Marijuana a Rising Factor in Personal Injury Cases

Web Admin - Monday, September 17, 2018
Des Plaines marijuana product liability lawyerNow that 30 states (including Illinois) have legalized marijuana for medical use and nine also allow recreational use, the number of personal injury lawsuits involving cannabis is growing.

Background on the Cannabis Market

Over 100 distinct chemicals, broadly termed phytocannabinoids, are present naturally in the cannabis plant. Currently, two of the best-understood cannabinoids are THC, the psychoactive ingredient that produces a euphoric sensation, and CBD (cannabidiol), which has demonstrated pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, neuro-protective, and cancer-fighting properties.

As scientists learn more about the way cannabinoids affect the human body and discover new applications for these chemicals, the variety of products made from cannabis is increasing. In fact, the U.S. market for legal cannabis is expected to grow 17% per year through 2028, reaching nearly $50 billion in annual sales. In comparison, U.S. wine sales are estimated at $65 billion. 

With such rapid growth, mistakes are bound to be made, and injuries are likely to result. 

Potential Grounds for Cannabis Personal Injury Lawsuits

Here are a few situations that could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against a marijuana producer/distributor: 

- Failure to warn of risks. If a cannabis product has the potential to impair a consumer’s ability to drive, or if it could affect a person’s thoughts or behavior in other ways that could prove dangerous, the packaging should provide appropriate warnings. If such warnings are not provided, and someone suffers an injury as a result, the producer/distributor could be sued for negligence and required to pay compensation to the victim. 

- Misleading or false advertising. If a producer says (in advertising, on packaging, or otherwise) that their product will provide a particular benefit, and the product fails to perform as promised, a consumer could file a lawsuit on the grounds of breach of contract or breach of warranty. 

- Product contamination. Many states do not yet have laws regulating the use of pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals on marijuana crops, nor adequate procedures to enforce such regulations or test for toxins. Many lawsuits have resulted from contaminated consumables in other industries (e.g., E. coli in ground beef), and there have already been lawsuits against marijuana producers alleging harmful contamination. 

- Unsafe packaging. Marijuana products containing THC should be provided in packaging that is both child-resistant and tamper-evident, just as is required for other medicinal products that have a potential to cause harm. Portion sizes and the amount of THC per portion should also be made very clear on product labels. Defective packaging and foreseeable misuse could become grounds for a lawsuit. 

While the probability of a fatal overdose is near zero, marijuana is an intoxicant, and overconsumption can have serious consequences. Because of the potential for personal injury lawsuits, many states are requiring marijuana businesses to purchase liability insurance, so that funds will be available to compensate consumers for injuries caused by cannabis products.

An Arlington Heights Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical cannabis product, consult an experienced Palatine personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case and possible options for recovering compensation. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC provide skilled representation, working to protect your rights when you have been harmed by an unsafe product. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Strict Product Liability Claims

Web Admin - Monday, September 21, 2015

When an individual is injured by a product, recovery of damages may be possible through a products liability claim. Under this type of claim, manufacturers, sellers, or other suppliers of products are held liable to consumers who are harmed by those products. And in some cases, product liability claims may fall under the theory of strict liability.

Defective Products

In order to recover under a products liability claim, the plaintiff must show that the product was dangerous or defective. Generally, the law requires that products meet the ordinary expectations of consumers. When a product defect exists, those expectations are not met. A defective product is one that, at the time of its sale or distribution, contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in its design, or that has a marketing defect.

A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is not made according to its intended design. A design defect occurs when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or eliminated by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design. A product contains a marketing defect when it has inadequate instructions or warnings and the foreseeable risk of harm could be reduced by the inclusion of reasonable instructions or warnings. Additionally, the omission of such instructions or warnings must cause the product to be unreasonably dangerous.

Strict Liability

Pursuant to Illinois law, product liability claims are any action based on strict liability brought against the seller, manufacturer, or distributor of a product that causes personal injury. Under this type of claim, a defendant pays for harm caused by a product even though the defendant did not act intentionally or negligently. In other words, the defendant’s actions or behavior is not relevant to the determination of liability. Rather, for a strict liability claim, the plaintiff must show the following:

  1. 1. The injury resulted from a condition or defect of the product manufactured or sold by the defendant;
  2. 2. The condition or defect of the product was unreasonably dangerous; and
  3. 3. The condition or defect existed at the time that the product left the control of the manufacturer.

Product liability claims are commonly brought against the manufacturer of a product, but they may also be brought against:

  • - Manufacturers of component parts that go into a product;
  • - Parties that assemble or install a product;
  • - Wholesalers;
  • - Retail stores that sell a defective product to a consumer; or
  • - Under Illinois law, anyone involved in the placement of a product into the stream of commerce.

Under the statute of limitations, product liability claims must be brought within two years of the date on which the plaintiff knew, or should have known through the use of reasonable diligence, of the personal injury.

Product liability claims can provide compensation for victims, while also holding those involved in the production and sale of defective products accountable. For more information about product liability claims, contact a dedicated Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm provides representation throughout the northwest suburbs, in the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.



Holiday Toy Safety: What Parents Should Know

Web Admin - Wednesday, December 04, 2013

With the holiday season getting into full swing, many parents will soon comb the aisles of toy stores looking for the perfect children’s toys. However, parents should keep in mind that not all toys are safe for all children, and some purchases can result in serious harm to their child. Fortunately, the government and public interest groups make many toy safety resources available, so that parents can get some peace of mind by educating themselves about the dangers of unsafe toys.

Potential Toy Dangers

Children’s toys can present a wide variety of dangers, some obvious, others less so. For instance, sharp edges or points and choking hazards, such as small parts or strings, are common concerns for parents. The government even banned the use of small parts in toys for children under three years old. But, despite this attempt towards prevention, many toys with small parts still make it onto store shelves every year. Doctors recommend that parents take care around any toy with parts that can fit through a toilet paper roll. Additionally, parents should take extra care around small magnets, which often present choking hazards, but may not be regulated as strictly if they come in unusual shapes.

Unfortunately, parents cannot detect all toy dangers so easily. Some toys may contain unacceptably high levels of toxic chemicals that can harm children. Lead is a common hazardous chemical that still finds its way into children’s toys. Though the government attempts to limit the amount of lead in any toy to 100 parts per million (ppm), a report by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found one toy containing 29 times that amount of lead. Other toys could present noise hazards, which the government does not regulate as heavily. These toys, which produce sounds in excess of 85 decibels, can harm children’s ears and lead to hearing loss in some cases.

Safety Resources

Fortunately, many groups publish toy safety guides or lists of harmful toys, like the PIRG report above, that concerned parents can use to learn more about the dangers. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), puts out many of these guides, including some focusing on specific types of hazard or specific age groups. Additionally, the Illinois Attorney General’s office also publishes a safe shopping guide.

Legal Assistance

If your child sustained an injury playing with an unsafe toy, contact an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury attorney today. Our knowledge can you receive compensation for the injury of your child. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Crystal Lake, Palatine, Chicago, Inverness, and other nearby communities.

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