Although the basic premises and public policy of product liability law are relatively easy to understand — companies who negligently put dangerous products on the market should be held responsible for the harm they do in order to deter such accidents in the future — the area of law is quite complex and ever-changing. No two injury claims are exactly the same, and the differing circumstances surrounding each individual event can make it difficult to predict the outcome of litigation. To get the best perspective on the merits of your case and an overview of current products liability litigation, contact one of the skilled Dallas injury attorneys at The Barber Law Firm.
Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
As with many other areas of law, litigation involving manufacturer liability for products they manufacture has been shaped by landmark cases in the field. For example, the famous case of Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., decided in 1994, established the common-law rule that strict liability was to be the standard in defective products case, rather than a standard such as negligence. The case involved a bottle of Coca-Cola that exploded in the plaintiff’s hand, resulting in a gruesome injury that affected both muscles and nerves.
Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants
A more recent case that captured the attention of the news media due to its sympathetic plaintiff was Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants. This litigation involved a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns on her thighs and groin as a result of the scalding temperature of McDonald’s coffee that spilled on her lap. After a week in the hospital and multiple skin grafts, the plaintiff accrued nearly $200,000 in hospital charges. What made the case particularly disturbing was that McDonald’s had already been sued hundreds of times over its too-hot coffee, and the court found the company engaged in reckless conduct worthy of nearly $3 million in punitive damages. However, a judge lowered the amount to about $500,000 on appeal, demonstrating the unpredictable nature of jury verdicts and payouts in manufacturer liability cases.
If you have a claim you wish to pursue, consult the experienced attorneys at The Barber Law Firm, who make a point to stay up-to-date on the latest issues in this area of law.