Articles Posted in Product Liability

More often than not, a Texas personal injury attorney will need to employ an expert in a complex personal injury case, especially those involving complex auto accidents or product liability cases. The United States Supreme Court has decided several landmark decisions that define acceptable experts and their testimony. Those cases include Daubert v. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals and Kumho Tire Inc. v. Carmichael . However, the plaintiffs’ bar is discovering that more experts are being disqualified at an alarming rate.

Many times, once the plaintiff’s expert has been disqualified, the defendants will win on summary judgment, because the plaintiff can no longer prove causation. Texas has tightened standards in some cases. For example, some Texas courts have taken the position that a substance alleged to be cancerous, such as benzene, must have evidence indicating a 100% increase in the cancer rate over the general population. In other cases, judges have been known to exclude animal studies of product exposure as being unreliable despite the fact that animal studies are routinely used in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) risk assessments.

In the past, courts often looked favorably on the local certified engineer or registered professor to testify on behalf of the injured plaintiff. That is no longer the case. These days, especially in the area of products liability and testimony regarding a defective product, the only acceptable expert will be one who was involved in the design of a similar product.

In San Antonio and throughout the State of Texas, millions of children undergo potentially dangerous vaccinations and immunizations. While the majority of children and adults are not harmed by these drugs, some Texas residents can experience severe side effects, including seizures, retardation, encephalopathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and death.

In 1986, Congress established the National Childhood Vaccine Compensation Act to prevent infectious disease while providing compensation to those suffering vaccine-related injuries. Part of the motivation of Congress in establishing this act was to keep the price of vaccines low while giving families the opportunity to obtain compensation quickly without a potentially lengthy lawsuit. A person then has the option of declining any award under the program and pursuing a lawsuit in Texas state court.

If you suspect you or a loved one such as a child has suffered a vaccine-related injury, you must act quickly. Under the Vaccine Program, there are Limitations of Action provisions. If you do not file a timely petition with the Vaccine Court, you may be barred later for seeking compensation from a harmful reaction to a vaccine in a lawsuit in Texas state court.

In Texas, tire failures can result in severe injury or death. Many drivers in San Antonio can avoid catastrophe by following the tire manufacturer’s instructions and conducting proper maintenance. However, in some cases, manufacturing and design defects are behind a number of incidents of sudden loss of control resulting in vehicle rollover or crash. The tire and the rim can separate creating a deadly projectile, commonly known as “widow makers”, seriously injuring or killing pedestrians and drivers.

In the late 1990s a series of crashes involving Firestone tires on Ford Explorers raised public awareness of tread separations and rollovers. The tire tread and belt separates from the remaining belts of the tire causing the vehicle to become unstable and difficult to control.

Manufacturers use chemicals to bond the steel belts to the rubber tread. The tread belt separates when there is a breakdown in the adhesion between the steel belts and the rubber tread. Improper chemicals and contamination during manufacturing can cause cracks to form between the belts and treads.

With greater oversight from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) , you would expect benzene exposure injuries in Texas to be a thing of the past. But unfortunately, in 2007 alone, more than 200,000 Americans were exposed to some type of benzene in the workplace. A range of blood cancers, including anemia and leukemia, result often from exposure to benzene thirty (30) years prior.

843640_blue_barrels_2.jpg Benzene is a colorless, sweet smelling and flammable chemical that was once used as a solvent, but today is primarily found in motor fuels, plastics, rubber, and gasoline. Typically, refinery workers, leather workers, aircraft and auto mechanics, petrochemical workers, and people in industries using solvents and printers are among the classes of workers exposed to the most benzene usually via inhalation or skin exposure.

Recently, the National Cancer Institute , has determined an increase in leukemia in those exposed to as little as 10 parts per million (ppm) of benzene. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) , has classified benzene as a “known carcinogen”. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) , rates benzene as being the most carcinogenic.

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