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The Basics of Defective Products

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 9:00 am    

One would think that if a product were ready to hit the market, it would be safe to use for its intended function. However, approximately 3 million people are injured and 20,000 are killed by dangerous and defective products. Below are four things to know about defective products:

  1. Image courtesy of kdshutterman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Items for children are frequently recalled, so protect yourself and your family by making sure the products in your home are safe.
    Image courtesy of kdshutterman/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 200 to 300 products are recalled annually because they pose a danger to users.

  2. Dangerous & defective products can include household items like cribs, car seats, toys, electronics, appliances, automobiles, cleaning products,  food products and prescription drugs. To view a list of recalled items, visit Recalls.gov, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Safe Kids Worldwide and the FDA.
  3. When a defective product injures a user, they may file a product liability claim to compensate for medical bills, pain & suffering and lost wages. The manufacturer, distributor or retailer may be held liable depending on the nature of the defect and the amount of knowledge each had concerning the product.
  4. The standard to determine whether a product is defective in a liability case depends on whether the product lived up to the safety standards set by the community’s reasonable expectations of a product’s safety. Such factors include the marketing, packaging, instructions, warnings and the reasonably foreseeable use of the product. Product liability claims can fall into the category of negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty or a consumer protection claim.

If you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product, consult The Firm by calling 843-720-2800.

GM’s CEO under scrutiny by Congress

Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 4:59 pm    

At a Capitol Hill hearing initiated by a House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday, April 1, Mary Barra, the CEO for Detroit, Michigan-based automaker General Motors Co., faced scrutiny over the recent recall of over 2 million vehicles. During the hearing, she apologized to the victims of the 13 fatal accidents that have been connected to GM vehicles’ ignition switch defect, and said she herself was not entirely sure as to why the company has failed to address the issue that was first discovered in 2010.

Barra made a vow that GM would provide measures to ensure that such a massive mistake will not happen again, saying, “If there’s a safety issue, we’re going to make the right change and accept that.”

Barra became GM’s CEO only this January.

GM announced to the public that new ignition switches would be made available starting April 7.

Auto manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that the design of their vehicles are safe and not defective. Thus, when they fail in this duty, they can be held liable for the ensuing consequences and losses that victims of an accident face. If you have been injured by an auto defect in Charleston, call our lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm at (843) 720-2800 to discuss your legal options.

5 Tips For Employers on Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am    

Almost all employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage. There are a number of workers’ compensation rules that may not be clear to employers.

Listed are five tips to better manage a Workers’ Compensation policy:

  1. Gauging Payroll on the Policy – When a policy period ends, you may be subject to an audit to calculate actual payroll for the term and determine your premium. The frequency of audits is contingent on your premium; with those less than $3,500 being subject to review every three years. Be proactive in managing your records: if higher than estimated, you will owe an additional sum; if lower, you’ll receive a return rebate.
  2. About Audits – Take these seriously, as they can result in a substantial increase if not addressed. If an auditor finds an owner to be unresponsive, the audit with automatically be processed with a 50 percent increase in payroll.
  3. Inclusion, Exclusion and Election of Coverage Form – Workers’ Compensation policy laws vary by state. You may be legally required to submit an Election of Coverage Form to the insurance bureau in your state. To confirm the choice to include or exclude has been properly documented, contact your insurance representative. They will provide assistance by accurately completing documentation to help avoid penalties.
  4. Cancelling A Compensation Policy Mid-term – A policyholder may choose to cancel their policy at any time by giving written notice to their insurer. It’s actually a common practice in the industry for a ‘short rate’ fee, which is usually a sliding percentage based on how long the policy has been held. Insurance companies issue policies for 12-month period, working in costs for quotes and individualized research. The short rate penalty encourages policyholders to keep their policy a full year.
  5. What is Experience Modification?  – After a few years of business and reaching a certain premium size, an experience modification will be calculated for the owner. If an owner has better than average losses for their class and state, they will receive a discount (vice versa for lower than average losses). Having a reputable claims handling group will also keep a modification low because a claim mishandled by the adjusting firm will be reflected on the actual business’s costs.

If you need help understanding Workers’ Compensation policies, contact The Firm at 843-720-2800.

J. Kevin Holmes Elected to the Charleston County Bar Association

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 10:05 am    

Charleston County Bar Association welcomed J. Kevin Holmes to its Executive Committee. He will bring 35 years of legal experience to this position.

In other news, Holmes rotated off The Lowcountry Food Bank board in December after six years of service. While on the board at the Food Bank, Holmes assisted with various legal matters.

Life Expectancy & Social Security Benefits

Posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am    

One of the most important investment decisions we all have to make involves life expectancy. The issue doesn’t depend on stocks or bonds, but Social Security benefits. If you or your spouse has the required ten years of employment, you can begin drawing retirement benefits between ages 62 and 70. The longer you wait to receive benefits, the larger the amount of benefits you’ll receive (the age of full retirement varies by your birth year). There are many factors that ultimately influence your decision to delay, but the bottom line is to take the benefits when they will be most valuable to you.

If you need help claiming your Social Security benefits, The Firm can help.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Toyota settles for $1.2 billion over criminal investigation

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 3:53 pm    

A four-year-long criminal investigation over the Toyota Motor Corp. is ending in a $1.2 billion settlement. Toyota is paying the United States over failure to disclose safety problems regarding unintended acceleration.

Toyota issued recalls in 2009, mostly in the United States, for more than 10 million vehicles. Toyota claimed that the recall regarded faulty brakes, gas pedals, and floor mats.

However, defective computer software was also causing serious problems in the recalled vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association detected the software problem following Toyota’s initial recall.

Toyota agreed to set aside more than $1 billion to pay off Toyota car owners who claimed Toyota’s recalls made them suffer economically and physically. 

If you are in need of legal representation in Charleston, the attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm represent people that have been injured due to the carelessness of others. Call our offices today at (843) 720-2800 to see what services we can provide for you.

Malcolm Crosland & David Pearlman Named College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Fellows

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am    

Congratulations to Malcolm Crosland and David Pearlman for being named College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers (CWCL) Fellows in Chicago this month.

CWCL was established to honor attorneys who have distinguished themselves within the field. Members are nominated for outstanding traits developed over 20 years or longer, and possess the highest qualifications, character, integrity and professional expertise.

David and Malcolm

david and malcolm2

Michael Jordan’s Charleston County EMS Lawsuit Featured on WCIV ABC News 4

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 2:14 pm    

Stryker Hip Replacements Recall

Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 9:00 am    

Stryker, a leading medical technology company, marketed its Rejuvenate system as the next generation and latest evolution in hip replacement products. The complex design was intended to offer greater stability and minimal bone stress, and was marketed to younger patients because of its durability and range of motion.

The product hit the market in 2009 after little testing on safety and effectiveness of the device prior to the launch. In April 2012, Stryker issued an Urgent Safety Alert to surgeons, which listed a number of safety risks to patients.  A month later, Stryker recalled the Rejuvenate Modular due to “fretting and/or corrosion” in the implant that may lead to “adverse local tissue reaction” and possible pain and/or swelling.

Although the company willingly recalled its product, it has not accepted full legal responsibility for the alleged defects and failure of the device. Patients throughout the US have suffered from metallosis (build-up of metal debris in soft tissue) and tissue damage, and have had to undergo a painful and complicated revision surgery to remove and replace the faulty Rejuvenate implant. Lawsuits filed against Stryker have charged the product as defective and dangerous because it is prone to fretting, degradation and fracture. Also, the suits state that Stryker knew or should have been aware that its hip systems were not fit for market, but continued to sell them.

If you’ve received a Stryker Rejuvenate hip or other faulty medical equipment, call 843-720-2800 and get The Firm behind you.

Disability Law FAQs

Posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am    

How often will my medical condition be reviewed?
The frequency of reviews depends on the nature and gravity of a medical condition and whether it is expected to improve.

  • Expected – A review will typically occur between 6-18 months after the date you became disabled.
  • Possible – A review will occur about once every three years.
  • Not Expected – A review will occur once every seven years.

How will I be notified?
When Social Security feels a full medical review is needed, you will be sent a letter asking you to come to the Social Security office.

What happens during a review?
At the review, you will be asked how your medical condition affects you and whether it has improved. Bring your doctors’ information and patient record numbers of any medical resources that have administered treated. If you have worked since making your claim, they’ll also ask for information about when you worked, the pay you received, and the type of work you did.

How is the decision made?
The case will be sent to the Disability Determination Services within the state, where a disability examiner and a medical consultant will work as a team to review the information pertaining to your case. If medical evidence is insufficient, you may be asked to have a special examination at no cost. The final decision will be mailed to you in writing.

What if I disagree?
If you disagree with the decision, you may appeal. There are four levels of appeal and, generally, you have 60 days to appeal from one level to the next.

The four levels are:
Reconsideration – Your case is independently reviewed by people who had no part in the original decision. You may appear before a disability hearing officer who will decide your appeal.
Hearing – If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Appeals Council – You may ask for a review of the judge’s decision by the Appeals Court if you disagree with the administrative law judge’s decision.
Federal Court – In the event you disagree with the Appeals Council decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you may bring a civil action in a federal court.

What if I try to work?
If you’re on disability and reported your work activity, you can have uncapped earnings during a trial period (up to nine months) while receiving full benefits. Other rules allow continued cash benefits and Medicare if actively seeking work. If receiving SSI payments, you may receive monthly payments while you work as long as your income remains under the limit.

Have more questions about a Disability claim, the Steinberg Law Firm can help. Contact today at 843-720-2800.