Georgia law provides a legal claim for persons who are injured by dangerous products. The kind of product can vary from medical devices to products used in the home to automobiles. Examples of recent “Products Liability” lawsuits in the medical field include claims brought against the pharmaceutical industry for side effects from the anti-anxiety medication Paxil, or the blood pressure moderator Effexor. In the automotive field, suits have included lawsuits over separation defects in Firestone Tires, rollovers in Ford Explorers, and lawsuits brought against Toyota for sudden acceleration.
The Tyrone Law Firm has been successful on behalf of clients bringing Products Liability (Dangerous Products) lawsuits. In fact, we have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts in the state. Specifically, in a case that went to jury trial in Cobb County in 2010 we obtained the largest verdict in the State involving a dangerous product.
Below, we will outline a general overview of Product Liability lawsuits in Georgia. As the law is complicated, what we are able to outline in a webpage is only the most general overview. Please take this advice. (It is the same advice we would give our neighbor or a member of our family). Before you select a lawyer to represent you – particularly in something as important as choosing a lawyer to bring a Products Liability lawsuit on behalf of you or a member of your family, you must compare lawyers and choose wisely. A successful lawsuit – if handled correctly – can provide you and your family money for urgently needed medical care, for wages lost as a result of injury, for reimbursement of past medical care, and for the pain and suffering from the injury. It is hard to overstate how much is at stake.
Development of the “story” of our client’s injury and loss:
Georgia differs from many other states in the fact that that the victim’s injuries are not considered from a perspective of “any person” or “how the juror sees the injury”, but how the party who has been harmed values their own injury and the monetary value they would assign to their own injury. While perhaps, it may seem to be an obvious fact that each of us would assign a value of the highest dollar amount possible to our own injury, actually, to the law, this is not the case. The underlying message behind this viewpoint is that “each party may place a different dollar value on their injury”. Another way to put it is to say “each injury and each party are different”.
The attorney has the job of gathering the evidence which shows what their client places value on in life, and which will show how this injury has impacted their life in a negative manner. Has the injury affected their ability to be in contact with their family? Or, do they have any family? Has this injury had an impact on the daily activities in their life? Or perhaps, what if they were not an active person at all? This is where the attorney’s skill at putting on evidence will come into play. The attorney must show how the particular injury has had an impact on their client’s life, and must also show how this injury has had a negative affect on their life. This is crucial. Here at the Tyrone Law Firm, we have over many years, developed an expertise in putting on such evidence before a jury. We routinely use methodologies which have been developed by family therapists to assist us in discovering the client’s story, and how they have lived their life up to this point. We utilize processes commonly employed by actors, directors, and screenwriters to help us best tell the client’s story. We use directors and screenwriters to assist us in crafting this story – involving witnesses, particular scenes from our client’s life, and certain pieces of evidence.
We are “trial-focused” and “jury-focused”
Many times our clients ask us “why all this time spent talking about a jury or going to trial, since I am hoping you will be able to settle my case without having to go to trial at all?” Here is why. The Insurance Companies and Corporations that we are up against (and these are most often the Defendants in our cases) are not going to pay any more than they believe they will be forced to. Anytime we make a demand for settlement on behalf of our client, the insurance companies pay only because they believe they have to. It’s not because they are being nice. And, here is the most important point: the insurance companies or corporations are going to pay different settlement amounts to different attorneys based solely on how afraid they are of the attorney’s ability at trial and reputation in the courtroom. There are many Personal Injury attorneys who always settle their cases without going to trial. Thus, no insurance company, when dealing with one of these attorneys, is going to pay the full value of the claim, since they know that the case will not go to trial anyway. They are only going to pay the full value of a claim to an attorney who is known for taking their client’s cases to trial and known for obtaining large verdicts, and who also has their case prepared for trial.
So, this is why we always focus on trial in each and every case. By doing so we are effectively sending a message to insurance companies that our client’s case cannot be settled at a discounted value. They can make the choice to pay a premium to settle the case, or they can be prepared to face a trial by jury. And due to our skill and adroitness at presenting a case before a jury, our belief is that the jury will always rule in our client’s favor and force them to pay the premium at trial. We do our utmost to make sure that our clients are fully compensated. We will never settle for a discount.