FDA Issues Warnings for Dietary Supplements
Following recent warnings by the FDA that popular dietary supplement Hydroxicut posed serious health risks, new warnings have surfaced concerning the safety of popular natural cold remedy, Zicam.
Chrysler and GM's Bankruptcies Could Leave Injured Consumers Out In The Cold
Victims and families from five states, some with catastrophic injuries, came to Congress in early June 2009 for urgent help in light of the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, which are wiping out--or in the case of GM could wipe out--their legal rights and those of millions of other Americans. According to the Chrysler bankruptcy plan, families driving any Chrysler now on the road (about 10 million vehicles), whose occupants are severely injured in a collision or otherwise because the car was not made safely, will have no recourse against the company. The GM bankruptcy proposes the same thing (about 30 million vehicles).
Dangerous and Defective Products Highlights
It is estimated that every year, there are about 500 to 1000 serious injuries or deaths due to cars that are designed or built with defects. The rights of all of these men, women and children are extinguished under the Chrysler and GM bankruptcy plans. Some of these defects include:
• Seatbelts that fail and strangle children
• Seat backs that collapse and cause brain injury
• Unstable vehicles that flip and roofs that cave, crushing occupants
• Cars with gears that “self-shift” from park to reverse and run someone over
• Gasoline tanks or brake fluid containers that are improperly positioned and catch fire or explode, severely burning or killing the occupants.
Christine Spagnoli, an AAJ member and partner at Greene Broillet & Wheeler in Santa Monica, who specializes in personal injury and product liability, said, "These companies are going to leave behind responsibility for cars on the road. They're only responsible for cars they sell after the new bankruptcies. They want a clean slate, but are relieving them of all responsibility for defects in their products which may in fact cause future harm, and wipe out the ability of those people to be compensated."
She indicated that possible solutions to help victims include:
1. Ensure that Chrysler and Fiat - and GM - accept responsibility for existing products (successor liability).
2. Develop a victims’ fund that would allow current and future injured consumers to proceed with their cases; this money could be accessed only after a claim is resolved successfully.
3. Purchase a retroactive insurance policy purchased to cover past, present and future injury claims.
What This Means For Americans:
If a car owner who bought a vehicle before the company reorganization sustained injuries because of faulty brakes, Chrysler would pay for the brakes but not the medical cost of treating the injuries.
Currently, Chrysler would emerge from the controlled bankruptcy “tort free.” It would gain blanket immunity from any and all defects on millions of vehicles sold in the past several years. Those defects include seatbelts that don’t work, seat backs that collapse, vehicles that are unstable and flip over too readily, roofs that cave in, and gasoline tanks that are improperly positioned and are prone to catching fire.
These defects leave very real victims. There is, for example, the case involving a father who was driving in a late 1990s Chrysler minivan that was rear-ended in Bakersfield. His seat back failed and snapped backward, and his head hit his infant’s head who was strapped in a car seat behind him. She was left with severe brain injury.
Among those who traveled to Washington are Shaun Doss, age eight, and his father Robert, from Gilbert, Arizona. As a six-year-old, Shaun became severely injured and is now paraplegic when the seatbelt in his Dodge Durango failed during an accident. Robert, a single father and army veteran, says trying to keep up with the medical expenses incurred from the accident has been impossible. Caring for Shaun has ultimately cost him his job, house, and car. Robert said, “I’m not a crying person, but I cried every day of the three months I spent at Shaun’s side in the hospital.” Robert currently has a lawsuit pending against Chrysler, which will not go forward under Chrysler’s plan.
See more stories: http://www.centerjd.org/archives/press/2009/BankCaseStoriesPhotoF.pdf
Medical Device Safety
For more information on medical device safety see the Medical Device Safety Act page.
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