Under Arizona law, a product must be safe for a “reasonably foreseeable intended use,” and it must also be accompanied with proper instructions and adequate warnings. If a product is being operated for its intended use, yet there are not adequate instructions and warnings, or it is improperly manufactured and malfunctions, then the manufacturer may be liable for any injury which may result. Although these are simple rules, it is often not so simple to prove when attempting to seek damages in a products liability case. Most companies place the highest value on profit rather than consumer safety. They will do almost anything to fight a products liability lawsuit rather than pay the claim. This is due to the fact that once a claim is paid; it opens the door to similar claims. This is probably why the Firestone Tire Company was forced by the government to recall their tires after 5 years and thousands of claims for damages. Many times it is cheaper to simply keep producing a product and fight various claims rather than spend the money to fix it.
When a products liability suit is filed, it is important to compensate not only the victim, but also to punish the corporation by denying them the money they have otherwise received due to their greed. Many times this is accomplished not only by the traditional damages which may be awarded in a personal injury or wrongful death case, but also by what is known as “punitive damages”. This serves to punish the corporation for being so grossly negligent or, in some cases, criminally liable for their greedy activities.
At The Simon Law Group, we handle a wide variety of products liability cases ranging from defective machinery to inadequate warnings placed on medications. For example, for years a chemical known as PPA (phenylpropanolamine) or ephedra was included in many over-the-counter and prescription cold, sinus, allergy, cough, diet medications and energy boosters. However, many of these medications containing PPA or ephedra caused strokes and heart attacks. Recently the government required products with PPA to be withdrawn from the shelf. This resulted in over 400 well-known products being withdrawn from the market place. If you, a family member, loved one or friend were harmed due to a defective product or an inadequate warning, contact us immediately.
In even simple injury cases which involve permanent impairment, settlements can range anywhere from five figures up to seven figures plus. Along with punitive damages, the important factors when ascertaining the level of settlement is specifically based on the amount of medical bills, the pain and suffering, life care costs and employment damages.
Medical bills often can run well above $100,000 if there was extended hospitalization with subsequent physical and vocational rehabilitation. Getting these bills paid is often the primary goal of the brain damage victim’s family. Often when another person is at fault for the brain injury, their insurance companies’ adjuster will attempt to approach you as soon as possible after the injury in order to offer a settlement. These settlements will include “taking care of all of the medical bills”. It is very tempting to sign papers and accept the settlement; however, they will not adequately pay for the years of life care that will follow along with vocational training which will be necessary after the immediate hospital stay. Never accept any type of settlement with an adjuster before speaking with a qualified attorney who handles brain damage cases. Remember, brain damage cases are different than other types of cases. Simply settling for three or five times the medical bills is not an option with brain damage cases. Many times when individuals are comatose, the medical bills will remain steady and constant, yet the damage to their future lives is increased dramatically with every day they are in a coma. Make sure you contact The Simon Law Group immediately if you are approached by an insurance adjuster, or if another attorney has suggested that you settle for “three times the medical bills”.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering calculations are often combined with employment losses and damage to ones family life. Usually, in order to ascertain these types of damages, you will have to look at the lifelong impact on the brain damage victim. It is important to focus on how much the life care costs will be along with the employment losses and damage to the victim’s family life. Many times the award given by juries regarding pain and suffering can be larger than all the other damages combined. This is sometimes due to the fact that even though somebody’s future earning capacities would total $1,000,000 in their lifetime, it is not worth any amount of money to live in constant pain, with a vastly lowered IQ and in a partially vegetative state. The same holds true even if the brain damage still allows the victim to work, but his life enjoyment is greatly reduced.
Life Care Costs
Life care costs are often defined as not only the future medical bills, but also the amount it will cost to secure rehabilitative treatment and in-home care. Many times the vast majority of the in-home care will be conducted by family members. This does not mean that this care was “free” or “without cost”. Family care can be even more taxing and costly to the family unit due to the fact that it may remove other members from their employment. It is very important to your case to secure the proper experts and produce the right testimony during the settlement phase or, if necessary, at trial. At The Simon Law Group we will secure the top life care experts to work on your family member’s case.
Sometimes the injury can be more discrete, and not quite as noticeable. Although the injury victim may secure employment, they often lose that employment shortly thereafter, or they do not get promoted within their workplace. Again, it takes a highly skilled lawyer to pinpoint these facts when determining the amount of employment losses.
Once an individual has suffered an injury, even if it is a slight injury, often their employment lifespan will be shorter than before. In order to calculate damages, it is necessary to look at what a person was making and what they would have made prior to their injury. You then look to what they will now make, and you calculate how much money will be lost over the course of their working career. You also must factor in if they have a shorter working career than they would have had before the injury. Many times a true number can be calculated by utilizing a multiplier dealing with inflation and an increase in a certain occupations’ market value. It is important to have the proper vocational expert calculate these types of future losses.
Although many times this may not be the largest number requested when calculating damages, it is often the most understandable number to the average person. The average juror will understand the brain damage victim will lose X amount of dollars over his lifetime, and his family will never see this money. When this number is combined with existing medical bills and projected future life care costs, it will magnify the pain and suffering award greatly. It is easy for a jury to understand how a victim once destined for a full and rewarding personal and employment life fears he will be forced to settle for less. The juror will understand that it is their role to make sure that person does not have to settle for less. At The Simon Law Group, we also make sure that the insurance company knows this too and we will increase your loved one’s chances of a large settlement prior to any type of trial.
At The Simon Law Group, The Firm has handled 100 jury trials of all types. Mr. Simon has over 29 years of legal experience! The Simon Law Group — Experience matters!!! Not only will we fight for you to secure the highest settlement possible, we will also assist you with doctors treatment and medical liens which will prevent any out of pocket costs being paid by you, up front. If you wish to contact us, you can call us at our office, or you can click on “Contact Our Firm” and E-mail us directly. At The Simon Law Group, you are not just a client, but a friend in need.