Articles Posted in Defective Products

Child product manufacturer Fisher-Price recently recalled about 65,000 of its motorized infant soothing motion seats because of their potential to catch fire. According to reports, there have been more than three dozen cases in which the seats have overheated. One device actually caught fire. Fortunately, no injuries have occurred, but the recall serves as a reminder that infants and small children should never be left unattended, even in a child “safety” seat.

Product Liability

If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to recover damages by bringing a product liability lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. When it comes to determining responsibility, the fault can lie with any party in the product’s distribution chain. Parties can include the product’s designer or manufacturer, the manufacturer of component parts, the product assembler, the wholesaler, or the retail store that initially sold the product.  A Boston product liability attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product.

Types of Defects

In order to win a product liability case, the plaintiff must be able to show that the injury was caused by a defective product, and that the product was made unreasonably dangerous by the defect. The three types of product defects are:

 

  • Design defects – These defects are present even before the product is manufactured.
  • Manufacturing defects – These defects occur during the product’s manufacturing or assembly. The design may have been perfectly safe, but an error in production caused the defect.
  • Marketing defects – When improper labeling or lack of safety instructions causes someone to get injured, this may be considered a marketing defect.

 

As mentioned earlier, the defect must make the product unreasonably dangerous. What does this mean? Well, consider a butcher knife. A butcher knife is dangerous by necessity. In fact, it would be made useless if the blade was too dull to injure someone. Although a knife is a dangerous product, a reasonable person would understand the inherent dangers. The knife would likely come with appropriate safety warnings, but it would be up to the consumer to use the knife responsibly and keep it out of the reach of children, for example. If a child injured himself on a such a knife, it would be difficult to argue that the injury was the fault of the knife’s manufacturer, designer, or retailer.

Possible Defenses

Product liability is a complex and constantly evolving area of the law. You might feel confident that a product defect caused your injury, but the manufacturer might argue that you altered the product once it was no longer under the manufacturer’s control. Another potential defense might be that your misuse of the product caused your injuries, and that the manufacturer couldn’t have anticipated this type of misuse. A MA product liability lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product, pharmaceutical, or medical device. Continue reading

A Philadelphia woman was awarded nearly $28 million for injuries she suffered while taking the anti-coagulant medication, Xarelto. The blood thinner, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG, is linked to serious health risks, including excessive bleeding and death.

Lynn Hartman claims to have been taking Xarelto for more than a year when she was hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding. J&J and Bayer were ordered to pay $1.8 million in actual damages, and another $26 million for punitive damages. More than 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits are still pending against the companies.

J&J and Bayer recently won three Xarelto cases, after juries determined that the companies had provided adequate warnings about the drug’s risk of excessive bleeding. These wins were actually a victory for plaintiffs in other cases, however, including Hartman’s.

“The plaintiffs needed to put a win on the board to keep these other cases alive,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at Virginia’s University of Richmond. “Otherwise, the rest of the cases may have been seen as having little value.” A MA drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Xarelto Lawsuits Up 27 Percent this Year

The pharmaceutical giants say they will appeal the verdict in Hartman’s case, claiming that their product’s labeling “has always warned of bleeding events.” According to J&J, Xarelto lawsuits increased by 27 percent in 2017.

“Bayer stands behind the safety and efficacy of Xarelto and believes there is no basis in fact or law for the verdict, including the punitive award,” said Bayer spokesman Chris Loder, in a recent statement.

According to the FDA, Xarelto has been linked to at least 370 deaths and thousands of serious injuries. Yet the drug, which is Bayer’s number one-selling product, remains on the market. In fact, Xarelto sales generated about $3.2 billion last year. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Why is Xarelto So Dangerous?

Xarelto belongs to a new class of blood thinners that have been hailed as lower-maintenance alternatives to their predecessor Coumadin. All blood thinners carry a risk of excessive bleeding, but Coumadin has an antidote to stop the bleeding. Xarelto, unfortunately, does not.

According to 75-year-old Hartman, she required four blood transfusions to treat the effects of blood loss she experienced while on Xarelto. During her trial, former FDA Chief David Kessler, argued that the drug’s warning labels understate associated bleeding risks, as well as failed to warn physicians that certain patients may have a higher risk of excessive bleeding.

Symptoms of Xarelto Complications

If you are currently taking Xarelto and develop any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Unexpected or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black or bright red stool
  • Headaches that don’t go away
  • Dizziness
  • Wounds that don’t heal properly

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Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have what are known as “metal-on-metal” hip implants. These all-metal implants were thought to be stronger and provide better range of motion than their ceramic and plastic counterparts. Although all-metal hip implants may be more durable, they are definitely not safer.

The Worst Offenders

All hip implants come with a risk of complications, but the all-metal hip implants with the worst failure rates are the following:

  • Depuy ASR
  • Depuy Pinnacle
  • Stryker Accolade
  • Stryker ABGII
  • Stryker LFIT Anatomic Heads
  • Stryker Rejuvenate

The above hip implants are linked to unreasonably-high incidences of infection, nerve damage, dislocation, fracture, blood clots, and a serious condition called Metallosis. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by an all-metal hip implant.

Symptoms of Complications with a Hip Implant

The above medical complications can be quite serious if left untreated. So, how do you know if your hip implant is failing? Common symptoms of implant failure include:

  • Severe and chronic pain in the hip, groin, or leg
  • Mobility problems
  • Swelling around the hip joint
  • Clicking and grinding noises while walking

What Causes All-Metal Implants to Fail?

The hip implants listed above are made of chromium and cobalt, two different types of metal that create friction when rubbed together. Unfortunately, this friction may result in the release of metal debris into the blood stream and surrounding tissue. The release of too much metal debris can become toxic. When metal builds up in the blood and soft tissues, it can lead to a painful inflammatory condition called Metallosis. Left untreated, Metallosis can be fatal. A MA defective medical device lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by an all-metal hip implant.

Thousands of patients have suffered serious medical conditions and debilitating pain after receiving an all-metal hip implant. In addition to the medical complications listed above, all-metal hip implants are linked to the formation of pseudo tumors (non-cancerous cell masses filled with fluid), kidney and thyroid problems, bone deterioration, and cancer. And most of these patients required costly, painful revision surgeries to remove and / or replace the failed implant. Hip implants are supposed to improve mobility, reduce pain, and make life easier. Unfortunately, for thousands of patients, the opposite has been true. Continue reading

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children’s car seats are commonly installed incorrectly. More often than not, actually. Thanks to research and advancements in technology, car seats get safer every year. But it seems that the safer they become, the more complicated they are to use, with a vast array of anchors, chest clips, tethers, and pages of confusing instructions. The NHTSA reports that 59 percent of car seats are installed improperly.

Pediatrician Benjamin Hoffman believes that percentage is much higher. According to Hoffman’s research, 95 percent of newborn seats are being misused. Rear-facing and forward-facing seats are also a problem, with an 80 percent rate of misuse. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if your child has been injured due to another’s negligence.

“If you give a test and 95 percent of the people taking it fail, you have to assume there’s something wrong with the test,” said Hoffman. “Car seats are hard to use and there’s a lot of factors that feed into that.”

The Right Seat for My Child

And the problems don’t only lie with the installation of the seats. Selecting the right seat for your child’s age, weight, and height can also be an issue. “Every kid is sized differently and every car seat is sized differently, so it can be difficult,” said AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher.

Don’t let price fool you. “The least expensive car seat meets the same federal standards as more expensive car seats,” said Hoffman. The types, styles, and brands of car seats can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many retailers are flexible about allowing you to see if the seat works for you, and returning it if it does not.

Common Errors

Once you’ve purchased your seat, local police stations and AAA locations often provide inspections of car seats at no cost. The need for such a service is evidenced by attending any of the multiple car seat clinics offered around the country. During these inspections, the most common errors found include:

  • Switching to a front-facing seat before the child is ready.
  • Switching to a booster seat before the child is ready.
  • Improper use of hooks, tethers, and belts that lock the child’s seat to the car.
  • Failing to ensure that harnesses fit the child snugly.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and 13. Many of these deaths can be prevented with a properly installed car seat. “It’s really important to continue to hammer on the industry that they need to help us protect everybody,” Hoffman said.

Is it Defective?

Sometimes the issue isn’t with the installation or use, but with the product itself. Millions of car seats have been recalled due to design flaws including flammable materials, and defective harness systems. Having your car seat inspected once you’ve installed it may help to detect any defective, broken, or missing parts. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if a defective car seat has caused harm to your child. Continue reading

Now that school is back in full swing, there are millions of children playing on playgrounds every day. Playgrounds provide kids with an opportunity to have fun, unwind, and engage in creative play. But when playground equipment is not properly maintained, or supervision is poor, injuries can occur.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room annually for playground injuries. Although the vast majority of these injuries are minor, children do suffer serious and life-threatening injuries every year. These include bone fractures, concussions, internal injuries, and amputations. In some cases, playground injuries can be fatal. Between 1999 and 2000, an average of 12 children died from playground-related injuries each year.

Was Negligence a Factor?

Playgrounds can be found at schools, daycare centers, community parks, and on private property. That being said, most playground accidents occur at school or daycare. To determine liability, you must first determine whether negligence played a role in your child’s injuries. A Boston personal injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if your child has been injured due to another’s negligence.

Factors to Consider

When determining negligence, several factors will be considered. These include:

 

  • Was the equipment properly maintained? If a child is injured on playground equipment that is worn, broken, sharp, or that has rusted, the school or daycare may be liable. It is their job to properly maintain equipment, and replace broken or damaged parts immediately. If the playground is located in a community park, the municipality may be responsible.

 

  • Was there adequate supervision? Schools and daycare centers are responsible for providing adequate – and competent – supervision when children are on a playground. One adult might not be enough; there should be an appropriate child-to-teacher ratio at all times. However, you can’t expect someone to supervise your child outside of school hours, at community playgrounds, or on private property unless a specific arrangement has been made. If you leave your son alone at a community park, for example, and he falls off the climbing wall while you’re gone, you can’t claim another’s negligence.

 

  • Were reasonable safety measures taken to prevent injuries? Playgrounds should be designed and installed to prevent injuries. That’s why you see soft ground surfaces instead of concrete, and equipment with round edges instead of sharp corners. If a playground lacks these safety measures, the school, playground designer or installer, business, or municipality might be on the hook for resulting injuries.

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In more bad news for Home Depot, an Illinois man is suing the home improvements retailer for injuries he suffered in a Chicago-area store. On August 21, Calvin Horne filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that Home Depot and Electric Eel Manufacturing Company Inc. failed to take adequate measures to prevent customers from being seriously injured. Horne claims that he severed a finger in July when an Electric Eel drain cleaning device malfunctioned as he was using it to unclog a drain.

The plaintiff in the above case is suing the defendants, alleging that they failed to provide necessary instructions for use, and to warn consumers of the product’s defect. Horne is seeking reimbursement for court costs, and damages in excess of $50,000.

Defective Products Liability

Generally speaking, a product needs to meet a consumer’s ordinary expectations. If an unexpected defect or dangerous feature results in injury, the product does not meet this legal standard.  Every year, thousands of people are injured by defective products in the U.S. But who is responsible when these injuries occur? When determining who is at fault in a product liability case, we must first consider the distribution chain.

Chain of Distribution

The chain of distribution for a particular product can be long, and convoluted. A Boston defective products attorney can help you determine who is at fault if you have been injured by a defective product. The distribution chain may include:

  • Product designer
  • Product manufacturer
  • Parts manufacturer
  • Product assembler
  • Wholesaler
  • Retailer

In most product liability cases, the responsible party or parties must exist within the product’s regular distribution chain. For example, if you purchase a defective product at a yard sale, you aren’t likely to recover from the home owner if you are injured by the product. However, the original manufacturer, retailer, and any parties in the distribution chain can still be liable, even though the product was purchased at a yard sale.

Types of Defects

When it comes to product liability, there are three types of defects that commonly cause injury. These are:

 

  • Defects in the product’s design: These defects were present even before the product was manufactured. If the design is inherently unsafe, the designer may be liable while the manufacturer is off the hook. However, if it can be shown that the manufacturer knew, or should have known about the defect, the manufacturer may also be liable.

 

  • Defects that occur in the manufacturing process: The product’s design was flawless, but a machine malfunctioned during the manufacturing process, and the finished product is too big, or too small, or too slippery, or too sharp. Whatever the defect – if it causes injury – the manufacturer may be liable.

 

  • Defective marketing: Improper labeling or inadequate instructions are the main culprits of injuries due to defective marketing. For example, we all know that a hair dryer is safe, but not when used in water. That is why all hair dryers come with a large warning label to keep the product away from water. If a product is missing an important warning label, or if you were injured due to misleading marketing, an experienced MA injury attorney can help you recover damages.

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Parking lots and mechanical garages throughout Massachusetts often have automatic gates to control the flow of traffic coming and leaving. Unfortunately, equipment malfunctions can result in serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists who enter and exit through defective or poorly-maintained gates. When a person is struck in the head by the arm of an automatic parking gate, he may be seriously injured, or even killed. Possible injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, lacerations to the face, and paralysis.

Who is Responsible?

Public and private office buildings, schools, shopping malls, hotels, and parking garages are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors to their property. When someone is injured due to a malfunctioning parking gate arm, the victim may decide to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. But who is responsible? Depending on the circumstances of the accident, multiple parties may be liable for parking lot gate injuries, including:

  • Property owners
  • Gate manufacturers
  • Parking lot or parking garage managers
  • Maintenance workers

A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Determining Liability

Consider the following scenario: Linda is struck in the head by an automatic gate arm as she walks out of a hotel parking garage. Should she file an injury claim against the garage manager on duty that day? What about the hotel’s property owner?

Let’s say the hotel had just purchased an automatic gate last month. It was brand new at the time of purchase, was properly installed, and has been well maintained ever since. The garage manager on duty was properly trained on the gate’s use and was highly attentive on the day that Linda’s accident occurred. An investigation into the incident reveals a defect in the gate’s design.

In the case above, the property owner and garage manager upheld their duties to provide a safe environment. They were unaware of the design defect, and are not likely to be liable for Linda’s injuries. The manufacturer and / or designer of the gate, however, is another story entirely. If the design defect caused Linda’s injuries, the manufacturer is likely to be liable for any damages.

It’s all in the Details

But what if the details of Linda’s incident were slightly different? What if the injury was caused by a design defect but the property owner had been warned about the defect shortly after purchase? The property owner could have placed a warning sign next to the gate to warn of potential problems, or she could have replaced the gate with a different model. Instead, she chose to do nothing. In such a situation, the property owner will likely share at least some of the responsibility. In fact, she may be solely responsible, depending on various factors. For example, if the gate manufacturer had recalled the gate but the property owner had ignored the recall, the manufacturer may be off the hook entirely. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

Transvaginal mesh is a medical device used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, the device is also linked to severe pain, organ damage, and several other serious complications. In fact, more than 100,000 women have suffered damages as a result of poorly-designed transvaginal mesh devices. As such, thousands of women have been compensated after filing lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh.

When complications with transvaginal mesh implants arise, procedures to remove or fix the implant can be expensive, and extremely painful. In addition, the damages can be permanent. Some women have been unable to fully recover from their injuries; sexual intercourse may be painful, and many women report the inability to sit comfortably months after the injury. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh.

How Did Such a Dangerous Device Get Approved?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved transvaginal mesh devices through a fast track process. In layman’s terms – the devices were never thoroughly tested. By 2008, thousands of adverse event reports had been received by the FDA. Women reported injuries due to erosion of the mesh, and to organ perforation due to device migration. In response, the FDA updated its information saying complications could occur, but that they were rare. The following year, the FDA ordered stricter monitoring of transvaginal mesh devices. Multiple companies immediately pulled their devices.

But the stricter regulations came too late for many women. Thousands have filed lawsuits, claiming that the companies knew about the risks involved and still sold the devices. More than a dozen women have received multimillion dollar verdicts against the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh. Among them is Christine Scott, who was awarded $2 million in 2013 for injuries she suffered due to an Avaulta mesh product. The C.R. Bard-manufactured device caused severe pain and bleeding, painful intercourse, and bladder spasms. As a result, Scott required multiple revision surgeries. There are currently more than 60,000 lawsuits pending against vaginal mesh manufacturers nationwide.

Injuries Linked to Transvaginal Mesh

Injuries are varied and often include emotional trauma. Some of the most common serious injuries linked to mesh devices are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Severe pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Organ damage due to mesh erosion
  • The need for revision surgeries.

In 2014, four separate lawsuits were consolidated into one trial in federal court. Carol Sue Campbell, Jeanie Blankenship, Chris Rene, and Jacquelyn Tyree claimed that their Boston Scientific Obtryx transvaginal mesh devices had eroded, resulting in organ perforation and extreme pain. The women received a total of $14.5 million in compensation for their damages.

Another woman, Patricia Hammons, filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson following the failure of her Profift implant. After multiple revision surgeries, the company was ordered to pay Hammons $5.5 million to compensate her for her damages. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh. Continue reading

At first glance, this might sound like a silly question – how can shopping carts be dangerous enough to result in a personal injury lawsuit? But studies show that about 24,000 kids are injured by shopping carts every year. Injuries are most prevalent during peak shopping hours and peak shopping days (a.k.a. Black Friday). If your child is injured by a shopping cart inside our outside of a store, who do you sue?

Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

For a personal injury claim to be successful, you have to show that another’s negligence caused your injuries. When it comes to accidents involving shopping carts, the following four elements must be present:

  • The other shopper had a legal duty to use the shopping cart with reasonable care, or the store employee had a legal duty to use reasonable care under the circumstances.
  • The shopper or store employee breached that legal duty.
  • The breach of duty caused the injuries.
  • Actual damages occurred, whether property or bodily, or both.

Is the Store Responsible?

In some cases, the store itself may be responsible for damages. You can sue the store under three legal theories. These are:

  • Premises liability: This occurs when the store owner or property manager knew about, or should have known about, a dangerous condition.
  • Negligence: This may be a factor when, for example, an employer fails to properly train or supervise employees.
  • Vicarious liability: Under certain circumstances, a store can be held liable for the negligent actions of an employee.

Shopping Cart Injury Statistics

The questions of if, how, and who to sue following a shopping cart injury can be difficult to answer. The help of an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer is essential to a favorable outcome. Although shopping carts don’t seem particularly dangerous, young children actually have a relatively high risk of injury in a shopping cart. Between 1990 and 2011, more than 65 children ended up in emergency rooms with shopping cart-related injuries every day. Among them, most were under the age of four, and more than 80 percent of the injuries were to the head, 15 percent to the upper extremities, and six percent to the lower extremities. In order of frequency, cart injuries were caused by:

  • Children falling out of carts
  • Carts tipping
  • Children running into a cart
  • Extremities becoming trapped in the cart

In 2004, voluntary shopping cart standards were introduced. However, the frequency of injuries has not dropped. “The take-home message is that the standard can be strengthened and we can do much better,” said Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “These injuries can be prevented.” A MA personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a shopping cart. Continue reading

The leading cause of death for young children is motor vehicle crashes. For this reason, the use of child safety seats is crucial to the safety of your child. However, an improperly installed or defective safety seat can be even more dangerous than using no seat at all because it provides parents with a false sense of security. To reduce the risk of serious injury or death to a small child, thoroughly review seat features and customer ratings prior to purchase, have your installation of the seat base professionally checked, and regularly monitor for recalls or product safety reports to determine if your seat has a potential defect.

Earlier this month Graco, the leading manufacturer of safety and convenience products for children, recalled more than 25,000 child safety seats due to a concern that an important feature of the seat may break in a crash. Webbing on the harness that restrains children in a collision is the culprit. Shockingly, despite the harness being one of the most important components of a child safety seat, Graco claims that it’s safe to use seats while waiting for a replacement kit. A Boston defective products lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a faulty or dangerous product.

Recalled Models

If the webbing of the My Ride 65 Graco seat breaks in a crash, the entire harness system could malfunction, resulting in improper restraint of the child. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulate the design and safety features of child restraint systems; the My Ride 65 Graco child safety seat did not meet these standards. As such, a total of eight models produced between May and August of 2014 are being recalled. The model numbers included in this recall are:

  • 179433
  • 1813015
  • 1813074
  • 1853478
  • 1871689
  • 1872691
  • 1877535
  • 1908152

If you have a My Ride 65 with one of these model numbers and a code tag of 2014/06 on the webbing, Graco will send you a free replacement harness. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product.

Child Safety Seats Save Lives

More than 650 children age 12 and under died in car crashes in 2011, and more than 148,000 were injured. Of those children, a whopping 33 percent were not restrained. Despite these sobering statistics, a one-year CDC study revealed that more than 618,000 kids between infancy and age 12 rode without proper safety restraints at least part of the time.

How to Use Your Child’s Safety Seat Correctly

Safety seats only save lives when they are used correctly. Studies show that up to 84 percent of these restraints are being misused. It is extremely common, for example, for children to be in a seat that is not suited to their age and weight. Other common problems are improper attachment to the vehicle’s seat, and a loose harness. Incorrect use of a safety seat more than triples your child’s risk of serious injury. So how can parents ensure that their safety seat is properly installed?

  • Prior to installing your child safety seat, carefully read the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer for the seat. In addition, review your vehicle owner’s manual for instructions on how to install child restraint systems in that particular vehicle. Every seat and vehicle is different.
  • Child safety seats should be placed in the back seat of your car or truck.
  • Place your child in the seat to properly adjust harness straps. Ensure that the belts and harness fit your child comfortably and securely.
  • Regularly check the fit of the belts and / or harness as your child grows. You may also have to adjust them seasonally, to accommodate for heavy winter coats and layered clothing, or the removal of these items.
  • Ensure that the base or seat (depending on whether you are using an infant seat or a booster) is tightly and securely fastened to the vehicle’s seat using the vehicle’s safety belts.
  • Children should remain in a rear-facing seat until the age of two years.
  • Have your seat’s installation professionally inspected by a certified technician.

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