March 13, 2014

GM Auto Defect Recall

GM has recalled 1.6 million vehicles due to a serious product defect. The following are models being recalled by General Motors:

2005-2007 Pontiac G5 Sold only in Canada
2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Sold only in Canada
2005-2007 Pontiac Pursuit Sold only in Canada
2003-2007 Saturn Ion
2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
2007 Saturn Sky

If you own one of these vehicles, GM asks that you remove all the keys from your key chain and take the vehicle to the nearest dealer immediately. These vehicles have been recalled due to a malfunction defect with the ignition switch, causing the key to move or switch into the “off” mode. When this happens, the engine and electrical systems shut down and air bags fail to deploy. GM has said that heavy key chains or jarring may cause the switches to move out of an "on" position. There have been several deaths related to this recall. GM may have known of this issue with the ignition switch as far back as 10 years ago, yet they did nothing.

An analysis reports over 260 complaints were made to NHTSA over the past 11 years.

In Wisconsin, three young girls were involved in a serious crash when the Cobalt vehicle they were driving slammed into a tree in 2006. The auto crash occurred after the ignition switch in the Cobalt they were driving switched off, locking up the steering. Lawsuits claim that General Motors knew of this ignition defect in 2004, but never recalled these vehicles.

In 2009 a TV station in Raleigh, North Carolina reported that a 2007 HHR stalled on a railroad track. The driver quickly restarted her vehicle and was able to move her vehicle from the tracks, but stated it was a problem that kept recurring. The driver stated that she had taken her vehicle to the dealership for repair five times and the problem was not resolved.

There have been reports to NHTSA by two different owners of the HHR models that air bags did not deploy in a front-impact crash.

This recall affects an estimated 1,367,146. vehicles sold in the United States.

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by this General Motors recall and have questions, call an experienced product recall or product defect attorney at 501.374.4446 or contact us online for a free consultation.


Most importantly, if you are driving one of these GM recall vehicles, please take it to the nearest GM dealer as soon as possible. Remove the key from your key chain before driving it. If you are unsure if you are affected by this recall, call your GM dealer and ask if your vehicle is part of this GM products defect recall.

March 5, 2014

Wrong-Way Traffic Accidents

I am reading more and more about tragic wrong-way accidents happening on the roadways. Today I read in an out-of-state paper of an unfortunate accident in Washington which took the life of a 6-year-old boy and critically injured two others. Recently it was in the news that 11 people died in wrong-way crashes in Tampa, Florida and Pomona, California. It is hard to hear of innocent lives being lost to such a preventable error. Like most, these accidents are avoidable if drivers would pay more attention when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

In a 2012 report by the National Transportation Safety Board, it was reported that 3 percent of all crashes are wrong-way crashes and are 27 percent more likely to be deadly crashes. It states that 60 percent of these crashes are caused by a drunk driver traveling too fast. The study also indicates that elderly drivers, 70 years of age and older, were the cause of 15 percent of these types of crashes. The primary cause of wrong-way accidents was found to be vehicles entering via an exit ramp. Often highway design is the problem, with the on and off ramps being next to each other. In an effort to prevent wrong-way crashes, officials suggest lowering the ‘Wrong Way’ signs, making them bigger, adding a second set of signs farther up on the ramp, and installing rumble strips to the pavement so they know they are going the wrong way. And interestingly enough, 78 percent of these types of accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and most collisions reportedly take place in the lane closest to the median.

If you or a family member have suffered from being involved in a wrong-way accident, it is important to speak with an Arkansas accident lawyer to discuss your claim and rights as soon as possible.

January 30, 2014

Accidents Caused by Texting

I recently read an article that discussed an injury lawsuit in which a woman was awarded $1.14 million in a texting and driving accident. According to the article, the Plaintiff suffered extensive injuries, including a minor traumatic brain injury and exacerbation of a lower back pain condition. The Defendant, State Farm Insurance Company, argued that her injuries were not related to the wreck. They also did not admit liability until just before trial.
Texting and driving accident cases are becoming more common. It is important to determine the cause of the auto accident to make a proper claim to a judge and to a jury. As this personal injury case proves, insurance companies often take extreme positions to “wait out” the injured party. It is important that information about the wreck is gathered so that these insurance company tactics are not used to deny the injured person justice. Additionally, we find that insurance companies often argue that the injured person’s medical condition pre-existed the wreck. The insurance adjusters fail to understand or give little weight to the fact that the car wreck often aggravates a prior medical conditions like back pain. Arkansas has a jury instruction that handles this situation. AMI 2203 Measure of Damages—Aggravation of Pre-existing Condition. It reads:

In this regard you should consider the full extent of any injury sustained, even though the degree of injury is found by you to have proximately resulted from the aggravation of a [condition][disease] that already existed and that predisposed to injury to a greater extent than another person. [However, you may not award [him][her] damages for any (pain)(mental anguish)(disability) (__________) which [he][she] would have suffered even though the accident had not occurred.]

It is important to point this law out to the insurance company’s adjusters who are often out-of-state injury adjusters. Arkansas law clearly allows recovery for an aggravation to a pre-existing condition. If you or a family member have suffered an accident, it is important to speak with an Arkansas accident lawyer to discuss your claim as soon as possible.

January 20, 2014

Employment Laws in Arkansas

Can an employer be held liable for acts of employment discrimination carried out by another employer? If a non-employing entity controls or can substantially affect the terms and conditions of another employer’s employee, that entity may be considered a “joint employer” for Title 7 purposes. This means that the non-employing entity could be held equally responsible for any discrimination or harassment that may occur. This is referred to as “defacto or joint employment liability” and often appears in situations in which there is a staffing firm, placement agency, or outsourcing company. If the circumstances lend themselves to finding the joint employer relationship exists, a non-employing entity can still be liable for employment discrimination.

I have seen companies attempt to argue that liability for employment discrimination or harassment cases does not exist because they weren’t the “employer.” These employers fail to understand employment discrimination laws. Employment cases involve complex legal issues that are constantly being litigated and argued in federal and state courts. It is important to speak with an Arkansas employment lawyer if you or a family member feels that your employment rights are being violated. If you have been terminated, disciplined, or harassed based upon discriminatory reasons, you should speak to an Arkansas employment lawyer as soon as possible.

January 6, 2014

Arkansas Accident Fatality

A recent published study pointed out that In the past 10 years, fatal accidents in the state of Arkansas decreased by more than 30 percent. In 2004, more than 700 people died in car and truck crashes. In 2010, that number of auto accident fatalities went down to just more than 560. Last year there was another decline with 473 fatal accidents in Arkansas.

There are many reasons for this decline. These include increased seat belt use, driver education, increase in safety technology, decrease in DWI accidents and a recent change in Arkansas driving law. The study pointed out that the Graduated Driver License (GDL) law was expanded for Arkansas teens in 2009 to help provide a safe environment for young automobile drivers by placing restrictions on when and with whom they may drive. The Arkansas law was designed to allow teens to gain driving experience through the use of restrictions. The Arkansas driving law provides for teen driver’s licenses in three levels: learner’s license, intermediate license and unrestricted/regular license. The different levels allows drivers a staged learning progression. The study found "that significant reductions in crashes and crash-related fatalities were found. This is especially true for the youngest drivers who obtained their intermediate license to drive for the first time without an adult."

My own law practice involving personal injury cases has seen this decline in teen accidents as well. Car accidents involving young persons can be some of the more difficult cases to handle since kids are involved. However, as the study found, car accident rates and fatality rates are going down for this set of drivers and we should all encourage young people to take part in driving education courses. Teenage driving is one of the exciting milestones in a child's life and making sure they are safe is paramount.

November 26, 2013

Arkansas Car Accidents around Thanksgiving

Drivers hitting the roads for Thanksgiving have a greater risk getting in a accident, according to one recent study. Some people have named the day before Thanksgiving "Black Wednesday" because car accidents increase between 8 p.m. that evening and 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.

Although I see that auto accidents increase during this time, I see many different reasons in our law practice. The most obvious reason for the dramatic increase in car accidents in Arkansas is more people are driving at night and in unfamiliar places. However, I believe that is only one of the reasons. The weather around this time of the year also plays a huge part in the uptick in car crashes in Arkansas as well as people driving under the influence of alcohol. DWI accidents are typically very serious and involve serious injuries. Arkansas drivers need to be aware that accidents increase this time of the year and we must all be diligent in making sure the roads are as safe as possible.

If you or a loved one are involved in an Arkansas car or truck accident, please seek medical attention immediately. I have seen many cases where injuries go undiagnosed for a long period of time because people wait to seek medical attention believing that they do not have the money to cover the medical bills. An Arkansas lawyer can help make sure auto medical payment insurance (Med-pay) and health insurance cover these expenses. Please contact an Arkansas injury lawyer if you have any questions.


November 22, 2013

Baby Product Recall

If you have an Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with Sensor Pad, and purchased it between October of 1999 and September of 2013, please stop using it until you have checked the model number which is located on the back of the handheld monitor. 600,000 of these monitors are being recalled due to infant deaths. Please check to make sure you do not have model numbers AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 and 49255. THESE MODEL NUMBERS HAVE BEEN RECALLED AND SHOULD NOT BE USED.

My wife and I are expecting our second child soon, and we used the Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with Sensor Pad with our first child, which we just learned is now being recalled due to a product defect which has led to infant deaths. It's alarming to read that a piece of equipment that is marketed to keep your baby safe is now being recalled because it has caused harm, even death, to your baby.

Apparently the company is sending out repair kits to remedy the defect situation. A repair kit seems insignificant in my opinion. Because of the safety concern, I feel the company should be offering to replace the monitors. Product liability cases are not something to take lightly and the company should step up and make it right with their customers. They are offering a repair kit which includes rigid protective cord covers, a permanent warning label and revised instructions. When my wife called the recall number given, she received a message which stated their voice mailbox was full. I'm not sure my wife and I will be using this monitor with our second child.

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones due to product defects. It is unfortunate and unnecessary that a death would occur due to a manufacturer's negligence. Always stay abreast of recall information, and speak up if you have a safety concern with a product you are using.

November 4, 2013

Arkansas Car Accidents and Daylight Savings....Connection?

A recent article I read indicates that more automobile accidents occur the week following daylight savings. I was surprised to read the effects the one-hour time change has on our bodies. In addition to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, the time change also increases our chances of injuries at work, an increase in heart attacks, developing cluster headaches, and apparently more time is spent surfing the internet this week. Attached is a link to the article I read if you would like to read more about the effects the time change has on our bodies. http://now.msn.com/daylight-saving-effects-include-more-accidents-headaches

Use extra precaution this week when you're behind the wheel to avoid car accidents or at work. It's always a hard adjustment to fall back because we have enjoyed those long days, but soon we will all be more adjusted to the change and driving home in the dark at 5:30 or 6:00 will be the norm again. If you need to speak with an Arkansas accident attorney, please contact the Pfeifer Law Firm. Take care and drive safely.

September 13, 2013

Arkansas Vehicle Crash Checklist

Some things should be done before, during and after an auto accident. Before an auto accident, it is important for all of us to know what is covered under our auto insurance policy. We should know the insurance deductible, liability limits, towing, and rental car coverage. We also need to know whether medical payments and underinsured/uninsured motorist’s coverage is part of the insurance policy.

After an auto accident, it is important that the accident victim remains calm and only gets out of the vehicle if it is safe. It is important that the police or other law enforcement officials are called to the scene and exchange information with the other driver. This information should include their name, address, phone number, insurance company name and policy number. One important item to ascertain is witness names and addresses. Oftentimes, I meet with clients who know and spoke with witnesses at the scene but they are not included in the accident report. Unfortunately, the client did not get their names assuming that the accident report would include this information. It is almost impossible to figure out their names and addresses after the wreck if they are not part of the accident report. Therefore, it is very important to get this information at the time of the wreck.
Obviously, photos and/or video of the accident scene and damages to the vehicles are important.

After leaving the accident scene and receiving any necessary medical treatment, it is important that you contact your insurance company and attorney to discuss your legal rights. If you have any questions regarding an auto accident in Arkansas, please contact an Arkansas accident attorney to discuss your claim.

May 23, 2013

Arkansas Boating Accident

The University of Arkansas student who drove the boat in a boating crash that killed two fellow Arkansas students admitted consuming alcohol before the wreck occurred. An incident report indicates that the boat driver was arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol after the 22-foot-long boat he was driving ran into a houseboat at the marina.

Arkansas boating wrecks cause serious injury and death. It is important that a designated driver be available when alcohol is consumed. As more and more Arkansas residents head out to the lakes and river to enjoy our wonderful state, potential incidents involving boating accidents are more likely to occur. Arkansas boaters must use safe practices when operating on Arkansas lakes and rivers. A review of Arkansas boating laws should be done to ensure all are boating safely. This is a link to the Arkansas Game and Fish review of Arkansas boating laws. Please review and have a safe summer. If you have any questions concerning boating rules and safety, please contact an Arkansas boating lawyer.

April 17, 2013

Lawsuit Alleges Insurance Company Scam

A federal court lawsuit alleges that an insurance company was perpetuating a scam using "phantom insurance" has been filed seeking class certification. Basically, the insurance customer alleges that the company increased the value put on the insurance policy for his home even though his home was not worth that amount. The raising of the limit of liability was designed to increase the insurance company profits.

Sometimes insurance companies practice deceptive practices that are designed to increase profits and do nothing for the good of policyholders. Insurance disputes should not be taken lightly by an individual. We strongly encourage Arkansas residents who have a problem with an insurance company to contact an attorney who fights insurance companies to make sure they are fully compensated for their loss. Insurance disputes involve fire loss, weather damage, theft, traffic accidents, disability claims, and business loss. If you or a family member has a dispute with an insurance company, please contact an Arkansas insurance dispute lawyer to make sure your rights are fully protected.

April 13, 2013

Fracking Truck Causes Accident in Arkansas

My family and I, traveling north on Highway 5, just minutes before you get to El Paso, Arkansas, passed by an accident involving a small passenger vehicle and what appeared to be an 18-wheeler gas truck. There were police and ambulance personnel on the scene when we reached the scene of the accident. The small gold colored passenger vehicle was badly damaged. It was stopped in its lane of travel, the airbags on the front and side had deployed, the windshield was shattered, and there was damage to the front driver's side and down the whole driver's side of the vehicle. The gas truck was a few hundred feet from the vehicle it had hit.

I do not know what happened in this accident, but the reality is that these unfortunate types of accidents occur on our Arkansas roads far too often. When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, especially a large vehicle, you need to be alert at all times of what is happening around you. Drivers of 18-wheeler trucks are asked to drive long hours, causing them to be more of a hazard behind the wheel due to fatigue. Fracking trucks are large and can cause major injuries when involved in wrecks. I pray the people involved in this accident are okay and wish them a complete and speedy recovery.

If you witness a dangerous truck driver, please contact your local police department or Arkansas State Police to report it. Accidents involving big trucks often lead to serious injury or death. We must all be vigilant if we see a truck that is driving dangerously or recklessly.