Our Personal Injury and Class Action FAQ
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Why do e-cigarettes explode?
There are a variety of reasons. The irony is that electronic cigarettes were invented as a potentially safer way for smokers to get the nicotine they crave. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Since e-cigarettes were introduced in 2007, the market for these devices—also known as vape pens—has grown to nearly $2 billion a year, with over 2.5 million users in the United States. During the same period, though, there were a steady stream of news reports about e-cigarette fires and explosions. Those events have hurt property and people, including incidents of:
- Scorched and burned furniture
- House fires
- Fires set on public buses, airplanes, and private vehicles
- Facial burns and scarring
- Tongue damage
- Lost teeth
- Chemical burns
- Burns on the thighs, hands, groin, or other parts of the body when a vape pen explodes in a pocket
The Battery Is the Problem
An e-cigarette functioning properly doesn't produce flame, fire, or smoldering ash. The device uses a miniature battery to vaporize a water-based liquid, producing steam rather than smoke. The user then inhales this steam.
Small, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard for these devices. There's not a legal requirement that a nationally-recognized testing laboratory approve the battery or other components of the e-cigarette. Many manufacturers cut costs by failing to submit e-cigarettes for safety testing.
In a 2014 study of e-cigarette fire and explosion risks, the U.S. Fire Administration found that defective battery incidents were uncommon. Most of the events happened when the battery was being charged, but about 20 percent occurred when the e-cigarette was in use or simply being carried by someone. In some cases, the cause of battery failure seems to be related to incompatible USB ports when charging the battery.
However, the U.S. Fire Administration is careful to note that lithium-ion batteries contain flammable or combustible liquids, and there's a history of these batteries failing in other electronic devices. When an electronic cigarette battery fails, its unique cylinder shape can propel the device across the room “like a bullet or small rocket.”
Dozens of other e-cigarette fire and explosion events have been reported since the U.S. Fire Administration study was completed. An April 2017 survey of burn centers across the United States found at least 300 incidents that required hospitalization.
Product Liability Claims for E-Cigarette Injuries
A manufacturer offering a product for sale has an obligation to see that it doesn't hurt people in the course of normal use. The manufacturer can be held legally liable:
- If a product is designed improperly.
- If the process for manufacturing and inspecting the product sends a defective item to market.
- If the manufacturer fails to warn consumers of particular dangers associated with the product, or fails to include complete instructions for consumers using the product.
Because of the high number of injuries caused by e-cigarette lithium-ion batteries, many consumers have filed lawsuits against vape pen manufacturers. Cases have cited all three of the reasons listed above for why the manufacturers should be held responsible for the resulting injuries. Plaintiffs have demanded compensation for losses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
If you were injured by a defective e-cigarette or battery, find out your legal rights as soon as possible. There's a time limit for filing claims for personal injuries caused by defective devices. Use the contact information on this page to reach the experienced product liability lawyers at Lattof & Lattof. Your initial consultation with our legal staff is absolutely free of charge.
The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof maintain a nationwide practice for product liability claims. This means we can work with you even if you live far away from our home office in Alabama.
Is there a link between Roundup® weed killer and cancer?
The villain here—if there is one—is a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate is a powerful herbicide that can kill both grasses and broadleaf plants. Since glyphosate was introduced in 1974, it's become one of the most important commercial herbicides on the market. Today, more than 700 products contain some version of the chemical, including Roundup weed killer.
Roundup was the first product with glyphosate to be marketed. It's one of the most important products sold by Monsanto Company, a giant agribusiness conglomerate based in Missouri. Roundup is widely used to control weeds on all levels of production, from commercial farms and municipal landscaping to home vegetable gardens and lawns. Roundup and other glyphosate products represent about 10 percent of Monsanto’s revenue, as Roundup is the second most widely used lawn and garden weed killer in the United States.
Glyphosate has become especially controversial recently. In 2016, scientific tests detected the weed killer in a wide variety of popular foods, including cookies, crackers, cold cereals, and chips. Glyphosate has also been found in honey, soy sauce, flour, and human breast milk. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not regularly tested for glyphosate residues in produce or human tissue.
The Health Risks From Glyphosate and Roundup
Initially, investigators thought that there were only minor risks from pure glyphosate. Contact with the chemical may cause skin, eye, nose, or throat irritation. Swallowing glyphosate can cause nausea and vomiting, and there have been deaths due to deliberate ingestion of the weed killer.
However, Roundup contains other ingredients that help glyphosate enter plants. Those extra ingredients are trade secrets, but researchers believe they also make Roundup more dangerous to human health. Follow-up assessments call into question the safety of glyphosate itself. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
In June 2017, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced that glyphosate would be added to the state’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Implementing that decision was delayed because of court challenges by Monsanto but became effective in July 2017.
The EPA announced plans to convene a panel of scientific advisors to study the question of whether Roundup causes cancer. However, the October 2016 meeting was canceled and hasn't been rescheduled.
Today, a growing number of lawsuits claim Roundup causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). This is a group of about 60 cancers that develop from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. While the cancer originates in the blood, it may develop in any part of the body. The varieties of NHL seem to have little in common other than their origin in the bloodstream.
Common symptoms for non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Fever and chills
- Hard lumps in the armpit, neck, or groin
- Night sweats
- Pain in the chest or bones
- Shortness of breath or cough
- Weight loss
Treatment for NHL depends heavily on the specific subtype of cancer, the type of lymphocyte that was its source, and how aggressively it's spreading.
Do You Need Help From a Toxic Tort Attorney?
The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof are based in Mobile, Alabama, but we provide legal counsel for toxic tort cases across the United States. At this time, we are accepting Roundup-related medical claims from all 50 states. If you were exposed to Roundup and later were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma or any other cancer, you may be eligible for substantial compensation.
Similarly, if you have a relative who died from cancer after exposure to Roundup, your family may be able to hold Monsanto responsible for marketing a toxic product.
We offer free consultations to discuss your case and decide whether you have a valid claim. To speak with one of our lawyers, use the contact information on this page.
Nursing home staff were slow to respond to my mother’s call for assistance because they were busy with other residents. She fell and got hurt. Could the nursing home be liable?
Yes, the situation that you describe could be evidence of nursing home neglect.
Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to provide appropriate staffing for nursing home residents. Staff members may be doing their very best to attend to each resident’s needs. However, if the nursing home creates a situation where the number of residents per staff number is too large, then staff members may not be able to take care of each resident within a reasonable amount of time and the nursing home itself may be negligent.
A full investigation would need to be done to determine if your loved one was hurt due to nursing home negligence or just an unfortunate accident.
What to Look for During the Investigation
During an investigation into potential nursing home understaffing, you and your loved one’s attorney are going to want to find out:
- How many staff members were on duty and how many residents were in the facility at the time your mother fell.
- What steps the nursing home took to find and hire staff members.
- Whether the nursing home offered a competitive pay rate for staff members that was consistent with similar facilities in the area.
- Whether the nursing home is a for-profit company and might be looking to lower staffing costs to maximize profits.
- How staff members were trained.
If there is any evidence of understaffing, then you are going to want to take the next step and help your mother get a fair legal recovery.
Make Sure Your Loved One Has the Legal Representation She Deserves
The nursing home is going to fight back against any allegations of negligence. The facility’s attorneys will argue that your loved one’s injuries were just an unfortunate accident that happened despite the reasonable care that the nursing home provided.
It is up to your loved one to prove that the nursing home was negligent and failed to provide her with reasonable care. However, she does not have to meet this burden alone. Instead, she has the right to work with an experienced Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer who knows how to investigate potential neglect cases, gathers relevant evidence, and makes persuasive arguments to get injured nursing home residents the fair and just recoveries that they deserve. To learn more about how we can help your loved one during this difficult time, please contact us today via this website or by phone.
My parent fell in a nursing home. Is this nursing home neglect?
A fall could be the result of nursing home neglect. In order to know for sure, however, a full investigation would need to be done to determine why the fall occurred.
How a Fall Could Be Caused by Neglect
Falls are a common cause of significant injury and death among the elderly. While some falls are just unfortunate accidents, other falls could have been prevented if nursing homes provided reasonable care to residents. While the cause of each nursing home fall is unique, some common reasons for nursing home falls caused by neglect include:
- Failing to check on residents often enough to meet their needs. This may lead to some residents who need assistance trying to get out of bed or to move on their own.
- Failing to warn residents of wet floors.
- Failing to maintain an area free from slip or trip hazards.
- Failing to assess residents’ fall risks and develop individual plans to prevent residents who are at risk of falling.
- Failing to account for medication changes that could leave a resident dizzy or unstable.
- Failing to have proper bed rails or other protective equipment to prevent falls.
When you first hear of your loved one’s fall, it is impossible for you to know what caused it.
But, it’s Important to Find Out
An experienced Alabama nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can investigate what happened and determine if your loved one was hurt due to nursing home abuse or negligence. If the evidence indicates that your loved one was hurt because of the nursing home’s negligence, then an attorney can represent your loved one and help her get the fair and just recovery that she deserves for the injury that she should never have had to suffer.
To learn more about protecting your loved one’s rights after a nursing home fall, please contact us directly to schedule a confidential consultation. Together, we will protect your loved one’s legal rights and help her live with the dignity that she deserves.
Are there any risks associated with testosterone replacement therapies?
Testosterone replacement therapy may sound like just what you need. The promise of increased energy and an increased sex drive are enticing, but they may come at a significant price for men who experience lower testosterone levels due to normal aging.
The Risks of Heart Attack and Stroke
In January 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the public that the agency was investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in men using testosterone replacement therapies.
These low-T medications include, but are not limited to:
In March 2015, the FDA updated a previously released safety announcement about low testosterone medications. According to the March 2015 announcement:
- Testosterone replacement therapies are only approved for men with certain medical conditions. Testosterone replacement therapies do not have FDA approval for treating men who experience the low testosterone that comes with normal aging.
- There is a potential increased risk of cardiovascular problems for aging men who take testosterone replacement therapies.
- Some studies show an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death related to testosterone replacement medications. Accordingly, the FDA began requiring a change in labels on these medications to inform men and their healthcare providers of the potential risk.
Some men have suffered life-changing or fatal heart attacks or strokes without being warned of the potential side effects.
Litigation Has Begun
Lawsuits have already been filed against the makers and marketers of different testosterone replacement therapies. However, you may still have time to file a claim if you have been hurt or if you represent the estate of someone who died from a heart attack or stroke after taking a testosterone replacement medication. For more information about how to protect your rights and get the recovery that you deserve, please contact our experienced lawyers directly via this website or by phone to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
My son grew breasts after taking Risperdal. Could he recover damages in a lawsuit?
Your son may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit if he suffers from a condition known as gynecomastia after taking Risperdal. Gynecomastia is a medical condition that causes males to grow breast tissue. Risperdal increases the body’s levels of prolactin—a hormone that is found in higher levels in women. Some males who take Risperdal not only grow breast tissue but may also lactate. Gynecomastia can affect one breast or both breasts and may cause breast tissue growth that is equivalent to an adult female.
If the condition does not resolve itself when your son is taken off of Risperdal, then he may require surgery. In the meantime, he is suffering not only physically, but also psychologically.
And He May Have the Legal Right to a Recovery
Your son, with your help, if he is still a minor, may have the right to make a legal recovery for the condition that he has suffered. Other males who have suffered gynecomastia are suing Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for failing to warn them and their doctors of the potential risks associated with Risperdal.
While a lawsuit cannot undo the physical and psychological harm that your child has endured, it can help to pay his medical costs and other expenses related to gynecomastia. It may also compensate your son for his physical pain and emotional suffering.
You Can Continue to Protect Your Child With the Help of a Lawyer
You allowed the doctor to prescribe Risperdal for your son because you wanted him to have an appropriate treatment for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism symptoms, anxiety, depression, a sleep disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Unfortunately, the treatment created an entirely new problem.
However, you can continue to protect your child by getting him the medical care that he needs and by fighting for his legal recovery. Let us help you help your child. Contact our experienced attorneys today via this website or by phone to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.
How long do I have to file a personal injury case?
Alabama, like other states, has a law known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations establishes how long you have to file a lawsuit in the state.
In Alabama, the General Rule Is Two Years
According to the Alabama Statute of Limitations, found in Ala. Code. Sec. 6-2-38, a person who is hurt generally has two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim in state court.
In some cases, however, the statute of limitations may be shorter or longer than two years. For example:
- The time for filing a personal injury case may be extended if the person who was hurt was a minor at the time of the injury. In most cases, a person who was hurt before his 18th birthday will have two years, beginning on his 19th birthday, to file a claim. However, any claim must be brought within 20 years of the incident that caused the injury, and further restrictions apply in some medical malpractice cases.
- The time for filing a personal injury case may be extended if the person who was hurt was incompetent at the time of the injury. The statute of limitations may be extended if the person who was hurt was mentally incompetent or suffered another disability that prevented the person from filing a claim within the typical statute of limitations.
- The time for providing notice of a personal injury case may be shortened if the defendant is a governmental entity. If your claim is against a municipality, the state of Alabama, or the federal government, then you may need to file notice of your claim within six months from the date of the injury.
These exceptions can be complicated, and it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that your rights are protected.
You Don’t Want to Miss the Deadline
If you miss the statute of limitations for your case, then you are unlikely to recover any damages for your injury. The defendant will file a motion with the court arguing that the case should be dismissed because the statute of limitations has expired—and the judge will agree to that motion. You can avoid this by making sure that you file your case before the statute of limitations expires.
You should never worry that you are contacting a personal injury lawyer too early. The sooner that you contact an attorney, the sooner the attorney can begin preserving evidence and protecting your rights, and the sooner you may recover compensation for your injuries. Accordingly, we encourage you not to wait until you are up against the statute of limitations deadline, and instead, we invite you to contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I recover damages if I was partly to blame for my accident?
No. Unlike most other states, Alabama follows a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence. According to Alabama law, you cannot recover any damages if you bear any of the responsibility for the incident that led to your injury. For example, if another driver fails to stop at a red light and hits you while you are traveling just seven miles over the speed limit, then you may be unable to make a legal recovery.
This rule is extreme, and it is one of the reasons why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you have been hurt in an Alabama accident.
Different Rules for Children and People Who Are Mentally Incompetent
Contributory negligence generally prevents people who bear any responsibility for their injuries from recovering damages. However, special rules apply to children and people with mental disabilities. Children under the age of seven are presumed not to be negligent and children between the ages of seven and fourteen may be presumed not to be contributorily negligent. Similarly, people with cognitive or mental disabilities may be presumed not to be negligent. Of course, evidence may be submitted to refute these presumptions.
Be Prepared for the Defendant to Argue That You Were Partly at Fault
A defendant only needs to prove that you were one percent responsible for an accident in order to get out of paying any damages. Thus, you can expect that the defendant, the defendant’s lawyer, or the defendant’s insurance company is going to try hard to argue that you bear some legal responsibility for what happened.
You should be prepared for this argument. Strong evidence that clearly establishes liability and persuasive arguments from your own attorney can help you protect your rights and recover the damages to which you are legally entitled. For more information, or to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer directly, please reach out to us via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation.