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ARCHIVES: November 2017

Most Dangerous Toys of 2017

York County Personal Injury Lawyers weigh in on the most dangerous toys of 2017.The list of the ten most dangerous toys of 2017 has been released by the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH), the nonprofit toy safety organization, in Boston. Although the toy industry insists that toys currently on the market are heavily monitored and evaluated according to strict safety standards, many hazardous toys remain available to the public, and could pose personal injuries for children. In some cases, a handful of unsafe toys may even cause fatalities. Since 1973, WATCH offers an annual list of the most dangerous toys as a service to the public to protect children from injuries incurred by defective or unsafe toys.

Toys That Pose Choking Hazards

 Parents go to great lengths to protect their toddlers and babies from choking on food and other small objects. If a toy is discovered to contain small or easily removable parts, the parts may endanger young children if put into their mouths. The Disney-themed Hallmark “Itty Bittys” Baby Stacking Toys have fabric bows and hats that can detach and may be a choking hazard. Kipp Brothers fidget spinners contain small parts, which could lead to a choking injury for younger age groups. A drumstick accompanies the Oval Xylophone that may cause children to insert the wand in their mouths, potentially blocking their airways. Melissa & Doug’s soft doll for 18 months and older features hair in ponytail holders that, if loosened, may choke a child.

Fall- and Fire-Related Injuries from Toys

Falls caused by an unsafe toy may cause children to incur fractures or head or spinal injuries. Toys that unexpectedly ignite could leave a child with serious burn injuries. The Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit consists of a tightrope-like device that is meant to be stretched between trees but could trip a child when used. Burn injuries may result when the Jetts Heel Wheels are worn, which are advertised to “spark’’ when active.

Toys That Cause Bodily Injuries

The majority of the toys featured on the 2017 list may cause a host of bodily injuries, including strangulation, physical harm, and eye trauma. Tolo’s Pull Along Pony poses a strangulation or entanglement risk for toddlers due to the excessive length of the cord. Wonder Woman gained newfound popularity this summer, but the Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword is made of stiff plastic, which may cause facial or other physical injuries. Featuring a rotating blade, the Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition toy puts children at-risk for eye and bodily harm. The Nerf Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow also harbors the potential for eye injuries because of the extreme force exerted during the arrow launch. Two toys — Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit and Jetts Heel Wheels — reappear a second time for causing strangulation hazards and physical trauma respectively.

If you have been injured by a defective, faulty or unsafe product like a dangerous toy, contact a York County personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. to discuss your best options for financial recovery. Call our firm at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. With six office locations throughout South Carolina, we protect the rights of injured people and their families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, and Summerville.

Holiday Deliveries Mean an Increase in Truck Accidents

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers discuss how holiday deliveries mean an increase in truck accidents.  Online shopping is more popular than ever before, and the biggest shopping day of the year is right around the corner. All the shopping for Black Friday and its modern equivalent, Cyber Monday, translate into increased deliveries of packages and that means more trucks on the road. Statistically, December is one of the worst months of the year for delivery and freight truck accidents with a 10 percent greater risk, compared to other months of the year.

In past years FedEx has reported delivering 300 million packages during the holidays while the USPS handled 600 million. Besides increased truck traffic, there are many reasons why the holidays see an increase in truck accidents. More deliveries mean tighter schedules for drivers who are already being pushed to maximize profits for trucking companies. Fatigue can lead to driver error, the number one cause for truck accidents. Winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions for everyone, especially for trucks and larger vehicles that require even greater stopping distances in wet and slippery conditions. Lack of experience can also be a factor when trucking companies hire new drivers to meet the holiday demand for deliveries.

Stay Safe with Defensive Driving

With the anticipated increase in truck traffic and deliveries for the holiday season, it makes sense to review some defensive driving tactics to help drivers stay safe in the coming months.

  • Never drive in a truck’s blind spot. The blind spot for trucks is naturally bigger than non-commercial vehicles’ and staying there puts you at higher risk for an accident. Other areas of the truck where the driver cannot see you include next to the doors of the cab, directly in front of the cab, and directly behind the truck.
  • If you are driving near a tractor trailer, give them plenty of room to maneuver. Leave room when you see a truck that needs to change lanes. When passing, do not pull into a truck’s lane directly in front. Fully laden trucks need a lot of room to come to a full stop in an emergency, so never tailgate a truck.
  • In crowded holiday traffic or winter weather conditions, allow extra time for travel so that you will not be under pressure to get to your destination quickly. Speeding is never a good idea and can lead to serious injuries should you be involved in an accident with a large truck or tractor-trailer.

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Injured Victims of Truck Accidents

If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident that were due to the negligence of another party, contact the experienced truck accident lawyers in Columbia at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. who can help you determine your best course of legal action. Call 800-531-9780 today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We have multiple locations serving clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

 

Hackers Pose Threat to Self-Driving Vehicles

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers dicuss the treat that hackers pose to self-driving car technology. Self-driving vehicles, also known as autonomous or driverless cars, are poised to take-over America’s roadways. These vehicles can sense their environment and navigate without any input from human drivers. The technology continues to evolve, and currently, all self-driving cars require a human driver who can take control at any time. One might think that the biggest technological obstacle driverless cars face is collision avoidance. However, manufacturers must also anticipate the possibility that hackers can wreak havoc on the technology by interfering with these systems.

Security Hacks

Autonomous cars will need to defend against a full spectrum of attacks from hackers who want to endanger the safety of drivers on the road.  These hackers must be anticipated to employ traditional cyber attacks, as well as an increasingly broad new generation of attacks, including adversarial machine learning.

There have not been any reports of hostile hackers targeting autonomous vehicles, but that does not mean that it cannot happen and that it will not be an issue. Hackers have already demonstrated that driverless cars are vulnerable to multiple specific security threats. For example, researchers at the University of South Carolina and Chinese security and institutions of higher learning have demonstrated that they could jam the sensors on a Tesla S, making objects invisible to the computer sensory system. It has also been discovered that unusual graphic patterns can trip the algorithm in such a way that computer sensory vision systems can see things that are not there. This was the case with state-of-the-art facial recognition algorithms. If hackers can evade this technology, it is hard to believe that the visual systems on automobiles will be any more secure.

Taking Precaution

In response, automakers recalled and upgraded firmware of millions of cars. Recently, the CEO of General Motors announced that protecting cars from hackers was a matter of public safety, and that they were taking it very seriously. A major problematic factor is that the collision avoidance and computer sensory vision systems under development rely on such complex technology and algorithms, that even those companies who use them do not fully understand them. As automakers continue to focus on the potential safety advantages of driverless cars, such as less distracted driving and driver error, they continue to downplay the notion that malicious adversaries might try to intentionally make driverless vehicles crash.

Google, Nissan, and other automakers plan to have fully autonomous cars on the road as early as 2020. Ford plans to have fully autonomous urban taxis by 2021. Although automakers claim to be addressing these safety issues, there is little concrete evidence to back up their assertions. With the development of self-driving commercial trucks, this could pose a serious threat to delivery services and the safety of drivers everywhere

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured From Autonomous Vehicles

Until driverless cars hit the road, human drivers are prone to negligence, including distraction, intoxication, and fatigue. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Columbia at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at (803) 929-3600 or contact us online today. We provide the highest quality legal services to clients in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

Non-Traffic Injuries and Fatalities in Young Children

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on non-traffic injuries and fatalities in young children. Traffic related fatalities of children aged 14 and under has declined significantly over the past 20 years. Legislation, education, improved safety features in cars and for child safety restraint systems, and aggressive public safety campaigns have helped save the lives of thousands of children. That is the good news. The bad news is that a startling number of children are fatally injured each year in non-traffic related car accidents occurring in driveways and parking lots across the country.

According to a recent study conducted at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island, 3,400 children under the age of 14 have been fatally injured and nearly 15,000 more injured in non-traffic incidents involving automobiles since 1990. Researchers for the study reported 11,750 incidents during that time.

Types of Accidents

The most common types of non-traffic car accident injuries and fatalities include back-over and front-over incidents. Children have suffered catastrophic injuries and worse when they are run over in driveways or parking lots by inattentive drivers. Children playing inside of a vehicle have also inadvertently knocked it into gear and run over other children as the vehicle rolled backward or lunged forward.

Another common threat to children that has been featured far too often in recent news reports are incidents involving heatstroke to children inadvertently left in cars. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach into triple digits in just an hour, quickly leading to fatal heatstroke.

Moreover, electronic mechanisms such as power windows can cause strangulation when hoods, scarves, or clothing become caught when children are left unattended. Multiple incidents involving trunk entrapments have also been reported. Children playing in open trunks, or those who become entrapped when crawling through small openings leading from the back seat of a vehicle into a trunk, can suffocate from lack of oxygen and high temperatures.

Study Calls for Education and Engineering to Help Reduce the Number of Non-Traffic Car Accidents

Researchers involved in the Brown University study are calling for increased education to alert parents and adults of the dangers of non-traffic car accidents. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the risks to children when they are in or around cars and trucks. Close supervision and awareness of these risks can help reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities.

The study also emphasizes the need for engineers to continue to develop technology and car safety features that can help keep children safe around cars. Back-up alarms and cameras are a great start to making children visible to drivers, but further development on locking mechanisms and electronic controls are needed to enhance child safety.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured or lost in a traffic-related or non-traffic car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. With six office locations in South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers offer detailed safety tips for Thanksgiving travel. The long weekend that begins with Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year. According to the AAA auto club, the number of Americans traveling for the holiday will increase more than 11 percent over last year. It is estimated that 42.2 million will travel at least 50 miles to spend the day with their loved ones. Most of that travel – 94 percent, or 39.7 million people – will travel by car. With so many people on the road, most of them trying to keep up with a hectic schedule and dealing with the possibility of bad weather, this can spell a recipe for disaster. But if you take the time to make safety a priority, you can make it a great holiday.

Here are a few tips for staying safe if you are traveling for the holiday:

  • Prepare your vehicle: Check wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Make a list and follow through on any other maintenance your car may need to prevent a breakdown on the road.
  • Know the risks beforehand: Listen to the weather and traffic reports to know what you are up against, and what you can avoid. Drive only if you can stay safe given the conditions.
  • Plan your trip: Know your exits by name and number, and watch the signs as you come close to off-ramps. Many car accidents happen during unexpected lane changes. And use maps or a GPS device so you know what to expect.
  • Be mindful of your gas level. Keep your gas tank half full. Condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank when temperatures are extremely cold, which could potentially freeze your fuel line and leave you stranded.
  • Create an emergency kit. You should have a first-aid kit, jumper cables, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, blankets, a fire extinguisher, bottled water, non-perishable food, a tire repair kit, a jack, and flares.
  • Share your itinerary with loved ones. They should know when to expect you, and your planned route of travel in case of emergency.
  • Buckle up. It’s not only the law to wear your seat belt – it is essential to your safety. Even a fender bender can be deadly without a seat belt – seat belts can reduce the rate of fatal injury by 45 percent.
  • Know your limits. Do not drive while fatigued, upset, ill, or impaired. It will not be a happy holiday if you don’t arrive safely.

If you have been injured in a car accident, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

The Necessity of Rest Areas for Truck Drivers

Columbia Trucking Accident Lawyers discuss the necessity of rest areas for truck drivers. A recent study has drawn attention to the lack of rest areas for truck drivers. Researchers at Oregon State University surveyed a 290-mile stretch of highway over a seven-year period. In the area analyzed by the research team, researchers concluded that there were not enough safe parking areas to meet the demand of truckers and federal hours-of-service regulations. They found that negligent and fatigued truck drivers were responsible for around $75 million of “crash harm” in the area, and that the crash trends in terms of time of day, day of the week, and month of the year, corresponded to periods when truck drivers were having the most trouble accessing rest areas.

The researchers analyzed a stretch of United States Highway 97, which traverses the north-south line along the eastern side of the Cascades. Researchers found that the demand outweighed the capacity for trucker parking areas. This correlates to a serious safety concern for anyone who uses this stretch of highway, not only because it means more drowsy drivers, but also because truck drivers are more likely to park in undesignated areas, or speed to make it to the next rest area to sleep.

Although the researchers isolated the stretch of Highway 97 in their study, the problem extends throughout the country. Researchers chose this stretch of highway because the concept of the study originated with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s office located at the midpoint of the stretch of road. The study was motivated by the passage of Jason’s Law in 2012, which prioritized federal funding in a manner intended to address a nationwide shortage of safe, accessible truck parking.

A Solution

The researchers at OSU College of Engineering for the Oregon Department of Transportation canvassed more than 200 truck drivers about the problem, and looked at how other states were handling the shortage in safe, accessible rest parking. They utilized historical crash data to identify trends and danger areas, and to quantify “crash harm.” One possible solution that they considered was finding ways to promote public-private partnerships. This way, the state could work together with businesses to ensure that truckers have sufficient rest areas.

Federal regulations require truckers carrying cargo to stop after 11 hours of driving. They are legally required to exit the highway and park and rest for a full 10 hours before resuming. Although current crash data does not have an explicit categorization for truck-parking-shortage-related-crashes, researchers operated under the assumption that truck accidents caused by fatigue are likely the result of inadequate parking, at least in part.

Columbia Trucking Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims of All Types of Truck Accidents

Let an experienced Columbia truck accident lawyer help you find the answers you are looking for about your truck accident. Call Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

With office locations throughout South Carolina, we represent victims of violations of federal regulations in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg, and throughout South Carolina.

Fatal Car Accident Occurs Near Shaw Air Force Base

Fatal Car Accident Occurs Near Shaw Air Force BaseA fatal car accident claimed the life of a woman from Elgin, South Carolina on Thursday afternoon. Around 2 pm, the collision, which involved two vehicles, took place near the Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina. Although the 37-year-old woman was transported to the Palmetto Health Tuomey facility for treatment, she succumbed to her fatal injuries at the hospital.

Life-threatening collisions between vehicles can take place at any time and on any road. Depending on many factors, a car accident could lead to serious or minor injuries for occupants or even fatalities. Contributing factors to a car crash could be drowsy driving, reckless driving, intoxicated driving, or speeding.

If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident, our Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will protect your rights. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Cyclist Fatally Injured After Colleton County Bicycle Accident

Cyclist Fatally Injured After Colleton County Bicycle AccidentA cyclist sustained fatal injuries after a car hit the victim on Wednesday afternoon. Around 2 pm, the bicycle accident occurred in Colleton County, South Carolina, when a 75-year-old man struck the cyclist who succumbed to his fatal injuries at the scene of the accident. The driver escaped the crash without any personal injuries.

Due to the open nature of a bicycle, cyclists have little to no protection from the elements or other vehicles. An individual riding a bike is at-risk for incurring many types of injuries as well as a fatality. Oftentimes, motorists fail to use caution around the riders or may be oblivious to their presence, which contributes to the danger cyclists face.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, our Columbia personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Two-Vehicle Collision in Aiken Causes Fatality for Driver

Two-Vehicle Collision in Aiken Causes Fatality for DriverOn Wednesday morning, a two-vehicle collision caused a fatality in Aiken, South Carolina. Around 5:37 am, a 54-year-old man was turning his car onto Atomic Road from Dragstrip Road when an SUV struck the driver’s side of his vehicle. The driver of the car succumbed to his fatal injuries at the scene of the accident while the 18-year-old man from Jackson, South Carolina, who was driving the SUV, and his female passenger were taken to the Augusta Hospital for treatment of their personal injuries.

Car accidents may occur more frequently during the early morning or late at night when visibility diminishes. Contributing factors like drowsy driving, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and reckless driving may add to the severity of a vehicle collision. Side-impact accidents may lead to the possibility of a range of injuries as well as fatalities for any parties involved.

If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident, our Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Weekly Workers’ Compensation Rates

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers explain Workers' Compensation weekly rates for injured workers. Those who have been injured on the job may be entitled to immediate benefit payments, including medical expenses and weekly payments to cover lost wages. Although the specifics of Workers’ Compensation benefit payments vary from state to state, most businesses are legally required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance in the event of a workplace accident. The specific weekly benefit rate for lost wages is generally a percentage of one’s normal paycheck.

Some injured workers can return to work after their injury or occupational illness, but in a different position. Often, these are called “light duty” positions. Furthermore, an injured worker may be able to return to work, but only on a part-time basis.

Options for Injured Workers

If you can return to work following your injury, but in a different, lower-paying job, many states offer something called temporary partial benefits. In such cases, your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier will pay out a portion of the difference between the amount you earned before your injury, and what you earn on light duty or part time.

If you are totally unable to work following your injury, you will likely receive a percentage of the amount you earned while working. In most states, injured workers are eligible to receive 66 2/3 percent of their pre-injury paycheck. Time loss compensation checks are usually paid twice per month, once per month, or weekly, depending on the state.

One of the greatest advantages of the Workers’ Compensation system is that medical bills for work-related injuries are paid as they are incurred. Instead of paying through your insurance carrier or out of pocket, your doctor will directly bill your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier.

In some cases, workers can receive regular, continuous benefit payments. This can occur if you were declared totally and permanently disabled, partially permanently disabled, or you entered into a structured settlement agreement with the insurance carrier. Total and permanent disability payments are capped at 500 weeks in South Carolina.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Injured Workers

If you have been injured at work, contact an experienced South Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg,  and throughout the state.

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