Summertime is in full swing, which means many Northeast Florida residents have their air conditioners operating in overdrive. If your AC unit is run via a thermostat manufactured by White-Rodgers, listen up. The St. Louis, MO-based company, along with the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, has recalled more than one million White-Rodgers brand digital Home Heating and Cooling Thermostats sold throughout the US and Canada, citing a fire hazard.
At the time of this writing, the manufacturer has received seven reports of fires involving the thermostats, including two that caused property damage. Turns out the alkaline batteries used in multiple White-Rodgers thermostats can leak onto the circuit board, which can easily cause a blaze. Fortunately, these reports included no injuries. But clearly, any issue that involves a fire hazard holds the potential for serious injury or death.
Recalled units number approximately 740,000 sold throughout the US, and another 403,000 sold in Canada at prices ranging from $30 to $70. They were sold at hardware stores and heating and air conditioning companies from January 2006 to December 2013. They are white in color, feature blue lighted screens and have one of the following names printed on the front:
- Partners Choice
- Water Furnace
If you own one of the thermostats included in the recall, and it has not caused an injury or property damage, you can request a repair or replacement free of charge by calling White-Rodgers toll-free at (888) 624-1901.
However, if you or your family have suffered an injury, or if your home or other structure has been damaged in an incident that you believe may have been caused by a faulty White-Rodgers thermostat, know that you may be due compensation for your losses. In the case of an injury, get medical treatment immediately. If you’ve experienced property damage, get a professional damage assessment. In either case, do not dispose of the thermostat, as it will be needed as evidence in a product liability or personal injury- case. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell can help assure you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 800-251-1111.
As federal investigations into General Motor’s failure to inform the public of a decade-long issue with a faulty ignition switch continue, the much-maligned company just suffered another hit. GM has publicly acknowledged that the defective switches are to blame for 13 known deaths. But new research suggests that the death toll is likely far higher.
News of the issue first hit in February when GM recalled 780,000 vehicles. At that time, 22 crashes resulting in six deaths believed to have been caused by the defective switches had been reported. Investigations showed that in each incident, the ignition switch had shifted out of place, causing the vehicle’s engine to stall and shutting down power steering, power brakes and airbag deployment mechanism as a result. GM quickly responded with a statement that deflected blame to vehicle owners’ use of heavy key rings and driving on bumpy roads.
Weeks later, when six more deaths had been attributed to the issue, GM expanded the recall to include additional models. The company also admitted that it had known about the problem for more than a decade, and that fixing the problem before affected vehicles rolled off the assembly line would have cost just 57 cents each.
Now, journalists with Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, say results of their independent investigation suggest that the actual death toll attributable to the issue may be several times higher – as many as 74 fatalities. Their analysis of statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of crash information, shows that 74 car accident deaths occurring between 2003 and 2010 involved GM cars with the recalled ignition switches, and details of the crashes were typical of those that prompted the recalls. The rate of this type of accident was far higher among GM vehicles than those of other carmakers.
“The news agency compared the incidence of this kind of deadly accident in the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion, the highest-profile cars in GM’s recall of 2.6 million cars with defective switches, against the records of three popular small-car competitors: Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla,” Reuters reported. “The analysis found that the frequency of such accidents in the Ion was nearly six times that of the Corolla and twice that of the Focus.”
Though Reuters’ investigation does not definitively prove that the faulty switches caused these accidents and resulting deaths, the details were consistent with those of fatal crashes that GM had acknowledged.
If you drive one of the recalled vehicles and have not suffered an injury as a result, auto accident attorneys with Harrell and Harrell urge you to take the risk seriously. Take your vehicle to your nearest GM dealer for repair free of charge. However, if you or a loved one have suffered an injury that you believe was caused by a malfunctioning ignition switch, get medical attention and contact an experienced attorney as you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. Call 800-251-1111.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra was in the Capitol Hill hot seat today, testifying to Congress about a decade-long issue with GM vehicle ignition switches that to date is to blame for more than a dozen deaths. It’s the latest development in a controversy involving the recall of more than 2.6 million vehicles and an ongoing risk to any one driving or riding in certain GM vehicles, auto accident and product liability attorneys say.
News of the issue first hit in February with the recall of 780,000 GM vehicles after reports of 22 crashes and six deaths. In each of those incidents, the ignition switch shifted out of place, causing the engine to stall and all electrical components, including the mechanism that deploys air bags, to immediately shut down. GM initially laid part of the blame on heavy key rings and bumpy roads. Weeks later, however, the death toll rose to 13. The company expanded the recall to include additional models, and admitted that it had known about the problem for more than a decade. What’s worse – GM officials now acknowledge that the ignition switch falls short of the company’s own specifications, and that fixing the problem before these vehicles rolled off the assembly line would have cost just 57 cents each.
As it currently stands, the recall affects more than 2.6 million GM vehicles and the issue has prompted two congressional investigations and probes by the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On Tuesday, Barra testified before Congress, maintaining that she does not know why it took GM, which she has helmed for just two months, to publicly acknowledge the problem, but assured that an internal investigation would provide answers in time.
Meanwhile, the company last week announced two additional, unrelated recalls. One affects 490,000 late-model pickup trucks and SUVs with transmission oil lines improperly secured in their fittings. The issue allows transmission oil to leak, potentially causing fires if the oil hits hot surfaces. The second affects 172,000 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruz cars with defective right front axle shafts that can fracture and separate during operation. Wheels then could lose power without warning, causing the car to coast to an unexpected stop.
If you own or drive a GM vehicle, check with your nearest dealer to find out if yours is affected by the recall. If there have been no injuries to you or your dependents related to any of the recall-involved issues, take your vehicle to your dealership where workers will repair issues free of charge and, in some cases, may provide you with a loaner car. However, if you or someone you love has suffered an injury that you believe was caused by one of these defects, get medical treatment, stop driving the vehicle and contact an experienced auto accident or product liability attorney. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell, serving clients throughout Northeast and Central Florida and Southern Georgia, can be reached at 800-251-1111.
A problem with airbag sensors in certain Nissan and Infinity models first addressed over a year ago still is not resolved – and it’s prompted a recall of more than 1 million vehicles across North America and Canada. In affected units, the front passenger air bags may fail to inflate in an accident, leaving adult passengers at risk for serious injury.
The problem lies in faulty software. Front passenger seats of the recalled vehicles have sensors designed to determine the passenger’s weight, then turn airbags off if the sensors indicate that a child is on board. That’s because children’s still-developing bones are far more fragile than those of adults, which means they’re more vulnerable to injury from a deployed airbag. Keep in mind that airbags are not soft, billowy pillow-like buffers. Rather, they deploy from a vehicle’s dashboard at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and the impact against a body or face can be severe enough to cause fatal injuries.
In at least three incidents reported to Nissan officials, the sensors malfunctioned, turning off front-seat passenger airbags despite those passengers being adults of sufficient weight to keep the airbags turned on. Though no deaths were reported and it’s unclear whether those passengers were injured, the risk is clear. Airbags are credited with saving the lives of thousands of adults involved in car crashes nationwide each year.
Vehicles affected in the latest recall – nearly 990,000 in the United States and another 60,000 in Canada – include:
- 2013 and 2014 Nissan Altima;
- 2013 and 2014 Nissan Leaf electric car;
- 2013 and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SUV
- 2014 and 2014 Nissan Sentra;
- 2013 NV200 Taxi Van
- 2013 Infiniti JX35 SUV
- 2014 Infiniti QX60 SUV
- 2014 Infiniti Q50 SUV
If you drive one of these vehicles and had yours repaired after the February 2013 recall, you may need to get a second repair. Dealers replaced seat sensors in those vehicles, but Nissan officials said the company continued to receive customer complaints and warranty claims in vehicles that had been repaired. Nissan and Infiniti will notify registered owners of affected units and will update the software free of charge.
If you or your dependents are injured as a result of a failed airbag, whether in one of these recalled vehicles or a different one, get medical treatment and contact an experienced auto accident or product liability attorney. Jacksonville-based Harrell and Harrell, serving clients throughout North and Central Florida and Southeast Georgia, can help assure you receive fair compensation for your losses.
Two weeks ago, we told you about a massive recall of 780,000 GM cars prompted by an ignition defect that already had been blamed for 22 car crashes and six deaths. Now, another nine accidents and seven deaths reportedly have resulted from the problem, forcing an expansion of the recall to include more than 1,367,140 cars in North America. Even more troubling, auto accident and product liability attorneys say, is the automaker’s admission that it has known about the problem for more than a decade.
Faulty ignition switches installed in various GM models made between 2003 and 2007 can cause a car’s engine to shut off unexpectedly and disable the airbags. Heavy key rings and driving on rough roads or terrain can trigger the problem by moving the ignition switch out of position, causing all electrical components, including the mechanism responsible for deploying air bags, to immediately shut down.
The recall originally affected Cobalt and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 to 2007 model years sold in the US, Canada and Mexico. Now, company officials also are recalling Saturn Ions made between 2003 and 2007; and Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky cars made in the 2006 and 2007 model years.
“The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been,” Alan Batey, GM’s North American president, said in a written statement addressing the company’s waiting over a decade to publicly acknowledge the problem. “Today’s GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward.”
GM says it will notify registered owners of recalled vehicles by mail and expedite repairs. If you belie that your vehicle is affected by the recall and you have not been involved in an accident cause by the faulty ignition, take your car to a licensed GM dealership where the company will replace the ignition switch free of charge. However, if you have suffered an injury while driving or riding in one of the recalled cars, get medical attention immediately. Then, call 800-251-1111 and speak to an auto accident or product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.
General Motors this week announced the recall of nearly 780,000 vehicles due to an ignition defect blamed for six deaths. Auto accident and product liability attorneys are urging drivers of Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s to take heed.
Company officials warn that faulty ignition switches installed in Cobalts and Pontiac G5s from the 2005 to 2007 model years a sold in the US, Canada and Mexico can cause the engine to shut off unexpectedly and disable the airbags. The problem thus far has caused 22 crashes, all while the cars were traveling off-road at high speeds. Six people (all drivers or front-seat passengers) have been killed as a result, and the potential for more deaths exists so long as affected vehicles continue to travel the roadways.
If you drive one of the cars, know that US safety regulators warn that heavy key rings and rough roads or terrain can trigger the problem by moving the ignition switch out of the run position. As a result, the engine and all electrical components, including the mechanism responsible for deploying air bags, immediately shut down.
In a media statement, GM noted that each of the five fatal crashes “occurred off road and at high speeds, where the probability of serious or fatal injuries was high regardless of airbag deployment. In addition, failure to wear seat belts and alcohol use were factors in some of these cases.”
If you own one of the recalled vehicles and have not been injured, take your car to a licensed GM dealership where the company will replace the ignition switch free of charge. However, if you have suffered an injury, either as a driver or passenger, in an incident that you believe the defect caused, get medical attention immediately. Then, contact an auto accident or product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell. Call 800-251-1111.
Ikea again is issuing a voluntary recall of two popular junior beds after receiving an additional report of a child in the United Kingdom receiving a small scratch to the arm. The company’s Kritter and Sniglar Junior Beds feature a metal rod connecting the guard rail to the bed frame. Unfortunately, that rod can break during use, posing a laceration hazard to children.
The recall of 22,000 units initially was issued in August 2013 and was expanded to include another 3,500 upon news of the latest injury. The pine wood Kritter beds feature animal cut-outs, including a dog and cat, on the headboard. Look for a date stamp of 1114 to 1322 indicating the year and week of production; a 600.904.70 model number; and 19740 supplier number on the underside of the bed.
The Sniglar natural beech wood beds have a white painted fiberboard insert on the headboard and footboard. A label on the headboard or underside of the bed has a date stamp of 1114 to 1318, a 500.871.66 model number, and 18157 or 19740 supplier number. This recall expands the date code for Sniglar beds to 1049 to 1318.
Affected units were sold exclusively at Ikea stores nationwide and online at www.ikea-usa.com from July 2005 through May 2013 for between $60 and $90. If your child is using one of these beds and has not been injured, contact Ikea at 888-966-4532 and ask for a free repair kit which includes a replacement metal rod, tools and instruction sheet.
However, if your child has been injured, seek medical attention – even if the injury is minor. Keep the bed and all parts intact and contact a product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111. We serve clients throughout Northeast and Central Florida, as well as Southeast Georgia.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who just can’t seem to get their day started without a coffee jolt, we may have bad news for you. Bodum USA, the Swiss-based global housewares brand with distribution in more than 55 countries, this week issued a recall of its popular rose gold Chombord glass coffee press sold exclusively at Starbucks. Officials say the glass carafe can fall out of the metal frame and plastic base of the coffee press and break or shatter, posing laceration and burn hazards.
Though the four confirmed injuries are minor cuts and burns, there is a risk of more serious harm. At press time, Bodum had received reports of 14 broken carafes. About 28,000 units are affected by the recall.
The locking-lid, 8-cup coffee press’s glass carafe, screen and plunger are held in place by a rose gold-colored metal frame with a black molded plastic base. Users fill the carafe with ground coffee and hot water, then push the plunger and screen down through the water to brew coffee. The coffee presses measure 10 inches high and about four inches in diameter. Look for the Bodum name printed on the glass carafe; on a white label affixed to the bottom of the base with the SKU number 11029732; and embossed on the bottom of the black plastic base, along with words “Made in Portugal.” Recalled coffee presses were sold for about $40 at Starbucks locations nationwide and on Starbucks’ website through November and December 2013.
If you own one of the recalled coffee presses and have suffered no injuries, you can return it to the Starbucks store where you purchased it or contact Bodum for a full refund. However, if you or one of your dependents has suffered a laceration, burn or other injury as a result of the defect, keep all parts intact, get medical attention immediately and contact a product liability attorney with Jacksonville-based Harrell and Harrell. Call 800-251-1111 to speak with an attorney serving the Northeast Florida, Central Florida and Southeast Georgia regions.
A new study shows upwards of 9,400 children are injured falling off high chairs every year in the United States. And even high chair models with the highest of safety records can pose risks if not used properly, say personal injury attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.
Researchers with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio looked at children three years old and younger who were treated for high chair-related injuries in US emergency rooms from 2003 to 2010. Results showed that the annual rate of such injuries increased by 22 percent over the study period. Not surprisingly, head injuries were the most common type suffered, followed by bruises and cuts.
But the most alarming finding is that while the rate of total injuries across the board jumped just 22 percent, the rate of head injuries increased nearly 90 percent. The leading cause of falls from high chairs: children climbing or standing on the chair. Such a case suggests that the high chair’s safety restraint system was either not being used, was being used improperly or was faulty. In situations that involved high chair restraints known or suspected to be faulty, manufacturers often issued recalls. But a recall is only effective if product owners respond.
“We know that over the recent years, millions of chairs have been recalled in the US because of not meeting safety standards, said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy and one of the study researchers.”But usually, a very low percentage of recalled products are actually returned.”
In fact, a 2009 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed just 30 percent of Americans returned recalled products. Other studies place that statistic as low as 12 percent.
However, another possible reason for the increase in reported cases is that parents are taking head injuries more seriously than in the past, perhaps due to increased awareness via media coverage.
In any case, physicians and personal injury attorneys urge parents and guardians to closely review usage instructions before placing your child in a high chair, and to follow those instructions every time the chair is in use. Also, check the manufacturer’s website periodically to a make sure your high chair hasn’t been recalled.
If your child suffers a high chair-related injury, take him or her to an emergency room or physician’s office immediately, even if you believe the injury to be a minor one. Soft tissue injuries from falls often won’t be immediately recognizable. Then, contact an experienced personal injury attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.
It was designed to make things easier for moms and dads on the go, but one recently recalled product could pose a danger to infants and toddlers. Dallas, TX-based Joovy, which makes and distributes infant and youth products, has recalled its popular Zoom Car Seat Adapter, citing a fall hazard.
The Zoom adapter uses a child car seat’s existing latching mechanism to attach infant car seats to stroller frames. Unfortunately, it’s been determined that the adapter clips can loosen from the stroller frame, posing a fall hazard. At the time of this writing, Joovy had received nine reports of incidents involving loose adapters on stroller frames. Though no injuries have been reported, significant risk to your child remains if you continue using the adapter, personal injury and product liability attorneys say.
The recall affects about 1,500 adapters sold at independent specialty juvenile retailers nationwide and on Joovy.com between May 2012 and August 2013 for about $25. The adapters are gray with black plastic clips. Affected models include 00945 for Graco, 00946 for Chicco and 00947 for Peg Perego frames. Look for the Joovy name and the model numbers on the label at the center of the end bar of the adapter.
If you own a recalled Joovy Zoom Car Seat Stroller Adapter and there has been no injury to your child, call the company toll-free at (855) 251-0759 for a free repair kit that will help assure proper attachment to Zoom stroller frames. If your child has fallen while using one of the adapters, get medical attention immediately – even if there is no immediately apparent injury. Keep the adapter intact and contact a product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.