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Pennsylvania wrongful death: Beware of energy drink effects

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

The effects of certain energy drinks have been in the news often lately and blamed for hosts of health issues and even deaths. The military is now involved in a research study about the drink, concerned about its effects on military personnel. These drinks are extremely popular with personnel and civilians, and the study seeks to further understand the health risks of the drinks. The energy drinks have been at the center of controversy and have even resulted in at least one wrongful death lawsuit. Statistics like these underscore the need for caution when Pennsylvania residents use the products.

The wrongful death concerns a 14-year-old who consumed two of the drinks within a day's time. The teenager apparently had a heart attack and died. The teen's family alleges the energy drinks that were consumed during that period contributed to the death. So far Monster and 5-Hour Energy drinks have reportedly been linked to almost 20 deaths over the period of about eight years.

Medical personnel at a military facility in Germany reported many visits from people who have consumed these drinks. No reports exist of military personnel dying from the drinks, but a new report shows a huge increase in emergency room visits linked to the product. The military is concerned over this report because the age of the patients is comparable to the age of active duty personnel. Numbers from the military's commissary show they have sold almost six million of the drinks just in fiscal year 2012. AAFES reports an increase in their sales of the drinks as well.

The FDA does not currently regulate these drinks, so it is important for Pennsylvania residents to remember that purchasing these products does not necessarily guarantee they are safe. Anyone injured by consuming these drinks retains the right to pursue claims for damages based upon proof of negligence in their manufacture or distribution. Family members who have lost a loved one in a similar manner may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. When someone consumes a product, they should not have to worry its safety or whether they will suffer ill effects. If a product causes harm, it could cause serious repercussions for both the consumer and the company.

Source: Stars and Stripes, "Air Force studies effects of highly popular, super-caffeinated drinks," Jennifer H. Svan, Dec. 17, 2012

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