If you buy a new car, your purchase is protected by warranties and state law. You can hold manufacturers accountable for dangerous defective parts, and the business that sold you the car might even try to save face and make things right.

But what happens when you buy a used car? If that car contains defects, you might be on your own, according to Will Wallace, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports. In a Consumer Reports article, Wallace is quoted in reference to the undue burden buyers of used cars face in comparison to those who buy a new vehicle.

Shockingly, neither dealers nor private party sellers are obligated by law to fix defects on used cars. Not only that – they don’t even have to tell you about a vehicle’s defect.

Wallace and countless other safety advocates think that should change, and it’s hard to find any reasonable argument against their stance. It’s hard to believe that these changes even need to be made. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that all used car buyers should be aware of. And if a defective vehicle causes someone serious harm, then the injured person should consider a legal claim to get the compensation they deserve.

How Great is the Risk of Buying a Defective Vehicle?

About one quarter of all recalled vehicles currently on our roads have not been repaired. Any of these vehicles can be resold to a buyer without any notification of the defect. That means there’s always a risk that the used car you’re buying has been recalled and remains defective.

Obviously, we need laws to address this problem, and hopefully safety advocates will be able to pressure lawmakers to take the issue seriously. Until that day, the burden is on consumers to make sure they aren’t being sold a bum vehicle.

Do Your Homework When Buying a Used Vehicle

Before purchasing any vehicle, see whether it has been recalled. Consumer Reports lays out the process quite well if you want to reference their article, but the process is relatively simple. Identify the vehicle’s VIN and go to safecar.gov to enter the number. If the vehicle has been recalled, it should be repaired at no cost.

Not all dealers neglect to tell consumers about recalls. Sellers can have a vehicle repaired at no cost. Many do, and they are upfront about a vehicle’s history. But not all sellers are created equally, and anytime you buy a vehicle from a private seller, you should be extra cautious about defects. Request to have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchase. If the seller refuses, heed the red flags that pop up in your mind.

“Buyer beware” should be a thing of the past, but clearly more work should be done to protect consumers. If you’ve had the misfortune of being involved in a vehicle accident because of a defective vehicle or vehicle part, you should know that you have legal options available.

If a Defective Vehicle or Vehicle Part Causes an Injury, You Can Take Legal Action

When a car accident is caused by a defective vehicle part, the injured party has the right to file a personal injury or product liability claim to get the compensation they deserve. If your vehicle’s defect led to an injury, a product liability claim can be filed against the manufacturer. If another driver caused your injuries, you should contact an attorney to learn more about your options.

The South Carolina product liability attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm has several decades of experience getting clients justice. To explore your legal options, contact Bert Louthian to schedule a free consultation of your case. We’ll hold negligent manufacturers and bad drivers accountable for the harm they have caused. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started.

If you have a complaint about a vehicle defect, you may already have tried filing a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you’re having trouble getting them to address your concerns, however, it might be time for you to consider filing a defect petition.

A defect petition is a little more in-depth than a conventional complaint, and it doesn’t guarantee an overnight response. But if your complaint is important to you, filing a defect petition will ensure that your complaint gets the consideration it deserves.

What is a Defect Petition?

A defect petition is a complaint you can file with the NHTSA about a defect you may have encountered with your vehicle. This petition could eventually lead to a product recall, if it is found that your vehicle’s defect is a problem with the whole product line rather than your vehicle alone.

When a defect petition is filed, the NHTSA has to do a review of your complaint and issue a written decision on whether or not to begin an in-depth investigation. While this doesn’t guarantee that there will be an in-depth investigation or that your complaint will lead to a recall, it does require the administration to justify their decision to investigate or not.

Defect petitions are fairly rare. As of December 6, 2018, for example, only four defect petitions had been filed with the NHTSA nationwide. In addition, defect petitions are fairly low-priority for the NHTSA. According to Matthew Oliver of the North Carolina Consumers Council, “Defect petitions seem to have low priority for the agency, even when submitted with complaint data and/or having the same symptoms as recalls that have already been issued for other vehicles of the same kind.”

The agency disputes this, saying that they take seriously their responsibilities to keep drivers on American highways safe. Regardless, the fact is that when you file a defect petition, your complaint is likely to take some time to resolve.

Filing a Defect Petition

The process of filing a defect petition is more in-depth than filing a standard complaint on the NHTSA website. It is rare for the agency to start a full-scale investigation on the basis of a single conventional complaint. Filing a defect petition can require more information and time investment than a conventional complaint, but it can also be a more effective way of getting the NHTSA to address your concerns.

When a Serious Defect Causes You Harm, Contact Us

Though complaints are powerful tools for consumers, in more serious cases where injuries are caused by faulty parts, product liability claims are the preferred option. In a vehicle-related product liability claim, an injured person seeks payment, typically from the manufacturer, for the injury-related costs they face.

The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in car accident lawsuits since 1959. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, it’s important to make sure that you understand your legal rights. South Carolina law can be complex, and there is a deadline for filing a claim. The initial consultation is always free, so reach out to us today by calling us or by filling out our online contact form.

It’s been a tough year for Monsanto, largely due to legal developments stemming from their product Roundup. A ruling from a federal judge and a major verdict for a San Francisco groundskeeper have given hope to people suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that the company can be held accountable for the injuries caused by the popular herbicide.

Let’s look at these developments and what they mean for those taking legal action against Monsanto.

A Federal Judge Gives the Green Light to Lawsuits

Earlier in 2018, hundreds of lawsuits filed in state and federal court against agrochemical maker Monsanto were allowed to move forward following a ruling from a federal judge. The lawsuits claim the active ingredient in Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, have been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The lawsuits not only claim there’s a link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but that the company was aware of the link and covered up the risks.

United States District Judge Vince Chhabria said that expert testimony that links glyphosate with the illness has credibility and may be heard in court. The ruling means that Monsanto’s effort to get the lawsuits dismissed, due to what the company called “shaky” science, has failed. Monsanto had claimed that the science and expert testimony linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was not credible.

A $289 Million Verdict Against Monsanto

In August 2018, a San Francisco jury awarded $289 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper that had been using Roundup for years. Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. His case was the first to go to trial because of the severity of his condition, but it set a precedent signaling that more lawsuits on behalf of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma sufferers could find success in the courtroom.

While Johnson’s award was later reduced to $78 million due to efforts by Monsanto’s legal team, the result is no less encouraging for the thousands of people awaiting their day in court against the agrochemical giant.

What is Glyphosate?

Glyphosate has been used in Roundup for over four decades, and it is currently sold in over 160 countries. It is used in large agricultural operations and on residential lawns and gardens. Red flags were first raised about the herbicide in 2015 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, called the product a “probable human carcinogen.” This initiated a multitude of lawsuits against Monsanto. It eventually led to California’s adding glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals. Monsanto has long denied the link between glyphosate and cancer and cites hundreds of studies that says the chemical is safe. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Roundup is safe “when used in accordance with label directions.”

The court order allowing lawsuits to move forward concluded as follows:

Therefore, the plaintiffs have presented evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate can cause NHL at human-relevant doses. Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment is denied.”

Those interested can read the pre-trial motion here. Other documents involved in the case are available here.

Moving Forward Against Monsanto

The ruling from the San Francisco judge and the jury verdict for the San Francisco groundskeeper represent good news for those who have been pursuing claims against Monsanto, including employees, farmers, landscapers, and those who have used Roundup and have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It also helps substantiate reasons why those considering legal action against the company should step forward.

Monsanto was recently acquired by Bayer, a German company, in a $66 billion merger. Bayer apparently has no plans to use the name Monsanto on its products. The brand has been damaged by those supporting environmental and health issues.

The Louthian Law Firm is Here to Help

South Carolina’s Louthian Law Firm has been helping hardworking people and families receive justice through fair compensation from accidents and injuries since 1959. The Louthian Law Firm is proud to have been recognized in the Top Trial Lawyers in America, the Best Lawyers – The World’s Premier Guide and to be AV peer-review rated for ethical standards and legal professionalism by Martindale-Hubbell.

Bert Louthian is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. You can be assured that your case will be handled by an attorney who will treat your case with the personalized and professional attention it deserves, both in our offices and in the courtroom.

For a free initial consultation to discuss your potential case, call the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Louthian Law Firm today. You can also fill out our confidential online case evaluation form. Get the representation you deserve, from Louthian Law Firm.

Gasoline is so well-known to us that we sometimes forget it is a volatile substance that catches fire and can easily blow up. After all, the propelling force that makes our vehicles move is nothing more than small, controlled explosions of gasoline vapor in the engine. All petroleum-based fuels—diesel fuel, kerosene, and others—are subject to fires and explosions and need to be handled with care. Even empty oil drums are likely to blow up when cut into with a torch.

Gasoline Disasters

Gasoline fumes can detonate with seemingly little provocation, causing catastrophic burns. But the very familiarity of gasoline can make us forget this fact. Some folks use gasoline to start bonfires, which is never a good idea. Three cases to remind you of the dangers of gasoline near an open flame are:

  • December 2017: in North Fort Myers, Florida, two young men attempted to set a bonfire using gasoline, creating a blast that left both of them severely burned.
  • December 2017: an 80-year-old man in Harrison County, Mississippi, suffered serious burns after using gasoline to start a fire in a fire pit.
  • Thanksgiving Day, 2017: in Franklin Township, New Jersey, a woman was seriously burned when she poured gasoline onto a bonfire.

In each of these cases, it was not the liquid so much as the fumes that created the blasts. In at least one case, flames from ignited fumes traveled into the gas can, causing an explosion that covered the person in flaming fluid. The action of flames spewing forth from a gas can is called “jetting,” and it is a known danger of some gas cans.

Your Choice of Gas Can Matters

Many of us keep gasoline for our lawnmowers and garden tools in sheds and even in our garages without a second thought, as long as we believe that our containers are approved for gas storage. But the can you’re using may not be safe. Plastic gasoline containers have special dangers, including the possibility of static electricity; even a small spark can be enough to ignite gasoline vapors. Over the past 20 years, more than 1,200 visits to the ER and at least 11 deaths can be attributed to pouring gasoline out of plastic cans.

Another problem concerns the fact that a number of plastic gas cans do not have flame arrestors, which prevent fire from being sucked back into the can. The lack of flame arrestors and the resulting “jetting” of fuel were the reason plastic gas can maker Blitz of Oklahoma went out of business in 2012. Metal cans generally have flame arrestors in place.

The lack of flame arrestors has been a known problem since 1973, when Consumer Reports magazine advocated for flame arrestors. In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) conducted tests that demonstrated the dangers of jetting. A 2-gallon container filled with a gasoline-diesel mix produced a flame jet that reached as far as 13 feet from the mouth of the can. It was demonstrated that ignited liquid could land on a person more than four feet away, burning them severely.

Gas Can Manufacturer Liability

Without an arrestor device, a gas can creates a suction effect when close to a heat source, pulling hot air or flames inside the container where they can react with the gasoline fumes and create an explosion. It is estimated that it would cost a manufacturer only about 50 cents to add an arrestor to every gas can they produce. So why don’t all cans come equipped with one? The only reason is to save the company money — at the expense of consumer safety.

When a person has been injured by a product which was defectively designed or assembled, they may seek compensation for their injuries by filing a product liability lawsuit. Another theory under which injured users can seek redress is that of strict liability — meaning that the product is inherently dangerous and that users are not adequately warned of the risks involved.

A personal injury lawyer who has experience in product liability cases can pursue a manufacturer and others in the supply chain for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income and, in some circumstances, punitive damages.

Storing Gasoline Safely

There’s no denying that gasoline comes in handy, but it needs to be treated with respect. Some tips for safely keeping the fuel include:

  • Always use an approved container with a flame arrestor in place. Leave some empty space in the can for the gas to expand.
  • Never store more than 5 gallons of gas in one location.
  • Keep containers tightly closed and store at room temperature, away from pilot lights, water heaters, and other heat sources, including the summer sun.
  • Never pour gasoline on a fire, hot coals, or other heat source. Never use gasoline around open flames.

Justice. Delivered.

If you or someone you care about is a victim of serious burns caused by someone else’s carelessness or a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to financial compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, physical disability, reduced mental health, disfigurement and emotional pain and suffering. If you’re considering a burn injury lawsuit, it’s important to talk with an attorney with significant experience in personal injury or product liability law.

The Louthian Law Firm has been trying — and winning — severe personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in South Carolina since 1959. Keep in mind that there is a three-year statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims, so don’t delay. Contact the Louthian Law Firm today so that we can start your journey to justice. The initial consultation is always free. To speak with a burn injury attorney, call us at 1-803-454-1200. If you prefer, use our online contact form.

Stryker Orthopedics recently announced a recall for two of its hip replacement products, sold under the names Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II. Both Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II models used so-called ‘modular neck’ technology, and the company says that the products are being recalled because of possible risks linked to the modular-neck stems.

Stryker announced its Rejuvenate and ABG II recalls in the midst of a growing amount of concern among researchers, doctors and patients about the safety of hip replacement technology. At the end of June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gathered experts and doctors for a panel focused on the safety and use of hip replacement technology.

The FDA panel mostly looked at the safety of so-called metal-on-metal hip joints, but the experts also looked at the numbers of safety concerns and complaints about other types of hip replacements as well. According to the FDA, they’ve had reports of nearly 40,000 ‘adverse reactions’ from hip joint replacements between 1992 and 2011. These ‘adverse reactions’ can include a whole range of health problems, injuries and other negative impacts that are the result of defective hip replacement products.

The modular-neck models affected by the Stryker recalls aren’t metal-on-metal joints, but they do have metal parts. This means that Stryker’s Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II joints may be vulnerable to kinds of wear and tear that also affect metal-on-metal joints, as a recent article from Orthopedics This Week explains. One of the biggest concerns is the risk of ‘fretting’ and corrosion problems with the modular neck, which can release very tiny metal particles from the artificial joint into the patient’s body. This can lead to pain, swelling and other problems in the hip area, according to Stryker.

The Stryker website has no estimates about the potential number of people these recalls will affect. It also has no figures about the numbers of Rejuvenate Modular or ABG II joints that they’ve sold.

According to the FDA page about the Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II recalls, patients who are concerned that they may have one of the recalled modular neck joints can contact Stryker over the phone or through their website. However, as the Stryker recall website points out, patients who’ve had hip replacement surgery have to check their own medical records to find out if they have one of the affected modular neck models.

Stryker Hip Implant Recall

Stryker says that it has no way of confirming whether a patient has a recalled hip replacement because of patient privacy rules. Only surgeons can confirm what kind of joint a patient has, if a patient doesn’t already know. It’s also a good idea to contact your surgeon, especially if you or a loved one has trouble understanding medical jargon or you can’t find the information in your own records.