Category: Catastrophic Injury And Wrongful Death

On Behalf of

Even consumers who follow the news closely can’t be aware of every product recall that impacts them and their family. People often assume that when companies or the government recall products due to safety issues, they are immediately removed from shelves and online inventories. While that’s the way things should ideally work, it doesn’t always happen.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that three leading retailers owned by TJX Companies (T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls) continued to sell 19 separate products after they were recalled during the past five years. Some of the recalls were for serious safety issues, including flammability.

Most recently, the retailers continued to sell several models of inclined infant sleepers that have been linked to multiple deaths. Earlier this year, the CPSC warned that babies should not be placed in any sleeper that is at more than a 10-degree angle. Most inclined sleepers have had a 30-degree angle. The company also continued to sell a number of rocking sleepers that were recalled because babies were able to roll over onto their stomachs.

Among the other recalled products that the TJX retailers continued to sell in recent years include:

  • Swagway battery-powered, self-balancing scooters/hoverboards that could overheat and burst into flames
  • ION Audio portable speakers that can explode if gas leaks from them
  • Ivanka Trump brand women’s scarves that don’t meet federal standards for flammability
  • Three brands of chairs that can either break or tip over
  • Several items that can break and cause injuries during normal use, including knives
  • Two items designed for children that contain choking hazards

An official with TJX Companies responded to the report in a statement that said, “At TJX, product safety is very important to us. We deeply regret that in some instances, recalled products were not properly removed from our sales floors despite the recall processes that we had in place. We are taking appropriate steps to strengthen these processes moving forward. We apologize to our customers and encourage anyone who believes they may have one of these products to participate in the recall.”

When someone is injured or worse by a defective product, it may be appropriate to hold retailers and others in the distribution chain liable in addition to the manufacturer. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on how best to proceed.

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The blogger who is credited with inventing the concept of gender-reveal parties over a decade ago lamented recently that they’ve become a “dangerous trend.” As the events have become increasingly more spectacular (largely because people are trying to create the next social media viral sensation), they’ve given rise to serious damage, injuries and at least one fatality.

In late October, a woman in Iowa was killed by a piece of metal from the homemade device that was essentially a pipe bomb intended to review her future grandchild’s gender. In September, a plane spraying pink water for a gender-reveal stunt crashed in Texas, leaving the pilot with minor injuries and the plane with “substantial damage.” A gender-reveal party that used explosives in 2017 resulted in a 47,000-acre fire in Arizona.

Americans aren’t the only ones with spectacular gender-reveal parties. In 2018 at an Australian gender-reveal event, a car burst into flames. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The gender-reveal party the blogger wrote about in 2008 seems quaint by comparison. She explained how they had a cake with pink icing inside to indicate that her unborn child was a girl. Her story later ran in a local magazine, and the trend seems to have taken off from there.

Many parents are still happy with cutting into a cake or popping balloons to reveal blue or pink confetti or glitter. However, when you start using explosive devices, things can get dicey.

The woman says that these elaborate events carry more than a potential for physical harm. She talks about their “social harm.” She says, “You might get a few people who get hurt from explosives, but you have a larger amount of people who are really hurt socially by the….manly-man and girly-girl dichotomy that it helps reinforce and contributes to….”

Bakeries, party stores and other businesses have jumped on the gender-reveal bandwagon. One party superstore manager says they have balloons, pinatas, confetti cannons, golf balls filled with pink or blue powder and smoke machines.

No one expects to suffer serious harm at a party that’s meant to be a celebration of a momentous event. However, if you suffer an injury on someone else’s property or due to their negligence or lack of safety precautions, it’s important to make sure that you get the compensation you need as you heal.

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Amid growing concerns about the dangers of inclined sleepers for infants, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced action that would take many of the sleepers off the market. The announcement comes after nearly 60 infant deaths have been blamed on them.

The CPSC says it’s proposing a new rule that would require the sleepers to have no more than a 10-degree incline. Many of them, including those made by Fisher-Price, put sleeping infants at a 30-degree angle. A new study commissioned by the CPSC states that allowing infants to sleep at anything greater than a 10-degree angle places them at risk of suffocation.

Fisher-Price originated the inclined sleeper a decade ago. However, other companies now manufacture and sell them — despite concerns voiced by doctors and safety advocates about the dangers.

Five different brands have been recalled after reports of infant mortalities. However, consumers can still buy inclined sleepers that violate guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Some parents have taken legal action against the manufacturers. One couple lost their three-month-old son. They found him unresponsive just 30 minutes after putting him in a Chicco infant napper two years ago. The company is denying that their product is responsible for the baby’s death. It says it’s received no other reports of their product being unsafe.

Certainly, no amount of money can make up for the loss of a child. However, lawsuits against manufacturers of dangerous or defective products can help spur the companies that make them and the retailers that sell them to stop doing so — potentially saving lives. Legal actions can also help get the attention of federal safety officials who can seek action to take products off the market and/or require necessary changes.

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We love seeing snowplows when they’re clearing the streets in and around our neighborhood so that we can get out after a massive snowstorm. However, we grumble when we’re stuck behind one on the highway or another road.

No matter how inconvenient the presence of snowplows can be, it’s essential to drive cautiously around them. Let’s look at some important tips to help keep you and others safe on the roads this winter when you encounter a snowplow.

Stay at least 200 feet away from a moving snowplow. Even though they’re proceeding slowly, they can’t stop quickly. If they encounter a stuck car or other road hazard and have to stop, you could find yourself in a middle of a serious rear-end or chain-reaction collision.

If a snowplow is coming towards you in the opposite lane of a two-lane or any undivided road, get as far away from it as you safely can. If you can move into a lane further from the centerline, do so. It can be hard to tell just how wide the blade is. Snowplow blades can be as much as 10 feet wider than the truck and can have the weight of a small car. Further, blowing snow could obstruct your vision.

If you must pass a snowplow, be very careful. Doing so can be very dangerous. Make sure that you are ahead of the front blade on the plow before you move back into the lane ahead of it. Never pass a snowplow on the right side. If you do plan to pass one, remember that the road ahead of it hasn’t been plowed yet, so it may be in bad condition.

Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t drive safely around snowplows and other road-clearing vehicles. If you suffer injuries in a crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver, make sure you seek the compensation that you will need in the short- and long-term to deal with medical expenses and other costs and damages.

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You’ve ridden as a passenger on a friend’s snowmobile once or twice, but this is going to be the winter you rent or buy your own. It’s fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful — or if others on the trail aren’t. This past January, five snowmobilers were killed in one day throughout four counties here in Michigan.

Conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) patrol the trails. Snowmobilers can be issued citations and be arrested if they’re suspected of being under the influence. One DNR supervisor says, “Many fatalities occur because of drinking and driving, high speed or carelessness, all of which are preventable actions.”

While you can’t control what other snowmobilers do, there are a number of steps you can take to remain safe on the trails and minimize your chances of serious injury. For example:

  • Make sure your machine is in good condition and check the weather conditions before you start.
  • Avoid areas you don’t know — particularly if there’s a lot of snow.
  • Avoid riding alone. However, if you do, make sure someone knows where you’re going.
  • Always wear a helmet and protective goggles.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Don’t get overconfident. You never know what the next curve will bring.

If you or a loved one has been injured or worse because another snowmobiler was reckless, negligent or under the influence, you may be able to take civil action independent of any criminal penalties they might be facing. This can help you seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses and damages as you move forward.

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If you’ve been involved in a crash with a driver who was drunk or impaired by drugs, it may seem like that person came out of nowhere. Perhaps they ran a red light or merged into your lane without warning. They may have been speeding and crashed into you before you could get out of the way.

Once you’re back on the road again after your crash, you’re likely going to be on the lookout for impaired drivers. You can’t always spot them in time to avoid a crash. However, if you observe the behaviors of the drivers around you, you can spot the signs of an impaired driver before they can endanger you. These include drivers who are doing the following:

  • Drifting between lanes or straddling the center lane
  • Quickly decelerating or accelerating
  • Failing to signal or signaling and then not taking any action
  • Driving over 10 mph under the speed limit for no apparent reason
  • Making abrupt or illegal turns
  • Not responding properly to traffic signals or signs (including not moving when the light turns green)
  • Nearly hitting something or someone
  • Driving aggressively

Drivers who do these things may not necessarily be impaired. They could be distracted or drowsy. Whatever the reason for their behavior, it’s dangerous.

Don’t try to confront the driver or get their attention. You don’t know what frame of mind they’re in. Put some space between you and them. It’s typically safer to be behind their vehicle rather than ahead of it

If you can do so safely, or if you have a passenger, get the license plate number and description of the car. When you are able, call 911 and report the driver, the vehicle information, the location and the direction they’re traveling. Let law enforcement do the rest.

Whenever you’re involved in a crash caused by another driver, it’s essential to make sure that you seek the compensation you need and deserve to deal with injuries and damages. You may need to seek experienced legal guidance to do that.

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Backup cameras (also referred to as rear visibility technology) have become increasingly common throughout the last decade. As of last year, they’ve been required on all new vehicles that weigh under 10,000 pounds. People with cars that don’t have backup cameras can have them installed, typically on the license plate holder or the rear bumper.

This technology is nothing less than life-saving — primarily because they help prevent backover accidents. Young children have been the most frequent victims of these accidents. However, elderly people who may not see or hear a car backing up near them are also at high risk. Many pets and other animals have also suffered serious or fatal injuries when backed over.

Unfortunately, the problem with this and other new automotive technology is that many of us begin to rely solely on that technology. We no longer look over our shoulder and in our mirrors like we were taught in driver’s ed. That’s how tragic backover and other catastrophic accidents can happen, even when a driver looks closely at the view from their camera while backing up.

Parents still need to warn their children about not playing around or behind parked cars. Everyone needs to be cautious when walking in parking lots where cars are backing out. Don’t assume the driver has a backup camera or a system that alerts them when someone or something is behind or near them.

Even if you have a backup camera, you should always look around your car before you get in to make sure no children or animals are nearby — particularly in residential areas and school zones, but any time.

When you’re backing out of a parking space or driveway, it’s best to roll your windows down and leave your radio or music off until you’ve safely backed out. This will help you hear everything around you.

Make sure the view from your backup camera isn’t marred by snow, dirt or scratches. If you have to dig yourself out from a snowdrift in the winter, make sure the lens is clear.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious or fatal injury caused by a driver who backed into them, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what your best options are for seeking justice and compensation.

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According to the consumer health care website WebMD, there are approximately 1.8 million amputees living in the United States. Their data reveals that amputations of the leg are the most common. Toe, hand, arm, finger and foot amputations follow close behind. While many of these result from illness, many people’s limbs are amputated following accidents such as car crashes and fires.

Most amputees have to remain hospitalized for as long as two weeks after their surgery. This gives the patient time to learn how to change their bandages and doctors ample time to see if infection is going to set in. It generally takes as long as two months an incision to heal. Patients also have to undergo several weeks of physical therapy both before and after they’re fitted with a prosthesis.

Countless Americans are forced to have a limb amputated due to illness or as the result of an accident each year. This is far from a routine type of surgery. Doctors often decide to operate as a last-ditch effort to save a patient’s life. The recovery process is seldom fast. Some amputees face lasting health complications after a limb is removed.

While technological advancements have made it possible for amputees to live more complete lives once they’re fitted with prostheses, many times a patient is unable to return to the same activities that they enjoyed in the past.

If you’ve been involved in a serious incident that has resulted in an amputation, then an experienced attorney can let you know what legal remedies you can pursue against a negligent party to seek compensation.

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If you want to avoid serious injuries in an auto accident, you must understand the risks that you face. One of the greatest risks is that of encountering a drunk driver. Despite the fact that driving under the influence is illegal, we still lose thousands of people in these accidents every year.

The good news is that there are ways to predict when a DUI crash is most likely. They tend to happen far more often at night. The peak hours are from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. The reasoning here is that this is when the majority of bars shut down for the night. People at house parties are also thinking about heading home. Any time past midnight is going to give you an elevated risk until a few hours before dawn.

Now, remember that this doesn’t mean these accident happen exclusively at night. You can get hit by a drunk driver in the middle of the day. You can even get into one of these accidents in the morning, as some people wake up and get in the car while still intoxicated, often without realizing it. However, studies have found that the risks are greatest at night, so avoiding these times is one way to reduce the odds of getting into a crash.

If you do have to drive at night, or if you get into a serious crash caused by another driver at any time of the day, make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other such costs.

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Movies and television show dramatic murder trials that determine who is guilty and who is not, but only criminal law gets close to that type of theatrical quality. Even most criminal cases are decided through plea agreements rather than jury trials. Civil law deals with who is responsible to victims and their families for the consequences of wrongful deaths or injuries.

This sort of liability may be difficult to show in cases of deaths or injuries caused by environments or circumstances rather than willful or negligent behaviors. Investigations may turn up some surprising liabilities held by parties that did not seem initially involved.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Detroit Pistons have settled a lawsuit brought by the mother of a player for the Grand Rapids Drive. That’s a team in the NBA’s development league, which is known as the G League. The 26-year-old player died shortly after collapsing during a game in March of last year. The suit alleged that medical support staff present at the game did not take the player’s condition seriously in time to save his life.

The player died two days after he collapsed in a Michigan hospital. Two other defendants involved with the management of the event may still face suits. Civil lawsuits may be brought against other entities, including DeltaPlex Arena where the game was played and the group that owns the Drive.

Wrongful death lawsuits can never replace a lost life, but they can hold negligent parties responsible and provide financial help to the families of victims. An attorney can provide support and guidance.