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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Buyer beware: Used cars could have auto defects subject to recall

When Pennsylvania residents shop for a used car, they more than likely expect that a vehicle said to be "inspected" or "certified" will be safe. Unfortunately, that might not be the case. The Federal Trade Commission does not require used car dealers to make repairs to auto defects that are subject to recall. Consumers could drive off the lot with a vehicle that might seriously injure or kill them, their passengers or someone else on the road.

This fact prompted a lawsuit against the FTC for allowing vehicles on the road that require repairs based on recalls for airbags, faulty ignition switches and braking issues, along with those that need repairs for power steering and alternator issues. Any one of these defects could cause an accident and/or injuries. Even so, the FTC made a deal with two auto dealerships and General Motors allowing vehicles to be labeled certified or inspected as long as the consumer is told that the vehicle is subject to recalls that were not repaired.

Smokeless tobacco recall could lead to products liability claims

Anti-tobacco advocates warn users of smokeless tobacco that it could be dangerous. Those advocates might be right after a unit of Altria -- U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company -- issued a recall for several of its products sold across the country, including here in Pennsylvania. It is not yet known whether users of the products connected with the recall will file any products liability claims.

The company received complaints that sharp metal pieces were found in some of its products. The reports so far come from six states. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company provides products for brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal. More than 40 brands of smokeless tobacco are affected by the recall. All of the affected products were produced in one facility.

Construction workers' accidents are a possibility in trench work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides safety guidelines for nearly every possible hazard in nearly every industry. When it comes to construction workers' accidents here in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the country, the number of things that could go wrong ranges from falls from heights to being crushed in a trench collapse. Certain safety measures are required for anyone working in a trench, where the risk of serious injuries or death is a daily possibility.

Not only is there a risk of the trench collapsing if it is not properly shored up, but objects could fall into the trench and cause serious injuries or death as well. For example, a construction worker recently died in a trench at a housing construction project in another state. First reports regarding the incident said that the trench in which the man was working collapsed.

Identifying nursing home neglect

Many Pennsylvania residents have family members who are no longer able to care for themselves. In such cases, relatives usually search for a nursing home that will provide their elderly loved ones with the care and compassion they need. However, many of these individuals are surprised when they discover that their loved one became a victim of nursing home neglect.

Some people are shocked when they discover that neglect and abuse occurred, and often, it has been going on for some time. Family members might spare their aging loved ones at least some pain by identifying the neglect and/or abuse as quickly as possible. Not all nursing homes are bad, but better to be safe than sorry.

Manufacturers are responsible for more than auto defects

Companies manufacture more than just car, trucks and SUVs -- or their parts -- that turn out to have problems. Auto defects tend to make the news far more often, but motorcycle manufacturers also make mistakes that lead to dangerous defects. All motor vehicle manufactures have a duty to issue a public report regarding a defect and to notify the appropriate parties, including vehicle owners, whether they are here in Pennsylvania or elsewhere.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and vehicle manufacturers ordinarily initiate recalls. A public notice must be disseminated indicating the nature of the defect, the vehicles and population affected and what event caused the need for the recall, along with how the defect will be remedied and a schedule for the recall. Manufacturers are required to make every effort to notify those affected by the recall.

10 symptoms of a traumatic brain injury

A brain injury can be catastrophic, and some TBIs never fully heal. In some cases, even mild brain injuries can lead to degenerative brain diseases. It's critical to know when a brain injury has occurred and to get help quickly. This is important for people of any age, but middle-aged workers should be especially vigilant, as an injury could ruin a career and make it impossible to work again. Below are 10 symptoms to watch out for:

Preventing these 4 common construction workers' accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides regulations for every industry here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States. The federal agency also identifies the most common sources of injury for many industries and offers tips on preventing them. Below are the four most common construction workers' accidents and tips to avoid them.

Nearly every construction worker can attest to the fact that falling is a major concern. Perimeter protection and personal fall arrest equipment help prevent falls, but they might not be enough. Workers should use care when on scaffolds and ladders. Floor openings should be covered and secured, and the covers need labeling for ease of identification.

Products liability matters can be civil and criminal

Pennsylvania residents might not be aware that through 2013 and 2014, 750 people suffered from fungal meningitis due to contaminated steroid injections. According to the Food and Drug Administration, 76 of the victims died. In many products liability matters, civil actions could be filed, but in this case, criminal charges were filed as well.

According to federal authorities, in 2012, New England Compounding center produced and released approximately 10,000 doses of tainted methylprednisolone acetate. The company is accused of using ingredients that were expired, not sterilizing the medicine and failing to correct mold issues in the rooms where the company made the medicines. In 2014, several of the company's executives were criminally charged, and the trial for the first of them is set to begin.

Most widespread products liability debacle of 2016: Cucumbers

Imported cucumbers have recently wreaked havoc on the health of hundreds of people, beginning in 2015. By the end of 2016, 907 people around the country reported contracting Salmonella Poona infections from the tainted cucumbers, including at least one person here in Pennsylvania. Reportedly, 204 people had to be hospitalized due to the infection and six people died. This is said to be the most widespread products liability debacle of 2016.

The nationwide outbreak resulted in the Food and Drug Administration issuing two bans on the cucumbers being imported into the United States. The level of contamination in these cucumbers was so high that the potential for cross-contamination to other surfaces and products existed, but was not confirmed. The outbreak included three different strains of Salmonella Poona as well. 

3 facts parents should know about unsafe baby products

New parents want only the best for their bundle of joy. The issue that some parents find when they are trying to get the gear for their baby is that there are many products that seem amazing on the surface, but are very unsafe to use. It is imperative that parents vet every product that their child is going to use. Even when you take the time to go over every purchase, there is still a chance that a product you thought was safe might injure your child.

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