Health Hazards: Injured

Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

Health Hazards

Health Hazards are commonly brought under several theories of tort liability. Asbestos lawsuits are a common example of this, as are toxic mold lawsuits and even food poisoning cases. Essentially, these claims can be brought under theories of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty or even fraud. If there is a strict liability statute, then the responsible person will be held under very strict scrutiny. Some products liability cases, involving hazardous drugs, fall under this type of scrutiny. Under a negligence theory, the responsible person would have to owe a duty to the injured and will have breached that duty. A breach of warranty duty applies in some states, where the health hazard exists because of faulty workmanship.


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Flu season is upon us, which means quite a few folks will be driving while sniffling, either hopped up on decongestants or hoping they don't have to sneeze while rolling up to a stop sign. (And just so you know, yes, you can get a DUI for driving while on cold medicine.)

But that's not the half of it -- two recent studies found that driving with a cold could be as dangerous as drunk driving. So is getting behind the wheel with the sniffles really as bad as driving after a snifter or two?

A nurse who contracted Ebola from the first U.S. patient to be diagnosed with the disease back in 2014 settled her lawsuit against the hospital she worked in last month. While the details of the settlement remain confidential, typically, when a settlement is announced like this, it means the plaintiff won.

The nurse's lawsuit alleged that the hospital was negligent in training staff to handle an Ebola diagnosis, and failed to provide the proper safeguards for employees. Fortunately, both this nurse and one other nurse that also contracted Ebola at the same hospital, made full recoveries from the deadly viral infection. Unfortunately, as a result of the stress and treatments, both still suffer some lingering effects such as pain, hair loss, insomnia, and nightmares.

Last week, a Kansas-based manufacturer of food and beverage products accidently released a toxic chemical gas, a mixture of sodium hypocholorite and sulfuric acid, which sent over 100 people to the hospital. Fortunately, of the 125 people who sought medical attention, only two required an overnight stay in the hospital.

MGP Ingredients, which was responsible for the spill, explained that the gas spill had dissipated after only a few hours. Additionally, the company has reported the incident to the EPA and plans to fully cooperate with the investigation. The company is also taking additional measures to avoid any future spills by engaging outside experts to investigate and assess the situation.

Like most of us, 60-year-old Etelvina Jimenez thought she was doing the healthy thing by hopping on a gym's treadmill to get some exercise. But when Jimenez fell she joined nearly half a million Americans who are injured by exercise equipment every year.

Jimenez's brain injuries were severe and now she's suing the gym, claiming it violated safety standards by placing treadmills too close to other equipment.

We rely on hospitals to make us well. But it doesn't always work out that way. And while hospitals and healthcare settings try their best to remain sterile and clean environments, infections can and do happen in hospitals. A Reuters investigative report found a crisis of MRSA and other drug-resistant staph infection outbreaks in U.S. hospitals, made even worse by lax reporting requirements.

So what happens if you get MRSA in a hospital or health care facility? Do you have any legal options?

When to Sue a Gun Shop

After James Holmes massacred 12 people in a Colorado movie theater in 2012, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, along with families of some of the victims, sued several online gun shops for supplying Holmes with the ammunition and supplies he used in the shooting. The lawsuit claimed retailers negligently supplied the murderer with tear gas, laser sights, and thousands of rounds of ammunition without ever running a background check.

But the suit didn't end well. After the case was dismissed, the parents of one victim actually owed one ammo dealer $203,000 in legal fees. This leaves many wondering whether you can ever sue a gun shop, and for what.

The Zika virus has been causing quite a stir over the past year, despite having been around since 1947. A scholarly article published last week in The Lancet estimates that there are 2.6 billion people living within the danger zone of the Zika virus.

Until recently, the primary concern with the Zika virus came from pregnant women, as the virus is known to cause microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. A newer concern comes as researchers are discovering a high occurrence of Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a serious condition affecting the peripheral nervous system.

Elderly Woman in Utah Is First US Zika Virus Victim to Die

An elderly woman in Utah who traveled abroad seems to be the victim of the first Zika virus-related death in the U.S. Her lab results came back positive for Zika after her death, however, and the virus is not thought to be the only cause for the woman’s demise.

Little has been disclosed about this first Zika victim in the US due to health privacy laws, reports Fox News. Officials won’t even release the names of the places where she traveled and may have contracted the virus. The death is shrouded in mystery and it raises questions about Zika liability issues. 

Other than a day off, and maybe the barbecue, the best thing about July 4th is the fireworks. While most of us are happy to see a good show, a few amateurs want to wow our friends, family, and anyone within a quarter-mile with our pyrotechnic skill. But the pros are pros for a reason -- normally because they have the experience and safety training (to say nothing of the permits and legal fireworks) to handle munitions-grade incendiary devices without blowing themselves or anyone else up.

So think twice before hosting your own Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. And, if you need more convincing, here are four of the worst fireworks injuries, from our archives:

For people with type 2 diabetes, Onglyza is a hypoglycemic drug that can help maintain healthy insulin levels. But as with all potentially life-saving medications, there are risks associated with Onglyza use which in themselves can be life threatening. In 2014, the FDA started looking into the link between Onglyza and heart failure, and earlier this year warned that type 2 diabetes medicines like Onglyza “may increase the risk of heart failure, particularly in patients who already have heart or kidney disease.”

Here’s what you need to know about potential side effects of Onglyza, and where to find help if you’ve been injured by your type 2 diabetes medication.