In December, a Gadsen County jury reached a decision to award $11 million to a woman suing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company. The woman claimed that she contracted throat cancer from smoking their cigarettes. Although the $11 million figure may be reduced by the judge because the woman can be considered partially at fault, this case represents a huge victory for those suffering from nicotine addiction. If you have gotten sick or lost a loved one from tobacco product consider contacting a Miami Product Liability Attorney.
This case was argued in court as a product liability case. The 71-year-old woman’s attorney alleged that R.J. Reynolds was selling a defective product even though it was perfectly legal. The nicotine in the cigarettes caused the woman to become addicted reducing her fault for not being able to quit and prevent the cancer. The woman began smoking when she was just 14 years old.
The tobacco company’s lawyers argued that the woman was a willing smoker and not the picture of a hopeless addict she was portraying to the court. They also claimed that her cancer was not even caused by the cigarettes, but by the Human Papillomavirus, which at times is known to lead to cancer. The jury clearly did not buy the tobacco company’s arguments and decided instead to punish them heavily for selling such a dangerous product.
Tobacco Litigation in Florida
In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a class action lawsuit by Floridians who died or were the victim of smoking-related illnesses against tobacco companies but the court did open the way for individual litigation. The court upheld findings that tobacco companies intentionally misled the Florida public about the health risks and addictive qualities of cigarettes. They also found that smoking causes certain diseases such as lung and throat cancer, and heart disease. The verdict concluded that cigarettes are unreasonably dangerous and therefore tobacco companies may be liable for the illnesses and deaths caused by their products.
In product liability cases, a plaintiff can sue for a number of damages. These include medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and other punitive damages. The medical costs associated with the serious illnesses caused by tobacco products can be immense and can be compounded if the illness causes absences or an inability to work. Lawsuits against big Tobacco companies can be incredibly lucrative for the plaintiff and because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, there is already a legal precedent to win these cases.
Contact and Experienced Product Liability Attorney Today
Tobacco companies clearly sell a dangerous product that traps many Americans into a debilitating nicotine addiction. At the Gerson & Schwartz Law Firm, we can help you hold big tobacco companies liable for your illness. In 2002, we won a $37.5 million verdict for our client who became sick due to tobacco products. All our cases are conducted on a contingent fee so there are no attorney’s fees unless we recover money on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation.