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ARCHIVES: February 2016

Jury Links Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder to Ovarian Cancer

A St. Louis, Missouri jury’s award of $72 million to the family of an ovarian cancer victim has brought new attention to safety concerns pertaining to the use of talcum powder.

The lawsuit, brought by the family of Jackie Fox, alleged that extended use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Power and Shower-to-Shower led to her contraction of ovarian cancer in March of 2013. Mrs. Fox succumbed to her illness approximately 18 months later. The jury awarded her family $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. Approximately 1,200 similar lawsuits are pending throughout the United States.

The Johnson & Johnson products are comprised mainly of talcum powder. Talc, itself, contains the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Some studies have linked the repeated use of talcum powder around the genital area for hygienic purposes with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Prior to Mrs. Fox’s lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson did not inform its consumers of that increased risk.

Jury Links Johnson & Johnson Talcum Power to Ovarian Cancer

Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. has been investigating the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since October of 2014 and currently has one lawsuit pending on the matter. There are several criteria important to considering whether a diagnosis of ovarian cancer may be linked to talcum powder products:

  • The length and consistency of use of talcum powder products;
  • Family history of ovarian or breast cancer; and
  • History of birth control use.

Our law firm is continuing to develop our current talcum powder litigation and is actively screening new cases. If you or a loved one has suffered from ovarian cancer that may have been caused by exposure to talcum powder products, contact the products liability lawyers for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

March Kicks Off Brain Injury Awareness Month

March Kicks Off Brain Injury Awareness Month

Tomorrow is the official start of the 2016 Brain Injury Awareness Month, a period dedicated to educating the public about brain injuries while empowering brain injury survivors. Spearheaded by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), Brain Injury Awareness Month focuses on outreach and support to destigmatize brain injuries and, at the same time, inform survivors of the various support options and resources available to them.

For this year’s campaign, the theme is Not Alone, reinforcing the notion that survivors do not have to struggle on their own to recover from and/or live with brain injuries.

While the BIAA will be running public service announcements regarding brain injuries throughout the month of March, on March 16th, the organization is hosting Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. During this event, the public will have a change to meet with members of Congress to discuss “key issues surrounding brain injury.”

A Glance at the Incidence, Causes & Impacts of TBIs in the U.S.

Highlighting the importance of Brain Injury Awareness Month and its focus on outreach to survivors, below are some of the latest findings regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S.:

  • Of the 3.5 million acquired brain injuries (ABIs) sustained every year in the U.S., more than 71 percent (or roughly 2.5 million) are traumatic brain injuries. Note that, while TBIs occur due to some external force impacting the head, ABIs can arise from disease, exposure to toxins, etc.
  • More than 5.3 million Americans are currently living with TBIs.
  • About 88 percent of those who sustain a new TBI require emergency medical care.
  • Annually, roughly 50,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of TBI complications. On a daily basis, more than 130 people in the U.S. die from TBI complications.
  • The top four causes of TBIs in the U.S. include:
    • Falling, causing at least 40 percent of TBIs
    • Being hit by or against an object, contributing to nearly 16 percent of TBIs
    • Motor vehicle accidents, causing more than 14 percent of TBIs
    • Assaults, contributing to nearly 11 percent of TBIs.

While these facts about TBIs are certainly tragic, what may be more harrowing are the facts that:

  • Even mild to moderate TBIs can have long-term, debilitating impacts on people.
  • Many cases of TBIs (such as those resulting from traffic crashes or assaults) may have been preventable if others had been more careful or made different choices prior to the injury-causing accident.

Contact the Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury that may have been caused by negligence, contact the trusted Columbia SC personal injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

Trucker with History of Meth Use Deemed “Imminent Hazard to Public Safety,” FMCSA Announces

FMCSA takes action to remove trucker with a history of failed drug tests from US roads.

A commercial truck driver licensed in California has recently been deemed to present an “imminent hazard to public safety” due to his history of testing positive for methamphetamines, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced.

According to regulators, the trucker who has been prohibited from operating commercial vehicles “in interstate commerce” has failed multiple drug tests and has failed to complete the required “return-to-duty” process necessary following such failures.

Background on the Trucker’s Violations that Led to the FMCSA Action

As FMCSA authorities have explained, the truck driver at the center of this recent action was deemed to be “medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle” in May 2015, following a federal investigation. In fact, what regulators discovered during and after this investigation was that the trucker had:

  • Failed at least separate drug tests since 2012, testing positive for the use of amphetamines or methamphetamines
  • Failed an additional drug test following the investigation, in which he also tested positive to methamphetamines.

Although the trucker was banned from operating commercial vehicles following the FMCSA investigation, he reportedly refused to comply with follow-up drug testing and did not finish the required substance abuse program necessary to reinstate his commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Despite these facts, however, the trucker reportedly continued to operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce and, in January 2016, was involved in a single-vehicle truck crash (in which his vehicle veered off the road and smashed into a concrete barrier).

Following that crash, the trucker again refused to submit to drug testing and has failed to comply with the necessary follow-up procedures required by federal regulators. For this second offense in failing to honor the FMCSA’s orders (to not operate a commercial vehicle), the trucker may be penalized with a two-year CDL suspension and at least $5,500 in fines.

FMCSA & Drug Testing for Truckers

The FMCSA action taken in this case reveals regulators’ unflinching focus on getting impaired commercial motorists off of the roads to keep the driving public as safe as possible. As part of this effort, the FMCSA requires that commercial drivers, including truckers, are drug tested:

  • During the hiring process
  • Following any collision – In fact, while alcohol testing must occur within 8 hours of a crash, drug testing is required to be administered within 32 hours of a collision.
  • Randomly (including during off-duty time)
  • Whenever there may be reasonable cause to suspect a driver is impaired and/or is using drugs or alcohol
  • When CDL holders are returning to duty after a license suspension (including those related to past drug or alcohol use).

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in any traffic crash caused by an impaired or negligent motorist, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Development of Alzheimer’s Plaques by New Study

Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Development of Alzheimer’s Plaques by New Study

Study links certain TBIs to the buildup of plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Sustaining a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) may contribute to the accumulation of Alzheimer’s-type plaques in the brain, according to the findings of a recent study.

Published in early February in online journal Neurology, this small-scale study found that, over the course of months to years, TBI survivors developed an increasing amount of amyloid plagues in their brains. Amyloid plaques in the brain’s nerve cells are an indication of Alzheimer’s disease.

Background on the Study

To examine the potential link between moderate to severe TBI and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, researchers focused on 28 people – 9 with TBI (which occurred within months to years of the study), 10 with Alzheimer’s, and 9 with neither condition.

Over the course of the study, the various groups of participants were given imaging tests (including MRIs and PET scans) to evaluate the level of damage to and the presence of amyloid plaques in their brains.

What they reportedly found was that:

  • The participants who had a TBI or Alzheimer’s disease had a buildup of amyloid plaques in their posterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain commonly impacted by Alzheimer’s in its early stages.
  • Those with TBIs also displayed an increasing amount of these plaques in their cerebellum.
  • Those who had TBIs that damaged the white matter of the brain tended to have more amyloid plaques (when compared to the other TBI participants).

Researchers Call for Further Studies

Although the findings of this study could have significant impacts on TBI survivors, researchers have noted that their study was limited in size and that, consequently, further research should be conducted to confirm their findings.

As David Sharp, study author, explained:

More and more evidence suggests brain trauma can trigger long-term processes that may be harmful, suggesting the window for treatment after a head injury may be much greater than previously thought…. Additional research needs to be done to understand these long-term processes, such as amyloid plaque deposition and persistent brain inflammation, and of course to develop treatments that target these processes.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you or someone you love has suffered a TBI or any catastrophic injury as a result of negligence, contact a Columbia SC personal injury attorney at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

2015 May Be Most Heavily Traveled Year in U.S. History, Initial DOT Data Reveals

Through January to November 2015, motorists drove about 2.88 trillion miles on U.S. roadways, positioning 2015 to be “the most heavily traveled year in history,” according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

While federal authorities are still analyzing data from December 2015 to finalize the totals for last year, the preliminary findings indicated that, in November 2015 alone:

  • There was a roughly 3.4 percent increase in miles driven in the U.S. (when compared to data from November 2014).
  • The increases were evenly distributed across the U.S., with the Western states leading the nation in most vehicle miles traveled (VMT). In contrast, the Northeast region of the U.S. experienced the smallest increases in VMT in November 2015.
  • In terms of specific states, Hawaii led the nation for largest increases in VMT, followed by Idaho and Florida. In contrast, Washington D.C. experienced the smallest VMT increases.

What the Findings Mean for the U.S. & Motorists in the Coming Decades

According to FHWA regulators, the above findings about VMT increases in the U.S. in 2015 affirm predictions made in the DOT’s Beyond Traffic report that was issued last year. Specifically, in that report, officials projected that, over the next three decades or so, there will be surge in VMT, and that could spark increased gridlock and more traffic crashes in the U.S.

Some of the primary reasons for that, regulators say, include that:

  • The U.S. population is expected to grow by at least 70 million.
  • Commercial shipments being transported on U.S. roads are expected to increase by at least 40 percent.

To combat the potentially deadly traffic trends that may be on the horizon, FHWA officials are recommending that transportation officials start taking a serious look at how to mitigate the above factors. Officials are also hopeful that the $305 billion (from the FAST Act) will be used to enhance “America’s surface transportation infrastructure.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a traffic crash – or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal traffic accident, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.

Fatal Truck Accidents in U.S. Decline for Second Consecutive Year, ATA Reports

Fatal Truck Accidents in U.S. Decline for Second Consecutive Year, ATA Reports

Fatal Truck Accidents in U.S. Drop for Second Consecutive Year, ATA Reports

Over the past two years in the U.S., the incidence of fatal truck accidents has declined by nearly 5 percent, according to a recent report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

While this short-term decline has been promising for both the trucking industry and safety officials, what may be more encouraging is the fact that, over the past decade, the rate of deadly truck crashes in the U.S. has dropped by more than 40 percent.

These findings, according to the ATA, are based on an in-depth analysis of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to finding that both the short- and long-term trends in deadly truck accidents have been declining, the ATA’s analysis also reportedly revealed that:

  • The truck fatality rate in the U.S. has hit a remarkable low of 1.4 per 100 million miles traveled.
  • While 2014 saw at least 60 fewer fatal truck crashes than 2013, in 2014, the number of miles trucks were driven on U.S roads surged dramatically, rising to more than 279 billion miles.
  • When car versus truck accidents occur, trucks/truck drivers are the at-fault parties in less than 1 out of every 3 of these crashes.

What’s Behind the Downward Trend

Although the ATA has not pointed to any specific factors as being the driving force behind the remarkable downward trend in deadly truck crashes (over the short- and longer-term), some industry professionals have pointed to the following as being potential contributing factors:

  • Enhanced safety regulations for the trucking industry
  • Better enforcement of those regulations
  • Improvements in trucking safety technology.

The ATA’s Recommendations for a Continued Decline

To encourage a continuing downward decline in the incidence of fatal truck accidents in the U.S., the ATA is urging transportation authorities and/or law enforcement officials to focus on “aggressive traffic enforcement and education programs aimed at changing the unsafe behaviors of all motorists.”

Remarking on the ATA’s findings, ATA President and CEO Bill Graves has commented:

America’s trucking industry has invested billions to improve safety and that commitment is paying off… The short-term decline is welcome news, but the important figure is the long-term trend… The long-term trend – in this case, a more than 40% improvement – is of paramount importance.

Contact a Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured in a truck accident – or in any type of motor vehicle crash, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners in New Safety Campaign

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners in New Safety Campaign

Check Your Vehicle VIN Twice a Year for Recalls, NHTSA Urges Vehicle Owners

Safe Cars Save Lives, officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are reminding vehicle owners as part of a new national public awareness campaign. The goal of this new campaign is to urge vehicle owners to get into the habit of checking their vehicle’s (or vehicles’) VIN number(s) at least two times per year and promptly responding to any recalls affecting their vehicle(s).

According to regulators, this effort has been motivated by findings that about 1 in every 4 vehicles impacted by recalls is never fixed. Given that roughly 51 million vehicles were the subjects of recalls in the U.S. in 2015, this means that about 12.75 million vehicles with faulty or potentially dangerous equipment never received the intended remedies or repairs.

Some of the reasons for such a high rate of noncompliance with U.S. vehicle recalls, authorities have pointed out, include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Vehicle owners not being aware of recalls – And this may occur when automakers do not have up-to-date contact information for vehicle owners (and, therefore, cannot send them recall notices).
  • Vehicle owners not prioritizing recall repairs – In some cases, vehicle owners may be aware of recalls but may intentionally put off getting the repairs done.
  • Automakers’ failures to properly carry out recalls – And this can be the result of failing to notify vehicle owners, failing to produce enough repair kits for the affected vehicles, or failing to develop effective recall remedies in the first place.

How to Check Your Vehicle for Recalls: Tips from Federal Authorities

  1. Plan to check your vehicle for recalls during Daylight Savings Time – When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time in March and November, it’s also a good time to check your vehicle(s) for any recalls that may pertain to them. Making this habit can be an effective way to stay informed and ensure you are taking all necessary actions to keep your vehicle operating as safely as possible.
  2. Use the NHTSA’s online tool to easily check for recalls by VIN – This tool allows vehicle owners to quickly find out if their vehicle is affected by any ongoing recall. Note that this tool does not contain information about recalls that were issued 15 or more years ago.

Supporting this new NHTSA safety campaign, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has explained that:

Safe Cars Save Lives is a critical effort for building public awareness of recalls and is the first national campaign aimed at empowering vehicle owners… Boosting repair rates requires effective communication at every level and every step of the way… Success is getting a 100 percent completion rate for every single recall.

What do you think about this new national safety campaign? Have you ever experienced problems in trying to get your vehicle repaired after a recall? Share your opinions and stories with us on Facebook & Google+.

Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If you have been injured due to defective vehicle equipment – or any dangerous consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for clear answers about your rights and options for proceeding, as well as effective legal advocacy moving forward.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.

71,000 Britax Infant Car Seats Recalled due to Fall Hazards, NHTSA & CPSC Announce

71,000 Britax Infant Car Seats Recalled due to Fall Hazards, NHTSA & CPSC Announce

Thousands of infant car seats made by Britax have recently been recalled by federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The problem with these recalled car seats, according to the recent recall announcement, lies in their potentially faulty handles, which can crack or break, presenting a falling hazard to infants.

The specific names of the Britax car seats that are at the center of this recall include (with the recalled model numbers following in parentheses):

  • Britax B-Safe 35 (E9LU65M, E9LU65P, E9LU63F, E9LU66R, E9LS63F, EXLU65M)
  • Britax B-Safe 35 Elite (E9LS55T, E9LS56P, E9LS55U, E9LS66C, E9LS65U)
  • Britax B-Safe 35 Travel System (S914900, S915400, S915200, S921900,
  • S01635200).

These recalled child car seats, which were reportedly made between Oct. 2014 and July 2015, have been associated with more than 70 consumer complaints, one of which involved a report of an infant suffering a head injury when the seat fell to the ground (after the handle broke).

The Britax Infant Car Seat Recall: More Important Info for Consumers

  • Where the recalled car seats were sold – According to regulators, the recalled Britax infant car seats were sold at a number of major retailers, including (but not limited to) Target, Babies R Us and Amazon.com, from November 2014 through January 2016.
  • What to do if you have a recalled Britax car seat – If you own a recalled Britax infant car seat, officials are advising that you immediately stop carrying the seat with the faulty handle until the appropriate repairs have been made. To obtain a repair kit from Britax (and remove the fall hazard associated with these car seats), click here. Officials have noted that it is still safe to use these recalled car seats, as long as they are fixed in vehicles and are not being carried by the defective handles.

Columbia SC Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law

If your child has been injured by a dangerous car seat – or if you or someone you love has been harmed by any defective consumer product, contact a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for effective legal advocacy. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them succeed in their financial recovery.

Call our firm at (800) 531-9780 or send us an email via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights and options, as well as how we can help you.

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