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Atlanta Georgia Personal Injury Blog

CPSC: toddlers at high risk for drowning in summer

Summer is the worst season for drowning incidents as many Georgia residents with a pool or spa can easily imagine. June, which marks the start of summer, is the month with the highest rate of fatal drowning incidents, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death among kids aged 1 to 4 here in the United States. The CPSC analyzed drowning incident data from 2014 and 2016 and discovered that there were more than 360 pool- and spa-related incidents in each of those years that involved children under 15. And 74% of those fatalities involved children under 5.

FDA approves new mesothelioma treatment

People in Georgia with mesothelioma may be excited to learn that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new treatment for the aggressive, rare lung cancer in 15 years. The treatment makes use of a device that creates electric fields. These fields can stop the solid tumors involved in mesothelioma from dividing further. This type of lung cancer can be highly aggressive and is almost always linked with some form of asbestos exposure, usually in the workplace.

Because mesothelioma treatment is difficult and often ineffective, there are few new treatments that have come forward. This machine produced by Novocare was approved under a policy called the Humanitarian Device Exemption. This FDA policy allows for easier approval for treatments that could provide relief for people with rare diseases. Experts said that mesothelioma patients who cannot receive surgery for their tumors generally only have palliative care as an option, which aims to ease their pain from their terminal illness. While palliative care can reduce symptoms, it cannot extend life or mitigate the spread of the cancer. This device is a new option that could potentially provide longer survival to some mesothelioma patients.

Defective Conagra cooking sprays the subject of lawsuits

Georgia residents should know that Pam and other cooking sprays have been linked to certain injury cases, some extending back to mid-2017. Six lawsuits were filed in the Cook County Circuit Court against Conagra, the Chicago-based company that makes these sprays. The victims all allege that the cooking spray exploded and burned them when they placed it near a stove or grill top. One of the plaintiffs was even blinded in one eye.

The lawsuits charge Conagra with designing and producing defective cooking sprays and not warning consumers about their flammability. Conagra has responded by saying that their cooking sprays come with clear warnings that they should not be left near heat sources or used near open flames. Warnings and instructions are labeled on the front and back of the sprays.

Mesothelioma risk high even when asbestos exposure stops

There is no complete asbestos ban in the U.S. although many companies have stopped using the mineral and adopted protective gear for their employees. Unfortunately for former asbestos workers in Georgia and the rest of the nation, recent research shows that the risk of developing mesothelioma does not go down once asbestos exposure stops.

U.S. and Italian researchers reviewed nine previous studies on the cessation of asbestos exposure and the risk for mesothelioma. They found that the relative risk for malignant mesothelioma after asbestos exposure was much higher, 10 years later, than the risk for lung cancer.

Rock 'n Play Sleeper recalled after 30 infant deaths reported

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has linked over 30 infant deaths since 2009 to the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper, causing the toy company to issue a recall of its product. Parents of infants in Georgia should know about this because the recall is set to affect 4.7 million of the sleepers.

While Fisher-Price has not reported on what caused the infants' deaths, it is clear that the infants died while rolling around unrestrained in the inclined baby seats. All of the victims were 3 months or older, the age at which babies start to roll around.

Physicians urge company to recall infant sleeper after deaths

In April, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a sternly worded statement calling for Fisher-Price to "immediately" recall its "Rock 'n Play Sleeper." The device is marketed to help fussy infants fall asleep, but as many as 32 babies' deaths have been linked to the portable bassinets.

The Academy's call to action came after Consumer Reports attributed the 32 infant deaths to use of the product. A week prior, Fisher-Price and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) addressed the claims. Fisher-Price then admitted that 10 infants who were more than 3 months old had died during use of their device.

Mesothelioma victim in talcum powder case awarded $29.5 million

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson faced a flood of product liability lawsuits from consumers in Georgia and around the country after researchers linked asbestos in its popular baby powder with deadly cancers like mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson has been found to be at fault in some of these lawsuits but not others. In July 2018, a Missouri jury awarded 22 women who claimed that they developed ovarian cancer after using the company's talcum-based powder $4.69 billion in damages. However, juries in New Jersey and California rejected similar claims made by women diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Another California case involving these issues was recently decided, and this time the jury found Johnson & Johnson mostly responsible for the plaintiff's mesothelioma. The woman testified in court that she had used the company's baby powder for decades and faced a long and painful death as a result. The jury ruled that the New Jersey-based manufacturer was aware of the risks posed by asbestos but failed to adequately warn consumers about them.

Businesses seek to escape liability with mandatory waivers

People in Georgia may wonder about the legal impact of the waivers they are asked to sign before participating in activities at gyms, bounce houses, water parks and other public entertainment venues. They may not be certain about their rights if they are seriously injured while engaging in activities at these locations. In some cases, these releases may be effective in disclaiming liability; in other cases, the businesses in question may remain responsible for the damages done.

The language of the waiver may be particularly important in determining whether the business has effectively contracted away its obligations under premises liability. In most cases, these kinds of waivers and releases are not favored by courts, and they are generally understood as strictly as possible against the business that is seeking to enforce them to avoid liability. However, in some cases, courts have upheld liability waivers and denied payouts to people seeking compensation after an incident.

Fatal crash sparks concerns about Tesla's semi-autonomous cars

Some tech-minded car buyers in Georgia have a tendency to pay more attention to vehicles that offer the latest features. However, Tesla's high-tech vehicles have sparked some concerns because of a fatal crash and multiple battery fires. There is some debate as to whether or not these results say something about the future of high-tech vehicles.

What is known is that one of Tesla's all-electric models was involved in a fatal crash. The vehicle, which was equipped with semi-autonomous driver-assist technology referred to as "autopilot," crashed when it left the road for unknown reasons and crashed into a median and trees before bursting into flames and killing the driver. This is the second fiery and fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle in less than a year in Florida.

Asbestos strongly linked to mesothelioma

Individuals in Georgia may be at risk for getting mesothelioma if they are exposed to asbestos for too long a period. This was one of the conclusions reached in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Individuals who are exposed to asbestos at work for more than 20 years are 5.4 times more likely to get the condition.

However, individuals could experience a risk of getting mesothelioma after working for as little as a year in an environment that contains asbestos. While researchers are not sure that asbestos is the only strong risk factor for getting this type of illness, it does appear to be the most obvious. Of course, it's important to understand that a risk factor does not cause a person to get sick. Instead, it simply increases the chances that a person could get sick in certain conditions.

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