Personal Injury News & Developments

Cars Safer Than Those That Came Before?It seems that safety is the focal point of every car advertisement we see these days and manufacturers are boasting the latest state of the art technologies that aim to improve safety by reducing the risk of accidents altogether. There are questions regarding just how effective these features are and whether they actually do what they claim to. As more vehicles are being outfitted with safety technologies, the cost of maintaining vehicles is also going up because the most minor fender bender can now result in the need to replace expensive sensors and circuits that are an integral part of key safety features.

Key Advancements in Safety Technology

Only a generation ago, the concept of airbags and antilock brakes was innovative and a major deal in the progression of safety. Prior to the implementation of airbag and braking technology, seatbelts were the only true protection that drivers and passengers could rely on. While these advancements seem archaic now, they really did allow the industry to make important strides in the right direction by improving stopping power in inclement weather and protecting passengers by keeping them from striking the dashboard in violent collisions. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the development of a seemingly endless number of systems that are advertised as means to prevent accidents rather than respond during a collision, and this takes the conversation about safety in an entirely new direction.

Some of the latest advancements in technology include the following key technologies and the industry is continuing to release progressive updates to these features while developing another generation of safety features.

  • Stability control technology— next generation stability control has evolved from antilock brakes to systems that control torque and brake power to individual wheels. They are advertised as measures to maintain driver control by correcting oversteer and understeer and managing the power delivered to each wheel.
  • Adaptive cruise control— the development of radar sensors has allowed manufacturers to design systems that will adjust your speed on the highway to match the speed of the vehicle directly in front of you, providing the convenience of allowing drivers to set their preferred speeds and then take their feet off the pedals. This is a two edged sword, however, as its efficacy is dependent on circumstances and the driver’s behavior.
  • Blind spot detection— arguably one of the most useful features to surface over the last decade, blind spot detection alerts you to vehicles hiding out where you are unable to see them. This allows you to keep your focus on the road ahead and reduces your risk of colliding with another vehicle when changing lanes.
  • Lane departure warning— by mounting a camera on the dash that monitors your position on the road, this system can alert you when you are flirting with the center line. There are arguments to be made against its effectiveness on city streets and back roads, however, but it seems to work well on the highway.
  • Pre-collision response systems— these systems are meant to detect an imminent accident and automatically make adjustments within the interior of the vehicle to protect occupants. This includes alerting the driver, charging the brakes and airbags, moving the seats into the optimal position for airbag deployment and closing the windows. Unfortunately, if the system detects a false positive or the driver actively attempts to avoid the accident, these actions can be as cumbersome as they are meant to be beneficial.
  • Braking assist technology— sometimes drivers don’t hit the brakes nearly hard enough during emergency braking and this technology detects braking patterns that indicate panic and assist by charging and applying the brakes with full force to increase braking power and reduce stopping distance.
  • Curtain and side airbags— vehicles are becoming equipped with more airbags than ever, including curtain and side airbags that deploy with the primary purpose of keeping passengers inside of the vehicle during a collision. They may also provide protection from broken glass and debris.
  • Rollover mitigation technology— this technology is advertised as a method accident prevention that uses sensors to detect pitch, roll and other factors that precede rollover events. When it detects the vehicle beginning to roll, it uses a combination of brake force distribution and torque to select wheels to force the wheels back onto the ground. If the vehicle continues to roll, airbags are deployed to contain passengers and prevent ejection.
  • Forward collision warning and mitigation systems— these systems use the same radar sensors used for adaptive cruise control, but monitor the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you and constantly calculate distance and approach speed to determine if you are getting too close. If an accident is imminent, it sounds an alert to make the driver react and the advanced systems will even apply the brakes automatically.
  • Backup cameras— allowing drivers to see a view of everything behind them while backing up is a pretty useful feature and the displays often include lines that help the driver gauge how much distance remains between the vehicle and an object or person.
  • Rear cross traffic alert— useful in situations where visibility is hindered due to terrain, buildings or other vehicles, rear cross traffic alert technology uses sensors to detect oncoming vehicles and alert drivers of hazards.
  • Telematics systems— the most commonly recognized telematics system is OnStar, but plenty of others have surfaced. These systems monitor your vehicle to detect signs of a collision, such as airbag deployment and when a crash is detected, you are connected to emergency services through your phone or a system operator so that you may receive assistance faster.
  • Hands free technology— many of the advanced features advertised in vehicles today are boasting the ability to control your radio, navigation and other devices through voice commands and controls located on the steering wheel. While the technology has become more accurate over time, talking on the phone can still be distracting even if you have both hands on the wheel.

Common Concerns with Safety Technology

In concept, the latest generation of safety technologies could make our roads much safer through accident prevention and mitigation, but there are some problems in the application of these technologies and how they influence the behavior of drivers. These technologies are not completely useless, but the following factors need to be considered when determining their value.

  • Increased cost of ownership— the sensors, radar systems and infrared scanners included in these systems are extremely expensive and a fender bender can end up costing you thousands of dollars if sensors are damaged rather than the several hundred that typical bodywork would run you.
  • Encouragement of bad habits— systems such as adaptive cruise control, hands free technology and stability control may actually encourage drivers to act more recklessly by giving them a false sense of security. They may take risks they wouldn’t have otherwise and are more likely to pay less attention to what is in front of them when they believe technology will slow or stop their vehicles on their behalf.
  • Not all systems are created equalNHSTA and IIHS ratings have revealed that some manufacturers’ systems are far more effective than others and some consumers may become sold on safety technology that has not been proven effective. It is important to always check each vehicle’s crash and safety ratings prior to purchase to determine whether you can rely on the technology.
  • The technology itself can become a distraction— the many alerts and warnings that drivers are subject to can prove to be distracting and voice recognition and steering wheel controls allow drivers to access their mobile devices, make calls, read and send text messages and play music. As they are using these features, they still need to divert their attention from the road to read their screens and can easily be lost in a conversation through text or phone.
  • Safety technology creates a false sense of security— it is still possible to cause or be involved in an accident when driving a vehicle that is loaded with state of the art safety technologies. Drivers may become too dependent on these features to protect them rather than continue to drive defensively and use sensibility and reason to avoid collisions.

It is important to take an objective view when considering how effective the latest safety technologies are prior to purchasing your next vehicle. Most of these features are only as effective as the driver using them, so remember to use common sense and drive responsibly regardless of whether your vehicle is loaded with the latest features. The vast majority of accidents are the result of distracted driving, so it is also important to make sure that you keep your attention on the road and avoid phone conversations and texting while driving. Waiting to return a call or text until you are safely at your destination is worth it if it saves your life or keeps you from causing a serious accident that will forever impact the lives of those involved.

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Truck Driver Shortage Can Make Roads DangerousTrucking is the backbone of the commercial shipping and freight industries. More than two thirds of freight transported in the United States is carried by commercial trucking companies, whether in conjunction with other modes of transport or as the sole means of transport. Even though the movement of goods across the nation is highly dependent on the trucking industry, trucking companies are now finding themselves short of drivers and overworking the drivers they currently employ. This crisis could have a catastrophic impact on how safe the roads will be in the near and distance future and travelers should take note.

Aging Drivers and Poor Recruitment Contribute to Driver Shortage

There are approximately 2.6 million commercial truck drivers currently employed in the United States, but the American Trucking Association believes there is a shortage of about 40,000 drivers which continues to grow as time passes. This shortage could grow to 240,000 drivers before the end of 2022 if the trucking industry in general is unable to make commercial truck driving jobs more attractive. The age of current drivers and unattractive compensation plans offered are thought to be the driving forces behind the shortage of drivers.

  • Truck drivers are older on average than those working in other occupations and because more drivers are reaching retirement age, the shortage of drivers is growing as they leave the workforce.
  • Most trucking companies pay their drivers by the mile and this can frustrate or discourage drivers who are forced to wait at warehouses, are stuck in traffic or have reached their in service limits for the day.
  • Younger drivers are no longer attracted to careers in truck driving and the lack of new recruits is making is difficult to replace drivers who are leaving.
  • Overworked drivers are more prone to make mistakes and at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. For this reason, the government has cracked down on trucking companies and tightened regulations to limit the amount of hours each driver can work. These limits make the roads safer but they cost drivers money.
  • Drivers are now realizing that they are at risk of legal action should their actions result in a truck accident or injuries. Offering an hourly pay rate rather than pay by the mile may be the best way to attract new drivers and to retain existing drivers in an industry where drivers are feeling that the risks outweigh the benefits.

Traditional Pay Structure for Truck Drivers Creates Safety Concerns

Many of the safety concerns plaguing the trucking industry and the inability of companies to recruit drivers as they once could are driven by how compensation is determined. Especially when operating on long routes, drivers are paid at a rate determined by the miles traveled rather than the hours spent driving and this policy affects the morale of drivers and can encourage workers to bend the rules when they would not have otherwise.

  • Drivers are often mistreated because of how they are paid. Warehouses may not respect the value of drivers’ time because they can be held up without any additional cost.
  • Time spent on inspecting or repairing vehicles is not compensated, encouraging drivers to skip inspections or forego repairs in order to save time.
  • Limits on the time drivers may work each day or week may force them to make up time lost in traffic or while waiting at a warehouse by speeding or taking other risks on the road.
  • Some drivers falsify logs and break the rules in order to make more money and may work when they are overly fatigued.

Trucking companies that have altered their pay structure have noted remarkable changes in driver turnover and accident data. The companies offering an hourly rate are attracting more qualified drivers and only turnover about one fifth of the drivers that companies paying by the mile do. Most importantly, however, is that companies offering pay by the hour are reporting significantly lowered rates of accidents because their drivers are less prone to disobeying laws or working while fatigued.

Saving the trucking industry may be as simple as paying workers fairly and encouraging them to operate in a safe manner. Workers will be far more willing to wait at warehouses when required or to make their way through heavy traffic more patiently if they are assured that they will receive compensation for the time they’ve invested in their work. They will also be more willing to address safety concerns that they would otherwise conceal if they were paid by the mile.

Fault in Pedestrian AccidentsMost people consider car accident lawsuits involving pedestrians being struck by a vehicle to be slam dunks, but this misconception is driven by common misunderstanding of the law and how comparative negligence works. There are numerous factors that need to be considered when determining fault in any accident and the amount of compensation that can be recovered is now impacted by whether the party with the least fault still contributed to the accident. Whether you were a pedestrian struck by a motorist or the driver who was involved in an accident with a pedestrian, there is still a burden of prove required in order to determine fault and this needs to be considered when building a case or creating a defense.

Ways that a Pedestrian can Cause an Accident

In most scenarios, pedestrians are given the right of way when occupying roads and motorists must be aware of their presence and take the precautions needed to avoid causing them any harm. This is not a license for pedestrians to break laws that govern when and how they are allowed to enter or cross streets, however, and it is possible for a pedestrian to be declared partially or completely at fault for a car accident. The following considerations are taken when trying to assess fault following an accident involving a motorist and a pedestrian.

  • Were any laws broken? Factors such as the speed of the vehicle, adhering to traffic signals and whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident can all be turned around on the pedestrian. Pedestrians must cross the street only at crosswalks or where traffic control devices allow them to cross safely and jaywalking or entering the street while intoxicated could make the pedestrian at least partially liable for the accident.
  • Where did the accident occur? The location of accidents involving pedestrians is important when determining fault because some roads do not allow pedestrian access. Such areas include bridges, highways and major thoroughfares.
  • Did the pedestrian take precautions? It is possible to be declared responsible when acting carelessly or recklessly. While it is the responsibility of drivers to be aware of pedestrians and provide them with the right of way, they cannot be expected to avoid accidents when the pedestrian carelessly enters the street or intentionally obstructs the path of the vehicle.

Many Pedestrian Accident Cases Result in Comparative Negligence

It can be possible to declare one party completely at fault following an accident, but this is the exception to the rule. More states are implementing comparative negligence doctrine, which assesses damages based on the role of each person in the accident. If one party is determined to be at fault but the other contributed by breaking a law or acting recklessly, the amount of compensation the at fault party is liable for may be reduced according to the amount of liability held by the victim.

The comparative negligence rule was primarily instituted to protect drivers from frivolous lawsuits or from pedestrians seeking unfair compensation for accidents that they caused directly. The down side is that it may significantly reduce the value of car accident lawsuits and make it more difficult for victims to recover an adequate amount of compensation to meet their needs.

An example of comparative negligence in practice would be if a motorist was determined to be at fault for hitting a pedestrian as he or she was crossing at a traffic signal. However, in this example, the pedestrian is considered liable for not being aware of traffic and for not crossing while instructed to by the walk sign. The party considered more liable than the other would receive compensation from the other and the compensation would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. In this example, if the driver was considered 60% at fault and the value of the pedestrian’s damages was $15,000, he or she would receive $9,000 instead. Each state has different rules concerning how damages are divided as well as the amount of compensation the party most at fault may be required to provide.

For more information about comparative negligence laws and how they may impact your ability to sue for damages following a car accident, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. Most states now consider comparative negligence when assessing these types of cases and we can let you know the laws that apply in your state and how best to approach your case.

Dangers of Loading DocksLoading docks can be dangerous places to work, especially when adequate safety measures are not taken or when workers are busy or hurried. Roughly one quarter of injuries in warehouses occur on the loading dock and the vast majority of the accidents reported could have been reported had workers followed safety protocols, proper equipment or devices been made available or been more careful. Whenever heavy machinery is involved in accidents, the injuries are more severe and require longer periods of recovery before workers may return to work— if they can return at all.

The Most Common Causes of Loading Dock Accidents

Numerous people are involved in the loading or unloading of trailers and each person’s actions can have a negative impact on others who must work on the dock. Many accidents are the result of a chain reaction of negligent behavior that ultimately results in the injury of workers and it is worth the additional time to make sure that forklift operators and others occupying the docks are not in harm’s way. Common causes of loading dock accidents include the following.

  • The truck driver does not chock the wheels of the trailer and it moves away from the loading platform. Forklift operators often move onto and off of trailers rapidly while carrying heavy loads. This can cause the trailer to rock forward or backward and if the wheels are not secured, it may move away from the dock while the forklift is entering or exiting.
  • The forklift driver does not distribute loads evenly. It is important to distribute the weight being loaded on a trailer evenly not only to make it safer to transport but also to prevent pallets from falling onto the workers entering and exiting the trailer.
  • Collisions with workers or other forklifts. When forklift operators are in a hurry, they may race into and out of trailers without checking to see whether other forklifts or bystanders are present. It is important that whenever a worker is passing a loading platform that he or she check to see whether someone is backing out, but it is also the duty of the forklift operators to be aware of whether there is any object or person present on the platform when backing up.
  • The forklift falls off the dock. This is often the result of the truck driver pulling away while the forklift operator is still working or failing to chock the wheels prior to loading or unloading. It is the responsibility of the driver to be fully aware of when it is safe to pull away from the dock.

Loading Dock Injuries are Often Serious

The injuries suffered in loading dock accidents are severe more often than not. Forklift operators are provided limited protection and are exposed when their forklifts fall from a platform or when objects fall on top of them. Loaders and other employees working on the docks may have even less protection from injuries when caught in the path of forklifts exiting or entering trailers. Following are some of the most common injuries suffered in these types of accidents.

  • Fractures and crushed bones. Many loading dock injuries involve multiple fractures in addition to other serious injuries.
  • Spine and neck injuries. These injuries are most prevalent when the forklift falls off the platform because the impact of the forklift often causes the neck to snap backward and the impact of the back against the seat can result in injuries to the spine.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Sudden impacts or changes in direction can cause traumatic brain injuries even if there was no direct contact with the head. The brain may hit the skull and bruise or swell— a condition that often results in complications days or weeks after the injury.
  • Death. Loading dock injuries are some of the most lethal injuries suffered because of the force involved and the time it may require to get to the victims safely following an accident.

Loading dock safety is a sensitive subject because statistics show that as many as 70% of loading dock accidents can be prevented. Preventable accidents are unacceptable and it is unfortunate that many corporations are more concerned with keeping costs to a minimum than they are with keeping their employees safe. Whenever such companies cross the line, it is important to hold them accountable.

To learn more about your rights following a work place accident or how the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to, contact us for more information.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit using Power MorcellatorPower morcellator manufacturers and practitioners performing hysterectomies and other uterine procedures with the devices have come under fire following the discovery of a strong link between power morcellation and the spread of cancerous tissue to the uterus. The son of a woman who died from uterine cancer not long after undergoing a procedure which implemented the use of a power morcellator is seeking damages from multiple parties he alleges failed to warn his mother of the risks associated with the elective procedure and that had she underwent a more traditional procedure, she would still be alive today. The lawsuit was filed on April 10, 2015 and is being heard by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

Storz Morcellator Cited as Responsible for Spread of Cancer

The plaintiff’s mother was advised to undergo a laparoscopic procedure to remove uterine fibroids and was diagnosed with adenosarcoma and sarcomatous overgrowth less than a week after the procedure. It is alleged that the Storz power morcellator used during her surgery disseminated cancerous tissue and spread it into her abdomen; she died of her ensuing condition on April 13, 2012. The plaintiff is seeking damages from Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc., Karl Storz Endovision, Inc., and Karl Storz GMBH & Co. KG for wrongful death, misconduct and the failure of the device manufacturer to provide adequate warnings about the risks of power morcellation procedures.

Procedures Initially Marketed as Less Invasive Alternative

Power morcellation procedures similar to the one that the plaintiff’s mother underwent have been marketed as a less invasive and safer alternative to more traditional surgery. Laparoscopic procedures have the benefit of quicker recovery periods so that patients are able to return home and get back to their lives sooner but they often come with risks that patients are never informed about. This particular lawsuit is one in an exhaustive list that are expected to come as the major manufacturers of power morcellators have begun to recall the devices and remove them from the market.

Major insurance carriers have also made pointed responses of their own— several companies have announced that they will no longer cover the procedures and others are expected to follow suit. The FDA has gotten involved as well, issuing an advisory notice against morcellation procedures for women unless there is absolutely no other viable alternative. The largest manufacturer of power morcellators, Ethicon, is expected to become the subject of a growing mass tort as more victims and their families begin to come forward.

If you or a loved one underwent a surgical procedure involving the use of a power morcellation device and later received a diagnosis of uterine cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation may be in the form of the cost of cancer treatments and other medical care, wrongful death in the event your loved one has passed since her diagnosis, loss of income, pain and suffering and punitive damages to make the statement to the manufacturers of these devices that the safety of patients must always come before profits and the bottom line.

The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are a leading and reputable team of lawyers who represent people from all walks of life who have been injured due to greed, carelessness or reckless behavior and we would be happy to assist you in your time of need. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to learn more about pending litigation and how it may impact your case, to discuss your own legal options and rights and to begin the process of gathering information which we can use to conduct a thorough investigation into your case so that we can give you the best advice possible on how to move forward. Unless we are able to secure compensation on your behalf, all of these services will come at no cost to you at all.

Common Foods and Food PoisoningIf you’ve ever felt queasy following a meal or regretted trying that new restaurant several days later, you are certainly not alone. Roughly 76 million people suffer from food poisoning every year in the United States and while most of the cases result in mild discomfort and sickness, some cases can be much more severe.

Tainted food claims the lives of about 5,000 people per year and the leading cause of food related deaths is food tainted with harmful bacteria or viruses. The most effective way to avoid food poisoning is to handle and cook foods properly and to avoid any food that has exceeded its expiration date.

Microorganisms Responsible for Food Poisoning Symptoms

Food poisoning occurs when you have consumed food that contains dangerous bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms and the subsequent symptoms are the result of an immune response meant to remove the invading organisms from your system. The majority of foodborne illness and food related deaths are attributed to the following eight microorganisms.

  • Salmonella— most commonly associated with poultry and eggs, salmonella is one of the most well-known causes of food poisoning. Most people equate salmonella poisoning with undercooked chicken or raw eggs, but the bacteria can be found in raw fruit and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage. It may also be spread through contact with someone who is infected.
  • Clostridium perfringens— these bacteria can be found in the intestines and is one of the most common forms of bacteria found in tainted food. Most cases of C. perfringens contamination are due to the consumption of foods which have been left out at room temperature for too long. Once a small amount of bacteria contaminate the food, they reproduce at a rapid rate and the large numbers of these bacteria are what cause humans to get sick, due to the toxicity of the waste the bacteria produce within the body.
  • Campylobacter— found in raw meat, undercooked poultry, untreated water and produce, these bacteria is one of the most common causes of diarrhea. Most people make the common mistake of assuming that frozen food is free of bacteria and while cold temperatures do slow the growth and spread of bacteria, forms such as campylobacter are able to survive in extreme cold. Undercooking meats after they have been frozen is a common means by which campylobacter is spread.
  • Staphylococcus aureus— commonly referred to as staph, these bacteria is actually found on our body and in our throats and is normally benign. It is when they make contact with certain food products that they multiply more rapidly and become dangerous due to their massive numbers. Salads, sandwiches and other foods that require no heat to prepare are at risk of staph contamination because the bacteria are often transferred from the food preparer’s hand to the food and not killed before consumption.
  • E. coli— there are many forms of E. coli and most of them are completely harmless. Others are extremely dangerous and the cause of massive outbreaks of food poisoning that result in widespread food recalls. E. coli is most commonly found in raw meat and dairy products but can also be contracted from tainted water or any food that has had contact with feces.
  • Listeria monocytogenes— this dangerous form of bacteria is able to grow at cooler temperatures, making it impervious to the most common food preservation methods and hitting victims by surprise. It can be found in deli meats, sausages, dairy products, seafood and undercooked meat and poultry. Because it can survive in ice cold temperatures and causes a severe infection that poses a serious risk to pregnant women, young children and the elderly, foods that are discovered to be contaminated are often recalled immediately.
  • Norovirus— the norovirus is one of the leading causes of food poisoning and its symptoms are often mistaken for the flu, causing many cases to go unreported or misdiagnosed. As a communicable disease, it spreads through contact with infected persons or surfaces, but it can also spread through the contamination of shellfish, fruit and vegetables and unheated foods.
  • Toxoplasma gondii— unlike the other foodborne illnesses on this list, toxoplasma gondii is the result of a parasite that is transferred through raw meat that has been in contact with feces, contact with a cat that has been on contact with an infected litter box and drinking contaminated water. Symptoms of infection mimic the flu initially and then become progressively more serious. Infections can result in muscle aches, swollen lymph glands, blurred vision and red or irritated eyes. Once contracted, the disease can last for months.

The Most Common Sources of Foodborne Illnesses

With good reason, most people associate foodborne illness with improperly prepared meat and poultry. Beef, pork and chicken are by and large the most common sources of food contamination, but other sources are often ignored due to lack of education. The Center of Science in the Public Interest tracked the instances of foodborne illness in a study involving 50,000 cases to determine which foods were most likely to be sources of contamination. The top ten follow below.

  • Leafy green vegetables— most people are unaware of how hospitable leafy vegetables are to bacteria. The reality is that when we consume lettuce and other leafy greens, we are feeding the good bacteria in our digestive tract and over consumption of greens can cause gas and bloating due to the overgrowth of these bacteria. Bad forms of bacteria also consume these vegetables and tainted greens were responsible for 13,568 of the 50,000 cases studied, which is 24% of non-meat related cases.
  • Eggs— caused mostly by poor handling of eggs during and after cooking rather than consumption of raw eggs, roughly 11,164 of the cases studied involved eggs. About half of the cases were the result of tainted restaurant food, calling for the need to enforce stricter standards on the quality of food being served.
  • Tuna— responsible for 2,341 cases of food poisoning in the study, tuna can decay quickly after being caught and this invites numerous forms of microorganisms to contaminate the flesh before it is consumed. Many people consume tuna out of the can without cooking it, only increasing the likelihood of infection.
  • Oysters— 3,409 cases involved the consumption of oysters, which is a commonly tainted seafood that is often enjoyed raw.
  • Potatoes— involved in 3,659 cases, potatoes are commonly contaminated when left out for too long and not properly reheated prior to eating.
  • Cheese— 2,761 cases of food poisoning involved the consumption of cheese, which may harbor listeria. Cheese is also commonly used as an ingredient in salads, sandwiches and other foods that are not heated, so its involvement may be incidental in cases where it joined other tainted foods.
  • Ice cream— because listeria thrives both in low temperatures and dairy products, ice cream is one of the products most likely to harbor it. 2,594 cases in the study involved ice cream consumption.
  • Tomatoes— some of the greatest outbreaks of foodborne illness have been related to tainted tomatoes, which can harbor salmonella, norovirus and other contaminants. Tomatoes were related to 3,292 of the cases included in the study.
  • Sprouts— often consumed raw, sprouts may also harbor bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning. Sprouts were consumed by 2,022 of the patients involved in the study.
  • Berries— some bacteria and many forms of fungi thrive on sugar, which abounds in fruits and berries. Unsurprisingly, 3,397 of those who became ill had consumed berries.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning

It is much easier and safer to prevent food poisoning than to endure the symptoms of an infection. Following these tips will greatly reduce your chances of infection and help you prevent the spread of an outbreak.

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing them. Doing so will remove the majority of bacteria and viruses that are residing on the surface, which will greatly reduce your risk of becoming ill when consuming these foods raw.
  • Clean your hands thoroughly before preparing any raw food or meal that does not require heating the food. Due to the commonality of staphylococcus on our skin, contact with raw foods will spread the bacteria if we do not wash our hands prior to preparation. It only takes the introduction of a small amount of bacteria to a food source to allow it to balloon into a threat.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meats prior to serving. Foodsafety.gov recommends heating ground meats, poultry, eggs and leftover portions to an internal temperature of 165 degrees while it is acceptable to cook ham, pork, steaks and lamb to a temperature of 145 degrees.
  • When using a knife to cut contaminated foods such as poultry, avoid cross contamination by keeping the utensil away from other ingredients.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates and throw away food that has gone bad. It is possible for bad foods to spread contaminants to good foods in the same manner that mold moves from one object to another.

 

 

Vaginal Mesh ComplicationsTransvaginal mesh products became extremely popular around 2005 as alternatives for the treatment of conditions that include pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence but evidence later surfaced questioning the safety of the devices and whether they could cause serious injuries to the patients implanted with them. By October of 2008, the FDA needed to issue a warning to surgeons conducting transvaginal mesh procedures due to over a thousand reports of significant complications associated with the devices. At the moment, we are on the brink of a wave of litigation being brought against major transvaginal mesh manufacturers due to the damage that has been caused and the failure of the manufacturers to provide sufficient warnings about their risks.

Types of Transvaginal Mesh and Uses

The primary purpose of transvaginal mesh products is to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence which are caused when pressure is placed against the bladder from reproductive organs which have fallen into the pelvis. In both cases, the mesh products are used to return the affected organs to their correct positions and reinforce the pelvic floor to keep them there. There are two different forms of mesh cited in transvaginal mesh litigation.

  • Transvaginal mesh— this is used to hold organs into place after that have been pushed back into their intended position. It also holds the pelvis in the desired position.
  • Transvaginal sling/bladder sling— this device is similar to a hammock that supports the bladder and its primary function is in the treatment of incontinence.

Complications Caused by Mesh Erosion

Mesh erosion is the main cause of the complications which have been reported by thousands of women and the damage that is caused may be severe enough to warrant additional surgeries to remove the mesh, repair the damage or address medical concerns brought on by the complications. These complications include but are not limited to the following.

  • Organ perforation— when the mesh erodes, it becomes sharp and cuts into the surrounding flesh. This becomes a serious concern when the mesh cuts into organs nearby such as the bowel or the bladder, which can cause severe pain, infections and septic shock.
  • Stress urinary incontinence— while the transvaginal mesh devices are designed to prevent and treat this condition, they can actually become the source of new and more severe incontinence.
  • Loss of consortium— mesh erosion can make intercourse extremely painful and the damage can result in the inability of a couple to continue normal sexual relations either due to the pain, embarrassment or a combination of both.
  • Internal bleeding and infection— the sharp edges created by eroding mesh can result in internal bleeding, which may result in a serious infection if the bleeding is undetected or untreated.
  • Recto-vaginal fistula— this is the result of a hole in the vaginal wall leading to the rectum and way result in bowel matter being excreted from the vagina, which is a horrifying and embarrassing condition for any woman to need to endure.
  • Abscess— usually caused by inflammation or infection, an abscess is a pus filled sore where the flesh has begun to necrotize.
  • Pain and discomfort— the pain associated with mesh erosion can be debilitating and make it difficult for victims to live normal lives or enjoy the things they once did.

Warnings Required of Surgeons

By 2011, the FDA had received over 2,800 reports of complications associated with transvaginal mesh products and surgeons are now required to receive special training prior to performing procedures using the products as well as to provide specific warnings and aftercare. Women must be notified that the mesh is a permanent device and that it made erode, potentially resulting in infections, organ perforate and other complications. Surgeons must monitor patients for signs of these complications after patients have undergone the procedures and patients must be aware that revisionary surgery may be required to remove the devices or to repair damage caused by erosion.

Thousands of women have surfaced, the first fruits of what may be an expansive wave of future lawsuits against the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices, citing the lack of proper warnings of potential complications and the marketing of the products without any evidence to suggest that they are more effective than traditional means of treating pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. The companies involved in the initial onslaught of lawsuits include Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific Corp, American Medical Systems and C.R Bard, Inc. There are over forty companies that manufacture the devices, however, and these companies are simply the most high profile plaintiffs to date.

Representing the Victims of Transvaginal Mesh Products

If you have suffered serious medical complications, pain and suffering and the inability to enjoy a reasonable quality of life because of adverse events following a transvaginal mesh procedure, you are not alone and you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries, including the cost of medical treatment, loss of income, pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses and other financial considerations. The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have a special team of lawyers specializing in and dedicated to representing those who have claims for medical device liability and medical negligence. Contact us to arrange a risk-free consultation to receive answers to all of your questions regarding how current litigation affects your own case, your rights and legal options and how the legal process works.

Following a deep and thorough investigation of your case, our attorneys will have a greater understanding of the value of your case, the chances of its success and how best to proceed with a lawsuit, if it is in your best interest. In order to allow all people to have access to our services regardless of their financial concerns, we promise only to receive payment upon successfully securing compensation on your behalf. If we are unable to negotiate a settlement in your best interest or win your case in court, our services, time, resources and advice will all be free of charge.

Recall of Ventilators for Not WorkingYou’ve probably felt a sense of frustration if you ever purchased a device that suddenly failed to work and demanded a prompt refund or exchange from the manufacturer. You may be able to forgive the manufacturer if the device is an IPod or a cellphone, but imagine that your ability to breathe rested squarely on the device in question. CareFusion recently announced the global recall of nearly 16,000 ventilators citing that the devices may spontaneously stop working, causing “adverse health consequences or death.” It is purely terrifying to imagine that a device which you or a loved one may rely on for survival could simply stop working.

Recall Designated as Class I by the FDA

Avea ventilators mechanically control respiration in patients that are unable to breathe or have difficulty breathing without assistance. They are most frequently used during medical transport, as a component of home care or nursing care and during critical care. The Avea product line monitors oxygen levels and delivers a predetermined quantity of oxygen during ventilation. CareFusion highlighted the ability of Avea ventilators to monitor and regulate oxygen levels its ability to provide detailed information to medical professionals in its advertising of the devices.

Every one of the Avea ventilator models produced by CareFusion was found to contain a defect which may cause the device to stop operating. The defect in question is a faulty pressure transducer which may register a false extended high Ppeak or circuit occlusion alarm. When these alarms are triggered, the device stops performing its intended function and it could result in the death of the patient by asphyxiation.

In the statement released by CareFusion, it suggested “turning the machines off and then on again” to fix the issue and then sending them back if the devices fail repeatedly. The FDA classified the recall of the ventilators as a Class I recall, which means that the FDA has determined that the failure of the ventilators poses a significant risk of severe injury or death. You might think that it wouldn’t take an FDA ruling to reveal that you might die when your ventilator stops helping you breathe.

CareFusion Initiated the Recall and is cooperating with the FDA

When CareFusion was made aware of the potentially deadly defect in the Avea product line, it responded by promptly issuing warnings to its customers. It soon recalled nearly 16,000 of the devices internationally. Most of the machines that are affected were distributed abroad but there are still over 5,600 units within the United States. The ventilators that were included in the recall were manufactured between July of 2011 and March of this year and CareFusion sent out a letter to its customers making them aware of the issue and providing instructions on how to assess or return the devices.

A surprisingly piece of good news resulting from this recall is that, so far to date, no reports have surfaced of any fatal incidents involving the Avea product line of ventilators. What is more concerning, however, is that the FDA has issued 22 different Class I recalls of ventilation devices since 2011— the year that the Avea product line reached market. Six of the recalls were of ventilators manufactured by CareFusion, which suggests that there is an underlying design issue causing the failures of the devices.

In regard to transducer failure, however, there have only been eleven reports of this event in the FDA’s record of adverse events. Thankfully, the manufacturers have detected this issue quickly in the past and pulled the devices responsible to protect patients. This is a deviation from the norm when considering the historical behavior of medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in general.

If you find that you’ve been injured because of a medical device failure or lost a loved one in such an incident, it is understandable to be overcome with feelings of anger and to demand vindication for what has occurred. For more information about similar medical device product liability lawsuits or to learn about how these cases are handled, contact us for more information. We would be happy to answer any questions that you have about pending litigation and how it affects you, your personal rights and legal options and the chances you have of succeeding if you choose to file a claim.

Vaginal Mesh Recalls and What is Going on NowIt is normal to expect the FDA to step in whenever a product or treatment is known to cause harm to patients by mandating a recall of the defective or harmful products but this has not been the case after it was discovered that thousands of women suffered severe injuries and complications due to procedures that used transvaginal mesh products. Instead of recalling the products, most of the lines have simply been pulled from the market and are no longer being distributed. While this is a step in the right direction, a full recall of all defective transvaginal mesh products would be the optimal solution to the problem. Here is the status of all action being taken by transvaginal mesh manufacturers and the FDA in response to reports of mesh erosion and other complications which have resulted in injuries.

Ethicon Response Varied by Product Line

Ethicon is the transvaginal mesh manufacturer which has gained the most exposure and is the subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. It produced four different product lines of transvaginal mesh products and the responses to reports of adverse events have been different for each line. The four product lines that have resulted in complaints and claims by injured patients are the following.

  • Gynecare Prolift Kit
  • Gynecare Prolift +M Kit
  • Gynecare Prosima Pelvic Floor Repair System Kit
  • Gynecare TVT Secur

Ethicon made the decision to cease distribution of three of the four product lines but has rebranded the fourth as Gynecare Gynemesh and included stricter warnings and specified the associated risks on the new product labeling. It has chosen not to recall any of the products that have already been sold or implanted, however, and has even claimed that the products were not removed from the market due to safety concerns.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit Motivates C.R Bard to Take Issue Seriously

C.R Bard was the defendant in one of the earliest cases brought to court against the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products and the case did not end well for C.R Bard. The plaintiff was awarded $5.5 million after C.R Bard’s Avaulta mesh implant was found to be the cause of lacerations to her colon and other complications— she needed to undergo eight surgeries to repair the damage and the ordeal ruined her ability to have physical relations with her husband.

C.R Bard has since removed the Avaulta Plus product line from the market but there have been no reports regarding a full recall of the device as women continue to come forward with claims after the products inflicted injuries similar to those suffered by the aforementioned plaintiff.

Boston Medical Becomes the First Manufacturer to Issue Recall

Boston Medical has a storied history and large role in the developing transvaginal mesh mass tort because it developed the first transvaginal mesh device to be brought to market in the 1990s. The product was pulled from the market and recalled only three years after its release but additional manufacturers have since released their own product lines— most of which have not been recalled yet.

The Protogen received approval through a loophole in FDA policies and was able to reach the market without any human testing. The numerous complaints received in such a short time following its release motivated Boston Medical to take the right course of action and recall the products but the Protogen should never have been marketed to begin with.

Mentor Corporation ObTape Rejected by the Body Post Implantation

The ObTape manufactured by Mentor Corporation was found to illicit an immune response because the device didn’t allow the body to heal or grow properly. In addition it was found to erode and cut surrounding tissue and organs, requiring surgical intervention to treat the resulting injuries. While doctors have ceased to use the ObTape product line, no reports have been released indicating Mentor Corporation’s intent to recall or remove the device from the market.

FDA Slow to React Amid Demands to Ban All Transvaginal Mesh Products

The Food and Drug Administration has dragged its feet in responding to the onslaught of adverse events that have been linked to transvaginal mesh products. An advisory committee failed to recommend a recall of existing products but it did require the devices to be classified as Class III devices which require a much more exhaustive process of testing and trials prior to receiving approval. Meanwhile, thousands of women are still suffering from severe physical and emotional trauma that has been wrought upon them because of the products.

Activists have called for an outright ban of all transvaginal mesh products and are encouraging women to file transvaginal mesh lawsuits in order to hold manufacturers responsible for their carelessness and disregard for the health and wellbeing of the people who are implanted with their products.

If you were implanted with a transvaginal mesh device and later suffered injuries and complications, you may be entitled to compensation. The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers’ team of transvaginal mesh attorneys specializes in these types of cases and has represented the interests of hundreds of women just like you. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers who will gladly review the details of your case, explain your rights and legal options and help you formulate a recovery plan that includes receiving the medical care and treatment that you need and deserve while taking on the manufacturer of your defective device so that your bills are covered.

We will only collect payment once we have successfully secured the compensation to which you are entitled and if we are unable to do so, our services will be free of charge.

Drugs for Other UsesOff label drugs are medications that are prescribed by doctors for purposes other than what they were originally intended or received approval for. The practice of prescribing off label medications is far more wide spread and common than most people believe and as an increasing number of people are experiencing adverse effects of medications that were rushed to market, the question of who has the responsibility and oversight of regulating these forms of prescriptions becomes more prevalent. You may be alarmed or even angry once you understand the answer to this question and the manner in which big pharmaceutical companies get away with marketing medications that are harmful or deadly while making enormous profits off of the infirm without a care in the world about the repercussions.

How are Off Label Medications Prescribed?

The nagging question that most people have concerning medications that are prescribed for reasons other than they were designed or intended is how or why doctors are allowed to place patients on the meds in the first place. In truth, the process of gaining approval by the Food and Drug Administration and subsequent oversight over the prescribing and administration of medications is so full of loop holes that it may require a complete overhaul for the sake of the average person’s wellbeing.

Once a pharmaceutical company has created a new drug, the company is required to conduct its own research and trials— the results of which are submitted to the FDA. It is the information that is provided by the drug companies that influences the FDA’s decision to approve or deny the marketing of the medication and the FDA does not conduct any research of its own or demand independent research to confirm the conclusions that are presented by the pharma company peddling the new medication. This makes it far too easy for drug manufacturers to omit, fabricate or misrepresent data when submitting trials.

Once a medication has been approved, doctors are given the discretion to prescribe the medication for any purpose that they feel will benefit their patients. Where things often go awry is that pharmaceutical companies will then make erroneous claims about how the medications may be used or the associated risks. In some cases, doctors will even be enticed with kickbacks or other incentives for prescribing certain medications.

How common are Off Label Prescriptions?

Almost twenty percent of prescriptions written in the United States are for off label medications and there is absolutely no oversight or regulations that disallow doctors to continue this practice. The FDA does not govern the practice of medicine and is only responsible for preventing hazardous drugs and substances from reaching the market and removing those that are already on the market. Your doctor has full discretion to place you on the medication that he or she feels will best address your symptoms or condition and the majority of the information influencing his or her decisions in this regard is provided by the pharmaceutical companies, which have a growing track record of concealing, omitting or denying risks that are associated with their medications.

What is more alarming is that children are exposed to far more off label prescriptions than adults and are treated as test subjects in the process. One study showed that 38% of patients under the age of sixteen were prescribed medications for off label purposes and in as many as 84% of cases, the medications were prescribed with very little or no scientific support for their use.

Off Label Medications and Pregnancy

The FDA has designated a specific category system for the rating of medications prescribed for pregnant or nursing women. There are five categories with varying degrees of risk and providing different forms of advice to doctors who are considering prescribing a medication to pregnant women. These classifications range from being considered completely safe to warning of specific risks and severe harm that may be caused to the unborn child. The key flaw in the category system, however, is that the FDA relies on data submitted by the pharmaceutical companies rather than independent researchers— this is how Zofran was prescribed off label for decades despite its manufacturer knowing of the potential risks, for example.

Who is at Fault When Off Label Prescriptions Cause Adverse Effects?

It can be argued that doctors have the largest burden of ensuring the safety of their patients and that they should know better than to prescribe medications that are harmful or deadly. However, doctors must rely on the information that is provided to them and often weigh the benefits and risks of every medication before writing prescriptions. They cannot be blamed in many cases for making decisions based on information that was inaccurate or erroneous but in some cases, they should know better than to place patients on medications that lack specific data to support their benefits and safety.

The pharmaceutical companies carry far more of the blame for the consistent practice of circumventing the process of acquiring FDA approval for the use of medications to treat specific conditions and constantly finding loopholes that allow them to profit off of the harm of other people. Aside from pushing to amend the laws and requiring more oversight, the only method left of obtaining justice for this gross lack of concern for our safety when creating and marketing medications is to take the matters before a civil court. The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are a leading group of pharmaceutical complication attorneys who are dedicated to holding these mega corporations to account for their sins and if you have been harmed through the use of a medication issued in such a manner, we’d love to have the opportunity to defend your interests.

Contact us today to arrange a free consultation where you can speak with an attorney about any pending litigation involving cases similar to your own and how it may impact the value and outcome of your case as well as to learn about your rights and legal options and to launch an investigation into your matter to determine your best course of action. Our lawyers are dedicated to serving your interests above all else and we only receive compensation when our clients do. If we cannot assist you or fail to collect compensation on your behalf, our services are free.