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Takata air bag problems offer consumers chance at prevention

Takata air bag problems offer consumers chance at prevention In many ways, consumer safety seems to be on something of a reverse track. Typically, a person can only seek compensation for damages suffered after an accident occurs and injury caused. That certainly is true when dealing with motor vehicle accidents. The crash happens. Victims are hurt or worse, suffer fatal injuries. Recovery of benefits and compensation depends on being able to show through evidence that someone’s specific recklessness or negligence caused the unfortunate tragedy. Because of the legal nature of such cases, a skilled attorney’s help offers the best chance at optimal recovery. The normal process gets flipped on its head sometimes, such as in the matter of Takata air bags. Readers surely are familiar with this issue. The passive safety devices have been standard equipment in most passenger vehicles for many years. In the past few years, though, it’s been discovered that millions of models made by Takata could be unsafe. The chemical propellants that inflate the bags can become unstable from humidity and moisture and go off unexpectedly. It can happen with such force that canister shrapnel spews into vehicle passengers. At least 17 deaths and many more injuries are attributed to the faulty air bags. Tens of millions are already under recall, straining the ability of Takata and the rest of the auto industry to resolve the problem. In the wake of the initial discovery, Takata started adding a drying agent to new and replacement air bags. Then, earlier this month came word that many of those might not be safe. What makes this situation so different from other defective product cases is that the government knows about the problem and a website exists where consumers can check to see if the air bags in their vehicles are subject to recall. Then you can take action to ensure you are doing all you can to stay safe behind the wheel.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | defective products

The Dangers of Defective Products

The news has been hard to ignore: recently, German automaker Volkswagen admitted to installing devices designed to circumvent emissions testing in millions of their automobiles. The resulting scandal has shaken up the management structure in the venerated manufacturer and has caused worldwide outcry from both consumers and environmental groups alike. While no one was directly injured by the automaker’s actions in this instance, the scandal points out the lengths that some companies will go to in order to turn a significant profit. There are numerous examples of manufacturers putting company profits above the safety and well-being of the general public. Even with significant governmental oversight, many, many products fail and injure people every year. The Government Agencies That Protect Consumers There are three governmental agencies that monitor and regulate the products we use in the United States, warning the public when a product can be dangerous to health or public safety. These agencies are: Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Food & Drug Administration (FDA) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Each of these agencies has a well-defined area of oversight and can issue recalls for products. Still, there are thousands of products that malfunction or fail every year that aren’t part of a larger recall, and many times consumers don’t realize they have legal recourse to protect themselves from defective products. Ways a Product Can Be Defective A product can be defective in one or more ways: Defective design – Flaws in the design of a product can put consumers in danger. An example of defective design is in the case of IVC filters, which have been used to prevent blood clots from traveling to a patient’s lungs. The design of an IVC filter makes it more likely to fragment and migrate throughout the body, causing medical complications, severe pain, and even death. Defective manufacturing – When there is an error in the manufacturing process, the resulting flaw can be dangerous. An example of defective manufacturing is a power strip that is assembled with a damaged component, causing the unit to overheat and starting a fire. Failure to warn or instruct (labeling) – failing to provide thorough instructions for the operation of a product, and/or failure to warn the consumer of possible dangers, can result in the improper use of that product. An example of failure to warn or instruct can be found in the use of Zofran to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. The manufacturer did not publish any warnings about possible dangers to developing fetuses even though they aggressively marketed the drug as a treatment for pregnancy-induced nausea. Protecting Your Legal Rights It might surprise you to learn that there are more than 2,000 product recalls each year. Even though governmental watchdog agencies exist in order to monitor products and warn consumers, a product doesn’t have to be part of a recall for you to be affected. Defective devices and products are still in the marketplace, and you can’t rely on a recall being issued, particularly if the flaw is in the manufacturing or labeling of a product. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact an attorney with experience in products liability. An attorney will examine the circumstances of your injury, determine if your injury is due to a product defect, and develop a case that helps to protect your legal rights. Don’t allow a defective product to ruin your life. Contact an attorney with experience in personal injury caused by defective products.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | defective products

Have You Been Treated for Injuries Caused by an IVC Filter?

Each year, over 600,000 people suffer a pulmonary embolism, where a blood clot formed in the leg breaks loose and travels to the lungs. More than 60,000 die, most within 30 to 60 minutes after symptoms start. Common treatment options begin with oral and injectable anticoagulant medications, also known as blood thinners, and end with the inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. IVC filters have been in use since the late 1960s, with a marked increase in use beginning in the late 1990s with the development of removable IVC filters. What is an IVC Filter? An IVC filter is a tiny metal device that can be described as cage-like or spider-like, which is implanted in the inferior vena cava, the artery that returns blood from the legs to the heart. The design of the IVC filter allows it to catch blood clots before they can travel toward the lungs. It is used as a last resort treatment for individuals who cannot take anticoagulant medications or those who are taking anticoagulants and still develop clots. Approved by FDA Without Testing Removable IVC filters have been approved by the FDA through their 510(k) clearance process. This process allows manufacturers to bypass the process of conducting new safety studies if their new device is similar to another device already on the market. This means that new designs of existing devices are not subject to rigorous testing to prove safety before being used by the medical community. The Dangers of IVC Filters IVC filters can fragment and migrate throughout the body, with potentially fatal outcomes if the fragments migrate into the heart, lungs, or other vital organs. By 2010, the FDA had issued a cautionary bulletin to doctors, following over 900 reports of adverse events involving IVC filters. Failure of IVC filters can include: Device fracture and fragmentation Device migration Embolization to heart or lungs Perforations of blood vessels Symptoms of IVC Filter Failure IVC filters come in two designs – permanent and removable. Removable IVC filters are designed for retrieval once the blood clot issue has resolved, but design flaws and fragmentation can render these filters impossible to remove. Individuals with a removable IVC filter that has fragmented and/or migrated are at an increased risk for severe complications, chronic pain, and even death. Symptoms of IVC filter failure can include but are not limited to: Rapid heartbeat Blood around the heart Difficulty breathing Nausea Vomiting blood Intermittent abdominal or back pain Gastric pain Have you or a family member been injured by an ICV filter? The manufacturers of IVC filters have repeatedly failed to warn the public about the potential risks associated with their devices. If you or a family member have suffered serious side effects from the use of an IVC filter, you may be entitled to compensation. Filters designed and produced by Bard Medical, Cook Medical, and Boston Scientific in particular have produced a high rate of failure for their devices. If you know or suspect that a faulty IVC filter was used to treat a blood clot issue in you or a family member, contact the Gerling Firm. An attorney experienced in medical products liability can help you understand your legal rights. Contact Gerling for a free case evaluation today.

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