. No driver should be punished for an accident in which a defective product influenced the outcome.

If you've been involved in a car accident involving a defective or recalled product, it is more important than ever to contact an experienced attorney to help you fight for your rights. Don't let the court system blame you for poor manufacturing.

Continue reading "Lawmakers Could Put Blame on Drivers for Vehicle Defects in Fort Myers Car Accidents" »

October 10, 2010

Buying a car with a good safety rating can help keep you safe in the event of a South Florida car accident

Today's new cars are safer than ever before. But some cars remain safer than others and what you drive can have a significant impact on the safety of you and your family in the event of a serious car accident in Cape Coral, Fort Myers or the surrounding area.

Our Cape Coral personal injury lawyers want you to know about an improved government rating system and encourage you to make it part of your review process when considering the purchase of a new vehicle.
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For the first time, the government's 5-Star Safety Ratings System includes an overall vehicle rating. New, more rigorous crash tests are also performed using female crash-test dummies, in addition to the standard male test-dummies that have been in use for years.

“More stars equal safer cars,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “With our upgraded Five-Star Safety Ratings System, we’re raising the bar on safety. Through new tests, better crash data, and higher standards, we are making the safety ratings tougher and more meaningful for consumers.”

It's no secret that some vehicles are safer than others. We have all seen some of the new subcompact vehicles hitting the road and certainly potential buyers will want to review safety ratings before making a purchase. But the well-publicized rollover dangers of some SUVs and the Toyota recalls of the last year prove that no vehicle is immune from vehicle defects or poor safety ratings.

“We want consumers to embrace these new safety technologies as a way to make vehicles safer,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland. “We believe electronic stability control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning offer significant safety benefits and consumers should consider them when buying a new car.”

And the good news is you do not have to pay a fortune for the added protection of a safer car: The BMW 5 series earned the best "5-star" rating but so did the modestly priced Hyundai Sonata.

Safety ratings for new and used cars are available here.

February 11, 2010

Trouble on the Road? Toyota, Ford Vehicle Problems Persist

After announcing within the last two weeks that it was recalling a huge number of various models of vehicles due to problems with the accelerator pedal, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a worldwide recall of as many as 437,000 hybrid cars, including its popular Prius model, because of what may be problems with the braking system.

Additionally, Japanese news sources were reporting on Monday that Toyota was also gearing up to warn owners of the Lexus HS250h, also a hybrid model, that their cars may require similar repairs. This revelation will only further damage the Japanese auto maker by dragging its luxury line of vehicles into the same quagmire, and continue to damage the reputation of what had generally been regarded as one of the most quality-conscious car makers in the world.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries. (It is being reported that Prius models manufactured since May 2009 are not effected by the potential recall). Prius owners have reported what seemed to be a slight lag time between depressing the brake pedal and the actual slowing of the cars, as well as a pulsing of the brake pedal when braking on a bumpy road. While Toyota has said it is investigating the purported problems, it has also said it does not believe that there are safety concerns with the cars, and are questioning whether a problem actually exists.

The Associated Press has reported that Toyota group vice president, Bob Carter, sent an e-mail message to dealers late Friday, February 5, stating that “public awareness of the problem has prompted considerable customer concern, speculation, and media attention due to the significance of the Prius image”. He went on to say, “We want to assure our dealers that we are moving rapidly to provide a solution for your existing customers."

Now, it seems Toyota is not the only auto manufacturer with potential quality and safety concerns. Ford Motor Co. has announced it will upgrade the brake software on its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrid models built prior to October 17, 2009, after the research firm Consumer Reports detected a braking issue. The auto maker estimates that about 18,000 vehicles could be affected by the electronic brake-software glitch. No injuries have been reported.

"We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid's unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking," Ford said in a statement Thursday. "While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes." Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail. Those owners should have the software reprogrammed at a dealership. There will be no charge.

“While it is true that the melding of computer technology and automotive safety systems have made huge advances over the cars of just a few years ago, unfortunately, problems can still arise that could be a factor in causing a tragic car crash,” notes attorney P.J. Scheiner, of the law firm Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers, P.A. “Until owners of the cars suspected of having these problems can be assured that their vehicles are 100% safe for the road, they should monitor the situation closely via their local Toyota or Ford dealerships.”

When it comes to fighting for justice for those injured because of a defective product or a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another, the team of lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers is backed by a nearly 40-year legacy of standing up for victim’s rights. If you have been injured and would like a no-obligation assessment of your specific situation, call 1-800-Dial-BLS, or visit www.focusedonjustice.com. We will fight aggressively on your behalf, and you pay us nothing unless we win.

For updates on this topic and others, subscribe to the Florida Injury Lawyer blog at the top of this page.

January 29, 2010

CONSUMER ALERT: Toyota Vehicles Recalled for Potentially Dangerous Accelerator Pedals

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If you are the owner of one of several different models of Toyota vehicles, your car, pick-up or SUV may be affected by a massive safety recall undertaken by the Japanese automaker.

In September 2009, Toyota announced the recall of 4.3 million vehicles it said were susceptible to an accelerator pedal that could become stuck. At the time, Toyota indicated the fault of the problem was related to the car’s floor mats. Subsequently, the manufacture released an announcement that the fix would involve “trimming” the pedal mechanism. However, a Toyota website now says “In rare instances, there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position”, and makes no mention of the floor mats.

In January, an additional 600,000 Toyota vehicles were added to the recall list. Toyota, which has enjoyed a long-standing reputation as an industry leader in quality and customer satisfaction, shocked the automotive world and its dealer network when it told its dealers to stop selling eight models, including the Camry and Corolla sedans, two of the biggest sellers in the U.S. market. Other models affected by the move include the RAV4 and Highlander sport-utility vehicles and the Tundra pickup truck. They also announced they were halting production of the recalled vehicles for an undetermined amount of time.

On January 28th, the recall was expanded to include an unknown number of Toyota vehicles in Europe and China.

The following car models are affected by the Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales.

2009-2010 RAV4
2009-2010 Corolla
2009-2010 Matrix
2005-2010 Avalon
2007-2010 Camry
2010 Highlander except hybrid models
2007-2010 Tundra
2008-2010 Sequoia

Also on Toyota’s consumer safety advisory website were answers to these questions:

What should I do if I believe my vehicle is affected by this condition, i.e. I have noticed that my accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation. What should I do?

The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving?
Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking one of the following actions:

• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal, as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.

• Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.

• If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

• If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

• If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition, as this will lock the steering wheel.

If I am an owner of one of the affected vehicles, what action do I need to take?
Toyota is working quickly to prepare a correction remedy and will issue owner notifications in the future. No action is required at this time unless you feel you are experiencing this condition. If you are experiencing this condition, immediately contact your nearest Toyota Dealer for assistance.

The manufacturer goes on to say that while they are investigating the issue and developing a plan for a fixing the problem, they do not give specifics as to exactly how or when the alterations to the affected vehicles will take place.

In a related development, Ford Motor Co. has halted production of some full-sized commercial vehicles in China because they contain gas pedals built by the same company behind the accelerators in Toyota Motor Corp.'s recent recall. There were only about 1,600 vehicles involved, and they are large, industrial-use trucks, and therefore the action is not expected to impact the American passenger vehicle consumer.

Product liability cases involving potentially dangerous consumer products can traumatically effect people if an accident should occur,” says P.J. Scheiner, of Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers, P.A. “We hope Toyota works to immediately rectify the faulty accelerator problem, and urge those who think their vehicle may be involved to take proper actions through Toyota’s dealerships.”
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers believes justice is worth fighting for, and has been aggressively representing motor vehicle crash victims since 1971. To learn more about our areas of practice and case results, visit www.focusedonjustice.com, or call 1-800-Dial-BLS.


For updates on this topic and others, subscribe to the Florida Injury Lawyer blog at the top of this page.

March 1, 2009

Florida injury lawyers debut 1-800-Dial-BLS, for car accident, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and other personal injury questions in Southwest Florida

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The Florida injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, begin 2009 with a new toll-free phone number, 1-800-Dial-BLS.

Whether you are injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident or are the victim of a drunk driving crash or other personal-injury or wrongful-death situation, representatives are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-Dial-BLS to review your case.

The firm has four decades of experience handling car accidents and other personal injury cases throughout Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Venice and Sebring.

Started in 1971 by Bruce L. Scheiner, the family-run firm is dedicated to representing Florida residents who have been injured by the negligent or careless acts of other individuals, businesses or insurance companies.

The firm has never worked for big businesses or insurance companies and practices exclusively in the area of personal injury law. Unlike many other firms, which split their attention between personal injury cases and other types of law, like divorce, real estate and criminal cases, Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, is a team of almost 100 professionals dedicated to fighting for justice for those how have been injured or killed in Florida.

Bruce L. Scheiner still hand selects each case the firm represents. Together with his wife Cheryl, who runs the office, and son, Preston J. Scheiner, who is an associate attorney, the Scheiner team is dedicated to getting you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve.

After four decades of service in Southwest Florida, there promise to you is simple: at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, you'll pay nothing unless we win.

Look for the new toll-free hotline throughout Southwest Florida, on billboards, on television, in the yellow pages and online.

Continue reading "Florida injury lawyers debut 1-800-Dial-BLS, for car accident, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and other personal injury questions in Southwest Florida" »

February 11, 2009

Florida motorists warned of car accidents waiting to happen

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Some 148,000 people suffer a car accident each year without ever getting behind the wheel: They are injured by a closing car door in what the federal government has announced is the most common non-moving injury inflicted by automobiles.

For the first time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has collected data for non-traffic related death and injuries and non-crash related death and injuries to the ways in which people are seriously injured or killed in or around automobiles.

"It shows you don't have to be in a moving vehicle to be seriously injured," said Bruce L. Scheiner, founder and senior attorney at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers.

Florida Injury Lawyers point out such cases can involve legal questions surrounding car accidents, bicycle and pedestrian injuries, property and premise liability law, slip and fall issues, injuries to children, vehicle defect, defective product law and other legal issues.

"The bottom line is, if you are seriously injured you should contact a lawyer to examine whether you have a case," Scheiner said.

Such dangers are now being tabulated by the federal government, including: falls from vehicle, battery acid and antifreeze burns, jack accidents, tire explosions, window strangulation, and those injured or killed by being locked in the trunk.

"I don't think anyone until now had an accurate sense of the extent of vehicle-related injuries and fatalities that did not occur on a public highway," NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson told Forbes Magazine. "It certainly underscores the risks that exist in a vehicle whether it's on the road or off, and I hope it will call some attention to some of those issues."

The new statistics also shed light on what the government terms Nontraffic crash fatalities and injuries, including single-vehicle crashes on private roads, collisions with pedestrians on driveways and two-vehicle crashes in parking facilities.

Bicyclists and pedestrians account for about half (614 of 1,159) of non-traffic crash fatalities and about a third (34,000 of 98,000) of non-traffic injuries.

Backovers, where drivers injure or kill a non-occupant by reversing over them, account for another 19 percent of fatalities and 14 percent of injuries.

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Annual average of non-crash fatalities by type:

Struck by falling vehicle: 168
Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust: 147
Fall from vehicle: 88
Vehicle fire: 57
Struck by Object: 44
Hyperthermia (excessive heat): 37
Hypothermia (excessive cold): 14
Poisoning: 9
Exploding Tire: 7
Vehicle window asphyxia: 5
Electrocution: 4
Drowning: 3
Closed in trunk: 3
Radiator fluid burns: 2

The government reported that 22 percent of injuries (164,000 of 743,000) occur as people enter or exit a vehicle: falls (84,000), striking a door or door frame (36,000) and in other situations such as sprains or strains while exiting (44,000).


Continue reading "Florida motorists warned of car accidents waiting to happen" »

January 30, 2009

Florida vehicle defect attorneys warn Toyota owners of recall

Toyota Motor Corp recalled 1.35 million vehicles this week to fix defects in the seatbelt or exhaust systems.

Florida defective product and vehicle defect attorneys urge Toyota owners to check to see if their car is part of the vehicle recall.

About 830,000 of the cars include the Yaris, manufactured between January 2005 and April 2008 and exported to Europe, the United States and other countries.

One case of fire was reported in Japan due to faulty seatbelt design, which could cause melting when the belt is activated during a collision, Toyota said.

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