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New law to help prove loss claims involving Airbags, Seatbelts; Rollover; and Auto Accident cases

Posted on 12. Jun, 2012 by .


Effective September 1, 2012 all vehicles manufactured or sold in the United States must be equipped with what is commonly known as a black box. See 49 CFR Part 563. The black box records key data during an accident. The black boxes are actually known as Event Data Recorders (EDR’s). EDR’s can be crucial in auto accidents, seat belt cases, airbag deployment and other single or multi car accidents.

EDR’s will record: vehicle speed from the beginning of an event until the end, which allows for change in velocity computations; Crash severity; Seat Belt status and function during the accident; Throttle position of the vehicle; Airbag data, and other valuable information including impact angles.

This should by hailed by all sides as a breakthrough law as it will speed up claims, weed out fraud, help verify legitimate claims, and allow lawyers representing injured clients better prepare and present claims.

Many vehicles already have EDR’s. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram have had EDR’s since 2005; Many GM cars have had EDR’s since 1994; and Fiat made the conversion this year. If you are involved in an accident whether it be one vehicle or multiple and you or a loved one has suffered serious injury do not hesitate. You should obtain counsel qualified to get the EDR information and capable of having it interpreted so as to protect your Personal Injury or Product claim.

Please call us if you have been injured. Remember, IF YOU DON’T CALL WE CAN’T HELP.

RICK WOODS ATTORNEY. (800) 664-3001.

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Products Liability – Defective Drugs – Statute of Limitations

Posted on 02. Mar, 2012 by .


The New Jersey Supreme Court in Kendall v. Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. Delivered an opinion in February on the issue of whether or not the Plaintiff Kaime Kendall’s lawsuit against the maker’s of of the prescription drug Accutane, Hoffman-LaRoche, was barred by a two-year statute of limitations.

Ms. Kendall was first prescribed Accutane in January 1997, when she was twelve years old. By that time, the information provided to physicians began to warn of a possible link between Accutane and irritable bowel syndrome (IBD). The drugs warning labels included instructions to patients to stop taking the drug and consult a doctor if stomach pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding occurred.  In 1998 and 2000, the physician warnings were strengthened with regard to IBD. When Plaintiff was first prescribed Accutane, her doctor did not mention the risk of IBD because he was not aware of it.  In 1999 at a period in which Plaintiff had stopped taking Accutane, she was hospitalized for abdominal pain later diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.

Ms. Kendall filed suit in 2005, alleging that Hoffman-LaRoche alleging inadequate warnings for the drugs side-effects. Hoffaman-LaRoche raised the statute of limitations as a defense. The trial court noted that at the time Plaintiff began taking Accutane, warnings focused primarily on preventing pregnancy and suicide. The judged then concluded that by December 2003, Plainitff did not know her ulcerative colitis would be caused by Accutane, and that a reasonable person in her circumstances would not have known either. Hoffman-LaRoche appealed the jury verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that because a reasonable person in Plaintiff’s situation would not have known by 2003 of the relationship between Accutane and ulcerative colitis, her lawsuit against the drugmaker was timely.

The important thing to remember is that if you are taking a prescription drug familiarize yourself with the drugs side-effects.  Talk to your doctor.  In many instances there are alternative drugs with less severe side-effects.
If you are experiencing serious side-effects, you should consult counsel immediately, as each case is fact intensive on whether or not a person experiencing side-effects has acted timely.  Don’t squander your rights.
Call Rick Woods at DWSA Law Group today for a free consultation.  (800) 664-3001.


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Seat Belt Failure

Posted on 28. Feb, 2012 by .


When one buckles a seat belt it is with the expectation that it will restrain one in the event of an accident. Seat Belts are designed to prevebt occupants from hitting the interior of the automobile and keep the passenger inside the vehicle. A properly functioning seat belt will stop a passenger with the car.

Seat Belt Defects
There are several ways in which a seat belt can malfunction. Accidental unlatching. Another seat belt defect occurs when the belt detaches from the vehicle. Older seat belts have been associated with tearing. Shoulder harness have been known to allow occupants to “slide-out” or if improperly fitted can injure or strangle a passenger.

Accident Unlatching: Generally the seat belt buckle opens or unlatches by flying objects or inertia during an accident or sudden stop.

Belt Detaching: The seat belt dislodges from the permanent mount.

Tearing: The seat belt tears or rips during impact. This can be caused by defective material.

Ill-fitting Shoulder Harness: Due to design or improper installation, a shoulder harness may not fit properly. In this case, it can cause bodily injury to the wearer.

Currently, most states require all front seat passengers to utilize seat belts. In some states, it is also law for backseat passengers too. In addition, seat belts are used to restrain child car seats. See Child Car Seat Section and Basic Flow Car Seats and Booster Seats for additional information on product safety for these items.

Third Generation Seat Belts
The Third Generation seat belt buckle installed on certain Chrysler vehicles has been associated with accidental unlatching. A loose object or flailing body part can bump into the button and accidently unlatch the buckle during a rollover crash.

The Volvo XC60’s driver’s side seat belt detached from the anchor point during a side-impact crash test performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Volvo recalled nearly 10,000 vehicles to repair this defect.

In addition, Takata seat belts were the subject of a very large recall. These belts either failed to lock properly or would jam and not unlock after impact. More than 8 million seat belts were implicated in the recall affecting Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, General Motors, Suzuki, Daihatsu, Geo, GM and Chrysler.

Those who have suffered injuries as a result of an accident where a seat belt did not function properly may wish to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and mental anguish.

If you find yourself in this situation, call Rick Woods at DWSA Law Group (Daniels, Woods, Snively, Atwell Law Group, LLP) at (800) 664-3001. We are here to help. Remember if you don’t call we can’t help.

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Thank You Cynthia Nance

Posted on 25. Aug, 2010 by .


I finally opened my mail today and received a wonderful letter from the Dean of The University of Arkansas School of Law, Cynthia Nance, regarding her stepping down as Dean.

Some do not remember, but Dean Nance stepped into a position that most, including myself, thought was an impossible one. The passing of an incredibly popular, effective and vivacious Dean, Richard Atkinson. He worked hard at his job, was loved by all and was a fund-raising machine, in addition to being a helluva nice guy and compassionate soul.

So Cynthia Nance stepped in to what I believed to be an incredibly daunting task, with impossible shoes to fill.

Well, one can never fill the shoes of Dean Atkinson, but I promise you, Cynthia Nance has left her footprints right beside his, every bit as dedicated, vivacious, compassionate, caring and effective.

I just want to personally say, “Thank You”, to Dean Cynthia Nance. She has helped, pushed and pulled my law school into a new era. I did not think that anyone could finish the work that began with Dean Atkinson and continue the standard I felt he set. I was pleased to be wrong, yet again. Dean Nance seamlessly has continued the dedication and continued to do so with class, charisma and mojo all her own.

I have no idea how you have been in two places at once, seemingly been at every single event, written likely a million personalized thank you cards, and learned to ride a motorcycle, all the while seemingly keeping your poise and sanity.

I have no idea how you have managed to be such an incredible Dean and Ambassador for THE University of Arkansas School of Law, but there is no doubt that you have been incredible.

So in response to your letter, let me say a public thank you for being such energetic and amazing Dean and friend. I feel sorry for the next person.


Chad L. Atwell

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Comments & Questions Welcome

Posted on 06. Aug, 2010 by .


Obviously this blog is a mix of informational topics and (as it progresses) a place to go for questions and thoughts people might have.

At Woods, Snively & Atwell we have attorneys that handle a wide variety of cases and issues in a competent and professional manner. We tackle cases from misdemeanor criminal offenses to complex civil litigation. We are not a large firm and truly try to provide complete service, even if your case changes in complexity or nature as it progresses.

So, along the way if you simply have a question or a topic that you would like to see, please let us know. From time to time in the future, we will also invite attorneys wish to contribute to the blog, to post as well.

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How bad is it when a Public Defender office closes?

Posted on 24. Jul, 2010 by .


Pretty close to home. Evidently for the first time ever, in Missouri, a public defender officer has shut their doors.

Overloaded with work, public defender closes office doors to new clients

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3 Misdemeanors=$73,000.00

Posted on 21. Jul, 2010 by .


As many of you have hear or read by now there was a little case in Benton County, involving the County Judge (now former).

He was charged under an Arkansas Statute that provided for a fine and removal from office if convicted. It also provides for “reasonable attorney” fees if Acquitted.

Of Interest are a couple of things:

1) Was the Judge acquitted under the statute? He was on 2/3 of the charges, and one was later dismissed? Will that qualify, does it apply?

2) What are “reasonable attorney” fees? In this case a bill has been submitted for $73,000.00. With a combined (there were three attorneys working on the defense) hourly rate of $775.00/Hr.

3) Which side will file the first appeal?

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You must start somewhere.

Posted on 21. Jul, 2010 by .


So the idea came to me to begin a blog, on legal news, local decisions, random things loosely associated with the legal profession. The next thought was “what the heck will I blog about, and do I really want to blog?”.

I decided I would give it a shot and then also add other authors who might want to contribute short thoughts or analysis as well.

So this post begins what is surely to be a very random and attention deficit disorder blog that will try and bring up or highlight things that might be of interest to others.

All questions or comments are welcome.

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Posted on 12. Apr, 2010 by .


The lawyers and staff of Woods, Snively and Associates LLP in Fayetteville, Arkansas represent clients with integrity, commitment and zeal. We seek not only to meet our clients’ needs, but also to build long term relationships based on quality service, trust and mutual respect.

Our experienced attorneys represent clients in family law and divorce, automotive accidents, custody matters, business law, real estate law, criminal law, construction law, lawsuits, estate planning, employee and consumer rights and more. We serve the entire Northwest Arkansas region; no case is too big or too small! Contact us today to find out more about how we can represent you.

We represent clients in Washington County, Arkansas: Fayetteville, Springdale, West Fork, Prairie Grove, Lincoln, Farmington, Greenland, Johnson, Elm Springs; Benton County, Arkansas: Bentonville, Rogers, Lowell, Siloam Springs, Gentry, Pea Ridge, Cave Springs, Centerton, Bella Vista; Madison County, Arkansas: Huntsville; Carroll County, Arkansas: Eureka Springs, Berryville, and more.

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