However, many families of these innocent victims have not been able to obtain justice. Many states, including Ohio, place a limit on the amount of compensation injury victims and their families can get under the guise of “tort reform.” As pointed out in this recent New York Times piece, it simply becomes too expensive to bring a case, in light of what the law allows to be recovered. Said another way, by the time experts are hired to prove the case, the value of the injuries and suffering is not enough to obtain a successful result.
Most people are familiar with a statute of limitations, a law that gives you a certain amount of time to bring a claim starting from the date of the injury. That makes sense, since you know when you are injured. A “statute of repose,” on the other hand, is a limitation on the amount of time starting from the date a product is made, whether you have been injured yet or not.
What makes these laws – such as Ohio’s law – particularly vicious is that they can cut off the ability to file a claim BEFORE THE INJURY HAS EVEN HAPPENED. One a product had been made – whether that’s a medical device like a hip implant, a smoke detector, or a baby’s high chair – after 10 years, no claims can be made against the manufacturer.
What does this mean to you?
Not surprisingly, Ohio’s statute of repose has been described as “a victory for manufacturers.” If manufacturers won, who lost? And by the way, how does this make products safer?
Change is hard. I get it. The people in the horse and buggy business probably didn’t like to see the advent of the automobile. But as technology changes, especially in the the area of safety improvements, business must change and adapt along with it.
Stryker claimed its hips were similar to DePuy’s metal on metal hips that were already for sale. The fault in this logic, if you can call it that, is that DePuy’s hip implants are the ones having problems with fretting and corrosion of the metal, which causes pain and swelling. This defect may even lead to metalosis – metal toxicity in the blood stream caused by metal ions and shavings from the implant itself. This, despite the fact that the industry has known for some time that as much as 40% of metal-on-metal hip implants would fail.
I saw this story in the Columbus Dispatch today noting an increase in the number of injuries to babies caused by high chairs. On average, 9,400 kids are hurt every year due to high chairs – a number that has been on the rise.
To be sure, some injuries were caused by children climbing out, while other are related to defects in the chair itself.
This is a stand-up desk I built. I now use it in my office at work.
Half the fun or working on projects are the tools you get to use. But to say that these tools can be dangerous is an understatement, and few tools are more dangerous than the table saw. Every year, more than 3,500 people lose a finger on a traditional table saw.
This saw does not have SawStop, much less a guard.
But there is a technology that can prevent virtually all finger amputations from table saws. Its called SawStop. It works by sensing the electrical current in a finger and immediately stops the blade from spinning. However, none of the major manufacturers of table saws have incorporated this technology into their saws. The companies, through their trade group – The Power Tool Institute, are even fighting making this technology mandatory for all table saws.
What does this mean to you:
Does everyone know that table saws are dangerous? Sure. But does everyone know that the manufacturers could make their table saws safer and avoid the horror of amputations, but have chosen not to? Methinks not. Even when a product does not malfunction, it may still be defective based on the design choices made by the manufacturer.
Baby Boomers appear to be here to stay. I mean, they even have their own Association now, so you know they’re going to stick around and ask for stuff. Stuff like hip implants that don’t fail after being implanted, causing pain, swelling, and metal on metal friction to throw off chromium and cobalt ions in to their blood streams. Some people! For what it’s worth, the medical research surrounding metal ions is ongoing, but as far as I know, no doctors have started prescribing chromium and cobalt ions to be taken once daily by mouth along with your Flintstones.
Many times, patients may not know the brand or model of the particular implant they have. That is, a person may have a DePuy ASR and not even know it. If you’re having problems, its important to check with your doctor to see which type you have, and if need be, discuss it with a lawyer.
We often hear of the concept of a “defective product” being something that physically breaks or malfunctions. And, as a parent who just survived another Christmas filled with plenty of plastic horse pucky, I could certainly provide several recent examples of just this type of defect in many different products.
But in Ohio, as in many states, any product can be defective in one or multiple ways. As an example, think of a riding lawn mower that rolls over and injures the driver. It may be that something happened while this particular mower was being manufactured at the factory causing it roll. This type of manufacturing defect is usually confined to one part coming off the line wrong. This same mower may also be defectively designed. That is, the way all the mowers were designed and created by the company creates a danger of rollover. What’s more, if the company should have known their mower would rollover, the product can also be defective if there is not an adequate warning about the risks and dangers of their mower.
Let’s hope Santa invests in some good R&D between now and December.