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Articles Posted in Products Liability

seasonal decorThe holiday season can be both joyous and stressful. Shopping, decorating, and social obligations can be challenging enough without the added issue of a potentially dangerous or defective product.

Unfortunately, product recalls do not have a “season,” and a Cape Cod product liability attorney can tell you that an accident can happen just as easily during this time of the year as any other. Thus, it is important to be ever-vigilant about the vehicle you drive to the mall for your holiday shopping, the food you arrange on the party buffet, and even the gifts you pass along to friends and family.

Recent Recalls for Automobiles

dump truckA Cape Cod product liability lawsuit can arise from something small and simple or from something large and complex. If the product in question is of the more complex variety, it is possible that there may be multiple defendants involved, especially if the product was made of many different pieces. In cases involving multiple component parts, the issue of who had a duty to warn of the end product’s propensity for harm can be very complex.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the plaintiff was the executrix of a man who was found dead underneath a dump truck. The decedent’s clothing was allegedly caught up in a spinning joint on the truck, and his cause of death was reportedly accidental asphyxiation. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants, the manufacturer of the original version of the truck (which the court described as “stripped down”), and the maker of a part of the system used to tilt the dump body of the truck, asserting product liability claims sounding in negligence and failure to warn. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants.

RecalledWhile not every dangerous or defective product is recalled by its manufacturer, it is a good idea to occasionally check the government’s “Recent Recalls” list. It only takes a few minutes, and it could provide important information about a defect in a vehicle, food item, tire, child safety seat, or other product.

Cape Cod product liability lawsuits sometimes involve recalled products, but often the product in question has not been the subject of a recall. (Product liability claims include theories such as breach of warranty, manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, negligence, or strict liability.)

Strollers and Motorcycle Handlebars Could Cause Injuries

prescription medicationsThe United States prescription drug industry generates billions of dollars in revenue per year. Statistically speaking, about one in two Americans used a prescribed medication during the last month, and about one in four used three or more drugs.

There are two ways to look at this situation. The more positive approach is to be thankful that we live in a time when so many medical conditions can be treated by the use of pharmaceuticals. The more skeptical approach is to consider whether we really need all of that medicine, or whether “Big Pharma” (as it is sometimes called) is more about money than benevolence.

Either way, one thing is for sure:  not all drugs are safe for all patients. Even medications that have gone through all of the required testing sometimes cause considerable harm and even death, inevitably leading to Massachusetts product liability lawsuits in Cape Cod and elsewhere.

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under construction

Typically, a worker who is hurt on the job is limited to benefits available to him or her under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. However, there are a few limited circumstances under which a third party may be liable in tort for the employee’s injuries.

One of these circumstances arises when a defective product was to blame for the worker’s injuries. Additionally, in some cases, the general contractor on a construction project may also be liable for the injuries of a subcontractor’s employee.

Of course, liability is never automatic, and these defendants – like most defendants who are facing the payout of a substantial verdict due to another person’s injuries – usually fight hard against a finding that they are legally responsible.

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cars on road

As you may remember, 2015 was rife with vehicle recalls. According to news reports, there were in the neighborhood of 900 recalls in all, affecting tens of millions of vehicles. Issues such as sudden acceleration, faulty ignition switches, and Volkswagen’s infamous cheating on certain emissions tests made headlines throughout the year.

Although there have been fewer recalls thus far in 2016, that does not necessarily mean that manufacturers have stopped making vehicles with significant flaws. Quite the contrary.

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lung x-ray

A recent court decision focused on the Ortho Evra patch, a birth control option that prevents pregnancy by transferring synthetic hormones through the wearer’s skin.

While arguably more convenient than other forms of birth control, the patch is not without risks, including death.

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medical words

There are many ways in which a product can be deemed defective. Sometimes, only a single defective product results from a manufacturing error. In other words, something went wrong during the process of making the product.

In other cases, all of the products in a particular line are found to be defective due to a poor design or perhaps a failure to warn. Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court reviewed a trial court’s decision declaring a medical device defective due to its design and lack of a proper warning.

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roof

Product liability cases can arise in a wide array of situations, including on-the-job accidents. Recently, the Massachusetts Appeals Court was called upon to decide a case in which an allegedly defective product caused the death of a man who was inspecting a roof.

Although the court’s opinion did not go into detail regarding whether the man had also filed a workers’ compensation claim, it is sometimes possible to pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and damages in tort against a negligent third party. If the tort lawsuit is successful, the workers’ compensation carrier may be entitled to repayment of certain benefits under the law of subrogation.

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The passenger side of a red Dodge Journey in a parking lot.

If it seems as if there have been considerably more recalls, fines, and product safety alerts than usual as of late, it is not your imagination. In all, some 973 vehicle, equipment, child safety seat, and tire recalls were issued in 2015, affecting 87,596,264 products.

Now, the United States Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to bring public awareness to the specifics of the many recalls that are issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other governmental agencies annually. Called the “Safe Cars Save Lives” campaign, the goal of the USDOT is to increase public awareness of the existence of vehicle recalls, as well as offer instructions to consumers as to how to check for information about a particular vehicle.

In addition to online banner ads concerning vehicle and product safety, the campaign will also include VIN look-up tools and safety videos.

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