Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Cancerous Toxins Found in E-Cigarettes

By Christina Lazzaruolo

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Today, in front of movie theatres and malls, it is not uncommon to see teenagers “vaping” or using “e-cigarettes.” Ask any teen or adult who vapes or uses e-cigarettes and they will tell you that these devices are the “safe” alternative to smoking. But, did you know that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are exposed to significant levels of cancer causing chemicals found in traditional cigarettes? This is despite the fact that they do not contain nicotine.

According to a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, tests on teenagers show that those who use e-cigarettes have higher levels of the cancer-causing chemicals than nonsmokers do. Dr. Mark L. Rubinstein, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, in a press release said, “Teenagers need to be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor, but actually contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in smoke from traditional cigarettes.”

While e-cigarettes are marketed to adults as a safer, healthier alternative to traditional tobacco smoking, Dr. Rubinstein believes that children should not be using them at all. These potentially cancer-causing chemicals include acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns there is enough evidence that vaping can be harmful to teens.

If you believe you or someone you know has been harmed from the use of an e-cigarette or vaporizer, contact our firm for a free legal consultation.

New Jersey Jurors Send a Message to Johnson & Johnson

By Lara R. Lovett

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

After a two month trial against Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, a jury in Middlesex County Superior Court awarded plaintiff Stephen Lanzo, III and his wife $37 million in compensatory damages. The jury found that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder contained asbestos and Mr. Lanzo’s long time use of that product led to him developing mesothelioma. The company failed to warn consumers that there was asbestos in its product. 70 percent of the award is against Johnson & Johnson and the remainder is against the talcum supplier.

The jury was then asked by the plaintiffs to award punitive damages against the defendants. Punitive damages can be awarded if the jury finds that the defendants acted in wanton and willful disregard of the plaintiffs’ rights. On April 11, 2018, the Middlesex County jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $80 million in punitive damages. $55 million of that award is against Johnson & Johnson and $25 million is against the talc supplier.

This week a New Jersey jury sent a message loud and clear to a Goliath company that they are not going to stand for their residents being poisoned. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a toxic substance in a product they use, contact an attorney to learn your rights.


Toxic Torts

By Lara R. Lovett

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

A “toxic tort” is an injury caused by contact with a toxic substance. Because it is not always obvious what substances may contain toxic ingredients, a consumer can unwittingly expose him/herself to such substances and suffer great harm.

If you are harmed by a toxic substance, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for your injuries and get compensated for that harm. A recent verdict in a toxic tort case in Missouri, against Johnson & Johnson, demonstrates that the public is no longer going to sit by and let consumers be lied to and harmed by big companies.

In February 2018, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. Jacqueline Fox used talc-based products, made by Johnson & Johnson, for over 35 years. As a result of her use of those products, she died at age 62 of ovarian cancer.

A Missouri jury awarded $10 million for Fox’s damages and an additional $62 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. This verdict is unprecedented, as it is the first where a jury has awarded punitive damages over the plaintiff’s claims. The reason behind the punitive damages is that Johnson & Johnson has known since the 1980’s that the talc in their products could lead to cancer and they failed to warn consumers.

In 2013, there was a federal case in South Dakota where the use of talc was found to have caused the plaintiff’s cancer, however, the jury did not award the plaintiff any damages. There are approximately 200 talc cases filed in New Jersey against Johnson & Johnson, so it will be interesting to see how a New Jersey jury will hold this company accountable.

The importance of this verdict is twofold. First, it holds a company accountable for what it puts in its products. Second, a jury has punished the company for not warning or educating the consumers about the dangers of using the products. Hopefully, this verdict will send a message to other companies that, if they gamble with their consumers’ lives, the price to pay will be high.

If you believe that you have been harmed by a toxic substance, contact our firm for a free consultation.


Motor Vehicle Accident Fatalities On The Rise

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

According to a New Jersey State Police report, more people were killed by motor vehicle accidents in 2017 than in the previous year. Further, the number of fatalities has continued to rise each of the last three years and is the highest in the last ten. Most of those killed in car accidents were either the driver or passenger of an automobile.

The State Division of Highway Traffic Safety attributes the increase in fatalities to a number of factors including lower gas prices, more cars on the road, and distracted drivers and pedestrians. Alcohol and drug use also continues to be a concerning factor.

The operator of any motor vehicle, whether a car, truck or motor cycle, has the obligation to do so in a safe manner, using due caution, so as not to endanger or likely endanger another person or property. Failing to do so can result in a careless driving charge, probably the most common traffic violation in New Jersey. Police will generally issue such a ticket to any driver they determine causes a motor vehicle accident. The punishment can be influenced by the nature of the motor vehicle accident and the severity of any personal injuries suffered.

If you have suffered personal injuries due to another’s careless driving or negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for any losses or harms incurred. You should speak with an attorney experienced in representing injured victims to learn the full extent of your legal rights.

Corporate Responsibility & The Sugar Industry: Not So Sweet

By Thomas R. Smith

Monday, November 27th, 2017

After years of denial and misleading the public, the tobacco industry is finally going to admit, through mandated advertising, that cigarettes cause disease and death and that nicotine is addictive. Who can forget the scene years ago when the CEOs of the major cigarette companies stood before a Senate committee, under oath, and denied any knowledge of harmful effects from smoking.

It now appears that the sugar industry used tobacco-style tactics to ensure that government agencies would dismiss troubling health claims against their products. In a ground breaking study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine it was revealed that for nearly 60 year the sugar industry has been hiding a major secret. The Sugar Research Foundation – now known as the Sugar Association – was responsible for secretly paying nutrition scientists to publish findings that would transition the cause of heart disease from sugar, to fat and cholesterol.

And while a growing body of research suggests that sugar and its nearly chemically identical cousin, High Fructose Corn Syrup, may very well cause diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year the sugar industry continues to obscure the science on sugar consumption. Just like big tobacco, the motive is greed to protect the huge profits from sugar sales. With big budgets and aggressive and often deceptive advertising practices the sugar industry particularly targets women, children, minorities and low-income populations.

Much like other product manufacturers, the sugar industry needs to address corporate responsibility and be held accountable. Compensations should be made to those victims suffering serious, harmful diseases, injury and death as the result of the fraudulent and irresponsible behavior of the sugar industry.

Jury Awards $110.5 Million for Illness Caused by Baby Powder

By Thomas R. Smith

Friday, May 5th, 2017

A 62 year old woman obtained a jury verdict this week against Johnson and Johnson for $110.5 million. The jury found that the woman’s severe personal injuries were indeed caused by her long term use of company’s products containing talcum, including baby powder. The victim was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, that spread to her liver in 2012, and she presented scientific evidence that her illness was caused by the talc contained in Johnson and Johnson products. These studies have shown a connection between the use of talc on the genital area, and a 40% higher risk in developing the cancer.

If you or someone you know has developed cancer or some other serious injury or illness, and have used products containing talcum for an extended period, you may be entitled to compensation for any losses, or harms you have suffered as a result. You should contact an attorney who is experienced in handling product liability cases to discuss your rights. Don’t wait as there are often time limitations to make such claims.

Your Accident Should Not Be Just A Statistic – Talk to an Injury Attorney

By admin

Monday, February 13th, 2017

An accident today, whether in an auto, from a bad product, or dangerous conditions on someone’s property, get played out on a different stage from not too many years in the past. Changes in laws threaten the injured person and his or her injury attorney with becoming a category or statistic, rather than the individual human being you are, with your story, your life and your needs.

The art of representation means identifying your individuality and what your diagnosis and your injury means, and will mean to you, and sometimes, to your loved ones. Legislation and insurance policies try to categorize and depersonalize. Your injury attorney needs to learn who you are so that it is the “you” in you that is presented and appreciated.

In part, the doctor who is to help present and describe what happened to you, has to be made aware, you are not a diagnosis, but rather a unique person with that diagnosis and its impact on the “you” in you. This is part of the art of having you and your case understood for what it means to you, with the explanation of needed witnesses, who know you are not a category, but a person.

That is who you want representing you, above being just a case, a statistic, or a “typical diagnosis”. You are not typical. You are you and you should seek an injury attorney who gets that, so that those who are responsible for compensating you get that.

“I Was Just Involved in a Car Accident – What do I do Now?”

By admin

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

If you have ever been involved in a car accident, it can be a really terrifying experience and one where you may not be in the right frame of mind to make quick and necessary decisions. However, if you follow these simple instructions you can mitigate your damages and also ensure that you are fully protected.

It is important that you stay at the scene until you have been instructed to do so by the police. If you are involved in a car accident and if it is your fault, you can be susceptible to criminal penalties as a potential hit and run driver. As soon as an accident occurs, check on the well being of your passengers along with yourself. Of course, pain and injuries may not manifest at this point due to adrenaline but check for any cuts and bruises. After you have made sure everyone is safe, call 911. If you are uncertain on the property damage or who was at fault do not engage the other driver or come to an “agreement,” it is very important to call the police because the police report will be the objective evidence of fault and liability.

After you have called the police, you can exchange information with the other driver. The pertinent information to exchange includes: names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and basic insurance information. If there are passengers try and obtain their information as well. At this juncture, it is very important to not admit fault or apologize at the accident scene. You can be polite but do not admit anything! This is crucial because anything you say at this point can be used against you in a subsequent civil proceeding. While at the scene, try and also identify any witnesses and take down their names, numbers and addresses as well.

At this point, it is important to take pictures of the accident scene. Take pictures of your car and the other car involved. If you suffered bruises or cuts take pictures of those injuries as well.

After the accident and after you speak to the authorities, inform your insurance company of the accident. It is important to be honest with them and tell them your account of what occurred. Next, it is important to keep track of your medical treatment. If you are any of your passengers feel any sort of pain from the accident at the scene, inform the police officer to call an ambulance. It is important to seek medical treatment and go to the ER. With respect to medical treatment, pain symptoms from car accidents can manifest a day or two after the accident. When you experience pain go to the ER.

If you do seek medical attention, it is important to keep track of the various treaters and also the medication you received. If you lost time from work, keep track of those days as well.

Do not talk to anyone about the accident other than your injury attorney, the police, and your insurance company. If an agent from the other insurance company calls you, be polite and simply refer them to your attorney.

Be weary of early settlement offers. It is important to consult with an injury attorney to analyze your case with respect to property damage and medical treatment rendered. An attorney can help best maximize the value of your case. If settlement cannot be achieved in New Jersey, you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

The injury attorneys at PELLETTIERI, RABSTEIN & ALTMAN are extremely experienced in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our office provides free initial consultations and a contingency fee, so you do not have to pay anything unless we secure a settlement or a verdict.

Injuries Due To Trucks’ Tire Debris

By Thomas R. Smith

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Tire debris from a tractor trailer traveling on Route 1 North, near Princeton, caused a motorist, who was trying to avoid the debris, to lose control of his car, swerve off the road, and into several trees – ultimately causing his death. Trucks, often referred to as “18 wheelers”, use tires much larger then used by the average automobile. When those tires fail, they are prone to cause major damage either by a direct strike, or due to the evasive action the driver must take to avoid the debris.

Many tractor-trailers use retread tires as a cost saving measure. Retreads are permitted on trucks with the exception of the front tires. Used or worn tires are fitted with a cap, or a piece of a new tread, over the worn area of the tire. When a retread fails, the tire shatters, sending tire pieces in different directions, often at unsuspecting vehicles. It is not unusual to travel on a highway and see pieces of a retread tire laying in, or on the side of, the road. Those pieces are heavy, can separate from the tire at very high speeds, and create dangerous and hazardous situations for other motorists, often times causing significant property damage or serious personal injuries.

Tractor trailer drivers must follow strict guidelines and regulations to inspect tires before operating the vehicle. Tires are to be visibly and physically inspected to ensure they are inflated properly and the treads are of a minimum depth. Tires that don’t meet those standards create an increased risk of failure, and consequently property damage, personal injuries, and unfortunately, wrongful death.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to tire from a tractor trailer that fails, contact a truck accident attorney experienced in handling cases against trucking companies to learn and protect your legal rights.

Personal Injuries: Be Careful, it’s Nice Out There

By Thomas R. Smith

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Finally, the cold dreary days of winter are behind us and spring is in the air. With the warmer, nicer weather, comes an increase in motor vehicle accidents, and personal injuries motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians.

Drivers and pedestrians have the right to use the roadways, and have mutual duties and obligations to do so in a safe manner, and to look out for each other. More people are out walking and using some portion of the roads during the nice weather, and longer days. Both drivers and pedestrians must use reasonable care to observe anyone crossing into their paths of travel.

Motorists are faced with new challenges as the weather changes. Conditons that block normal observations, such as sun glare, fog, rain and lightening can lead to accidents. Drivers are expected to act prudently, and take the proper precautions associated with the conditions they are presented with to reduce the risk of harming someone else using the roadway, such as a pedestrian. Sometimes, if the conditions are such to severely impede visibility, they should pull over to the side of the road until the condition improves.

Pedestrians, which include bicyclists, using the roadways have similar duties and obligations to look out for their own safety as well as others. Pedestrians may only cross a street at a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, and once in that walkway, an approaching driver has an obligation to stop its vehicle, as opposed to merely yielding to the crossing pedestrian. Any collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian who is within the crosswalk, it will be presumed the driver did not exercise due care. When sidewalks are available, it is unlawful for one to walk along the roadway.

Bicyclists must follow the rules of road to help avoid personal injuries from accidents with motor vehicles. Operators must ride as far to the right of the roadway as possible, but may move left to make left turns, avoid hazards, or to pass a slower moving vehicle. A bicycle being operated a night should have a lamp in the front and red light in the rear. Bicyclists under the age of 17 must wear helmets.

Motorcycle accidents also increase during the nicer weather as ridership increases. More people are out riding in the Spring and Summer then in the winter months. The major causes of accidents with motorcycles involve driver inattention, or the inability to notice motorcycles, and driver speed, usually a motorcycle driving too fast for the conditions. Operators must take extra caution to ensure are seen by other cars and trucks on the road and don’t drive at excessive speeds. So doing will cut down on the number of an extent of injuries involving motor cycles.

According a New Jersey State Police report, many more crashes and fatalities involving motor vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians occur during the nicer spring and summer months. The majority occur during clear weather and on a Saturday or Sunday. Therefore, take extra caution when using the roads during the nice weather. If you have been injured by a motor vehicle, contact my office so I, as an experienced personal injury lawyer can advise of your rights to recover for you injuries, losses and any other ways you have been harmed.