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Why Are Mass Tort Defective Product Cases So Difficult To Win?


When products are defective and they injure people, those injuries can be limited—but they also can injure a great many people. With the number of people who use many commercial products or medications, all it takes is one defective product to potentially impact and injure thousands, tens, or hundreds of thousands of people.

But mass tort cases do happen, and can yield significant jury verdicts. Looking at the sizable verdicts you may be tempted to think that mass tort cases are easy. But there are a lot of difficulties that victims and their injury attorneys may face, when handling these kinds of cases.

The Defendant – When you sue a large company, that puts thousands of products in our homes and which line the shelves of every major retailer, there can easily be a jury perception that the products are safe; how could Johnson & Johnson or DuPont or Pfizer, put out a defective product? Many people see large companies as being safe-they are, after all, everywhere we look in our day to day life. That can be a hard perception to overcome.

Injuries – It often happens that different people will have different injuries, when a product or a drug is defective. Some people may not even be immediately injured—they may just face the heightened likelihood of getting a disease or injury in the future. The level, severity, and extent of consumers’ injuries may also depend on the length of the exposure or usage of the dangerous product.

Causation – To prove liability a victim needs to show that the defective product caused the injury. However, this can sometimes be difficult—especially with diseases like cancer, which can be caused by a number of different things (and sometimes, the cause is never truly known). Many jurors don’t understand how a number of people can have different diseases or injuries, from exposure to the same defective product.

Precedent – Both sides take risks in major mass tort or product liability cases. The victim is at risk because if he or she loses the case, it can make other cases brought by other victims much more difficult to win. Conversely, should the victim win, the company being sued may face a flood of similar lawsuits now that liability has been established by a court.

Financial Risk – Mass tort cases can be very expensive to try; many involve highly technical scientific concepts, and thus, may require the work of multiple experts to prove liability. Injuries often must be severe enough to warrant bringing these kinds of cases.

Bankruptcy – Although most multinational companies have insurance, and have enough money that even a mass tort case verdict won’t affect their bottom line, it does happen that large mass tort cases put some companies into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will eliminate any verdict or settlement owed by the Defendant, and can leave victims with nothing, despite having won the case in court.

Contact the Miami property damage insurance attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. to see what damages you may be entitled to if you have been injured by a defective product.




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