Personal Injury

Lead Poisoning FAQS

Lead Poisoning FAQS

Introduction
Lead poisoning occurs when the body is exposed to lead which leads to neurological damage and kidney failure.  In children especially, amounts of lead exceeding 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood can lead to permanent developmental disabilities inclusion learning disorders, behavioral problems and long term illness.  There is no safe threshold for lead and prolonged and chronic exposure may lead to serious illness or death.
How does one usually get exposed to lead?
Household paints have historically contained lead so children living in older residences may be exposed to lead through paint chips or dust that they unknowingly consume.  Lead may also get into soil and water through exposure to pesticides and gasoline where is passes the lead content to the food.   Lead in paint and gasoline was banned in the 1970s as there was a growing realization of the dangers it posed.  Water can be contaminated through lead content in older pipes that are made of or soldered with lead.  Lead was also found in some South Asian cosmetics, toys imported from China and some traditional medicine.  Individuals that eat game shot with lead bullets also show elevated levels of lead in their bodies.  
The body can be exposed to lead through the mouth, nose and eyes.  Additionally, lead can enter the body through breaks in the skin.  Most lead exposure is through the respiratory system where it eventually enters the bloodstream.  Absorption rates may be as high as 15%.  For adults, lead is usually deposited in the bones or teeth which are less dangerous than the risk for children where the lead is constantly reentering the bloodstream, causing havoc on the cell structure and immune system.  Lead exposure deteriorates the hippocampus of the brain leading to memory loss.  Lead exposure affects virtually every part of the body which is why it is especially dangerous to growing children.
Individuals that may have been exposed to lead should consult a doctor for testing immediately.
What steps have been taken to protect children from further lead exposure?
Since the regulation of lead in household products and fuel in the 1970s, municipalities through their own accord and as the targets of lawsuits have enforced stringent standards for the removal of lead.  Individuals that fail to comply with these standards for their properties and in the process endanger tenants or other individuals that come into contact with the property will face criminal and civil penalties.  Most municipalities have aimed to eliminate lead poisoning altogether in the near future.  Government agencies, such as the CDC have released guidelines and suggestions for limiting lead exposure and removing its danger to children.
Am I eligible for damages in lead exposure cases?
Some personal injury lawyers specialize in lead-related exposure cases, generally against landlords and property owners, but also against municipalities and lead removal contractors.  Improper lead removal can exacerbate a condition by releasing lead dust into the air.  The attorney will be able to help you determine liability for the case.
Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

Benzene Exposure Risks

Benzene Exposure Risks

What Is Benzene?
Benzene is a hydrocarbon characterized by a 6 carbon ring often used as an intermediary in the production of numerous products such as Styrene, which is used in plastics, it is also used as an intermediary in the production of phenols for the production of adhesives. Benzene can also be found as an intermediary in the production of Nylon. Small amounts of benzene can be found in rubber, dyes, detergents and drugs. Most notably benzene is used in gasoline.

Side Effects
In 1948 the American Petroleum Institute stated that “the only absolutely safe concentration of benzene is zero.” Since the 20’s there have been numerous allegations that exposure to benzene can lead to cancer in humans but due to industry actions to subvert the allegations there was no real evidence of a causal link until the 70’s. Since then there has been overwhelming evidence linking benzene exposure to all kinds of negative conditions.
Long term exposure to benzene can lead leukemea, a form or blood cancer. Short term exposure of high levels of benzene can cause death in some cases and low levels have can cause drowsiness, dizziness and rapid heart beat. Many government agencies such as the EPA and OSHA have put caps on the allowable exposure to benzene in the workplace. Benzene is a very common, every day product and even some soft drinks have been found to have benzene in them over the recommended limit of 5 parts per billion.
Lawsuits
Currently there are two major lawsuits going on in the nation’s court system concerning benzene exposure. The first was filed in 2010 and pertains to BP’s exposure to a Texas community of 500,000 pounds of pollutants, including benzene. The class action lawsuit contends that PB was lax in its maintanence and safety concerns leading to the exposure and then failed to warn the local population for 40-days after the leak. The lawsuit seeks $10 billion in damages because they claim that the exposure has damaged the people and property values in the area.
Another lawsuit filed in January of 2011 involves the death of an Illinois woman from leukemia said to be caused by the negligent actions of Shell oil. The lawsuit contends that the leukemia was caused by the spilling orf 8,400 gallons of benzene that were leaked from an underground pipeline controlled by Shell. The wrongful death action claims that the defendants were negligent in building and maintaining the pipeline.

What To Do If Exposed To Benzene
If you or someone you know has been exposed to benzene and has developed leukemia or any other ailments associated with it disease it is important that you go see a physician as soon as possible. Upon a physicians suggestion that the condition can be linked to Benzene it is then your job to consult an attorney who specializes in class action lawsuits involving Benzene. Be wary of the statute of limitations. Because the statute of limitations usually begins to run once you should have known about symptoms your clock may already be running.  

Baycol

Baycol

What Is Baycol?
Baycol, also known as Cerivastatin, is a drug that was manufactured by Bayer A.G. in the 90’s as a way of lowering cholesterol levels and preventing cardiovascular disease. The drug worke effectively at lowring the amount of LDL in the blood while increasing HDL at the same time. In 2001 Baycol was removed from the market voluntarily due to a number of reported deaths from fatal rhabdomyolysis.
What Are The Side Effects?
Side effects of Baycol use consist of unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness. The side effects also include fever or flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Blurred vision and decreased and rust colored urine have also been found to be side effects of Baycol use. It is important to consult your physician as soon as these symptoms arise. The most dangerous side effect, and the reason for the voluntary removal from the market is fatal rhabdomyolysis. Before removal from the market 100 deaths were blamed on the use of Baycol because of rhabdomyolysis, which causes kidney failure. The drug was found to induce the breakdown of muscle cells which enter the bloodstream and cause kidney failure. The symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include muscle pains, vomiting and confusion.

Government Regulation
There has been no serious government regulation of the drug. Due to its voluntary removal from the market Bayer A.G. was able to pre-empt FDA investigation into the product and its association with fatal rhabdomyolysis.
Lawsuits
Bayer A.G. claims to have settled suits in the amount of $1.17 billion since litigation over Baycol began. There is currently a case that has just been approved to proceed in West Virginia DIstrict Court, not over rhabdomyolysis but over Bayer’s supposed violation of a state consumer protection law by selling a hazardous product.

What To Do If Develop Symptoms?
If you or someone you know has taken Baycol and developed and major ailments associated with it disease it is important that you go see a physician as soon as possible. Upon a physicians suggestion that the condition can be linked to Baycol it is then your job to consult an attorney who specializes in class action lawsuits involving pharmaceuticals. Be wary of the statute of limitations. Because the statute of limitations usually begins to run once you should have known about symptoms your clock may already be running. This is even more important since the drug was removed from the market in 2001.

Avandia

Avandia

What Is Avandia?


Avandia, or its generic name Rosiglitazone, is an antidiabetic drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline. The purpose behind Avandia is to make fat cells more responsive to insulin by binding to fat cells in the body.

What Are The Side Effects?

SIde effects associated with Avandia include stroke, heart attack, hepatotoxicity, eye damage and bone fractures. The FDA has linked 83,000 heart attacks to the use of Avandia and it is believed that the use of Avandia for treatment of type-2 diabetes has led to an increas in heart disease of 43% compared to those who did not take Avandia. The chances of having a stroke increase by 27% when a patient is taking Avandia.
Avandia has also been linked to an increase in the incidence of bone fracture of the upper arms in female patients. It has also been found to cause macular adema, which causes partial blindness and in some cases individuals have been diagnosed with hepatitis from their continous use of Avandia.
Government Regulation

In the United States Avandia has become a point of government regulation over the increased threat of heart disease. During investigations of GlaxoSmithKline about the adverse effects of Avandia it was found that as early 2000 there were signs that Avandia was unsafe but GlaxoSmithKline attempted to cover up the problem. In addition, it was found that the company initiated a campaign where they paid outside scientists to write positive articles about the drug in the appropriate medical journals. There have been numerous attempts by members of Congress and the FDA to have the product removed from the market entirely but no measure has yet passed. Currently the FDA is contemplating the removal of Avandia from the market. There has been no result yet.
Lawsuits

There are currently somewhere along 13,000 suits involving Avandia and GlaxoSmithKline relating to side effects, specifically heart disease. One of the lawsuits settled in July 2010 involving 10,000 plaintiffs was settled for $460 million. Currently the estimates for total awards is between $2 billion and $6 billion in damages.

What if I have taken Avandia?
If you or someone you know has taken Avandia and developed heart disease, stroke or any other serious conditions associated with Avandia’s side effects it is important that you go see a physician as soon as possible. Upon a physicians suggestion that the condition can be linked to Avandia it is then your job to consult an attorney who specializes in class action lawsuits involving pharmaceuticals. Be wary of the statute of limitations. Because the statute of limitations usually begins to run once you should have known about symptoms your clock may already be running. See an attorney quickly.

Aredia: Facts You Must Know

Aredia: Facts You Must Know

What Is Aredia?
Aredia, also known as Pamidronate, is used to treat high levels of calcium in the blood that are associated with certain types of cancer and osteopersosis. It is also used to treat bone damage cuased by myeloma or breast cancer that has spread to the bones. It is taken intravenously on a monthly schedule, often for the life of the patient. Aredia is a pharmaceutical product manufactured by Novartis.
Are There Side Effects Associated With Aredia?

Common side effects associated with Aredia are bone pain, nausea, dizziness, low calcium levels and on rare occassions Osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteonecrosis of the jaw involves the development of disease of the mandible and maxilla. Often this can result in the removal of the affected bone. As studies are becoming more conclusive, it is being found that many biophosphonates, like Aredia, are the cause of the disease
Lawsuits
As in many other pharmaceutical related lawsuits, the focus in primarily on products liability for failure to warn. As of 2010 there were 500 federal lawsuits pending and 150 pending in the state of New Jersey alone. Of the two that are conlcusive at this time the results are mixed. A Montana case accusing Aredia manufacturer, Novartis, of failing to give adequate warnings as to the risk of serious jaw injury found for the plaintiff and awarded her $3.2 million. On the other side of the country a jury found for the defendant, Novartis, and concluded that the defendant gave adequate warnings to her physician. Most recently Novartis was ordered to pay $12.8 million to a North Carolina woman who suffered severe damage to her maxilla and mandible after taking Aredia.
What do I do if I have symptoms?

The symptoms associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include pain in the effected area and which can also progress to where there is difficulty chewing. Most often osteonecrosis has progressed far enough by the time it is diagnoseable. If you have been treated with Aredia or Zometa for cancer therapy or osteoperosis and have pain in your jaw that is continuous and seems to be getting worse you may have a case against Novartis for failure to give appropriate warnings. You should contact an attorney who specializes in pharmaceutical lawsuits and class actions immediately.

Ambien Side Effects

Ambien Side Effects

What Is Ambien?
Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, is a pharmaceutical product manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals. The drug is designated as a prescription drug to aid sleep disorder patients. The drug is used to treat short term insomnia and is designated only to be used for 2 to a maximum of 6 weeks. Studies have shown that Ambien does not actually help patients improve their actual sleep. Rather it has been found that it is only beneficial in helping the patient initially fall asleep.
Are There Side Effects Associated With Ambien?
Side effects from the use of Ambien include Nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, delusions, and euphoria. Studies have shown that individuals who take Ambien and then wake up before the designated 7-8 hour recommended sleep time have a high change of short term amnesia.
One of the most publicized effects of Ambien use is sleepwalking. Cases of sleepwalking, sleep eating, driving and performing other daily activities. Often times someone who has Ambien induced sleepwalking will appear as if they are totally coherent. There have been a number of incidents involved with Ambien induced sleepwalking. As of right now it is unclear whether these incidents of sleepwalking are the direct result of Ambien use.
Lawsuits
In 2006 there was a major class action initiated against Sanofi-Aventis. The suit stems from the use of Ambien and resulting injuries related to sleepwalking. The class action, which involves 500 plaintiffs inlcude numerous allegations about the drug. Sleep eating, arrests for DUI, and even suicide. The lawsuit is based on a products liability action for failure to warn of the side effects. Sanofi Aventis maintains that the warning label is adequate in that it states that there is a 4% chance of sleep walking amongst Ambien consumers.

What are Airsoft guns?

What are Airsoft guns?


What Are AirSoft Guns
Airsoft guns are replica firearms that use plastic pellets, commonly known as BBs. The firing mechanism typically involves compressed gas or spring-driven motors. They are marketed as a non-lethal firearm and are normally associated with recreational activities. Airsoft guns are commonly a part of group games, similar to paintball, reenactments and are also used for police and military training. There are numerous manufacturers of airsoft guns and they come in many forms, especially replicas of classic weapons such as the AK-47 and the Kalishnikov rifle.
Dangers Associated With Airsoft Guns
Most airsoft guns are effectively harmless. The average, manufacturer designated gun, fires a round at under 350 ft/s which is just fast enough to break the skin from close range. Airsoft guns do have the potential for being made to shoot at speeds ranging from 65 ft/s to 700 ft/s. At levels of 700 ft/s the effects of a hit from a pellet could be lethal. Airsoft guns are not manufactured to reach those speeds but they can be altered. When using an airsoft gun it is important to wear the appropriate gear. At a minimum this includes approved eyewear and a mouth guard. There have been reports that direct shots to the teeth from approved airsoft rifles have resulted in damage and required root canals to fix the problem.
Government Regulation
The use and sale of airsoft guns is regulated by both federal and state laws. Under federal law an airsoft gun is not classified as a firearm and may be purchased by individuals of any age. Airsoft guns are, however, considered firearms in many states in the Union. California, for example, will not permit the posession or sale of an airsoft gun to anyone under the age of 18. Federal law also requires that there be a 6mm orange band aound the barrel of any airsoft gun sold in the United States. Law differs from state to state as to whether the orange band can be removed upon sale. Because of the similarities between firearms and airsoft guns many states impose the same penalties for abuse of an airsoft gun. For example, in some states the use of an airsoft gun in a robbery will be treated the same way as if the robbery occured with the use of a firearm.
Lawsuits
Every year there are thousands of injuries resulting from the use of airsoft guns. Many of these individuals are under 20 which tends to show that there should be stricter regulation in the sale of these guns to minors. Personal injury actions are, therefore, prevalent.
More popularized though are the trademark lawsuits that are associated with airsoft guns. Because airsoft guns are manufactured to be almost exact replicas of famous weapons there are numerous trademark issues involved. Manufacturers of airsoft guns are required to acquire licenses with the manufacturers of the copied firearms before they are allowed to proceed. Failure to get or maintain the license has resulted in many lawsuits. In 2007 the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would no longer require licenses in order to manufacture airsoft versions of firearms. The bill never made it past subcommittee.

What Injuries can Result from Cigar Smoking?

What Injuries can Result from Cigar Smoking?

Introduction


Cigar smoking maintains the same dangers as smoking cigarettes, but with a high dose of tobacco and harmful chemicals experienced by cigarette smokers.
How do cigars differ from cigarettes?
Cigars are usually larger than cigarettes and lack a filter, so the smoke is not meant to be inhaled.  According to the National Cancer Institute, there are three types of cigars sold in the US:
Large cigars: more than 7 inches in length with 5 – 20 grams of tobacco.  These may contain the tobacco equivalent of a pack of cigarettes and take 1 – 2 hours to smoke
Cigarillos: these are similar to large cigars with only 3 grams of tobacco
Little cigars: similar shape and size as cigarettes with one gram of tobacco.  The smoke from these cigars can be inhaled due to a filter.
Cigar smoke is also just as, if not more dangerous than cigarette smoke with higher levels of carcinogens, tar and toxins.  The smoke is a health risk and can cause several cancers and lung disease with risks increasing with the frequency and time spend smoking cigars.  Cigar smokers have a lower risk of lung disease that cigarette smokers as they do not inhale the smoke, but they still expose themselves to carcinogens absorbed in saliva.
What liability does the manufacturer hold?
Before the federal government mandated required warning labels to be placed on the packages of tobacco products, there was little to no acknowledgement of the potential health risks of smoking on the part of the manufacturer.  As result some cigar smokers are entitled to damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages as well as pain and suffering caused by cigar addiction.  The smoker must prove that when he started smoking cigars, he had no knowledge of the health risks and the manufacturer engaged in either misleading or false advertising that led the individual to believe that there were no dangers to smoking.
A consultation with an attorney will help you determine if you are entitled to damages or a share in a class action lawsuit against cigar manufacturers.  
Source: https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/cigars

Crestor Facts

Crestor Facts

Introduction


Crestor is the brand name for Rousuvastatin, a drug marketed by AstraZeneca that treats high cholesterol and prevents cardiovascular disease.  

How does Crestor work?
Crestor is an inhibitor that helps to slow the production of cholesterol.  The manufacturer notes that this inhibiting of cholesterol production must be accompanied by lifestyle changes and better dietary habits to reduce the risk of health disease.  As of 2004, there were over 4 million individuals using Crestor.
What are the side effects of Crestor?
Crestor causes some common side effects such as constipation and heartburn and also some very serious ones such as chest pain and difficulty breathing.  Patients with liver disease cannot take Crestor, nor can moderate to heavy drinkers.  There is tremendous risk in misusing Crestor so it is important to inform the doctor of any side effects associated with taking this drug.  The manufacturer also notes that Asian American patients process the drug differently and should start at a lower dose to avoid complications.
What is rhabdomyolysis and how does it relate to Crestor?
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers that releases myoglobin into the blood stream.  This results in severe kidney damage as well as symptoms of muscle pain, weakness and vomiting.  Dark brown urine discoloration is a sign that this condition is present.  Crestor is believed to cause this condition in some patients as it may exacerbate risk factors for myopathy which eventually leads to kidney failure.
What do I do if I believe that Crestor has caused liver or kidney damage?
There has been controversy over whether medications such as Crestor are safe for consumers as similar medications have been linked to liver and kidney damage.  Some specialized lawyers can take cases involving damage caused by Crestor if it can be proven that Crestor is a direct cause or contributor to the patient’s organ failure.  Due to controversy of AstraZeneca’s clinical trials, where evidence of rhabdomyolysis were present, the case can be made that the drug company has not done enough to protect consumers and inform them of the risks of taking their otherwise popular drug.
Crestor and birth defects
Additionally, the FDA classifies Crestor as a drug that may cause birth defects for pregnant mothers.  If a pregnant mother has been prescribed Crestor without being informed of the potential risks by her doctor, then the doctor is liable for negligence on his part.  This is why it is important that women that are pregnant or who may become pregnant must inform their doctor of that fact.  Should the doctor fail to recognize that danger, then a negligence case can proceed against the doctor.
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000242/

Facts About Darvon/Darvocet

Facts About Darvon/Darvocet

Introduction
Darvon and Darvocet are banned medications that used to prescribed as painkillers since the 1950s.  Darvon is the brand name for the compound propoxyphene and Darvocet is propoxyphene mixed with acetaminophen with both being linked to abnormal heart rhythm.  
The FDA forced the manufacturer – Xanodyne to conduct clinical tests in 2009 where they found a greater than normal risk of developing complications, which led to Darvocet coming off the market in 2010.  In 2009 nearly 10 million Americans were taking medication with some form of propoxyphene.  The UK and European Union had banned the medication several years earlier.
What are the risks of Darvon and Darvocet?
Although it took several decades to establish a link, it is now conclusively proven that these drugs have caused serious cardiac side effects that far outweigh the benefit of its use as a painkiller.  Propoxyphene remains in the body long after the dosage and remains toxic to the heart where it interrupts heart rhythm by slowing down contractions and interrupting electrical impulses to the heart.  There have been indications and suspicions of this link for a number of decades which has lead the public advocacy group Public Citizen’s to decry that the FDA has been negligent in controlling and studying the potential risks of propoxyphene medication.
In 2009, prior to the ban, the FDA allowed Darvon/Darvocet to continue to be marketed with warning labels about potentially fatal overdoses.  Later studies showed that propoxyphene medications had a higher risk of drug-related deaths than similar drugs with nearly 16 deaths per 100,000 prescriptions.  In the unlikely event that you are still taking Darvon/Darvocet after the recall, you must contact your doctor immediately.  Doses should not stop suddenly but should be drawn down and replaced by another painkiller, at your doctor’s discretion.
What should I do if I or a loved one has been harmed by taking Darvon and Darvocet?
The FDA and the manufacturer Xanodyne ignored warning signs about the drugs for a number of years and motions to pull the drug from the market were filed as early as 1978.  This lack of acknowledgement over the associated risks can be used to hold the drug company liable for damages to cover medical bills, lost wages as well as pain and suffering associated with harm caused by this drug.  Lawsuits associated with harm caused by this drug are subject to the statue of limitations which means that if the patient or family of the patient intends to sue, they must do it in a timely manner before the chance expires.