There have been some product liability claims that have cost companies dearly. From automobiles and breast implants to asbestos, plaintiffs have won big. Here’s a list of large product liability claims in the US.
General Motors (GM)
Over the years, GM has been in the headlines for product liability claims. It was discovered in 2014 that some its models had faulty ignition switches, which could turn off the engine, prevent airbags from inflating and disable the brakes and steering. These faulty manufacturing designs have been linked to over 30 accidents and 13 deaths. A $400 million fund has been set up for injuries and deaths related to this. One of the current lawsuits is seeking $10 million in damages. This is the kind of press that no company wants.
A class action suit again Dow Corning tallied up to costing the company $2 billion. It was alleged that their silicone implants were causing death, rupturing, injury and scleroderma. The settlement of $2 billion was agreed upon as part of a larger $4.25 billion class action suit.
In 2002, Philip Morris was ordered to pay $28 billion to those who had lung cancer due to smoking. The claim was that the tobacco company caused plaintiffs to have a smoking addiction and failure to warn of the risks of smoking.
Owens Corning Corporation
Owens Corning Corporation agreed to pay $1.2 billion in asbestos-related product liability lawsuits in 1998. It was alleged that the asbestos from its building materials causes death and cancer. There were over 170,000 people involved in this product liability lawsuit.
Without a doubt, large jury verdicts against companies with flaws in their products are making a comeback. Juries come to court suspicious and are being very receptive to hearing about corporate wrong-doing. The biggest awards have been for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish businesses for poor conduct and not to cover plaintiff losses. It’s different from monetary awards for pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of income.
According to Jury Verdict Research, the median compensatory award for industrial product liability lawsuit is around $1,200,000. For consumer liability lawsuits, it’s approximately $270,000, and for medical products liability lawsuits, it’s $1,200,000. While these awards are high, it’s important to understand that winning product liability claims is tough. You’ll need to get a good and experienced attorney for a good settlement.