Articles Posted in Products Liability

xarelto.jpgA couple of years ago, I developed arterial fibrillation, more commonly known as “afib”, which is not uncommon with people 50 and older. My dad had it from the time he was 50 until he died at age 86. It’s not life threatening, but does raise the risk of blood clots, which can lead to strokes.

The treatment? Blood thinners. “Thin” blood can’t clot so easily, and thus prevents stokes. My dad used the blood thinner of his era – Coumadin (warfarin) – for 35 years. The problem with Coumadin was it was not user friendly. Dosage depended on diet, age, and other medications being taken. With Coumadin, patients had to get blood tests monthly or more often and watch their intake of vitamin K, which could lessen the effectiveness of warfarin.

Coumadin – with all those hassles – is now considered “old school”. I am using a new generation blood thinner called “Xarelto” (rivaroxaban). The advantage of Xarelto over Coumadin is that one size fits all. Almost anyone can take 20 miligrams and be protected from blood clotting, and thus protected from strokes. No need for monthly blood tests. Just pop the pill once a day and your good.

Honda.jpgMaking big auto companies self-report to the government fatal accidents and injuries caused by their vehicles is kind of like having the fox report to the farmer how many hens he ate. The fox is likely to under-report.

Same with Honda. And as a result, the “farmer” (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — our top federal auto safety agency) has fined Honda a record $70 million for its gross under-reporting.

The penalty is double the one slapped on General Motors just last year for being slow to identify safety problems.

car sale lot.jpgA New York Times article recently highlighted the consequence of many state’s “tort deform reform” laws: Victims of devastating corporate safety lapses can’t find a lawyer willing to represent them.

The article gives several examples of how tort deform reform is killing cases where corporate negligence has killed people. For example, a defective ignition switch caused a Wisconsin victim’s car ignition to suddenly power off, causing him to lose control of the car, hit a tree, and die. The car ignition failure also caused the air bag system to fail. G.M. had received many reports of similar incidents involving the defective ignition switch before this victim died. In fact, at least 42 people had died under similar circumstances.

Yet when the family went looking for a lawyer for what they thought would be a “slam dunk” case, they got the same response from every lawyer they turned to: None were willing to take the case because of a Wisconsin “tort reform” law limiting recovery “for loss of society” to $350,000. Because of the extreme expense – estimated at $300,000 — of suing a big corporation like G.M. for a complicated mechanical defect, it just did not make economic sense for a law firm to take the case on.

Picture of Michael Bersani .jpgCan you sue for compensation beyond your workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured on the job in New York? Maybe. Find out how by watching my new video about New York personal injury lawsuits for on-the-job injuries.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

cannibis.jpgMarijuana is now legal for medical purposes in about twenty States and for recreational purposes in two (Colorado and Washington). New York appears poised to follow suit, at least for medical purposes. That makes for a lot of legal pot smoking. But not everyone who wants, or medically needs, marijuana’s effects likes to smoke. So marijuana stores are stocking up on tasty ways for customers to eat their way to that same high, including gummy bears, dew drops, chocolate truffles, and other sweets all laced with mind-altering THC. Some of them contain ten times as much psychoactive THC as a casual pot smoker might take.

So what’s the problem? Once a customer removes these goodies from their carefully labeled “marijuana” bags or boxes, they look just like the sweets commonly available in any grocery store candy aisles. They don’t look like a drug. In fact, they look like pretty tasty treats. They then become an “attractive nuisance” to the unwary and hungry. Small children are especially attracted to the colorful delicious looking candies or chocolates. Unsolicited, unexpected highs are bound to happen.

This is not just a hypothetical problem. The New York Times reports that a growing number of children are seeking treatment after accidentally consuming marijuana. The children, many of them toddlers, are taken to the ER because they seemed strangely sleepy and disoriented.

car sale lot.jpgCNBC reports that those sci-fi-like, self-driven cars (“SDC’s”), also called “automated cars”, will account for half of all vehicles on the road by the year 2035, with the first ones hitting the market by 2020. (You can see one operated here). The first generation of these vehicles will require someone in the driver’s seat just in case the technology develops a problem–much like an aircraft autopilot. Truly independent SDCs requiring no human involvement will begin to be offered by 2030. (I blogged about these new cars here).

But CNBC also reports that Nissan Motor, one of the leaders of the new technology, cautioned that “because of the litigious nature of the American market, manufacturers might have to steer clear of the U.S. unless legislators take steps to protect the industry from a flood of frivolous lawsuits”.

Forgive my skepticism, Nissan, but that is pure baloney. First, why would you fear “frivolous” lawsuits? If the lawsuits are frivolous, you will beat them and they will cost you almost nothing. What you are really afraid of are meritorious lawsuits, ones that will hold you accountable for the death and destruction your negligent design may cause.

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…………….. Your Central New York Injury Lawyer is still blogging on the topic of gun control. New York recently passed an assault rifle ban. Other states will follow. An argument against such laws I have been hearing recently is, “more people are killed in car accidents than by shootings, so why don’t we ban cars?”. In other words, what fools you are for banning assault rifles!

But the analogy fails, and this blog post will explain why.

What’s the difference between banning automobiles and banning assault rifles? They both kill, they’re both dangerous, and cars may even be more dangerous! So why ban assault rifles and not cars? Think about it! I bet you can guess. Don’t give up!

Thumbnail image for car crash.jpgNot long ago cars were death traps. Then Ralph Nader, a trial lawyer, wrote a best seller called, “Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile“, published in 1965. The book detailed the resistance of the auto industry to investing in safety features, such as seat belts.

Then great trial lawyers brought a slew of products liability lawsuits against the auto manufacturers. The automobile industry responded by designing safer cars, featuring seat belts and then airbags, to avoid shelling out millions to mangled auto crash victims.

But the auto industry kept getting sued because lawyers kept arguing the vehicles could be made still safer, which spurred a leap-frogging of safer and safer designs. As a result, we now have side air bags, crash-resistant chassis, seat belt alarms, anti-lock brakes, etc.

Thumbnail image for syringe.jpg.jpgSometimes when I read the newspaper and see what greedy corporations are capable of, well, it makes me sick. This blog post is about a greedy corporation that literally made people sick.

The recent Meningitis outbreak you’ve been reading about is caused by contaminated spinal steroid injections. Many of my clients have had this type of steroid injection for back pain. A batch of steroid contaminated with a type of black mold called Exserohilum is causing the Meningitis. The manufacturer, “New England Compounding Center” in Framingham, Massachusetts caused the contamination by allowing dirty, sloppy conditions to prevail in the steroid production process

Cutting safety corners, in this case simple rules of hygiene, is always unacceptable, but when the product you are selling is getting injected into your customers’ spines?! Come on!!

sunshield.jpgYes, there actually is an annual “Wackiest Warning Label” contest, no kidding. This year’s entries include:

• An electric razor that warns “never use while sleeping” (comment: I’ve heard of sleep walking, but sleep shaving?! Talk about light sleepers . . .)

• A decorative seven-inch globe that warns: “Globe should not be referred to for navigation” (comment: I’m hooking this baby onto my dash and tossing my GPS!)

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