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Those three words best describe the driving forces behind Kenneth J. Allen Law Group. Our firm is devoted exclusively to the practice of Accident and Injury Law, and exclusively to the people - not corporations - seriously hurt or killed in incidents as varied as on-the-job accidents, semi-truck crashes, injuries from a defective product, or loss of life because of a doctor's medical malpractice.

As the only multi-state law firm in Valparaiso Indiana, Merrillville Indiana, Indianapolis Indiana, Northwest Indiana, Chicagoland, Joliet Illinois, Tinley Park Illinois, Chicago Illinois accepting serious injury and wrongful death cases, exclusively, Kenneth J. Allen Law Group is experienced and knowledgeable in the details and procedures that can make or break a case.

phone (219)465-6292 fax (219)477-5181
1109 Glendale Boulevard Valparaiso, IN 46383

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More Workers Die On the Job in Traffic Crashes Than Any Other Kind of Injury: New NIOSH Goals Set to Fight this Danger

posted by kjalaw on May 21st, 2014 at 8:10 am

Far too many American workers die or are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents while on the job.  Truck drivers, delivery vans, bus drivers, motorcoach drivers, big rig truckers, taxi drivers, and more get behind the wheel every day to do a job that is important to all of us.  By doing so, they become vulnerable to a higher risk of harm than they should have to face while making a living for themselves and their families.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more workers die in this country from injuries resulting for motor vehicle accidents than any other kind of harm. According to the BLS:

  • 1,275 workers died each year from crashes on public highways;
  • 311 workers died each year in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises;
  • 338 pedestrian workers died each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.

May 2014: New NIOSH Goals Set to Fight Against Danger of Crash Injury to Workers Behind the Wheel

This month, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has issued a new initiative by the federal government to combat the danger facing American workers dying or being seriously injured while working on the job in motor vehicle accidents.

Explains Dr. John Howard, Director of the CDC’s NIOSH:

Millions of workers in the United States are exposed to hazards of motor vehicle traffic, as vehicle operators, passengers, or pedestrians. For some of these workers, notably drivers of large trucks and buses, federal safety regulations provide a level of protection through rules that govern hours of driving, vehicle inspection, load safety, fitness to drive, and numerous other areas. For many other workers, especially those who operate light vehicles, safety regulations that cover driving for work are limited. Whatever the regulatory environment, the safety of workers who drive on the job is a responsibility shared by many ? employers, workers, policy makers, vehicle manufacturers, and the research community.

NIOSH Report Available Online

This NIOSH report is the result of five years’ research by its NIOSH’s Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, entitled Strategic Plan for Research and Prevention, 2014-2018,” the entire report is available online as a full-text pdf file. (Just click on the image to read the report.)

This new May 2014 report is more that an analysis of statistics — it establishes the five goals set by NIOSH over the next four years to better protect workers from traffic accidents and fatal crashes. Those goals are:

  • Advance understanding of risk factors associated with work-related crashes
  • Reduce the incidence and severity of work-related crashes through engineering and technology-based safety interventions
  • Reduce the incidence and severity of work-related crashes through evidence-based road safety management policies
  • Reduce work-related crashes and injuries through national and international research collaborations
  • Enhance availability of guidance and products that help prevent work-related crashes.

What does this mean?

The federal government is working to decrease the risk of serious injury or death for workers who drive motor vehicles as part of their job duties, particularly big rig semi truck drivers and motorcoach / commercial bus drivers. Through the CDC’s research efforts, research has been done and now specific steps have been established to reduce the risk of harm to these workers — and in the future, we may see more recommendations for regulatory changes to protect these workers on the job.





posted by kjalaw on Mar 4th, 2011 at 9:26 am

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) just released its latest crash test studies involving big rigs and cars, and its report “… demonstrates that underride guards on tractor-trailers can fail in relatively low-speed crashes — with deadly consequences.”  (Watch the great video that the IIHS has provided to go along with its research results here.)

What are these underride guards? They protect the vehicle that rear-ends a big rig.  In these accidents, the car slams into the tractor trailer truck, or semi, and without proper protection (the guard) the top of the car (passenger vehicle) gets slammed up against the truck’s rear, crushing the roof and killing or seriously injuring those who were riding in the front seat of the car.  From the release:

“Cars’ front-end structures are designed to manage a tremendous amount of crash energy in a way that minimizes injuries for their occupants,” says Adrian Lund, Institute president. “Hitting the back of a large truck is a game changer. You might be riding in a vehicle that earns top marks in frontal crash tests, but if the truck’s underride guard fails — or isn’t there at all — your chances of walking away from even a relatively low-speed crash aren’t good.”

Result: The IIHS is petitioning the federal government to create new laws that will mandate stronger underride guards to be placed on commercial trucks, ones that will remain in place during a crash.  (Read the petition here.)




posted by kjalaw on Feb 12th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Toyota’s problems with sudden acceleration, and all those lawsuits that popped up in due course, seemed to evaporate in a puff of smoke this week, when a report issued by NASA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) allegedly vindicated the car manufacturer by claiming that almost every single incident was the result of driver error, and not a problem with the car. (Read the report in its entirety here.)

But before you think that Toyota officials should be doing the Happy Dance, consider this:

The NASA-NHSTA experts are claiming that all these injuries were the result of mechanical problems (things like the floor map getting stuck), and not electrical system malfunctions.   However, go ask the Toyota drivers and see what they tell you:  as Steve Berman, the co-lead counsel on the plaintiffs’ steering committee for the economic class actions in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Toyota, was quoted in the National Law Journal, things don’t jive:  the actual events are in “stark contrast” to what these experts are reporting.

This is just one report, from a government agency.  It is not to be considered more than that, and there are fact issues which not only suggest, but downright refute, its findings.

What’s next?  Not a lay-down.  Nope.

Despite what the defense team would like the American public to believe, these doomday expert reports aren’t that surprising in any personal injury case where high amounts of money are at issue.  Savvy plaintiffs’ attorneys come to expect them.

What happens now is independent third-party experts must come in and listen to the facts as well as evaluate the cars, to give their opinion of what has happened here, and if Toyota was releasing dangerous products into the American marketplace.

Independent?  Yes.

Because there’s a big argument to be made that the federal government’s report might not be the most independent and unbiased expert report here.  Political motivations?  It’s an argument that can, and will, be made regarding this latest development.




posted by kjalaw on Jan 31st, 2011 at 6:37 pm

It’s interesting to read trucking industry folk discuss among themselves how best to prepare for the new regulations that are being imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As we’ve discussed in prior posts, the new CSA 2010regulations are moving forward – and the trucking industry is not happy about this.

There’s been litigation and threats of litigation.  Still, FMCSA confidently moves forward with its efforts to make the roadways safer for truckers and those who share the roads with them.  They’ve even set up an informative CSA 2010 website with lots of detail on what’s being done, and why.  Statistics, deadlines, things like that, are provided.

Great Dane Trailers posted an article on its website that discusses these new regulations with its readers, pointing out that “… disruptions in the ranks of truck drivers may ultimately hamper the industry’s ability to continue any growth that has started, and the ongoing expansion of the economy as well,” and that “… all fleets will be challenged to completely rethink their safety management practices… a whole new game with new rules and a new field of play.”

Read the full article, and you understand that the trucking industry is nervous about how these new regulations are going to impact the bottom line as well as how nosy the federal government will become in trucking operations.  It’s easy to see their position.

However, the goal is to keep truckers safe along with the public.  Big rig wrecks are very dangerous and usually have fatalities involved.  Hopefully, things will work for the better — and in what may be a subtle and optimistic sign of the future cohesiveness of CSA 2010?s implementation, the Great Dane Trailers article concludes with a link to download the free CSA 2010 Fact Sheet that is found on the FMCSA website.

You can download it here.




posted by kjalaw on Dec 22nd, 2010 at 10:35 am

We’ve written about the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements and folks who have suffered from them have responded. So, we keep watch over what is happening with these bad products and with the lawsuits that are being filed against their manufacturer.

The latest development? The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation has consolidated the various DePuy hip recall lawsuits and in an Order earlier this month, the Panel put all these cases, filed all over the country, into one courtroom to be heard: that of Judge David A. Katz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

From now on, Judge Katz will preside over all the various plaintiffs’ claims regarding the DePuy ASR hip replacement injuries.

And, we’re already seeing a growing number of new lawsuits being filed now that this consolidation order is in. Almost 100, in fact.

What’s going on?

As you’ll recall from our prior coverage of this travesty, Johnson & Johnson has a subsidiary company, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., which is in the business of making and selling hip implants.

However, these particular products are metal-on-metal hip implants and they are defective. DePuy didn’t let anyone know about this, of course. Didn’t warn the doctors. Didn’t warn the folk who were having their product put inside their bodies.

Finally, the company issued a recall for the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. And, the lawsuits began.

In fact, plaintiffs in Indiana and Illinois took the lead in filing suit against DePuy for the injuries they had sustained from these faulty hip replacement devices.

The number of people that may have been compromised by these faulty hip replacements is huge.  If you or a loved one has had a hip replacement, then please confirm what product was used — and if it was made by this company, have your situation evaluated.  By a doctor.  And a lawyer



We Still Can’t Trust Companies to Keep Workers Safe: OSHA at Work

posted by kjalaw on Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:41 am

In today’s world, we’re far from the working conditions described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

Perhaps because of our cultural advances and technological breakthroughs, it may be tempting to believe that the workplace is inherently safer today.  Many of us may also think that today, employers are more vigilant in protecting their people from on the job work injury.

Really?  Let’s consider what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did over one 24-hour period this month (November 9 -10, 2010):

That’s almost $800,000 in fines and penalties for failures to protect workers from harm — all issued within one 24-hour period.

Be careful out there.



Another Major Toyota Recall – 1.5+ Million Cars on the Road Impacted

posted by kjalaw on Oct 23rd, 2010 at 8:44 am

Toyota announced yet another major recall today. Several Toyota models are involved (Highlander, Lexus, Avalon, and more) and so far the total number of vehicles impacted by the recall is estimated by the company at 1.53 million. Around 740,000 of these Toyota products are on the road right now here in the United States.

The impacted Toyota models are:

2005 Avalon
2006 Avalon
2004 Highlander (non-hybrid)
2005 Highlander (non-hybrid)
2006 Highlander (non-hybrid)
2006 Lexus IS250
2006 Lexus IS350
2006 Lexus GS300
2004 Lexus RX330
2005 Lexus RX330
2006 Lexus RX330

Apparently, some of these cars can experience a little leak of their brake fluid from their brake master cylinder lwhich can mess with the ability of drivers to brake (read that STOP) their cars.

If you drive a Toyota, then please check with your local dealer to insure your car is safe to drive. Don’t procrastinate here, it’s not wise to drive a recalled car on the road. As always, any needed repairs due to the recall are at no cost to you.

It’s on Toyota’s dime – you’ve just got to get your Lexus, or Highlander, or Avalon, into the dealership so they can do their repair(s)



Noted Indiana Trial Attorney Kenneth J. Allen Will Participate in Masters in the Courtroom Indiana CLE Seminar

posted by kjalaw on Oct 20th, 2010 at 8:09 am

On November 3, 2010, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and December 16, 2010, in South Bend, Indiana, the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum will present (for 6 hours CLE credit) a seminar entitled, Masters in the Courtroom – Trial Lawyers’ Biggest Secrets Revealed!”

Our own Kenneth J. Allen, Esq. – founder of Kenneth J. Allen & Associates — will be one of the distinguished courtroom masters teaching lawyers at this intermediate level seminar.

Ken Allen’s Seminar Panel Discussion Covers Several Topics

Along with other top-level trial attorneys, Mr. Allen will participate in a panel discussion that will cover the following:

  • Problems in Jury Selection Dealing with Race and Bias
  • Looking at physical evidence in death cases over brutalities alleged.  Will discuss the different stages of death and why it is important in the evaluation of evidence.
  • It never hurts to try!  Unexpected witnesses agree to testify on behalf of client.
  • You never know who is watching.  Juror observations that prove you can’t underestimate the importance of the non-verbal side of the trial.
  • The paradigm of what one should and should not do in cross
  • Parties best interests are not always divergent in selecting a jury
  • Proving Damages and Causation in a Herniated Disc Case

For more information about the seminar or specifically, Mr. Allen’s presentation, please feel free to contact the firm or the ICLEF.

Note: Thanks to the Allen County Bar Association, you may opt to view this seminar via an ICLEF LIVE Group Webcast of the November 3rd presentation (no CLE hour limit). Interested?  Call ICLEF at (317) 637-9102 or check with them via e-mail at (make sure to request an ICLEF LiveGroup Webcast site application packet).



Peabody Expanding S. Illinois Gateway Mine – Will the Reminder of Chile’s 33 Rescued Miners Be Remembered?

posted by kjalaw on Oct 18th, 2010 at 8:38 am

This week, the entire world watched as 33 miners were rescued from 2000+ feet below the ground — in fact, the Washington Post has compiled a nice timeline of the Chile miners’ recovery which is worth your time to read.

They had been trapped underground for 2 months, 9 days, and 8 hours in a collapsed mine shaft.  Imagine.  Just imagine.

We’ve Been Watching the Chile Mine Rescue – Along with People like the Pope and the President

The Pope has been monitoring the Chile mine disaster, referencing the ongoing rescue effort in his address from the Vatican on Wednesday, as almost a dozen men had been brought to the surface.  Graceland has just invited one of the rescued miners for a visit (assumedly, miner Edison Pena is a big Elvis fan).

President Obama along with the Chilean President issued emotional statements to the press as the miracle of every man recovered and reunited with family was viewed, as it happened, on screens all over the world.

It was a wonderful thing – all these men being safely returned to their families after being trapped so far below ground for so long a time. For those who understand the inherent dangers of mining, this was an impressive feat.

Appreciation and Relief

Representing plaintiffs who have been seriously injured or killed in mining disasters, Ken Allen Law has a special appreciation for what has happened in Chile. It’s simply a wonderful thing, thrilling and at the same time, such a relief. It could have so easily gone the other way.

Which brings us to the recent news release by Peabody Energy Corporation that they will be expanding their coal mine in southern Illinois by 40% — that’s a big, big expansion of a mine, right?

Peabody explains the need to grab all the coal that’s lying underneath this Illinois soil (over 280 million tons) as part of a fight against oil dependency as well as providing jobs to the local community. Which sounds great.

It would be even better to hear about all the safety features that are being implemented as part of this expansion of the Gateway Mine in Southern Illinois. Moving fast doesn’t jive with moving carefully.

Mining is dangerous, dangerous business.

Let’s hope that in the current economic atmosphere, profits and jobs aren’t going to be deemed so important that protecting future miners working in that expanded mine takes a back seat.  Let us all learn a lesson from the 33 miracle miners in Chile.



Child Vaccine Injury and Death: US Supreme Court Hears Argument Today – Will Immunity Be Erased, Allowing Parent Plaintiffs to Sue?

posted by kjalaw on Oct 14th, 2010 at 10:25 am

Today, the United States Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments from both sides in the product liability lawsuit filed by parents Russell and Robie Bruesewitz, where they have sued Wyeth Laboratories for damages sustained by their infant daughter which they assert were the result of a Wyeth DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccine.

Specifically, the parents are claiming that the vaccine has caused permanent injuries suffered by their daughter, Hannah, now 18 years old, which include convulsions and permanent brain injury (brain damage). In their suit, they are seeking monetary justice for Hannah – who must have around-the-clock care, and who cannot speak, because of the vaccine’s damage.

If the parents win their case before the U.S. Supreme Court , then parents across the country will see a legal block that currently exists for vaccine manufacturers, an immunity or legal shield from being sued, erased by the High Court.

Result? All over the nation, parents and guardians of those who have been seriously injured or killed because of a vaccine will be able to seek justice through lawsuits filed on behalf of their loved ones.

Read about the case at the U.S. Supreme Court docket here.



Plaintiffs in Illinois and Indiana Take the Lead in DePuy ASR Hip Implant Lawsuits Being Filed Across the Country

posted by kjalaw on Oct 12th, 2010 at 7:50 am

This week, 13 victims of a recalled hip implant made by DePuy Orthopaedics filed sued in Champaign County, Illinois, against DePuy and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, seeking damages for the injuries they have sustained from the DePuy ASR hip metal-on-metal implant.

More and more people are experiencing serious harm, as well as pain and suffering, from these hip implants. Why? The implants are metal-on-metal, and they are known to drop metal particles into surrounding body tissue. This results in damage to the tissue, as well as potential bone loss.

Inflammation occurs, as well. It’s painful. Plus, a defect in design may make the hip implant not work as well as it was promised to do.

DePuy ASR Hip Implant Known to Have Design Defect

Almost 100,000 (approx. 93,000) DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System implants and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System implants have been recalled because studies revealed that 1 in 8 having this product implanted in their bodies had problems within 5 years of the surgical implant. Problems so severe that most of these folk had to have high-risk hip revision surgery in order to take out and replace the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal artificial hip.

Lawsuits Skyrocketing After Recall Spotlights DePuy ASR Dangers

There were some plaintiffs who filed suits based on the implant before the recall went public; however, now that the details on how this metal hip implant can cause harm many more DePuy implant recipients are checking with their doctors, to learn that the problems they are experienced are indeed due to the product itself.

In fact, doctors across the country are asking that hip implant recipients have their physician re-evaluate their condition, to see if the DePuy metal hip should be replaced.

The new lawsuit filed in Illinois is akin to other DePuy ASR hip implant recall cases filed in other parts of the country. Plaintiffs are alleging that (1) there was a failure to adequately test the metal-on-metal hip system and (2) a failure to promptly recall the product after its failure rate was higher than it should have been under ordinary, average conditions.

Do You Have a DePuy Hip Implant?

If you have had a hip implant since 2005, then it may be a good idea to visit your doctor and have yourself checked out. The recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant (also known as “replacement system”) was available in 2005.

Thousands of lawsuits are expected to be filed across the country since there are a lot of people out there experiencing difficulties due to this product.

Visit a doctor, check with a lawyer — to protect your body, and to insure that you don’t miss the limitations deadline on filing your claim against these manufacturers, especially if you are facing the expense of surgery to correct implant problems.



Avandia Diabetes Drug Recall: Europe Outlawed It, FDA Restricts It: Are You In Danger?

posted by kjalaw on Oct 8th, 2010 at 8:49 am

The Food and Drug Administration has issued restrictions on the use of the drug rosiglitazone – most commonly known as Avandia (TM), although also found in drugs marketed as Avandamet and Avandaryl.

All three drugs are manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and all three are used by people suffering from Type II diabetes.

Europe Outlaws the Drug; the FDA Merely Restricts

Here in the United States, the FDA will allow patients already using Avandia the option of continuing with the drug. The FDA will also allow diabetes patients in the United States to begin using Avandia — if their physicians can confirm that the patient has already tried other options, and Avandia is their last resort at controlling their diabetes.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Avandia has been determined to be too dangerous. No patient is being allowed access to the drug.

People Have Died From Using Avandia

It’s not up for debate that some people have died from using Avandia. The drug has caused fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Three years ago, Dr. Steven Nissen published results of his research in the New England Journal of Medicine, where he had found that the drug raised the risk of heart attack by more than 40%. While the manufacturer has debated Nissen’s results, additional studies continue to cause concern.

Why Isn’t the FDA Doing What Europe Has Done With Avandia?

Enough concern that in Europe, the drug has been taken off the market. Here in the United States, we have to wonder why that’s not true here as well.

What does the FDA have to say? Is the FDA Influenced by the Drug Companies?

Read the reasons behind FDA Director Dr. Janet Woodcock’s decision here.

And, read what Public Citizen’s Director, Dr. Sidney Wolfe has issued in response here.
According to Dr. Wolfe, the failure to ban Avandia is a blatant example of the agency caving into pressure from the drug industry — at the risk of human life.



More Bans on Texting While Driving – Making Employers Toe the Line

posted by kjalaw on Oct 6th, 2010 at 8:36 am

The government’s fight against distracted driving in order to prevent car crashes and thereby save lives keeps moving forward on both the state and federal level.

What is distracted driving? Distracted driving is whenever someone operating a motor vehicle is also talking on the phone, texting, or otherwise taking action that competes with the focus needed to drive their car, truck, or van.

Recently, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and OSHA representative David Michaels announced new federal steps aimed at drivers who text while driving. OSHA will now be investigating and issuing citations and penalties against employers that are requiring their workers to text while driving.

The federal agency is also implementing a Distracted Driving education program, helping employers to create effective driving policies for their companies and educating younger employees, who text more than their older co-workers, with the dangers of distracted driving.

From the OSHA news release:

“It is imperative that employers eliminate financial and other incentives that encourage workers to text while driving,” said Secretary Solis. “It is well recognized that texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a motor vehicle injury or fatality.”


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