NTSB Recommends Changing the Definition of Drunk Driving

Everyone today knows that it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08. The laws impose this limit to ensure that people do not drive when they are too impaired to react quickly, to pay attention and to make safe choices behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the laws may not be doing enough, as it is possible that those with a BAC below .08 may still be affected by alcohol and thus unable to drive safely. 1231362_sign_no_alcohol.jpg

Our Boston car accident attorneys knows that drunk driving accidents can be devastating and that it is important to do everything possible to prevent intoxicated people from getting behind the wheel. This is why new NTSB proposals on lowering the alcohol level constituting drunk driving could be a good thing that helps to reduce the risk of drunk driving crashes.

NTSB Considers Changing Permitted BAC Levels
According to NBC News, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently voted to recommend that states lower the permitted blood alcohol content levels and change their definitions of drunk driving.

The NTSB recommends that states drop the permitted BAC level down from .08 to .05. Currently, all 50 states in the United States define drunk driving using the .08 BAC rule, so this would be a widespread shift in drunk driving policy in the United States. However, changing the BAC level from .08 to .05 would put the United States more in line with other countries.

Currently, only Canada, Iraq, the United States and a few other locations have their drunk driving BAC set at .08. The majority of locations throughout Europe, including Russia, define intoxicated driving as having a BAC of .05 or higher. Most of South America and Australia also have a lower permitted BAC than in the United States and when Australia changed their laws from allowing a .08 BAC to .05 BAC, provinces in the country reported between a five and 18 percent decline in the number of traffic deaths.

Arguments for Change
Of course, adjusting our laws to match the rest of the world's is not the only argument, nor the strongest argument, for reducing the allowable BAC level. The fact is that reducing the permitted BAC level could save lives.

According to the NTSB, some drivers begin to experience problems with depth perception and other visual functions once they have a BAC of .05 or higher. The chances of an accident at this level increase by 39 percent. By the time a person's BAC level reaches .07, his or her cognitive abilities are likely to be impaired, and by the time the BAC rises to .08 percent, then the chances of an accident are increased by a full 100 percent.

Since a person begins to suffer impairment at .05 and the accident risk increases so dramatically, there is little reason to allow people to drive after they are at this stage of intoxication. Changing the law could reduce crashes and save lives, and lawmakers should seriously consider embracing the NTSB's recommendation.

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Massachusetts Malpractice Watch: Hospital Infections Devastate Patients

When you go to a hospital, you expect that you will get treatment and hopefully get better. Unfortunately, many patients pick up something that they don't expect while they are in the hospital: a severe infection. A wave of dangerous "superbugs" has found its way into hospitals in Boston and throughout the U.S. and while hospitals are supposedly trying to battle the bugs, their efforts may not be enough. 1342025_medical_equipment.jpg

Our Boston medical malpractice attorneys know that hospitals fall short in many ways when it comes to ensuring the clean, sterile environment that a patient has the right to expect when getting medical care. When a hospital is negligent in its policies or in protecting patients, the hospital can become responsible for any losses incurred by the patient as a result of its failures.

Hospitals Allegedly Fight Superbugs, But it May Not be Enough

According to USA Today, the problem of patients becoming infected in hospitals is a growing concern. It is estimated that one patient out of every 20 develops an infection in a hospital. While these infections can sometimes be relatively minor, they can also be major health issues that are very hard to treat.

In fact, the problem has been exacerbated in recent years as "superbugs" have developed in hospital settings. Superbugs are antibiotic resistant and can be almost impossible to treat. They can also be both costly and deadly. For example, as USA Today points out:

  • Around 100,000 patients each year die as a result of hospital infections.
  • Hospital infections cost an estimated $30 billion to treat each year.
  • There are multiple different superbugs causing this devastation including methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C-diff), which is linked to an estimated 14,000 U.S. deaths each year.
  • New superbugs develop all the time, including a "nightmare" bacteria that showed up recently in at least 200 hospitals and that is resistant to antibiotics.
  • Infections can spread not just on surgical knives and in operating rooms, but also on bed rails, television remote controls and other nooks and crannies in hospitals.

Unfortunately, many hospitals simply are not doing enough to combat what has become a major public health problem. In fact, hospitals may actually have a perverse financial incentive not do to as much as possible in the way of prevention, since Hospital Infection.org indicates that a hospital can make an extra $15,275 on average when a patient contracts an infection and needs treatment as a result. With an estimated 2 million infections developing each year, this would make treating hospital infections a $30.5 billion dollar industry.

Taking Action Against Hospitals

Hospitals need to do more to fight infection. While USA today indicates new technologies are being tested, including germ-resistant copper bedrails and machines emitting ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide vapors, playing around with technology is simply not sufficient to ensure patients don't get sick from superbugs.

Hospitals need to take sterility very seriously and make fighting infection a top priority. It is important that hospitals have a financial incentive to take these steps, which means those who develop hospital infections should take legal action and ensure hospitals have to pay for the losses caused. Only by making sure that hospitals don't profit and that hospitals instead have to pay through a malpractice claim will these facilities really be forced to take infection fighting seriously.

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Dog Bites Top Cause of Homeowner Insurance Claims in New England

You could potentially have your home insurance rates hiked because of your lovable pup. What's even worse is that you may even be refused coverage.
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According to KLS, many states have insurance companies that won't cover certain breeds of dog. Agents say that some breeds have a risk that is just too high to be included in home insurance coverage.

Our Boston dog bite lawyers understand that one insurance company's ad claimed that dog bite incidents accounted for about a third of all liability claims filed. The Insurance Information Institute reports that the insurance industry saw close to $500 million in dog bite-related liability claims in 2011. When you average them all out -- each claim costs about $30,000. That's a number that's up more than 50 percent in the last decade.

Commonly uncovered breeds:

-Dobermans

-Rottweilers

-Mastiff Breeds

-Preso Canarios

-Pit Bulls

-German Shepherds

-Alaskan Malamutes

And these companies can deny you coverage, even if your own dog has no viscous history. Thank the science behind the statistics.

"Those are the breeds that are more aggressive," said Craig Densley of Bear River Mutual Insurance.

What people on both sides of the debate agree on is that any breed of dog has the potential to bite.

It's difficult to determine just how much a dog's genetics influence behavior, just like it's hard to know how much of a person's personality is inherited. It's true that some breeds simply have more ability to injure people. Though it's no more likely to bite than a smaller dog, if it does bite, a Great Dane can do much more damage than a Maltese, for example.

Each and every year, there are close to 5 million people who are bitten by a dog in the U.S. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), one out of every five of these victims requires medical attention. Overall, close to 1 million Americans seek medical attention for a dog bite each year. About half of these victims are children.

Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year. In the past several years, there have been 30 to 35 fatal dog attacks in the USA annually.

Among children and adults, having a dog in the household is associated with a higher incidence of dog bites. As the number of dogs in the home increases, so does the incidence of dog bites. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.

Before bringing a pup into your home, make sure you talk with your home insurance provider. Make sure there are no limitations. It's also a good idea to talk with a professional, to see what kind of dog is best for your household. Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the third full week of May each year, and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.

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Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

Boston Scientific was the pioneer in the creation of transvaginal mesh products, releasing its first product called Protegen in 1996. Protegen was released with minimal clinical testing, including as part of its main evidence a three-month study on the safety and effectiveness of the mesh product in rats. Protegen cleared the way for other transvaginal mesh devices, which were released by both Boston Scientific and other manufacturers with minimal FDA oversight or requirements under special 501(K) rules. 117629_surgery.jpg

Unfortunately, the Boston Scientific transvaginal mesh products, including Protegen as well as subsequent mesh offerings, started causing problems for patients. Our Boston transvaginal mesh attorneys know that hundreds of women experiencing complications sued Boston Scientific back in 2003 and that more women today are attempting to take legal action against the company. Boston Scientific has settled such lawsuits in the past and may be forced to pay again, this time to new victims of transvaginal mesh products that the medical device company has continued to push on an unsuspecting public.

Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

In 2003, Boston Scientific settled 738 lawsuits arising from Protegen. Boston Scientific continued to sell various transvaginal mesh products, however, including the Advantage Fit Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling system; the Lynx Suprapublic Mid-Urethral Sling system; the Obtryx Transobturator Mid-Urethral Sling; the Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit; the Prefyx PPS Pelvic Sling System, and the Solynx SIS Vaginal Sling system.

Many of these new transvaginal mesh products began causing complications and problems as well including:

  • Infection
  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Repeated organ prolapse
  • Organ perforation
  • Urinary issues
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal scarring
  • Shrinkage
  • Neuro-muscular issues

These side effects of transvaginal mesh were not exclusive to Boston Scientific mesh products but began to occur among many patients who used transvaginal mesh from many different manufacturers. By 2010, for example, more than 4,000 reports of adverse events had been made to the Food and Drug Administration.

With more than 300,000 women estimated to have received transvaginal mesh implants, these complaints may only be the tip of the iceberg. Women have begun to take legal action against the manufacturers of the mesh products, including Boston Scientific.

Currently, there are multiple consolidated lawsuits underway related to vaginal mesh products. Boston Scientific has also faced individual lawsuits from injured plaintiffs. Boston Scientific has tried many tactics to fight these lawsuits, including claiming in one recent Ohio case that the statute of limitations rendered the claim time-barred. This claim was rejected, however, because the plaintiff did not yet know in 2008 that her occasional stress urinary incontinence was related to problems with the Boston Scientific transvaginal mesh device.

As the lawsuits continue, plaintiffs will need to prove that the transvaginal mesh had a problem or defect that directly resulted in complications occurring. The extensive evidence about transvaginal mesh product dangers and the many injuries caused by mesh released by Boston Scientific should be helpful in assisting plaintiffs in making a case that they deserve compensation. Boston Scientific may again choose to settle and resolve cases out of court or a jury may hear the cases and award damages to injured plaintiffs harmed by Boston Scientific's bad mesh products.

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Understanding the Impact of Mixed DePuy Trial Results

DePuy metal-on-metal hip replacement products have proved to have a very high failure rate and are causing significant complications for patients. Unfortunately, thousands of patients are suffering from problems due to DePuy's hip replacement devices and are now suing its parent company, Johnson and Johnson, in order to try to recover compensation. 1002813_x-ray_image_of_the_leg.jpg

Our Boston defective hip attorneys know that DePuy may end up settling many cases with plaintiffs in order to resolve multiple claims at once. However, DePuy will settle cases only if the company accepts responsibility for the defective hip replacement products and if some determination can be made about how much each case should be worth. As such, the outcome of "bellwether" trials will play a major role in how cases against DePuy proceed.

Bellwether Trials Produce Mixed Results

Bellwether trials are the first legal actions that are being heard in court related to defective DePuy hip replacement products. The cases go before the court and a jury renders a verdict as to whether DePuy is responsible for causing harm and how much DePuy has to pay for the harm.

The outcome of these trials can shape how the company handles future litigation. If it becomes clear that DePuy is being held responsible in multiple trials, then this is an indicator that legal liability is clear and that DePuy will be blamed in most pending cases against it. As a result, DePuy may be more likely to negotiate a reasonable settlement with plaintiffs whose cases are outstanding. The compensation awarded to the victims in the bellwether trial can serve as a guide to help make clear how much cases should be worth.

Unfortunately, the two DePuy bellwether trials that have occurred so far have not produced any clear guides for how things should proceed going forward. This is because the results have been mixed.

In a Los Angeles trial, DePuy was held legally liable by the jury for an estimated $8.3 million in damages to a former prison guard who experienced pain and suffering due to design flaws in the DePuy ASR hip replacement system. No punitive damages were awarded, but the case still resulted in the plaintiff receiving a substantial monetary award. This boded well for others who had DePuy products implanted and who were experiencing complications.

In a second bellwether trial, however, a jury in Chicago rejected the claim of a plaintiff who said she had experienced complications as a result of a DePuy hip replacement system. The jury found that DePuy had not acted improperly in marketing the device and that the plaintiff was not entitled to damages.

The varied outcomes mean that DePuy is unlikely to definitively act in offering reasonably generous settlements to injured plaintiffs, at least not until there is a clear trend showing that DePuy trials will generally end in favor of injured patients damaged by the DePuy hip replacement systems.

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Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Products Endanger Patients

When transvaginal mesh products came on the market, manufacturers sold the products as a cure or treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The hope was that the mesh products would make correcting these medical problems easier. Unfortunately, the products haven't lived up to the promises made by manufacturers. In fact, transvaginal mesh products turned out to be very dangerous and to create many unpleasant side affects. 565751_a_babys_coming.jpg

Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that many different manufacturers produced transvaginal mesh products that have been causing harm to patients. One such manufacturer is Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific had its first transvaginal mesh product approved in 1996 and has numerous products on the market, many of which are causing problems and leading to lawsuits.

The Boston Scientific Transvaginal Mesh Products

While a lot of attention is given to transvaginal mesh products by big name manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific too is being sued by many patients and played an important role in bringing the dangerous mesh products to widespread use within the U.S. market. In fact, it was a Boston Scientific product that paved the way for other transvaginal mesh devices to be sold.

Boston Scientific's first transvaginal mesh product approved in 1996 was called Protegen. Protegen was intended as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence, which is a condition wherein the weakening of the bladder muscles make it difficult for a woman to control her urination.

Prior to the release of Boston Scientific's transvaginal mesh product, stress urinary incontinence was treated by using sutures to lift sagging organs. No implants or mesh products were used. Protegen changed that and doctors began to adopt the use of the Protegen product because of a belief that it would provide additional support and allow for better outcomes for patients.

Boston Scientific subsequently followed up its original release of Protegen with other bladder sling and pelvic mesh products including the:


  • Prefyx PPS Pelvic Sling System.

  • Soloynx SIS Vaginal Sling System.

  • Lynx Suprapublic Mid-Urethra Sling

  • Advantage Fit Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System.

  • Pinacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit.

Unfortunately, problems soon began to develop. In 2003, Boston Scientific was sued based on complications and side effects developing as a result of Protegen. Boston Scientific decided to settle 738 of the lawsuits arising from Protegen problems.

Even after settling, however, Boston Scientific did not pull all of is transvaginal mesh products nor was much additional investigation done into whether TVM products were safe for use. Instead, not only did Boston Scientific keep right on enticing patients to use Transvaginal Mesh but also other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started selling mesh products of their own.

Many of the manufacturers who came out with transvaginal mesh products did so with minimal testing of their own medical devices. The manufacturers got away with this because the FDA has an expedited approval process called 501(k) clearance that allows a product to be released without the normal rigorous clinical testing that is usually required.

Products can be released using 501(k) clearances provided that there is an existing product that is substantially similar. The Boston Scientific product, Protegen, was the product that was used by the manufacturers seeking 501(K) clearance. It was the basis, therefore, of the approval of a class of TVM products that have caused untold harm to patients worldwide.

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Understanding the Problems with Compounding Pharmacies

The job of a compounding pharmacy is pharmaceutical compounding, which essentially means creating a specific pharmaceutical product in order to meet the medical needs of a specific patient. The industry's initial role was to combine or to process appropriate ingredients in order to meet a medical need. For example, if a patient required a specific dose or combination of medications, if flavors needed to be added to a drug, or if medication needed to be changed from a solid to a liquid, a compounding pharmacy would do this job. 1034029_medicine_2.jpg

Compounding pharmacies, when they first began, operated on a relatively small scale. A doctor might prescribe a specific drug to a patient that did not already exist in the specific necessary form or dose. The compounding pharmacy met that need. This was especially common for parenteral medications or intravenous medications.

The industry, however, evolved over time into something much different than a small pharmacy meeting the needs of specific patients. Unfortunately, our Boston defective drug attorneys know that the regulatory system did not evolve with the industry. As a result, compounding pharmacies weren't properly regulated, pharmacies got negligent or careless, and people started dying.

Compounding Pharmacy Problems

As the number of medications grew and as drug shortages and rising costs started to become problems, compounding pharmacies morphed from small retail or boutique pharmacies to major manufacturing operations. Instead of just mixing drugs for specific patients or to meet a specific need, compounding pharmacies started to manufacture drugs on a massive scale and to sell those drugs across state lines. The compounding pharmacies weren't pharmacies at all but were drug manufacturers by another name.

Unfortunately, the regulations didn't change as compounding pharmacies did. The pharmacies were originally regulated by state boards responsible for overseeing pharmacies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates drug manufacturers, didn't have authority over the compounding pharmacies. State boards, however, also didn't really have any control over the major compounding manufacturers who were producing drugs on a massive scale. Further, state pharmacy boards weren't really qualified to handle regulating and overseeing these massive drug manufacturers.

The result of this was that no one was really watching what was going on in these compounding pharmacies. Some Democratic lawmakers tried to change that in 2007 but weren't successful and compounding pharmacies just continued to produce drugs with little oversight.

Then, however, the problems started. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists:

  • Five patients developed an eye infection after being administered bevacizumab that Clinical Specialties Compounding Pharmacy had repackaged.
  • More than 50 people died and another 700 or so were injured when New England Compounding Center sent out drugs to more than 20 different states that had been contaminated with a fungus.
  • A compounding pharmacy called Med Prep Consulting sent out 50-mL bags of magnesium sulfate in a five percent dextrose injection that contained mold. Fortunately, an employee at the Connecticut hospital that received the drugs noticed the mold floating at the top.

These problems will be just the tip of the iceberg if someone doesn't step up and start overseeing what compounding pharmacies are doing. The Senate has introduced another bill to vest authority in the FDA, but it is not yet clear if this bill will actually pass or if compounding pharmacies will be free to continue wrecking havoc on unsuspecting patients.

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DePuy Hip Implants Causing Problems Across the Globe

DePuy is one of several manufacturers who produced and sold metal-on-metal hip implant products to patients who needed a hip joint replaced or resurfaced. Unfortunately, the DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant product did not live up to expectations. The metal-on-metal replacement joints have a high fail rate that necessitates surgical correction for many patients within five years or less from the original surgery, and the implants also are causing complications including metal toxicity and significant pain. 1036605_lap.jpg

Our Boston medical malpractice attorneys know that DePuy Manufacturing has been under fire in the United States for a long time with thousands of lawsuits filed against the company, many of which are moving forward in multi-district litigation in federal court. However, what people in the U.S. may not know is that they aren't alone. DePuy hip implant products were sold not just in the United States but throughout the world. As such, DePuy is facing litigation on many fronts.

DePuy Hip Implants Causing Global Problems

DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, has been waging legal battles in the United States and NJ.com recently reported that more than 10,750 lawsuits have been filed based on the DePuy ASR XL hip replacement product. The lawsuits have been filed in state courts throughout the U.S., and there are both individual lawsuits ongoing and federal lawsuits including consolidated multi-district litigation cases.

The news has been up-and-down for DePuy with the ongoing lawsuits, with the plaintiff winning the first bellwether trial and Johnson & Johnson winning the second. The bellwether trials are essentially test trials, the outcomes of which can determine whether DePuy settles other pending cases and for how much. The bellwether trials are important as they may be determinative of the outcome of U.S. cases pending against Johnson & Johnson as a result of the DePuy hip replacement products.

These trials, however, are not the only thing for DePuy to worry about. The company did not restrict its sales of hip replacement devices to the United States and there are people in multiple locations throughout the world who are experiencing problems as a result of trusting the DePuy products.

Recently, for example, ENCA revealed that there are thousands of South African residents who are coping with problems caused by defective DePuy hip replacement devices. Those in South Africa who have been affected by the defective medical device want their day in court too and now there is a good chance they will get it.

This is made possible because lawyers have been given the go-ahead to sue the British company that made the implants. Now, nearly 200 South Africans are already demanding damages from DePuy due to botched hip replacements that are causing complications including almost constant pain.

DePuy will have to respond to the lawsuits brought by the 200 South Africans who are suing, along with responding to the claims made in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Hopefully, DePuy will accept responsibility for its actions as people throughout the world suffer the consequences, and will step up, do the right thing and fairly compensate victims for their injuries.

Unfortunately, DePuy doesn't seem eager to right the wrongs caused by its dangerous products and injured victims will need to do everything possible to protect their rights and get their money from DePuy for their losses.

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Congress Finally Considering Action on Compounding Pharmacies

In 2007 Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Edward Kennedy attempted to pass legislation to expand the power of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies where medications are mixed or altered fell into a regulatory gap where it wasn't really clear whether the FDA or state boards of pharmacies were in charge of oversight and safety compliance. The 2007 legislation would have changed that, but Congress failed to pass it. 1342025_medical_equipment.jpg

Unfortunately, the consequences of the lack of oversight and the consequences of the regulatory gap became far too clear in recent months when contaminated drugs from New England Compounding Center (NECC) caused more than 50 deaths and made more than 700 Americans sick. Our Boston injury attorneys know that the lack of oversight played a direct role in contributing to the deaths and injuries caused by deadly fungal infections in patients taking drugs from NECC. Something needs to be done to prevent this from happening in the future and the Senate is now trying again to take action.

Senate Considers Expanding FDA Regulatory Authority
According to the Boston Globe, the Senate recently introduced a bill intended to prevent future outbreaks like the one caused by the contamination at NECC. The legislation proposing rule changes is bipartisan and was drafted with support from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, labor and Pensions Committee.

The legislation would make clear that large compounding operations -- called compounding manufacturers -- are subject to direct federal oversight by the Food and Drug Administration. Traditional small compounding pharmacies would continue to be regulated by state pharmacy boards but would still be subject to new federal standards on the ingredients used. Traditional small compounding pharmacies that will remain under state control include pharmacies that mix or produce medication for a specific patient to match a specific prescription.

The bill identifies "compounding manufacturers" who are subject to federal oversight as pharmacies that produce injectable drugs without patient-specific prescriptions from physicians. To be considered a compounding manufacturer, the compounding operation would generally have to ship across state lanes.

This bill will make clear exactly what role the FDA plays in regulating and monitoring compounding manufacturers, which had previously been undefined. The issue is that these manufacturers became much bigger and took on a different role than anyone had originally anticipated. Thus, they need to be more tightly regulated because their new role means that serious and widespread injury can result when a mistake is made.

Now that the bill has been proposed, hopefully it will actually make it through both the Congress and will become law. Unfortunately, several Democrats in the House of Representatives who introduced similar laws have not been successful as Republicans in the House have shown little interest in moving the measures forward.

Hopefully, this Bill will not meet the same demise as the 2007 bill and lawmakers will actually be able to do something to prevent another tragedy occurring like the outbreak caused by the New England Compounding Center's negligence.

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Sharing the Road and Riding Safely -- A Group Effort in New England

According to a recent poll, about a third of Massachusetts residents feel that bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers interact with one another safely.

The Metro West Daily News reports that close to 50 percent of these people said that more bike lanes would be more effective in helping to keep these two-wheeled travelers safe out there. About 30 percent support efforts to improve enforcement of existing laws or pass stricter laws.
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This survey was conducted just before a series of events focused on the way drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians share our roadways. It was all a part of the "Right of Way" series that kicked off on Sunday.

"As more commuters and hobbyists are leaving cars in the garage, drivers, bikers and pedestrians are forced to share more of our local roads," said Linda Polach, executive producer of WGBH.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that everyone has a right to be there. And as we start seeing more and more bicyclists and pedestrians out there, we have to raise awareness in drivers about their presence and their vulnerability. The new series will be showing on WGBH and GateHouse Media's Wicked Local. it will be on air, in the papers and even on the radio. Don't forget the internet -- it'll be there, too!

In 2010, there were close to 11 pedestrian fatalities in the state of Massachusetts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

There were also close to 10 bicyclists killed in Massachusetts in 2011. These accidents accounted for close to 2 percent of all the traffic accident fatalities. Unfortunately, that's a number that's one the rise.

With that being said, you might think that bicyclists have it easy out there since they didn't see nearly as many fatal accidents as pedestrians. But you'd be wrong. The reason these statistics look as they do is because typically we see more pedestrians than bicyclists. But as the warm season rolls in, that could soon change. More residents and visitors are hopping on two wheels, without worrying about the headaches of maneuvering a motor vehicle on our busy city roadways.

We're just not doing our part to pay attention. Many times, we rely on others to see us and to always yield to us. The truth of the matter is that we need to be one move ahead of everyone else -- ready to elude danger when it strikes.

Officials with Boston University are always working to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe in the area. Check these posters and promotional publications are now in use at Boston University that are now in use on the campus.

Lastly, we'd like to remind you of Bay State Bike Week: May 11-19.

No matter how you're traveling out there, whether it's on foot, with two wheels or in the driver's seat of a motor vehicle, you've got to remember that we're all out there together. As friends, coworkers, students and Massachusetts family, we've got to make sure we're keeping an eye on each other -- especially on our roadways.

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Bicycling: No Joy Ride in Boston

A photojournalist with Boston University was riding his bicycle along Comm Avenue when a tractor-trailer swung wide. The bicyclist collided with the trailer and was killed. This is the University's second student to die in a bicycle accident in a month, according to Wicked Local.
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A local columnist is no stranger to these kinds of accidents either. During Labor Day, he was riding his bicycle in Buxford when a vehicle t-boned him. In the accident, all of his ribs on the left side were crushed, his collar bone was broken and his left lung was punctured. After roughly $300,000 in medical bills, he's still spending much of his time in rehab.

Our Boston bicycle accident lawyers understand that there were nearly 10 bicyclists who were killed in the state in 2011. These accidents accounted for close to 2 percent of all traffic accidents reported in the state, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It's surely no joy ride out there, but there are things you can do to help better ensure a safe journey.

In the state of Massachusetts, the law of the road concerning movement of vehicles says that bicycles are vehicles. This means that for the most part you should operate your bicycle like a driver of a vehicle. The rules are the same. You are a part of traffic and you have a right to expect to be treated as other drivers are.

To help to keep you save out there, consider the basics of traffic cycling:

-Go with the flow. You want to make sure that you're riding with the flow. You never want to ride against oncoming traffic.

-Be on the lookout for traffic on bigger streets. You may have the right of way as a cyclist, but it's important that you remember that drivers can't always be relied on. You've got to fend for yourself, ride defensively and stay one step ahead of the vehicles around you.

-Always drive in a straight line. If you have to move out of the line, make sure you yield.

-Always cross the road at intersections. Use traffic lights and stop signs to your advantage. This is where traffic is most likely to see you.

-Avoid riding at night. This is when your risks for an accident are the highest. If you have to, make sure there are working lights on the front and rear of your bicycle. Wear bright colored clothing and make sure there are reflectors on your bike. Stay seen out there.

You can't always avoid the dangers that come along with the dangerous driving habits of others. But you can best prepare yourself to react and to avoid these dangers. Stay alert out there and stay safe on two wheels. You have a right to that roadway, too!

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Boston Bicycling Accidents - Reducing Injury Risks When a Crash in Unavoidable

We've been talking a lot about bicycle safety, after all it is National Bike Safety Month. But we do understand that accidents happen. Do you know what to do when an accident is unavoidable?

Our Boston bicycle accident attorneys are here with tips from Bicycling.com to help to better your risks against injury in the event of a fall.
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The first thing you've got to remember is to look where you're going. Naturally, our body shift into the direction we're looking. If you're looking at a rock you want to avoid, the more likely you are to run into it. Your best bet is to keep looking into the clear path in the area you wish to ride. Your eyes will guide your bike.

Secondly you want to make sure that your pedals are ready for anything. Your best bet is to ride with clipless pedals. You don't want to strap yourself onto a falling bike. Make sure you can remove your feet easily whenever needed.

Next you want to make sure that you're staying loose and that you're moving with the road. If you happen to jump a hump in the road or shoot over a pot hole, you want your body to be ready to absorb the movement. Staying stiff is only going to work against you and increase your risks of a fall.

Lastly, you want to make sure you're stable. Whenever you're pedaling at a slow speed or you're heading up a hill, you're going to want to make sure there's space between you and the bike. Get up and use your body to pedal. It's a good workout and it's safer.

So you followed all of those safety precautions, but you still get into an accident. What now? The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the fall and know what you're doing.

The first thing you want to do is go with the flow. You want to fall along with the bike. Don't put your arms out to stop yourself. That's only going to increase your risks for a fracture or a broken bone (if not more than one). Instead, your best bet is to tuck your chin into your check, make your body into a ball and roll with the fall.

If you happen to fall backwards, you want to do something a little different. This is where you want to stop the energy. You still want to tuck your chin, to avoid whiplash or a head injury. Instead of rolling with the fall though, you're going to want to extend your arms to the side to stop the momentum from rolling you further. Remember not to put your arms behind you to stop the fall, because you run the risk of a break or a fracture, but put your arms aside to stop.

To keep safe no matter what kind of fall you endure, your best bet is to lower your center of gravity. The lower you are, the easier it is for you to tuck and roll and the shorter distance it is to get to the ground.

With these tips, we're not telling you it's okay to get into an accident because you have a better chance of surviving. We're just offering up these safety tips IN CASE something unavoidable happens. Best of luck out there!

Continue reading "Boston Bicycling Accidents - Reducing Injury Risks When a Crash in Unavoidable " »

Bay State Bike Week Shines Light on Biking Safety in MA

The entire month of May has been dubbed National Bike Safety Month, according to MassBike. Massachusetts takes it one step further though and celebrates its own Bay State Bike Week.
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Bay State Bike Week is an annual celebration of human-powered, two-wheeled transportation. It is fitting that Massachusetts would be the only state in the nation with a statewide bike week, given our long history of biking. From Worcester's bicycle racing champion Major Taylor to the world-famous Springfield Bicycle Club Tournament, the love of biking has deep roots in our state.

Our Boston bicycle accident lawyers understand that bicycling is a popular way to get around town, especially with the warming weather. We're urging residents to get out there and to get involved to help spread the word about safe biking. You can check the bicycling event calendar on MassBike and find events near you.

Throughout the month, and during our Bay State Bike Week, officials will be pushing the "Same Roads, Same Rules" campaign. "Same Roads, Same Rules" is a program that is aimed at both bicyclists and motorists. It's a program that is about coexisting in a shared space, respecting each other as human beings, using common sense and keeping yourself and others safe by following a common set of rules. The number of bicyclists has skyrocketed in the area and the need for more information has become urgent, with many on the road, bicyclists and motorists alike are too often unsure how to safely interact.

We're here to help the bicyclists out and to get riders to refresh their bicycling safety knowledge before bike seasons gets into full swing. Read the following safety tips and share them with your biking loved ones to help ensure everyone a safe ride:

-Make sure you have plenty of space. You've got a legal right to the road, so use it - take the full lane when needed, stay away from car doors, and don't squeeze between lanes. Two bicyclists can ride side-by-side, but get into single file if cars can't pass safely.

-Ride with the flow. You want to make sure you're riding in the same direction as traffic. That means ride on the right-hand side of the road. Never ride against oncoming traffic. It's too dangerous.

-Give yourself a break. When you come to red lights and stop signs, you've got to obey them too. Use this as a time to catch your breath and take a break.

-Shine in the night. Make sure you have a light in your bicycle, not only to help you to see where you're going, but to help others see you as well.

- Always wear a helmet. There's no substitute and no better way to protect your head, skull and brain. Make sure your helmet fits properly and that you're always wearing it.

Continue reading "Bay State Bike Week Shines Light on Biking Safety in MA " »

Medical Device Company's Profits Plunge Due to Transvaginal Mesh Legal Fees

Thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed by women across the country who are suffering from complications as a result of transvaginal mesh products.

With the first transvaginal mesh trial resulting in a verdict of $11 million awarded to a transvaginal mesh plaintiff, many manufacturers are nervous about the potential compensation they will have to pay out to all those who were hurt. 1388612_market_movements_2.jpg

One such company, C.R. Bard, recently released financial information that showed just how serious a problem these lawsuits are for the makers of transvaginal mesh products. However, the same data also showed that the drug company still remains very profitable and well-equipped to pay out compensation to injured victims.

Our Boston injury attorneys know that these manufacturers will likely end up paying out millions in damages via settlements or lawsuits and we urge plaintiffs to take action to hold these hugely profitable medical device manufacturers accountable for the harm that they caused.

C.R. Bard's Q1 Profits Plunge

According to Mass Device, profits plunged during the first quarter for the medical device company C.R. Bard. Mass Device indicates that profits declined as a direct result of $26 million in legal fees paid out as a result of transvaginal mesh lawsuits.

Despite the decline in profits, however, C.R. Bard still exceeded Wall Street expectations and posted profits of $90.7 million on sales of $740.3 million. These millions of dollars in profits are made from a variety of different medical devices sold by the company.

Holding Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturers Responsible
While the legal fees were a major expense for C.R. Bard, the fact is that the company is still immensely profitable, just as many medical device manufacturers are. These companies make huge profits from selling medical products to people who need care.

Unfortunately, sometimes these companies put profits over people. This was the case when manufacturers sold dangerous transvaginal mesh products without proper testing and without ensuring that the products were safe for users. The products were rushed to the market under special 501(k) clearances that allowed for minimal testing and, even in light of ever-increasing problems, they have not been universally pulled from the shelves by all manufacturers.

Transvaginal mesh products, therefore, were implanted in thousands of women throughout the country and put these women at risk. Drug companies made millions off of these untested and dangerous products and drug companies continue to make profits that far exceed their legal costs.

These drug companies and medical device manufacturers need to pay for the harm they caused. Those who have experienced complications should consult with an experienced transvaginal mesh attorney in order to explore options for collecting compensation including joining a multi-district litigation. Such cases may be resolved in trial or may be resolved in out-of-court settlements, but in any case, C.R. Bard and the other manufacturers have huge profits available to help them pay for the costs of the plaintiff's losses.

Continue reading "Medical Device Company's Profits Plunge Due to Transvaginal Mesh Legal Fees " »

Could More Transplant Options Become Available for Dialysis Patients?

For patients with kidneys that do not function properly, dialysis is a way of life. Dialysis is a process used to clean the blood in cases where the kidneys are not able to filter out waste. While dialysis can allow a person to live with failing kidneys for a long time, it is not without complications, including the potential that a dialysis patient will be injured by a defective drug during treatment. 1416030_chemistry.jpg

For those patients undergoing dialysis routinely, progress is being made by scientists to find a solution that could allow for an escape from the dialysis cycle. As Reuters recently reported, scientists have now successfully made a rat kidney that does everything a natural kidney can do. Our Boston dialysis injury attorneys know that this is a promising development for patients that may provide hope for the future.

Dialysis Patients Hope for Solutions
Dialysis is a remarkably effective treatment for most patients and can allow patients to live for many, many years even once their kidneys have failed. However, like with any medical procedures, things can go wrong when a patient has to undergo any type of medical treatment. With dialysis, which often occurs multiple times per week, patients are thus naturally at greater risk of complications or problems since they are submitting so often to medical treatment.

Numerous issues in recent years have shown just some of the risks that dialysis patients face. For example, we recently wrote about dialysis patients who were exposed to viruses during their dialysis treatment. We are also representing many patients or surviving family members of patients who were injured by defective dialysis products made by Fresenius.

These products, GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, caused the body to have too many bicarbonates, which created many complications including an increased risk of heart attack. Thousands of patients suffered cardiac events because of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, and some of those patients died as a result of the harm that they endured.

Tragically, these dialysis complications are far too common among those who need to routinely undergo this type of treatment. While many patients will be able to undergo dialysis successfully, there is always a risk of these complications and it would be a better alternative if a long-term solution was found that eliminated the need for dialysis entirely.

The hope is that the development of the artificial rat kidney will soon open the door for the creation of a human kidney that can do what the body's kidneys can do. Reuters reports that several labs are competing with each other to develop the most efficient ways of producing full functioning artificial kidneys and other organs, making use of 3D printing technologies.

Hopefully, these labs will be able to find a solution and come up with a kidney that works in people. While this will come too late for the thousands who died as a result of GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, allowing patients an alternative to dialysis could save lives and prevent further complications due to bad drugs or unsafe medical practices in the future.

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