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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Maker of pacifier clip may have to face products liability claim.

Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission strives to protect consumers in Pennsylvania and other states from harm caused by defective merchandise, not all dangerous products are identified before they are introduced to the market. It is not uncommon for recall action to be taken only after consumer injuries have been reported. Many of these incidents lead to products liability lawsuits.

In July, a 2-year-old girl suffered a second-degree burn that was caused by a pacifier clip. According to the child's mother, she put the baby with her pacifier down for a nap. She responded to the child's crying later and discovered a circular-shaped wound on her body. She was shocked when the doctor identified it as a burn. The mystery was solved when the physician explained that he had seen similar cases before where babies were burned by pacifier rings that became so hot from the children's body heat that they melted onto their skin.

Products liability claims may follow recalled fitness gear

It is the responsibility of all manufacturers to ensure that the products they manufacture and sell are safe. They must identify potential safety concerns before introducing products to the market. Disregarded or overlooked defects can put consumers at risk of injury and may expose the company to products liability action. Dick's Sporting Goods, a company with several stores in Pennsylvania, recently announced the recall of one of its products that have caused injuries to consumers.

A Consumer Product Safety Commission notice indicated that the sporting goods company recalled over 207,000 resistance tubes under the Fitness Gear label. These tubes are typically used to work out both upper lower bodies. They were reported to pose a risk of injury because they could break while in use. The manufacturer said 12 incidents of the bands breaking had been reported, with injuries caused in some cases.

Construction workers' accidents: 1 killed after struck by bucket

Construction workers nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, face a host of safety hazards every day. To prevent construction workers' accidents, employers must ensure all their employees comply with prescribed safety regulations. Furthermore, heavy equipment and machines must only be operated by qualified workers.

An error made by a crane operator might have been the cause of a construction worker's death in a neighboring state. Paramedics and police were called to a construction site on a recent Friday morning. However, they were too late to save the life of a 44-year-old employee of a subcontractor, and his death was declared at the scene.

Follow these tips to stay safe while working construction

Working on a construction site in Pittsburgh is dangerous. Hazards not only lurk around every corner, but they are both above and below you. Every moment you are on a job site, you are at risk of suffering an injury due to falling in a hole, electrical shock, collapsing supports and an endless list of other potential accidents.

While it is not always possible to avoid every accident on a construction site, there are certain things you can do to reduce the risk. Read below for some tips to help you stay safe during your next construction project.

General Motors facing auto defects lawsuit re collapsing seats

Consumers in Pennsylvania and other states are entitled to seek recovery of damages if they have been victims of defective products. Following the death of one child, and severe injuries to another, their parents have filed a lawsuit in another state, claiming auto defects. The claim relates to an accident in 2015 when their vehicle was rear-ended by another.

Court documents indicate that the mother drove the Saturn Aura XE when the accident occurred. She claims that both front seats collapsed to the rear, causing critical injuries to the two children in the back seat. A 17-month-old toddler was strapped into a car seat behind the passenger seat, and a 9-year-old child was seated behind the driver. Both children were rushed to a hospital, but only the older child survived -- the baby died later that day.

Nursing home neglect prevalent nationwide, including Pennsylvania

Recent media reports about residents of nursing homes who were up to their waists in water as they were sitting in their wheel chairs during the devastation of Hurricane Harvey underscored the vulnerability of seniors in facilities nationwide, even in Pennsylvania. The truth is that even when there are no adverse weather conditions, nursing home neglect is far too common. The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued an alert that called for action to be taken urgently.

The alert underscored the number of shocking incidents in which seniors and other nursing home residents end up in emergency rooms after suffering severe neglect, often including broken bones, rape and more. The IG called on families to make an effort to pay frequent visits to loved ones in nursing homes. Any signs of neglect or abuse should be reported to the local police immediately.

Products liability: Driver claims iPhones cause car accidents

Pennsylvania residents may be aware that on August 17, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against Apple that alleged the mobile phone producer was responsible for an accident caused by a distracted driver. Now, another products liability lawsuit has been filed in another state as a class action case against the maker of the iPhone. The defendant argues that the cosmetics manufacturer is not held responsible when a driver causes a rear-end crash because she was applying makeup while driving, and this is the same scenario.

The primary defendant claims that Apple has the patent on technology to lock out an iPhone while the owner is driving. The defendant says newer models of its phones have that facility, but it is up to the owner of the phone to activate the lockout while driving. The plaintiff demands automatic activation along with the upgrade of all iPhones already in use.

Construction workers' accidents and illnesses are compensable

Those who work in construction nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, are always at risk of contracting an incurable, potentially fatal lung disease called silicosis. Grinding, cutting, blasting and conducting other activities involving stone, concrete and brick create dust that contains respirable crystalline silica can cause consequences as severe as the worst construction workers' accidents. Exposure to excessive levels of silica dust can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease and even lung cancer.

After several delays, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced that the final rule for silica control in the construction industry would become effective on Sept. 23. When compared to sand granules, the particles of silica dust is said to be 100 times smaller. The current standard of 250 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter over eight hours will be lowered to 50 micrograms in the new rule.

Auto defects: 700,000 pickup trucks pose deadly threats

Every year, thousands of people in Pennsylvania and other states suffer injuries caused by defective products. Many of the incidents that cause these injuries involve auto defects. The law requires manufacturers and others in the chain of supply to ensure that no products that fail to meet the consumers' ordinary expectations are introduced into the market. These entities can be held liable if dangerous or defective products cause injuries.

Sometimes, defects are only discovered after products have been purchased by hundreds of thousands of people, and even though unsafe products can be recalled, all those owning it already are in danger. This is currently the case for approximately 700,000 owners of 2014 GMC Sierras and Chevrolet Silverados. General Motors announced the recall of these pickup trucks after it was determined that a sudden loss of power could cause loss of control.

Products liability -- Range of dietary supplements recalled

Medical conditions can be cured, and lives can be saved by prescription drugs. As thousands of products liability lawsuits prove -- nationwide and in Pennsylvania -- prescription and over-the-counter drugs can also cause harm through severe adverse effects and even death. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines, policies and standards to ensure consumer safety through regulation of drugs, it could take a considerable time before dangerous drugs are removed from the market.

A recent FDA recall warned that a range of products manufactured by PharmaTech could potentially be contaminated with B. cepacia. This bacteria can cause severe respiratory infections that could be passed from one person to another, and it is resistant to most antibiotics. The recalled products included all products under three different labels -- Leader Brands, Major Pharmaceuticals and Rugby Laboratories.

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