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Pittsburgh Wrongful Death Law Blog

Punitive damages sought in Pennsylvania defective drug case

Pittsburgh doctors and the patients who take the drugs they prescribe assume that medications are as safe and effective as drug makers advertise they are. Americans have a right to expect that the products we buy are safe to use. Patients have enough to worry about without wondering whether a pill will do more harm than good.

A Pennsylvania lawsuit accuses drug manufacturers Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of falsely marketing rivaroxaban under the brand name Xarelto as a safe blood thinner. The plaintiff believes her aunt's death might not have occurred if the defendants' claims about the anticoagulant were true. Xarelto's marketing campaign said that monitoring the drug's users regularly for blood clots or bleeding problems wasn't necessary.

Unsafe asbestos removal practices halt renovation project

A mineral once valuable to multiple Pittsburgh industries for insulating, strengthening and fireproofing properties is used far less today than in the past. Respiratory dangers associated with inhaling asbestos fibers forced the U.S. to adopt strict policies about the mineral's use. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a limited number of new products contain asbestos, but past products still pose health problems.

Asbestos was used widely for insulation, which remains embedded in many older buildings throughout the U.S. Renovation projects can free a toxic amount of asbestos fibers, unless old insulating materials are handled carefully. Untrained construction workers may not realize the dangers of coming in contact with the fibers and, inadvertently, place themselves and others at risk.

Pennsylvania parents want defendant's claims stricken from case

Victims are individuals who've suffered through no fault of their own. In Allegheny County wrongful death cases, victims are also the family members who've been left behind after the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident. Spouses, children and parents bear the consequences of a needless death.

A Fayette County teen died in 2011 from injuries he suffered in a car accident while riding with friends. The 17-year-old crash victim and his companions had been at a party at Nemacolin Woodlands Resorts, the guests of the wealthy resort owner's 15-year-old daughter. Alcohol was available at the party.

Pennsylvania driver's drug intoxication blamed for fatality

Evidence pried from crash scenes and observations from victims and witnesses help investigators establish fault. Accident blame is the heart of criminal charges filed by police and claims to auto insurance companies. Fault also can show proof of negligence in Pittsburgh wrongful death lawsuits.

A 45-year-old man will be arraigned later this month on charges he caused a fatal accident in January, while under the influence of two drugs – a prescription medicine and marijuana. A Pennsylvania court ordered the Lansdowne man held for trial on DUI, DUI homicide and reckless endangerment charges. The charges relate to the death of an Upper Darby teen and injuries to his friend in a pedestrian accident.

3 families benefit from $12.5 million asbestos damage award

A natural material was mined for its strength and other valuable properties. Long before it was discovered the mineral's fibers could cause serious health problems, asbestos found its way into numerous products, particularly building materials. The fibers touched the lives of makers of the products and Pittsburgh consumers who bought them.

The families of three construction workers – an insulator, a steamfitter and an electrician – recently won a collective damage award of $12.5 million. The men worked in jobs that exposed them to asbestos fibers. Each died from mesothelioma.

Pennsylvania amputation victim: Metal shearer lacked safeguards

We've all made purchases that haven't lived up to expectations – products that didn't seem to work as well as commercials claimed. Many Allegheny County consumers shrug off an unsatisfactory purchase and vow never to use the product again, while some return the item for a refund. What happens when a product isn't just disappointing but dangerous?

A Levittown metal shop worker lost three fingers while operating a piece of machinery at work. The 2012 accident occurred as the plaintiff was using a metal shearer made by Tennsmith Inc. The March product liability lawsuit claimed users were endangered because the shearer contained no safety guard and no product warning to prevent amputation.

Pennsylvania trucker’s parking violations may have caused crash

Even when a fatal accident involves no crime, the family of the victim can bring civil actions if the driver was negligent. Arrests, criminal trials and convictions are not necessary for a civil suit. Sometimes simple carelessness can lead to serious accident injuries or fatalities, and the person at fault can potentially be held liable.

A 57-year-old Pennsylvania truck driver was issued several citations following a fatal New Jersey crash. He allegedly had parked his tractor-trailer alongside a road illegally. The driver was reportedly concerned that the rig wouldn't clear a culvert up ahead. Moreover, the vehicle's hazard warning lights were allegedly not in use as the semi-truck sat partially blocking traffic.

Pennsylvania morcellator claim blames device for cancer spread

Traditional surgeries increasingly are being replaced by laparoscopic or "keyhole" surgeries. The minimally-invasive surgical method can produce less scarring, pain and hospital recovery time for patients. Laparoscopies also allow Pittsburgh doctors to spend less time in surgery, perform more operations and, as a result, reap additional financial benefits.

Electric medical devices called morcellators permit surgeons to cut and extract tissue during laparoscopic surgeries. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported morcellators are employed in approximately 11 percent of all hysterectomies, with some risk. The cutting devices have been linked with the spread of a deadly uterine cancer called leiomyosarcoma.

Pennsylvania driver accused of recklessness in student's death

The behavior of a Pittsburgh defendant is easier to document than an individual's state of mind during an accident; after all, actions are visible. It's important for a jury to know how a driver felt leading up to a fatal accident. The driver's mindset can explain whether a crash was caused by negligence or recklessness.

A teen was struck and killed by a motorist as she was crossing an Erie County street to reach a school bus. Prosecutors said the driver, also a teen at the time of the 2011 collision, didn't stop for the school bus because he was worried about getting to work on time. The defendant is charged with reckless endangering, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault and homicide by vehicle.

Jury in Pennsylvania mesothelioma case awards $7.25 million

A disease can remain dormant before it starts to do damage. Some diseases like mesothelioma, which affect tissues surrounding organs, often aren't diagnosed until a condition is advanced, reducing chances for patient recovery or survival. The National Institutes of Health says the sources for most cases of rare malignant mesothelioma are workplaces where employees come in contact with asbestos fibers.

A Pennsylvania man died in 2010, six months after he learned he had cancerous mesothelioma. The 62-year-old had been employed for five years at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, starting in the mid-1960s. Government immunity rules made it hard for the man's estate to file an asbestos injuries lawsuit against the Navy, but another legal avenue was open.

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