Catastrophic Injuries

Takata Acknowledges a Defect in Air Bag Inflators

1 June 2015

A recent article has reported that the air bag manufacturer, Takata, has agreed to a national recall of certain types of their driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These air bag inflators were made with a propellant that degraded over time causing ruptures that have been linked to the death of six people worldwide. See, http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/DOT-action-on-takata-air-bag-defects

The number of vehicles to be recalled for defective air bag inflators has risen to almost 34 billion, nearly doubling the potential number of vehicles affected. Takata’s formerly limited regional recall’s of air bag inflators located in hot and humid climates has been expanded to a nationwide recall involving, more than 16 million vehicles passenger side air bag inflators, and over 17 million vehicles driver side air bag inflators.

The Department of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has required Takata to assist in all future actions, in addition to their cooperation in NHTSA’s current investigation and oversight of the air bag manufacturer. U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Fox, assures the public that the NHTSA is actively taking steps to ensure that the faulty inflators are replaced as quickly and efficiently as possible. NHTSA has created a new website to provide information regarding the status of recalls and the ongoing investigation. See www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight

No definitive root cause of the air bag inflator’s malfunction has been found. However, some early investigative results and engineering reports point to moisture infiltrating the inflators over extended periods of time as a possible factor.

Car accidents and product defects have devastating effects on families across the country. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is committed to assisting the many families whose lives have been forever tragically altered as a result of a significant personal injury or wrongful death due to a car accident or automobile defect. If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C., please contact us. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

Hazards Lurking In The Toy Aisle This Holiday Season

4 December 2014

Parents and caregivers should be aware that many toy hazards can be found on toy shelves this holiday season. Some dangers may be evident, however many hidden hazards exist. Please be sure you are informed about what hazards to look for, and importantly – do not assume a toy is safe merely because it is offered for sale. In some instances, testing is inadequate. Also, many existing regulations are inadequate, or have loopholes that allow defective toys to make their way into homes and schools.

A dangerous toy may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

The non-profit organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has been at the forefront of child safety issues for decades. Please check out its website at www.toysafety.org for this year’s “Ten Worst Toys” list, as well as other safety tips and information. A recent article regarding the 2014 list, as well as important related issues, can be found at http://www.nationaljournal.com/health-care/the-most-dangerous-toys-in-america-20141202

EXPLOSIONS CAUSE MASSIVE TAKATA AIRBAG RECALLS

17 November 2014

Nissan has recently increased the number of vehicles recalled in the United States for passenger airbags manufactured by the Japanese-based Takata. The massive airbag recall has affected over two dozen brands of vehicles in the United States.

Defective Takata air bags have been the subject of NHTSA safety alerts after reports of incidents in which the automobile restraint systems exploded and hurled metal shrapnel into the heads and bodies of drivers and passengers.

While airbags are one of the major safety innovations in the auto industry, the Takata recalls have now caused a shift in safety concerns for consumers.

At least two deaths and many injuries have been associated with the defective Takata air bags, which were installed in vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and BMW in various model years ranging from 2000 to 2008. About 5 million of the cars are Hondas.

These vehicles were all originally sold or currently registered in geographic locations associated with high absolute humidity, specifically, vehicles sold or currently registered in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Florida and adjacent counties in southern Georgia, as well as the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Safety regulators believe the problem might be associated with hot, humid climates. But other safety experts, such as Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, said it’s not clear how much of a factor weather has been, believing there should be a wider recall.

To read more about this topic please visit:

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-nissan-expands-us-recall-for-faulty-takata-air-bags-to-52738-vehicles-2014-11

Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has assisted many families over the years whose lives have been tragically and forever altered as the result of a significant personal injury or wrongful death due to a car accident or automobile defect.  If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C., please contact us. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

Stroller Activity Trays Recalled Due To Strangulation Hazard

3 September 2014

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall for about 860 Tray Vous™ snack and activity trays with connectors sold in the United States and Canada. The opening between the recalled tray and stroller seat bottom allows an unharnessed child’s body to pass through, but could trap a child’s head, posing a strangulation hazard.

The snack and activity trays have connectors that fit into strollers; the three-piece units include a black plastic tray with a cup holder, a left connector and a right connector.  The products were sold at Dainty Baby in Brooklyn, N.Y. and other juvenile product stores nationwide, and online at daintybaby.com, mystroller.com, pacifier.com and trayvous.com from May 2011 through June 2012 for about $50.

At any point during the infant swing design and manufacturing process, significant failures may contribute to products’ hazards, including (1) missteps during the early design stages; (2) inadequate testing to ensure safe performance; and (3) marketing efforts that include inadequate instructions and warnings, or even fail to include any relevant cautions. Even one act of negligence during the process from a product’s conception to its sale can cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death once the product reaches unsuspecting consumers.

If you or a family member have questions regarding this recall, or generally regarding personal injuries, a defective product or negligence, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Child Deaths Lead to Beanbag Chair Recall

22 August 2014

About 2.2 million bean bag chairs, made by Ace Bayou Corporation, are being recalled after two children were able to crawl inside, leading to their suffocation deaths. The chairs are made with zippers, which are easily opened by curious youngsters. A 13-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas, and a 3-year-old girl from Lexington, Kentucky, were found dead inside the chairs after they suffocated from a lack of air and inhaled the chair’s foam beads.

Significantly, the industry “voluntary” standard requires non-refillable bean bag chairs to have closed and permanently disabled zippers, to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Tragically and inexplicably, the standard was ignored by this manufacturer.

The chairs were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair and Walmart stores and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. They cost between $30 and $100 and were sold before July 2013. They come in all different colors, shapes, fabrics and sizes.

Suffocation hazards presented by children’s products, as well as products made for homes and schools where young children are expected to be living and plating, account for numerous deaths and injuries each year. A dangerous beanbag chair, or other furniture items such as cribs and juvenile beds,  may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

Parents and caregivers – please carefully inspect any such items prior to purchasing. Do not assume that because a product reaches retail shelves, it is necessarily safe. This example highlights that safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers.

If you or a member of your family has questions about a dangerous toy or hazardous product, please contact us. We will answer any questions you might have, and can advise regarding your legal rights.

Massachusetts sees an Overwhelming Jump in Hospital Mistakes

15 August 2014

Within the last year, Massachusetts acute-care hospitals reported over 750 serious medical errors and patient injuries. This number is a 70 percent jump from previous years, causing concern for Hospital executives, as well as the patients and their families who were harmed by these errors.

Health officials attribute this annual jump to the expanded definitions of what constitutes medical harm.

Some of the hospital errors reported include instances where patients underwent a procedure on the wrong body part, were burned by an operating room fire or were exposed to contaminated or improperly sterilized equipment.  Patient falls, assaults, serious bed sores and suicides are also amongst the list of reported errors.

Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, said it’s unclear whether the increase in incident rates is attributable to the state broadening the type of incidents hospitals are now required to report.

Since 2008, Massachusetts hospitals have been required to notify the health department, patients and their families, about serious reportable medical errors.

Prior to 2012, hospitals were required to only report errors which resulted in a patient having a serious disability. Now, hospitals are required to report any “serious injury”, which could be a plausible cause for the increase in mistakes.

Despite this, hospitals still need to improve some of their practices. The broader reporting requirements do not eliminate the occurrence of medical errors. Biondolillo states that hospital reports for the 2014 year should give regulators a better idea of whether errors are rising because no more major changes to the notification system are planned. “We are always concerned. One of anything is too many,” she said. “But next year we’re going to be able to give a much more definitive answer to that question.”

If you or a family member have suffered significant injuries due to a medical error or if a loved one has suffered a wrongful death as the result of the negligence of a medical professional, please contact one of our personal injury attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

Seven People Dead After Fire In Lowell, Massachusetts

10 July 2014

According to authorities, seven people died in an overnight fire at an apartment building in Lowell, Massachusetts. All of the victims were discovered in two third-floor apartments. The origin of the fire remains unknown. An extensive investigation, including the fire department as well as State police, is ongoing.

Residence fires unfortunately are a fact of life. Although we hope of course that we and our loved ones will not be involved in any fire incidents at home, it is important to understand your rights should such a fire occur. Proper investigations will focus on the existence, placement and operation of smoke and fire detectors; access to emergency exit routes; and other related potential building code violations. The first step is knowing whether or not you even have grounds to file a claim for your injuries. The accident scene should be investigated, coordinated (when necessary) with a proper team of professionals and experts, examining all evidence relating to the cause of the fire.

If you or a family member have suffered significant burn injuries as the result of a fire, or if a loved one has suffered a wrongful death as the result of burn injuries, please contact one of our personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

2 Year Old Boy At Daycare Dies In Fall From Roof

29 May 2014

Daylan Walker, a 2-year-old who had been dropped off at a Columbia Road day care where he had started only two weeks earlier, somehow made his way to the roof of the building. Daylan fell from the roof in an unimaginable tragedy for his family.

Investigations are ongoing, probing the question of how did the young boy wandered out of his day care, climbed four flights of stairs and push through a door onto the roof.

Boston’s Inspectional Services Department issued a violation, finding the door to the roof didn’t fully shut automatically and had to be manually pulled closed. The day care at 129 Columbia Road is licensed to Marisol Rondon-Ramos for up to six children by the Department of Early Education and Care. The building is owned by Urban Edge and managed by Winn­ Residential.

The most important aspect of any child care is the safety and supervision of children. We too often we hear about the neglect many children are subjected to while in a nursery or daycare setting. Claims have arisen when children are neglected by staff members who are inadequately trained or screened. Many day care facilities do not properly educate their staff, resulting in the hiring of careless employees. Many times there is inadequate staff to supervise and protect children, which can lead to tragedy.

Since these innocent victims cannot protect themselves, it is critical to report any instance of suspected child abuse or neglect. There are many state agencies that can assist you in these matters.

Concerns also may arise when a property owner (or a party in control of the property) fails to provide security to make the property safe. In such circumstances, the owner/occupier can be held responsible and legally liable for inadequate security.

At the Boston law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our injury attorneys are at the forefront of protecting victim’s rights by bringing personal injury cases to court for inadequate security in premises liability cases. If you have questions about the laws relating to premises security, feel free to contact the law office of Swartz and Swartz, P.C. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts, office at (617) 742-1900, or if you live outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Federal Authorities Investigating Circus Incident Involving Broken Clip

7 May 2014

On Sunday May 4, 2014, eight circus acrobats suffered injuries when they fell to the ground while performing a hair-hanging stunt. Evidence including a broken clip and other material has been turned over to federal workplace safety investigators. A ninth performer, a dancer below the falling Ringling Brothers group, was also hurt.

The carabiner clip was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that was suspending the acrobats during the performance in front of 3,900 people at a Rhode Island venue. It is not yet clear why the 4- to 5-inch steel clip broke into three pieces, one fire investigator stated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to answer this question, and many others.

Reportedly, the cause of the broken clip has been reduced to two possibilities: a manufacturing defect or improper use (such as the manner in which it was installed in the rigging).

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, a manufacturer’s failure to address safety issues associated with its products may contribute to a product’s hazards. Such efforts are of critical importance for devices that are intended to be safety devices, such as carabiner clips. Our law firm has wide experience in cases involving material failure, including C-clamps, eye screws, piping and numerous other metal components. If you or a family member have suffered significant personal injuries result from the use of a defective product, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states, call toll-free  1-800-545-3732.

Suspected Gas Explosion in Dorchester, MA Injures At Least 12 People

23 April 2014

A suspected gas explosion on last week damaged a multi-family house and initiated a three-alarm fire in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The 2 1⁄2-story house is located at 27 Hansborough St., near Harvard Street and Blue Hill Avenue. At least 12 people were reported injured – some of those people were reportedly outside the building.

The house was still standing, with large holes blown in the walls. A door was also blown across the street, according to fire officials.

There were reports at the scene of a “smell of gas” just prior to the explosion. As of last week, investigators had not yet confirmed a gas leak.

Factors causing or contributing to gas explosions resulting in burn injuries or wrongful death have included improper gas line locations, faulty parts and equipment in mobile homes, workplace equipment, camping equipment, and defectively designed propane stoves. One important signal indicating the potential for a catastrophic event is the odor of gas (note that although gas has no smell, laws require that odorants be added for safety purposes). Should a gas leak be suspected, the property owner or occupants should immediately evacuate, then contact the proper authorities.

If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries from a fire, explosion or electrocution, contact a personal injury attorney at our Boston law office. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights.

By James A. Swartz of Swartz & Swartz, P.C.Permalink

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