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What You Should Know About Defective Tires and Auto AccidentsIf you are like many adults who take pride in their car, truck, or SUV, you probably make vehicle maintenance a top priority. Checking the oil and other fluid levels, ensuring that your tires are aired up and the tread is not too worn, and taking your vehicle in for regular tune-ups may be a standard part of your routine. However, when defective design or manufacture of an auto part is to blame for a malfunctioning vehicle, there may be nothing the driver could have done to prevent it. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, and you believe that defective tires were to blame, you may have a valid product liability case.  

History of Faulty Car and Truck Tires

Many people still remember when the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was forced to conduct one of the largest recalls in U.S. history. Defective tires installed on Ford pickup trucks and SUVs were associated with accidents causing over 800 injuries and 270 deaths. Firestone eventually recalled a staggering 6.5 million tires, and the Ford Motor Company recalled and replaced approximately 13 million of the defective tires. Ford faced over $600 million in lawsuits as a result.

Unfortunately, tire recalls are not limited to just these companies. Just recently, Alliance Tire Americas issued a tire recall after it was discovered that the tread might separate from the casing during use. Flaws in the design and manufacture of tires can cause the tires to malfunction and put the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk.  

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Which State Has Jurisdiction in a Product Liability Lawsuit?If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you would obviously prefer for the case to be heard in a court that is local to you. This should not be a concern if the defendant resides or does business in your home state. However, there may be a question of jurisdiction if you are dealing with a defendant who resides in a different state. State jurisdiction over product liability cases has become contentious because of a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that set stricter requirements for proving that a state has the authority to hear a case involving a non-resident defendant. The ruling has made it easier for corporate defendants to request a case dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction.

Personal Jurisdiction

Part of deciding whether a state has jurisdiction over a case is determining whether the state has authority over the defendant, known as personal jurisdiction. Many defendants in product liability cases are businesses that have headquarters in a different state from where the case is being heard. However, there are many ways to establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant. First of all, your jurisdiction claim is its strongest if you purchased the product and were injured in the same state where you are filing. You may also need to prove that the defendant had minimum contact with you in your state, such as:

  • Operating a branch office or warehouse in your state that is related to the product that caused your injury
  • Soliciting you to purchase the product by catalog, phone call, or other means of product marketing

Lack of Minimum Contact

The Supreme Court ruling emphasized that a state cannot claim personal jurisdiction over a defendant without minimum contact that is relevant to the case. For instance, a defendant may own property in your state where it conducts business or manufactures products that are unrelated to your case. Courts in many states had allowed jurisdiction over personal injury lawsuits based on this evidence, but some courts are now citing the Supreme Court ruling and saying that this evidence is not enough to prove minimum contact.

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Lung Disease from Vaping Can Be Subject to Product Liability LawsuitsE-cigarettes were introduced to consumers more than a decade ago as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco products. Vaping has caught on with younger smokers, partly due to its cleaner image and the variety of flavors. However, it has become clear that e-cigarettes are not as safe as their manufacturers claimed. There are hundreds of cases of e-cigarette users developing lung diseases, with several patients dying as a result. If you have developed a lung disease due to vaping, the manufacturer may be liable for your personal injury if the product did not warn you about the risk.

Dangers of Vaping

While e-cigarettes may contain fewer toxins than normal cigarettes, that does not make them safe to use, particularly for teens and pregnant women. Most e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and chemicals that can cause cancer and lung disease. Long-term vaping is believed to lead to several diseases, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis

The device itself has also been dangerous to consumers because of numerous incidents in which the battery exploded. Because e-cigarette users often carry the device in their pocket, an explosion can cause serious burn and shrapnel injuries.

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How Holiday Decorating Can End in InjuryWhen it comes to holiday-related injuries, people may think of classic comedies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” While the accidents are played up for comedic effect in the movies, holiday injuries are real and no laughing matter for those who are hurt. According to one study, Christmas decorations injured around 173,000 people in the U.S. from 2007 to 2016. Recovering from an injury can put a damper on your holidays, which is why you should be careful when decorating in and around your house. In some cases, a faulty product may cause your injury, which could allow you to seek personal injury compensation from the manufacturer.

Outside Decorations

Decorating your house can be dangerous because you may be installing lights and hanging objects from high places. There is always a risk of electrocution and fire when handling electricity. Climbing up a ladder or onto your roof puts you in a precarious position, particularly if you are dealing with ice and snow. Falling from the top of even a one-story home may cause broken bones, head trauma, and other serious injuries. You can protect yourself while putting up outside decorations by:

  • Waiting for a day with clear weather
  • Removing snow and ice from surfaces
  • Replacing strings of lights that have exposed wires and broken bulbs
  • Testing your ladder to make sure it is stable

Indoor Decorations

The largest decoration hazard inside your home is likely your Christmas tree. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, it can injure you if it falls on you or catches on fire. Broken ornaments can cause cuts, and leaving small ornaments or hooks in the reach of young children could be a choking hazard. Illuminating your tree with lights once again brings risks related to electricity. You can protect your family against indoor decoration injuries by:

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How Businesses Can Be Liable for Personal InjuriesFiling a personal injury lawsuit against a large business can be more challenging than when an individual is a defendant. Corporations are often familiar with being the subject of lawsuits and have attorneys who are prepared to respond to litigation. The corporation has the resources to afford a protracted legal battle if it believes it is in the right or that its reputation is at risk. On the other hand, a corporation may be more willing than an individual to offer you a settlement if it believes a court battle is not worth the expense. A personal injury attorney can review your case to determine the benefits and risks of filing a lawsuit against a corporation.

Premises Liability

Businesses can be liable for the safety of guests on their properties. Stores are the most common example of these properties, though the public could also visit an office location. To prove a premises liability case, you must show that:

  • A condition on the business premises caused your injury;
  • The business failed to identify the dangerous condition in a timely manner or did not properly warn you of the danger; and
  • You could not have reasonably foreseen or avoided the injury.

It is more difficult to prove that a business is liable for a dangerous condition that suddenly developed than a condition that is the result of a lack of maintenance. For instance, you could slip and fall after someone spilled a drink on a tile floor. Depending on how recently the spill occurred, employees may not have had a chance to clean it up and put out a “wet floor” sign. If an automatic door malfunctions and crushes your arm, the business would be liable if it was aware of the danger and had done nothing to fix it or warn you.

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