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What Are Class Action Lawsuits?

What You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits

You’ve probably heard of class action lawsuits and, in fact, you may have even received a check from one when you had no idea that you were eligible to receive money at all before you were notified that you were added to the lawsuit in the mail. Class-action lawsuits are specific types of lawsuits that are oftentimes utilized when there are so many people who have a similar complaint against a company or another entity that it would be difficult to have all of their cases heard separately. There are specific types of cases that tend to result in these actions.

Many Different Claims

The hallmark of a class-action lawsuit is that there are a huge number of plaintiffs involved. In order to have a class action lawsuit, each one of these plaintiffs must have a relatively similar complaint against the entity being sued.

A good example of this can be found in just about every claim involving a pharmaceutical product that has proven to be dangerous to users and, further, that was not disclosed as presenting those dangers when it was put on the market. Because there are specific side effects and symptoms that arise from the use of the drug, the plaintiffs naturally have similar complaints against the manufacturer. This allows these plaintiffs to be grouped together into what is called a class.

That class of plaintiffs will have their cases heard via representative actions. There may be more than one representative claim involved in the class-action or there may only be one. The idea is that this representative claim mirrors the other claims filed against the same entity closely enough that it is reasonable to hear that one claim and to rule based on that claim while still providing a fair trial for the plaintiffs.

Do You Have a Claim?

If you have the sort of claim that lends itself to a class action or if there is a class action that you believe you should be a party to, you can contact an attorney and inquire with them about it. You may also simply get a note in the mail at some point informing you that you are eligible to be part of a class action claim and that your name has been added to the list of people who will receive a payout in the event that it goes your way. These types of claims are very common these days, and they allow people all over the country to participate in a lawsuit that would otherwise require them to travel long distances or to hire their own representation.

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Salmonella in Texas Linked to Raw Milk

Texas officials say that salmonella is to blame for three children and one adult becoming seriously ill. That salmonella is believed to have come from raw milk- milk that has not been put through the usual cleansing processes that ensure the safety of food. Pasteurization is normally used to kill the bacteria in milk that could lead to serious and even life threatening, injuries and illnesses. There are some real risks involved in raw foods that you should be aware of.

Is it Healthy?

Raw foods and raw milk are sometimes touted as having health benefits compared to the food that you’ll normally find in the grocery store. In truth, the jury is very much out on this matter. There have been studies that have shown that some pesticides and other chemicals used on fruits and vegetables may present hazards to people but there are also plenty of studies that demonstrate that many processing procedures increase the safety of food many fold. Some of the risks of raw milk, in particular, are worth noting.

The Risks Involved

Food poisoning is not a minor illness. Even in healthy adults, food poisoning usually means at least one day of missed work and a lot of misery. Vomiting, nausea, headaches, fever and even more unpleasant symptoms are common. In individuals who have compromised immune systems or who are very old or very young, the symptoms are sometimes deadly. It can take a long time for the illness to run its course in such individuals and, because of that, it may mean a lot of time spent caring for those individuals for their families and a lot of medical expenses. Anyone who is part of an at-risk population such as those named above will have to be brought to a physician to get treatment for food poisoning.

Raw milk has been implicated in many deaths. The raw milk itself is a perfect vector for bacteria and, of course, children tend to be big fans of milk, which sets the stage for a very bad scenario to play out. There are ways that families can get compensation for these injuries, in some cases.

Food Producers and Lawsuits

Like anyone else who puts a product out on the market, food producers are responsible for the safety of the products that they sell people. If you believe that you have been the victim of a food producer who did not properly process their foods before they hit the shelves, you may wish to speak with an attorney.

A personal injury attorney may be able to get you compensation with a product liability lawsuit in these cases. Talking to an attorney is the first step and it should be taken soon after the incident.

 

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Fosamax Linked to Eye Problems, CMAJ

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has published a study linking bisphosphonates with inflammatory eye disease. The study, published in April 2012, showed a link between bisphosphonate drugs and uveitis and scleritis. These two inflammatory eye diseases were linked to first time users of the drug, according to the study. Bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax have already been linked to side effects that have led to lawsuits.

The Diseases

The increased risk of inflammatory eye disease was only linked to first time users. There are other side effects of bisphosphonate drugs, however, that have been reported in many different users. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, there have been over 3,000 product liability claims filed against Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, due to effects on the jaw and other bones.

Bisphosphonates have been linked to decay in the jawbone, which can end up causing disfigurement and requiring surgeries. It is also linked to degradation in the femur, causing fractures. This has led to the many product liability claims filed against the company. Bisphosphonate drugs are generally prescribed to postmenopausal women as a treatment for osteoporosis. They are also prescribed for the treatment of Paget’s disease.

Drugs and Liability

Whether or not somebody who suffered a side effect from a drug has legitimate reason to sue depends upon, in part, whether or not they were warned about the dangers of the drug. Many product liability claims have emerged in the wake of side effects that people had no idea were risks associated with a pharmaceutical and, in some cases, the pharmaceutical companies were aware of the risks.

When people end up being injured or killed because of the risks of a particular drug and they weren’t warned ahead of time that starting a drug therapy would mean putting themselves at risk, they sometime sue. Some of the more famous drugs that have been the subject of lawsuits include Accutane, Paxil and Vioxx.

Filing a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company because of having been harmed due to the side effects of a drug requires that you speak with a product liability attorney. A Houston product liability attorney will generally take these claims on contingency, which means that you don’t actually have to pay them anything if they fail to win your claim. This obviously means that your attorney isn’t likely to bother taking your claim unless they’re sure you’re going to win, which is a good reason to have confidence in your case if the attorney takes it.

You may be offered a settlement by a drug company if you were injured. Don’t take one of these without speaking to a product liability attorney first; you may be giving up an opportunity to get a jury award or a larger settlement.

 

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Pradaxa Lawsuits Move Forward

Lawsuits over the blood-thinning drug Pradaxa will be allowed to go forward, after a federal judge’s ruling. There are in excess of 100 lawsuits pending at present and they are slated to be handled under multidistrict litigation. The drug’s manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim had attempted to get a judge to dismiss the lawsuits, but they will move forward.

The Side Effects

The principal side effect over which the lawsuits have been filed involves internal bleeding. Following an FDA investigation into the drug and prior reports of deaths associated with its use, people began filing lawsuits over the side effects. According to reports, this drug has been prescribed in over 70 nations. It is used in the treatment of people who suffer blood clots and who are at risk of suffering a stroke who have arterial fibrillation. USA Today reported in August of 2012 that there were 542 deaths associated with Pradaxa last year and that 3,781 reports of side effects had been filed in total.

Because of the large number of cases, this is being handled as multidistrict litigation. If you have suffered Pradaxa side effects that do not fit the model of the cases being tried in the multidistrict litigation claim, you could still potentially file a lawsuit over the side effects that you suffered.

Contacting an Attorney

If you have suffered unexpected side effects from a pharmaceutical treatment, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. If the side effects that you suffered match an ongoing multidistrict litigation claim, you may be able to get onto that claim to get compensation for what you have been put through or to get compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one. If not, the attorney will be able to look at your unique situation and to determine whether filing a lawsuit would be an appropriate course of action for you.

Moving Fast

There are limitations on how long you have to sue if you are injured by a pharmaceutical drug. This is why it’s important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. If you delay too long, you may miss your opportunity to sue at all. Even if you don’t decide to go ahead and file a lawsuit, sitting down with an attorney and letting them know your situation is highly advisable. They can at least let you know how long you have to wait to determine whether you want to file a lawsuit.

Remember that some drugs do have side effects that are widely known and that are risks associated with being treated with those drugs. Some pharmaceuticals, however, turn out to have deadly side effects that patients never knew about and, if this happened to you, seriously consider contacting a Houston product liability attorney.

 

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Yaz Lawsuits Still Piling Up

Yaz is a hormonal contraceptive that has been the subject of many lawsuits, including an ongoing class action lawsuit. New lawsuits are being filed over this drug regularly, including one that was recently filed in Illinois and that will be added to the class action lawsuit. This lawsuit is all too familiar in its allegations. The woman suing is alleging that she was brought to real and permanent harm by using the drug and is seeking compensation. These lawsuits also allege that the defendants should have known how dangerous the drug was and that they were negligent in not taking action.

Dangerous Drugs

Lawsuits over dangerous drugs fall under the category of product liability lawsuits. These lawsuits, however, are oftentimes much more distressing in their circumstances than are most product liability suits. Bad drug lawsuits involve cases where people have suffered blood clots, strokes and heart attacks, in the case of hormonal contraceptives. Lawsuits over SSRI anti-depressants involve homicide, suicide, birth defects and more. These lawsuits are oftentimes chilling in what they imply: Sometimes drugs are known to be dangerous and drug makers just keep pumping them out onto the market in a quest for profits.

What if You’re Injured?

These claims can be very complex. In some cases, your injuries may be so similar to the injuries that the claimants in the class action suits are alleging that your case can be added to that class action. In other cases, you may have suffered entirely other injuries due to using the drug and, therefore, you’ll end up filing your own claim. Your attorney will have to have access to experts and all the relevant information about past cases and your own case to argue one of these claims successfully. If you have a good attorney, however, you may end up winning a jury award or a settlement that could help pay for your recovery costs.

Don’t Take It

Pharmaceutical companies are some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. Some of them rake in literally billions of dollars in profit every year on just one of their drugs. This makes it intimidating to go after them. If they’re intimidating you or, if you’re so convinced that you don’t stand a chance against them that you’re dissuaded from taking any action at all, talk to an attorney.

How Attorneys Help

First, attorneys are not intimidated by drug companies. The law doesn’t care how much money you have or how powerful you are. Everyone is equal under the law. If someone wronged you by selling you a dangerous drug and injured you because of doing so, an attorney will be able to look at your claim objectively and, if it’s good, they may take you on as a client so you can get compensated for being wronged.

 

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Food Recall Hits Fast Food Giants

Burger King and McDonald’s are among the businesses being asked to pull apple slices and pieces from their shelves. Ready Pack Foods announced the voluntary recall of approximately 300,000 cases, according to reporting by NPR. The food supplier’s recall will also affect many different national supermarkets.

The Use-By dates on these products include those that go up to August 20, according to the report.

Listeria

According to the reporting, these products may have been exposed to listeria when they came in contact with contaminated equipment. There have been no illnesses reported and the company undertook the recall on its own. They are a very large producer of prepackaged vegetable and fruit products. The company is, according to Yahoo cited in NPR, among the top four producers of these food products.

Listeria is caused by the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. When someone becomes infected with this bacteria, the symptoms can be very severe. They include vomiting, fever and others that can be deadly to some people.

There are other products associated with this recall, as well. Recalls.gov will give constantly updated information on the recall and whether or not anyone has been injured.

Listeria symptoms are life-and-death issues in some people. If you start to exhibit any of the signs of listeria infection or food poisoning in general, contact a physician. These symptoms can progress quickly and to the point where they are incapacitating.

Liability and Food Products

Food producers can be and have been sued for contaminated food that they put onto the market. You can most certainly file a lawsuit against one if you’ve been injured or if someone has actually died because of contracting an illness that resulted from contaminated food, in some circumstances. Talk to a lawyer about your situation and they may find that suing would be a good option for you.

Liability claims can be complex. They usually include any obvious damages you’ve suffered-such as medical, lost time at work, etc.-but they sometimes include damages that are less obvious in terms of how they’re calculated. Mental anguish, for instance, is sometimes added to a lawsuit because of what a claimant has been put through.

Your attorney will be able to help you work out the damages. Some of the things that people sue for can be a bit confusing, but they are real damages and one of the things an attorney will help you do is to determine the actual economic consequences of what you endured.

If you’ve been poisoned by food that was recalled, contact an attorney. If you have any food that is recalled, always check to see what the manufacturer would have you do with it. If you’re poisoned at a restaurant, be sure to report the incident. It’s not going after the restaurant owner; it’s helping other people to avoid being poisoned at all.

 

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Fosamax Linked to Fractures According to Study

Fosamax may be linked to atypical femur fractures, according to a study. The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study in May of 2012 that showed a link between bisphosphonate drugs and fractures. Fosamax has already been implicated in over 3,000 lawsuits, according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuits have in common allegations that using the drug caused patients to suffer bone decay and fractures.

Osteonecrosis

Osteonecrosis of the jaw is one of the most common reasons that people have elected to sue over Fosamax. This drug is used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis and has been in use since it was approved in 1995 by the FDA. The potential risks of this drug have been making it into the news more frequently of late. According to an article in the TimesUnion, there are 3,100 product liability lawsuits that have been filed against Merck and Co. by patients treated with this drug.

The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine linked the drug specifically to femoral fractures. These are among the most painful and debilitating fractures that an individual can suffer. The drug is also used to treat Paget’s disease, which means that an entire other group of patients aside from those suffering from postmenopausal osteoporosis may have been affected.

Litigation and Damages

One of the options for people who have been injured by a defective drug is to pursue a lawsuit, as over 3,000 people have already decided to do in the case of Fosamax. Patients who suffer serious conditions such as broken bones or osteonecrosis may find themselves unable to work or, predictably, facing even higher medical expenses than they would have expected, even if they were already diagnosed with a serious conditions such as osteoporosis.

The first step in finding out whether or not you might be able to sue for damages caused by a defective drug is to speak with an attorney. Whether you are considering suing over damages from Fosamax or another drug, the attorney may be already aware of many other cases that have been filed over the same product. If this is the case, they may well be able to help you, but you’ll have to meet with them to determine whether or not this is true in your situation.

Settlements

There are cases where pharmaceutical companies or other manufacturers of defective products may offer you a settlement. Make certain that you speak with an attorney before you accept any such settlement. If they do offer a settlement, it may be because they believed that you would win if you brought your case to court and, because of that, they are trying to avoid having to pay even more money in a jury award and court costs than they would have to pay for a settlement. The settlement may be a good deal for you, but you’ll definitely want to get the advice of an attorney before you go ahead and accept one in exchange for not filing a lawsuit.

 

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Are Product Liability Lawsuits Legitimate?

The recent lawsuit by the CPSC over Buckyballs and Buckycube toys has brought product liability lawsuits to the forefront of media attention once again. Whenever these situations happen, there is a cynical voice that permeates the media that tries to lay the blame for the injuries that children and older people suffered due to a defective product only at the feet of the parents or the person involved. In reality, there is a reason that filing a product liability lawsuit is an option for people who were injured by a product.

Bad Labeling

Part of the problem with the Buckyballs and Buckycube toys originates from the labeling of them, which stated that they were safe for people age 13 and older. This sort of labeling is supposed to give parents a realistic idea of whether or not a toy is safe for their children. Parents have every reason to trust that labeling, as the labeling process is heavily regulated by federal agencies. When children are injured by a product that was supposed to be safe for people in their age range, it is hardly the fault of the parents that they trusted labeling that was designed to keep their children safe.

Bad Designs

Some products make it onto the market but are designed in a way that makes them inherently hazardous. Examples include stepladders that fold up under normal usage, coffee pots with timers that end up causing fires and other products that have, through the years, made the news. That cynical voice in the media will oftentimes declare that people who have been injured or have had their property destroyed by such products are simply looking for a way to get rich quick. If somebody has sold you something that was supposed to have been safe and that damaged your property or injured you personally, there is nothing cynical about filing a lawsuit to recover those damages.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you or someone in your family has been injured by a defective product, the first thing you need to do is contact a lawyer about the matter. Listening to the myriad voices in the media, many of whom will be declaring that anybody pursuing a product liability suit against the latest defective product that has made it into the media cycle is simply looking for a way to get rich is absolutely the worst way to get advice. In these situations, a personal injury attorney is there to help you and only you.

Putting trust in a company or a label that gave you every reason to trust it is not foolish. If your child was injured by a toy that was defective in some way, it is not your fault. Talking to an attorney is the only way you can determine whether or not you were injured because the manufacturer was sloppy in how they manufactured a product, how they designed a product or how they marketed the product. Do not listen to the media in these cases. Consult with a lawyer – it’s usually free – and listen to their advice. They are the only individuals in these situations who are representing your interests.

 

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CPSC Sues Maxfield & Oberton Over Buckyballs

Maxfield & Oberton, manufacturer of the toys Buckyballs and Buckycube, has been sued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission over hazards posed by those products. These products both include high-powered rare earth magnets that have been shown to pose a substantial risk of injury to people, particularly children, under certain circumstances. Following the failure of an effort to negotiate a voluntary recall with the manufacturer, the CPSC filed an administrative complaint.

The Hazard

Buckyballs and Buckycube both include high-powered rare earth magnets that have caused injuries resulting in surgeries in several instances. In total, the CPSC has learned that there are over two dozen such incidents related to these products that have occurred since 2009. These products were labeled as being safe for people ages 13 and up but, following investigation, it was found that they did not meet the requirements for that safety label.

Each of these sets includes up to 216 of the powerful magnets, according to a press release by the CPSC. These magnets can pose a risk of serious injury and even death under certain circumstances.

The injuries were reported when the magnets were ingested accidentally or intentionally by young children and teenagers. When the magnets enter the stomach and intestinal tract, the attraction between them is powerful enough that they can make holes in the digestive system or stick together through the tissues of the digestive system, causing an array of problems. The problems can range from obstructions to blood poisoning to death and, because of that, the CPSC was demanding a recall. The current lawsuit seeks to stop Maxfield & Oberton from selling these products any longer.

Some of the injuries were caused when very young children swallowed the magnets. Other injuries were caused because teenagers and older children were using the magnets to imitate lip piercings and tongue piercings, according to the press release, and they accidentally inhaled or ingested those magnets. Rare earth magnets are powerful enough to attract one another through the tissues of the body and therein is where the hazard lies. If your child has been injured by one of these products, you may want to consider contacting a product liability lawyer to see if filing a lawsuit over the injuries would be an option for your family.

Filing a Lawsuit

Product liability claims can be filed over products that are found to be defective in manufacture, advertising or design. Because these products were advertised as being safe for children ages 13 and over but do not meet the standards for that labeling, you may be able to file a lawsuit if your child was injured.

Talking to a Houston product liability lawyer is the first step in determining whether or not this is an option for you. These attorneys will generally offer you a free consultation where they can listen to the details of your situation and determine whether or not it would be appropriate for you to press forward with a lawsuit. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is advisable.

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Amputation Threat Posed by Recalled Stroller

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada have announced that the manufacturer of a stroller has voluntarily recalled the device due to an amputation hazard. According to a press release, the Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc. Contours Options strollers, in both the three- and four-wheeled configurations, poses a risk of amputating the fingers of children and adults. In fact, there have already been incidents reported where both have happened.

Incidents

According to the press release, there have been five injuries involving the defective part. The defective part is a hinge mechanism located on the handle of the stroller, near the basket area. This hinge can fold up, cutting or even amputating fingers. There have been three children who have had their fingers amputated and two adults who suffered lacerations and smash injuries due to the hinge.

If you’re concerned that you have one of the strollers, look for the following model numbers, which will appear on a sticker above the left wheel:

  • ZL002
    ZL005
    ZL008
    ZL015
    ZL018

These products were retailed by Amazon.com, Target.com, ToysRUs.com and at toy stores in the United States and Canada. They sold for between $150 and $160 and were on the market starting in January of 2006, with the recall being effective June 14, 2012, according to the press release.

Defective Products and Responsibility

It is illegal to sell or trade any defective product. They have to be returned, replaced or refunded in accordance with the product recall. If you have one of these strollers, you can contact Kolcraft at 1-800-453-7673. They will explain what to do with the device. You should stop using the stroller immediately and, upon contacting the company, you will be provided with a repair kit that can be used to fix the hazard.

Defective Designs, Manufacture and Advertising

Defective product lawsuits hinge on whether or not the product was defective in its design, in its manufacture or in its advertising. In this case, the product could be found to have been defective in its design or its manufacturing, due to the presence of the hinge that was capable of causing such grievous injuries. If you or your child were injured by this product, you should contact an attorney right away. One of the options you have as a consumer is suing a company that sold you a product that proved to be dangerous.

Filing a defective product lawsuit is generally a time-limited option. The most important thing to do is to contact an attorney as soon as possible and to let them know what happened. If they believe that you do have a good case, they may be willing to take it and argue it for you in court. These cases sometimes end up paying out into the millions of dollars, which is entirely fair, when you consider the life-changing injuries that some people end up suffering because of defective products. In this case, it’s already been reported that at least three children had their fingertips amputated because of the particular defect.

If you have been injured by this stroller, call us for a FREE consultation at 713-771-5453

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