Recently in Personal Injury Category

May 20, 2015

Largest Automotive Recall in the U.S. - Takata Airbags

According to the Department of Transportation, the largest car and truck recall in U.S. history has been made by Takata, a Japanese auto-parts manufacturer, for deadly and defective airbags. The complaint is that the airbags explode and shoot shrapnel when inflating. This defect has been linked to six deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.

The most recent and largest recall will affect 34 million vehicles in the United States. The previous recall made affected almost 17 million vehicles in the United States. It also encompasses all of the older generation of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate driver inflators manufactured by Takata.

Takata published a statement that they are committed to "restoring the trust of automakers and the driving public".

The 34 million vehicles in the US affect means that one in seven U.S. cars have just been recalled. The vehicles more highly affected are those in humid climates with lots of moisture in the air.

In order to figure out if your vehicle is included or part of this most recent recall there are a few steps that one can take:

Step 1: Get your vehicles Identification number (VIN). This number is 17-digits long and can be found on the driver's side of your dashboard.

Step 2: Visit the following website; www.vinrcl.safecar.gov/vin/. Once there type in your vehicles identification number and you will find out if your vehicle is included in this massive recall.

If your vehicle has been recalled, contact your local dealership to schedule your replacement appointment. The appointment and its repairs/replacements are free of charge. You should also ask your dealer or carmaker for a free loaner/rental vehicle while your car is in the shop.

March 3, 2015

Are Businesses Liable for Snow Slip and Fall Accidents?

During the winter months plenty of businesses are left with parking lots that are packed with snow and ice. If a person falls, is the business responsible or liable for someone falling in their parking lot?

In the state of Maryland and Virginia there are doctrines of contributory negligence. This means that if the condition is open and obvious, than the person will probably not be able to recover because they are knowingly putting themselves in harms' way.

Only when the area where you slipped/tripped/fell in is part of the property owners premise, and he/she failed to take the appropriate precautions to correct a problem that led to the accident would a person be able to recover for damages.

Some common examples of these conditions and the rules regarding a property owner's duties are as follows:

- Ice or Snow outside a Building: the law does not require a property owner to remove ice or snow that accumulates outside his/her establishment as the result of weather. However, if conditions on the property cause an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable for a slip and fall accident. For example: when ice accumulates on the rood, then melts and drips off because of clogged drains and then refreezes on the ground or when the slopping surface of a parking lot causes ice to melt and form puddles and to refreeze into black ice patches.

- Not Enough Outdoor Lighting: Inadequate lighting may cause a person to fall in parking lots, or to trip over a curbing, or fall on a step or stairs from a parking lot to a store that is not well lit. Also, holes, cracks and uneven surfaces can cause a person to slip and fall in poorly lit areas. It is the duty of the property owner to maintain the proper lighting, if not, they can be held liable for a person's injury.

- Parking Lots: The proper maintenance of parking lots falls on the owner of the parking facility. They must be kept in a manner such that it is reasonably safe for people to use it. This means that all cracks and holes must be filled and patched over properly. In addition, differences in height from one section of the lot to another should be gradual in nature, rather than abrupt to prevent a slip and fall accident from occurring.

- Sidewalks: If a sidewalk is used in an excessive manner by customers entering and exiting a business, then the property owner will be responsible when a dangerous condition exists on his/her private walkway. In general sidewalks are considered public property and are to be maintained by the city or town, but in cases where the sidewalk is used exclusively by customers of a business, then it is the business owners' responsibility to maintain it properly and if an accident occurs they can be held liable.

Therefore; if you or your loved one is involved in a slip and fall accident, please contact our office, so we can review and examine your possible claim properly, and, hold the responsible party liable for your injuries, and, obtain a proper settlement for your damages.

February 10, 2015

Tough Treadz Trucks Recalled Nationwide

Over 254,000 "Tough Treadz" plastic toy trucks have been recalled by Family Dollar stores. The specific model being recalled is the one with a plastic case that holds six die-cast metal toy cars in assorted colors. These toy cars can have sharp edges that pose a laceration hazard. The "Tough Treadz" toy trucks were sold at Family Dollar stores all across the United States for about five dollars from September through December 2014.

Consumers who purchased the "Tough Treadz" toy trucks can return the product to any Family Dollar store for a full refund.

Any and all consumers who would like to reach Family Dollar can do so by calling them at (800)547-0359 from 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

November 17, 2014

Cell Phone Use May Cause Brain Cancer

In October 2014, a Swedish research team published a medical journal "Pathopsysiology". The study resulted in a heightening concern for the increase of brain cancer by longtime users of mobile phones and wireless phones.

The study was conducted using two control trials. One included patients from 1997 to 2003 and the second included patients from 2007 to 2009. Almost 1500 Patients with malignant brain tumors were used along with 3530 controls.

The research indicated that people who use mobile phones for over 25 years are three times more likely to develop Glioma, a deadly brain cancer, compared to those who use these electronic devices less than a year.

The risk for developing brain cancer increased, by 30 percent, from the exposure to cell phone radiation. The risk appears to start low, but it increases over time. The risk of Glioma brain cancer increased significantly for every 100 hours of mobile phone use and per year of latency. The largest risk of Glioma seemed to be in the temporal lobe of the brain. The participants of the study who began using mobile phones at a younger age, and those before the age of 20, seemed to be at a higher risk for Glioma than all other age group participants.

The World Health Organization (WHO), announced in 2011, that it would reclassify radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by wireless phones as a possible carcinogen. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also announced, early this year, that the will reassess the potential effects of radiation exposure from cell phones and mobile devices, as well. The FCC plans to look at the radiation exposure and determine how much is emitted by the devices and how those emissions affect humans, specifically, the human brain.

In the meantime, it is recommended that users of these devices try and reduce their risk of cancer by using headsets, speakerphones, holding the phone away from the body and text as often as possible.

July 21, 2014

Never Leave A Child Alone In A Hot Vehicle

Every summer children are left alone in hot cars. Over 600 U.S. children have died, as a result of being left alone in hot cars, since 1990. These deaths can be preventable because they happen when kids are left unattended in a hot car. At times, it's because the driver forgot the child was in the vehicle or when children get into unlocked cars without any adult knowing it happened. It is tragic and preventable and the danger comes within minutes of being in hot closed quarters.

In order to prevent these deaths, children should never be left alone in a hot car, even if the windows are down. No matter how brief it may be for, it should not be done, for the safety of the child. Vehicles can become like greenhouses and temperatures can rise rapidly in a very short period of time. Besides the temperature, children are at a higher rise for heat-related illnesses and injury than adults because their bodies make more heat relative to their size and their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as an adult.

For example, on a summer day, the temperature outside can be 70 degrees, but the temperature inside a car can increase by 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs in the first 30 minutes, according to Christopher Haines, DO, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia. It is at these high temperatures that heat strokes can occur. The body can experience a heat stroke when temperatures pass 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures overwhelm the brain's temperature control, causing dizziness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, seizure, loss of consciousness and death.

It is also recommended that parents and caregivers not let children play inside unattended vehicles. One is to make sure that car's doors and trunk are locked at all times, and also, keep the car keys out of reach of children. All these tips may help prevent children from getting accidentally locked in vehicles and save their lives.

One must do everything possible to keep children safe. It is these preventive methods that will help lower the chances of children dying from being left alone inside hot vehicles.

Therefore; if you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately and do whatever possible to get the child out of the vehicle.

April 10, 2014

What Is Personal Injury Law

What is Personal Injury Law: It is a legal term or an injury to the body, mind or emotions. It covers physical injuries, mental injuries and death that result from the negligence or intentional misconduct of another person, group of individuals, or entity. The most common types of personal injury claims are automobile traffic accidents, accidents in the workplace, slip & fall or tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home and defective products. Also, included in the personal injury realm are medical and dental accidents, which can lead to medical negligence claims.

Depending on how bad the injury to the person is and the level of intent or negligence of the responsible party, the injured person may be entitled to monetary compensation from the at fault party through a settlement or a judgment.

Most personal injury attorneys represent their clients on a contingency basis or a contingency fee retainer agreement. This means that the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's (injured party) eventual monetary compensation, payable to the attorney, once the case is resolved and settled, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Also, when in this type of contract with a personal injury attorney, the attorney will pay all upfront costs and fees, which can include costs for obtaining medical records, copies, postage, faxes, correspondence, and obtaining police reports. These upfront costs and fees are reimbursed back to the attorney once the case settles and is separate then the attorney's fee for representation.

Damages: Damages are categorized as either special and/or general. Special costs are measured and itemized to include medical expenses, loss of earnings, property damage and other out-of-pockets expenses. General costs are less measurable such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium and emotional distress. Personal injury claims include and consider both special and general damages when a claim is submitted to an at fault party.

The amount of compensation for special and general damages in a personal injury claim depends on the severity of the injury, the amount of treatment received and whether or not an injury is permanent in nature. The worse the injury is, the greater the compensation.

Time Limitations: In the United States, each state has different Statutes of Limitations - laws that determine how much time you have to file a legal claim. Different types of injuries have different statutes of limitations. In Maryland and the District of Columbia the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations to file a claim is 3 years from the date of accident and in Virginia it is 2 years from the date of accident.

Personal Injury Claim Settlements are not taxable. Therefore; any monies awarded on a personal injury claim you do not have to claim on your taxes. The official statement from the IRS states:

"If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness and did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury or sickness in prior years, the full amount is non-taxable. Do not include the settlement proceeds in your income."

February 12, 2014

Lawmakers in Maryland Propose New Birth Injury Fund

Legislators in the state of Maryland are trying to create a brand new fund for children and families with health problems that may have been caused by medical mistakes during child birth and labor. They propose to call this new fund the Birth Injury Fund. If and when this new fund is implemented, it would limit the ability of families to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits against medical providers, institutions, etc., and it would serve as a form of tort reform.

Eligibility for the Maryland Birth Injury program would be restricted to children born in a Maryland hospital, whose injuries fir the definition of a birth-related neurological injury. Each case would be reviewed on an individual basis by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Board of Physicians. Each of these organizations would review the hospitals and doctors for indications of less than standard care and practices. An administrative law judge would make the final eligibility determination and there would also be an appeals process, if needed. Once the administrative law judge approves eligibility, the child and their parents could seek compensation and care from the program in less than 90 days.

The Birth Injury Fund would give a one-time monetary award of up to $100,000.00, plus lifetime medical care, lost earnings compensation for the years 18 to 65 and no cap on the health care benefits of the injured patient/person.

The purpose of this New Birth Injury fund program is to prevent birth injuries through improved medical care and not to provide negligent doctors and hospital with immunity from the consequences of their poor medical care and practices. The new program would also result in more infants obtaining compensation and the needed lifetime medical care sooner because their parents would not need to wait to win in a medical malpractice lawsuit/trial to get access to the fund. Acceptance in the program is based on the injury and not the outcome of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The funding for the New Birth Injury Fund would come entirely from hospitals and doctors. John Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System have already shown their support for the bill.

October 9, 2013

VA Medical Malpractice Case Ends in Deadlocked Jury

A jury in Culpeper County Circuit Court could not decide the outcome of a medical malpractice case brought on by Carol Nettles against the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Rutkowski, which resulted in a hung jury, after 11 hours of deliberations. A hung jury means that the jury members cannot, by the required voting threshold, agree upon a verdict after an extended period of deliberations and is unable to change its votes. It is sometimes also called a deadlocked jury.

Ms. Carol Nettles, a 68 year old woman filed a $1 million medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Rutkowski for causing severe and permanent injury to her left collar bone, shoulder and arm as a result of surgery that Dr. Rutkowski performed on Ms. Nettles' clavicle on October 26, 2011 at the Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Center. Out of the $1 million. Ms. Carol had originally been examined by Dr. Rutkowski to help ease some of her carpal tunnel pains at which time he recommended surgery. Dr. Rutkowski performed an operation that involved attaching a six-inch metal plate to her clavicle to help stabilize the bone. Unfortunately, the bone was so weak that Dr. Rutkowski could not attach the metal plate using traditional materials. Dr. Rutkowski instead used sutures to secure the metal plate to Ms. Nettles' clavicle instead of using traditional screws. It is believed that by using the sutures instead of the screws her clavicle suffered a permanent injury due to the sutures rough edges sawed through her clavicle. As a result of this permanent injury Ms. Nettles is unable to move her left arm and shoulder and has been left with a disfigured left collarbone and shoulder.

Dr. Rutkowski alleged to Ms. Nettles at a post-operative appointment that her injury was a result of her weak bone, when in fact it was because of the sutures he used, instead of the screws that he was suppose to have used to properly attach the metal plate to Ms. Nettles' clavicle. Ms. Nettles continued to complain about the pain to Dr. Rutkowski on various visits post operation and it wasn't until December 2011 that Dr. Rutkowski referred Ms. Nettles to a shoulder surgeon at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Dr. Angelo Dacus, who removed all of the hardware implanted by Dr. Rutkowski, alleviating some of the pain and discomfort that Ms. Nettles was experiencing, but still left her with a permanent injury.

Ms. Nettles therefore; made the following claims/charges against Dr. Rutkowski in the suit filed in Culpeper County Circuit Court:

- Failing to refer Ms. Nettles to a more qualified physician;
- Failing to explain the risks of the surgery;
- Failing to foresee that sutures would saw through the bone instead of stabilizing it, and
- Performing a complicated surgery that was not worth the risk to the patient's otherwise good health.

The jury was in the end unable to determine whether or not Dr. Rutkowski was completely responsible for Ms. Nettles permanent injury. The jury consisted of six people, three men and three women. During the deliberation process the jurors presented the court and the judge with five questions, all of which could not be answered because as Judge Susan Whitlock answered "The court cannot answer these questions because the evidence is in."

October 17, 2012

Counterfeit Airbags Warning Issued by the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a warning earlier this week about numerous counterfeit airbags that may have been installed within the last three years by repair shops. These counterfeit airbags were sold for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in automobile accidents. They look almost identical as real airbags but are extremely dangerous. Some of the dangers include: partially inflating airbags and airbags that deploy but project out fragments inside the vehicle.
airbag-fatalities.jpg
Testing done by the NHTSA, on about 10 different counterfeit airbags, identified certain makes and models of vehicles to whom these counterfeit airbags may have been available to, but they believe that the issue of these counterfeit airbags affect only about 0.1 % of vehicles in the United States. That percentage means that less than 240,000 cars and trucks, on the road today, have been affected in the U.S. The only vehicles at risk are those that had an air bag replaced within the past three years at repair shops that are not part of a new car dealership or if you purchased your replacement airbag online on such sites as Ebay or other uncertified sites.

VEHICLES FOR WHICH COUNTERFEIT AIR BAGS MAY BE AVAILABLE:

As of today, NHTSA is aware of counterfeit air bags available for the following vehicle makes and models:

Make Model Year(s) Model(s)
Acura 2009-2011 TSX
Audi 2006-2009 A3, A4, A6, A8, Q5, Q7
BMW 2007-2011 X5, E70, E60, E61
2008-2010 5-series, 528i, 535i
2004-2007 5-Series, 525i, 530, 535, E60, E61
2007-2011 E90, E91
Not listed E92, E93
2007-2011 X5, E70
2004-2007 525i, 530, 535
2011-2012 X3
Buick 2010-2011 Lacrosse
Chevrolet 2011-2012 Cruze
2006-2010 Aveo
2011-2012 Volt
2012 Camaro
Ford 2012 Focus
2005-2009 Mustang
Honda 2003-2012 Accord
2006-2011 Civic
2002-2011 CRV
2007-2011 Fit
2009-2011 Pilot
2009-2011 Insight
2009-2011 Crosstour
2011 Odyssey
Hyundai 2007-2011 Elantra
Not listed Genesis
Not listed Sonata
Infiniti 2007-2011 G35, EX35
Kia 2010-2011 Soul/Forte
2004-2009 Spectra
Land Rover 2012 Range Rover Evoque
Lexus 2006-2011 IS250, IS350, IS-F
2003-2008 GX470
2007-2009 RX350
Not listed ES350
Mazda 2004 Mazda 3
2010-2012 Mazda 3
Mercedes 2009-2011 C, GLK
2010-2011 E350, E550
2007-2008 S550
2006-2009 ML
2009-2010 GL, ML
Mitsubishi Not listed Outlander
Nissan 1992-2002 Quest
2010-2011 Quest
2009-2011 Cube
2007-2011 Versa
2009-2010 Murano
Not listed Altima
Subaru 2008-2009 Forester
2008-2009 Imprezza
2008-2009 Outback
2010-2011 Legacy
Suzuki 2007-2010 SX4
Toyota 2002-2006 Camry
2012 Camry
2009-2011 Corolla, Matrix
2007-2011 Yaris
2004-2011 Highlander
2004-2011 Sienna
2004-2011 Tacoma
2010-2012 Prius
2003-2006 Tundra
2007-2011 Tundra
2003-2006 Sequoia
2003-2010 Land Cruiser
2004-2007 Highlander
2008-2010 Highlander
2004-2009 4Runner
2007-2009 Solara
2005-2011 RAV4
Volkswagen 2006-2010 Jetta
Volvo Not listed XC60, XC70
Not listed V70, S60, S80

October 11, 2012

There Are More Gun Deaths Then Automobile Deaths in the DMV

According to a report published by the Violence Policy Center, in 2010, gun deaths outnumber motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control was used to complete this report.

In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) there were a total of 1,512 gun deaths in 2010 and 1,280 motor vehicle deaths. Specifically: 99 firearm deaths and 38 motor vehicle deaths in the District of Columbia, 538 firearm deaths and 514 motor vehicle deaths in Maryland, and in Virginia there were 875 firearm deaths and 728 motor vehicle deaths.

Firearm deaths, nationwide, in 2010, were 31,672 and 35,498 motor vehicle deaths. Firearms are the only consumer product sold in the United States that is not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Automobile safety, however; has been overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1966.
Deaths as a result of firearm use almost equal motor vehicle deaths even though there are about three times as many vehicles on the road then firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible in enforcing the U.S.'s limited gun laws, but it has none of the health and safety regulatory powers as the NHTSA. The health and safety regulations of firearms are left to the individual state.

The report published by the Violence Policy Center offers a few policy recommendations in order to improve data collection on firearms violence, increase regulation of the firearms industry and to reduce gun deaths and injuries. Some of their suggestions are:

- Detailed and timely data collection of gun production, sale, use in different crimes;
- The analysis of the types, make and models of firearms that are commonly or most often associated with injury, crimes and death;
- The implementation of safety standards for firearms
- Ban the sale of non sporting purpose guns;
- Limit the firepower of guns sold to the public;
- Expand the categories of persons prohibited from owning and possessing guns;
- Implement better restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public places;
- Person with a history of domestic violence and mental health issues should be restricted from being able to own and possess firearms; and
- Educate the public, through campaigns, about the risks associated with firearms.

If, these suggestions are taken into consideration by local, state and the federal governments, firearms deaths could be prevented. For more information visit the various websites sited.

October 3, 2012

Older Driver Safety in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

According to the Associated Press, older drivers are on the road more than ever before. Nearly 34 million drivers are 65 or older. By 2030, deferral estimates show there will be about 57 million, making up about a quarter of all licensed drivers.

Older drivers have the highest rate of deadly crashes per mile even though they don't drive as often as younger drivers. Measured by miles driven, older drivers crash rates begin to rise in their 70s and even more in their 80s, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Health Issues can also impair older drivers. Health issues such as: arthritis and dementia, slower reflexes and they also use multiple medications, which can impair their driving. On average, about 60% of seniors voluntarily cut back their driving. Most avoid driving at night, on interstates and during bad weather. Older drivers seem to have more difficulty with intersections, making left turns, and changing lanes and/or merging. This is due to their gradual decline in vision and reaction times that come with aging.

In the District of Columbia seniors are required to have more vision tests, are required to renew their licenses more often than younger drivers and starting at the age of 70, older drivers must submit a doctor's certification that they are healthy enough to drive every time they renew their licenses. In Maryland, the Motor Vehicle Administration requires all people, starting at the age of 40, to take eye exams, and in Virginia, starting at the age of 80, drivers must renew their license in person and also pass an eye exam.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a national guideline for older driver safety earlier this summer. The proposal recommends that every state needs a program to improve older driver safety, doctors should be protected from lawsuits id they report a possibly unsafe driver and driver's licenses should be renewed in person after a certain age. These recommendations would push states to become more consistent and have safer roads.

September 25, 2012

"Give Bikes 3 Feet When Passing - It's the Law", in Maryland

In October of 2010, the state of Maryland enacted the vehicle law, SB 51, which states the rules of the road in regards to keeping three feet of space between a vehicle and a bicyclist when passing a bicyclist. This includes bicycles and motor scooters.

Therefore, a new campaign was announced by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) this week for Cyclists in order to remind drivers and bicyclists that the SB 51 law exists. The new campaign is being called the "Give Bikes Three Feet When Passing - It's the Law" in order to promote bicycles safety.
Bicyclist.jpg
It has been proven that in the fall months more people use bicycles to commute around Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, therefore; the MVA added this new slogan to their outer envelopes of more than 120,000 vehicle registration renewal notices and in addition, distributed over 5,000 yard sticks (3 feet in length) all over Maryland to visually illustrate the distance drivers must provide when overtaking a bicycle.

This new campaign will educate the public and possibly change behaviors in order to have fewer bicyclists injured and killed on Maryland roads. It mainly means that everyone should share the roads. For more information, please visit the www.mva.maryland.gov

September 18, 2012

Maryland Law Requires Police Officers on Duty to Wear Their Seat Belts to Save Their Lives

Maryland police officers are dying in motor vehicle accidents more than by any other reason in the last few years. As a matter of fact, according to Larry Harmel, the executive director of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, nine out of the last 11 Maryland Police officers that died in the line of duty were killed as a result of automobile accidents.
Police Cruiser.jpg
Just last month, Officer Adrian Morris was killed while in a high speed chase on I-95. Officer Morris was swerving to avoid hitting other cars when he lost control of his vehicle, flipped several times and was ejected from his vehicle and died. Officer Morris was not wearing his seat belt at the time.

According to the National Highway Safety Office, more than four out of 10 officers, between 1980 and 2008, were killed in the time of duty as a result of car crashes, and these officers were not wearing their seat belts at the time of their accidents.

Maryland and the District of Columbia make it mandatory for all police officers to wear seat belts while inside their cruisers/vehicles. Virginia, however, is one of the 10 states that exempt officers from seat belt laws while in the line of duty.

Therefore, all Police officers in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia are being urged to buckle up in order to avoid preventable deaths.

September 10, 2012

Dangers of Distracted Driving

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) has published the following video regarding distracted driving and how it can and does cause a lot of automobile accidents. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) also helped and participated in the making of this video. The video was created because 152,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving between 2007 and 2011. Out of these 152,000 people injured, 1,100 of them were killed as a result.

August 30, 2012

Your Vehicle Is In Danger of Being Hacked by Computer Viruses

Computers and electronic communication systems that are installed in today's modern vehicles have the hazard of being hacked. Intel's McAfee, one of the best known software companies that fight PC viruses, is currently working to protect these computer and communication systems so that viruses can not affect your modern vehicle.

Automakers have failed to adequately protect these systems, leaving them vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on personal conversations and even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash automatically.

According to the SAE International, no violent attacks using computer viruses have been reported to date.

These viruses, worms and Trojans can be delivered to your automobile through onboard diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs played on radio systems.

The concern for automobile computers and electronic communication systems being hacked came from research conducted by a group of computer scientists from the University of California and the University of Washington, who published two research papers, in May and August of 2011, showing that computer viruses can infect cars and cause them to crash, harming both the driver and passengers. This group of computer scientists figured out how to attack vehicles by putting viruses onto compact discs. When victims try to listen to the CD, the vehicle is infected through the car radio and can make its way across the network and other vehicle systems. One of their examples is an attack called "Self Destruct". This is when a 60 second timer pops up on a car's digital dashboard and starts counting down. When it reaches zero the virus can immediately shut off the vehicle's lights, lock its doors, turn the engine off and release or slam on the brakes.

Therefore; the SAE's Vehicle Electrical System Security Committee, a committee of more than 40 industry experts, is working hard to develop specifications which would reduce the risk of vehicles being infected with viruses.