Product liability cases have an unreasonable cultural connotation. The media has woven a narrative that enforces the idea that product liability cases are typically frivolous. This term has permeated the media, and it has made product liability cases hard to pursue. How does an individual determine if they have a fair case? The definition of frivolous is obviously subjective. Below are two cases, one widely considered frivolous, and the other considered anything but, that will help assess the power of the potential case.
The extremely famous ‘Hot Coffee’ lawsuit from 1994 was quickly deemed frivolous by the media. It was later assessed that the woman burned by the hot coffee experienced extremely intense burns and was hospitalized for weeks because of it. The case is not a direct product liability case because it incorporated more of the service liability. Regardless, some of these cases can teach people that anyone can become a victim. A case is not, by nature, frivolous. Though the media wants people to believe that, companies should be held responsible for when they do something wrong with the product they provide.
Gasoline and fire do not match. Everyone seems to know this fundamentally, but that does not leave people from bringing lawsuits against a container manufacturing company. Blitz developed gasoline containers. The unfortunate reality of their product is that they did not provide a warning label on the product. Individuals could, theoretically, put out fires with their gasoline containers filled with gasoline- and they did. Assumedly, lawyers learned of this little loophole and help leverage hundreds of lawsuits against the company over a period of years. After a certain point, late 2012, the company had to file bankruptcy. The original lawsuit was not necessarily frivolous. Though this is considered common sense, there still needs to be a valid warning. What was frivolous about this series of cases was the very fact that there was a series of them.
There is an undoubted middle-ground between frivolous and legitimate. Product liability cases are important to the ecosystem of the law. They can get out of hand, but the majority of people pursuing the case are not doing it to earn million-dollar settlements. They are doing it because they believe that they’ve been wronged.