Jim Adler & Associates has been your personal injury source for news and information for more than 40 years, and 2016 was no exception. Here are some top personal injury headlines of 2016.
On March 7, 2016 we alerted you to the health dangers of talcum powder when women apply it to their genital area to absorb moisture. Many women have suffered ovarian cancer as a result, and that has led to talcum powder cancer lawsuits.
Prolonged use of products such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower has been shown to contribute to ovarian cancer. But victims are fighting back in court, where $72 million in damages was awarded in February of 2016.
On April 8, 2016 we alerted you to the dangers of exploding e-cigarettes. More than 2.5 million Americans use such cigarettes to “vape” tobacco rather than burn and smoke it, but the devices that achieve this can explode when defective.
Such explosions can occur when the batteries which heat an e-cigarette are not charged properly. In recent years, more than two dozen e-cigarette explosions have been reported — explosions which caused nine injuries.
On April 27, 2016 we alerted you to the risks of drone accidents. The remote-controlled flying devices can crash into people or property, causing injuries and damages.
Unfortunately, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offers little legal support to protect the public. Its drone rules are rooted in its old rules covering model aircraft. As with a remote-controlled model plane, you should not fly a drone above 400 feet, near densely populated areas or within five miles of an airport.
But despite lax regulations, legal liability still can apply when drones injure people or damage property. A drone accident lawsuit can target a company which owned or operated a drone, or an individual who flew a drone, or a manufacturer when equipment malfunctions caused a drone to crash.
On June 3, 2016 we alerted you to a General Mills recall of 10 million pounds of flour. The flour recall came after an E. coli outbreak which sickened 38 persons in 20 states starting in December, 2015. It’s believed flour may have been a source.
We also alerted you to other recent food recalls, such as one for Nestle Toll House prepackaged cookie dough, and another for more than 220,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets from Foster Poultry Farms.
On July 14, 2016 we alerted you to problems sparked by obsessive playing of the new “augmented reality” game Pokémon Go, a location-based real-world scavenger hunt. Players use their mobile devices to hunt and collect virtual Pokémon “monsters” in various locations.
Playing the game while driving has proven to be especially dangerous, contributing to crashes with injuries in several states. Players on foot also have tripped and fallen while focusing on the game instead of where they are walking.
On Sept. 9, 2016 we alerted you to risks associated with tailgating parties at stadiums or other facilities hosting big events. Tailgating injuries and deaths have occurred in various states, including Texas, due to tainted food, alcohol abuse, gas grill burns, auto crashes and other tailgating-related mishaps.
Universities or professional team owners can face legal exposure when tailgating injuries occur, which is why institutions such as the University of Houston enforce tailgating rules. The university prohibits beer kegs, drinking games and devices intended to accelerate consumption of alcohol at tailgating activities outside its football stadium.
UH also holds tailgating participants responsible for any damages, injuries or losses they cause.
On Oct. 4, 2016 we alerted you to Church’s Chicken employees’ burn case involving three employees who were badly burned in the chain restaurant’s kitchen in Livingston, TX on Aug. 1, 2016. That case was pertinent to a Jim Adler blog post on how to handle severe work injuries in Texas.
Texas laws favor big corporations rather than individual workers and make it difficult for those injured on the job to claim compensation. Worker’s compensation insurance claims are available to some employees, but not all, since Texas is the only state in America not requiring employers to provide workplace injury coverage.
However, injured workers can sue their employer for failing to provide a safe work environment, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate.
On Dec. 8, 2016, we alerted you that most Texas school buses lack seatbelts to enhance students’ safety. Texas law requires students to wear seatbelts on school buses, but only if seat belts are available, and in most cases they are not.
San Antonio and Dallas County schools have seatbelts on most school buses, and Houston schools are catching up, but the cost can be as much as $10,000 per bus for equipment and installation.
Though some safety advocates say seat belts could hurt as well as help (making it harder for students to escape an overturned or submerged bus, for instance), it’s believed lack of seatbelts has contributed to such tragedies as the deaths of six elementary school students in Tennessee on Nov. 21, 2016.