Birmingham Legal Blog

Keys in some Camaros can be knocked loose, shutting down engine

Do you own a 2010 through 2015 Chevrolet Camaro? If you do, you should be aware that the ignition key may be defective. Worse, GM has known about the problem for five years but failed to take effective action. Instead, it offered replacement keys for purchase.

According to Consumer Reports, General Motors originally issued a recall on the faulty keys in 2014. The problem? Drivers might knock the keys with their knees while they were in the ignition. If that happened, the position of the key could be altered enough to shut down the car and even disable the breaks, airbags and power steering. Naturally enough, this problem could vastly increase the danger of an accident.

Do you work at a pork processing plant?

Workers who slaughter America’s pork may be in for a significant change that could affect their safety.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently moved to eliminate the maximum speed rule on pork slaughter lines. The agency estimates that eliminating the rule will save large producers $3.78 million per year and increase annual production by 12.5%.

Sick after working with artificial stone countertops?

Engineered stone is increasingly popular as a material for kitchen and bathroom countertops, but installing it is a dusty business.

"If you go to the bathroom, it's dust. When we go to take lunch, on the tables, it's dust," one veteran stone worker told NPR. "Your nose, your ears, your hair, all your body, your clothes — everything. When you walk out of the shop, you can see your steps on the floor, because of the dust."

15 models of Asko dishwashers recalled due to fire hazard

If you have bought an ASKO brand dishwasher in the past three years, you should know that 15 models have recently been recalled. The problem is that the power cords are subject to overheating while the dishwasher is in operation, which could create a fire hazard.

As of the end of September, ASKO had received 53 reports of overheating power cords across the 15 models. No injuries or property damage have yet been reported.

Amazon pushes for speed, blames drivers for accidents

Under the legal theory of respondeat superior, companies can be held responsible for the actions of their employees or agents. This is because the company directs their actions and/or gives them authority to act on the company's behalf.

But when Amazon delivery drivers get into crashes and injure themselves or other people, Amazon says it isn't responsible. It claims that all its delivery drivers are either independent contractors or employees of contracting companies. Companies generally aren't liable for the actions of independent contractors or other companies.

FDA: Zantac users should consider alternative heartburn medicines

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had detected small amounts of a carcinogenic contaminant when testing samples of the heartburn medication ranitidine, which is commonly known as Zantac. 

Although it hasn't ordered a recall, the FDA advises people who use ranitidine over the counter to consider switching to another heartburn medicine

Ram recalls over 1 million pickup trucks for tailgate problem

The manufacturer of Ram trucks, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has issued an expanded recall of several of its pickup trucks. The problem is that the power-locking tailgate assembly contains a potentially defective piece that could break. If it does, the tailgate could open unexpectedly, even while the vehicle is in motion.

That creates a risk that cargo could fall from the back of the truck, creating a serious hazard in the roadway, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Is Tesla's Autopilot a dangerous and defective product?

Contrary to what you might suppose from the name, Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system is not meant to replace the driver. You can’t “go on autopilot” and let the car take over -- at least not safely.

In its driver materials, Tesla makes clear that drivers using the Autopilot system must remain engaged with the task of driving. You are expected to remain vigilant and ready to take over if something goes wrong.

Drivers: Watch for kids around school start and end times

Now that summer is over, it's time to start doing our part to avoid pedestrian and bicycle accidents involving kids. A lot of drivers are still in their summer groove and haven't started thinking about kids in the street, but they're out there now.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school-age pedestrians are most at risk before school starts and after it lets out. More child pedestrians are killed between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. than at any other time.

Understand brain injury to help choose the right bike helmet

Traditional bike helmets are intended to prevent skull fractures, but that's not the only way your brain can be injured in an accident. Alongside any direct hit to the head, you could also experience a strong rotational force that can shake the brain inside your head. This rotational force can cause concussions and other brain injuries.

Concussions are being called a "silent epidemic" because they are relatively common and because their seriousness may not be immediately apparent. Moreover, repeated concussions have been found to cause a very serious brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

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Birmingham Office: 205-879-1981
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Fax: 205-879-1986