The Harper Law Blog

The Harper Law Blog offers news, announcements, thoughts and articles on life, law and our practice areas of emphasis.

Airbags: Do benefits outweigh the risks?

Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 by Ed Harper

A recent study has exposed more problems with airbags and the damaging impact the explosion of an airbag can have on one’s hearing. The study, conducted by Auditory Physician, G. Richard Price has shown one could sustain significant hearing loss when involved in a collision where the airbag explodes in their American car.

The scientific data determined by Dr. Price shows that 17 percent of people exposed to deployed airbags in American cars will suffer from permanent hearing loss. His research also shows airbag deployment is more hazardous to the ear when a car’s windows are rolled down. The study will be released at a National Hearing Conservation Assoc. conference this week in Georgia.

“We often consider only the benefits of safety technology, rather than the unfortunate potential side effects,” said NHCA Director of Education Brian Fligor. “This type of study highlights how common everyday occurrences present a very real hazard to our hearing.”

In this author’s mind, the life-saving benefits do outweigh the risks. I have represented individuals who have sustained permanent injuries from airbag explosions. Cardiac complications (arrhythmia-an irregular heartbeat) tinnitus (a constant ringing in their ears) and burns to the skin all have been caused by an airbag explosion. However, when one considers the life-saving benefits an airbag can have, they are a necessity.

We all should consider the consequences a motor vehicle collision can have to the occupants of the vehicles. We should all slow down and drive more carefully.

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New Sonic stadium: Should it be funded by the taxpayers?

Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007 by Ed Harper

Today, Clay Bennett is testifying in Olympia at a hearing chaired by Margarita Prentice, Rep. Renton. Bennett is the new owner of the Sonics who hails from Oklahoma. He would like to build a new stadium somewhere on the east of Lake Washington and he has an ally in Rep. Prentice. She is a Sonic season ticket holder who would love to have the Sonics in her backyard. There are two sites still in the running for the stadium on the Eastside, Auto Row in Bellevue, and the Boeing property in Renton. Heck, the Seahawks as moving south down Interstate 405 next year for their practice facility, and why shouldn’t the Sonics move too?

Problem is, Margarita Prentice has already proposed providing $300 million to help retire debt of Safeco Field and Qwest Field and pay for a portion of the new Sonic Stadium. No, it won’t be called Starbuck’s Stadium with Howard Schultz having moved on. The tax increase will be in the form of a .05 cents in the local sales tax on restaurant purchases. Prentice states this will put a majority of the burden on out of town guests. Since when do out of town guests provide the majority of our purveyors of our eating establishments?

It is likely in my mind that the Sonics are going to move only it will be about 1500 miles east to Oklahoma City and not just 15 miles to Renton. This is another example of the sports franchise owners holding a region hostage demanding new stadiums at the expense of taxpayers. Wake up Olympia and just say no!

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Recent CNN investigation points out insurance claims abuse

Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007 by Ed Harper

Recently, CNN and their investigation into auto accident claims have proven several insurance companies abuse of the claims process. By denying and and refusing to pay legitimate claims for medical bills and wage loss, State Farm Insurance and Allstate Insurance have forced many injured persons into court to litigate their claims. Jim Mathis, a former Washington claims adjuster in Washington when asked to describe the claims denial strategy to the CNN reporter:

JIM MATHIS: It really came down to three basic elements. A position of delay. A position of denying a claim. And then ultimately, of course, defending that claim that you denied.

GRIFFEN: The three D’s?

JIM MATHIS: Exactly.

GRIFFIN: Jim Mathis is a former insurance company insider who now testifies against insurance companies in court.

MATHIS: And the profits are huge. Profits are good. And as long as the public allows this to occur, the insurance companies will get richer and people will not get a fair and reasonable settlement, period.

Corporate greed should discouraged and should be watched closely. The insurance industry wants to prove a point and drive claims down. They set arbitrary monetary thresholds for the amount of property damage. In other words if the property damage estimate is below this arbitrary amount, or if the property damage does not look bad in a photo they will force you to court. The CNN story points out it is not a question of profit for the insurance companies but how much profit.

According to Anderson Cooper You might think all the savings would mean lower premiums for drivers. Well, guess again. The Insurance Information Institute says auto insurance rates have actually gone up 30 percent over the 10 years since this went into effect.

See Anderson Cooper’s blog on this http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/

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Prescription drug errors in recent years have drastically increased death rate

Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Ed Harper

During the years 1999 – 2002, death rates from narcotic pain killing poisonings have shot up more than 91% according to the Center for Disease Control in a national study. In Washington State, unintended drug poisonings account for 650 deaths a year, according to state health officials. Thus the annual death rate of unintended deaths from "legal" drug poisonings now account for more deaths than deaths occurring in motor vehicle collisions. Additionally, officials are finding legal opiates are killing more than illegal substances, such as heroin. Physicians should take note of the increasing error rate and overdose potential. The effectiveness of these medications should be balanced by the addictive characteristics and the dangerous consequences of misusing these drugs. Please visit http://www.komotv.com/news/5549436.html to read the article.

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Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance upon licensing

Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Ed Harper

Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance when registering their vehicles. Washington is one of a few states that do not have this requirement. WA State legislators will likely enact bills in both houses which will mandate proof of insurance and carry with it the crime of a misdemeanor if one attempts to provide fraudulent documentation. Mandatory insurance is already the law in the State of Washington why should we threaten drivers with another crime and require the police and courts to be the state revenue collectors.

Here is a link to op-ed piece regarding this issue: http://www.columbian.com/opinion/news/02052007news100870.cfm

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