Articles Posted in Defective Product

1415857667lnxuo-300x225Drivers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and across the U.S. are being urged by automakers to check their vehicles for airbag recalls as another death was confirmed this month related to a Takata airbag inflator. The vehicle involved in the fatality, a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck, was part of a major recall and issued an urgent “do not drive” warning in 2018. It had yet to undergo repairs. Additional fatalities believed to be caused by malfunctioning airbags recently prompted Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) to issue an urgent “do not drive” order for certain 2005-2010 motor vehicles. Makes and models include the Dodge Charger, Magnum, and Challenger, and the Chrysler 300. The company is urging drivers of these cars who have not yet undergone a vehicle inspection in accordance with previous recall campaigns to not operate the vehicle until they have it inspected and repaired as deemed necessary. Attorney David Tapalian has helped clients throughout RI and MA who have been injured in auto accidents due to airbags and vehicle malfunctions. A faulty airbag can cause serious personal injury and even death. While airbags save the lives of thousands each year in car crashes, a defective airbag can dangerously put a driver and passengers in harm’s way.

Why are Some Airbags Dangerous?

Over time, when exposed to high heat and humid conditions, it’s been shown the metal parts inside the defective airbag may rupture. These explosions of shrapnel can result in severe injuries or death to the driver and/or their passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed at least 22 deaths in the U.S. due to defective Takata airbag inflators, and over 400 alleged injuries. Takata supplied these defective airbags to a large number of automakers, resulting in one of the biggest recalls in U.S. history. According to the NHTSA, approximately 67 million air bags are included in the recall in tens of millions of vehicles.

file0001452955445-2-300x179Driving the roads of Rhode Island at night and another car is coming toward you in the opposite direction, do you ever feel like you’re being blinded by the other vehicle’s headlights? Typically, we blame it on the other driver forgetting to turn off their high beams, but lately it seems to happen more often with just regular headlight use. After a blinding encounter like this, sometimes it can take more than 10 seconds for your eyes to readjust. As Providence personal injury lawyer David Tapalian knows, taking your eyes off the road for even a mere few seconds can be the difference between getting home safely and being involved in a serious night-time car accident.

You may find it reassuring to know that these seemingly brighter headlights are not just your imagination. There’s no denying the automotive industry has made tremendous safety improvements over the years, including improvements in lighting technology. Sometimes, however, these enhancements lead to an alternative problem, for instance the blinding glare of LED and high-intensity headlights. There are various reasons for these brighter lights causing a dangerous distraction to drivers, one being the prevalence of SUV’s and tall pickups, as well as small, short cars. The physical placement of headlights on a taller vehicle, such as an SUV, are going to be mounted higher and when the lights shine towards a shorter car, it can be directly into the driver’s eyes. Complaints of blinding glare from these headlights have increased greatly, according to the NHTSA. Being that over half of the nation’s motor vehicle accidents happen in the dark, as a personal injury law firm helping Rhode Island car accident victims, we feel it’s a crucial element for drivers to be aware of. 

Reasons for the Blinding Glare

law gavel
In what may be the largest child wrongful death settlement in U.S. history, Swedish furniture chain Ikea reached a $46 million settlement with a California couple whose 2-year-old son was killed in a tragic accident. The fatal accident occurred when an Ikea dresser tipped over and crushed the toddler in 2017. The young boy, Jozef Dudek, had been put down for a nap when the incident occurred. As a Rhode Island wrongful death lawyer, Attorney David Tapalian fully understands that no amount of money can ever make up for the tragic loss of a loved one, especially a young child.

Injuries Leading Cause of Death for Children

Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and furniture tipping is more common, and dangerous, than one thinks. Every 30 minutes, a child is sent to the emergency room because of tipping furniture, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and a child dies every ten days. Sadly, most of these tip-over incidents are preventable.

lawn-chemicals-300x199In a milestone case expected to be the first of many, a jury unanimously awarded a 46-year-old man $289 million in a lawsuit filed against Monsanto Company. Monsanto is the maker of farming products and perhaps best known for developing Roundup, a popular weed killer used for decades on crops, lawns, golf courses, and gardens all over the world. The plaintiff, 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson, was diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that kills approximately 20,000 people in the U.S. each year. The jury ruled that Johnson’s years as a school groundskeeper using Roundup and Ranger Pro, a similar herbicide, on a daily basis contributed to his cancer.  As Providence, RI personal injury attorneys, Tapalian Law has heard a lot of exchanges surrounding this landmark product liability lawsuit. Rhode Islanders, and others across the country, are questioning if they too could unknowingly be exposed to potentially cancer-causing chemicals in their everyday lives.

Potential Cancer-Causing Chemical in Roundup

The potentially cancer-causing chemical at the forefront of the lawsuit is glyphosate. Glyphosate is an active ingredient in both Roundup and Ranger Pro. Numerous studies claim a link between glyphosate and several cancers, the most thoroughly researched being non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), released a report that categorized glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Some countries are attempting to ban glyphosate products while the state of California has added a label to glyphosate products warning they contain a chemical known to cause cancer.

Coshocton_Fair_2011_008-1-300x214Polaris Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of recreational off-road vehicles, has agreed to pay a $27.25 million civil penalty for failing to immediately report to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) defects in its off-road vehicles, also known as off-highway vehicles (OHVs). CPSC determined that the defects could cause an unreasonable risk of serious personal injury or death to recreational vehicle drivers and passengers. According to the CPSC, which is tasked with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer product use, injuries, death, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the United States over $1 trillion each year. Aside from monetary damage, as Providence personal injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows that serious personal injury and death caused by one of these incidents has life-long enduring effects on the injured and their family.

Reason for the $27.25 Million Civil Penalty

A civil penalty is defined as a financial penalty imposed by a government agency as restitution for wrongdoing. The civil penalty the CPSC sought against Polaris resolved the violations concerning the RZR and Ranger ROV. CPSC agreed not to seek civil penalties for failure to report hazards or defects in vehicles that Polaris had reported to CPSC by June 29, 2017. Polaris also agreed to sustain an amped up compliance program to ensure future compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Act as well as internal controls to ensure any future incidents are dealt with in a timely manner. By Polaris settling this matter, it does not mean they admit to all of the CPSC charges.

file0001647280363-300x225Rhode Island recently joined the ranks of six other states to ban a particular style of highway guardrail, the Lindsay X-LITE, due to concerns over the barriers crash safety. The X-LITE guardrails are believed by some to cause potential death or personal injury in car accidents by piercing, or impaling, the vehicles that come into contact with the barrier during a car crash. Several fatal crashes in the U.S. have involved this style of guardrail and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation plans to remove all of them “out of an abundance of caution”, per DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin.

Rhode Island Fatality Due to X-LITE Guardrail

There is one known fatality in Rhode Island involving the X-LITE guardrail. The auto accident fatality took place in Glocester, RI in May 2016. According to the police report, a 29-year-old Massachusetts man driving a pickup truck struck a 10-foot section of the guardrail, rode over the top of the barrier into a utility pole and down an embankment into a tree. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. However, Glocester Police Chief Joseph DelPrete attributes the cause of the accident and its severity to excessive speed, as opposed to a faulty barrier. Chief DelPrete states the truck was driving 90mph on a tight road. The RIDOT did not review this particular incident or determine whether the guardrail is a safety hazard.

photo_18671_20100814-300x199Nerf guns, or blasters, are tremendously popular among both adults and children alike. Using a soft foam “dart” or “bullet”, they create seemingly harmless fun. However, some emergency room doctors are warning of potential harm after treating serious eye injuries caused by the toy guns. If you or your child uses a Nerf blaster, the personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law ask you to take note of the potential eye injury risk these toys could cause. After all, many of us were brought up using Nerf products and still do to this day. Considering they are made of soft foam, we often consider them to be a safer alternative than some other hard plastic toy options on the market, but that may not always be the case.

Potential Eye Injury from Nerf Guns

After concern being raised by physicians in London seeing serious eye injuries, U.S. doctors are starting to take note and re-examine the safety of these products. According to doctors in London, three patients were taken to the hospital with eye pain and blurred vision after being hit in the eye with a Nerf gun projectile being used by a child. All three patients suffered from inflammation in the eye and a pooling of blood in the back portion of the eye, called hyphema. The child patient also developed swelling in their cornea and retina. The bleeding in the patients did eventually cease and their eyesight returned to normal. As personal injury lawyers, we know that minor injuries can quickly turn into major damage with life-long repercussions. Doctors warn that eye injuries can quite often be serious and can cause long-term issues, potentially the development of glaucoma, as well as vision damage including permanent loss of eyesight.

file0001335127287-199x300Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard and as New Englanders, we were fortunate to be spared the harsh effects of the severe storm. However, as Rhode Islanders, especially Warwick residents, we are no stranger to floods and the damage they can cause. Witness the floods experienced in Warwick in March 2010, the worst flooding Rhode Island had suffered in over 100 years. As personal injury lawyers helping Warwick residents, Tapalian Law realizes how very fortunate we are that no lives were lost as a direct result of the flooding. The record rains, and resulting floods however, caused property damage to multitudes of homes, businesses, and infrastructures. Many homes and businesses could be repaired or rebuilt, but what about vehicle damage? Many vehicles are beyond repair when they experience extreme water damage. Not only that, chances are they are not safe to drive.

Vehicle Damage after a Flood

Chances are if a car has experienced a flood, it won’t be salvageable. If your vehicle has been inflicted with water damage from a flood, you will first need to contact your insurance company to file a claim for the flood damage. Filing a claim for flood damage is like filing a claim with your insurance company after you’ve been involved in a car accident. After reviewing the details of the claim and personally inspecting the vehicle, if your insurance company determines the vehicle has too much water damage to be salvageable, they will “total” the vehicle and work with you towards getting a replacement vehicle.

laAs summer in Rhode Island nears, so does lawn mowing season. It’s a good choice to have kids and teens helping with the household chores, but think twice before assigning them to the task of mowing the lawn. Lawnmower accidents and injuries are more common than you may think, and can be quite traumatic. In fact, it is advised that youngsters are not involved with lawn mowing until they are of a certain age and maturity. The Providence personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law want to share with you the devastating impact lawnmower injuries can have on children and adults, and share with you some practical tips for keeping kids safe from these mostly preventable injuries.

AAP Recommendations for Appropriate Age to Use a Lawnmower

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons agree that children under the age of 16 do not use a ride on mower and that kids under the age of 12 should not use either a push mower or a ride on mower. Children and teenagers do not yet have the maturity and focus to operate these pieces of heavy machinery. They often lack the ability to properly anticipate issues and can be easily distracted from a task, being more likely to result in an injury. It is advised that parents don’t allow a child to ride as a passenger on ride-on mowers and to not use a lawnmower for joy rides for children. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 are kept indoors while mowing. Not only can injuries occur due to the lawnmower itself, but young children playing outdoors during mowing can also be hurt by sticks or rocks that are spit out by a lawnmower.

With the risks and dangers of cigarette smoking so well known by now, some adults and teens alike, have moved to e-cigarettes as a “safer” alternative. Commonly referred to as “e-cigs”, or vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, or e-pipes, these are all classified as types of Electronic Nicfile0001235972358-300x225otine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Are e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes? Don’t be too sure- these products still contain nicotine. A December report from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy found e-cigarettes are now “the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. In fact, use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015, according to the report.

How Do E-cigarettes Work?

E-cigarettes, or ENDS products, use a liquid that contains nicotine as well as varying combinations of flavoring, propylene glycol, glycerin, and other ingredients. This liquid is heated into an aerosol which is inhaled by the user. The liquid is heated into an aerosol that the user inhales and then exhales in a cloud. Flavorings might include mango, bubble gum, cherry, or other “sweet” flavors. Regular cigarettes, on the other hand, are banned from having added flavors to make them less enticing to children.

Latest “Trend” in E-Cigarettes

Continue reading ›

Contact Information