Serious Car Accidents Remained High During COVID-19 Pandemic, While Minor Crashes Dropped Drastically

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A doctor takes a nasal swab from a patient at a drive-in coronavirus testing clinic Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the nation’s way of life. One example of this can be seen in the amount of traffic on the nation’s roadways. When people are commuting as normal, there are certain times with elevated levels of traffic. However, now that many people are suffering a lack of work and work schedules and routines have been changed to adapt to necessary coronavirus precautionary procedures, the amount of traffic on the road has decreased.

Researchers have been looking into whether these altered traffic routines have resulted in any changes to traffic accidents. While it’s clear that the number of cars on the nation’s roads has dropped considerably as a result of the coronavirus and related shutdowns, research has suggested that the number of serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities has largely remained level.

In the fall of 2020, researchers from the University of Missouri investigated traffic patterns as they changed during the lockdown period in several states. They were looking into whether the reduced amount of vehicles on the road reduced the number of car crashes and their seriousness. They performed an analysis using data from the Statewide Traffic Accident Records System. This system logged nearly 2,300 traffic accidents on Missouri roads from January through May.

To determine whether or not the shutdowns affected the number of car accidents, the researchers categorized the period from March 23 to May 3 as the shutdown period. According to their findings, the number of daily accidents on the road was reduced, falling from 17.9 to 14.4 incidents per day. They also found that there was a significant drop in the rate of collisions resulting in minor or no injuries, dropping from 14.5 to 10.8 incidents per day. Unfortunately, despite these reductions in crashes, the rate of serious and fatal accidents increased from 3.4 per day to 3.7 per day during the lockdown.

The researchers hypothesized that there could be a number of reasons for these conflicting results. One possible factor is that the more clear highways allowed dangerous drivers to speed more easily, leading to an elevation in crashes at high speed. These high-speed crashes are naturally more likely to lead to serious injuries and deaths. Other possible factors are reduced policing and an increase in the speed of commercial vehicles.

There have been previous studies that analyzed the effects of COVID-19 on traffic and the results supported the theory that open roads resulted in a change in driving behavior, with the drivers increasing the vehicle’s speed. INRIX, an analytics company that focused on driving behavior, also released a study that showed that the speed of the average driver increased by 75% on highways when traffic dropped from the lockdowns. They also concluded that these higher driving speeds could lead to more serious crashes.

Further supporting the conclusion that increased speeds are the cause of the increase in serious crashes, transportation officials in New York City reported a 60% increase in the number of speeding tickets from speed cameras in March when compared to the previous year. In Washington D.C., there was a 20% increase in the number of speeding tickets issued, with officials reporting that the number of drivers found going over the limit by more than 20 miles per hour also increased by almost 40%.

What we can see from these studies and their conclusions is that speed plays a major factor in the number of serious accidents. Even if the roads look clear, you should be defensive when driving.

Partner Jim McEldrew Featured on Who’sWho Philly Labor Show

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Partner Jim Mceldrew was featured on union talk-show Who’sWho in Philly Labor Show on Dec.8th hosted by Joe Dougherty. The show, featured on WWDB recognizes and celebrates those who serve and make a difference in the lives of working families, injury victims, the community, and charitable endeavors throughout greater Philadelphia.

Listen to it by following this link: Who’sWho in Philly Labor Show Feat. Jim McEldrew

In the extensive interview, Mr. McEldrew takes a deep dive into the history of the American Railroad system and how the precursors to workers comp got set up, explaining the how’s and why’s of how it functions in the modern-day. He fields some questions about labor injuries and gives some guidance to common questions that railroad workers and other laborers often have.

Jim goes into detail about how the fallout from COVID-19 has affected his business, his lawsuits, and his clients, and how little changes he made in the past ended up protecting his business when the worst happened with the sudden 2020 COVID lockdowns. The idea of safety has changed throughout 2020, and Jim guides Joe and his listeners through the ins and outs of unsafe working conditions due to COVID-19, especially those in regards to union workers and labor forces, as these are the workers who are at the highest risk for the virus and who deserve to be defended the most.

Joe also Mr. McEldrew talk about nursing homes during the pandemic, and how COVID has deeply affected the most vulnerable of American citizens, the elderly. Many complexities have risen up throughout the healthcare and the law professions during 2020, and Jim McEldrew often works at the intersections of these fields, doing his best to bring justice to those who did not receive the proper protection throughout a difficult and convoluted year.

Jim talks about his many years of experience within the labor industry, why he is so passionate about labor workers and unions, and how he ended up working so closely with them for so long and will continue to for years to come!

Joe Dougherty and Jim McEldrew’s full interview again can be found here: Who’sWho in Philly Labor Show Feat. Jim McEldrew, hosted by WWDB, where they are joined by Robyn Lewison of Healthmark Enterprises.

Railroad Crossing Accidents Targeted By Nationwide NHTSA Campaign

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Recently, highway safety officials from federal agencies have started a multi-million dollar awareness campaign to educate people on the dangers associated with train crossings. They’re doing this partly in reaction to the latest study on railroad crossing accidents, which showed a greater need for efforts to reduce the number of resulting injuries and deaths.

“Stop. Trains Can’t.” is a campaign running nationwide as part of a joint effort by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). With a budget of over $6 million, funding is being spent to raise awareness on the dangers of railroad crossings by spreading the message via advertisements on digital, radio, and social media channels. The advertisements will urge drivers to be alert to railroad crossing warning devices, like descending gates or flashing lights, that show when a train is nearing. 

The two agencies will be targeting their ads at several areas in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas, where there are an elevated number of higher-risk railroad crossings and fatal collisions. In 2019, accidents at railway crossings led to over 900 deaths. This was an increase on the previous year’s numbers by over 10%. Officials have asserted that these recent numbers are the highest levels recorded in over a decade. 

Why Trains Are So Dangerous

Part of the reason for such elevated death rates and the reason that the campaign is so important is that, according to figures from the NHTSA, a crash involving a train is nearly 20 times more likely to be fatal than an accident with another vehicle. There are a variety of causes for the elevated danger posed by railways, but the primary cause of danger is the massive force caused by the impact of a train, which can weigh anywhere from 4,000 to 20,000 tons.

Not only does the massive size of a train mean the damage from an impact involving one will be massive, but it also means that the train itself is less able to avoid the collision. A train can require more than one mile of the railway to stop, meaning that a train will not be able to stop itself from hitting a vehicle in its way, even if the emergency brakes are used. When you combine this with the fact that trains aren’t maneuverable and can’t turn to avoid a crash, it is entirely up to the operator of the motor vehicle to ensure that they heed warning signs and stay out of the train’s path.

Steps to Reduce Car Collisions

A talking point for the campaign is that the majority of railway crossing fatalities could be avoided if drivers took more precautions around railways. They’re promoting a series of proactive steps that the public should make when nearing railroad crossings to reduce the risk of collision and injury. They say that drivers should:

  • Stop, look both ways, and listen for trains because trains have the right of way and are unable to stop
  • Ensure that they have adequate room to cross the tracks before attempting to cross the railway
  • Stop 5 yards away from the any crossing gates so there’s no chance of crossing entering the track
  • Never ignore crossing alarms or attempt to cross when the gate is lowering
  • Allow the gate to fully raise and signals to stop entirely before crossing
  • Consider the possibility that there is more than one train passing

The agencies involved in this outreach campaign believe that if drivers follow these simple steps, fatalities around the country could be greatly reduced.

McEldrew Young Partner Eric L. Young Named “Lawyer of the Year” for 2020 by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund

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The law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is pleased to announce that its co-founder and name partner, Eric L. Young, was honored as one of two “Lawyers of the Year” for 2020 at the 20th Annual Conference & Awards Ceremony of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (“TAF”). TAF also named James E. Miller of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP, as a recipient of the award. TAF is the nation’s preeminent organization dedicated to combatting fraud against the government and advocating for stronger whistleblower protections. It also serves as a significant resource for whistleblowers and their attorneys who bring actions under the federal and state False Claims Acts, as well as the whistleblower programs of the IRS, SEC and CFTC.

Mr. Young and Mr. Miller were honored for their groundbreaking work representing three whistleblowers in two successful qui tam False Claims Act cases against two of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers − Novartis and Teva. Both cases were hard-fought and required substantial investments of time and resources for both law firms. In total, more than 100 depositions were taken across the nation, and over $6 million were advanced for expert fees and investigatory expenses in both cases.

Read more here

Novartis Agrees to Pay $678 Million to Settle Allegations of Illegal Kickbacks Involving Several of the Company’s Cardiovascular Drugs

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Attorney Eric L. Young Represents Whistleblower Oswald Bilotta in One of the Largest Ever Recoveries in a Health Care Fraud Case Brought Under the Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act

PHILADELPHIA, July 1, 2020 — Attorney Eric. L. Young announced today that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“Novartis”) has agreed to settle alleged violations of the False Claims Act based on a qui tam complaint filed by whistleblower Oswald Bilotta, who is represented by McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, Attorneys-at-Law (“McEldrew Young”), and Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (“SFMS”).

“Today’s announcement puts the pharmaceutical industry on further notice that offering or paying unlawful remuneration to health care providers will have costly consequences,” said Eric Young, managing partner of McEldrew Young’s whistleblower practice. “The days are over for drug manufacturers who routinely provide incentives to doctors as a means of increasing the number of prescriptions written. There is no legitimate reason why drug manufacturers should take doctors to five-star restaurants, major sporting events or extravagant fishing excursions,” Mr. Young added.

Mr. Bilotta’s original whistleblower complaint was filed under seal in January 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and alleged that Novartis’ Cardiovascular Diseases (“CV”) Division engaged in a variety of unlawful marketing schemes, as well as violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a – 7b(b). On April 26, 2013, the Department of Justice announced that the United States had intervened in the action and filed a complaint in intervention. In the seven years since, McEldrew Young and SFMS have worked hand in hand with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York to further substantiate Mr. Bilotta’s allegations through lengthy discovery and extensive legal arguments.

Both the United States’ and the whistleblower’s complaints alleged that Novartis had fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and other federal and state-funded health care programs. As part of the scheme, Novartis allegedly spent millions of dollars on incentive programs to doctors who steered patients toward drugs from Novartis’ CV Division in exchange for illegal kickbacks. The drugs implicated in the alleged kickback scheme, included Lotrel, Diovan, Diovan HCT, Tekturna, Tekturna HCT, Exforge, Exforge HCT, Valturna, Tekamlo, and Starlix.

The alleged kickbacks violated the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33, as well as analogous state and local laws, because government-funded health care programs reimbursed many of the prescriptions written by the doctors who allegedly received kickbacks. Eric Young noted that “U.S. taxpayers are often the biggest victims of pharmaceutical sales and marketing fraud because it increases the cost of health care for everyone — precious Medicare and Medicaid dollars are squandered due to corporate greed rather than being spent for the public good.”

Whistleblower Bilotta is a former Novartis sales representative from Long Island, New York, who identified and reported alleged unethical and illegal conduct by Novartis. Mr. Bilotta was also instrumental in identifying many of the physicians who allegedly accepted illicit financial incentives in exchange for prescribing the company’s drugs. The allegations set forth in Mr. Bilotta’s complaint detail how Novartis provided doctors with a wide array of inducements, including meals at top restaurants, trips to sporting events, and chartered fishing excursions. Many of these events were held under the guise of “educational programs” where doctors were paid to purportedly provide medical information to their peers.

“Mr. Bilotta has demonstrated remarkable courage and perseverance in coming forward with evidence of Novartis’ alleged wrongful conduct and seeing the case to its final resolution after nearly a decade,” said Mr. Young.

For Novartis, the past is prologue as it relates to the announcement of today’s settlement. Remarkably, less than four months before the original whistleblower complaint was filed in this case, Novartis entered into a settlement agreement with the United States government where it agreed to pay nearly $422 million in fines and penalties, both criminal and civil, to resolve similar allegations that it paid kickbacks to prescribers of certain other Novartis drugs.

As the managing partner of McEldrew Young’s whistleblower practice, Eric Young has established a distinguished record of success. Mr. Young has recovered more than $2 billion dollars for the government on behalf of his whistleblower clients. McEldrew Young represents whistleblowers from across the country and abroad. Many whistleblower cases are brought under the False Claims Act, which allows a private individual, known as a relator, to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government against a company that has perpetrated fraud against the government. If a relator successfully recovers funds on behalf of the government, he or she can receive a reward of 15 percent to 30 percent of the civil monetary recovery.

Case citation: United States ex rel. Bilotta v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Corp., S.D.N.Y. 11-CV-00071-PGG.

DOJ Aggressively Pursues Health Care Fraud in 2019

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In the first half of 2019, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has shown that it intends to aggressively pursue health care providers who engage in fraudulent schemes to enrich themselves at the expense of their patients and American taxpayers. The DOJ has been especially diligent in its investigation and prosecution of health care providers who receive kickbacks and other improper incentives, as well as those on the other side of the transaction who make the illegal payments.

Recent DOJ Settlements Involving Health Care Providers

A review of the 2019 DOJ press release headlines offers insight into the scope and pervasiveness of illegal practices that some health care providers allegedly engage in:

  • Avanti Hospitals LLC, and Its Owners Agree to Pay $8.1 Million to Settle Allegations of Making Illegal Payments in Exchange for Referrals – January 28, 2019
  • Pathology Laboratory Agrees to Pay $63.5 Million for Providing Illegal Inducements to Referring Physicians – January 30, 2019
  • Covidien to Pay Over $17 Million to The United States for Allegedly Providing Illegal Remuneration in the Form of Practice and Market Development Support to Physicians – March 11, 2019
  • MedStar Health to Pay U.S. $35 Million to Resolve Allegations that it Paid Kickbacks to a Cardiology Group in Exchange for Referrals – March 21, 2019
  • United States Files Lawsuit Against West Virginia Hospital, Its Management Company, and Its CEO Based on Kickbacks and Other Improper Payments to Physicians – March 25, 2019
  • Former CEO of Hospital Chain to Pay $3.46 Million to Resolve False Billing and Kickback Allegations – April 30, 2019
  • Pharmaceutical Company Agrees to Pay $17.5 Million to Resolve Allegations of Kickbacks to Medicare Patients and Physicians – April 30, 2019
  • Rialto Capital Management and Current Owner of Indiana Hospital to Pay $3.6 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Arising from Kickbacks to Referring Physicians – June 3, 2019

The DOJ’s Arsenal in the Fight Against Health Care Fraud

Three statutes are most often implicated in fraud and abuses cases involving health care providers are the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733 (“FCA”); the Anti-Kickback Statute 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b) (“AKS”); and the Physician Self-Referral Law, 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn (commonly known as the “Stark Law”).

The False Claims Act

The federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, authorizes a private individual, known as a “relator,” to bring a cause of action on behalf of the federal government to recover funds lost because of fraud or other misconduct. A lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act is known as a qui tam action, and it allows a relator to sue on behalf of the government and, if successful, receive a percentage of the recovery.

The FCA was signed into law by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was originally intended as means to legally pursue unscrupulous contractors who defrauded the Union Army by selling inferior goods, such as sawdust mixed with gunpowder, crippled horses, and boots made of cardboard. Even today, the FCA remains one of the most effective and important tools to prevent the government from purchasing overpriced, inferior, or nonexistent goods or services.

Most FCA violations in the health care industry arise from the submission of false or fraudulent claims for payment to government-funded health care programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPVA, and TRICARE. The civil penalties for violations of the FCA can be substantial. The filing of false claims can result in fines of up to three times the amount of the government’s losses, plus a penalty ranging from $11,463 to $22,927 for each false claim submitted. If a health care provider submits a claim to the government that resulted from a kickback or Stark law violation, it can also render the claim false or fraudulent.  This, in turn, creates liability under the FCA, in addition to liability under the AKS or Stark law. Some examples of FCA violations involving health care providers can be found here.

The FCA’s whistleblower provision allows a relator to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States. If the government makes a successful recovery based on original information provided by a whistleblower, the whistleblower may be entitled to a reward of 15 to 30% of the government’s recovery.

The Anti-Kickback Statute

The Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b), prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving “remuneration” to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally-funded health care programs. The AKS is a criminal law that involves any item or service payable by a federal health care program (e.g., drugs, supplies, or health care services for Medicare or Medicaid patients). “Remuneration” includes anything of value and can include items other than cash, such as free rent, expensive hotel stays and meals, and excessive compensation for medical directorships or consulting services.

In certain sectors of the economy, a reward given to someone for a business referral is a commonly accepted and legal practice. However, compensation paid to someone for a referral involving a federal health care program is a crime. The AKS applies to both those who offer or pay remuneration as well as those who solicit or receive remuneration. Since an AKS violation can result in criminal liability, the intent of each party to the transaction is a critical element to determining culpability.

United States v. Greber, 760 F.2d 68 (3rd Cir. 1985) is a landmark case which held that paying a referring physician to use a laboratory’s services, even if the remuneration was compensation for professional services, was a violation of the AKS. Greber was a physician who was board certified in cardiology. Greber’s company, Cardio-Med, Inc., provided diagnostic services, some of which were billed to Medicare. The government eventually charged Greber with, inter alia, Medicare fraud in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(b)(2)(B). The charges were based on Cardio-Med’s practice of paying kickbacks from Medicare funds to referring physicians in order to obtain future referrals. Greber claimed that the payments were for work performed by physicians, and future referrals were only one purpose of the payments. Greber was convicted, and he appealed. The Third Circuit affirmed the conviction, holding that a payment to a referring physician is illegal if it is done to encourage future referrals, even if the payment is compensatory. 760 F.2d at 72.

The policy reasons underlying the AKS are based on the premise that kickbacks exploit the health care system, drive up costs for medical services, and impede fair competition in the industry. Kickbacks can also result in patient steering, which can compromise the decision-making process of health care providers and institutions. Hospitals that participate in the Medicare program, or other federally-sponsored health care programs, are required to enter into contracts in which they agree to comply with federal laws and regulations, including the AKS.

Although the AKS is a criminal statute, it provides both criminal and civil penalties for violations. The criminal penalties can include fines of up to $25,000 and five years’ imprisonment for each violation. The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services can pursue civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation plus three times the amount of sustained by the government.

The Physician Self-Referral Law

The Physician Self-Referral Law or Stark Law, 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn, prohibits a physician from referring patients for certain “designated health services” payable by Medicare to an entity with which the physician, or his or her immediate family member, has a financial relationship, unless one of a number of specific exceptions applies. A financial relationship can include ownership or investment interests, or compensation arrangements between a physician, or immediate family, and an entity that furnishes designated health services.

Designated health services include:

  • Clinical laboratory services;
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and outpatient speech-language pathology services;
  • Radiology and certain other imaging services;
  • Radiation therapy services and supplies;
  • DME and supplies;
  • Parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies;
  • Prosthetics, orthotics, and prosthetic devices and supplies;
  • Home health services;
  • Outpatient prescription drugs; and
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services.

The Stark law is a strict liability statute, which means that a physician does not have to possess the specific intent to violate the law. Much like the AKS, the Stark Law is intended to ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is based only on the best interests of the patient and is not swayed by improper financial incentives.

Penalties for Stark law violations can include:

  • Denial of payment – Medicare will not pay for designated health services that were provided pursuant to a prohibited referral.
  • Refund of payment – Any entity that collects payment for designated health services that were provided pursuant to a prohibited referral must refund all such payments.
  • Imposition of civil monetary penalties – a civil monetary penalty of up to $15,000 can be imposed for each prohibited service, as well as additional civil assessments and potential liability under the False Claims Act.
  • Exclusion from federal health care programs — Physicians and entities can be excluded from participation in government-sponsored health care programs.

The Necessity of Whistleblowers

The government lacks the resources to identify and prosecute every instance of fraud carried out by unscrupulous physicians, medical equipment providers or hospitals. Many settlements and successful verdicts reported by the DOJ are often based on information provided by a whistleblower willing to come forward after hearing or witnessing some type of improper conduct. In the health care sector, a whistleblower is often a current or ex-business partner, a hospital or office staff member, a patient, or a business competitor.

Anyone who is an “original source” of information involving fraud against the government can be a whistleblower. As defined in the False Claims Act, original source means “an individual who either (i) prior to a public disclosure . . . has voluntarily disclosed to the Government the information on which allegations or transactions in a claim are based, or (2) who has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and who has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an action under this section.” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(B).

There are many pitfalls to filing a whistleblower claim with a government department or agency. Without proper legal representation, a whistleblower might not receive a reward even though he or she provided information and assisted the government in the investigation that resulted in a successful recovery. The attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have a proven track record of success in all types of whistleblower cases. If you have evidence of a fraudulent scheme involving a health care provider or facility, or any other type of fraud against the government, the attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt will provide a free confidential review of your evidence and recommend the best course of action. For a no obligation consultation, call Eric L. Young or Paul Shehadi at (215) 367-5151 or you can submit your information through the contact form found on most pages of this site.

What should I know about the Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper recall?

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If you are a parent, caregiver of a child, grandparent, or guardian and are using a Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper, it is in your best interest to stop using it immediately.

 

On April 12th, 2019 Fisher Price officially recalled 4.7 million Rock N’ Play Sleepers.

They also advised parents to cease all use of the sleeper. The reason behind the massive recall is related to at least 32 infant deaths. Before the recall, The American Academy of Pediatrics had encouraged the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, to recall the sleeper product after a Consumer Reports Investigation brought to lit the large number of infant deaths since 2011.

 

Just before the recall of millions of sleepers, the Consumer Reports officially called for a recall of another infant sleeper, the Ingenuity Moonlight, made by Kids II. This was done after at least 4 infants died while using the sleeper.

 

Since the recall, there are Fisher-Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits underway. We, at [law firm name[, are currently investigating cases that involve infant deaths attributed to the Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper. If you lost a child, and believe this popular product may have been the cause, we urge you to call us as soon as possible.

 

What You Should Know

 

The Consumer Reports investigation sought advice from doctors and medical experts who suggested infants be placed on their backs and away from any soft bedding, so as to minimize the risk of asphyxiation. To add to this the American Academy of Pediatricians does not advise parents to allow their babies to sleep at an incline, especially while restraining a baby while they rock.

 

The Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper has been designed in a way that allows babies to sleep at an inclined position, as the product rocks. The company even marketed the sleeper as being a product that a baby could sleep in all night long.

In addition to this, the CPSC has issued  a warning in the past which asked the consumers of the sleeper to discontinue use as soon as the child turned three months of age, or was exhibiting signs of being able to roll over – whichever came first. Both Fisher Price and the CPSC acknowledged 10 infant deaths, and said they occured after the baby rolled from the back to the stomach. This was not exactly true, according to the Consumer Reports. What the investigation showed was that the babies were younger than three months old. Rolling over was not likely.

 

At this time Fisher Price has stated they are aware of at least 32 infant deaths since the introduction of the sleeper in 2009. However, they also said the infants may have had mental or physical health conditions that attributed to the deaths, or the sleeper was being used in a way that contradicted the manual and it’s warnings.

 

It should be noted the investigation did note in select cases, there may have been other factors to consider. Even so, Consumer Reports found there were enough causes for concern that a recall should occur as soon as possible.

 

At least 4.7 million sleepers have been sold to consumers. They are one of the most popular sleepers on the markets, but should no longer be used as they are not safe for infants or babies of any age. If you or someone you know is using this sleeper, please discontinue its use.

 

If you are one of the parents who tragically lost a child, and you believe the Rock n’ Play Sleeper is the cause, our firm is investigating these cases. We understand what it takes to build a case against a large corporation like Fisher Price and will do our best to get justice for you and all the other families.

 

To learn more about the  Fisher-Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits, call McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt.

Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper Defective Product Lawsuits: Are They Right for You?

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The number of Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper Defective Product lawsuits are on the rise, and if your family lost a child after using this defective product, contact us at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt without delay. Our legal team has the experience and resources necessary to successfully fight this corporate subsidiary on behalf of grieving parents. A lawsuit cannot turn back time but it can send a message that a company cannot knowingly sell a product that is harmful to its users. Gross negligence is not acceptable, and taking legal action in the form of lawsuits against the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product is a way to get justice. A substantial settlement from the manufacturer can also ease the financial burden that families may suffer in the wake of losing a loved one.

 

Contact our office today to learn more about how we might be able to assist your family during this difficult time.

 

How do I file defective product lawsuits against Fisher-Price after their Rock n’ Play Sleeper harmed my child?

 

At least 32 infant deaths are linked to the use of Fisher-Price’s Rock n’ Play Sleeper. The primary issue is that the product allows a child who is capable of rolling over while sleeping to asphyxiate. Product liability laws are intended to protect consumers from dangerous products. When a consumer uses a product in the manner as specified by the manufacturer, and if that product causes harm as a result, the manufacturer may be held liable for the consumer’s damages. McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represents injured victims and surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal accident. Call us to schedule a free and confidential case review to learn if you are eligible to file one or more Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits against the culpable parties.

 

What is involved in filing lawsuits against Fisher-Price for their Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product?

 

When McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt takes a case representing parents who lost their child due to a defective product, our lawyers will determine who should be held liable. There may be more than one culpable party. After we identify who should be held accountable for our client’s loss, we may do the following:

 

  •         Build a damage claim that includes proof of liability and a detailed accounting of the resulting damages, with an assessed value for each type of damage.
  •         Submit the claim to the responsible party or parties.
  •         If the settlement offer from the responsible party is too low, our attorneys will enter into negotiations with the company to arrive at a fair amount. If the company refuses to negotiate in good faith, McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt may initiate a lawsuit against them.
  •         If the client’s case advances to the courtroom, we will argue the case in front of a jury.

If you are considering filing one or more lawsuits against Fisher-Price for their Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product, contact us at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt to learn how we can help you.

When a Slip-And-Fall Leads To Wrongful Death

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Personal Injury Lawyer

Slip-and-fall accidents are some of the most common accidents to occur. This is because there are many things that can cause it to happen, including uneven pavement, icy roads, unseen puddles, and upturned rugs. For some, a slip-and-fall accident may result in no injury or non-life threatening injuries, but for others, it may be mean wrongful death. If your loved one recently passed away after they sustained a slip-and-fall injury, you may be wondering if you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Like any lawsuit, there are certain pieces of evidence that you must provide to a court and certain factors that must be present for your case to be successful.

What Should You Prove In This Lawsuit?

There are similar components you must prove for both the slip-and-fall injury and for bringing forth the wrongful death lawsuit. Just like you would for a personal injury claim after your loved one suffered a slip-and-fall accident, you must show that they were not at fault. For example, if your loved one was walking through a grocery store, tripped over their own feet, fell, and hit their head, they were likely the cause of their injury. If this case, you would not have had substantial evidence to bring forth a personal injury claim had your loved one survived. Thus, you likely would not have enough evidence for a wrongful death lawsuit either. On the other hand, if your loved one slipped on a wet puddle in the middle of the grocery store that had no warning signs, hit their head and later died because of these injuries, you likely have what you need for a lawsuit.

Components Of the Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You must present certain elements to have a successful wrongful death lawsuit. These are:

  • Your loved one died.
  • Their death was not their own fault but someone else’s negligence caused it.
  • The negligence directly caused your loved one’s death.
  • You or surviving family members are suffering in some way (typically financially) because of their death.

With the above example, the components would be that your loved one slipped and sustained injuries due to the negligence of the store manager or staff, died because of these injuries, and you and other family members are suffering for various reasons because of their death.

What Kind Of Damages Can Someone Claim?

When your loved one was the victim of wrongful death after a slip-and-fall, there are certain damages you can claim. Some of these are:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills prior to your loved one’s death
  • The loss of the victim’s income
  • The loss of the victim’s benefits
  • The loss of consortium or love
  • The pain and suffering your loved one went through before dying
  • A loss of companionship

Why Slip-And-Fall Accidents Are So Dangerous

Many people walk away from slip-and-fall accidents without a scrape. Others may have mild injuries. Slip-and-fall accidents are particularly dangerous because brain injuries (like concussions or hemorrhages) may not have any signs until it is too late. If your loved one died after a slip-and-fall accident, don’t hesitate any longer in seeking help from a compassionate attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Melbourne, FL

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie, & Woods for their insight into personal injury and wrongful death.

Can I Get a Settlement with 3M for Hearing Loss Caused by Combat Earplugs?

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3M Combat Earplug Hearing Loss Claims

 

In July 2018, the popular company, and brand 3M, was ordered to compensate victims of hearing loss and tinnitus by the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit was filed by a whistleblower, and later on the D.O.J., for selling the government defective earplugs which were used by millions of deployed military personnel. To date, a very large number of veterans have suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus which was likely caused by 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).

 

Is a Settlement with 3M for Hearing Loss Caused by Combat Ear Plugs Available for You?

If you are a U.S. military veteran, a current service member, or a military contractor, and you used 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2), it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the company. McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently reviewing cases that involve 3M earplug claims.

If the following apply to you, please call us as soon as possible:

  • You were on active duty in foreign combat zones between 2003 and 2015.
  • You used 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).
  • You have been diagnosed with temporary,, long term, or permanent hearing loss or tinnitus while you served or after.

 

A settlement with 3M for hearing loss caused by Combat earplugs may be available to cover:

  • Medical care
  • Hearing aids
  • Treatment to improve your hearing
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Temporary or permanent damages
  • + More

 

How Does 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) Cause Damage to the Ears

3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) were originally created by Aearo Technologies, Inc. In 2008, 3M acquired the company and its employees. According to the lawsuit, Aearo knew about the defective earplugs as early as 2000. It was also claimed that Aearo was manipulating test results in order to meet the strict standards of the U.S. Government.

 

In 2003, Aearo was able to convince the government to purchase the earplugs, via military contract, for U.S. military personnel. Troops in all branches of the U.S. Military were issued these ear plugs. Those were were in combat zones like Iraq or Afghanistan expected these ear plugs to block out loud noises like gunfire, aircraft, and explosions. Consequently, the 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) did not work in the way they were supposed to; thereby, allowing dangerous levels of sounds to penetrate through the ear canal and into the eardrum, leading to:

 

  • Partial or full hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Chronic tinnitus

 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said that there is a sharp increase in hearing related problems in service personnel. Over 1 million people have been diagnosed with hearing loss and nearly 2 million with tinnitus. This is likely to be attributed to 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).

 

If You Have Suffered from Hearing Loss or Tinnitus while Serving in U.S. Combat Zones, Call McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt

Even though you might have worn the 3M earplugs many years ago, it may be possible to recover compensation. The first thing you should do is to contact a lawyer for 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyer as soon as possible.

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