DANGEROUS PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET CAUSE PERSONAL INJURIES

Countless numbers of consumers are injured each year by defective and dangerous products on the market. If you have suffered an injury from a defective product you may have a personal injury claim.

There are perhaps three areas of defective products they can be design defects, manufacturer defects, and defects in instructions or warnings. Below are examples. Example 1 are actual cases my office has handled and won. Example 2 is illustrative.

Defects in Design – Example 1: A trailer manufacturer specifies a wheel that cannot withstand exposure to salt water and disintegrates the wheel fails causing severe personal injuries. Example2: A bicycle manufacturer’s design specifies a handle bar that comes apart when the rider uses the bike in normal / intended use. i.e. mountain bikes.

Defects in Manufacturing – Example1: An automobile manufacturer does not have proper installed /designed rear seatbelts and they cause severe abdominal injuries in a collision to the passenger. Example 2: An automobile manufacture uses an ignition switch that tends to fail causing the vehicle to come to a stop, creating the possibility of a serious accident and injuries or death.

Defects in Warnings – Example 1: A manufacturer fails to provide an adequate written warning of the flammability of its product and fails to warn to use it an area free of open flames or exposed electrical circuits. Example2: The manufacturer of a space heater fails to provide an adequate written warning that the space heater is prone to overheating and causing a fire hazard if left on for more than 12 hours.

Designers and manufacturers who design, build and distribute defective products can be held responsible for personal injuries or damages that their defective products caused. The types of products are broad they can range from everyday consumer products to medical devices.
I am sure you have all of heard of products liability lawsuits involving the Ford Pinto, Firestone Tires, defective hip implants and just about another product you can imagine.
Of course, these lawsuits can damage a company’s reputation, stock value and their bottom line. One infamous case from the 1970s involved botulism in canned soup. Several people died or were badly injured. The company Bon Vivant ultimately went out of business. Some companies will go to great lengths to hide evidence that its products are defective and dangerous.

Let’s look at some notable cases. General Motors (GM) recently recalled millions of its cars to fix a faulty ignition switch that caused accidents and injuries. The evidence shows that GM had known about the problem for years but had hidden it to avoid having a recall. About a ten years ago Firestone Tire Company hid knowledge that the tires it put on certain vehicles were dangerous. Although the GM and Firestone cases may be particularly disturbing, they are far from the only companies that have hidden evidence of dangerous products.

There are examples involving all different kinds of products. Medical devices for instance, remember the Dalkon Shield, a contraceptive device sold in the 1970s. Despite receiving reports that the device caused infections, stillbirths, and even death, A.H. Robbins (the manufacturer) refused to stop its sale. When the FDA stopped its sale in the United States, the company continued to sell it overseas for another 10 years. Thousands of women lost their children, and some women died.

More recently, Guidant, a maker of implant defibrillators and other medical devices. They hid the fact that one of its implanted defibrillators could short-circuit and fail to operate. Despite the potentially grave consequences, Guidant chose to sell its existing stock of devices, and over the course of three years, it sold 37,000 defibrillators without warning doctors or their patients of the defect.  Patients died and others were deprived of the opportunity to select a different implant.

The profits made from the sale of drugs also encourage companies to bury evidence of problems. Johnson & Johnson continued for years to market Propulsid to treat heartburn, all the time knowing it caused serious heart problems, especially in children. Bayer marketed Trasylol, a drug used to control bleeding, knowing it could cause kidney failure. GlaxoSmithKlein’s Avandia (a diabetes drug that caused heart problems), Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa (a psychotropic drug that caused diabetes), and the serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that many makers sold to treat depression but that caused an increased risk of suicide are still other examples.

Food is another area in which some corporations place profits ahead of safety. Nine people died and hundreds were sickened by salmonella-contaminated peanut butter, despite the fact that the Peanut Corporation of America had known of the problem for at least three years, going so far as to hire a different testing lab to try to improve the results of tests for contamination.  In 2002, Pilgrim’s Pride continued to distribute chicken processed at a plant that it knew was contaminated with Listeria, killing eight and causing others to become sickened or to miscarry. Just a few years before that, people across the upper Midwest were killed or sickened by beef contaminated with E. coli bacteria. The plant that processed the meat would be closed due to contamination, would immediately reopen, and then would close again, the company never solving the underlying problem.

Toys for children are not immune to these dangers. There are companies that sell products aimed at children with knowledge of potential or actual dangers. Magnetix toys, sold building blocks containing small magnets. The toys were popular. However, the company began to receive reports that small children would / could swallow the magnets, and that the magnets would then attach to each other in the child’s intestines and cause infections and bowel obstructions. Even when the United States government specifically asked, the company denied any knowledge of these injuries, and the product continued to be sold.

The fact of the matter is that for many companies, profits come before people, and the companies are willing to knowingly sell products that carry a danger of unnecessary death for those who use them.

Richard M. Katz is a Pasadena personal injury lawyer. He has more than 35 years of experience. We specialize in accident cases, medical malpractice and Kaiser Permanente malpractice claims.

If you or someone you love has been injured because of dangerous or defective product or suffered another type of personal injury, please give me, Richard M. Katz, a call. Our office is ready to help you. Please call 626-796-6333.

FOOD POISONING – FOODBORNE GERMS IS AN ONGOING THREAT

The Centers for Disease Control issued an alarming report today concerning the problems of foodborne germs.

Foodborne germs, that are antibiotic resistance is a continuing public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that every year, antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs cause an estimated 430,000 illnesses in the United States. Multi-drug resistant Salmonella, from food and other sources, causes about 100,000 illnesses in the United States each year.

Bacteria and viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning. The symptoms and severity of food poisoning vary, depending on which bacteria or virus has contaminated the food. The bacteria and viruses that cause the most illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States are Salmonella, Norovirus (Norwalk Virus), Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens. Foodborne illness in the United States causes an estimated 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths each year.

If you have eaten contaminated food, the onset of symptoms may occur within minutes to weeks and often presents itself as flu-like symptoms. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever are common. The symptoms are often flu-like and many folks may not recognize that the illness is caused by pathogens or harmful bacteria.

Although recent data revealed that multi-drug resistant Salmonella decreased during the past decade. Unfortunately, Salmonella typhi, the germ that causes typhoid fever, resistance to quinolone drugs increased to 68 percent in 2012, raising concerns that one of the common treatments for typhoid fever may not work in many cases.

The Salmonella that has been linked to recent outbreaks associated with poultry. Is resistant to ceftriaxone, a cephalapsorin drug. Ceftriaxone resistance is a problem because it makes severe Salmonella infections harder to treat, especially in children.

A report from Centers for Disease Control NARMS compares resistance levels in human samples in 2012 to a baseline period of 2003-2007. According to Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
“Our latest data show some progress in reducing resistance among some germs that make people sick but unfortunately we’re also seeing greater resistance in some pathogens, like certain types of Salmonella,” He said. “Infections with antibiotic-resistant germs are often more severe. These data will help doctors prescribe treatments that work and to help CDC and our public health partners identify and stop outbreaks caused by resistant germs faster and protect people’s health.”

The President’s budget for 2015 requests funding for CDC to improve early detection and tracking of multidrug resistant Salmonella and other urgent antibiotic resistance threats. The proposed initiative would increase CDC’s ability to test drug-resistant Salmonella. With a $30 million annual funding level over 5 years, CDC estimates that it could achieve a 25 percent reduction in multidrug resistant Salmonella infections, as well as significant reductions in other resistant infections.

What this all means is you need to be careful. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. Remember to keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Store food in the refrigerator (40 °F or below) or freezer (0 °F or below). Always cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature.
Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For raw ground ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal cook to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. All poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

In case of suspected foodborne illness use this general guidelines:
Preserve the evidence. If a portion of the suspect food is available, wrap it securely, mark “DANGER” and freeze it. Save all the packaging materials, such as cans or cartons. Write down the food type, the date, other identifying marks on the package, the time consumed, and when the onset of symptoms occurred. Save any identical unopened products.

Seek treatment as necessary. If the victim is in an “at risk” group, seek medical care immediately. Likewise, if symptoms persist or are severe (such as bloody diarrhea, excessive nausea and vomiting, or high temperature), call your doctor.

Call our office and we can assist you further. We are always here to help. Please call us, the Law Offices of Richard M. Katz at 626-796-6333. We are located at 1122 East Green Street, Pasadena, California 91106. We are here to assist you on your personal injury claims.

WHY HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY? YOU WOULD NOT OPERATE ON YOURSELF, WOULD YOU?

Trying to decide whether to hire a personal injury attorney / personal injury lawyer?

There are many types of personal injury claims.   Claims can arise from car accidents, slip and fall accidents, dangerous premise conditions, workplace accidents (even if you have a worker’s compensation claim, you may have a “third party claim”), airplane, bus and train crashes, construction accidents, fires, food poisoning, drug or vitamin overdoses, animal bites, criminal acts and assaults and medical malpractice to name several.

You have been involved in an incident and suffered personal injuries and are trying to decide whether to hire an attorney. Well, it is probably a good idea to consult with a personal injury who has familiarity with your type of claim. The consultations are usually free.

He or she will review the facts of your matter. Generally an attorney will initially look at three issues. They are, was the other party negligent? What are the nature and extent of damages? Is there a relationship between the incident and the claimed injuries.  After this analysis an attorney can make an assessment of the relative strengths or weaknesses of a claim and whether the claim had merit.

If an attorney concludes that the facts do not show someone was negligent, even if you suffered injuries, there is no case.  In other words, you would have trouble making a case against an owner of a store if you spilled water or salad oil on the ground and then slipped and fell because of the spill. However, if the store owner had failed to fix the plumbing in the building and the water was on the floor because of leaky plumbing or one the store’s employees had spilled salad oil and nothing was done promptly to address the condition, then you possibly have a viable claim.

Many variables can come into play in determining negligence and often you may think that there was no negligence by anyone when there actually was.

I myself, have handled cases over the years in which folks did not think they had a case.  However, they had suffered serious injuries, and they decided to contact me. After hearing the facts, I thought that there might be a viable claim.  Following an investigation and research and believing the cases had merit, we have pursued an action. I will not go into the cases, but suffice it to say, we went to obtain a recovery for our clients.  I might add that we took the cases on contingency basis and advanced all costs.

The point is if you have been injured, you should seek the advice of a competent personal injury attorney even if you do not think that there is anyone at fault. Only a good experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your potential claim We are here to help, give me a call.
Richard M. Katz, 626-796-6333 or visit our website  www.lawyer-personal-injury-law.com

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