Archive for the ‘Product Liability’ Category

Toxic Tort Law in Lead Poisoning Cases

Toxic Tort Law aims to address the issues that arise when people are exposed to toxic substances to no fault of their own. This includes industrial chemicals, pesticides, lead-based paint, medicine and toxins in the environment. This law is related to and considered a subset of, personal injury law. It also often results in Mass Torts.

Claims related to this law are filed by those who were exposed to the dangerous substances. In order to file a claim, the victim must have suffered injuries and damages that are directly linked to exposure to the substance. Typically, in one of these cases, the following elements should be proven to be successful:

  • The substance in question is harmful in some way such as being dangerous or toxic in nature.
  • The plaintiff that is filing the claim was exposed to the substance. In most cases, the exposure happened either unknowingly or in such a way that could not have been avoided.
  • Said exposure caused harm or damage to the plaintiff.

Arguably, the most important element in one of these causes is showing causation. In other words, to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the substance is what caused their injury, illness or other damages rather than simply proving they were exposed and that they do have some type of injury, damages or harm.

In most cases, the full extent of damage is not seen until years after the exposure. This makes it important to have a full record of the condition as it progressed and an expert opinion on what caused the ailments. However, because of the time lapse, it can be extremely difficult to show without a doubt that the condition was caused by the toxic substance. Because of this, most cases rely heavily on scientific or medical studies to prove the case.

This is done by comparing the elements of the condition and treatment plan to studies to “prove” the connection. These types of claims come in five main categories:

  • Occupational Exposure
  • Home Exposure
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • Consumer Products

In lead poisoning cases, there are other factors to consider. Whether the lead poisoning happened as a result of a landlord not properly warning a tenant of old lead paint or there were improper warnings on a product, the claim will be pursued differently. If you are the victim of lead poisoning, contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today.

Common Defective Product-Related Injuries

child's toy boxWhen injury results from a product that consumers thought they could assume was safe for use, it is considered a defective product. Whether the product was a choking hazard or caused a major injury by exploding, the manufacturer is liable for what happens with their product within reason. For example, if someone misuses the product, the company is not liable. However, if they use the product in a way that a reasonable person would and are still injured, they may be entitled to compensation.

Some injuries are more likely than others. There are certain injuries that most commonly result from a defective product.

Organ Failure

Medicine can be as defective as other products. When a medication leads to serious side effects that were not put on the label, it is considered a defective product and the victim could be entitled to compensation. In some cases, the problems with the medication are not found until the patient has been on them long term. This can lead to kidney failure, cardiac arrest, lung problems, liver failure, heart failure and even brain damage.

Fractures

When a product breaks suddenly, it can lead to serious, immediate injury, which qualifies under the general umbrella of defective product injuries. Common causes include adults using a ladder or when a child is in a high chair and the product malfunctioning in some way, whether it is a piece breaking or it folding in on itself. Head injuries are also common. They are most often associated with bicycles, ladders, motorcycles and scooters.

Choking

Choking deaths are the most common amongst children. These most often come as a result of toys that have a choking hazard due to small parts. In many cases, there will be warning labels to help parents identify which toys are appropriate for their child. However, when those warning labels are not present, children are put at risk and the company is liable for damages that come as a result of their negligence.

Burn Injuries

Products designed for adults also need to be properly labeled. Products that may have faulty wiring, or have an extra risk when there is exposed wiring, or there is a risk of being electrocuted when the product is plugged in, the company must put a warning label that expresses the danger and gives information on how to avoid injury.

Have you been injured due to a defective product? You may be entitled to compensation. Contact our team today at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today for more information.

What Makes a Strong Products Liability Case in Connecticut?

While manufacturers take precaution to mitigate the risks associated with their products, there are still times when individuals are harmed due to substantial flaws that went undetected during product testing. When a consumer is harmed due to a product, they have a lot to prove to be successful, but it can be done. Knowing the laws and how they apply to your case ahead of time can alleviate a lot of stress and guarantee a more favorable outcome.

If you have suffered injury due to a lack of safety features, lack of warning labels, or a design or production failure or flaw, you could be eligible for compensation. The first step in your legal battle is to figure out if you meet the criteria to prove a product was defective and dangerous.

Types of Defects

Under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, victims of such injuries can only recover damages if they prove they have an injury, that it is the result of the product, and if it contained a defect that made it more dangerous than a reasonable person under the same circumstances would expect.

There are three categories of product defects:

  • Design defect. This is when the product was designed with a dangerous flaw such as a car that is prone to rollover.
  • Manufacturing defect. When the product was designed well but is rendered unsafe during production, it is a manufacturing defect. An example includes contaminated food.
  • Label defect. When a product does not properly warn consumers of its dangers or hidden risks and a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not have assumed its risk, it is a label defect.

When pursuing compensation, a jury will look at the circumstances in which a plaintiff was injured and conclude whether the product was unreasonably or unforeseeably dangerous. The goal is to hold manufacturers and designers accountable for how reliable and safe their products are to keep consumers safe.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to no fault of your own after using a dangerous product, contact our attorneys today. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we hold manufacturers accountable for the items they place in the marketplace and aim to protect the rights of consumers.

Can I Seek Damages When a Product Doesn’t Have Proper Warnings or Instructions?

If you have been injured because of a product you used, you may be entitled to compensation. There are three categories that claims fall into where compensation may be available to the victim of the product: defectively manufactured, defectively designed, and failure to warn about proper use or the potential for harm.

Even products that have been created well and have no flaws in their design can cause harm when the consumer is not properly informed.

Duty of Care

When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation. Companies have a duty of care to let consumers know how to properly use their products and must warn how misuse can lead to injury. For instance, if a hair remover may cause burns if left on too long, the consumer must be properly warned about the risk. Failing to do so can put the company on the hook for damages that result from leaving the product on.

In these cases, the danger must be overt. In the case of the hair remover, a consumer may assume the product is safe since it is being used on the skin. If the company knows risks increase the longer a product stays on the body, they are required to give instructions on how to avoid the burns, along with information on how to handle a situation where the product begins to burn the skin.

Misuse of Product

While you may seek damages when the product does not have proper warnings, your case may be dismissed if you misused the product. In these cases, a product was used for something other than its intended use and the instructions were clear. For instance, a manufacturer is not liable if a consumer uses an outdoor grill indoors when it is marketed clearly for outdoor use.

Manufacturers should be able to warn against foreseeable misuse, but when there is adequate warning of misuse, they cannot be held liable. They also cannot be held accountable for not warning of unforeseeable uses. For instance, it is not reasonable for a microwave company to be expected to warn consumers not to microwave a laptop, but they should be able to foresee warning them against microwaving a plastic bowl.

If you feel your injury is due to the negligence of a manufacturer, contact our Connecticut defect product lawyer at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

What are the Most Common Amusement Park Injuries?

There are some things that just come with warmer temperatures, and going to amusement parks is one of them. It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting one of the big name destinations in Florida or California or the attractions at your local beach boardwalk, the sounds of people shrieking in delight are part and parcel of our happiest memories – at least that’s true for most of us. Though we generally associate amusement parks with joy and carefree days, there are thousands of people injured at these attractions every year, and whose memories of these visits are filled with horror. Some of these injuries are so out of the norm that they make the evening news, and we shake our heads when we hear of drownings at water parks or of people getting thrown to their death from roller coasters, but these events are rare. Much more frequently the people who are hurt suffer damage that may not be newsworthy, but can still be life changing. If you or your child have been injured on a ride or while in a park, you may be eligible for compensation for the damage you’ve suffered. Here are the most common amusement park injuries, as well as some information about what to do if it has happened to you.

 

When you picture an amusement park, the first things that come to mind are probably the roller coaster, the bumper cars, and all the other rides that move fast, whipping you around and making you dizzy. As much fun as these can be, they are also the rides that lead to the most common amusement park injuries. These injuries include:

 

  • Back, neck and head injuries from being thrown around in a rough ride
  • Falling from a ride
  • Being thrown from a ride
  • Stroke caused by injuries to the ligaments in the neck
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Brain injuries resulting from rapid speed putting G-forces on the head
  • Drowning

 

In addition to the physical damage that the body can suffer while rides are operating properly, there are also injuries that can result from rides being improperly operated or from mechanical failures. When a safety element such as a seatbelt or protective bar fails to work in the middle of a ride, it can lead to serious injury. Similarly, if a ride’s brakes or speed controls fail, people can be thrown from their seats. In some cases, people are injured when they fail to listen to safety instructions or misuse a ride.

 

When a person is injured on an amusement park ride, they may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit based on either negligence on the part of the park owner or operator, or a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the ride itself. For more information on your legal rights, contact the compassionate attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.

 

Cell Phone Batteries and Personal Injury

Cell phones have been very much in the news these days, and it hasn’t been about the latest technology update. Samsung phones have been exploding, causing property damage and injuries and forcing the manufacturer and several cell phone carriers to pull them from the shelves. Though Samsung is getting most of the attention these days, the issue of exploding cell phone batteries and lithium batteries is hardly new. The lithium ion batteries that power many of our electronics are marvels of engineering, but they also have the potential to generate an enormous amount of power, and when something goes wrong it can have serious consequences. If you have suffered an injury as a result of an exploding cell phone battery, laptop battery or other incident involving one of these high-energy devices, the experienced lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help.

Lithium batteries are used in cell phones, e-cigarettes, laptops and other electronics specifically because they are so versatile. The technology that was used to create them allows them to be created in a variety of shapes: they are also extremely lightweight, while providing an enormous amount of power. We value them because they give us so many hours of use for the devices that we rely on so heavily. Unfortunately, the design and manufacturing process has turned out to be far from perfect, and there have been several instances of people suffering severe injuries when their cell phone batteries exploded. Some examples include:

  • A cell phone battery that was less than one-year old that exploded while the user had left her phone sitting face up on a side table next to her bed. The phone was not charging when it exploded. Though the woman was not injured, the explosion caused her mattress and bedding to burn.
  • A man in Vancouver, Canada was killed when he left his laptop on a couch to charge overnight. The battery caused a fire that resulted in the fatality.
  • A man in South Korea had a spare battery for his cell phone in a pocket when it burst into flame, causing him severe burns.
  • The U.S. Fire Administration has reported that e-cigarettes that contain lithium batteries can burst into flame and have caused serious injuries, including burns, loss of teeth, and in one case a consumer lost their tongue.

Airlines have begun to prohibit lithium batteries within their cabins specifically to protect their aircraft and passengers from the risk of injury. When a cell phone battery explodes and causes harm, it may be a result of a defective design or a problem in the manufacturing process. Both of these are issues of product liability, and the manufacturer or designer can be held legally responsible for the damage that ensues. If you or someone you love has suffered a cell phone battery injury or an injury caused by a lithium battery, call the experienced product liability attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today. We are dedicated to getting personal injury victims the compensation that they need and deserve.

What Are the Dangers of Defective Products?

Defective products lawsuits focus on holding those responsible for bringing products to market responsible and accountable to consumers. The basic idea behind this type of lawsuit is that manufacturers, designers, and others in the supply chain need to be mindful of the safety of the consumers that will be purchasing and using their product. This mindfulness goes to anticipating how a product will be used and whether it can cause harm. When this duty of care is not upheld, and it is determined that a company acted in bad faith or negligently, then they can be held liable for the damage that they have caused. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we are passionate about seeking justice on behalf of the victims of negligence.

If you want an idea of what kind of dangers defective products can cause, consider some of the examples that follow. They represent some of the more notable and interesting examples of defective products/product liability cases in the history of the American justice system.

  •  Big Tobacco: The cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris was sued by a woman who had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Her lawsuit accused them of failing to warn of the risks of smoking and accused them of causing both her illness and her addiction to tobacco. She won, and the company was handed a judgement of $850,000 in compensation for expenses and $28 billion in punitive damages. The amount was later reduced to $28 million.
  • Silicone Breast Implants: Breast implants are one of the most popular, most requested cosmetic surgical procedures in the United States, but in 1998 it was proven that Down Corning’s silicone implants were rupturing and causing serious injuries and illness, and in some cases even death. The company settled their defective product lawsuit out of court for $2 billion.
  • Blitz Gas Cans: Not many people have heard of Blitz, but the portable gas cans manufactured by this Oklahoma company were found to explode when used to pour gas to start a fire. The company paid an average of $4 million in more than 30 defective products injury cases against it, and was forced out of business.
  • McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case: This infamous case involved a 79-year old woman who had ordered coffee at McDonald’s. She was severely burned when the hot beverage spilled on her lap, and required skin grafts and two years of medical treatments to follow. The case charged McDonald’s with serving coffee heated to 180 to 190 degrees, which was significantly higher than that of other companies and which made the risk of injury far greater. The jury agreed and awarded the victim $160,000 in compensable expenses and $2.7 million in punitive damages.

Companies that sell products to consumers have a responsibility to make sure that their products are safe and will not cause harm. When they fail to do so and injury occurs, the person who has been injured can file a defective product lawsuit seeking damages. If you have been hurt by a product that was not safe, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. We are here to protect your rights and make sure you get the justice you deserve

Connecticut Class Action Lawsuits and Defective Products

When you think of a person filing a lawsuit over a wrong that’s been done to them, you imagine a single individual or family in court, seeking damages in their own interests. A good example of this would be if a person got into an accident and it later came out that the mechanic who fixed their brakes did a bad job, failing to install them properly or perhaps putting in the wrong size or type. But if you take that same accident, and instead have it caused by faulty brakes having been installed by the manufacturer in every similar car model in the same year, and it turns out that there were dozens of similar accidents, then you are likely to find that the claim is filed as a class action lawsuit, in which a single legal action is representing multiple plaintiffs who are all seeking the same relief. When a class action lawsuit is pursued, it is done on behalf of all those who have been injured, whether they are aware of it or not. They do not have to be present in the courtroom or participate in any of the proceedings, but if the verdict comes down in favor of them, they are entitled to the benefit as part of the class. In the state of Connecticut, class action lawsuits are frequently filed over defective products that have caused harm to many people. The experienced lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers have a successful record of representing our clients’ interests in class action lawsuits and can help you as well.

In order for a group of personal injury lawsuits to be accepted as a class action, there are certain requirements. The attorneys filing the case need to be able to show that there are enough people who have been similarly harmed that having each file their own individual personal injury lawsuit would be a drain on the judicial system and needlessly redundant. The damages that each plaintiff has suffered has to be relatively similar to what was experienced by each member of the group as a whole, and the person who is bringing the class action lawsuit has to be a good representative of those who are class members. There are certain advantages to being a part of a class action lawsuit: a person who has suffered damages can reap the benefits of the legal action without the challenges and stress of being involved in the court proceeding, and the company that was at fault for the defective product is held responsible and made to pay for their negligence. The downside to a class action lawsuit is that the individuals who have suffered damages generally receive less in the way of damages then they would if they had filed an individual personal injury lawsuit. A big company can also force a number of delays in order to frustrate the plaintiffs, but having an experienced Connecticut class action attorney working on your behalf can counter these efforts and issues and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve for the damages that you’ve suffered.

Consumer Watchdogs Want to Warn Women About the Dangers of Vaginal Mesh

Consumer watchdog group Corporate Action Network (CAN) has launched a campaign aimed at alerting consumers about the dangers of Ethicon vaginal mesh products. The network is seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon’s parent company, liable for putting profits over people.

Ethicon manufactures surgical sutures and wound closure devices, they even have a slogan that reads “better surgery for a better world.” However, the company is currently the target of more than 20,000 pelvic mesh lawsuits filed by patients who claim they experienced severe, life-changing injuries.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Corporate Action Network argues that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon should be subject to charges for obstructing criminal investigations after they allegedly destroyed vital documents.

The documents were supposedly relevant to vaginal mesh litigation, but were not preserved by Ethicon according to U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin who is presiding other the multi-district litigation in West Virginia. The judge, however, found no evidence that Ethicon purposely destroyed these files to keep such information out of court and Ethicon denied it was intentional.

As part of CAN’s campaign, the group is encouraging whistleblowers to come forward and submit tips or to call on investors to stop purchasing new Johnson & Johnson stock.

The Justice Department intends to review Corporation Action Network’s request for a criminal investigation.

Ethicon lawsuits have continued moving forward in a few states already. Judge Goodwin is managing approximately eight litigations against mesh manufacturers such as Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson, American Medical Systems Neomedic, Bard and more. More than 14,600 transvaginal mesh lawsuits against Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson are still pending under multidistrict litigation.

In Texas, a plaintiff was recently awarded $1.2 million after one of Ethicon’s mesh products was found to be defective and led to her injuries. Many more victims though, are still waiting to get the justice they deserve.

Fresenius NaturaLyte and Granuflo Injury Claims Approaching Statute of Limitations

In March 2012, the official FDA recall of Fresenius’ dialysis products NaturaLyte and Granuflo was issued. As the cut-off date for filing an injury claim draws near, law firms are likely to see an influx of product liability claims from the victims of these drugs. The statute of limitations in these cases is two years, which will bar anyone from filing a claim after March 2014.

If you or someone you love took either dialysis drug, Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers urges you to file a NaturaLyte or Granuflo claim while there is still time.

Our Granuflo and NaturaLyte lawyers are ready to provide you with a free case review to help you move forward today.

As originally reported by AboutLawsuits.com on Feb. 17, 2014

As the two year anniversary approaches for the NaturaLyte and Granuflo recall issued by Fresenius Medical Care in March 2012, an influx of product liability lawsuits are likely be filed on behalf of dialysis patients who suffered cardiac arrest or sudden death during treatments.

Hundreds of Fresenius dialysis lawsuits are already pending in state and federal courts across the country, all involving similar allegations that Fresenius failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of heart problems from GranuFlo or NaturaLyte dialysate solutions. However, the number of filed cases is expected to increase dramatically over the next month, as a potential statute of limitations may require that many cases be filed before the end of March 2014.

Every injury case has a statute of limitations, or deadline by which any cause of action must be filed in court. While different state have different time-frames and rules surrounding the statute of limitations that may apply to the Fresenius litigation, many states require that claims be filed within two years after an individual discovers or could have discovered the link between a product and an injury.

Although plaintiffs allege that Fresenius has known for years that a higher-than-expected number of patients were suffering sudden cardiac arrest or death during dialysis treatments, the first information about the risk became available on March 29, 2012, when the manufacturer sent a notice to facilities using GranuFlo and NaturaLyte about the importance of monitoring patient bicarbonate levels during treatment. The FDA later classified this notice as a recall for Granuflo and NaturaLyte.

As a result of this first warning sent to clinics throughout the U.S., Fresenius Medical Care may argue that claims involving injuries that occurred prior to March 2012 in states with a two-year statute of limitations need to be filed by the end of next month.

While plaintiffs’ lawyers are expected to argue that this warning is insufficient to start the running of the statute of limitations period, many new complaints are still likely to be filed prior to the two-year anniversary of this notice to ensure that a subsequent interpretation of the Fresenius Granuflo statute of limitations does not result in their case being barred.

Fresenius Dialysis Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack Concerns

Granuflo and NaturaLyte are dry acid and liquid acid concentrates that were used over the past decade at dialysis clinics throughout the United States. Fresenius Medical Care manufactures the products for use at their own dialysis clinics, but also sold the product to competing centers as well.

In November 2011, Fresenius conducted an internal review of the use of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte at their own clinics, identifying at least 941 instances where patients suffered sudden cardiac arrest during dialysis treatment in 2010. While the company issued a memo to their own doctors in late 2011, warning about the importance of monitoring bicarbonate levels during treatment with GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, they failed to provide that same information to other clinics that used the products.

After an internal memo was leaked to the FDA in March 2012, Fresenius finally provided a warning letter to all healthcare providers on March 29 of that year.

While defending lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who allege they suffered an injury due to Fresenius’ failure to provide earlier warnings, the manufacturer is likely to argue that their March 2012 warning provided sufficient notice to individuals with a potential claim about the potential link between cardiac arrest and dialysis treatments.

Since no courts are expected to issue rulings on the applicability of the statute of limitations to Fresenius lawsuits, lawyers investing potential claims will likely file a large number of cases in the coming weeks that have been under investigation.

Granuflo and NaturaLyte Litigation

In April 2013, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established coordinated pretrial proceedings for all Fresenius cases filed throughout the federal court system, centralizing all lawsuits before U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock in the District of Massachusetts to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts.

According to the latest update released by the U.S. JPML, there are currently at least 460 lawsuits centralized as part of the Fresenius MDL. As additional cases are filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country in the coming weeks, they will be transferred to Judge Woodlock for coordinated handling.

A number of cases have also been filed against Fresenius in Massachusetts state court, where similar centralization has been established to place the litigation before one judge.

In January 2014, Judge Woodlock approved the use of a master complaint and short form complaint to standardize the process of filing additional Granuflo and NaturaLyte lawsuits in the MDL. The master complaint outlines all of the common allegations raised in each case, which allows plaintiffs to file a short form complaint adopting those allegations and outlining the case-specific allegations of that plaintiff’s claim.

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