An emergence of vehicle technology means product defects may be on the rise

On Thursday, November 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana two people were killed after a driver lost control of their 2015 Tesla Model S and crashed into a tree. However, it was not the crash that caught rescuers off guard; it was the electric car’s lithium-ion battery, which exploded like a firework following the impact.  According to Indianapolis Star reports, the crash scene was spread over 150 yards, with firefighters attending to multiple fires caused by the lithium-ion battery fragments.

Details are still unknown as to what caused the horrific crash, but the fiery impact raises an important awareness of heightening product defect claims. Defects, particularly in vehicles, can come in all shapes and sizes. And as new technology begins to unfold—active cruise control, lane assist, auto driver—the list of potential vehicle defects will likely continue to rise. Some of the most common defects include defective seat backs, fuel-fed fires, and defective tires.

A seat back fails when it allows the occupant’s torso to move backward toward the rear seat. This can cause significant injury to the seat occupant. Usually the failure is due to a weakly made seat back or a defective recliner mechanism. As for fuel systems, significant system improvements have been made, but there are still potential errors that can occur. For example, some automakers may place fuel tanks in positions where they can be crushed or compromised in a collision, or they fail to properly protect the fuel tank from puncture damage. These types of errors can turn minor crashes into deadly situations.

If an auto defect is responsible how do consumers and advocates begin to compile the info they need for a case? As it turns out, ingenuity and luck may have much to do with it. In 2000, Congress passed the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. TREAD requires automakers to report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) any claims they received that attribute serious injuries and deaths to auto defects. But in 2014, a New York Times investigation revealed that NHTSA had not required automakers to make full disclosures when they conducted death inquiries. It also allowed manufacturers to omit important information by making the following question optional on reports: “What may have caused the accident?” In the Times report, there were only four cases in which a manufacturer responded to the question, and none in which a defect in the vehicle was identified. So poor reporting compliance creates a significant hurdle to investigating whether or not a vehicle defect really did exist and how to prove it.

Although difficult, product defect cases are not impossible. There are numerous investigation techniques early on that can help you prove your product defect case:

  • Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and the crash site
  • Collect the vehicle’s black box data
  • Identify the vehicle’s pre-accident condition
  • Find an experienced expert who can help you understand why and how the vehicle was flawed

Tesla Motors said in a statement on Friday that they are working with authorities in Indianapolis to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash. The car couldn’t transmit data to the company’s servers because of the amount of damage from the collision and resulting fire. They do not believe the Autopilot feature caused the crash, however. “Had Autopilot been engaged it would have limited the vehicle’s speed to less than 35 mph on this street, which is inconsistent with witness statements and the damage sustained,” the company said.


Usual uses of “Benefit Verification Letter” issued to SSDI beneficiaries

Individuals who have been receiving any Social Security benefits, like disability insurance (SSDI), may consider requesting a “benefit verification letter” by visiting the agency’s official website. A benefit verification letter can be used as evidence for the following:

  • For loan or mortgage application
  • For those who want to receive other benefits offered by the government, like assisted housing
  • Proof of age
  • Proof of retirement or disability status
  • Proof that you are currently covered by Medicare insurance

Individuals should note that they may request a benefit verification letter even their Social Security benefits are not given to them and their claims are currently being processed. Individuals could also filter the information that they want to include in the letter. If you want to know more information or have any concerns with your SSDI benefits in Indiana, get in touch with a skilled attorney of the Hankey Law Office today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Pedestrian fatally struck by vehicle in Indianapolis

A male pedestrian recently succumbed to his injuries after he was struck by a vehicle in the eastern portion of Indianapolis, an article of reported on January 3.

According to reports, the fatal pedestrian accident, which occurred in the 2500 block of Brookside Parkway South Drive about 7:00 a.m., also resulted in injuries to two other people. According to the information provided by police, the pedestrian, whose name was not revealed, was situated on a walkway when the vehicle struck him. Rescuers immediately brought the pedestrian to the hospital where he later died. The driver of the vehicle and its passenger were both injured, as the vehicle ended up crashing a house. Reports also revealed that there were two people inside the house when the accident happened, and neither of them sustained injuries. Authorities did not release the identities of the persons involved in the mishap.

The wrongful death attorneys at the Hankey Law Office express their sincere condolences to the families and friends who have been affected by the untimely demise of their loved one.

When can disabled individuals start receiving Medicare benefits?

People in Indiana who receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits should know they are also entitled to Medicare benefits. This is important, especially if the medical condition of the SSDI beneficiary worsened with time.

Generally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) informs disability beneficiaries they are eligible for Medicare benefits after receiving SSDI benefits for two years. The Medicare Trust Fund was created to provide beneficiaries access to medical facility services and procedures. In Indiana, when Medicare beneficiaries are determined to have an extremely low income, the additional costs surrounding their Medicare benefits could be waived as well.

The lawyers at the Hankey Law Office provide legal assistance to Indiana SSDI beneficiaries to help them fully understand their benefits. If you have concerns about your benefits, or if you have decided to apply for or appeal your benefits, call us today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may work on your behalf.

What SSDI beneficiaries should know upon changing marital status

Individuals who are receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits should understand the payments they receive could be affected once they decide to change their marital status. Below are the things that could happen to disability benefits when a person changes his or her marital status:

  • SSDI beneficiaries who got their payments from their spouse can no longer receive benefits if they got divorced before reaching 62 years of age.
  • Individuals who have been receiving SSDI benefits from their deceased spouse may have their benefits stopped if they remarry before reaching 50 years of age.
  • Individuals who are receiving other kinds of benefits could stop receiving those benefits if they get married.

Those who have changed their marital status could continue receiving benefits upon divorcing a spouse if they are over 62. If you want to know more about your SSDI benefits in Indiana, consult with an Indiana attorney of the Hankey Law Office. Call us today at (800) 520-3633 to learn more about your disability benefit options.

What SSDI beneficiaries should know about disability review

The Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts a review of every person who receives disability benefits (SSDI), so they can know if the beneficiaries still deserve to get financial assistance.

Usually, the SSA notifies beneficiaries by mail that a review will take place. SSDI recipients should know they will be guided by local SSA officials regarding the review process and their rights. During this time, beneficiaries are expected to provide copies of their updated medical records that may include medical procedures they had. Beneficiaries will then be reviewed by a doctor and a disability examiner. At some point, additional medical exams at the expense of the SSA are requested from the beneficiaries. If the SSA decides an individual is still disabled, he or she is still entitled to benefits. However, benefits could stop if the SSA learns the person’s disability is improving. SSDI beneficiaries who believe their benefits were wrongfully stopped may consider appealing for their benefits.

If you want to learn more about how the SSA reviews your condition as an SSDI recipient, working with a skilled attorney is beneficial, especially if you heavily rely on your benefits to sustain your medications. Consult with an Indiana attorney of the Hankey Law Office today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Potentially flawed Tesla vehicle charging adapters recalled in the US

Approximately 7,000 Tesla adapters used for charging electric vehicles are being recalled in the U.S. due to a flaw that could result in injuries or property damage, a December 6 article of Bloomberg Technology reported.

Tesla Motors Inc. reportedly issued the voluntary recall after receiving two complaints that the adapters melted after emitting excessive heat. The recall affects the charging adapters that were sold in the U.S. that could be purchased on Tesla’s online store. After receiving the overheating complaint, Tesla also recalled three other types of charging adapters with a similar design. Affected owners were advised not to use the faulty adapters and to expect a replacement after approximately three months.

The Hankey Law Office in Indiana represents people who have been injured as a result of using potentially dangerous vehicles. If you think were the victim of a dangerous product, we could help you file a legal claim against negligent parties. Call us today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may help you recover your loss.

Steve Francis busted for drunken driving and over speeding in Houston

Houston police recently took former NBA player Steve Francis into custody due to allegations that he was driving a vehicle with excessive speed while under the influence of intoxicants, a report of The Washington Post stated on November 22.

According to reports, on November 19, the 39-year-old former player for Houston Rockets was spotted by police driving a vehicle with a speed of 88 mph on a road with an allowable speed limit of 65 mph. Apprehending officers told reports that Francis refused to do a field sobriety test, however, they noted that he displayed several signs he consumed alcohol recently. Reports revealed that Francis is likely to face other charges in relation to a June burglary incident where he was suspected of taking valuables inside a parked vehicle.

Drunken driving and speeding are the common cause of accidents that leave many people permanently disabled. If you think that a reckless driver caused you personal injuries in Indiana, an attorney of the Hankey Law Office may fight for you. Call us today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may possibly help you get compensations.

SSDI benefits given to eligible children

People who have contributed to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) should know that their children with disabilities may also receive benefits. This fact is important for families who are struggling with their finances because they are given financial assistance for their loved ones. Below are the qualifications of children who may be eligible for extended SSDI benefits:

  • Disabled children whose age is no older than 18
  • Children who have reached the age of 19 but are not enrolled past the twelfth grade
  • Disabled children who are already adults but whose disabling condition started before they turned 22

It is important to note that children who are entitled to receive monthly SSDI benefits usually receive half of the amount received by the beneficiary every month. Children may have their benefits stopped when their condition improves or upon reaching 18 years old.

If you want to know more about how your loved one could receive SSDI benefits, working with a skilled lawyer is critical, especially if you are unaware of the application process. Call the Indiana attorneys of the Hankey Law Office today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may work for you.

Millions of defective Samsung washing machines with injury risks recalled

An estimated 2.8 million defective Samsung washing machine units in the U.S. are under recall because the manufacturer and federal authorities have received complaints of injuries linked to the affected products, a November 4 article of reported.

The South Korean company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received 733 complaints regarding parts suddenly detaching on the upper portion of the “top-load washing machines” before they issued the recall. At least nine of the overall complaints received reportedly resulted in other fall-related personal injuries, such as to the shoulder or jaw. Owners of the recalled washing machines can get their money back, receive a discount if they plan to purchase another unit, or have the washer repaired.

The lawyers at the Hankey Law Office represent Indiana people who were injured by recalled products. We strongly believe victims of such incidents should receive fair compensations. Call our office today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may work on your behalf.

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