Self-Driving Cars Could Be Putting You at Risk as Their Numbers—and Their Shortcomings—Continue to Grow

A self-driving Uber vehicle—with a human safety driver behind the wheel in case of emergency—struck and killed an Arizona woman on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The victim, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, is the first known pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

According to preliminary reports, the self-driving vehicle was traveling approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. At the moment of impact, the vehicle was in autonomous mode and did not slow down prior to the collision. (Autonomous mode means that the vehicle was driving on its own at the time the crash occurred. A human safety driver sat behind the wheel as a precaution.) The unsuspecting pedestrian was walking along the crosswalk with her bicycle when she was struck by the self-driving Uber SUV. The human safety driver exhibited no signs of impairment following the tragic collision. The accident occurred at night (at approximately 10:00 PM) and no inclement weather was involved.

Herzberg’s death is an ominous reminder that self-driving technology is still in its infancy. Meanwhile, state governments are grappling with how to best regulate robotic car testing while posing minimal risk to the public. However, the clock is clicking towards 2020 as driverless car related injuries, accidents, and fatalities continue to mount. 2020—it is the year purported to be the timeframe of large-scale deployment of self-driving vehicles on American roads.

Uber is not the only company experimenting with driverless technology. Google, Samsung, Volvo, Tesla, and BMW—just to name a few—are among a burgeoning list of tech companies and automakers that are exploring and actively testing driverless vehicles on the roads right now (particularly in states like Arizona and California where inclement weather is less of a concern and there are less regulatory hurdles to overcome). Earlier this March, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey revised an executive order allowing self-driving vehicles to drive on state roads without a safety test driver behind the wheel. California is poised to follow suit in April by also allowing companies to test vehicles on the road without a person in the driver’s seat.

As companies, like Uber, race to create the safest and most advanced autopilot technology, vulnerable road users—such as pedestrians, cyclists, vehicle drivers and their passengers—are at risk of colliding with robotic vehicles that fall short of their expectation to adjust for the volatility, complexity, and unpredictability of the human driving experience. Can artificial intelligence really be taught—as human drivers are—to account for every possible instance in which human lives are at stake? Can such a safety automotive wonder ever really be entrusted to respond with the same speed and pragmatism that the human mind possesses?

While the answers to these questions are elusive, it is important to contemplate not just how your life—but the lives of your loved ones—could be jeopardized by a growing industry of self-operating vehicles that tech companies and automakers worldwide envision to assume control of the roads in mass numbers over the decades to come.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a self-driving vehicle, please do not hesitate to contact Inserra Kelley Sewell, Personal Injury Attorneys. Our compassionate and competent team of legal professionals are dedicated to providing you with answers about your potential claim. At Inserra Kelley Sewell, your health, safety, and peace of mind are the reason we do what we do. Let us help you and keep you driving safely as the list of potential road dangers becomes more daunting and driverless vehicles prepare to inherit the road in droves.

Popular Dog Foods Found to Contain Euthanasia Drug

Recently, this firm put out a first ever informational blog to let readers know that their beloved dogs could be in jeopardy due to the dog food they are consuming.  Already, there is another instance impacting the beloved canine members of the family, so we wanted to get the word out again for our readership.  The  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done an investigation with findings that popular brands of dog food contain a euthanasia drug!  Smuckers owns the brands with the dog food brands and has already voluntarily withdrawn the products.  The brands are Gravy Train, Skippy, Ol’ Roy, and Kibbles ‘N Bits.  A large number of stores, including 4,700 Walmart stores, are pulling the dog foods from their shelves.   

Current standards for dog food labels do not make it likely that pet owners will know what is truly being fed to their beloved furry friends.  Smuckers was violating federal law that does not allow any level of euthanasia drug, pentobarbital, to be included in a pet food product.  Smuckers is not answering questions on how the drug got into their dog foods, leaving investigators to wonder whether the manufacturer is using dogs for its food that have been euthanized with the drug.  Until the company answers questions, this is what some would assume and that’s a very unpleasant possibility for the pet owner to take in.  The bottom line is that consumers return any of these brands they have in their home to the store where it was purchased, and that their personal veterinarian be contacted for dogs that have already consumed the product. 

Inserra Kelley Sewell, Personal Injury Attorneys, strives to keep its readership aware of potential dangers to themselves and their loved ones in this society ripe with product dangers and recalls.  In this case the danger is to the beloved furry member of your family. Do not hesitate to contact this firm for advice on possible avenues to compensation.         

Salmonella Health Alert With Fareway Chicken Salad

There is a new alert out from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Salmonella dangers with chicken salad made and distributed by Fareway grocery stores based in Iowa.  Fareway distributed the subject chicken salad, made between December 15, 2017 to February 13, 2018, to their out of state locations as well as those in Iowa.  This includes Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Illinois Fareway stores.  Illnesses have been reported of Salmonella infection, which can include what is called Reactive Arthritis and/or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The most common symptoms with foodborne Salmonella illness includes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, elevated fever 12 to 72 hours after consumption, and these symptoms can be severe and cause the need for the consumer to be hospitalized.  As in many illness, there are populations especially vulnerable for more severe reactions, such as the elderly, people with suppressed immune systems, and young children/infants.  Salmonella infection generally lasts 4 to 7 days and most people do recover, barring complications. 

Consumers with any size deli container holding Fareway chicken salad, of various weights, should not consume the product, according to the FSIS and Iowa Department of Health.  It is recommended the product be thrown away or returned to the Fareway where it was purchased, and if you or a loved one has consumed the product, contact your medical provider immediately.  Do not hesitate to contact Inserra Kelley Sewell, Personal Injury Attorneys where our compassionate professionals can advise whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.           

Johnson & Johnson Will Pay Millions for Metal on Metal Hip Implants

Inserra Kelley Sewell has given its readership information in the past on the defective Pinnacle metal on metal replacement, with currently more than 9,000 cases filed against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy. A test case recently saw a jury award in Texas for six individual plaintiffs in the amount of $247 million dollars. This test trial was the third straight win for plaintiffs with injuries from the metal-on- metal hip replacements, which Johnson & Johnston and Depuy failed to warn consumer patients about. Individuals injured by the hip device implants suffered problems such as tissue death, bone erosion, and other injuries.

Johnson & Johnson has already vowed to appeal the process and Depuy has made the statement they will defend themselves in these lawsuits for the long-term. Depuy continues to claim the hip implants are effective, as per strong clinical data. Plaintiffs in these cases, however, contend they were not warned of the risks and the defendant companies hawk their metal-on- metal products by stating they are longer lasting than plastic or ceramic implants and commonly utilized in treatment.

Be a well-informed consumer and ask your doctor about whether you could be affected. If you or a loved one has already suffered damages from the Pinnacle metal-on- metal hip implants, do not hesitate to bring questions regarding your personal situation and possible claim to the caring legal experts at Inserra Kelley Sewell, where your health and safety is priority one.

Ford Fusion Steering Wheels May Loosen and Detach

In automotive defect news, the traffic and safety regulating powers that be in the United States and looking into the possibility that the steering wheels in 2014 to 2016 Ford Fusions could possibly loosen up and even detach.  The probe began once there were three reports of this problem.  One particular report involved a Fusion owner complaining that they were turning their 2015 Ford Fusion when their steering wheel fell into their lap.  There are about 841,000 Ford Fusions as the subject of this investigation and there is no word yet on the results.  It has been stated that Ford is working with investigators and wants owners to know they can talk to local dealers about any concerns in their Fusion.      

If you own a Ford Fusion from years 2014 to 2016, do not hesitate to contact your local dealer, especially if you have experienced the loosening or even detachment problem in your car.   If you believe you or a loved one has already been injured or worse due to an auto defect, do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Inserra & Kelley Law Offices to see if you may be entitled to compensation. 

Fisher Price Motion Seats Recalled for Fire Hazard

Motion seats have become an exceedingly popular tool in the toolbox of parents wishing to keep their sweet babies content.  Fisher Price has had to recall 63,000 of their soothing motion seats for four different models.  There is a danger of overheating covers for the motors in the products that could cause a fire.  At least one of the reported defective motion seats did start a fire, and at least 36 motion seats have been reported as overheated. 

The models include Fisher Prices’s  Soothing Motions Seats and Smart Connect Soothing Motions Seats.  The models for the Soothing Motions Seats are CMR35, CMR36, CMR37, and DYH22.  The model for the Smart Connect model is CMR39.  The number can be found under the motor house and it is recommended that owners of the models contact Fisher Price for a refund or replacement.   

If you or a loved one owns one of the subject Fisher Price motion seats and have suffered injuries because of overheating or fire, do not hesitate to contact Inserra | Kelley | Sewell  for compassionate expertise concerning whether you may be entitled to compensation for injuries. 

Blue Buffalo and Blue Wilderness Dog Foot Class Action Law Suit

In a first, this informational blog is letting readers know that their beloved dogs could be in jeopardy because of the dog food they are feeding them, assuming they are nourishing their canine family member.  Blue Buffalo and Blue Wilderness Dog Foods have been represented in their marketing as whole food, holistic, natural, healthy choices, but have instead been found to contain lead and are the subject of a class action lawsuit.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves bottled water that has 5 parts per billion (ppb) lead levels, so it is interesting to find out that the Blue Buffalo and Blue Wilderness foods have been measured 195 to 835 more than that 5 ppb standard!  Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs contains 200 ppb; Blue Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe contains 140 ppb; and Blue Basics Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe for Adult Dogs contains 840 ppb!

The sliver of good news in this saga is that there is therapy available involving a liver detox for dogs contaminated with the lead from these products.  The bad news is that this can be very expensive, time consuming, and hard on your beloved pet with treatment ranging from simple supportive care to dog hospitalization with intravenous fluids being the detoxing agent. There are also holistic therapies that can be used to detox the liver in the form of diets of green leafy vegetables, bentonite clay, buffered vitamin C, milk thistle, antioxidants, and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).  It would be wise for consumers of the subject dog foods to stop their use and consult their veterinarian.  Dr. Carol Osborne of Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic states that signs that your dog may already be experiencing lead toxicity include symptoms like loss of appetite, jaw chomping, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, behavioral changes, anxiety, circling behavior, lack of coordination, seizures, muscle spasms, and blindness. 

Inserra Kelley Sewell, Personal Injury Attorneys, strives to keep its readership aware of potential dangers to themselves and their loved ones in a world full of product dangers and recalls.  In this case the danger and health crisis could come to the beloved furry member of your family.   If your dog has elevated toxin levels in their blood, and has been a consumer of the Blue Buffalo or Blue Wilderness dog foods, do not hesitate to contact this firm for advice on possible avenues to compensation.         

Syngenta Settles With US Farmers Over GMO Corn

This firm has represented farmers, and given the information and updates on the lawsuits against Syngenta regarding genetically modified (GMO) corn.  The latest news on these lawsuits is that Syngenta came to an agreement on September 26, 2017 to pay out one and a half billion.  The lawsuits  were brought due to Syngenta’s decision to commercialize a GMO strain of corn before China approved importing it.  There is also some word out that farmers who have not already become a part of the lawsuit can still contact attorneys about doing so.  This settlement came out during a trial in a Minnesota Court and is not for Canada cases or the Kansas cases that were settled in an earlier trial. 

Financial terms have not been disclosed to date and it is said that things are in an early framework for settlement.  If you are in the agricultural field and believe your profits may have been impacted negatively by the Syngenta case, do not hesitate to contact Inserra Kelley Sewell 

High Doses of Vitamin B Linked to Lung Cancer Risk

Vitamin B is very popular in current society, since it is purported to help worn out, weary health conscious individuals with energy when taken in the form of B6 and B12.  Users of the vitamins may buy into the adage that one cannot get too much of a good thing, but this has been found to not be the case in studies by researchers.  A link has been found in men taking vitamins B6 and B12, long-term and in large doses, with higher risk of lung cancer.  Males who smoke, and take the large doses of vitamin B6 or B12 for at least 10 years were found to possibly have an even higher risk of lung cancer.  The research found the dose to be more than 20 mg of B6 or 55 micrograms of B12 per day for 10 years.  The male smokers taking B6 may have 3 times the risk and male smokers taking B12 may have 4 times the risk. 

Subjects of the big study for this research included 77,000 patients who were ages 50 to 76 and studied over 10 years.  Researchers are concerned and state that this possible risk should definitely be studied further for more definitive results.  As a vitamin consumer, it would be recommended to check labels and take doses from the labels, or in accordance with the guidelines of the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance.     

We urge all readers to be well-informed consumers and consult with their medical providers regarding supplementation and other health topics.  The caring legal experts at Inserra Kelley Sewell strive to do their part in getting out the latest information on health and product dangers.    

Why Family Rituals Are So Important For Living Safer

Rituals are those repeated actions done again and again in the interest of things like focus, grounding, tradition, cultural symbolism, predictable life rhythms, and feeling a part of something.  The current world of today leaves family times together in person less frequent and less personal.  Technology allows one to be able to communicate with family at the touch of a screen quickly and right now, but at the same time relationships can be less touchy feely and personal, and more readily available but short and more black and white.  In such a society, the family needs its own personal rituals more than ever to insure its survival in a fast-paced, dog eat dog world.  

Rituals can ground a family and help it focus in and have been found by psychological research to actually have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  In terms of the family unit, the American Psychological Association (APA) indicates that family rituals are associated in families today with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement, and stronger family relationships.  Rituals are more symbolic than simple to do’s and actions, as they can bridge the generations of a family and ground the entire unit in something meaningful and unique to that particular family.  They can be born out of the family’s values and goals for its perpetuation.

When thinking about family rituals that can be at risk of extinction in today’s busy world, one may come up with family meals as one of the big ones.  This used to be a ritual performed every night by most families without distractions such as television, cell phones, and the like.  Today, for the health of the family, it is still important to have that family meal time for sharing and communicating, but it is often more realistic to reserve certain meals of the week to being family time.  Perhaps a family can closely guard certain meals, such as a weekend breakfast, Sunday meal, and at least one dinner during the week.  One can even reserve a ritual of once weekly meals for extended family and bring meaning to the entire family and pass on traditions and values from generation to generation.  Members not only get valuable relationship and tradition within a single-family home, but also when family comes together for interaction between grandparents and grandchildren, uncles/aunts and nieces and nephews, siblings with siblings, cousins, with cousins, and parents with grown children.  The effects will impact how each family member interacts out in the world with others as well.  

It is important to keep in mind the day to day real life and demands of families when planning such rituals like the family meal, so that making them happen is not a stress filled ordeal.  Family rituals can involve even simpler things than family meals with things such as family walks once a week, family game night once a month, family activities every other weekend involving interaction, or even family holidays and birthdays done together at a certain time every year.  Rituals do not always have to be those things thought of as “fun” activities either.  Family chore time once per week or once per day can be meaningful rituals, as can goodnight rituals and family meetings held at laid out times to allow members to give input and appreciation for one another.  Whatever the family ritual, it is vital that people have some sense of routine and predictability in a world that is often unpredictable and uncertain.  Such rituals allow each member to feel like a part of something and grounded in something real and safe.  

For the health of the family, it is important to decide on family rituals that bring each member of the family a sense of belonging and validation, while being consistent and stable.  If a family takes on rituals that are too complicated or never fit in to the schedule, the family will find themselves losing them.  While it is necessary to be mindful of carrying out family rituals, they should also feel rhythmic, natural, and positive for each individual and unique family.  Get the family together and figure out what is important and safe for each member and go from there in identifying the best family rituals to fit your life.