By Personal Injury Attorney Amy Gaiennie of Gaiennie Law Office 

Since 2010, pedestrian deaths have been on the rise, which does not bode well for the most recent test results of pedestrian detection systems by AAA. Earlier this year, AAA conducted several test scenarios on a track, replicating various scenes of pedestrians encountering vehicles to see how these systems faired. The results were less than ideal.

The first scenario that was tested was an adult crossing in front of a vehicle (installed with the detection system) while it traveled at both 20 miles per hour and 30 miles per hour during the day. An additional test was conducted at night, with the vehicle going 25 miles per hour. This scenario yielded the most positive results.

With a vehicle traveling 20 miles an hour in daylight, and the pedestrian detection systems on all four vehicles avoided a collision 40% of the time. All of the pedestrian detection systems fail the test while going 30 miles per hour, however.

The second scenario involved child pedestrian-safety. A child darting out in front of the vehicle from two parked cars was tested. This scenario was tested with the vehicle going 20 miles per hour and again at 30 miles per hour. This scenario proved the most deadly. A collision occurred 89% of the time with a vehicle traveling 20 miles per hour. With the vehicle going over 30 miles per hour, all of the detection systems failed.

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By Personal Injury Attorney Andrew Garza of Connecticut Trial Firm, LLC

Smoking electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), also called “vaping,” quickly gained popularity in the United States with little known about the health or safety risks associated with this practice. Vaping became especially popular among teenagers, and flavored e-cigarette cartridges or vape pods became commonplace, a pleasant scent masking a potentially deadly practice.

Very little was known about the side effects of vaping when these e-cigarettes hit the market a few years ago. This lack of knowledge is partially due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extending its timeline for important information on the health risks of smoking e-cigarettes.

After it was decided in 2016 that the FDA could regulate electronic cigarettes, a two-year deadline was imposed on companies to provide important health and safety data on the implications and side effects that could occur. However, the FDA extended this initial deadline from 2016 to 2022, allowing consumers to purchase and smoke e-cigarettes for years without having any crucial health data regarding the negative health effects of e-cigarettes.

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By Personal Injury Attorney Bennett Schiller of Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm

In April 2017, Bonni Genzer was driving for a popular ride-sharing company, Uber.

She picked up an Uber passenger and drove them to their destination over 130 miles away. Ms. Genzer delivered the Uber passenger safely to their destination and then began the long journey home solo. During this drive home, a metal object crashed through her windshield after being ejected from a semitrailer truck, and she sustained injuries when the object hit her in the face.

In the case Bonni J. Genzer v. James River Insurance Co. the court stated in its decision that Uber’s insurance does not cover Uber drivers when they are returning from delivering an Uber passenger to the passenger’s destination. This means that if the injury has occurred en route to the passenger’s destination, that Uber’s insurance likely would have covered the driver’s injuries, however, because it was on the return trip after the passenger arrived at their destination, the Uber driver was no longer covered by their policy.

The court ruled that Uber’s insurance only covers accidents that occur while the Uber driver is transporting an Uber passenger, before the passenger has been dropped off at their destination. However, just because an injured driver or passenger is denied coverage by one insurance policy, that does not mean they are stuck holding the bill. They may be able to sue the at-fault driver to recover damages.

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By Criminal Defense Attorney Floyd Oliver of Price Benowitz, LLP

In December of 2018, President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act into law.

This law was one of a few that have received bipartisan support under the Trump administration. The law gives thousands of people serving time in jail reduced sentences, allowing them to leave jail early and get on with their lives. The law was passed with the hope that it would reduce recidivism and give those serving time a second chance. Now though, prosecutors across the country are attempting to reverse the law in the most unfair way.

The law applies to inmates that were sentenced to jail for selling crack cocaine and gives them a chance to reduce their prison sentences. Now, however, prosecutors are unfairly targeting individuals that took a plea deal. During these deals, those accused often agree to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution, stating that they were in possession of much smaller amounts of drugs than they actually were. As a result, federal prosecutors are going back on their word and trying to get people thrown back into jail.

This is completely unfair to individuals that have been freed and was not the way the law was intended to work and should not be allowed. Inmates that believed they were free once again now have to deal with prosecutors trying to get them thrown back in jail for an indefinite amount of time.

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By Railroad Mesothelioma Attorney Christopher Murphy of Doran & Murphy, PLLC

It has long since been known that asbestos is a main cause of cancer. Unfortunately, this substance is absolutely everywhere, even in the air, and it is undetectable by the naked eye.

For years researchers thought they knew everything there was to know about this dangerous toxin and its relationship to cancer. Namely, asbestos was most commonly associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma. Now, in addition to those diseases, a new study has found that asbestos may also be linked to ovarian cancer.

The connection between asbestos and these two types of cancers may seem confusing to some. However, the study showed a clear link. Inhaling asbestos causes the mineral to become lodged in the pleura, which is in the lung cavity. This can result in either lung cancer or mesothelioma.

This connection has been clear for some time. It has also been known that asbestos can also be ingested. When it is, it can travel further into the body, down into the abdominal cavity. For women, this is particularly concerning because it then becomes lodged in the ovaries. According to the National Cancer Institute, this can easily lead to ovarian cancer.

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By Personal Injury Attorney Jamie Karek of Commonwealth Law Group

Virginia has a problem. They want to keep their drivers safe, so they install metal road reflectors that are supposed to help guide drivers. Unfortunately, now those very safety measures are starting to hurt drivers. They have caused several car accidents already and when they do, accident victims can file a claim for compensation.

The biggest problem with the metal reflectors is that they weigh over five pounds. When they come loose from the road, they fly into the air and land — sometimes on a driver’s windshield. The driver could then become injured by the broken glass, or it could cause them to get into an accident with another vehicle.

This sounds traumatic, and it is. It is also something that has happened to 90 people over the past five years alone. When they do happen, motorists should understand they can file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

When a government agency is negligent, as they have been with these reflectors, they can still be held liable. However, these claims are much more difficult than other personal injury cases. This is why the help of an experienced attorney, and swift action, is absolutely necessary.

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By Personal Injury Attorney John M. Cooper of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Last year, Governor Ralph Northam signed HB 708 into law.

The law states that all children under the age of two must remain in a rear-facing child seat at all times. As of July 1, 2019, that law went into effect. Parents that do not comply with the law are not only placing their child in danger, but will also face penalties from law enforcement.

One exception to this is that a child can move to a front-facing seat when they reach the maximum weight limit of the seat, although there are others, as well. That weight limit can be found in the seat’s instruction manual, and they do vary between manufacturers.

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By Reckless Driving Attorney Andrew Lindsey of Price Benowitz LLP

As of July 1, 2019, there are new rules of the road in Virginia that all drivers must be aware of. Failing to follow these rules could have severe consequences for those caught in violation of them. In some cases, those penalties could include up to one year in jail.

“It is so important that all drivers understand what the new rules are,” says Andrew Lindsey of Price Benowitz. “Unfortunately, being unaware of the laws is not a defense. The new laws pertaining to emergency vehicles and cell phones are important and, like any new law, not everyone is aware of them.”

One of those new rules involves the use of a cell phone in construction zones. While using a cell phone while driving is not banned in Virginia, now even just holding one in a construction zone has a penalty of a $250 fine attached to it.

Another law that took place as of July 1 involves emergency vehicles at the side of the road. Virginians have always been encouraged to watch for these vehicles, and slow down when approaching them. Now, it is the law. When safe to do so, drivers must pull over when they see these vehicles at the side of the road. If they cannot move over, they must at least slow down.

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By Personal Injury Attorney Theodore DiSalvo of Kogan & DiSalvo, P.A.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control, opioids are now responsible for one out of every five deaths among young adults in the United States.

Opioid use and abuse has spread throughout the American population, and its negative impacts continue to grow. As of 2016, opioids were involved in 1.5 percent of all deaths in the United States. This means that opioids caused more deaths than high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia. It also represents one tenth of the deaths caused by cancer.

“The increase in the availability of opioids via prescription and the ability of young adults to access the medications through the medicine cabinets of their parents has created the perfect environment for this increase,” said Theodore DiSalvo, an Opioid Epidemic Lawsuit Attorney with the law firm of Kogan & DiSalvo.

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