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Hydrogen Sulfide:  Causing Serious & Fatal Burn Injuries

Ohio Toxic Exposure Attorney

Hydrogen sulfide is a widely used toxin that can cause serious and fatal injuries to workers in certain industries using the chemical. Employers have a responsibility to properly monitor exposure levels, and protect employees to the best of their ability. Should they fail and an exposure-related injury occur, a company can be held liable for not providing a safe work environment.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless but highly toxic gas. It has a distinctive rotten-egg odor, although high levels can be odorless. Hydrogen sulfide is used in several American industries such as mining, oil refining, and manufacturing. A primary use is in the production of sulfuric acid and elemental sulfur for fertilizers and pesticides. Manufacturers also use the toxin in leather, dyes and pharmaceuticals.

At high concentrations, contaminants may lead to serious complications and death. At lower levels, workplace exposure results in irritating and dangerous symptoms like eye infections, respiratory irritation, and nausea.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio Toxic Tort Attorney, representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of workplace injury claims.


Hydrogen Sulfide Uses


According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, employees working in specific industries are likely exposed to higher levels of hydrogen sulfide than the general American population.  As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns workers and employers to take precautionary measures when handling the toxin, and to properly ventilate work areas.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas, and exposure occurs primarily through inhalation. If the concentration is high enough it is very difficult to detect toxins by smell. To protect workers against the hazards of hydrogen sulfide, the OSHA has set a permissible legal limit for worker exposure. Employers who violate the exposure limits and place workers in danger can be held responsible in the court of law.


Common industries using hydrogen sulfide include the following:

Workers that are employed in work areas with Workplace Ventilation Risks can be at an increased risk for toxic exposure. Companies and management must ensure that workers in confined spaces have controlled levels of toxins.

Workers should be particularly cautious when performing tasks in pits, manholes, tunnels, or wells. Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, putting workers in low-lying areas at additional risk.


Signs of Hydrogen Sulfide Poisoning


In small concentrations, hydrogen sulfide has a rotten-egg smell, but it is not always possible to detect, and injuries can occur when workers are unaware of the exposure risks present. At high levels, exposure may lead to permanent injuries and death. At low levels, signs and symptoms of hydrogen sulfide poisoning may include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headache
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing

Complications of Chemical Exposure


High levels of exposure may damage the lungs, brain, nerves, heart or kidneys. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Side effects and complications are generally treated symptomatically. In severe cases, individuals may require emergency medical treatment. High levels of exposure can lead to trouble breathing, shock, convulsions, permanent damage the brain and heart, coma or death.

If you have been exposed to toxins and suffered an injury, you may have a claim against a negligent employer. If management failed to properly ventilate a work area, warn workers of health hazards, provide protective equipment, or provide proper training, you may be able to recover compensation for damages that result from the unsafe workplace.

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Why are these cases important?

Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.

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Questions about Hydrogen Sulfide & Toxic Exposure 

What is a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.

In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.

How is a Product Defined as Defective?
Ohio Definition of Defective

A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:

(1)  Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:

These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).

As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.

(2) Defective design and/or formulation:

Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.

Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)

(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:

All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.

(4) Misrepresentation:

The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.

The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.

What is a failure to warn lawsuit?

In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:

  • The manufacturer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about a risk
  • A reasonable manufacturer would have provided a warning of the risk
  • The manufacturer failed to provide the warning
  • The person was injured due to a lack of warning. The same elements apply whether the claim is based on a warning present during the marketing or post-sale warnings.

Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims(1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).

Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.


 

What are consumer product safety regulations?

Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.

Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA;)
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.

Why should I hire The Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.   Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury.  Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence casesThe cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world 

Your Right to Safety

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Defective products on the market present safety and health hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, strangulation and choking risks; and severe health risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.

Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their Cincinnati product liability lawyer

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law. 

DEFECTIVE LAP BELT RESTRAINT

SPINAL CORD INJURY

(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.

DEFECTIVE PROPANE WALL HEATER

WRONGFUL DEATH 

(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.


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