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Defective Medical Devices: How to Build a Product Liability Case

When a patient is injured because of a defective medical device, they need to know their rights. People who have been hurt can file a product liability claim against the responsible parties to get compensation. Product liability focuses on whether or not the product was reasonably safe. The product’s manufacturer or retailer is typically liable if the product contains an unreasonably dangerous defect. Here is some advice that can help injured patients.

Gather the Facts

An empty operating room with medical lights and an operating table in the middle of the room

A good first step for any patient who’s trying to build a product liability case is to gather as much evidence as possible. Liability claims are complicated, so injured parties need to document the defective product that was used, how they were hurt, and the total cost of the damages. The following are a few categories of product liability defects:

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Marketing defects (failure to warn)

Work With the Right Lawyer

As with any case, having a knowledgeable lawyer is vital. An experienced defective medical device attorney will be well-versed in the nuances of product liability cases, including common defense tactics, how long the case might take, and the types of compensation to include in the claim. The attorney will also reach out to the potential defendants in the case, such as the product’s manufacturer, the testing laboratory, and the doctor or medical clinic. These conversations are critical for collecting evidence for defective medical device claims.

Prepare for Challenges

Building a case for a product liability claim can be tricky. Claimants should be prepared for bumps in the road. The manufacturers of medical devices tend to be large corporations with deep pockets. They may try to delay the case or prove that another party was responsible for the issues. Also, the device that caused the injury must be kept in the same condition it was in when the patient was injured. It’s critical that the device isn’t tampered with before being inspected for defects, or the case may be dismissed.

If you have been hurt by a defective medical device, the attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC can help determine if you have a viable claim. We’re a family-run law firm that is dedicated to assisting clients in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-906-8180 or send us an email.

Warning Signs of Asbestos Exposure

Those who are exposed to asbestos fibers in the course of their life are at risk of developing Asbestosis, a chronic lung disease initiated by inhaling asbestos fibers. Depending on the length of time exposed, as well as the number of fibers ingested, symptoms can range from mild to severe. These symptoms typically appear in individuals anywhere from 10 to 40 years after the initial exposure, according to data from the Mayo Clinic. As the symptoms are usually tied to other lung oriented diseases, quick recognition is critical. Below are some key warning signs to look out for.

Shortness of Breath

construction worker checking location site

When asbestos exposure goes unchecked, the ingested fibers can cause scar tissue to form in the lungs over time. Shortness of breath can be the first indicator that something is amiss. When scar tissue forms in the lungs, breathing becomes more difficult until the lungs cannot expand and contract normally.

Fatigue

After shortness of breath comes general fatigue. Fatigue is typically classified as extreme tiredness or a feeling of being tired beyond that which is typical for a given person. If a person can’t seem to summon the same energy they once had, consider whether exposure is possible. When paired with the next symptom, fatigue can also be an indicator that an asbestos-related illness is forming.

Swollen Fingertips

A telltale symptom of asbestos ingestion, swollen fingertips occur in at least half of all reported asbestos exposure cases. This phenomenon is also known as clubbing, as the fingertips become broader and rounded.

Wheezing and Dry Cough

Wheezing is denoted by a whistling sound when breathing, especially when taking deep breaths. For non-smokers, this can be an important indicator of asbestos exposure. As scar tissue continues to form over time, a prolonged, persistent cough can also be a strong clue. Dry coughs can form as long as 40 years after the fact, so it is important to consult a physician at the first sign of an abnormal cough.

At D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, we understand the pain and trauma involved with asbestos exposure. By handling each case with a personal touch, we hope to foster a trusting relationship with our clients. If you live in the Pittsburg area and have worked in an industry where asbestos exposure is common and have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact our team of legal professionals today by calling (412) 906-8180 for a free consultation about your case.

How to Tell If a Case Qualifies for Medical Malpractice

Although not every medical procedure results in a favorable outcome, in some cases, injuries can be the direct result of a physician’s negligence. Medical malpractice is the legal term for an injury inflicted on a patient due to a doctor or health care professional’s negligence or recklessness. However, not all cases of adverse results can be attributed to this offense. Becoming familiar with the following qualifications can offer insight for determining a viable medical malpractice lawsuit.

Basic Requirements for a Claim

A layout of doctor's surgery tools

First, a patient must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed in the first place. If the accused doctor was hired and provided treatment to the patient involved in the claim, this identifies the doctor as the potential issuer of improper treatment. The next burden of proof is highlighting that negligence occurred on the doctor’s behalf. It must be clear that another doctor, under the same circumstances, would have provided adequate care. This claim operates on the basis of “reasonably skillful and careful” treatment, which dictates most malpractice cases. The harm caused also shouldn’t be the result of a pre-existing issue; it must be proven that the doctor’s actions caused the injury that he or she is being sued for. Lastly, the kind of harm, or damages, the malpractice caused must be determined: physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, or lost work and earning capacity.

Types of Medical Malpractice

If a capable doctor would have diagnosed a patient and that diagnosis could have led to a better medical outcome, there may be grounds for a Failure to Diagnose medical malpractice claim. Similarly, if a doctor employs a treatment method that deviates from standard treatment provided by other qualified doctors, the patient may have grounds for Improper Treatment. Cases like this may include preventable conditions like birth trauma.

Another instance of an actionable claim could include an appropriate treatment method, but the evidence shows that the doctor failed to administer it properly. In addition, every doctor is responsible for warning patients of the known risks of a given treatment. If a patient would have forgone treatment or a procedure if the doctor or health care professional hadn’t failed to provide a proper warning, there may be grounds for an Informed Consent malpractice claim.

Understanding the requirements for a medical malpractice lawsuit may require navigating a sea of medical and legal jargon. At D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, we guide our Pittsburgh clients through issues that can sometimes be complex and confusing to help them better understand the situation. If you believe you’ve been involved in a case of medical malpractice, allow our attorneys to support you through this process. Contact us at 412-906-8180 and schedule a consultation today.

The Symptoms and Risks of Hip Replacement Device Failure

Hip replacements often last for 25 years or longer, but complications can affect their longevity. A failed hip replacement device can quickly become detrimental to the user’s health and comfort. Here are a few of the warning signs and risks of a hip replacement device failure.

Signs of a Defective or Failing Hip Replacement Device

x ray of a hip replacement

Metal hip replacement devices, especially metal-on-metal implants, can fail for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to a defect in the medical device itself. At other times, failure can be attributed to how the user moves or bears weight on a daily basis. One of the most common signs that a hip replacement device has failed is pain and/or swelling in the hips, legs, lower back, or groin. Other symptoms include difficulty standing or walking, decreases in flexibility, limping or unusual movements while walking, and creaking or squeaking sounds coming from the hip area.

Unique Risks for Women

Because women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, they are also more likely to receive hip replacements. Women tend to have wider hips and larger hip sockets, which can increase their chances of experiencing hip replacement failure. Women who have had a hip replacement, especially those who have also experienced bone weakness or mobility issues, should regularly consult with their doctor to ensure that their prosthetic is working as intended.

Additional Risk Factors

Other hip replacement recipients may have an increased risk for device failure and complications. These include people who are especially physically active, such as athletes or patients with jobs that require manual labor. Being overweight or obese can place excess stress on the hips and thighs, which can cause a hip replacement device to fail prematurely.

Hip replacement devices can have issues for a number of reasons. If you suspect that your hip replacement failure was the result of a defective medical device or medical malpractice, the attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC can help. To schedule a consultation at our office in Pittsburgh, call 412-906-8180.

Are You at Risk for Benzene Exposure?

Benzene is a colorless flammable liquid used in manufacturing processes and created by fires, cigarette smoke, and other forms of combustion. Exposure to this substance can cause health problems in humans, including certain types of cancer. Benzene is categorized as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, by the Environmental Protection Agency. While all individuals are exposed to low levels of environmental benzene, certain people may come in contact with dangerous levels. Understanding the risk factors for benzene exposure can allow individuals to decrease or eliminate those risks.

Occupational Exposure

Large grassy field with machinery off to the side

Those who work in industries that rely on benzene are at the highest risk for exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Example industries include but are not limited to benzene production, industrial steel, medical and chemical laboratories, gas stations, printing, and rubber tire manufacture. The CDC estimates that at least 238,000 Americans fall into this risk category. This risk is especially prevalent among older Americans who worked in these industries before stricter regulations for workplace exposure were introduced in recent decades.

Urban Exposure

Individuals who reside in urban and heavily developed industrial areas are more susceptible to benzene exposure than those who live in rural or suburban settings. The presence of nearby gas stations, highways with heavy traffic, petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, and hazardous waste sites also increases risk. Because the amount of benzene in gasoline has been limited by federal and state regulations in the 1980s and beyond, these risks are higher for older adults.

Smoking

The CDC notes that those who smoke cigarettes have about 10 times the daily benzene intake of nonsmokers. The agency estimates that about half of U.S. benzene exposure can be attributed to cigarette smoke.

Chemical Exposure

Using chemical products containing benzene in an enclosed space or unventilated area could raise the risk for benzene-related health problems. Examples include certain art supplies, solvents, glues, paints, and other fume-releasing substances.

Individuals who develop health problems after occupational benzene exposure could be eligible for legal damages. According to the American Cancer Society, this substance is linked to the development of leukemia and other blood disorders. Contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC for a consultation in the Pittsburgh area with our experienced attorneys.

A Brief History of Asbestos

Many Americans know asbestos as a toxic substance that can cause life-threatening illnesses. However, it once was considered an efficient and safe material for construction projects. Here’s a brief history of the material.

The Discovery of Asbestos

Close up of a woman wearing a surgical mask

Although asbestos was used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and even craftsmen in the Stone Age, it wasn’t until 1858 that asbestos was commonly used in the United States. It became common when The Johns Company began mining it for use in the United States and Canada during the Industrial Revolution. Because asbestos is resistant to chemicals, heat, water, and electricity, it was commonly used as an insulator during many industrial processes. However, it soon became apparent that asbestos was causing widespread health concerns.

Rising Health Concerns

In 1918, the U.S. government recognized the health risk after reports of early death in asbestos workers became common. In 1930, a doctor named E.R.A. Merewether conducted a clinical examination of hundreds of asbestos workers, finding that one in four was afflicted by a condition called asbestosis. He also concluded that not only workers but also those exposed to asbestos products may be at risk, as there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure.

Connection with Cancer

Many asbestos workers began developing lung cancer as the years went on. In 1949, Dr. Wilhelm Heuper, a physician and contributor to the National Cancer Institute, warned the general population of the connection between asbestos and cancer risk. This was after the first report of a mesothelioma-like tumor in 1943. Mesothelioma, a condition characterized by a tumor that can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous), was linked to asbestos in studies conducted between the 1950s and ’60s. However, the asbestos industry continued to sell and install asbestos without warning workers well into the 1960s.

Seeking Compensation

After the tragedy of long-term exposure to a toxic material, those affected by the asbestos industry soon began receiving compensation. In 1967, a UK citizen was the first to file a successful personal injury claim due to mesothelioma, which was upheld by an appeals court in 1971. In the same year, a federal court issued a verdict of $68,000 for victims which was also upheld by an appeals court. Currently, nearly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, according to the CDC. Many of these victims are still eligible for compensation.

Mesothelioma is a devastating condition that many could have avoided. Unfortunately, unethical practices by the asbestos industry had adverse effects on its workers. If you are the victim of illness due to asbestos exposure, or any other personal injury, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today at 412-906-8180 to determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Take These Five Steps Immediately After a Car Crash

Silver sedan that has damage on its back driver side

Even after a minor car crash, drivers might feel dazed, shaken, or even in shock. However, taking the right measures to document the incident and seek medical attention is essential even in these hectic moments. These are the critical steps to take immediately when an auto accident occurs.

Check for Injuries

As soon as it’s safe to do so, drivers should pull over to a safe location and check themselves for injuries. Those who can safely exit the vehicle can also confirm whether other drivers involved in the incident have been injured.

Call the Authorities

Next, the driver should dial 911. If necessary, the dispatcher will send an ambulance to the scene. Even when no one is injured, police should be called to document the incident and release an official report. In Pennsylvania, drivers are legally required to report an accident to the police when injury or major damage is involved. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation requires all accidents be reported within five days—even minor accidents.

Exchange Information

Each driver should provide his or her contact and insurance policy information to the other drivers. This information will be required to report the car accident to the appropriate auto insurance companies. Drivers should avoid discussing injuries, fault, or the extent of damage with witnesses or other involved drivers at the scene, though everyone should still be polite and cordial.

Document the Scene

The driver should take photographs of the damage to his or her car, the surrounding property, and the entirety of the accident scene. He or she should also gather contact information from bystanders who saw the crash and are willing to serve as witnesses.

File a Claim

The accident should be reported to the driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. The report should include all pertinent details, such as the police or DMV report, a personal account of the incident, photos of the scene, and contact information for eyewitnesses.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need a personal injury attorney to help you with your case. D’Amico Law Offices, LLC is a law firm consisting of experienced auto accident attorneys that represent Pittsburgh drivers. Contact us online or call 412-906-8180 to schedule a consultation.

What Is Talcum Powder?

bottle of johnson's baby powder sitting on a wooden surface

Talc is a mineral clay that can be found across the globe. It’s used in a wide range of industries, from paper manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to food and beauty. Talcum powder, also known as baby powder, is talc in powdered form and has been used for cosmetic purposes for decades. Recent concerns about the link between talcum powder and cancer have resulted in a number of successful lawsuits against manufacturers who sell products that contain it.

A Brief History

Talc is the softest mineral on Earth and has been used in a variety of cosmetics for over a century. In the early 1900s, Johnson & Johnson began marketing a baby powder made of talc, with mothers as their target demographic. It absorbs moisture well, cuts down on friction, and is very effective at preventing diaper rash. Talcum powder was also commonly used for feminine hygiene and was applied to surgical gloves and condoms.

Concerns About Talc

In the 1970s, researchers began sounding the alarm about the link between talcum powder and cancer. There was a concern regarding cross-contamination with talc and asbestos because when talc is mined, veins of asbestos often occur within talc deposits. Asbestos has been linked to harmful conditions, including mesothelioma, for decades. The use of talcum powder around the female genital area has also possibly been linked to ovarian and cervical cancer.

Legal Action

In 2016, juries awarded more than $120 million in damages to plaintiffs who sued Johnson & Johnson after developing cancers linked to talcum powder use. In July 2018, Johnson & Johnson paid out $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who claimed that their ovarian cancer was caused by the company’s baby powder. As of 2019, the company faces ongoing litigation involving nearly 12,000 talcum powder claims.

The experienced attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC believe in holding manufacturers accountable for exposing people to dangerous products. If you or a loved one is in the Pittsburgh area and has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer that may have been caused by talcum powder, we can investigate and assess the strength of your claim to help you determine if legal action is warranted. Schedule a consultation with our team today by contacting us at 412-906-8180.