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Pittsburgh Injury Law Blog

Recall finally issued for Buckyballs

Product recalls seem to be a daily occurrence in the news. Sometimes businesses are quick to issue these recalls. Other times however, a business may fight the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s effort to recall a product. One company that has found itself in this position is Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, the business that made Buckyballs.

While the name Buckyballs may not be familiar to readers, the product likely is. The small magnetic stacking balls can be a fun tactile distraction for users. Unfortunately, they are not designed for people of all ages and children have been hurt after ingesting the high-powered magnets. According to the CPSC, between the years of 2009 and 2011, an estimated 1,700 kids had to go to the emergency room after playing with Buckyballs. The strength of the magnetism contained in the balls could cause problems of swallowed.

Drowning Fifth Leading Cause of Unintentional Death

Swimming is one of Pennsylvania's most popular summer activities. Housing complexes and water parks around the area offer guests a convenient and entertaining way to cool down; however, they can pose many threats for an injury or death as well.

Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional death or injury in the United States. On average, ten people die per day due to unintentional drowning. These incidents, however, are preventable as long as pool owners, parents and swimmers follow proper safety protocol.

Any swimming pool that is open to the public must follow their state and local ordinances. For example, a housing complex in Pennsylvania with a swimming pool that is open to the public must have a lifeguard on duty. If a lifeguard is absent and a swimmer would drown, the fault would ultimately fall on the property owner. Aside from a drowning incident, if a swimmer were to have a medical emergency such as a heart attack while swimming, it would still be the fault of the property owner since they neglected to have a lifeguard on duty. A lifeguard could have helped the individual in this type of situation.

Dry rot to blame for tree falling on family vehicle

Weather can put significant wear and tear on trees causing them to deteriorate over time. If these trees are not properly maintained they can pose serious threats to the public.

This was the case for one family in Johnstown, PA on Monday June 23, 2014. The family was riding along Route 403 when a tree fell onto their vehicle. The car then veered off to the left and crashed into a utility pole. The accident resulted in two children fatalities. The other occupants of the vehicle were the children's mother, who is pregnant, her boyfriend and her two other children who were all treated for injuries after the accident.

A Somerset County police chief says they believe dry rot caused the large tree to fall on top of the family's vehicle. It has not been released who is responsible for the maintenance of the specific tree. In an instance such as this, it is likely an investigation will be done to see why the tree was left neglected.

Report indicates that teens are not wearing seat belts

Most individuals on Pittsburgh area roads are aware that the very fact that they in a car on the road places them in a position where they could be involved in a car accident. Even when a driver is following the rules of the road, if those in other cars are not, the outcome can be catastrophic. Taking one’s eyes from the road for even a few seconds can lead to an automobile accident.

While not all car accidents result in serious injuries, many people take precautions to minimize the outcome should a crash occur. For most this entails the simple act of buckling one’s seat belt.

Children Die Each Summer When Left In Hot Vehicles

Each summer, a number of children will be left in hot vehicles and face the possible threat of having heatstroke. So far, in 2014, there have been 17 heatstroke deaths due to children being left in vehicles; 12 of the 17 have been confirmed while the other 5 are still under investigation. Children's internal temperature systems are not as effective as an adults; they can be in danger within minutes if left in a hot vehicle.

Heatstroke can occur when a person's temperature reaches above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes a person's ability to maintain a healthy body temperature to be compromised. Symptoms of heatstroke include: dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, seizures and loss of consciousness to name a few. Heatstroke can happen to a child left in a vehicle with relatively moderate temperatures outside such as 70 degrees. A car's internal temperature can increase 19 degrees in just 10 minutes. Dark dash boards, seats and steering wheels attract sunlight and give off radiation which can warm the air around.

Twenty states, including Pennsylvania, have laws against leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. Most children who were left in hot vehicles alone were forgotten about by adults exiting the vehicle. Other reports indicate that children ended up in hot vehicles unattended by climbing into the vehicles on their own. Some children however, are left in vehicles intentionally by an adult. A majority of children who have been affected by heatstroke were under the age of two years old.

Lawsuit filed in truck accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan

Though motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks occur on roads throughout the nation, including in the state of Pennsylvania, on a regular basis, they often get little or no attention outside of the group immediately affected by the incident. When a celebrity is involved in one of these incidents however, more people generally hear about it.

By now most people reading this post are likely thinking about the actor/comedian, Tracy Morgan. He was seriously injured last month when the vehicle in which he was riding was struck by a Wal-Mart truck. He was not the only person hurt in the truck accident. One person’s injuries were so serious that they led to death.

Man injured when SUV hits his parked car along side of road

All individuals who get behind the wheel of a vehicle to drive need to pay attention to the road and the vehicles with which they share it. In addition, they have to pay attention to things that are surrounding the road as well.  A driver on Route 28 recently struck a car which was situated along the side of the road.  The car had not been left behind. Its driver was sitting on it apparently waiting for assistance with a flat tire.

Food truck explosion in Pennsylvania injures several people

Food trucks are a popular meal option for many individuals in cities throughout the nation, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Essentially mobile take away restaurants, these trucks can move from location to location depending on the day of the week and remain there for several hours selling often hot food, before leaving for the day.

Recently a food truck located in another Pennsylvania city did not work as intended. One of the propane tanks used to fuel the truck, exploded, launching it 150 feet. Following the explosion, a fire ball appeared and two cars that happened to be passing by at the time of the incident were engulfed by the fire. At the time of the accident the food truck was parked outside of a body shop.

Fireworks pose threat for serious injuries

Firework shows are a popular summer attraction, especially during Fourth of July celebrations; however, they can cause serious injuries to adults and children if not handled properly. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, on average, 200 people will go to emergency rooms every day due to firework related injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries and sometimes disabling conditions. The most common type of injuries sustained due to fireworks are burn injuries. A sparkler can reach temperatures of nearly 2,000 degrees. Sadly, children are usually the victims of these types of injuries. Summer activities can pose many potential threats for children. In a previous blog post, we spoke about keeping children safe around swimming pools and the importance of supervision. It is important to always supervise children around fireworks as well. Other types of injuries inflicted from fireworks include: loss of hearing and eye sight, shock, smoke inhalation and loss of fingers.

Motorcyclist seriously injured in Pittsburgh area accident

When driving an automobile, one of the most important things a driver can do is pay attention to other vehicles on the road. While most drivers do not have a problem seeing other cars and trucks, the same cannot always be said regarding motorcycles. While there are many reasons that motorcycle accidents occur, this is one cause often cited.

This may have been played a role in a motorcycle crash that recently occurred in the Pittsburgh area. A 26-year-old man on a motorcycle collided with a car driven by an 82-year-old woman. Following the crash an accident reconstruction team was called to the scene to try to determine what happened.

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