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.

Recently in Health Hazards Category

According to a scathing Reuters investigation, tens of thousands of infection-related deaths are going unrecorded or uncounted, sometimes due to poor state and federal tracking programs and other times in an effort to mask the true cause of death. One mother was told her newborn died because of sepsis due to prematurity, when in fact her son was the fourth infant in the hospital's neonatal ward to contract methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

And one New Jersey nurse claims she was fired in retaliation for revealing hospital deficiencies in dealing with a staph infection outbreak its own infant intensive care unit. As superbug outbreaks become more and more common, what are hospitals' medical obligations to prevent and respond to such outbreaks, and what rights do hospital employees have?

Parents with teething babies have sought a myriad of remedies to soothe their children's pain and discomfort (and their own ears as well, no doubt). One remedy which many found effective was the use of dissolving homeopathic tablets and gels that claimed to ease pain and reduce irritability associated with teething.

But last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the tablets and gels could pose a health risk to children and recommended that parents stop using them. As many as 10 deaths had been linked to homeopathic teething tablets, so could lawsuits follow?

The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Nevada is facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of former patients that claim the hospital “dumped” them. Rawson-Neal is no stranger to these allegations and has faced lawsuits in the past over the practice. Additionally, it is estimated that Rawson-Neal has dumped nearly 1,500 patients by providing them one-way bus tickets to cities all across the country.

For those that don’t know, when a hospital involuntarily discharges a patient rather than continuing to provide the needed treatment or a referral and transportation to a more suitable facility, this is called dumping.

Frequently, the practice is done in such a way that puts the patients at high risk of harm, and even death. There are countless documented incidents where hospitals discharge patients by sending them to other cities on busses, or simply dropping them off in another county on the side of the road. It is rather common that when a patient is dumped, they will end up homeless and in need of much more care than they would normally have required.

Winter has come, which means snowy sidewalks, icy highways, and a whole host of winter weather-related injury risks. Not only should you be concerned with keeping yourself safe out there, but you could be liable for someone else's injuries if you allow adverse weather conditions make your property dangerous or detract from your driving ability.

No one wants a lawsuit on their hands to ruin their holidays, so here are five seasonal injury risks, and how to avoid them.

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.