Articles Posted in Personal Injury

American roads have become increasingly dangerous for walkers. According to Governors Highway Safety Association estimates, drivers killed nearly 7,500 pedestrians in 2021 — the highest number in 40 years. And in Massachusetts, MassDOT crash portal data indicate that pedestrian deaths rose 40% between 2020 and 2021, rebounding even higher than pre-pandemic normals.

Pedestrian Fatalities in Massachusetts

While pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere at any time, a WalkBoston report identified several key factors regarding Massachusetts pedestrian deaths in 2021.

As traffic volume in the U.S. (and Massachusetts) rebounded after the pandemic of 2020, so did traffic fatalities. Deaths involving large trucks were no exception. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimated fatalities in accidents involving at least one large truck jumped 13% between 2020 and 2021. This means that last year alone, over 5,600 people died in truck crashes in the United States.

Noting that this number represents an “unfathomable” 52% increase in truck accident fatalities since 2010, the Truck Safety Coalition issued a statement saying “What more is needed to take safety seriously? We need to do everything possible to reverse this terrifying trend because lives hang in the balance.”

Large Truck Crash Fatality Statistics 2021

After more than 50 years of questions about the safety of talcum powders such as Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower, some manufacturers have started removing talc from their products. But that offers little comfort to the many women who say Shower to Shower and other talcum powders caused their ovarian cancer.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), studies from as early as the 1960s suggested a possible link between ovarian cancer and talc products applied to the genital region. Thousands of talcum powder cancer lawsuits in recent decades have accused Johnson & Johnson (and other manufacturers) of failing to warn consumers of the health risks.

Can Shower to Shower Cause Ovarian Cancer?

Injured at the Mall: Who’s Responsible?

Accidents happen everywhere and shopping malls are no exception. Customers slip and fall in icy parking lots. Shoppers are pushed by rowdy Black Friday crowds. Escalators malfunction, causing catastrophic injuries and sometimes even death.

But if you are seriously hurt while at a mall, who is liable? In theory, the answer is simple: anyone who is negligent. In reality, many factors come into play. Where exactly did the accident happen? Could it have been prevented? Was it the fault of the mall owner or a tenant? If you have more questions than answers, a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the situation.

After a long, cold winter, spring invites Massachusetts cyclists outside again. Unfortunately, as the warm weather increases, so do bike-related accidents. The number of incidents involving bicycles in Boston tends to jump up in May and remain high into the fall.

In addition to increasing in summer, bicycle ridership appears to be increasing year to year. According to the City of Boston, participation in the Bluebikes bike share program rose 17% from 2019 to 2021. September 2021 was the busiest month ever, with nearly 435,000 bike trips that month alone.

With more cyclists on the road, it seems more bike accidents are inevitable. And the dangers multiply in cities: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that nearly 80% of bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas.

Around 3,500 babies die in the U.S. each year in sleep-related incidents. An overwhelming 72% of these sudden infant deaths have been linked to soft bedding. Safe sleeping guidelines are clear: babies should sleep on a flat surface such as a crib without pillows, blankets, or other soft bedding. However, an entire class of commercial infant products known as inclined sleepers violates these rules.

Inclined sleepers–including Boppy pillow loungers–are not flat, have soft padding, and come with a very real risk of suffocation. In fact, they are so dangerous that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) passed a new regulation effectively banning these products in 2022. But the decision comes too late for the families of the over 100 babies who died while using inclined loungers.

What is the Boppy Pillow Lounger Recall?

Talc is a soft mineral that absorbs moisture, soothes skin, reduces smells, and prevents caking. As a result, its use in commercial products ranges from baby powder and deodorant to makeup and moisturizing lotion. Unfortunately, critics say, it may also cause cancer.

Concerns about talcum powder’s safety have existed since at least the 1970s. But in recent decades, the scrutiny has become an avalanche. In the past 15 years, nearly 40,000 talcum powder lawsuits were filed against the product’s largest manufacturer: Johnson & Johnson.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer

The health hazards of asbestos have been widely known since at least the 1970s. By the 1980s, an explosion of lawsuits linked asbestos exposure with mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer with no known cure. Recognizing the potential dangers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) largely banned new asbestos products in 1989.

So why do we still hear about asbestos-related mesothelioma in the news and on late-night television? Why are companies still awarding multimillion-dollar settlements to mesothelioma patients and their families? Because over 3,000 people are still diagnosed with mesothelioma every year–and asbestos is almost always the cause.

Although asbestos has mostly disappeared from new materials, exposure continues. An estimated 3.5 million buildings in the U.S. still have asbestos. In addition, mesothelioma has an unusually long latency period. Symptoms may not appear for 20-50 years, which means people exposed to asbestos in the 1970s may just now be diagnosed with the disease.

Who Gets Mesothelioma?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that rarely causes health problems in small doses. Its unique properties, however, make it attractive for widespread industrial and commercial applications. Because of its resistance to heat, fire, and corrosion, asbestos was particularly popular in the construction industry. It appeared in building insulation, roof shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, and cement. But its use didn’t stop there–at one time in the U.S., asbestos could be found in everything from brake pads to fireproof clothing to hair dryers.

For that reason, millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos. But mesothelioma most often occurs after years of direct occupational or environmental exposure. The professions most at risk for asbestos-related health problems include the following:

  • Automotive, shipyard, and railroad workers
  • Aircraft and auto mechanics
  • Industrial, factory, and power plant workers
  • Building remodelers, drywall removers, and demolition crews
  • Construction workers and carpenters
  • Insulation manufacturers and installers
  • Firefighters and other first responders
  • Miners
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Because workers can bring home asbestos fibers on their clothing, family members are also at risk for secondary exposure. 

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Asbestos-related injuries have been documented since at least the 1920s, but the material wasn’t well regulated for another half-century. As the scientific link between asbestos and mesothelioma became clear, thousands of victims filed claims. Mesothelioma lawsuits allege that employers, corporations, manufacturers, and governments hid the dangers of asbestos for decades.

Over the years, asbestos cancer victims have received millions of dollars in jury trials, corporate settlements, and class-action lawsuits. Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, with expensive medical bills and a 5-year survival rate of only 10%. Partly for that reason, compensation can be huge: juries have reached asbestos liability verdicts of $250 million, and mesothelioma settlements of over $1 million are not uncommon. Continue reading

Diabetes is one of the greatest public health concerns in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 37 million people (over 1 in 10) in the United States have the disease. Doctors wrote 214 million prescriptions for diabetes drugs in 2018, making it the sixth-largest class of medications prescribed in the U.S.

What does this mean to pharmaceutical companies? Staggering potential profits. The diabetes care drug market in North America reached over $29 billion in 2019—and is predicted to keep growing in the coming years. According to Reuters, over 50 new diabetes medications have hit the market in the past 20 years.

Onglyza (Saxagliptin) Safety Concerns

The FDA approved the drug Onglyza in 2009 to treat type 2 diabetes, which counts for 90%-95% of all diabetes cases. Onglyza belongs to a newer class of antidiabetic medications that help regulate insulin levels. Since it was launched, however, Onglyza has been linked to several serious and potentially fatal cardiac side effects.

After-market medical studies showed that Onglyza patients had an increased risk of hospitalization due to heart failure. In 2016, the FDA released a safety announcement to warn the public about the dangers of Onglyza and other medications containing saxagliptin. They also added new warnings to drug labels. But by then, saxagliptin had been on the market for years, exposing hundreds of thousands of patients to potentially fatal side effects.

Onglyza Lawsuits

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturer AstraZeneca for the medications Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR (both of which contain saxagliptin). Onglyza lawsuits claim that AstraZeneca ignored patient safety, launching the drug into the market before thoroughly studying the health risks on diabetes patients.

In 2008, the FDA had announced a recommendation for the entire class of newer medications for type 2 diabetes. The guidance asked manufacturers to show that the new antidiabetic drugs did not cause an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk.

The manufacturer released Onglyza without that evidence. AstraZeneca didn’t complete the clinical studies until several years later—after making substantial profits and potentially causing substantial injuries to the public.

Patients have claimed that saxagliptin resulted in the following cardiac issues:

  • Heart failure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiovascular injury
  • Heart-related death

Additional Onglyza lawsuits alleged pancreatic injuries, including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Continue reading

In response to mandatory state and local lockdowns during the COVID pandemic, countless people have invested in expanding their own home gyms to continue to maintain or improve their fitness. While home gyms provide convenience to owners who want to avoid gym fees and crowds, they may also introduce unexpected dangers. Peloton, the wildly popular company that sells stationary bikes and other gym equipment recently recalled roughly 125,000 of its Tread and Tread+ treadmills per recommendation from the Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC) due to reported injuries from the machine and even a death. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a malfunction with the treadmill, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries in addition to a refund for the machine.

Why Are The Tread and Tread+ Treadmills Being Recalled?

On April 17, 2021, the CPSC issued an urgent warning to consumers who used the treadmill machines, warning that there were at least 39 reported incidents of injuries involving the treadmill. The injuries that they described included children, pets, and objects being unexpectedly pinned under a treadmill. At the time, Peloton believed the warning to be “inaccurate and misleading” and did not take any immediate action. Less than 2 weeks and many additional reported injuries later, the CPSC amended their original statement with a stronger finding.

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