Pharmaceutical giant Bayer, who owns fellow agrochemical and agricultural biotechnical giant Monsanto, is reportedly seeking to settle over 18,000 lawsuits filed against it over claims that Monsanto’s wildly popular weed killer – Roundup – may cause cancer in individuals who have had prolonged exposure to the chemical over a long period of time. If you have any reason to believe your health was negatively impacted by use of Roundup weed killer, it is imperative you contact an attorney from Altman & Altman LLP immediately to potentially be eligible for a piece of this settlement.

Bayer is now looking to settle this large pile of lawsuits for a reported $8 billion, despite insisting throughout the increasing number of lawsuits filed that there is no credible evidence linking Roundup – or its primary ingredient, glyphosate – with an increased risk of contracting cancer.

Already, a jury verdict resulted in a more than $2 billion award for a California couple earlier this summer after they alleged that they both contracted non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma within four years of each other despite having no genetic history of the disease. Another man received a settlement worth more than $289 million last year, before having that lowered to $39 million.

Throughout these lawsuits and others, Bayer and Monsanto have testified that there is no evidence that Roundup causes cancer, but the fact remains that the World Health Organization maintains that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” meaning it is an ingredient that can increase the chance of contracting cancer in those exposed to it.

There’s still time to file a suit

Any reasonable person could look at this situation and ask one simple question: If Bayer maintains there is no credible evidence linking Roundup with developing cancer, why would they reportedly be willing to settle these cases out of court for $8 billion? The unfortunate answer is that it is likely more cost-effective and less distracting for Bayer. Bayer amassed nearly $40 billion in revenue in 2018, with a reported total list of assets worth over $126 billion.

While paying out $8 billion is certainly not a small price to pay for Bayer, it is well within their means and likely makes more sense than continuing to fight out the issue in court, which could continue for many more months, potentially years, and would also continue to keep them firmly in the public eye as news would continue to cover the suits throughout the litigation.

By taking care of the lawsuits in one large lump sum, they can potentially even save money – especially judging by the aforementioned $2 billion award that was granted to just two individuals.

However, nothing has been settled yet, and there is still time to file a complaint of your own against Monsanto/Bayer if you or a loved one has developed cancer after years of using Roundup weed killer. If you have no reason to believe their cancer was caused by something else, like genetic predisposition or exposure to other more established carcinogens (such as long-term smoking of cigarettes), then you may have a good chance of being able to collect as part of any large settlement. Continue reading

School is back in session across Boston and throughout Massachusetts, which means that school buses full of children are back on the roads each morning and afternoon as they are taken back and forth from bus stops and the school yard. As uneventful as transporting children should be, on occasion terrible incidents can occur regarding impatient motorists hitting kids who are getting onto or off the school bus. If your child was harmed or even killed following such an incident, contact an attorney from the Cambridge personal injury firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.

Stopping for school bus loading/unloading is the law in Massachusetts

If you are a motorist traveling in a vehicle and you come across a school bus stopping, accompanied by the stop sign arm extending from the driver’s side of the vehicle with lights flashing, it is your legal obligation to stop your vehicle and wait until the stop sign arm has retracted and the school bus continues forward.

Failure to stop in such a situation, or illegally passing by a school bus that has come to a stop to let children on or off the bus, can result in a minimum $250 fine. That fine can climb as high as $2,000 and also leave the perpetrator with a suspended license for a whole year.

School bus passing can have deadly consequences

The school bus stopping law is one that exists for very straightforward, good reasons. Kids as young as five years old utilize the school bus to get to school each day, and some must cross busy streets to do so. Ensuring that traffic has stopped on both sides of the road is the only way to make sure that they aren’t put at adverse risk of being struck by a vehicle, which at their age is always a potentially life-threatening accident to suffer.

According to a national survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), where 38 states and Washington D.C. responded to inquiries regarding how many school bus passing incidents occurred during a school year, as many as 15 million motorists will illegally pass a stopped school bus – which demonstrates how disturbingly common such an incident is, and how many children are potentially at risk from this reckless behavior.

Tragically, in just a six-month period between August 2018 and March 2019, 12 children were killed in the United States and another 47 injured as they simply tried to get on and off of their school bus. According to the NASDPTS study, 73 percent of the students killed over a 48-year period in the country were 9 years old or younger. Continue reading

Juul Labs, the manufacturer behind the country’s most popular e-cigarette product, JUUL, are currently facing scrutiny from lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives for their alleged role in a sharp uptick in e-cigarette usage among young children and teenagers throughout the country.

The company has denied these claims, recently telling the economic subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that their goal has been to “eliminate cigarettes for good,” and that “Juul Labs isn’t big tobacco,” and that their top priority is “combating underage use.”

But can such a claim, that JUUL should not be compared to the villainous antics of big tobacco companies of the past, be taken for true at face value? After all, Altria – the parent company of Philip Morris USA, which manufacturers the iconic Marlboro brand of cigarettes – purchased a 35 percent stake of Juul Labs in December of 2018.

Experts have also found that Juul Labs has engaged in similar advertising campaigns – like using young, attractive models and marketing exciting names and tasty flavors – as tobacco companies of the past. These tactics, critics and lawmakers allege, have been specially crafted to make the products more attractive to young kids and teenagers. The brand used to have a strong presence on social media, but they have since shut those accounts down under increased scrutiny.

E-cig and JUUL use explodes among youth

According to government estimates and surveys, as many as 20 percent of high school students in America tried an e-cigarette product last year. Their widespread availability, price, variation of flavors and discrete size has made JUUL a common choice for teenagers. Electronic cigarettes also do not produce the pungent smell of a traditional cigarette, so they are able to secretly use them within buildings and in places that otherwise would be impossible with traditional cigarettes.

The prevalence of e-cigarette products pre-date JUUL, as they began to gain popularity in the mid-2000s, however JUUL has been able to capitalize on a market that has grown exponentially faster than scientific data has been able to keep up with.

Research on whether or not electronic cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes has taken time, and results remain inconclusive. As of this writing, there is no confirmed research to back up the claim that vaporized nicotine products are safer than traditional cigarettes. However, this hasn’t stopped e-cigarette manufacturers like JUUL from claiming their products to be a safer alternative. JUUL even includes testimonials on their website from people who “made the switch” from cigarettes to their products.

What research has shown, however, is that vaporized e-cigarette products contain other health risks that are still not well understood. For example, the chemical diacetyl – which is added to food products such as popcorn for its buttery flavor – is common in e-cigarettes and JUUL products for improving flavor and smoothness of the vaporized product. The problem is that when diacetyl is vaporized, it becomes a harmful respiratory irritant, potentially leading to serious complications such as popcorn lung. Continue reading

Motorcycles can be an exhilarating way to get around and see the world. Over 13 million people ride a motorcycle in the United States, according to recent data, which also unfortunately means that motorcycle accidents occur every single day. Injuries that occur to motorcyclists can be among the most serious, and road rash is among the most common type of injury suffered. If you or a loved one were injured following a motorcycle accident, contact the personal injury experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

When riding a motorcycle, the margin for error is very slim. User error and bad decisions can contribute to serious injuries, but outside factors beyond the operator’s control can also lead to horrific accidents. Negligence or reckless behavior of other motorists, malfunctioning equipment and other factors can cause a motorcycle rider to crash or fall off their bike, leading to injuries such as road rash.

In cases where your injury were caused by factors outside your control, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party or parties, which could result in financial compensation that enables you to fix your bike, heal from your injuries and recover lost wages that you were unable to collect due to being out of work during your injury.

What is road rash?

A road rash injury occurs when an unprotected layer of skin comes into contact with pavement or another type of ground surface while traveling at high speeds. The friction that is created between the surface of the ground and the body causes the skin to tear away, causing significant damage to the soft tissue and, in severe cases, to the muscles all the way down to bone.

A common misconception with road rash is that it can only happen to exposes skin. While road rash is essentially a guarantee if you crash while traveling on a motorcycle while your extremities are without any clothing to protect them, road rash can also occur through various types of clothing. This is why there is a market for specialized motorcycle gear – such as leather jackets and pants – that are supposed to reduce the severity of road rash.

At its worst, road rash injuries can cover large areas of the body. Aside from the obvious pain and suffering that will result from these injuries – sometimes permanent injuries, if they are deep enough to damage nerves – road rash injuries are also ripe grounds for infections afterwards, as they leave large portions of your body exposed to bacteria and other contaminants.

What caused your motorcycle accident?

Motorcycle crashes can happen for many reasons, however if your motorcycle crash was caused by the reckless actions of somebody else, you may be entitled to compensation. A few examples can include:

  • A motorist fails to signal a turn, traveling into your lane on the highway and causing an accident
  • A motorist crashes into you while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • A distracted driver is using their cell phone and fails to see you, causing an accident
  • A driver fails to obey traffic signals or travels at a recklessly excessive speed, causing an accident
  • Mechanics from the body shop that you just picked up your bike from failed to properly secure one of your wheels, causing instability and a wreck once you gained speed
  • Construction crews spilled debris or left loose gravel/dirt on a street without cleaning it up, leading you to lose control while riding

Continue reading

Hotels are in a constant race with one another to be the most stylish and modern in the hopes to attract customers away from their competitors. Unfortunately, what looks like the coolest or the nicest room accent may not be the safest – and in the case of so-called sliding “barn doors” within hotel rooms, they can be downright dangerous. If you or a loved one were injured following an incident with a hotel barn door, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Cambridge, Mass. firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.

What is a hotel barn door?

Barn style doors within a hotel room are doors that open via a sliding mechanism that is mounted to the wall above a doorway. They are often used as an entrance to the bathroom within the hotel room, and sometimes slide into recesses within the walls to give the illusion of “disappearing” when they are open.

Depending on exactly how they are manufactured, these types of doors can weigh over 200 pounds. There are various pieces required for their assembly, including pieces that make up the door, its mount, and then pieces that allow the mount to be secured to the wall. There are many moving pieces as well, which enables to door to slide from open to closed.

These doors often include various means to prevent misuse and malfunction, such as rails to keep the door on a track that prevents it from being lifted away from the wall, or from moving too far in any one direction. However, as with any product and manufactured item, these implements can be faulty or completely malfunction at the exact wrong moment, causing an injury.

How did the door cause your injury?

As established in the earlier portion, these doors can be extremely heavy. If the failsafe measures within the door were to fail, it could potentially cause the door to fall and land on someone in its path. Such an incident could cause significant injuries, such as broken bones and head injuries, like concussions.

There are various reasons why these doors could malfunction and cause an injury, many of which could potentially be grounds for a successful personal injury claim that could net you significant financial compensation, which could pay for medical treatment, physical therapy and make up for lost income from being unable to work while you recover.

Some examples of situations that may have led to a door malfunction include:

  • The door was improperly installed by the hotel’s contractor during renovations, either because they didn’t know how to properly install one or due to a mistake
  • The door’s design is faulty, making it possible to come off its railing or become unstable through normal use
  • The hotel failed to properly maintain the door over a number of months or years, which enabled screws mounting the door to the wall (or other functional components) to become loose and fallible, causing the door to fall during normal use

Continue reading

Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of injuries, and can occur from immeasurable amounts of different causes. They can also range in severity from minor bruises to more serious, lingering injuries such as torn ligaments. If you suffered a soft tissue injury due to the negligence of another person, property owner or other third party, contact a personal injury attorney from the Cambridge firm of Altman & Altman LLP today.

What kind of soft tissue injury did you suffer?

Soft tissue injuries can be caused by many different means, including trips, slip and falls, car accidents, being struck by an object or person, falls from various heights and other work-related types of incidents, such as falling debris. These injuries can greatly vary in severity and in the longevity of their occurrence.

You might imagine that the winter time is the most dangerous time for drivers. Especially in New England, and Altman & Altman’s home base of Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area, the thought of wintry storms causing whiteouts and freezing temperatures producing black ice conjures reasonable fear in many of us and absolutely causes deaths every year.

However, you may be surprised to find out that the most dangerous months to drive are actually the summer months – specifically June July and August – for a variety of reasons. Those months are actually responsible for 29 percent more fatalities than the most wintery months of December, January and February, according to a recent study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that examined 24 years of traffic accidents in America.

What makes summer driving more dangerous than winter driving?

There are many factors that contribute to car accidents, but some of the biggest reasons for traffic accidents increasing during the months where the weather is nicer and more predictable are as follows:

There are more people on the road

According to the NHTSA study, summer months lead to an approximately 20 percent increase in the number of total vehicles on the road at any given time. Simply put, more cars on the roadways lead to a higher probability of you becoming involved in an accident.

There are more young people on the road

Partially responsible for the uptick in the number of vehicles on the road is the number of students and young people on the road due to being on summer vacation and out of school. Younger drivers have less experience on the road and in control of their vehicles, which increases the likelihood of them being in serious accidents. Teenage drivers have the highest accident rate among any driving demographic.

Hotter temperatures lead to more tire incidents

While cold temperatures cause your tires to restrict and contract, hotter temperatures cause your tires to expand. With older tires and tires that have not been maintained, rapid expansion and the hot temperatures of asphalt during summer months can lead to an increased chance of a blowout, leading to serious accidents.

Summer time is construction time

When the weather gets nicer and asphalt plants open up, municipalities rush to get as much road construction done as possible. This work leads to road closures, detours and lane changes that can surprise motorists and cause congestion, leading to rear-end accidents and other crashes. Continue reading

Drivers of Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles may be at critical risk of catastrophic injuries due to the potential for their car’s airbag systems to be dysfunctional or fail to deploy entirely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating ZF TRW Automotive brand airbag systems and recalls are possible for these types of vehicles and more. If you are concerned about the safety of your vehicle or want a legal opinion after an accident has occurred, the personal injury experts at the Cambridge firm of Altman & Altman LLP are here to help you.

Airbag functionality is essential to safety

Thousands of accidents occur every day in America, and when you wind up in one you need to be able to rely on a few key safety components of your vehicle to keep you from becoming more seriously injured. One of those key components is your car’s airbag system – which should automatically deploy in the event of a crash in order to cushion you from the worst effects of the impact.

Airbag systems have become far more complex and reliable since they were first standardized in the early 1980s. However, this does not guarantee that manufacturers of airbags are incapable of making crucial errors that compromise the integrity and safety of these systems – putting people at risk and forcing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of vehicles to be recalled to address the issue.

Already there have been 12.3 million vehicles investigated by the NHTSA due to a concern they may contain faulty TRW airbag systems. No recalls have been issued at this time, but the fact that the NHTSA is taking matters so seriously indicates the possibility for recalls to be issued in the future.

There have already been recalls ordered for another airbag system made by another company, Takata, which made headlines for their airbags that were prone to having explosive incidents. In the case of TRW, the issue is that electrical malfunctions may cause the airbag system to fail to detect a crash and fail to deploy when they matter most. The investigations were launched in part due to two separate incidents where the airbags failed to deploy – and in one of those cases, the failure resulted in a fatality. Continue reading

Cycling is among the most popular ways to get around within the city, especially on the highly bike populated streets of Cambridge and the surrounding Greater Boston Area. However, cyclists must share the roads with motorists at all times, even if they are safely biking in bike lanes. Sometimes, when a motorist isn’t paying attention, they may open their car door right in the path of an oncoming cyclist. These incidents are known as “dooring” or being “doored,” which can result in horrendous injuries to cyclists. If you have been involved in a dooring incident, contact the Cambridge personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP right away to see if you may be able to file a personal injury claim.

Being doored is more common than you may think. One study of Cambridge bicycle accidents found that being doored accounted for about one in five cycling accidents, and the injuries sustained from these incidents can be quite severe, since they often involve high speeds and harsh impacts. Injuries from dooring incidents can include:

  • Deep skin lacerations
  • Road rash
  • Broken bones or teeth
  • Concussions or other brain injuries
  • Coma and death

Who is responsible for a dooring incident?

Massachusetts, along with many other states, has specific laws that are intended to protect cyclists from dooring incidents. In Massachusetts, passengers and drivers in automobiles are required to check their surroundings before opening their doors, and should not be distracted (for example, by a cell phone) when they do open their door.

These laws mean that, in the vast majority of dooring cases, the individual who opens the door without first adequately checking their surroundings will be at fault for any injuries that occur as a result. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind after being injured in a dooring incident in Massachusetts, due to how the state handles injuries from events that are covered by mandated personal insurance.

In Massachusetts, such incidents may first have to be covered by the “no fault” provision of insurance, which means a minimum of up to $8,000 of medical expenses can be covered by the at fault individual’s insurance. However, this provision may not always apply, especially if the dooring incident caused especially damaging injuries – like permanent scarring or debilitation. An experienced personal injury attorney from Altman & Altman LLP will be able to assess whether it makes more sense to go through personal insurance claim or to pursue a separate personal injury claim following your dooring incident. Continue reading

A hip replacement surgery is no simple task, but it is a necessity for thousands of Americans every year. Hip replacements can improve quality of life, but they can also cause further medical issues, especially if the hip replacement was an improperly designed product that led to a recall. If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a metal hip replacement which was later recalled, contact the Cambridge personal injury firm of Altman & Altman LLP today, as you may be eligible for financial compensation.

If a product has been recalled, this indicates that the federal government has ruled a product to be unsafe and that its use could potentially cause harm or even death to those who may use it. Unfortunately, hip replacement recalls often come far too late before thousands of people have already been fitted with these faulty devices.

Hip replacement products that have been recalled due to them being deemed unsafe include:

  • DePuy ASR Acetabular & Resurfacing System
  • Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Recall
  • Smith & Nephew R3 Acetabular, Modular SMF, Modular Redapt Femoral Hip Systems
  • Wright Conserve Plus and Profemur Z Hip Stem
  • Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component

Stryker and DePuy accounted for over 380 recalls between 2002 and 2013 alone, and products have been recalled for a variety of reasons, such as improperly labeling them, manufacturing issues resulting in design flaws and some were improperly packaged.

What are the dangers of metal hip replacements?

Hip replacements are meant to be long-term solutions to major medical issues, often times offered to individuals who have suffered an injury that weakened their original hip or the elderly, who may suffer from decreased mobility or consistent pain as the cartilage in their original hip socket deteriorates and causes uncomfortable friction to occur from basic movement.

Metal hip replacements are supposed to be more durable than other hip replacement products, such as plastic or ceramic models. In these types of hip replacements, both parts of the hip replacement – the ball end that attaches to the femur, and the socket that attaches to the hip – are made of metal. However, despite them supposedly being more durable than other types of hip replacements, metal hip replacements can degrade and cause serious issues, such as:

  • Requirement of another replacement or an additional surgery sooner than advertised, as the metal pieces grind against one another and degrade through friction
  • Blood poisoning, known as metallosis, which can occur through tiny particles of metal shearing off the hip replacement and getting into the bloodstream over time
  • Constant, debilitating hip and leg pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Development of tumor-like growths in the area of hip replacement

If you suffer from a faulty hip replacement, it can not only result in seriously debilitating issues, it can require additional surgery or medical intervention to correct. This can mean more even more medical expenses and time spent recovering in a hospital, which you may not be able to afford financially or in time missed from work. Continue reading

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