On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Defective Products on Friday, February 20, 2015.
There was a time when attorneys were frequently referred to as “ambulance chasers” by the public. Thankfully, this term is now only uttered rarely. Numerous corporate scandals, scourges of preventable medical errors and astounding product liability suits have made much of America more empathetic to plaintiffs who file legitimate claims in court. After watching seemingly endless cycles of scandal on the news, Americans understand that not all personal injury lawsuits are frivolous.
It is likely that this increased public awareness and understanding contributed to the issue of several billion-dollar product liability awards last year. According to Insurance Journal, plaintiffs had not been awarded such staggering damage amounts within the last decade. However, it seems as if the American public has lost its patience with negligent manufacturers and others who essentially violate public trust and safety.
We have previously written about the phenomenon commonly referred to as recall fatigue. Recall fatigue occurs when so many recalls of defective products are issued that the public stops responding to them with urgency. Perhaps a benefit of recall fatigue is that it heightens the public’s awareness of the fact that many different kinds of manufacturers allow dangerous or defective products to make their way into the hands of consumers.
Although complex personal injury suits have no guarantees for either side, it seems that the American public is increasingly empathetic towards the plight of plaintiffs who have been harmed by the negligence or recklessness of others. And this empathy may translate to greater courtroom scrutiny of defendants and larger monetary awards for legitimate claims.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Large Product Liability Awards Made Comeback in 2014,” Margaret Cronin Fisk, Feb. 19, 2015
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