December 2018

The dangers of logging trucks on the road

Logging is a hugely important American industry that is highly dangerous from start to finish. Everyone involved in the process of moving this natural resource from its source to the consumer experiences some significant hazards — including the truckers who are in charge of transporting logs from one place to another.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, logging and truck driving combine two of the deadliest occupations in the nation.

Why do logging trucks present such a significant danger for everyone on the road?

  • The ordinary hazards of the trucking industry, from distracted driving, driver fatigue and speeding, are just as common in this industry as any other.
  • It’s difficult to properly balance a load of logs. An unbalanced load can abruptly shift, causing a truck to jackknife or rollover.
  • A single weak link in the chain used to secure large logs, piled high in a truck for transport, can break and cause death and disaster.
  • The overhang from long tree trunks can present a serious hazard to other drivers, especially if the trunks aren’t properly flagged in warning.

Passenger car drivers are especially at risk during early morning and evening hours, when there’s less light and it’s harder for the brain to gauge distances. That overhang behind a logging truck can range up to 12 feet. While the log hanging furthest out is supposed to be red flagged during the day and fixed with a red flashing light after dark to give drivers warning, that doesn’t always happen.

Drivers in passenger cars are also at serious risk of a crush injury if a load of logs comes loose during transport and topples. That’s why drivers are always urged to give logging trucks a lot of room. Steering clear is the best thing you can do for your own safety.

Were you injured due to a logging truck accident? Was a loved one killed in an encounter with a logging truck? If so, find out more about your legal right to compensation.

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Blood pressure drugs recalled over cancer concerns

Could your blood pressure medication be putting you at risk of cancer?

That’s the concern that led to the recall of three common drugs used to treat high blood pressure. After tests indicated that some valsartan medications contained traces of N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), a suspected carcinogen, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has been forced to recall 104 lots of pills. The recalled drugs included valsartan tablets and two types of combination drugs. One combo drug included valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide and the other was a combo of valsartan and amlodipine. Neither amlodipine nor hydrochlorothiazide stand-alone drugs are affected by the recall.

Authorities have been concerned that not all of the potentially-contaminated valsartan is making it back to pharmacies for the recall. While the recall started in July, there are worries that many patients — especially those that receive several months’ supply at once — are holding onto their medications because they’re afraid that they won’t be able to find a suitable replacement. Some may be willing to take their chances with the contaminated drug versus going without their blood pressure medication and risking a heart attack or stroke.

If your blood pressure medication has been recalled, here’s what you should know:

  • It’s not safe to simply stop your medication. Doing so can increase the risk that you’ll have a serious adverse reaction.
  • Your doctor may be willing to prescribe a substitute medication without an office visit. You should contact your prescriber’s office immediately to ask about a replacement.
  • There are medications available that can be used a substitute. Your pharmacist should be able to tell you what comparable drug is available through your insurance.
  • Once the issue with the contaminated drug supply is resolved, you’ll be able to return to your regular medication.
  • If you aren’t sure if your medication is part of the recall, ask your pharmacist. Take the bottle with you when you go.

Dangerous and defective drugs are a major concern for consumers. While many are caught before they cause serious harm, others slip through the safety measures designed to keep them out of patients’ hands. If you’ve been injured by a defective drug, it might be wise to talk to an experienced attorney about your situation.

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How medical devices with known defects end up on the market

Numerous defective medical devices have been the subject of alerts, warnings and recalls in other countries — probably far more than most people realize.

Some medical devices that haven’t performed as well as expected include:

  • A pregnancy test that was recalled in both Australia and the United Kingdom because it was prone to giving false negatives, which put both pregnant women and their unborn children at risk
  • A dental drill that was the subject of “urgent warnings” in Germany and recalled in Australia because it could go too deep and cause patient’s permanent nerve damage and impair their speech
  • A catheter that was recalled in Australia because it frequently sprung leaks
  • An artificial hip with a metal ball that leaked toxic substances into patients’ bloodstreams and ground into their hip bones
  • An artificial knee joint that was recalled in Australia after patients began to fall when it malfunctioned
  • An implant designed to prevent pregnancy that was so problematic that officials in France, Italy and Singapore stepped in

Aside from being defective and the subject of official action in other countries, all of these devices have something else in common: They’ve never been recalled in the United States. Some of them remained available and in use long in the U.S. long after they were taken off the market in other countries. Some of them are still in use. Others were just quietly discontinued, without any notice to patients who might be impacted.

This happens because there’s no global system for tracking defective medical devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notoriously slow to act compared to comparable agencies in other countries. Sometimes it eventually catches up and issues its own warning or recall. Other times, it doesn’t even have the power to do anything.

It’s an unfortunate reality that manufacturers of defective medical devices will put profits ahead of patients far too often. That’s why patients who have been injured by defective medical devices often have to resort to legal measures to seek justice.

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Does mesothelioma ‘just happen’ to a lot of women?

When most people think of the victims of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses, they tend to think of factory workers, shipyard workers and the like — not ordinary women who were poisoned in their own homes through the use of a common household item. Yet, there are approximately 9,000 lawsuits playing out in courtrooms all over the country, all alleging that Johnson & Johnson put a tainted product in consumers’ hands long after they should have known better.

Critics allege that Johnson & Johnson has gone on the counterattack by trying to discredit the claims of many women altogether. The corporate giant’s position can best be summed up as, “Well, all of these women with mesothelioma probably got the disease from something other than asbestos exposure in the first place.” In other words, all of those women with mesothelioma “just happened” to get the disease.

Despite these assertions, documents that have come to light indicate that Johnson & Johnson knew its popular baby powder and other talc products were contaminated with asbestos way back in the 1970s. The company also knew there were safer alternatives available, such as corn starch. Executives also knew that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos-tainted products that were used in the home for many years and secondary asbestos exposure has caused many women who never worked in any of the industries that are commonly associated with mesothelioma and asbestosis to develop asbestos-related cancers and other diseases. Given that the diseases can take decades to develop, many women — and their doctors — need to be on alert for the possibility that a disease is just beginning to show.

If you have fallen victim to asbestos exposure due to the use of a home product that was allegedly safe, don’t let disinformation dissuade you from filing a claim for compensation. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you understand what courses of action are available to you.

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Leave the vintage Christmas ornaments in the attic alone

Everybody seems to get slightly nostalgic around the winter holidays. If that sense of nostalgia has you digging through the attic for the family’s vintage Christmas decorations, however, you might want to think twice.

There are actually two different potential dangers you can encounter when digging out those old ornaments and wreaths. First, you may have to climb around an old attic that’s still packed with insulation that contains asbestos. Second, the holiday decorations themselves might be loaded with asbestos.

Many older homes in the snowy regions of the United States are insulated with materials that contain vermiculite. Vermiculite is often contaminated with asbestos. In many cases, the dust that gets all over everything in those old attics comes from the insulation — which makes that dust very toxic.

Not only do you put yourself at risk going into the attic and disturbing all of that dust as you search for the vintage decorations, but you could also potentially expose your entire family to asbestos once you bring down the decoration and the dust gets into the rest of the house.

On top of that, many vintage Christmas decorations actually are made of asbestos! Remember, asbestos was once thought to be a completely harmless substance. Since it was fireproof, it made perfect sense to include asbestos in anything that might be near heat — like those hot Christmas tree lights of yesteryear.

For example, many older readers may remember the “fake snow” that graced many mantles and gently decorated many Christmas trees when they were kids. Most of that was made from asbestos. Even if you don’t have any boxes of the stuff still lurking in the attic, there’s a strong possibility that the residue from that fake snow is still on the ornaments you do have.

Asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to develop. If you develop mesothelioma, asbestosis or another asbestos-related disease, find out more about compensation that’s available. Our office can assist you.

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