Archives for November 2015

Chemical Exposure and Cancer

The Risks of Cancer Associated with Exposure to Chemical Substances

Toxic chemicalsHealth officials have long understood the relationship between certain chemical compounds and increasing cancer rates. In a study conducted by Physicians for Social Responsibility, researchers found that cancer comes in just behind heart disease as the leading killer of Americans—about one in four people, or 1,500 individuals every day, die of some form of cancer.

In a separate study done in 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel asserted that nearly four out of every five cases of cancer are tied to some form of environmental carcinogen, from tobacco smoke to nutrition to exposure to toxic chemicals. The report concluded that about 34,000 deaths annually are directly tied to exposure to environmental carcinogens. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Pesticides—We use pesticides for a wide array of reasons, from protecting grass, gardens and shrubs to minimizing insect-borne disease.
  • Disinfectants—Though these products kill germs that are potentially harmful, they also carry their own detrimental aspects. Beware of overexposure to chlorine, wood preservatives and other household cleansers and chemical products.
  • Industrial chemicals—Industrial facilities, from municipal waste services and food processing plants to mining and smelting operations, dump billions of pounds of chemicals into groundwater and air every year.
  • Chemicals in consumer products—Plastic packing and wrapping, building materials and even cosmetics contain carcinogens.
  • Exhaust from motor vehicles, as well as coal-fired power plants

The Long List of Carcinogens

Though consumers are familiar with some of the more well-known chemical substances that have been tied to increased cancer rates, such as asbestos, benzene and vinyl chloride, there are literally hundreds of chemical substances that have been tied to cancer in human beings.

Contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli

If you think you have been exposed to a chemical that has caused your personal injury contact fritz & Goldenberg. To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or email us. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary.

Hacked Computers in Cars Cause Accidents – Is There a Product Liability Claim?

The Potential Product Liability Claims Tied to Hacked Motor Vehicle Computers

Traffic at nightIn a number of test experiments, conducted between 2011 and 2014, researchers have been able to hack into the onboard computer on a motor vehicle, causing a number of actions that the driver could not control.

Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Vasalek admitted that they first hacked into the computer of a vehicle driven by Andy Greenberg, a columnist for Wired magazine, causing the brakes and accelerator pedal to malfunction. The researchers said that they executed the hack through the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s UConnect entertainment and navigation system. They claim that they identified the passwords to the UConnect, which has wireless and cellular access, when the UConnect was turned on. They then rewrote the software for the vehicle’s UConnect so that it would interface with the Jeep’s electronic control unit, giving them access to the accelerator and brake functions. They then uploaded the new software to the vehicle through the wireless connection.

In a separate incident, a computer security expert told reporters that he could (and had) successfully hack GM’s OnStar system.

While automakers have publicly stated that hacking a car’s computer requires “unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code,” Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall on the Jeep Cherokee’s with the UConnect System.

Legal experts say that, thus far, there have not been any claims against vehicle manufacturers alleging defective design or manufacturing in the aftermath of a hack on a car’s onboard computer system. They speculate, however, that the time may not be far away when that happens, particularly since automakers have been put on notice of potential liability.

Contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli

At the law office of Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli, we specialize in representing people injured by defective products, including cars.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.

Dram Shop Liability – An Overview

Back of a barIn a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, researchers found that alcohol is a factor in about four out of every ten fatal accidents in the United States. Though the focus is often on the persons who drive while under the influence of alcohol, there are also laws, known as “dram shop” statutes, that can make bars, taverns, liquor stores and other establishments responsible when they serve people who subsequently cause accidents.

Dram Shop Laws

Dram shop laws originated in Victorian England, where the term “dram” was a measurement of alcohol sold. Dram shop laws have been widely applied, used against not only nightclubs and bars, but against sports venues, concert halls and other venues with a license to dispense alcohol. The dram shop laws were enacted to provide a disincentive for such establishments to serve alcohol to patrons who are either visibly drunk, or to serve alcohol in such quantities that would cause a person to become intoxicated.

Under the law, a bar, tavern, restaurant of similar place of business always has the right to refuse to serve alcohol to anyone. If the bar chooses, however, to sell or provide alcohol to a patron, reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that the patron is not already intoxicated, or that the amount of alcohol consumed by the patron would not cause that person to become intoxicated. If it can be shown that the bar knew or should have known that the customer was drunk, or that the customer had imbibed to a degree that would cause intoxication, the bar can be financially responsible for any injuries that person causes.

Contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli

If you, a family member or friend have been injured by someone who was drunk, contact Fritz, Goldenberg & Bianculli.

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary. We will come to your home or the hospital for an appointment.