Teen Stuck In 100 mph Drive Due To Auto Defect

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Elez Lushaj, a Texas teen, never thought he would ever take such a harrowing ride in his Hyundai Elantra. According to a report in The Daily Mail, the video of Lushaj driving at speeds over 120 mph for almost 90 minutes as he begged law enforcement for help to make it stop, went viral on the Internet.

Lushaj says it all happened last December when the accelerator on his Hyundai Elantra jammed and he was unable to free it. As the car suddenly accelerated and gained speed, Lushaj said he called 911 for help. He told officials that he was “stuck in his car” going 125 mph.

A Wild Ride

Lushaj told police that he had tried everything he could think of, including the emergency brake, but could not get his car to slow down. He had several near misses on the road and had to pull off heart-stopping maneuvers to even stay on the road. At one point he went onto the shoulder to narrowly avoid colliding with a truck.

A deputy who tried to follow Lushaj’s car and was unsuccessful said the Hyundai was the fastest thing on the road and that he was sure the teen wasn’t going to make it out of this alive. 911 dispatchers even tried to call a Hyundai dealership as they grappled for answers about this auto defect, but no one could come up with a solution. All they could hope now was that Lushaj would run out of gas.

Eventually Lushaj swerved hard to avoid a semi-truck. His car left the road and flipped four times before settling. Emergency workers had to cut the car’s roof to free Lushaj. Miraculously, Lushaj was not seriously hurt, although his back and neck hurt. Hyundai is already defending itself saying that it is highly unlikely for the brakes, accelerator and transmission to fail spontaneously all at once. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) is also investigating the incident along with local law enforcement. No recalls have been announced yet.

An Ongoing Investigation

It is indeed fortunate that Lushaj was not killed or catastrophically injured in this horrific rollover crash. One can only imagine this young man’s state of mind for the 90 minutes he was stuck on the highway in a speeding car trying to avoid hitting anything on the roadway and trying not to go off course. I certainly hope investigators are closely examining the vehicle.

What went wrong here? Hyundai officials’ contention that this sudden acceleration scenario is “improbable” is appalling. This was an episode that was caught in camera. If these vehicles are defective, they need to be recalled and repaired. Other drivers may not be as lucky as Lushaj.

First Legal Trial Against Ethicon Sets Stage For Subsequent Legal Actions

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Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon, are facing their first legal trial in a consolidated proceeding in Atlantic County in New Jersey. The proceeding is one of the 1,800 lawsuits that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon currently face due to the failure to disclose some of the dangerous risks in the label of its transvaginal mesh product, Prolift.

Prolift was introduced to the market in 2005 after it received the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through the fast-track approval system. The transvaginal mesh was claimed to be similar to Gynecare so that it could bypass the additional testing required for the approval to market the drug.

However, it was not until March 2012 that the FDA released a communication confirming that the Prolift was initially marketed without any clearance or approval, that tests should have been done to determine its readiness for the market, and that it had been illegally marketed to the consumers, risking their health and well-being.

Prolift is used for the treatment of women who have pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and/or stress urinary incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition wherein the pelvic organ drops and presses against the vaginal wall. The mesh product works by keeping the organs in place. The problem arises when the mesh product disintegrates or contracts.

Some women complain about pain especially during sexual intercourse. There are other complications that are potentially linked to the use of Prolift, which is why lawsuits have been filed alleging the lack of proper safeguards on the part of Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon to ensure patient safety.

If you want to have your Prolift case evaluated, you may contact our Prolift lawyers at our toll-free number, 1-800-992-6878.

d’Oliveira & Associates 2540 Pawtucket Ave, East Providence, RI 02914 (401) 431-1990

Feds Investigate Auto Defects In Fords and Toyota Prius Hybrids

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The federal government has launched a probe into more than 560,000 model-year 2004 to 2009 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles due to a dangerous steering shaft. According to Torque News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the probe stemmed from a petition claiming the vehicle’s steering column linkage was improperly assembled.

NHTSA also launched an investigation into 724,000 sedans and SUVs, which may suffer from a sudden loss of engine power or stalling. This investigation covers 2009 through 2011 Ford Escape and Fusion, and Mercury Mariner and Milan. Ford has apparently received 27,500 warranty claims and 1,400 complaints regarding this issue.

Also, three crashes and one injury were reported as a result of these auto defects. NHTSA must complete these investigations before any recalls are issued for the Toyota Prius or the Ford vehicles in question.

Prior Toyota Prius Steering Issues

The Toyota Prius has been recalled multiple times for steering problems. In 2006, the Japanese automaker recalled 170,000 2004 to 2006 Toyota Prius hybrids because the intermediate shaft could crack and result in loss of steering control. In 2011, 100,000 2001 to 2003 Prius models were recalled to address a faulty Electronic Power Steering (EPS) pinion shaft nut. Most recently, Toyota recalled 669,000 2004 to 2009 Prius models to replace a steering shaft extension assembly.

Dangerous Auto Defects

Both steering defects and engine stalling can cause serious injury collisions. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a defectively manufactured or designed auto product, please contact an experienced California auto product liability attorney who has successfully handled auto products liability cases against large automakers. In cases involving defective products, the manufacturer of the defective automobile or the faulty product can be held liable.

During this investigation, I trust NHTSA will also look into whether the automakers reported these serious issues in a timely manner. Under federal law, all product manufacturers are required to report any safety complaints to the governmental agency that oversees them. If the product is defective a timely auto recall is extremely important because it warns consumers about a dangerous or faulty product.

Federal Prosecutors Investigating Recalled Defective Hip Implants

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Federal prosecutors are probing Johnson & Johnson’s practices when it came to marketing a line of hip replacements recalled in 2010 because of the high rate of revision surgeries. According to a news report in The Associated Press, the hip replacement recalls were a part of more than 30 product recalls by the health care giant just in the last three years.

defective hip implant

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts and the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department last August sent Johnson & Johnson an “informal request” for information about its ASR hip replacements, the company reported in a regulatory filing.

The government has apparently asked for additional documents from the company and its subsidiaries, DePuy, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of joint replacements and other orthopedic surgical products. DePuy recalled two artificial joint systems — the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System — in August 2010 because of unexpectedly high rates of failure.

In those cases, the implants came loose or tiny pieces of metal from the defective hip implant had disintegrated into the patient’s body causing immune problems. Several studies including Johnson & Johnson’s own internal study corroborated the fact that these hip implants were susceptible to early failure.

Series of Medical Device Recalls

In 2007, the company paid $84.7 million in government fines as part of a sweeping investigation by the Justice Department into alleged kickbacks where J & J and four other top manufacturers of hip and knee replacement devices were accused of paying surgeons to get them to use their products exclusively between 2002 and 2006.

J & J’s spate of recalls has continued into recent weeks. Last week, the company issued a recall on its “Adept” brand of all-metal hip implants due to high failure rates. On February 22, it recalled its LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve, a knee replacement device, because of the possibility that patients to suffer fractures, loss of mobility, loss of limb, infection or even death.

Justice and Compensation for Victims

The results of the federal probe are still unknown. But, it would be interesting to see how Johnson & Johnson marketed its products. Did the marketing continue even after the company knew that its products were defective and were likely to fail earlier than expected? I hope that is a question federal officials ask.

Victims of these dangerous and defective devices face serious consequences including loss of mobility, loss of income and loss of livelihood. In addition, they are saddled with medical expenses such as cost of surgery, hospitalization and rehabilitation. Anyone who has been injured as a result of a hip or knee implant device would be well advised to contact an experienced product liability lawyer who will fight for their rights and ensure that justice is served.

Mother of Toddler Killed in Fiery Crash Sues Chrysler

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The mother of a 2-year-old boy who was killed in a May 2011 car accident has filed a wrongful lawsuit against Chrysler Group LLC. According to a news report in The Times-Tribune, the lawsuit, which was filed in Lackawanna County Court, claimed that the improper positioning of the Cherokee’s fuel tank caused it to burst into flames when a Ford Focus driven by David Ranakoski rear-ended her vehicle.

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The toddler, Cole Hazelton, died in the fire. The lawsuit stated that his mother suffered permanent physical and emotional injuries from the crash. The suit is seeking compensation for wrongful death, negligence, unfair trade practices and infliction of emotional distress.

Fatal Fire

The accident occurred May 9, 2011 when Hazelton was southbound on Dark Region Road in Ransom Township. The Ford driven by Rankowski struck the back of the Cherokee causing it to spin clockwise and into a grass embankment. The Cherokee’s fuel tank, which was located in the “crush zone” or below the rear bumper, released gas into the vehicle causing it to burst into flames, according to the complaint. Cole’s father, Andrew Carullo, was able to pull Hazelton to safety but couldn’t rescue his son.

The auto product lawsuit emphasized that Cole was not seriously injured in the initial collision. All their injuries were caused by the fuel fed fire, which was the direct result of the Cherokee’s defective design. In addition, Chrysler did not recall the Cherokee despite having the knowledge that rear impact collisions resulted in passengers being seriously injured or killed, the suit stated.

Jeep Cherokee’s Design Flaw

According to the Center for Auto Safety, the number of defective gas tank fatal fires from 1993 to 2004 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee is about four times higher than any other SUV. After 2005, Chrysler redesigned the vehicles moving the gas tank inside the frame offering more protection. However, drivers such as Hazelton who purchased the older model vehicles may not be aware of the potential for serious injuries or death that these improperly located gas tanks pose.

Instead of making these cases public and recalling these defective auto products, automakers take the route of settling confidentially with victims or families of deceased victims. Auto manufacturers put profits over public safety by deliberately not making the public aware of these dangerous auto defects.

Special K Cereal Recalled for Possible Glass Fragments

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Kellogg Company is recalling several batches of its Special K Red Berries cereal because they may be contaminated with glass pieces. According to an NBC news report, the recall was precautionary because glass was found in a single batch of one of the ingredients.

Kellogg has said that no consumer injuries were reported as a result of this contamination. Those who purchased the recalled items may call Kellogg’s consumer center at 1-800-962-1413. The company will provide coupons to replace the cereal.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in six Americans will get sick as a result of food contamination or food poisoning each year, resulting in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 fatalities.

Prior Kellogg Cereal Recalls

This is not the first time that Kellogg’s has recalled cereal products for contamination. In October, the company recalled about 2.8 million packages of Mini-Wheats due to the possibility of mesh fragments that may be mixed up with cereal. In 2010, the company recalled many popular brands of its cereal including Fruit Loops, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks and Honey Smacks over strange smell and flavors, which were later attributed to packages.

Food Producers’ Responsibilities

Food manufacturers have a responsibility to produce items that are safe for consumers. A number of food-borne illnesses and injuries caused by contaminated food can be avoided if food manufacturers are diligent about following federal food safety standards. Each year, millions are sickened as a result of contaminated food products.

Anyone who has been injured or sickened by tainted food would be well advise to immediately stop consuming the food, isolate it and place it in a separate bag do it can be tested in a laboratory for contaminants. It would also be a good idea to report the incident to your local healthcare agency, which maintains a record of these incidents and helps identify a trend or an outbreak.

Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation from the manufacturer for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California personal injury lawyer will be able to advise product defect victims regarding their legal rights and options.

FDA Focuses on “Message Fatigue” About Food-Borne Illnesses

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February 18, 2013—Washington, D. C.—According to an article in MedPage Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is forming a panel to discuss the problem of “message fatigue” among the populace about food safety.

Message fatigue occurs when the public is bombarded with messages about food safety and begins to ignore the warnings. Because communication is so widespread and instant, the average American may hear several stories a week about a new outbreak of disease related to contaminated food. At first, people are frightened by these messages as indicated by purchasing patterns at grocery stores and restaurants. Eventually, however, when people hear numerous messages about food-borne illness but see no evidence of these diseases affecting them, they stop listening to the warnings. food safety

The FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee is set to address the communication challenges that exist when people receive too much information about various dangers related to food. A 2009 survey conducted by two of the committee’s participants showed that Americans are “highly aware” of recent salmonella outbreaks with 93 percent being aware of the 2009 peanut butter recall and 81 percent aware of the ground beef recall. However, purchases of ground beef and peanut butter have once again leveled, possibly indicating that people have stopped worrying about the safety of these particular foods.

Another problem worrying the committee is how to encourage people to follow through with recall warnings. When a food is recalled, many people fail to look on their shelves or in their freezers to see if they have any of the contaminated food. Some of this may be due to distrust of research and researchers in general, but most of it probably has to do with message fatigue. People simply stop listening to the warnings, having heard so many of them in a short period of time.

Media attention tends to focus on national issues in which there are fatalities or severe outbreaks of illness. Many people do not realize that there are continual local outbreaks affecting everything from cantaloupe to jalapeno peppers to tuna fish simply because the media does not focus on these outbreaks unless there is some “newsworthy” national interest.

One of the focuses of the group is to explore the possibility of using social media to get the message out about local outbreaks of salmonella and other food-borne diseases. Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are now able to reach a huge number of people in a short time. By utilizing these methods, the FDA hopes to reach people with a targeted message rather than the “national scares” that seem to happen every other week, numbing potential victims to the dangers of food-borne illness outbreaks.

Victims of food-borne illnesses such as salmonella have rights under the law to collect damages if they have been sold tainted food by a store or restaurant. A personal injury attorney can help these victims recover damages for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs.

Family of 3-year-old Girl Injured in Carnival Ride Gets $80,000 Settlement

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The family of 3-year-old Kalyn Pennygraph who was thrown off the Techno Jump ride at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last March, has received an $80,000 settlement from the carnival operator. According to a news report in The Daily Mail, the girl was thrown off the ride after she slipped from under a restraint and suffered a concussion. Kalyn’s mother sued the carnival operator, Ray Cammack Shows, in November seeking compensation for medical care, physical pain, mental anguish as well as for current and probable future physical impairment.

According to the settlement, Kalyn will receive payments worth at least $50,000 to help her during her college years and another $27,500 to cover medical expenses and attorneys’ fees. An injury report states that the girl boarded the ride with her brother as their mother supervised them. She was reportedly tall enough to ride on the Techno Jump at the time. The child suffered a concussion and bruising to her face and head. After the incident, the ride operator required any child too short to ride alone to be accompanied by an individual aged 16 or over.

Ride Accident Statistics

According to the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA), an estimated 500 million guests visit carnivals, fairs and festivals each year and more than half of them participate in mobile amusement rides. The National Safety Council reports that amusement ride-related accident injuries were up by 11.1 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. More than half of the injuries in 2010 occurred on family and adult rides. Roller coasters accounted for 35.9 percent of injuries in 2010, more than in any other years except for 2004. After increasing nearly 5 percent from 2008 to 2009, the proportion of injuries associated with children’s rides declined more than 3 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Liability Issues

Amusement ride-related incidents can result in major if not fatal injuries. Injured victims in such cases can file a personal injury claim against the ride operator, the carnival operator, or the manufacturer of a defective part or ride equipment, depending on the circumstances of the incident. Injured victims or their families would be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled amusement ride-related incidents.

Dodge Announces Rear-Axle Recall Safety Issue

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February 14, 2013—Washington, D. C.—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Dodge have announced that the company will recall several models of pickups due to a problem with the rear axle pinion. Under driving conditions, a spline in this pinion may work loose, locking up the rear axle and increasing the risk of a crash. Anyone who has been injured by a defective vehicle may wish to consult a recall injury attorney for information on the rights of victims in these circumstances.

The models affected by the recall are:

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen
• 2009 Dodge Durango
• 2009 through 2011 Dodge Dakota
• 2009 through 2012 Dodge Ram 1500

After complaints to the NHTSA about rear wheel lockup, Dodge investigated and found that a pinion spline in the rear axle is undersized. This small spline may work itself loose, especially under high-speed conditions. The NHTSA has received several complaints of rear wheel lockup at speeds over 35 miles per hour. Four of these complaints resulted in loss of control of the vehicle, and one led to a collision.

Dodge plans to contact owners of these vehicles and arrange for a free replacement of the part. However, it is likely that the company will be unable to reach all owners, especially since the affected vehicles go back at least four years. Anyone with questions about the recall can contact the Chrysler Corporation at 1-800-247-9753.
Collisions Affected by Recalled Vehicles.

When a recalled vehicle has caused a collision, the company that manufactured the vehicle is placed in a very precarious legal position. On one hand, it is ethical and proper for a company to recall a vehicle if it has been shown that a defect of manufacturing or design may pose a risk of injury to consumers. On the other hand, manufacturers have an obligation and a legal responsibility to produce safe products. Recalling a product does not remove this obligation from the manufacturer; the company must still pay for injuries caused by its defective products.
When a victim is injured in a collision caused by a vehicle that is being recalled, the victim may have rights to collect damages from the company including the cost of medical treatment, any damages caused to others such as property damage, replacement of the vehicle or restoration to its original state, and a sum for pain and suffering or mental anguish. Depending on the severity of the injuries, victims may also be entitled to other forms of compensation. If it can be shown that the manufacturer knew of the defect but failed to take proper action to protect consumers, the victim may also be entitled to exemplary or punitive damages.

If you have been injured in a recall injury collision, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. You have legal rights that must be protected, and a personal injury attorney can help you determine the best way to go about collecting damages to pay for the costs of your injuries.

FDA Warns against Pradaxa in Patients with Mechanical Prosthetic Heart Valves

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning against using the blood thinner Pradaxa in patients who have mechanical prosthetic heart valves. According to a news report in Cardiology Today, FDA is informing healthcare professionals and the public that dabigatran etexilate should not be used to prevent strokes in patients with mechanical prosthetic heart valves.

The FDA announcement came after a clinical trial in Europe that was halted after it was found that patients given Pradaxa or dabigatran etexilate were more likely to experience strokes and myocardial infraction forming on the mechanical heart valves compared with patients who were assigned warfarin. There was also more bleeding after valve surgery in Pradaxa users than in warfarin users. Pradaxa is not approved for patients with atrial fibrillation caused by heart valve problems.

Strong Pradaxa Warning Issued

The FDA release states that health care professionals should immediately stop using Pradaxa on any patient who has a mechanical heart valve. Also, the alert warns patients with all types of prosthetic heart valve replacements taking Pradaxa to talk to their doctor as soon as possible to determine the appropriate course of treatment. Patients should not stop taking blood thinners without first talking to their doctor because it could increase the risk of blood clots and stroke among patients.

Protecting Patients’ Rights

This study further points to the risks of Pradaxa. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were more than 800 reports of problems with Pradaxa. Of those more than 500 involved excessive bleeding and 117 involved fatalities. It is the responsibility of drug manufacturers to ensure that their products are properly tested before they are put on the market. Anyone who has suffered serious side effects as a result of taking Pradaxa or anyone who has lost a loved one as a result of Pradaxa side effects would be well advised to contact an experienced defective product lawyer who will fight for their rights and ensure that the negligent drug manufacturer is held liable.

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