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It’s officially bicycling season in Chicago. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel takes action to make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the country, our team of bike crash lawyers offer advice on navigating city streets safely. As always, we are available to speak to accident victims free of charge, seven days a week.

According to our friends at Advocates Law in Washington, last year cycling accounted for more head injuries than football, baseball, and basketball combined. Click on the infographic below for a larger, easy-to-read version.

bikesafety infographic

Made by Driggs, Bills & Day, PPLC

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small airplaneIn 2005, David Sikkelee took off in his four-seat, single engine airplane in a small North Carolina airport. Moments after takeoff, the engine malfunctioned, causing the plane to crash and kill him. Two years later his widow filed suit against several companies she believed contributed to the engine’s malfunction and death of her husband. Below, our airplane accident lawyers discuss her lawsuit and why small airplanes crash so frequently.

Sikkelee’s widow, Jill, filed her lawsuit under state product liability law. In 2010, a Pennsylvania court threw out her suit, stating federal law preempted her product liability claims.

Preemption is when federal law overrides state law. Very often, state laws conflict with federal laws (like those governing drugs and medical devices). According to a clause in our Constitution, when a conflict like this occurs, federal law automatically displaces state law.

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AmtrakAn Amtrak train travelling to Chicago derailed this month, injuring at least 32 people. The train accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins explain the safety issues contributing to Amtrak injuries and our railway injury practice.

The recent derailment occurred in rural Kansas on Amtrak’s route from Los Angeles to Chicago. Five of the train’s cars derailed just after midnight. Early news stories suggest a truck hit the Amtrak railway, shifting the tracks at least a foot before the derailment.

The train was going about 60 miles per hour when the engineer saw a significant bend in the rails and applied the emergency break. The train came to a complete stop about 18 seconds later, leaving 32 passengers injured, two of them critically. The Red Cross was sent to the scene to assist as well.

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carsLast month, we reported that self-driving cars will be on national highways within five years, and are already on roads in San Francisco. Our auto accident attorneys recently learned that the California Department of Motor Vehicles may issue regulations on this new technology next year.

Home of Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that California is spearheading the movement to bring self-driving cars to the public.  There are many different types and levels of self-driving – or autonomous – cars, from operating entirely without a human present to crash-avoidance systems that are already present in millions of vehicles.

The legal arm of the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been developing regulations for self-driving cars for about four years. In 2012, a law passed requiring the Department to conduct assessments on the safety of this new technology. Some of the major concerns revolve on whether or not the auto industry should be allowed to guarantee that its vehicles will comply with all state laws and codes, which is known as “self-certification.”

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airbagIf you are concerned, but ultimately overwhelmed and confused by the air bag safety crisis, you are not alone. Here, our defective air bag lawyers attempt to demystify some of the most important information, including confidential documents unsealed in court and the victims at the center of these lawsuits.

To date, Takata has recalled 28 million vehicles for defective airbags, making history as the most significant safety issue ever in in the U.S. Takata also made history when it was fined $200 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – the most the NHTSA has ever fined a company in a civil penalty.

Incredibly, the Japanese company still insists its airbags are safe, despite clear and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. In fact, testimony given in February 2016 proved that Takata’s own engineers purposefully discarded evidence that would prove the company knew beyond a reasonable doubt. Perhaps this is why Takata feels confident stating its innocence; it destroyed all data and documents proving its guilt years ago.

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bus seatsOur bus accident attorneys reported on a deadly Greyhound bus accident in Pennsylvania in October 2013. Last week, a jury awarded one of the victims $27 million in damages. Learn more about this verdict and other cases against Greyhound below.

The Greyhound bus was carrying passengers from New York to Ohio the night of the accident, which occurred on I-80 in Pennsylvania. According to court documents, the bus driver fell asleep at the wheel at 1:45 a.m., slamming into the back of a semi-truck. The crash killed one passenger and injured 45 others, including the plaintiff in this case, Mark Soberay.

Soberay suffered a severed urethra (the tube beginning at the bladder, through which urine leaves the body), along with injuries that caused him to lose his right leg. He underwent more than 30 surgeries to repair a hole in his heart, crushed bones in his arm, pelvis, and foot, and torn shoulder muscles. He was asleep in the front passenger seat when the crash occurred, and was trapped for three hours while rescue workers tried to pull him from under the crushed bus.

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green lightAs automakers, tech companies, and the government push to make driverless cars a reality, customers and legal experts consider the implications on auto accidents and liability. Who will be responsible in the event of a crash? How will courts and states govern this new technology? Our team of auto accident attorneys considers the legal implications of self-driving cars below.

Last week, the Obama administration announced a $4 billion program to implement driverless car pilot programs over the next ten years. The program will need approval from Congress, as it is part of the 2017 fiscal budget, but the announcement marks a significant change of course. This is the first time the government has acknowledged the inevitability of self-driving cars on our roadways.

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bridgeEarlier this month, Congress approved a $305 billion act to fund the country’s roads, bridges, and rail lines. It is the largest transportation bill in more than a decade and will last five years. The auto and train accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins detail this bill and how it will affect public safety.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act will reauthorize federal transportation programs like the Highway Trust Fund and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. FAST is 1,300 pages, so we have briefly summarized the most pertinent details into the categories below:

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TurkeyWith Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and every event in between, millions of Americans are traveling this weekend. No matter your destination, the team at Pintas & Mullins hopes you have a festive, happy and safe holiday weekend.

Car Safety

If you haven’t already, now is the time to prep your car for winter travel. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are traveling safely:

  • Prepare a road safety kit
  • Check your lights, tires, and battery
  • Replace wiper blades
  • Make sure your tires are the correct pressure
  • Consider winter tires

Far too many serious accidents and deaths occur when drivers have to pull over due to weather or car trouble. If you become stuck in snow or must pull to the side of the road, stay with your car, do not try to walk to safety. Instead, tie a bright cloth to your antennae, and start the car to use the heater for about ten minutes every hour. This is also where your road safety kit comes in handy.

The importance of tire safety cannot be stressed enough. For more information on potential tire defects, proper pressure amounts, and common misconceptions, read our blog post here.

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SCOTUSOn Monday, November 9th, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important case regarding outstanding medical bills for a man injured in an auto accident. At issue is whether or not the injured man has to pay back his insurance company for his medical bills, even after his lawsuit has settled. Our team of auto accident attorneys details this case and its potentially far-reaching implications.

Background

The case, Montanile v. National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, was filed by Robert Montanile, who was hurt in a crashed caused by a drunk driver. His medical bills amounted to $121,000, which his own health insurance plan, National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, paid in full.

Montanile also hired a personal injury attorney to help him recover damages from the drunk driver. He filed sued against the driver, ultimately securing a $500,000 settlement. Once his case settled Montanile’s insurance company requested to be reimbursed for the $121,000 it paid for his medical expenses, which the man refused. After several months of discussions, Montanile’s lawyer released to him the $121,000 (that was being held in a trust), which Montanile spent.

Meanwhile, the benefit plan sued Montanile for the full amount of his medical expenses under what’s often called the “most complicated statue in the entire U.S. Code,” the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA.

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