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General Motors has settled two cases related to an issue with a defective ignition switch that was linked to over 124 deaths and 275 injuries. The cases reach back to a May 2014 incident in Oklahoma, involving an accident where the ignition switch prevented the airbag from deploying. The man driving the car was Robert Scheuer, 49, who was left severely injured when his car careened into a tree, and the collision safety mechanisms failed to activate. Those vehicles, the 2003 Saturn Ion model, were recalled in 2014 for the faulty ignition switch. The source of the problem was that the switch had the potential to slip out of the “run” position, which disabled the vehicle’s safety features, specifically the airbags. Scheuer’s case is one of many “bellwether” cases on the issue.GM-d-1

In layman’s terms, a bellwether case, or bellwether trial, is a term for a case that is meant to serve as somewhat of a test or model for heavily contested issues of the law. These types of cases are common in scenarios where one defendant has several cases filed against them in regards to one particular incident or issue. Citing bellwether cases can be helpful in court to reduce the large volume of cases. For GM, these cases will help determine the course of a number of related lawsuits have been filed against them for the problems with the ignition switch.

General Motors’ Settlements

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When a patient goes to the dentist for a regular check up and cleaning, they may expect to walk away with a new toothbrush, or a new appointment scheduled, but rarely does anyone expect to leave a dentist’s office with Hepatitis C. This was the case for one unfortunate woman in Bellevue, Washington this month. While the manner in which the woman contracted this virus may seem peculiar and a bit farfetched, this is a particularly serious matter. dentist-in-years-300x190

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a common illness in the United States. There are over 200,000 reported cases of the viral infection per year. It is treatable, however, it can be difficult to detect symptoms, and some may not realize its presence until the infection has already begun attacking the liver. Hepatitis C is particularly dangerous, claiming responsibility for nearly 20,000 deaths in the year 2014. Hepatitis C is spready through blood, and contact with other bodily fluids. It is most commonly transmitted by the sharing of needles, or unsterile tattooing equipment, and in this case, cross-contamination of medical equipment.

Cross-contamination

The process by which diseases and illnesses are spread through improperly sterilized medical equipment is known as cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can happen frequently in hospitals and doctors offices. In one particularly unfortunate example, a hospitals endoscopy equipment was responsible for the growth and spread of a superbug, a bacterial infection that is particularly resistant to antibiotics.

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Maintaining one’s fitness at a local gym is a popular activity for many Americans across the country. A gym is an environment with workout equipment where people go to get in shape. Workout machines are meant for individuals with the proper strength and knowledge to test their might and strengthen themselves, however, most gyms will offer workout machines with certain built in safety measures to help prevent accidents, or take certain precautions to ensure that if an accident does happen, its damage mitigated. For one woman in Sacramento, this was not the case. treandmill-300x225

Treadmill Trouble

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Samsung, the company behind the Galaxy, has issued a recall of its latest release, the Galaxy Note 7. This recall comes only weeks after the phone’s release, to praising reviews, no less. Samsung has put a full stop on sales of the phone, and not just for the United States. The recall applies to all Galaxy Note 7 phones worldwide, and the company has already laid plans to provide replacement phones to those who are affected. The reason for the recall stems from an issue with the battery while the device is charging.galaxy-s7-active-review2-3-300x225

According so Samsung, the device has the potential to catch on fire and potentially explode while charging. The company has gone on to state that less than .1% of the phones are affected by this flaw, however, they believe the full recall is necessary. A South Korean news outlet has reported 5 incidents involving the phones already. Samsung has also stated that it has received 35 reports of faulty phones already, and that have encountered 24 devices with faults for every million devices sold. Samsung did not elaborate on what the battery issue was, however they did state that users could replace the battery in their phone

Litihium-Ion Battery Issues

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While many may dream of the days where cars are able to drive people to and from point A to point B themselves, for one east coast city, the future may already be here. Following in the footsteps of other technology companies such as Google and Tesla, Uber, the mobile-based taxiing service has unveiled a new step forward in driving technology: a self-driving car. Volvo has partnered with Uber in order to help develop a self-driving car, and their site of development is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Self-Driving_Prototype__1_-300x200

Risks Of Self-Driving Cars

While self driving cars may seem like utopian ideal, in practice, they are not entirely flawless. In fact, experts have cited several potential issues that drivers and passengers alike may face in the future when on the road with a self-driving vehicle. In a report from the Fiscal Times, experts cite several risks of self-driving vehicles:

  • Distractions: A fully active self-driving car will offer passengers an opportunity to take their eyes off the road for other diversions, such as texting, reading, or working. While this may seem ideal for commuters, in the real-life example being introduced in Pittsburgh, an Uber driver must be present behind the wheel at all times during the car’s journey to ensure safety, if need be. If the driver is not concentrating on the road, they may not be able to intervene when the car’s driving intelligence system has a hiccup.
  • Road Safety Will Become Worse Before It Gets Better: While America makes the transition to self-driving cars over the standard vehicle, there will be a mix of autonomous cars on the road along with human drivers. On top of this, the self-driving cars will need to be tested for all types of weather, such as rainy, icy, or snowy conditions. Mixing other human drivers onto the road will make matters worse, as a person is prone to reacting differently than a machine.
  • Computer Driven Cars Will Be Hackable: In today’s age with cyber crimes on the rise, computer security for self-driving cars must be absolutely unflinching. A skilled hacker operating with malice could take over a computer operated car’s system and steal the car, or worse.

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Motorcycle accidents are one of the most catastrophic experiences a person can undergo. Riding a motorcycle can feel incredibly liberating and freeing. Seasoned riders love the thrill and relaxation that comes with riding, but as any motorcyclist knows, the fun of riding is not without danger. A motorcycle is essentially an open air vehicle, and as such offers little protection in the even of a collision or vehicle accident. Motorcyclists take extra care to ride with their lives in mind, however, sometimes accidents happen, and sometimes, these accidents can be fatal.NH Motorcycle lawyers

Fatal Motorcycle Accidents On The Rise

A recent study of the year 2015 has shown some alarming data regarding motorcycle accidents. In New Hampshire, deaths related to accidents involving motorcycles have risen 10% between 2014 and 2015, according to the data collected in the study. 2014 had a total of 4,548 accidents that resulted in death, while 2015 was estimated to have over 5,000 deadly motorcycle accidents, nationwide. New Hampshire in particular has seen a spike of motorcycle fatalities, with an increase from 17 fatalities in 2014 to 26 total fatalities in 2015. While it may seem like the death toll is relatively small compared the larger statistics nationwide, it is important to remember that New Hampshire is often seen as somewhat of a haven for motorcyclists. New Hampshire’s vivid scenery and long highways, along with special events each year dedicated to motorcycle enthusiasts make it a great destination for anyone who enjoys riding. Unfortunately, with such a large spike in deaths, motorcyclists will want to be on the watch for potential threats to their safety and well being.

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For a motorcyclist, cars on the road can be a very serious threat. A motorcycle is an open air vehicle, exposing the rider to extreme injury, should an accident occur. Because of this both rider and driver alike must take extra precautions to avoid collisions. If an accident occurs, both drivers should remain on scene until help arrives. Unfortunately for one motorcyclist in Concord, this was not the case. Concord police are currently searching for the perpetrator of a serious vehicle accident. A hit and run occurred close to 5:30 pm this week past. A motorcyclist was struck by another driver on the road, driving a white car. The vehicle fled the scene shortly after. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with serious injuries, and the hit and run driver is still at large.crash

Hit-And-Run In New Hampshire

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E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that can be found in the intestines of animals that at times makes its way into certain food products. The bacteria is normally screened for at all stages of food production, however, at times some slips through to the market. When this happens, the companies who detect an outbreak will usually issue a recall before the infected meats or food products can reach a wide community of people. E. coli infection leads to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and more. There are over 73,000 cases of E. coli each year in the United States. These cases lead to over 2,000 hospitalizations and 60 deaths each year. On top of this, there are a multitude of strains of E. coli that plague Americans each year.ecoli-download-1-300x162

The Case Of PT Farm

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One of the most cited and celebrated rights in the United States of America is the right to a trial decided upon by a jury of one’s peers. When a person is facing criminal charges, they can elect to have a trial by jury, and their lawyer will defend them in court. While this is supposed to be a guaranteed right, oftentimes, many cases are resolved through plea bargaining with the prosecutor. Plea bargaining is basically a negotiation between defendant and prosecutor to work out a deal where the defendant accepts certain charges and their consequences, while the prosecutor offers to drop others. While plea bargaining can sometimes be the best case scenario, the New York Times has pointed out recently that overall, trials by jury are on the decline, and instead, most cases nowadays are being resolved through striking deals with the prosecutor, “behind closed doors,” as the article ominously suggests. The Times reported that in 1984 there were over 4,000 verdicts served by juries, and in 2015, that numbers has dwindled to fewer than half.juryjpeg-300x207

A Decline In Jury Trials

If the disproportionate divide between jury trials and plea deals is so large, what could have caused it? Where do these disparities come from? Supposedly fewer Americans are willing to serve on juries, and some New York judges are getting just a handful of criminal law trials in a year. In an article by Slate, it is also suggested that another issue that contributes to this decline in jury trials is heavy-handed prosecution. With so many statutes with just vague enough language, prosecutors can quite literally throw the book at defendants when it comes to determining charges. This means that the defendant, faced with an overwhelming number of charges, will be forced to choose between taking a plea deal that seems favorable compared to generate enough reasonable doubt in court for a multitude of charges. Trials are also presented to defendants as though they are gambles and last resorts, but only because trials are actually slowly starting to become those things themselves.

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Recently a popular smartphone app has been making headlines all across the world. The app is called Pokémon Go, a smartphone game that bases itself off of Nintendo’s long running franchise Pokémon. The franchise itself involves both a television show and video game series where a “Pokémon Trainer” travels the world collecting cartoonish and cutesy monsters known as “Pokémon.” The smartphone app is game intended to simulate this experience through “augmented reality,” meaning that the creatures will appear on phone screen using the camera, though not in real life. The app has gained immense popularity and its worldwide release has been incredibly well-received. The game is played using the player’s GPS unit in their phone, which will then populate their surroundings with Pokémon. Players will follow their map towards the Pokémon and then engage in a brief timing based mini-game to catch the Pokémon. This, of course, demands a lot of time for players to be looking down at their screens, and not paying attention to the world around them.pokemon-go-logo-300x169 Continue reading →