car accident

Slow Down for Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

By Richard Console on October 10, 2014 - Comments off

Each year, more than 30,000 Americans die sudden and avoidable deaths in motor vehicle collisions. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of more than three-quarters of the population of Mount Laurel or nearly half the population of Cherry Hill. These people are killed in the middle of living their lives. They leave behind loving families, devoted friends, promising careers, and unfinished personal goals.

This needs to stop.

Fatal motor vehicle accidentIt’s not just reckless drivers who get killed – so do the innocent people they encounter. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Today, October 10, 2014, is Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. We as a nation should make safety a priority every single day, but unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. In fact, fatal crash rates have increased in recent years, jumping by more than 1,000 from 2011 to 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported. So, the National Society of Professional Engineers, with the help of other organizations and agencies, stress safety on October 10th of every year “so that for at least one day, there will be no fatalities” on the roads, according to the official State of New Jersey Website.

Join us in putting the brakes on fatalities and making this October 10th fatality-free.

The Speeding Factor

“Put the Brakes on Fatalities” isn’t just a clever name. Speeding is such a prevalent factor in deadly car crashes that we’re literally talking about the need to slow down. Speeding contributes to 30 percent of deadly motor vehicle accidents each year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It costs more than 13,000 lives and $40,000,000,000 annually, the National Safety Council reported. Crashes that involve speeding also often include other risk factors, as well – like drunk driving and failing to wear a seat belt. Evidence shows that speeding is like many other bad driving habits: drivers know it’s dangerous, but engage in it anyway.

When you speed, you’re focusing on the small details – the number on a clock or the amount of minutes you can shave off of your trip – but ignoring the big picture. Every time you get behind the wheel, you take your life in your hands, not to mention the lives of the other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road with you. You’re operating a vehicle that literally weighs tons of pounds at such a speed that its impact can be deadly in a collision. Don’t we all have the responsibility not to increase the risks by driving faster than we should? Isn’t it selfish for any of us to think that saving a few minutes of our time is worth putting the safety of others in a greater danger?

Fatal Accident Memorial SiteThere’s no way to explain to a grieving parent, child, spouse, or best friend that their loved one died because you were in a hurry. Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

Every Fatality Counts – and So Does Every Factor in Accidents

If we really want to put the brakes on fatalities, we need to do more than slow down. We need to put away the things – cell phones, GPS systems, newspapers, tablets, drive-through fast food meals – that distract us from what should be our only task: paying attention to the road. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have driving – it’s not enough. No matter how good you think you are at multitasking, driving requires you’re full attention.

We need to resolve never to drink and drive. Period. Not, “unless I’m only driving a couple of blocks home.” Not, “unless I don’t feel like calling for a ride or a taxi.” Never. An accident can happen in the couple of blocks you are driving impaired, and it will cost you way more than the taxi fare would have.

It’s imperative that we are all mindful of others on the road, no matter what our role is. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen drivers ignore pedestrians even in marked crosswalks, doing everything right. They drive by without even slowing down, putting those pedestrians at risk. Pedestrians, too, need to follow the rules of the road. They need to cross at crosswalks instead of jaywalking. At intersections governed by traffic lights, they must wait until they have the right of way – not just run out in front of cars that have the green light and expect them to miraculously stop without warning. Bicyclists need to stay in bike lanes where they exist, ride single file, and follow all traffic safety laws just as a motorist would do. Every one of us can do our part to make our streets and intersections safer.

Fatal bicycle accident memorialHundreds – if not more – of ghost bikes like this memorialize cyclists killed on the roadways. We all have the right to be safe, no matter what mode of transportation we use. Photo Credit: Flickr.

Maybe you’re not surprised by the statistics. After all, deadly crashes happen every day. However, behind each and every number is a life, a person who never came home, a person whose loved ones received a devastating phone call that shattered life as they knew it. We all deserve safer roads. We all deserve the opportunity to make it home alive. So let’s all make a promise to make the roads a little safer today – and hopefully for many more days.

 

Not-So-Safe: Recalls Are Only as Good as Our Knowledge about Them

By Richard Console on May 29, 2014 - Comments off

Pile of used tires

Considering the frequency with which automakers have recalled cars so far in 2014, you might think that the recall system was a raging success. After all, who hasn’t heard of at least one major recall this year? It seems that nearly every major car company has had at least one: Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Chrysler, Ford, Dodge, Nissan, Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and of course General Motors (GM), with its high-profile recalls of millions of vehicles.

Yet the cars themselves aren’t the only dangers. What about recalled parts, like tires, which continue to remain on our streets long after the first announcements are issued? For months after recalls, defective tires continue to endanger everyone on the road and illustrate something we would all like to forget – that our nation’s safety recall system regularly underperforms, at times to the point of being a total failure.

Man Inspecting Car TireCan you say, without a doubt, that you are 100 percent certain that the tires on your car right now have never been recalled? Do you even know what type, size, and brand of tires are on your car at the moment? Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

A Deadly Problem

Once upon a time, a tire was recalled for safety reasons. These tires were to be replaced on vehicles and removed from store shelves. The goal was to get them off the road permanently.

But that didn’t happen. Four months after the recall, a fatal Florida accident that killed two church leaders and injured several youth church members was linked to the tires, according to ABC News. Apparently, neither the church which owned the van nor the mechanic was aware that the tire was dangerous or was supposed to be replaced, despite the recall. Investigative reporters did some digging, only to find that the dangerous, recalled tires were still for sale in multiple cities.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and the larger issue of how recalled tires remain on the road, but really, should any of this have been such a surprise? “Only about one out of five recalled tires is actually returned to the manufacturer,” ABC News reported.

Pile of used tiresThe other 80 percent of those dangerous tires must be out there somewhere. Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

Reflecting Larger Recall Failures

Of course tire safety matters. Tire problems result in hundreds of deaths each year. Yet this tragic accident and the recall that should have prevented it (but didn’t) simply reflects a frightening landscape of recalls across all product types. Recalls of consumer products, too, have an abysmal success rate. Less than one-third of all recalled consumer products ever make it back to their manufacturers, according to Today. The rest remain at large, likely to harm an unsuspecting consumer.

Even with major purchases and major recalls, the success rate is slim. Take the massive GM recall of 2,600,000 cars for faulty ignition switches that could cut off power to the engine, steering, and airbags. GM is optimistic that 80 percent of the recalled cars will eventually be fixed, but more critical experts expect the number to be closer to half, CNN reported. Even if 90 percent of the recalled cars are repaired, that would still leave a quarter of a million dangerous vehicles on the road.

Why We Don’t Notice Recalls

Most people consider tires a relatively large purchase, one that costs hundreds of dollars. But what about the smaller purchases you make – things like children’s toys, over-the-counter medications, groceries, beauty products, and home items? You may not think twice about purchasing these everyday items. For many of them, you probably don’t even keep your receipt. There’s no record of your purchase and no registration on the product. If it’s ever found to pose a serious safety hazard, you won’t know about it – not unless you happen to hear about the recall on the news. By the time that happens, there’s a good chance you’ve already disposed of the packaging and couldn’t check your purchased item against the recalled item even if you wanted to.

Even if you receive a mailed or emailed notice about a recall, will you act on it? Every day, consumers are so bombarded by spam and advertising materials that it’s as though corporate America has cried wolf. Even when our companies have something legitimately urgent to say, we’re conditioned to believe they’re just trying to sell us on another product. Important notices slip through the cracks when our mailboxes are too full of junk mail.

At least some of the blame falls on what ABC News called a “badly-flawed and archaic government recall system,” but perhaps the problem isn’t so easy to solve. After all, do you want corporations or the government tracking your every purchase, even more than they already do? Short of requesting an I.D. for every single purchase, no matter how small, it’s hard to envision a recall system that would be truly effective in making sure that every purchaser of a product knows about relevant recalls. The only sure way to get dangerous products out of the hands of consumers is to stop them from ever getting to the market in the first place. Once defective products are out there, by become a danger to us all – especially if recall procedures aren’t followed thoroughly.

 

How Well Do You Know Your Car’s Safety Features?

By Richard Console on January 10, 2013 - Comments off

You spend a good deal of time in your car, commuting to and from work, running errands, and dropping the kids off at school or activities. You probably think you know your way around the driver’s seat. You know the basic safety devices, like seat belts and the emergency brake, but you might not be an expert in a few of the more complex features that can help avoid or minimize the damage in case of a car accident. Consumer Reports offers a few tips on popular vehicle control safety features.

Increasing Your Control

When you step on the gas, your wheels rotate. Without the right amount of traction, though, you’re literally “spinning your wheels,” not going anywhere. Traction control and electronic stability control (ESC) features help vehicles increase traction and get moving. Different traction and stability control systems work in different ways, but most will use sensors and brake systems to momentarily stop wheels from spinning or redirect engine power. Wondering if your car has a stability control system? Though the safety feature was not uncommon on many vehicles in recent years, ESC now comes standard on all vehicles with the model year 2012 or later.

Once you get moving, you need to be able to brake. In modern cars, antilock brakes (ABS) prevent the wheels from “locking” up, which was once a common occurrence when drivers applied the brakes too forcefully. To avoid the dangers the come with being unable to stop, engineers invented ABS, to allow drivers to steer and brake at the same time. Antilock brakes work well when drivers hit the brakes hard.

An additional braking safety system can work hand-in-hand with antilock brakes. A system called brake assist activates when the car’s sensors determine that the driver is applying a “panic stop,” or a sudden stop, such as those that may occur when:

  • A vehicle brakes without warning in front of you
  • A obstacle enters your path suddenly, such as an animal running across the road, another car swerving into your lane, or a pedestrian crossing the street unsafely
  • Hazardous weather conditions, like ice or large puddles of rainwater

Many drivers fail to hit the brakes hard enough, according to Consumer Reports. Brake assist helps slow vehicles down quickly so that they can stop at a short distance.

How Safety Features Prevent Accidents

While devices like air bags and seatbelts can save lives when an accident occurs, braking systems and stability-control devices can help prevent accidents from happening. Think about the importance of being able to accurately steer and brake, especially in snowy, wet, or slippery road conditions.

Even with the help of these devices, safe driving requires all motorists on the road to pay attention and observe traffic laws. Following traffic laws prevents you from causing accidents, but you can still get hit by drivers that are less responsible than you are. When innocent drivers and passengers become victims of someone else’s reckless driving, the dedicated car accident lawyers at Console & Hollawell step in to fight for their legal rights. Get help today by calling (800) 455-2746 to speak to an attorney.

Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

 

A Yellow Dot Is Worth 1,000 Words

By Richard Console on December 27, 2012 - Comments off

Have you ever thought about what you would do in the case of a car accident?

Call 911, probably. Pull over to the side of the road and locate your license and vehicle registration. Get out of your car and examine the damage. Take down the other driver’s information. You’ve seen the process in movies and on television over and over again

But what if you couldn’t do anything at all?

You may take for granted that, in a car accident, you would not be seriously injured. However, by the time many car accident victims are rescued, they are unconscious or otherwise too badly injured to communicate effectively with police officers and EMTs. You may not be able to tell them that you have a chronic disease or a common medicine allergy. The people working to fix your injuries or save your life will not know about your recent medical procedure or any medications you are currently taking.

Yellow Dot Program Communicates for Car Accident Victims

In the aftermath of a serious car accident, getting you the medical care you need immediately is the primary concern of first responders. While knowing your medical history is important, EMTs and emergency surgeons cannot spend time calling every local doctor in the hopes of finding your primary physician. They must do the best they can with the limited knowledge that they have. But what if there was a way that you could help them?

There may soon be a simple way to communicate important information to first responders, and all it will take is a yellow dot. The program, already at work in other states, including Pennsylvania, provides drivers with the means to be proactive about car accidents. If passed, the bill currently in New Jersey state congress would set up a program that could potentially help save lives after an automobile accident.

While the Yellow Dot Program would be optional, the potential benefits of enrolling in the free program can far outweigh the time costs. In their glove compartments, program participants would keep a specially-marked envelope with their names, photographs, emergency contact information, important medical information, and physicians’ contact information. First responders would immediately know that the accident victim is a Yellow Dot Program participant from a round yellow decal on the car’s rear window.

Helping First Responders Help You

The Yellow Dot Program bill, supported by primary sponsors Richard J. Codey and Robert W. Singer and co-sponsor Linda R. Greenstein, was first introduced in January 2012. So far, the bill has won the approval of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and could next fall to a vote in the New Jersey State Assembly, according to radio station New Jersey 101.5.

If this bill becomes a law, New Jersey drivers will have a great option to protect themselves in case an accident occurs. No one wants to think about being in a car accident, especially a serious one, but taking the initiative could really help you and your family if a crisis occurs. Your doctors need to know as much as possible about your medical history. Your loved ones deserve to know your medical condition as soon as possible after you have been injured. When or if the state establishes the Yellow Dot Program, be proactive, and take the few moments to register your information. It might just save your life someday.

If you or a loved one has already suffered an injury in a car accident, don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Contact Console & Hollawell’s skilled New Jersey car accident attorneys at (800) 455-2746 today.

Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

 

Before It’s Too Late: Adjust Your Auto Insurance Now Or You Might be Unprotected in a Crash

By Richard Console on October 25, 2012 - Comments off

Many drivers think of auto insurance as simply a cost of hitting the roads legally – pay as little as possible. Insurance companies love it when motorists buy minimum coverage policies because they actually offer very little in terms of benefits. Providers get to keep policy holder premiums and give relatively nothing back in return. Drivers are satisfying state legal requirements, but not really protecting their assets or receiving adequate medical coverage. When do people realize they need better auto insurance? Usually when it’s too late to do anything about it – after a serious motor vehicle accident.

That was the case for Regina Whitehead, a Philadelphia woman who allegedly attempted to add coverage to her auto insurance policy in 2011 as she lay in an ambulance en route to the hospital. The Insurance Journal also reports Whitehead misled her insurance provider about when the accident occurred so her new coverage would pay for the damage to her vehicle. Authorities charged her this week with one count of insurance fraud and one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by deception. Insurance fraud is a third degree felony in Pennsylvania.

Auto insurance is a fact of life, but one that you can make work for you instead of against you. Shoveling more money into the insurance industry’s deep pockets every month isn’t a strategy for success when it comes to paying your medical bills or replacing your car after a crash. Think adding coverage is a waste of money? Let’s look at what a minimum coverage policy in Pennsylvania actually buys:

  • $5,000 in medical benefits regardless of fault.
  • $15,000 in medical bills if you injure someone in a crash
  • $30,000 in total medical coverage for people you injure per accident.
  • $5,000 in property damage if you damage someone else’s car or other real property.

That’s it – no coverage for your own vehicle and a dangerously low ceiling on medical benefits. Your entire medical benefit could run out with just a single trip to the emergency room. Because minimum coverage limits have remained the for decades, while healthcare costs have skyrocketed, barebones policies are in no way equipped to offset the costs of serious collisions and injuries. Without adequate insurance you can be left holding the bag for tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Who wins in that circumstance? The insurance company. You paid them your premiums on time every month and they happily pocketed the cash knowing the maximum liability they can incur from you in a motor vehicle accident is $40,000. For a multi-billion dollar industry, that’s good, if not sneaky, math.

Adding higher medical benefits to your insurance policy is a marginal cost that could literally save your life in a crash. Even if you have no protection for your automobile, our Philadelphia accident lawyers stress the need to protect your body with higher medical benefits – it’s your one real asset.

 

What You Need To Know After a Personal Injury Accident

By Richard Console on August 8, 2012 - Comments off

Car accidents represent about 60 percent of all personal injury cases filed in the state of California. Besides being the most common type of personal injury case, car accidents also provide personal injury attorneys in Irvine with many challenges. Pursuing a car accident case can be relatively simple or can be one of the most complex personal injury cases imaginable, depending on the circumstances.

The simplest types of car accident cases are those in which injuries are relatively minor and there is clear evidence that one party was at fault. For example, suppose a driver ran a red light and sideswiped another car, breaking the other driver’s arm in the process. This would be a relatively simple personal injury case to pursue because the first driver is clearly at fault and the injuries can probably be boiled down to some medical bills, a few days’ lost time at work, and a sum for pain and suffering. Even though this “simple” case will take some work to prepare, it is likely to be settled quickly for a sum favorable to the victim.

However, consider a different type of car accident case in which one driver suddenly changes lanes, causing a second driver to swerve and hit another car. Three people are injured in the different vehicles, and when the police investigate the accident they find that one of the vehicles had faulty brakes. We have now opened up extensive possibilities of various types of liability, including the question of which driver is ultimately responsible for the accident, whether the injuries sustained were severe or minor, and whether each driver was sober when the accident occurred. Just to add to the complications, it is possible that one of the drivers was driving a rented vehicle owned by someone else at the time of the accident. This would mean that even the ownership issues among the drivers might become more complicated.

Car accident lawyers in Irvine can be your experts that help you unravel even the most complicated relationships between those involved in a personal injury accident and establishing clearly who is at fault. They are also experts in determining the exact amount of damages owed to the victim, including medical bills, personal property damage, and payments for pain and suffering.
If you have suffered injuries from a car accident or any other type of personal injury accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer in Irvine today about your case.

 

Fatal Auto Accident at Hampshire and Cedar Bridge

By Staff on April 5, 2012 - Comments off

A New Jersey car accident proved fatal for a man after the vehicle he was in crashed with another car at a Lakewood intersection, the Asbury Park Press reports. The fatal crash occurred at the intersection of New Hampshire and Cedar Bridge avenues the morning of April 4, 2012. Officials said the man died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Police are investigating the cause of this crash.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of this car accident victim. Please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.

Read the rest »

Car Accident Statistics

According to New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety 2010 Fatal Motor Crash records, there were 53 fatal car accidents in Ocean County. During the same year, there were 530 fatal car accidents in New Jersey.

Right-of-Way Issues

Based on this news report, it appears that the collision occurred at a large street intersection, which is monitored by traffic lights. It is not clear what caused the crash. Did one of the drivers fail to yield the right-of-way? Did one of the drivers run a red light at the intersection? N.J.S.A 39:4-120.9 states: “The driver of a motor vehicle shall observe and obey an official traffic control device erected at a public-private intersection in the same manner as those erected at any other intersection.”

Fault and Liability

I trust officials are looking into whether inattention, speed, distracted driving or some other form of negligence caused or contributed to this incident. In such cases, the at-fault driver can be held liable. If the other driver is determined to have been at fault, the family of the deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and other related damages. Victims’ families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

 

Two Students Injured in New Jersey School Bus Accident

By Staff on April 3, 2012 - Comments off

Two teens suffered injuries in a New Jersey school bus accident , which occurred at a street intersection. According to a news report in the Gloucester County Times, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Mechanic Street in Middle Township the afternoon of April 2, 2012. Police say that a township school bus with 16 students driven by 64-year-old James Grugan was westbound on Mechanic Street. Thomas D’Arcy, 83, was northbound on Route 9 in a Lincoln MKZ when the vehicles collided. Officials issued a summons to D’Arcy for running a red light. Two injured students were transported to an area hospital. An investigation is ongoing.

My heart goes out to the two injured victims of this New Jersey car accident. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Read the rest »

Red Light Violation

Based on this news report, it appears that the elderly driver of the Lincoln, D’Arcy, ran a red light at the street intersection. N.J.S.A 39:4-120.9 states: “The driver of a motor vehicle shall observe and obey an official traffic control device erected at a public-private intersection in the same manner as those erected at any other intersection.”

I trust officials are also looking into why the driver of the Lincoln ran the red light. Was his age a factor in this incident? Was he suffering from medical issues or vision problems? Did he have a valid driver’s license? Was he distracted or otherwise negligent? If the driver of the Lincoln is determined to have been at fault, he can be held liable for the injuries caused to the two victims.

Compensation for Injured Victims

In such cases injured victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, cost of hospitalization, physical therapy and other related damages. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.

 

Study: 30 Percent of Teen Drivers Suffer Head Injuries in Crashes

By Staff on April 2, 2012 - Comments off

According to new research from medical and insurance experts, 30 percent of teenagers involved in serious car accidents suffer head injuries including concussions, skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. The Insurance Journal reports results of the study conducted by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm, which highlights a steady decline in teen driver–related fatalities over the last six years. However, researchers say car accidents remain the leading cause of death for teenagers and kill nearly five times as many 15- to 19-year-olds as cancer or poisoning. The research study examined data involving 55,000 teen drivers and their passengers who sustained serious injuries in the years 2009 and 2010.

Head injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries, can have life-changing consequences for young people and their families. The brain, according to doctors who performed the research, is the organ that is “least able to heal.” So, they say that prevention is the best medicine when it comes to traumatic brain injuries.

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Decline in Teen Fatalities

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of brain injury-related death among those 15 to 19 years of age. Between 2005 and 2010, thanks to graduated licensing (GDL) programs in various states, fatal crashes involving teens declined by 46 percent. Deaths among teen passengers also declined by 41 percent. Five states including New Jersey have maintained rates of less than 10 crash-related deaths per 100,000 teens since 2005-2006. All five states have comprehensive GDL laws.

Keeping Teens Safe

The research study makes recommendations to further reduce catastrophic head injuries and fatal car accidents involving teens. Among these recommendations are increasing seatbelt use among young drivers and passengers, reducing distractions, teaching key driving skills and educating teens about the dangers of drinking and driving. As adults, it is up to us to lead by example. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Jersey car accident, please contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer to better understand your legal rights and options.

 

New Jersey School Bus Accident Injures 18

By Staff on March 30, 2012 - Comments off

A school bus accident in New Jersey resulted in injuries for 18 students. According to a news report in The Galloway Patch, the injury crash occurred at the intersection of Moss Mill and Old Port roads the afternoon of March 29, 2012. Police say the bus was carrying 30 children from Smithville Elementary School. Officials say 50-year-old Peter Walker was driving a 1997 Ford Explorer when it hit a school bus driven by 21-year-old Jennifer McDonald. The accident occurred while the bus was making a left turn at the intersection. Injuries to the students ranged from a fractured clavicle to cuts and concussions. None of the injuries are believed to be life threatening.

My heart goes out to all the children who were injured in this New Jersey car accident. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.

Read the rest »

Laws Relating to Right-of-Way

Based on this news report, one witness says that the bus driver came to full stop before proceeding through the stop sign at the intersection. Officials are still looking into who had the right-of-way at the time. N.J.S.A 39:4-120.9 states: “The driver of a motor vehicle shall observe and obey an official traffic control device erected at a public-private intersection in the same manner as those erected at any other intersection.”

Also, according to New Jersey Statutes 39:4-90: “The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Fault and Liability

If the school bus driver is determined to have been at fault, she and her employer and possibly the school district can be held liable for the injuries caused to the children. Injured victims or their families can seek compensation to cover medical expenses and other related damages. If the driver of the SUV is determined to have been at fault, he could be held liable for the damages as well. Injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

 

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