Smoking lawsuits are unlike other
personal injury cases because the damages take place over a long period of time. Additionally,
tobacco companies have massive amounts of money that they can use deflecting
and defending lawsuits. However, that doesn’t mean that such lawsuits
are fruitless. The sister of former Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle was
awarded $300 million against Philip Morris USA. At Kelley/Uustal, our
tobacco lawyers can advise you on the strength of your case.
Why Tobacco Lawsuits Are Different
Unlike a car accident, where injuries are usually instantaneous,
injuries from tobacco use take years to develop. Furthermore, people voluntarily choose to start
smoking, whether they know the risks or not. Asbestos lawsuits and concussion
lawsuits concerning football players are other types of injury suits that
play out over long periods of time. A tobacco lawyer needs special skill
and experience to successfully bring a smoking lawsuit.
The Big Wave of Tobacco Lawsuits in the 1990s
The 1990s were a watershed decade in tobacco lawsuits. Documents were leaked
showing that big tobacco knew of the addictive nature of their product,
and lawsuits started favoring plaintiffs. More than 40 states sued tobacco
companies for reimbursement of the costs to public health systems from
people with smoking-related health issues. A Master Settlement Agreement
was reached in 1998 that included hundreds of billions of dollars for
reimbursement of healthcare costs.
Tobacco Lawsuits in Recent Years
In 2006, the Supreme Court in Florida threw out a class action suit, finding
that tobacco companies knowingly sold dangerous products. The ruling meant
that some 8,000 smokers and families could bring individual suits against
tobacco companies, and only had to prove that the individual was harmed
by cigarette addiction. This has given new hope to survivors of those
who died from smoking-related causes.
Speak with a Lawyer About Your Situation
Contact a tobacco lawyer if you or a loved one has suffered health consequences
of smoking. You may be able to recover damages, as many others have been
able to do in recent years. At Kelley/Uustal, our injury lawyers have
experience in tobacco litigation and can advise you on the best way to proceed.