Law Review: Workplace Injuries in the News

The success of workplace safety depends on clear communication and trust between businesses owners and employees. Manufacturers and distributors owe it to their customers to inform them of hazardous materials in their products.

When health and safety are set aside in favor of profits, the law is often the only recourse for those who suffer illness or injury as a result.

Former NHL Player Sues Teams for Withholding Concussion-Related Medical Information

On April 20, former National Hockey League player Mike Peluso filed suit with the US District Court, District of Minnesota Against New Jersey Devils, LLC, St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the teams’ insurers, stating that the Defendants “deliberately and fraudulently” withheld valuable medical records from him which would have informed him that further participation in contact sports would likely lead to “debilitating, long-lasting brain damage”; the professional “enforcer” had already suffered serious head trauma while under contract, and as a result of the withholding, is now medically unemployable with extensive, permanent injuries.

The suit refers to a November 2016 ruling in his favor by the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board which implicated the New Jersey Devils in withholding evidence crucial to the professional’s case and medical treatment.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) aren’t restricted to professional sports. The three leading causes of TBI in adults are:

1. Falls

2. Motor Vehicle Accidents

3. Subject Struck or Hit by Object (falling, thrown, etc.)

Angela Colantonio, a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at the University of Toronto, says “traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability globally and they are more common than breast cancer, HIV-AIDS, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis combined.”

The Center for Disease Control warns that TBI can adversely affect a person’s quality of life, including “cognitive, behavioral/emotional, and physical effects that affect interpersonal, social and occupational functioning.” The CDC also notes that teens and adults affected by moderate or severe TBI are ‘more than twice as likely to die 3.5 years after injury compared to persons in the general population of similar age, sex, and race.”

International Working Group Links Welding Fumes to Cancer Risk

Scientists from ten countries convened in Lyon, France in March 2017 to evaluate data concerning carcinogenic risks of welding chemicals and fumes. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization subgroup, determined that “welding fumes are a likely cause of lung cancer in humans, possible cause of kidney cancer, and definite cause of melanoma of the eye,” according to working group participant and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health epidemiologist David Christiani.

The study also noted that asbestos and radiation are among the notable hazards of welding-related activities.

How will companies and health agencies respond and adapt to these results when worker safety is on the line? If you are a welder, or work in a shop in which welding chemicals and equipment are used, be sure to share this article with your employer and associates. Injury prevention is your best protection.

Jury Awards Mesothelioma Patient $81.5M in Asbestos Case against Auto Parts Companies

Gerri “Doy” Coogan, a Washington State resident who spent a lifetime as a hobby mechanic and hot rod buff, developed mesothelioma after years of handling asbestos-containing car and heavy equipment parts, including brake parts and clutches distributed by NAPA and Genuine Parts Co. He passed away in 2015 from complications arising from the disease.

A unanimous jury awarded $81.5M to Coogan’s survivors on April 17 after a 12-week trial.

About 10,000 people a year die of conditions related to asbestos, which–contrary to public belief–has not been banned from products manufactured, sold and used in the United States.

Construction workers, Home remodelers and auto shop mechanics are among those at high risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, which scar and thicken the lining of the lung.

“Many sellers of friction parts such as brakes, clutches and gaskets have known for nearly a century that their products contain asbestos and can kill. But they refuse to acknowledge their responsibility,” said Jessica Dean, attorney for Coogan’s family.

Your case doesn’t have to make headlines to be important to us at Dreaden & Cox. We specialize in auto accidents, Social Security claims, and work-related injuries, and are proud to bring you more than 50 years’ combined experience in recovering the compensation you and your loved ones deserve. Contact us for a free consultation.