NHTSA Warns Consumers Of Tire Dangers in Hot Weather

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire failures cause around 11,000 car accidents every year in the United States.

These car accidents occur for many different reasons, including separation of the treads of tires; tire blowouts; bald tires; and tires that are underinflated. 1372268_tires.jpg

Our Boston defective tire attorneys know that poorly designed and badly manufactured tires are one of the primary reasons for tire-related accidents. However, there are also other causes as well, such as a failure on the part of drivers to maintain their tires properly. Now, the NHTSA is reminding car owners that the risk of tire-related accidents is higher in the summer months if tires are not properly maintained.

NHTSA Tire Warning for Summer Weather

The NHTSA advisory warns that the summer is a bad time for tire-related accidents. Unfortunately, the heat can exacerbate tire problems and the warmth of the pavement can contribute to the breakdown of tires. This is especially a problem when cars travel along highways at high speeds, with the hot roadways and the friction from the car travel making it more likely that a tire tread separation or blowout will happen.

If the tire fails as a result of a problem with the manufacturing or design of the tire, there is little that a driver can do to stay safe and the tire manufacturer should be held responsible for losses and damage that occur. However, if the tire fails as a result of a driver failing to maintain his vehicles, then the accident can be the fault of the driver.

Drivers who cause accidents through failure to maintain tires can put their lives at risk and can endanger passengers and other drivers. These motorists can also become legally liable for damage that they cause. To avoid this, drivers should follow some key safety recommendations put forth by the NHTSA. The NHTSA reminds drivers to:

  • Check their vehicle manuals in order to determine the appropriate tire pressure in pounds per square inch and ensure that the tires are at the appropriate pressure.
  • Keep a tire pressure gauge in their vehicles and check the PSI to ensure that the tires have not become underinflated. Tires can lose as much as one PSI each month, so checking the PSI regularly is important.
  • Using the cars tire pressure monitoring system and taking action if the system issues a warning.
  • Monitoring the tread of the tires on all vehicles and ensuring that the tires do not have treads worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less. A penny test can be used to make sure the tread is not too worn. If you put a penny in the tread of the tires with Lincoln's head upside down, you shouldn't be able to see the top of Lincoln's head.

By following these tire maintenance and safety tips, you can reduce the chances of a serious accident occurring as a result of defective tires. You should also regularly check to ensure that your tires have not been recalled due to defects or problems.

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Meningitis Victims Sue Sister Company of New England Compounding Pharmacy

The New England Compounding Center caused widespread illness throughout the United States when the pharmacy released steroid medications that were contaminated with fungus. More than 749 people throughout the United States were made ill as a result of NECC's contaminated drugs, according to the government's accusations. The illnesses ranged from infections at the injection site to fungal meningitis. 818505_intramuscular_injection_2.jpg

Our Boston injury attorneys know that the victims sustained significant financial loss due to NECC's medication. Unfortunately, the New England Compounding Center has limited funds available to compensate the victims who were harmed by the dangerous drugs. Now, however, the Tennessean reported that some victims have begun pursuing claims against sister companies related to NECC.

NECC Sister Companies Sued
The New England Compounding Center has filed for bankruptcy protection. Because the company is bankrupt, there are limited or even no funds available to provide compensation to the 749 people the compounding center injured. Whether the pharmacy had liability insurance will also be determined by the courts. There were a reported 61 deaths as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak, and the family members of those who were left behind will need significant sums of money to compensate them for a lifetime of lost wages and lost companionship.

Those who were harmed by NECC still have bills to pay and need to get those costs covered. One woman, for example, spent more than a month in the hospital with fungal meningitis. She has now filed a lawsuit in federal court to try to obtain compensation for the medical bills and costs that she was forced to pay. The lawsuit has been filed not against NECC but against other companies with a common ownership link.

There are a number of different companies with common ownership links including Ameridose LLC, Medical Sales Management Inc., Medical Sales Management SW Inc., GDC Properties Management LLC and ARL Bio Pharma Inc. These companies could potentially be better financial targets for a lawsuit than NECC because they have more money available to cover losses.

The injured plaintiff is also pursuing a claim against a local clinic that used spinal injections as a method of treating chronic pain. The plaintiff alleges that the clinic switched to using medication from NECC because the prior supplier increased the price of a steroid that they used by $2.45 per vial.

The complaints have only been filed recently so it is unclear whether the clinic or NECC's sister companies will be held responsible for the losses and damaged caused by the contaminated injections from the compounding center. However, the hundreds of patients throughout the country who were injured now have new options to explore as potential sources of compensation.

The patients who were harmed by NECC deserve to be compensated or "made whole," for losses and since the compounding center does not have the money to pay for the damage it caused, it is natural and expected for plaintiffs to seek monetary damages from others who could be held responsible. An experienced attorney can help injured victims to determine all potential sources of compensation for their particular claims.

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New Study Sheds Light on Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims for Primary Care Physician

Our Boston medical malpractice lawyers know that malpractice is far too common and that these claims arise as a result of many different types of medical mistakes. 673854_doctor_patient_relationship.jpg

Recently, a comprehensive study by Irish researchers took a close look at the medical errors that primary care physicians make which lead to medical malpractice cases.

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Claims

According to CBS News, Irish researchers reviewed more than 7,150 journal papers on medical malpractice claims in order to determine the top causes of malpractice cases. The goal was specifically to find the causes of malpractice claims for primary care physicians, since these physicians are often the ones responsible for identifying when symptoms present medical problems that require referral to a specialist.

The researchers reviewed 34 different journal articles and analyzed the underlying causes of primary care malpractice cases as described by the journals. These journal articles included fifteen articles that were based in the United States, nine studies that were based in Britain, seven studies by Australian researchers, two papers by French researchers and one paper by Canadian researches.

Based on the comprehensive review of different journals, the Irish research study determine that the top causes of medical malpractice claims included:

  • Missed diagnosis cases, which accounted for between 26 percent and 63 percent of the total medical malpractice claims, depending upon the study that was reviewed. Death resulted in between 15 and 48 percent of misdiagnosis cases and common conditions that were misdiagnosed included cancer, heart attacks, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and bone fractures. For kids, the most common misdiagnoses included both cancers and meningitis.
  • Drug errors accounted for between six percent and 20 percent of claims that the researchers identified, depending upon the study. Drug errors included problems with steroid preparations, anticoagulants, antibiotics and antipsychotics.

The study also revealed that around one-third of the cases in the United States resulted in compensation for the patients. In the United Kingdom, the study results showed that closer to half of all claims resulted in compensation for patients.

The outcome of the study caused researchers to point out that doctors can sometimes practice defensive medicine, which means increasing diagnostic testing and prescribing unnecessary medication. While this is a problem with some physicians, the fact is that it should not be an issue if doctors do their jobs.

Physicians are expected to perform their duties with reasonable care. A doctor can be liable for medical malpractice for drug errors or for misdiagnosis only if a reasonably competent physician wouldn't have made the mistakes that the doctor made. As such, a doctor could avoid a claim for malpractice by simply listening to the symptoms that a patient exhibits and making sure to order the proper testing and treatment.

When a doctor makes a drug error or fails to diagnose a medical condition, this error can have serious consequences. The patient should be able to make a malpractice claim and, with the help of an experienced attorney, should be able to recover compensation for losses.

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Mistrial Declared in Surgical Mesh Case

Transvaginal mesh has caused significant harm throughout the United States and there are thousands of patients currently taking legal action against medical device manufacturers due to dangerous mesh. Several of these cases are going forward as representative cases designed to enable the judge to determine how the bulk of the litigation will proceed. 1409592_gavel_2.jpg

Our Boston transvaginal mesh attorneys know that the outcome of these cases is very important as the outcomes may have a significant impact on how future cases are resolved. Recently, however, a mistrial was declared in one of the surgical mesh cases that was going on in Charleston.

Mistrial Declared in Surgical Mesh Case

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, United States District Judge Joseph Goodwin declared a mistrial in the first of the four transvaginal mesh trials going on in the area.

The cases were consolidated in the Southern District of the federal courts of West Virginia. During the trial, the plaintiff asked a question of a physician from the University of Southern Florida College of Medicine. The witness answered the question by reporting that he took a lot of the mesh out, and that no one sells or implants the product anymore.

The defense attorney immediately objected to the statements, which were described by the judge as both spontaneous and untrue. After the jury was dismissed for lunch, an attorney for the defendant moved for a mistrial and the judge agreed after conferring with the lawyers for several hours.

The judge believed the mistrial was appropriate because it would be too difficult for the jury not to consider the statement made by the physician, even with instructions to do so. In fact, instructing the jury to disregard the statement would, in the opinion of the judge, simply draw more attention to the words of the witness.

Because the jury might be unduly influenced by the statements in favor of the plaintiff, the judge felt as though he had no choice but to declare a mistrial. It was, according to the Daily Mail, the first time in almost 20 years that he had been forced to declare a mistrial in a civil lawsuit.

Because the mistrial was declared, the case will need to begin from scratch again. The new trial will begin on the 29th of July with the selection of a new jury and the judge has cautioned that the witnesses must be cautioned stronger about what they may and may not say in future trials so there are no further problems.

Unfortunately, this delay and the need for a new trial will result in the claim taking longer and thus will result in many plaintiffs harmed by transvaginal mesh being forced to wait an even longer period of time to get the compensation they are counting on.

Many of those patients who have sustained harm as a result of transvaginal mesh have undergone painful surgeries and spent significant sums of money on medical care to treat their complications. The longer the cases take, the longer it will take for these plaintiffs to be repaid for the losses they've endured. For those who have been harmed, it is important to speak with an attorney as quickly as possible to get your claim moving forward.

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Canadian Institute for Health Looks at Hip Implant Failure Rates

According to CBC News Health, metal-on-metal hip implants are more likely than traditional hip implants to fail quickly and need to be replaced. In fact, a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health indicated that patients with certain types of metal-on-metal hips had a 5.9 percent chance of needing a second implant within five years as compared with only 2.7 percent of those who have a metal-on-plastic implant. 1385746_hospital.jpg

Our Boston hip implant attorneys know that this only adds to the growing body of research indicating that metal-on-metal products have a high failure rate. Unfortunately, those patients who have a metal-on-metal hip implant may have significant expenses associated with revision surgeries and treating complications. The manufacturers of the metal-on-metal devices should be responsible for covering the costs of this essential treatment.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Likely to Fail

Recently, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released a report on 56,942 surgeries performed throughout Canada from 2003 to 2011. The report looked at all different factors that influenced how long artificial hip implants would last in the body.

The most common types of hip implant products that were included in the study included:

  • Metal on plastic implants, which accounted for 23 percent of all implants included.
  • Metal-on-metal implants, which accounted for nine percent of implants included.
  • Ceramic-on-ceramic implants, which accounted for eight percent of implants included.
  • Ceramic-on-plastic, which accounted for five percent of the implants that were included.

The research revealed that those whose hips were replaced by metal-on-metal joints were more likely to be men and were more likely to be under the age of 55. This data makes sense because metal-on-metal hip implants were specifically marketed towards those who were younger and more active since manufacturers said they would last longer and be less prone to breakage than traditional ceramic-on-metal hip replacement devices.

The typical hip replacement devices lasted around ten to fifteen years, and metal-on-metal products promised to change that. The metal-on-metal products were widely embraced and their use peaked from 2007 to 2008 until news of complications began occurring.

As reports of problems trickled in, eventually regulators from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada all issued warnings that the metal parts were wearing off and entering the blood stream, causing potentially devastating complications.

Now, this widespread report related to hip implants has confirmed that not only can these hip implants cause serious side effects but they are also no more likely to last a long time than the traditional medical devices. In fact, there is a significantly greater chance of the metal-on-metal hip implants failing in a short period of time and necessitating a replacement. Those with large-diameter modular metal-on-metal artificial hip implants are at the greatest risk, as are individuals with pre-existing long term medical conditions.

Thousands of patients who have experienced these failures and who have undergone replacements have begun to take legal action against the medical device manufacturers of the artificial hips in order to hold them accountable. If the metal-on-metal hip fails, the manufacturer should be required to pay.

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DePuy and Other Metal-on-Metal Manufacturers Face Problems Globally

Our Boston hip implant attorneys know that metal-on-metal hip implants have proven to be very dangerous. Thousands of patients throughout the United States are taking legal action in order to hold DePuy Orthopaedics and other manufacturers responsible for the harm that these medical devices have caused. 1183622_knee_replacement_-_side_view.jpg

However, the problems with these devices are not isolated to the United States alone. Concerns are being raised globally regarding the problems with the metal-on-metal products. In fact, RTE News Ireland recently revealed that the Health Service Executive has ordered a review of all patients who have been fitted with metal-on-metal artificial hips.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Endanger Patients Worldwide

According to RTE News Ireland, there have been approximately 6,500 patients fitted with metal-on-metal hip implant devices. A total of 3,500 of these devices are ASR devices made by DePuy Orthopaedics. The remaining 3,000 of these metal-on-metal devices were made by other manufacturers.

Unfortunately, many of the patients with ASR devices and other metal-on-metal devices have experienced a failure of their hip implant. In fact, in excess of 21 percent of the patients with DePuy devices have had to undergo revision surgery within just five years. When the time period is extended to seven years, the number of patients who have required revision surgery jumps up to 23 percent.

This data on replacements, which comes from the 2012 report from the UK's joint registry, has prompted the Health Services Exchange (HSE) to conduct its major review of metal-on-metal hip implant patients. As RTE News Ireland has indicated, the HSE's review follows a similar review launched by the UK's medical devices regulatory agency, the MHRA, which occurred last year.

The review also comes at a time when DePuy is facing many lawsuits in Ireland, in the United Kingdom, in Australia and in the United States. In fact, DePuy faces more than 600 lawsuits just in Ireland. There are also another 300 cases being taken against the HSE because the HSE purchased ASR joint replacement products on behalf of public patients.

Reviewing Patient Outcomes

To keep better tabs on patient outcomes, a new national database is being created in Ireland called the Irish National Orthopaedic Register (INOR). INOR will be a joint initiative between the Royal College of Surgeons and the HSE and will monitor both the performance of medical devices as well as the activity of medical professionals who perform hip replacements and the institutions where hip replacement procedures occur.

Hopefully, this registry will help to provide further information that will help to keep patient safe. Although those who have metal-on-metal devices have already been put at risk and the registry won't help them to avoid loss, the registry can identify future problems quickly and can hopefully help people to remain safer in the future.

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Boston Scientific Announces New Transvaginal Mesh Study

In January of 2012 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered 33 manufacturers to conduct post-marketing studies on the safety of transvaginal mesh products. The FDA imposed this requirement because it had become apparent that side effects and complications due to transvaginal mesh products were very common. 1088940_2_annual_reports__3.jpg

Now, Boston Scientific, one of the major manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products, will be conducting further studies. On July 3, 2013, Boston Scientific announced in a press release that a grant of more than $1 million would be given to the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN) for a new clinical trial to evaluate the treatment outcomes of two different surgical options for women suffering from a specific form of pelvic organ prolapse.

Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that most studies have shown that transvaginal mesh provides minimal or no benefits over other treatment methods and creates significant complications. This further study will focus more in depth on the differing treatment outcomes in order to provide more information on whether vaginal mesh products are worth the risk.

New Study on Pelvic Mesh and Treatment Methods

According to the Boston Scientific press release, the new clinical trial is called SUPeR. The study will involve 180 women who are considering surgery for uterine prolapse and who do not intend to have any more children. The children will be randomly assigned to one of two different treatment methods: a uterine-preserving transvaginal mesh repair that makes use of the Boston Scientific Uphold® LITE Vaginal support system or a traditional surgery that does not use a mesh product and that instead includes a vaginal hysterectomy.

The study will involve a randomized trial to determine which of the patients has the better outcome in order to evaluate each of the differing treatment methods. The patients will be evaluated by researchers every six months for as long as five years in order to assess the success of the surgery; to determine how safe the patients are; to assess the cost-effectiveness of the surgery; and to get an idea of the quality of life that each patient is enjoying following the treatment.

The initial data from the clinical trial is expected to become available in 2017 and there will be a follow-up a year later. The study will be conducted by the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN), which is funded by the National Institutes of health and which has eight different medical centers located throughout the United States.

Determining the Effectiveness of Vaginal Mesh Products

Different types of pelvic organ prolapse have differing treatment methods and not all women wish to undergo a hysterectomy as a method of treating their condition. Still, vaginal mesh is a dangerous product and many women have experienced serious complications because of the vaginal mesh that was used in treatment procedures.

Those who use vaginal mesh products face significant risks including a danger of mesh erosion, recurrent prolapse and significant pain during intercourse. Hopefully those women who are involved in this clinical trial will not experience unexpected and dangerous side effects due to the Boston Scientific transvaginal mesh.

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Long-Distance Festival Travel Wrought With Perils

On their way to the Bonnaroo music festival, two Indiana natives tragically lost their lives in a massive wreck in Tennessee, which authorities now say was caused by a semi-truck driver, who has since been cited with failure to exercise due care.
Our Boston personal injury lawyers know that roadway hazards caused by fatigued or careless truckers is just one danger confronted by concert and festival-goers, many of whom travel long distances to see their favorite musicians and performers throughout the summer.

Bonnaroo, held in Tennessee, is one of the largest weekend-long festivals in the country. But there are a number of others that are still coming up and at which attendance is expected at least in the hundreds of thousands. Among those:

  • Warped Tour, June 15 - Aug. 4, National Tour;

  • Newport Folk Festival, July 27-28, Newport, RI;

  • Lollapalooza, Aug. 2-4, Chicago, IL;

  • Electric Zoo, Aug. 3 - Sept. 1, Randalls Island Park, NYC;

  • Outside Lands, Aug. 9 - 11, San Francisco, CA;

  • Rock the Bells, Aug. 17-19, Aug. 24-24 and Aug. 31-Sept. 1, San Bernadino, CA, Mountain View, CA and Holmdel, NJ;

  • Burning Man, Aug. 26 - Sept. 2, Black Rock Desert, NV;

  • Made in America, Aug. 31- Sept. 1, Philadelphia, PA;

  • Austin City Limits, Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13, Austin, TX.

In New England, regional festivals are popular draws through the summer and autumn months. While some patrons may spend the extra cash to fly in to their location, many are expected to make these trips by vehicle.

We understand that for many, the road trip is half the experience. We sincerely hope it is a memorable one - for all the right reasons.

Gearing up for long-distance travel means making safety a priority. Yes, the event may be all throwing caution to the wind, lowering your inhibitions and freely expressing yourself. But you have to make sure you and your friends get there and back safely. That takes some planning.

Consider the following before you head out:

  • Have your vehicle checked out. You need to make sure your vehicle is in good shape. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that you take your car in for a full check-up. Have the mechanic check the belts, the hoses, the cooling system, the battery and the tires. Make sure to check your tire pressure regularly throughout the trip and keep an eye on your gas levels.

  • Know where you're going. If you're traveling far from home, you want to avoid getting lost or stranded. GPS is fine in areas with an strong signal, but you have to consider that this may not be the case, particularly if you are traveling in more isolated terrains. Take paper maps too just in case.

  • Figure out the best time to travel. If you can, avoid heavy traffic times and plan for inclement weather.

  • Have supplies in your vehicle in case you do get stranded. Have your car charger, extra food, water, blankets, tire repair kit, first-aid kit, flashlight and road flares.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep. We know you're excited and you want to get there. But the NHTSA warns that some 100,000 crashes annually are the result of drivers who are really too tired to be behind the wheel. If you take the risk of driving while fatigued, not only could you miss the show, you could suffer serious, life-long consequences as well.

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Boston Mayoral Candidates Talk Bicycle-Safety Plans

Our Boston bike accident lawyers know that preventing cycling injuries is a top-concern in our city. In fact, bicycle safety is such an important issue that many of the candidates running for mayor have answered some questions for Boston.com on their plans to improve cycling safety in the city. 1379253_directions_sign.jpg

The candidates face off in a primary election on September 24th, but in the meantime, their answers on bicycle safety are worth considering as many of the potential future mayors have some good ideas for preventing serious injuries or fatalities when traveling on bikes in Boston.

Bicycle Safety Plans Proposed by Potential Boston Mayors

According to Boston.com, the safety plans suggested by the different mayoral candidates include the following:

  • Candidate John Barrows suggests improving safety by providing targeted safety training for groups that have high crash rates. This would include cyclists; MBTA and taxi drivers and university students. The candidate would encourage workplace and on-campus training. Finally, the potential mayor would also redesign and install bike facilities in areas with high crash rates; encourage helmet use; make low-cost helmets and illumination products available; and enhance data collection to learn more about bike accident risks.

  • Candidate Bill Walczak believes in the importance of helmet use and of biker and driver education. His plan for improving bike safety includes giving bike riders more clearly designated and more heavily protected bike lanes in all neighborhoods, and putting up signs to remind drivers and cyclists about driving safely.

  • Candidate Don Conley suggests that a public education campaign on sharing the streets safely would be a good step towards making cycling safer. Continuing with his educational approach, he also suggests micro-campaigns addressed at certain groups to address common mistakes. Helmet vending machines and kiosks around the city are also part of his plan, as are improved enforcement of traffic laws and the potential adoption of a mandatory bicycle helmet law.

  • Candidate Charles Clemons suggests a citywide PSA campaign as well as better enforcement of traffic laws.

  • Candidate Felix Arroyo believes that new infrastructure such as cycle tracks could be helpful in making biking safer. His plan also includes collecting more data about dangerous areas; raising awareness of bicycle dangers; and combining data from different government departments to better understand bike accident risks.

  • Candidate Ron Consalvo would create a "Share the Road" public education campaign, and would support the Boston Bikes program that is already in existence. Infrastructure improvements, updated crash reporting practices, and innovative engineering solutions are also part of his bicycle safety plan.

  • Candidate John Connolly wants to increase both cycle tracks and protected bicycle lanes. He believes in a "complete streets," plan that incorporates cycling into all aspects of road design. He was a prior sponsor of the Hubway bike share initiative when serving on City Council and he wants to expand Hubway into more neighborhoods.

  • Candidate Marty Walsh indicates that he plans to initiate a comprehensive traffic flow review if elected mayor in order to improve bicycle safety and make the city move more smoothly. His plan also includes developing cyclist amenities including more bike lanes and share road markings, as well as bike stoplights and bike boxes at intersections. Finally, public awareness and public education on issues such as helmet use are important and he wishes to incorporate training in schools, driver's education courses and community fitness programs.

It is good news that each of these different candidates takes bike safety so seriously, and it is also good news that this issue is important enough that Boston.com believes this is an important concern for voters who will select the city's next mayor. While each of the candidates has different ideas, hopefully whoever is elected will be able to make a significant difference in making the roads safer for riders.

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Boston Bicycle Riders are a Diverse Group - Summer Bike Accident Prevention Important

Recently, the Boston Globe addressed the so-called "image problem," of Boston's bicycling community.

According to the Globe article, many people incorrectly assume that Boston bicycle riders are all either hipsters and/or white, wealthy and middle aged. This image problem and the stereotype of bicycle riders has, according to the Globe, made it more difficult to make improving bicycle safety into an important political issue. 1347817_biker_in_the_curve.jpg

Our Boston bike accident lawyers know that improving bicycle safety is good for everyone throughout the city. By recognizing that bike riders are a diverse group and that improved safety measures can benefit everyone, hopefully lawmakers and local politicians will be able to make safety initiatives more of a priority. This is especially important as prime bicycling season is underway during the summer and everyone - drivers and cyclists alike- need to make a serious effort to be safe when sharing the roads.

Boston Bicycling Community is a Diverse Group

The perception of bicycle riders as hipsters or as wealthy white people has become so entrenched that there is even an acronym: MAMILS, which stands for middle-aged men in Lycra. The cyclist stereotyping has caused many, including some local politicians, to view bicycle safety issues as affecting only a small minority of local area residents. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that those individuals most vocal on bike lanes and bike safety programs tend to fit the stereotype of the rich middle-aged rider.

In reality, however, the Boston Globe indicates that bicycle riders are very diverse and that many people ride bikes as a matter of necessity. In fact, studies have shown that cycling is a growing method of transportation among both racial and ethnic minorities. Lower income individuals who are unable to afford the costs associated with a car also use bicycle riding as their means of getting to work and running essential errands.

This trend towards an increasingly diverse group of bikers isn't isolated to Boston either. In 2011, for example, a Rutgers University study revealed that minorities are making up an ever-increasing share of bicycle riders throughout North America. In 2001, African American, Hispanic and Asian people made only 16 percent of cycling trips but in 2009, individuals within these ethnic groups accounted for 23 percent of rides. Yet, many of the minorities who are increasingly riding bikes do not tend to attend events organized by pro-cycling advocates.

Some Boston lawmakers believe that an important opportunity is missed by failing to engage all bicycle riders, including minority riders who may not traditionally speak out in favor of improved bike safety measures. By raising more awareness of safety issues and of the diversity of bicycle riders, bike safety can become a more popular cause and more politicians may be willing to take real action to improve conditions for cyclists in Boston. This would be good for all riders, especially as adults and kids take to the roads on their bikes for fun or pleasure this summer and beyond.

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Johnson & Johnson Tries to Block Experts in DePuy Hip Implant Cases

DePuy hip implant devices are one of several brands of metal-on-metal hip implants that have proved to be dangerous to patients. DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is currently defending itself against a number of lawsuits from patients harmed by their defective hip replacement and hip implant products. Recently, Harris Martin reported that the company asked the court in one of those cases to prevent two experts from testifying. 1207444_courtroom_1.jpg

Our Boston DePuy injury attorneys know that DePuy lost a past case when an injured plaintiff was awarded $8.3 million in damages. The company is likely trying to prevent future large verdicts. The motion to the court to keep these two experts from testifying in the case is just another attempt to escape liability for the defective metal-on-metal devices.

DePuy Orthopaedics Seeks to Block Expert Testimony

The case against DePuy Orthopaedics is a product liability case and the plaintiffs have the burden of showing that the metal-on-metal hip implant products were dangerous and failed to live up to the promises made by the manufacturer. The plaintiffs do not need to demonstrate that DePuy Orthopaedics was negligent in not producing a safer product since strict liability rules apply. Experts have testified in past cases that the problems with DePuy's products were well-known before the medical devices even came onto the market.

One of the two expert witnesses, a professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at McGill University, testified at a previous DePuy trial that the rate of adverse events associated with the metal-on-metal hip implants produced by DePuy should have caused alarm and raised "red flags" as far back as 2003. This was before the DePuy hip implants were even released on the market. The other expert criticized DePuy's effect analysis and the company's failure mode.

DePuy is likely seeking to prevent these two expert witnesses from testifying because it believes that the evidence presented significantly damages the defense case. DePuy is trying to prevent the testimony from being presented during a multi-district litigation and submitted supporting briefs barring the testimony on June 14, 2013.

The judge will now need to make a decision on whether these experts should be permitted to testify in the upcoming bellwether trial in September. If the judge permits the experts to testify, then it is likely that the information presented will once again be damaging to DePuy Orthopaedic's case. Both DePuy Orthopaedics and the plaintiffs who wish to present testimony from the experts will have a chance to make arguments to the judge about whether the testimony should be allowed.

Determining what evidence is or is not admissible in a case against a drug manufacturer can be a complex and technical process. Responding to actions such as this one is just one of the many tasks that attorneys will do to help victims of defective metal-on-metal hip implants to get the justice they deserve.

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Transvaginal Mesh Supplier May Have Used Plastic Not Suitable For Human Implantation

For women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, transvaginal mesh manufacturers promised surgical solutions that would help to correct their health issues. Unfortunately, transvaginal mesh or TVM turned out to be a very dangerous product that caused a number of complications including significant pain; recurrent prolapse and breakdown of the mesh in the body. 1420892_plastic_model_parts_in_frame.jpg

Since transvaginal mesh not only failed to perform as promised but also caused harm, many patients have taken action against TVM manufacturers. In one lawsuit against a TVM manufacturer, plaintiffs are alleging that the manufacturer knowingly used a plastic that was not safe for use in people. Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that TVM from all manufacturers has generally proved to be dangerous. However, this new evidence indicates that at least one manufacturer may have gone beyond simply failing to disclose risks and instead intentionally acted in a way likely to cause harm.

Emails Show Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturers Intentionally Put Patients at Risk

According to a June 26 Bloomberg news article, CR Bard may have knowingly sold vaginal mesh devices that were made of a plastic material manufacturers had warned was not suitable for implantation in humans.

The plastic was made by a Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. unit and was resin-based. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. had registered a warning that the mesh should not be permanently implanted in people and after this warning was issued, managers at Bard's Davol unit knowingly used the plastic in mesh units intended for the treatment of hernias. Now, plaintiffs in a transvaginal mesh claim contend that this same unsafe mesh was also used not just in hernia products but in transvaginal mesh products as well.

Evidence indicates that CR Bard Inc. acted intentionally to use this unsafe plastic, rather than just simply using it by mistake. For example, two emails were sent in 2004 and in 2007 by Davol executives warning colleagues not to tell Chevron Phillips or other manufacturers of the resin-plastic that the plastics were being used in medical devices that were placed in people.

One of the e-mails sent by a top Bard executive, who is now a vice president at the company, expressly cautioned that Chevron Phillips would probably "not be interested in a medical application due to product liability concerns." The same email indicated that Davol shouldn't be mentioned to any of the manufacturers because the manufacturers likely were unaware of C.R. Bard's implant applications.

These emails are extremely incriminating because they can be used to demonstrate that top executives in the company knowingly made the decision to use a plastic that was proven unsafe, despite an awareness that people could get hurt.

It is not unreasonable to believe that the same plastic was used not just in mesh used to treat hernia injuries but also in patients undergoing surgical procedures with transvaginal mesh. Plaintiffs in TVM cases may thus be able to use the emails to strengthen their claim against the medical device company, by presenting the emails as proof that Bard intentionally took dangerous risks with patient health.

Continue reading "Transvaginal Mesh Supplier May Have Used Plastic Not Suitable For Human Implantation " »

New England Fireworks Injuries a Risk Through Fourth of July Holiday

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan asks residents and visitors of Massachusetts to set a good example for your children and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys are urging you to enjoy the many displays of fireworks supervised by local fire departments and conducted by licensed professionals instead of attempting to put on your own shows.
If you chose to have some fun at home, it's important to make sure that the fireworks you've got are legal in the state.

"While fireworks may be purchased legally in other states, it is illegal to bring them into or through Massachusetts," said State Fire Stephen D. Coan.

In the state of Massachusetts, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, flares, candles, bombs, wheels, colored fire, fountains, mines, and serpents are all illegal.

Sparklers are still legal though. But remember that they can still be dangerous.

Sparklers light up your Fourth of July with their crackling glow and glowing trail of light. Kids of all ages are in awe of the sparks that fly around Fourth of July celebrations, but these devices are merely wire sticks that are dipped in a mixture of metals and chemicals and set on fire.

Doesn't sound too safe, does it?

Remember that these pretty little devices can also heat up to nearly 2,000 degrees.

It's easy for parents to believe that sparklers are safer that ordinary fireworks, but the truth of the matter is that they're just as dangerous and it's time to stop overlooking the dangers.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), close to 20 percent of all firework-related injuries are actually the result of sparklers. Young children account for a majority of these incidents, too.

Before handing a sparkler to a child or someone else in your family, read over these safety tips and be on your best behavior:

-You never want to hand over a lighted sparkler to another person. Make sure that you give then one that's not been lit let. If you're letting a child hold one, make sure that an adult light it.

-Only use one sparkler at a time. You don't want to intensify the dangers by adding more in the mix.

-Remember that fireworks are still hot long after they've gone out. When they go out, confiscate them from children and place them directly into a bucket of water or under a running hose.

-Never allow children to play with any kind of fireworks without the proper supervision of a competent adult.

-Only purchase sparklers from a reputable vendor.

Each year, there are about 200 people who wind up in an emergency room every day during the month around the Fourth of July. Don't let it happen to you. Be safe and have fun out there. Happy Fourth of July!

Continue reading "New England Fireworks Injuries a Risk Through Fourth of July Holiday " »

Transvaginal Mesh Company Pays $55.4 Million to Settle Some TVM Cases

According to Reuters, a unit of Endo Pharmaceuticals has recently agreed to pay out $54.5 million to settle just some of the thousands of lawsuits the company is facing over its transvaginal mesh surgical products. 1221952_to_sign_a_contract_3.jpg

Transvaginal mesh, or TVM as it is called, was used by patients worldwide as a method of treating pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Our Boston transvaginal mesh lawyers know that the Endo Pharmaceuticals unit is just one of many manufacturers facing lawsuits and that this settlement is only just the beginning of the compensation that will need to be paid to the women whose health was adversely affected by dangerous mesh products.

Company Settles Without Admitting Fault
Reuters reported that the unit of Endo Pharmaceuticals paying out the $54.5 million settlement is called American Medical Systems. American Medical Systems disclosed this settlement payout in a regulatory filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday June 20th. The company did not indicate exactly how many cases it was resolving with the $54.5 million settlement agreement.

In settling the claims, American Medical Systems did not admit that the company was at fault or liable for the health problems that the women were facing. Transvaginal mesh has been linked to numerous medical issues including erosion of the mesh; significant pain; recurrent organ prolapse and other problems that normally necessitate at least one repeat surgery to correct. However, the company did not admit fault or liability for these symptoms or problems.

American Medical Systems has estimated in the past that it expects to spend at least $160 million to settle the vaginal mesh claims against the company. Other manufacturers that also made transvaginal mesh devices have their own lawsuits to resolve as well, so manufacturers throughout the United States will likely be paying many millions of dollars to compensate people whose lives they damaged through releasing an unsafe medical device.

FDA data shows that in 2010 alone, there were an estimated 300,000 women diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse and around one out of every three of these women had a surgical procedure using transvaginal mesh. Another 260,000 women during the same year had surgery for stress urinary incontinence, around 80 percent of whom used transvaginal mesh.

The $54.5 million settlement from AMS is thus only the tip of the iceberg. Although the company has not admitted fault, its settling of the claims mean that the victims of its dangerous mesh devices will at least have their bills, costs and other losses covered. That the company is estimating paying out more in settlement money is a strong indicator that they believe a judge or jury would see a link between their products and the symptoms experienced by patients.

The company is likely to continue to be willing and eager to settle cases when possible in order to avoid claims going to court and juries rendering verdicts for plaintiffs who were harmed. Settlements allow injured victims to avoid having to go through the process of a trial in order to obtain monetary damages, but plaintiffs should speak to an attorney before accepting a settlement to ensure they are getting the full amount of compensation they deserve.

Continue reading "Transvaginal Mesh Company Pays $55.4 Million to Settle Some TVM Cases " »

Judge Upholds DePuy Verdict for Patient Injured by Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant

Thousands of patients throughout the United States are currently involved in litigation to hold DePuy Orthopaedics responsible for damages caused by the metal-on-metal hip implant devices manufactured by this Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. While some of these cases against DePuy Orthopaedics are just getting started, others have already been tried and decisions rendered. 1409595_gavel_5.jpg

Our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that many of the cases have been successful for injured patients. In March of 2013, for example, a California man was awarded $8.34 million in damages due to injuries sustained after he had a DePuy ASR hip replacement device implanted. DePuy Orthopaedics appealed the decision that was made by the jury in that case, but a judge recently made the decision that the verdict would be upheld.

Judge Upholds Jury Verdict
Juries make decisions about whether a defendant is legally liable (legally responsible) for causing injuries and about the extent of the damages that the plaintiff endured. The damages can include medical expenses; lost income/missed work time; pain and suffering; emotional distress and other economic and non-economic losses. The damage award is a monetary award that is supposed to "make the plaintiff whole."

In the recent DePuy case, the jury determined that the California plaintiff was entitled to $8.34 million in damages to fully compensate him for his losses. The injured plaintiff had underwent hip surgery in 2007 and subsequently experienced serious complications including metal toxicity, pain and walking problems.

After the jury awarded the plaintiff the multi-million dollar verdict, DePuy Orthopaedics asked the judge to grant a new trial or for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). A JNOV would mean that the judge would say that the jury was wrong, that they made a decision that wasn't supported by the law, and that a different ruling should be entered.

The judge, however, declined to either allow for a new trial or to grant a JNOV. Instead, the judge said that there was sufficient evidence that the jury could reasonably have concluded that the DePuy ASR product had a defect and that the medical device manufacturer failed to provide adequate information to patients about the risks of using the metal-on-metal hip replacement product.

The judge's decision means that the verdict still stands, at least for now, against DePuy Orthopaedics. When the judge announced his decision, he also scheduled a hearing for later in the month to address the plaintiff's request that the medical device company be responsible for paying $1.2 million in court costs and litigation expenses.

This is bad news for DePuy Orthopaedics not only because of the large damage award that the company is supposed to pay to the plaintiff, which could get larger if the judge determines that the company has to pay the plaintiff's costs. It is also bad news because there are thousands of other lawsuits out there.

Since one jury has already found that DePuy was responsible for millions in injuries, there is a good chance that at least some of the other juries hearing DePuy cases will also find for the plaintiff and award compensation to those patients injured by the defective hip replacement devices.

Continue reading "Judge Upholds DePuy Verdict for Patient Injured by Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant " »