Girardi | Keese

When products cause harm, class actions can be part of recovery

California residents should be able to trust that products, drugs and food they use or ingest are safe. Manufacturers, who are in business to make money, sometimes choose to overlook a design flaw, cut corners in the process or disregard some safety regulation. When it comes to product liability, they often have the resources necessary to combat a lawsuit brought by an injured individual or the family of a loved one lost.

Fighting back against an unsafe product can be successful, however, when multiple injured parties stick together in a mass tort action. While it can be based out of California, this type of action can encompass a group of people nationwide who are seeking compensation for expenses or loss, and who are looking to hold a business accountable when negligence or deceit is at play.

Many people are familiar with class action lawsuits. These are civil cases where a group of people are classified as plaintiffs in a particular cause of action, but represented as a whole by a selected plaintiff. In mass tort litigation, each case must present, for example, individual harm or injury to each plaintiff involved allegedly perpetrated by the defendant. Common injuries to a group of people include defective medical devices such as hip replacement components, pharmaceuticals that turn out to be unsafe and toys with dangerous design elements.

One of the keys to successful litigation, however, is the advocate's ability to persevere on behalf of the victims. Manufacturers who make choices that are dangerous to consumers will likely fight any allegations strenuously – and have the money and time to do it. Injured folks want to recover, and surviving families need to know they have some financial security going forward.

Accidents happen. In some cases, companies' intentions are good, but something just goes wrong. On the other hand, when product liability possibilities affect a group of injured people, it's a good idea to explore legal remedies and options that, at the very least, might improve safety and protect future consumers.

Source: Girardi Keese, "Fighting Back Against Unsafe Products" Sep. 03, 2014

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