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Jefferson City Personal Injury Law Blog

What is a 'storm doctrine?'

As late-winter snowstorms bear down on a significant part of the country, slip-and-fall injuries are no doubt increasing. That's why it's important to know just how much liability a property owner should assume when someone falls on a sidewalk, parking lot or other part of their property during a storm. That's where something called the "storm doctrine" comes in.

These laws also go by a variety of "continuous storm doctrine." Local cities and municipalities may also have regulations about a property owner's duty to keep the outdoor area clear. St. Louis, for example, has a snow removal ordinance that mandates this removal after "any fall of snow."

What kinds of defects give rise to product liability claims?

American consumers rely on the safety of everyday products that they purchase at department stores, that are prescribed to them by their doctors, and that they incorporate into their routine lives. However, not all of these products are safe, and sometimes they can cause catastrophic injury or death to the people who use them. Even worse, virtually any kind of innocent-looking product could present dangers, so there's no way to know for certain if something is 100 percent safe.

Let's take a look at the types of product defects that could give rise to an injury or death:

The devil is in the details with Samsung Galaxy's warranty

When most people get a new electronic gadget, they don't read through the enclosed brochures with all of the fine print (generally in several languages). They just want to start using their new purchase.

For people who bought the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone, what was included in the fine print may keep consumers from holding the company liable for damages caused by the defective product. The phones were recalled after numerous complaints of them exploding or catching fire. In some cases, consumers were injured as a result.

Who's liable if a teen causes a car accident?

Statistics show that teen drivers are among the most dangerous on the roads. That's why many states, including Missouri, have graduated licensing programs. These allow teens to gradually gain driving privileges such as driving alone and at any time of the day or night as they demonstrate their ability to drive safely.

They are required to have insurance, which parents of teen drivers can attest is not inexpensive. Here in Missouri, drivers must have a minimum of $25,000 per person coverage and $50,000 per collision for bodily injury. They must also have at least $10,000 coverage for property damage.

The Honest Company faces more product issues, recall

The Honest Company, which was co-founded by actress Jessica Alba, is once again facing allegations about the safety and environmental friendliness of its products.

Last March, the Wall Street Journal alleged that independent lab tests found that the cleaning agent in its green liquid laundry detergent contained a chemical that could irritate skin. The company at the time claimed that it used a "gentler alternative" to the one that the newspaper asserted that it was using.

Millions of food processors recalled due to broken blades

Millions of Americans have Cuisinart food processors in their kitchens. Therefore, it was frustrating and a little frightening to learn just before the holidays that eight million of them were being recalled due to problems with the blades. That's one of the largest U.S. appliance recalls ever.

The recall came after at least 69 people reported that the blades in their machines had cracked or broken, with pieces ending up in their food. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 30 people suffered cuts to their mouths or broken teeth. More injuries are expected to be announced, as the CPSC continues to process consumer complaints.

Government moves to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication

Vehicles that are "self-driving" have received a good deal of media attention in recent years. They're touted by some as safer than regular cars because they can't get drunk, text or be distracted by passengers. Some 80 percent of crashes are the result of driver impairment.

However, their safety record of self-driving cars thus far has been spotty. Just this month a driverless Uber ran a red light, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

Tonka toy trucks pulled from shelves after fire reported

At this time of year when parents are shopping for Christmas presents for their kids, toy dump trucks seem like a safe choice. However, retailer Toys ‘R' Us has stopped selling a 12-volt Tonka Mighty Wheels dump truck after one of them caught fire in the back of a pick-up truck before a couple had even gotten it home to their grandchild -- let alone out of the box.

According to the couple, they pulled off the road and got out of their vehicle when they saw "[s]parks and smoke coming from inside of the box." Even the state troopers who were summoned to the scene were unable to put out the fire. Ultimately, firefighters were called to the scene, but the fire still destroyed the vehicle.

DUI crash kills, injures multiple Missouri teens

A 27-year-old Missouri man has been charged with killing three teenagers in Schuyler County in a crash while he was allegedly driving under the influence. The fatal crash occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 13.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the man was driving his pickup truck at over 100 mph and jumping hills when he lost control of the vehicle, skidded and ran off the road on Route D southwest of Downing. The truck rolled over multiple times.

Snapchat speed filter blamed for incentivizing reckless driving

The Snapchat app has a speed filter that lets users post the speed at which their vehicle is moving. What rational purpose is there for such a thing? Safety advocates and lawmakers have been asking that question, asserting that it only encourages people to drive recklessly, even if the app is being used by a passenger. Of course, there's the obvious distraction of using Snapchat or any app while driving.

Last year, a teen was allegedly using the app when her Mercedes reached 113 mph before striking another vehicle, resulting in traumatic brain injuries to the other driver. Snapchat has claimed that according to their usage logs, she wasn't using the app near the time of the collision. However, she used it to message "Lucky to be alive" after being loaded onto a stretcher.

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Jefferson City, MO 65101
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