The value of litigation in preventing injuries from unsafe products has
been greatly refuted by corporate tort-reform interests. In the eyes of
the American Tort Reform Association, members of which include major corporations
and insurers, these lawsuits have led to unreasonable increases in product
liability insurance premiums paid by manufacturers. They claim that this
has caused many firms to cut back on product research and the introduction
of new products.
Yet injury litigation often shines a bright light on fraud, defective products,
and unscrupulous companies—something regulators and the NHTSA aren’t
always able to accomplish. It is through litigation that many dangerous and
defective products are exposed and removed from consumer shelves.
One highly publicized example is the General Motors ignition switch malfunction.
In early 2014, GM recalled more than two million Cobalts and other vehicles
with defective ignition switches. When jarred, the switches could inadvertently
shut down a car’s engine and electrical system disabling its airbags,
power steering, and power brakes. Despite being sued as early as 2009
for crash deaths caused by the faulty switch, the company has only just
now admitted to knowing about the defect for over ten years.
Even so, the defect was not exposed by The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration or GM engineers, but rather by an engineer that was hired
by the victim’s family as part of an investigation surrounding a
lawsuit. The engineer uncovered the malfunction that forced the car company
to acknowledge it, and set in motion a worldwide recall of 2.6 million
Cobalts and other vehicles.
In a perfect world, safety regulators would be able to identify and deal
with every product defect in a timely manner. However, the reality is
that regulatory agencies responsible for that mission are routinely underfunded,
understaffed, and bogged down by bureaucratic red tape.
The bottom line is that product-injury litigation continues to make a definitive
contribution to identifying and curbing unsafe products. An analysis published
in 2003 by a group of public health experts at Johns Hopkins School of
Public Health, concluded that injury litigation has a definite role in
the charge against unsafe products. It urges safety advocates to “consider
litigation” as a viable option in their attempts to curb product
hazards and the resulting injuries.
Contact Broward County Injury Attorneys
When you purchase a product, you have several rights, the most basic of
which is to be safe while using the product. If you have been hurt by
a poorly designed or manufactured product, you need an experienced Broward
County injury lawyer to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
For decades, the injury
attorneys at Kelley/Uustal have been successfully fighting for the rights of injured
consumers in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, and throughout Broward
County. To learn more about your legal options, call our Broward County
injury attorneys at
(954) 715-4511 or
888-522-6601 for a free consultation.