Federal government officials and the New York Attorney General’s office are investigating claims that the drink 5-Hour Energy led to 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations over the last four years. According to an ABC news report, the popular energy shot, which comes in two-ounce packages and packs a powerful caffeine punch, is being linked to serious side effects and death. Researchers are particularly looking into the effects of using multiple cans of the drink at once. Each can is said to have the caffeine content of two cups of coffee.
This is the second time in one month that the Food and Drug Administration has singled out energy drinks. In October, Monster Energy was linked to five deaths. The manufacturers point out that these are just claims and allegations and that there are no proven links. Company officials maintain that their products are harmless and that there is no evidence to show that the drinks directly caused the deaths.
Statistics Relating to Energy Drinks
A government report last year showed that there has been a spike in the number of people who needed emergency medical attention after they consumed caffeinated energy drinks. The report shows a tenfold increase in the number of emergency room visits linked to the use of these drinks between 2005 and 2009. In 2005, about 1,128 emergency room visits were associated with the use of energy drinks compared to 13,114 in 2009. In 2008, that number peaked with more than 16,000 ER visits.
Last month, the parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died in December are suing the maker of Monster energy drink, claiming that caffeine in the product contributed to her death. Anais Fournier went into cardiac arrests after drinking two, 24-ounce drinks within a 24-hour period.
Product Liability Issues
Manufacturers, in addition to making products that are safe for consumers, also have a responsibility to warn consumers about any potential dangers and risks of using their products. If it is determined that a specific product harmed or killed an individual, the injured victim or the family of a deceased victim can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced California product liability attorney will be able to stay on top of the investigation and ensure that the victims’ and their families’ best interests are protected.