Our Pittsburgh Law Firm’s Blog

Contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC with your comments about our personal injury blog. Please feel free to read through our variety of topics to stay educated on asbestos exposure in Pittsburgh, PA.

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

Photo of the rear end of a sedan after having the bumper knocked off in an auto accident

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?

Image of Johnson's Baby Powder that contains talcum powder

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.

Doctor discussing hernia repair with patient represented by personal injury law firm D'Amico Law Offices, LLC in Pittsburg, PA

What Patients Need to Know About Hernia Repair

Hernias are a common medical issue, and over one million repairs are performed every year in the United States alone. Hernias occur when the muscle and connective tissue around the belly are weak. Patients often feel discomfort, pressure, or a small bulge as organs push out through the softer tissue.

Today, a mesh product is often used to repair hernias. This product has been in uses for over 50 years, but more recently, it has been considered unsafe. If you are looking to file a hernia mesh lawsuit in Pittsburgh, PA, due to a defective product, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today for a consultation.

Commonly Asked Questions about Hernias & Repair

Q: Does a hernia need to be repaired?
A: Hernias can trap abdominal organs, including the intestines. Many doctors will recommend surgery to ensure this entrapment does not occur.

Q: Will mesh be used in the repair?
A: Though mesh is the most common product to repair hernias, it is not always necessary to repair a hernia.

Q: What are the advantages of using mesh?
A: The mesh, a flat sheet of prosthetic material, reduces the reoccurrence of hernias down to single-digit percentages.

Q: What are the problems with using mesh?
A: Since the mesh is a foreign object, it can become infected if it is contaminated during or after surgery.

Tape blocking off the site of asbestos removal after a claim was filed by D'Amico Law Offices, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA

Is There a Safe Amount of Asbestos Exposure?

The short answer is no. When it comes to asbestos exposure in Pittsburgh, PA, there is no safe amount that you can be exposed to without consequence. Asbestos can cause a variety of lung-related diseases and cancers after the fibers enter the body. These diseases take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop.

Exposure Can Happy Anywhere

Most people have been exposed to low levels of asbestos fibers at least once in their lifetime. Those who are exposed to higher amounts due to their work industry are at higher risk of developing detrimental diseases later in life. Exposure from any source will contribute towards your overall lifetime dose, which increases your risk for developing disease.

What Can You Do if You Are Exposed?

Though exposure does automatically increase your risk for health problems later in life, it does not guarantee you will develop them. All instances of exposure should be considered potentially harmful, and you should inform your doctor if you start to experience shortness of breath, coughing, or chest pains.

If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, contact our team at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC. Our lawyers will assist you with filing a claim to ensure proper compensation is delivered for your exposure.

Doctors operating on a client from personal injury law firm D'Amico Law Offices, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA

Preventing Wrong Site Surgery

Wrong site surgery is unfortunately still a common occurrence. Though there have been many attempts to resolve the issue and a universal prevention protocol in place, operations on the wrong side of the body, the wrong site, or the wrong patient still occur many times per week.

Surgery comes with its own multitude of risks, and should not be taken lightly by either the patient or the surgeon. When wrong site surgery is performed, it puts the patient at an unnecessary risk for complications. They also may need to go back under the knife to repair the incorrect operation and receive the right one.

Many of these cases are related to inconsistent practice or lack of education. One way to prevent this mishap is for the patient to confirm the surgical site as it is being marked. It is also vital for all operation staff to verify with each other the correct location, side, procedure, and patient.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a surgical error, call our law firm in Pittsburgh, PA, today. The team at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC will help you gather all of the details necessary to support your legal case. You can reach our team at (412) 906-8180 to schedule a consultation.

A mother holding her child in a bedroom after working with D'Amico Law Offices, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA

Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice

Many parents may ask themselves if their child’s cerebral palsy was preventable. Though the majority of cases are not, trauma during birth can potentially be the cause. Birth trauma can occur for a variety of reasons, one of which being medical negligence.

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect a person’s movement. It can affect body movement, muscle control and coordination, reflexes, posture, and balance. Though it is a life-long condition, symptoms can improve or worsen over time.

Birth injuries related to negligence can be a failure to carry out a necessary C-section, failure to properly monitor the child, and failure to use the required tools during delivery. You want to consult your child’s medical history with a reputable doctor to ensure negligence was not a part of your child’s birth.

If you believe medical malpractice in Pittsburgh, PA, caused injury to your child during birth, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC right away. Our legal team will consult with you to determine the details necessary to take your case to court. We have helped many families receive compensation for birth injuries and other medical malpractices, and we know precisely what to look for when investigating the scenario.

Doctor consulting a patient about their mesothelioma diagnosis

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Mesothelioma in Pittsburgh, PA, can be a scary diagnosis and can be detrimental to you or your loved one. Doctors will use a variety of tests to determine if you have mesothelioma cancer, and early detection is the best way to increase your chances of survival.

How Mesothelioma is Diagnosed

A cancer specialist will first test to see if any other more common disease is causing your symptoms. It is essential to rule out other respiratory disorders before a mesothelioma diagnosis to ensure the best treatment option is received. Your doctor will need a full medical history, which will include asking about asbestos exposure in your lifetime.

If any of the doctor’s tests show a potential for the disease, they will take a biopsy, which is the only test that can positively confirm mesothelioma.

Early Detection

Mesothelioma in Pittsburgh, PA, has a poor prognosis, but early detection can significantly improve the survival rate of many sufferers. Catching this disease before it spreads will increase treatment effectiveness, as well as leave the patient open to try more aggressive forms of treatment.

If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today. Our team will sit down with you and help you determine if you are eligible to take your asbestos exposure to court.

Construction worker installing insulation that is a common source of asbestos cases represented by D'Amico Law Offices, LLC

Should You Worry about Asbestos in the Home?

Asbestos was a popular material used during the 20th century, as it was able to provide insulation and act as a fire retardant. Unfortunately, this material causes severe health issues to those that are exposed and is now banned in the United States for a variety of uses. However, if you have an older home, should you be concerned about asbestos exposure in Pittsburgh, PA?

If you have a home built before 1980, there is most likely some form of asbestos inside, such as on the duct system or in your insulation. It can also be found in floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roofing, and siding. Though asbestos is a great cause for concern, the average homeowner does not need to worry about exposure. Asbestos-related diseases are caused by continued, high-levels of exposure to the material, primarily in those working with it directly. So long as any asbestos materials remain undisturbed in your home, there is no need for significant concern.

If you do find asbestos in your home, do not mess with it. The asbestos only becomes an issue once it is airborne, so if you see white tape on your ducts or have vermiculite insulation in your attic, leave it alone. You can have professionals come in to help resolve the problem if necessary, but unless you are making an addition to your home, disturbing the asbestos site is unlikely in day-to-day life.

If you or a loved one has been exposed due to someone else’s negligence, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today to schedule a consultation with our team.

Headshot photo of a doctor smiling with a stethoscope around her neck

3 Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

When you suffer from an injury that you believe was the result of your doctor or health care professional’s negligence, you may be wondering what your next steps are. You could file a medical malpractice lawsuit, but it may be difficult to determine what qualifies as a legitimate case.

Below are three common lawsuits for medical malpractice in Pittsburgh, PA.

  1. Misdiagnosis

When a doctor or practitioner fails to diagnose a condition accurately, it can lead to a medical malpractice case. One of the most common misdiagnosis is a heart attack. Failure to accurately diagnose a patient when they enter the office could result in devastating consequences and serious injuries.

  1. Surgical Errors

Another common medical malpractice case is where an error occurs during surgery. This could be anything from the surgical team leaving tools inside of the body or operating on the wrong side of the body. Though not all surgical errors can be life-threatening, it still requires the patient to undergo even more surgery and recovery than necessary.

  1. Birth Injuries

Many medical malpractice claims occur from birth injuries due to the negligence of the OBGYNs during childbirth. Shoulder dystocia, spinal cord injuries, and cerebral palsy are all considered birth injuries that could have been caused by a medical error.