The case types in which these verdicts were handed down varied and included:
- $23.6 billion to the family of a smoker who died in his mid-30s.
- $9 billion to a man who said medication he took for diabetes caused him to get bladder cancer.
While these punitive damages were ultimately reduced by trial judges to $16.9 million and $36.9 million, respectively, this does not mean that the large verdicts are not making an impact. In fact, they could ultimately prompt more people to pursue products liability lawsuits and inflate the amount plaintiffs receive in settlements reached before trial.
There are multiple reasons why a business might opt to settle with a plaintiff in lawsuits of this nature. The first is obviously that businesses do not want to be saddled with what could be a much larger jury verdict. Though many businesses appeal large verdicts, that process can be long and expensive. Another reason is more far reaching however. Jury verdicts of this magnitude garner a lot of press which could have a negative impact on their product.
What readers should take away from this is that if they have been hurt or a loved one killed due to a defective product, it is at least worth the time to look into pursuing a legal action. While it may not always make sense to file a products liability lawsuit, in some situations it could be worthwhile.