Getting hurt by a defective product doesn’t always seem like a big deal. Between close calls and minor injuries that don’t require medical treatment, it’s easy to understand why some people don’t pursue a lawsuit.
The problem is that defective products are more common than people realize. In fact, federal product liability cases have been increasing exponentially since 2015. Some law firms have handled more than 25,000 cases, including multidistrict cases against Johnson & Johnson, Ford, and Abbot Laboratories.
The most common product liability lawsuits include:
- Defective vehicles
- Dangerous children’s toys
- Manufacturing or design defects
- Dangerous pharmaceuticals
- Toxic food products and containers
- Defective household appliances
Regardless of how you got hurt, it might seem pointless to sue a company when your injuries aren’t severe. However, if you’ve been injured by a defective product, regardless of the extent of your injuries, there are several reasons to pursue legal action.
1. Other people won’t be so lucky to use a dangerous product:
Pursuing a lawsuit could save lives. Not everyone will be lucky enough to get away with only minor injuries or a close call. Defective, dangerous products are dangerous, period.
By pursuing legal action, you’ll bring awareness to the problem quickly, which will give others a chance to avoid the product either through warnings or a voluntary manufacturer’s recall.
For example, GM recalled over 2.6 million cars made between 2004 and 2014 because of a faulty ignition switch. The company knew the switches were faulty and could cause vehicles to stall, which disabled all safety features.
After 124 deaths attributed to the faulty switches, in 2014, GM finally admitted to knowing about the problem. A class-action lawsuit was filed and settled for $120 million.
2. A lawsuit could change industry regulations:
Sometimes lawsuits force industries to change bad practices, source better materials, or adopt safer regulations. It’s not uncommon for settlements to require the corporation to change the way they operate.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes long battles to change regulations when the corporation is a giant in the industry with endless legal funds. For example, in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.” Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup made by Monsanto (now Bayer).
Despite juries awarding millions of dollars to cancer victims in high-profile lawsuits against Bayer, a California judge blocked efforts to require Roundup labels to carry a cancer warning. However, it’s not over. More than 125,000 lawsuits have been filed. Given enough time and pushback from consumers, Bayer will eventually be forced to print the warning.
Your lawsuit may not be the lawsuit that forces change, but all lawsuits add up over time and eventually, something has to give and changes will be made.
3. Product liability lawsuits keep companies in check:
If nobody ever filed a product liability lawsuit, companies would get away with cutting corners more than ever. It’s unfortunate that any corporation would cut corners in a manner that results in injury, but it happens.
When the cost of materials goes up, some manufacturers start using cheaper materials that weaken the overall integrity of their products. Other companies cut corners with production to save money on machinery or manual labor.
Another problem is that companies don’t always take immediate action when they’re made aware of a dangerous problem. When halting production will kill profits, sometimes they allow the issue to continue until someone finally files a lawsuit or calls them out in public. That’s what Johnson & Johnson did for decades when 1970s lab results revealed their talc was contaminated with asbestos.
When you file a defective product lawsuit, you’re telling that company and everyone in the industry that consumers aren’t going to take the hit and rollover.
4. If you’ve been injured by a defective product, talk to a personal injury lawyer:
No matter how small your injuries are, if you’ve been hurt by using a defective product, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney. Any injury deserves compensation. If the product’s manufacturer is found to be negligent, a jury might award punitive damages, too.
When you contact an attorney, you might find that other people are filing similar lawsuits. Your case could be combined with a multidistrict lawsuit or your attorney may suggest joining a class-action lawsuit.
However you choose to pursue legal action, don’t hesitate to move forward. Hold the manufacturer accountable so that nobody else has to experience the same (or worse) injuries.