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Understanding Defective Product Qualifications in Pennsylvania

Tablet with keyboard and a cracked screen on a deskIn Pennsylvania, plaintiffs can bring a cause of action to a manufacturer, seller, or distributor of a product that is allegedly defective if it falls under one of these categories: strict liability, breach of warranty, or negligence. Cases of product liability typically utilize the legal theory of strict liability, resulting from defective design, manufacturing defect, or lack of sufficient instructions or warnings for a product. So, what qualifies as a defective product? Keep in mind, to establish recovery when alleging another party defectively designed a product, injured parties must prove the product caused unreasonably serious injury based on two different standards used in Pennsylvania court.

Consumer Expectations Standard

Pennsylvania law defines a defect as a condition, upon normal use, that makes the product dangerous beyond the reasonable consumer’s expectations. This standard is based on the expectation that reasonable consumers understand the defective product’s dangerous nature. Factors relevant in determining a reasonable consumer’s expectations of a product are its intended use, nature of the product, the target user, the identity of the user, and expressed or implied depictions by the manufacturer or seller.

Risk-Utility Standard

The risk-utility standard is based on a risk-reward or cost-benefit analysis. This standard surveys if the probability and seriousness of the injury are outweighed by the cost or burden of preventing the harm related to the injury. In other words, you have to prove the injury could’ve been avoided if the product was made correctly and cost-efficiently. For example, if your tablet explodes in the dryer, the court would most likely not find the product to be defective. If your tablet explodes in your bag; however, it’s more likely to be determined as faulty.

Statute of Limitations

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on a defective product is two years. The clock for the statute will typically start when the injury from the product occurs. Pennsylvania also uses the discovery rule when an injured party doesn’t immediately discover the damage. In those cases, the statute begins when the injured party discovers or should have discovered the product caused the injury.

Consumers have a right to presume a product for sale is safe for its intended purpose. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, the attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC may be able to help. We are a team dedicated to providing you effective and compassionate legal representation. Give us a call at 412-906-8180 or contact one of our attorneys today to see if we can help.

The Harmful Effects of Benzene

Besides causing harmful impacts on the bone marrow, benzene exposure can adversely affect the respiratory tract and mucus membranes. As a known carcinogen, this chemical agent is also associated with aplastic anemia and leukemia, among other severe or life-threatening side effects.

Severe Implications of Benzene Exposure

A cigarette sitting on the edge of a railing

Adverse effects of the chemical substance depend on the level of exposure, and the duration one is exposed to the harmful chemical. In the short term, benzene can irritate the respiratory tract as well as the eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. Other health concerns include drowsiness, irregular heart rhythm, and loss of consciousness. Because of its carcinogenic nature, prolonged exposure to the harmful chemical can cause life-threatening health conditions such as variations in bone marrow production. Changes in the production of red blood cells can cause anemia and several types of blood cancers like aplastic anemia and other forms of leukemia.

Prevalent Causes of Benzene Exposure

Acute exposure to benzene mostly occurs among industrial site workers involved in the production of petrochemicals, oil, and gas refining. It’s also an occupational hazard for individuals associated with rubber tire manufacturing, storage or transit of benzene-based petroleum products, and coal chemical manufacturing. Workers exposed to substantial quantities of benzene in their places of work are at considerable risk, and some of these incidents are eligible for compensation. Seeking the assistance of an attorney is instrumental in helping an individual build a strong case.

Benzene Products

Other than being a natural constituent of crude oil and gasoline, benzene is also a byproduct of cigarette smoke. This substance also ranks among the most typically used chemicals in the United States in items including plastics, resins, nylon, synthetic fibers, detergents, drugs, pesticides, rubbers, and dyes. Outdoor exposure risks include tobacco smoke, odors from gas stations, automobile exhaust, and industrial emissions. Domestic sources mainly involve defective products like glue, paint, furniture wax or polish, and detergents. Hazardous waste sites also frequently have considerably high concentrations of benzene, and—from these sites—benzene can percolate into the soil and result in well water contamination. Another primary risk includes leakage from underground benzene holding tanks into the surrounding soil.

Due to several statute limitations to instituting claims of this nature, an individual should contact an attorney at the earliest possible moment if they want to seek legal redress after benzene exposure. At D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, we offer no-cost consultations so that you can ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today to learn more.

Three Types of Ovarian Cancer Risks

Ovarian cancer affects one of three different cell types in the organ. Depending on the affected cell, the woman may develop one of three types of ovarian cancer. Understanding the symptoms of these diseases may facilitate early detection and treatment.

Epithelial Cell Carcinoma

A person typing on a lap top

This ovarian cancer type is the most common, representing about 89% of cases, according to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. It occurs when cancer develops in the cells that line the ovaries. Because ovarian epithelial cell carcinoma rarely shows symptoms early on, diagnosis is often delayed until the disease has progressed. Women are more likely to develop this type of cancer with a family history of ovarian cancer and colon cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer, or ovarian cancer alone. This risk is even more pronounced if you have two or more first-degree family members with this type of cancer history. Individuals with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which indicate a high risk of breast cancer, also have an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. Treatment for epithelial cell carcinoma depends on the extent of the disease’s spread. In the early stages, the doctor typically recommends surgery to remove the cancerous growth, often followed by chemotherapy.

Germ Cell Ovarian Cancer

Several forms of ovarian cancer fall into this category, which develops from the body’s egg cells. Women over 20 are at the highest risk for this type of cancer, which multiplies and can become quite large. However, people who develop germ cell cancer often have positive outcomes with surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy.

Stromal Cell Ovarian Cancer

This rare form of cancer develops from the ovarian cells. Tumors associated with stromal cell ovarian cancer grow slowly and secrete hormones. Sometimes, women with this type of cancer experience facial hair growth, acne, or uterine bleeding. Because these symptoms lead to early diagnosis, patients usually show good outcomes with surgical treatment.

In general, ovarian cancer is associated with advanced age, family history, genetics, and hormone replacement therapy. Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston shows that some cases of this disease develop after exposure to talcum powder. If you or a family member has developed ovarian cancer symptoms after using this product, schedule a meeting with D’Amico Law Offices, LLC, to determine whether you have a valid product liability lawsuit. Contact us at 412-906-8180 for a consultation with our Pittsburgh attorneys.

Four Common Car Accident Injuries

While many car accidents result only in minor cuts and bruises, others can sometimes cause serious personal injuries. Because of physical forces, positioning, and other factors, some types of injuries occur more often than others. Understanding the symptoms of common car accident injuries can help you determine when to seek medical care after a collision.

Soft Tissue Injuries

A person driving a car in the rain

These injuries affect the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the body, also known as soft tissue. The sudden impact that happens in a collision often damages the soft tissue in the head and neck, causing whiplash. Sprains to the middle and lower back are also common since the impact imposes sudden movement on the spine. Pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility characterize the soft tissue injuries that occur in a car accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

When the head collides with the window, dashboard, or steering wheel in a car accident, traumatic brain injury can result. Depending on the speed and force, the effects of these injuries can range from a concussion to a long-lasting coma. Some individuals experience permanent issues with cognitive function. See a doctor right away if you or a loved one displays unconsciousness, confusion, vision problems, hearing loss, mood changes, forgetfulness, or severe headaches after a collision.

Broken Bones

Temporary or permanent disability can result from severe bone fractures. Common car accident fractures include injuries to the arms, legs, skull, and spinal vertebrae. When broken ribs occur, the person may also have injuries to the internal organs.

Psychological Damage

Doctors are just beginning to understand the long-term mental health effects a traumatic event like a car accident can cause. A serious injury can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cause symptoms that interfere with normal functions at work, school, and home. Auto accident injuries are also associated with psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

If you become unable to work and pay medical bills after a serious injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Pennsylvania residents can file a legal claim for the costs associated with an accident in which another driver was at fault. For a consultation about your case, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC. Call 412-906-8180 to talk to our experienced attorneys serving Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that grows in the mesothelium, a thin tissue that lines most of the body’s organs. Most cases of mesothelioma result from workplace exposure to asbestos. This disease spreads aggressively and does not have a cure.

The Risk for Mesothelioma

Purple and white swirls

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth and used in the construction industry because of its strong fibers. For example, it is often a component of flooring, roofing, and insulation. The dust created when asbestos is disrupted may be swallowed or inhaled by those who are exposed. Over time, these dust particles create cell changes that cause mesothelioma. This process occurs very slowly. Many people who have mesothelioma are not diagnosed for two to six decades after exposure, according to mesotheliomahelp.org.

Not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos gets mesothelioma. If you have lived with someone who worked with asbestos, you may also be at risk. Risk is also higher for those with a family history of this cancer and those who have had chest radiotherapy to treat previous cancer.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma Center reports that signs of this type of cancer vary depending on the affected organs. Pleural mesothelioma, which grows in the lung tissue, causes coughing, pain while coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and skin lumps on the chest. Peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the abdomen, causes abdominal pain and swelling as well as nausea. Both types of mesothelioma result in unexplained weight loss. Though mesothelioma can affect other organs, such as the heart and testicles, these cases are quite rare.

Treating Mesothelioma

While no cure exists for this cancer, treatments can help reduce complications and discomfort. Without treatment, a person who has mesothelioma will have trouble breathing and swallowing, increased pain, and fluid accumulation in the chest cavity.

Treatment options depend on how much the cancer has spread as well as the person’s individual health goals. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue and built-up fluid, which can make it easier to breathe and reduce the pain associated with mesothelioma. For some patients, chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells may be appropriate, along with newer treatment modalities such as immunotherapy.

Were you exposed to asbestos while employed in construction, shipbuilding, steel, or another industry? You may be eligible for legal damages if your employer acted negligently and risked worker safety. D’Amico Law Offices, LLC assists clients in Pittsburgh with personal injury cases, including mesothelioma lawsuits. Call 412-906-8180 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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.