January 2010 Archives

January 29, 2010

Ford Settles Explorer Accident Case that Left Woman Paralyzed

Ford recently settled for a confidential amount with a woman who was paralyzed in a 2005 collision involving a 2002 Ford Explorer. This decision came after a jury considered punitive damages and had already ordered Ford to pay over $16 million to compensate for negligently designed rear seats and seat belt structure on the Ford Explorer.

Lynn Wheeler was a passenger in the Explorer when it was struck head on by another driver. She was riding in the back seat between the booster seats her grandchildren were sitting in. The only thing restraining Wheeler was a lap belt. Upon impact, the rear seat latch broke, causing the back seat to collapse on her. Her head and neck were pushed forward into the center console, resulting in devastating spinal cord injuries. She is now in a wheelchair and on a ventilator.

Wheeler's lawsuit challenged Ford's decision to install a lap belt instead of a three-point shoulder belt and accused Ford of negligently designing the rear seat latch. Now, thanks to a law that went into effect in 2007, automobile manufacturers are forbidden from installing lap-only seat belts for rear middle seats.

Ford argued that it met government safety standards and defended its decision to install lap belts in the Explorer's rear bench seat.

The jury sided with Wheeler - Ford was ordered to pay over $16 million in damages. The driver who collided into the Explorer was ordered to pay $1.2 million.

Ford has been in the press several times in relation to rollover accidents. A California woman's rollover accident involving her 1997 Ford Explorer is an example of one major case where Ford was under fire for being prone to rollovers. The woman sued Ford when the roof on her Explorer collapsed on her during her rollover accident. She became paralyzed as a result of the spinal injuries she suffered in the accident. The jury found Ford was aware the roof on the Explorer would collapse during a rollover accident, and awarded her over $82 million.

Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed in SUV accidents. Vehicle manufacturers have a responsibility to make safe vehicles for consumers. At the same time, consumers should be armed with as much knowledge as possible before buying a vehicle. The following websites contain important vehicle information:

Safercar.gov is a government website that has information on crash test ratings, recalls, safer driving tips, etc.

Consumerreports.org is a nonprofit established to protect consumers and offer objective product reviews.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides vehicle ratings, statistics, news and more.

Dan Irving is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer handling injury and accident cases for more than 29 years. He has received a 10.0 rating on AVVO, a lawyer rating service, which is the highest rating given for a lawyer. He is also rated the highest ability and ethics rating, "AV", by Martindale Hubbell, a company rating lawyers for more than 100 years.

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January 26, 2010

Deadly Baby Cribs and Dangerous Strollers Recalled

A major recall is in effect for Dorel Asia cribs and Graco strollers after reports of an infant's death from strangulation in his crib and finger amputations from stroller hinge mechanisms.

A 6-month-old boy from Iowa died of strangulation after becoming trapped in his own crib due to malfunctioning hardware. The crib was manufactured by Dorel Asia, which has recalled over 600,000 cribs sold by major retailers including Wal-Mart. The company is recalling 20 models of cribs that can pose a suffocation or strangulation hazard if their drop sides detach. The cribs also pose a risk of children becoming trapped in the cribs due to broken slats. The company has received several reports of children being trapped, bruised and scratched due to these cribs.

Following five reports of finger amputations and two reports of cuts due to the hinges in stroller canopies, Graco has recalled 1.5 million strollers manufactured from October 2004 to February 2008. The recall affects the Spree, Passage and Alano Strollers and Travel Systems. The manufacture dates can be found above the back wheels, on the lower inside part of the back frame.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the strollers present a laceration and amputation threat to children when canopies were opened or closed. The commission has advised consumers to stop using the strollers and contact Graco to obtain a free repair kit.

A personal injury lawyer experienced in handling dangerous and defective product lawsuits can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you may be legally entitled to. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dangerous product, contact us today for a free consultation.

Dan Irving is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer handling injury to children and dangerous product cases for more than 29 years.

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January 19, 2010

Contaminated Heparin Injury Lawsuits Continue to Mount for Manufacturers

Heparin manufacturers, including Baxter International, Inc., are facing mounting lawsuits alleging that a known 2008 contamination of the anticoagulant caused severe injuries and deaths. Lawsuits addressing the defective drug are being filed in state and federal courts. The federal court cases are being transferred to multi-district litigation in the Northern District of Ohio.

Heparin is a blood thinner (anticoagulant) used to prevent blood clots in veins, arteries, and lungs, which is often used prior to surgery or as a coating for medical devices. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified an increase in the number of deaths and adverse events, such as anaphylactic-type reactions (allergic reactions) and acute hypotension (extremely low blood pressure), associated with Heparin use. Scientists identified a contaminate in the Heparin described as oversulfated chondroiton sulfate which mimicked heparin activity and eluded routine testing. Because of the contamination, the FDA adopted a new standard for testing Heparin in 2009.

Baxter and other manufacturers began recalling suspected contaminated Heparin in 2008. Investigations have shown that the problem may stem from Chinese producers of crude heparin. A key ingredient in Heparin is made from pig intestines in China because of the large number of available animals. Although the source of the contamination has not yet been determined according to reports, some lawsuits are alleging that the China production facilities did not meet U.S. regulation and were not inspected or approved by the FDA.

Continue reading "Contaminated Heparin Injury Lawsuits Continue to Mount for Manufacturers" »

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January 12, 2010

Humira, Other TNF Blockers Linked to Cancer in Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it would require Humira and other tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker prescription medications to include its strictest warning on both the packaging and prescribing information for the potentially dangerous drugs. The 'boxed warning' or 'black box warning' is now required after analysis of adverse medical incident reports submitted to the FDA showed an increased risk of lymphoma and other cancers with the use of TNF blockers such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade and Cimzia in children and young adults. The FDA is requiring that manufacturers warn doctors and patients of the increased risk of leukemia, as well as new-onset psoriasis, on the TNF blocker packaging.

TNF blockers such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade and Cimzia are used to treat children and young adults with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (also known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis), Crohn's disease and other diseases. The drugs work by suppressing the immune system to block the tumor necrosis factor which causes inflammation and immune system related diseases.

The black box warning for TNF blockers comes after approximately 30 reports of cancer in children and young adults under the age of 18 taking TNF blockers were reported to the FDA between 1998 and April 2008. The concern included the development of lymphoma (cancer of the cells in the immune system) and other cancers such as leukemia, melanoma and solid organ cancers in children taking TNF blockers such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade and Cimzia. In August 2009, the FDA announced that it had tracked 48 malignancies from 2001 through 2008 associated with the use of TNF blockers in children after an average of 30 months of treatment. The FDA will continue to investigate and analyze data from long-term studies of the potentially dangerous drugs.

Continue reading "Humira, Other TNF Blockers Linked to Cancer in Children" »

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January 4, 2010

Drunk Drivers Pay More in Florida, Too

A circuit court jury in Missouri recently awarded the family, fiancee, and daughter of a man killed by a drunk driver $89 million dollars in damages.  The man was killed, and his 13-week-pregnant fiancee seriously injured, when the drunk driver crashed head-on with his vehicle.  After police responded and tested the drunk driver's blood alcohol level, they found that the driver was nearly 2.5 times over the legal limit with a blood alcohol content of 0.20.  Making a horrific incident even worse, the drunk driver was driving on a hardship license at the time of the accident issued because of a previous drunk driving arrest.  According to reports, the jury was sending a message with the verdict of their distaste for such blatant disregard for the law and human life.  The drunk driver was sentenced to 10 years in prison in his criminal case for his past drunk driving arrests.

In Florida, juries tend to punish drunk drivers more than drivers who simply cause an accident with no evidence of intoxication or impairment.  Insurance companies tend to offer more money, generally, in drunk driving cases, as well.  If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement in an intoxication case, a lawsuit will often bring about the desired result of a larger settlement or large jury verdict.  Florida law allows punitive damages to be sought against drunk drivers in civil cases under certain circumstances.  Even if punitive damages are not awarded, or the defendant driver is "judgment proof", there is a punitive element in most of these verdicts.  Drunk driver accident cases are more persuasive to most jurors and tend to entice insurance adjusters to offer more reasonable settlements.

Continue reading "Drunk Drivers Pay More in Florida, Too" »

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