Small business owners who don’t consult with lawyers and insurance agents are at risk of major lawsuits ruining their business. If you sell a product or service, there’s a risk that you’ll be caught up in nasty product liability cases.
There are some exceptions to the rule, of course, but for the most part, a small business can avoid hardships with a simple phone call and by paying rather small premiums along the way.
If you’re new to the world of product liability, there are major lawsuits that you can follow or even research to grasp how serious product liability is for a small entity.
1. Bladder Sling Lawsuit
Bladder Sling lawsuits are starting to pop up everywhere, and this is an issue that’s sparked hundreds of lawsuits already. Bladder slings are designed to help with stress urinary incontinence, and this is a disorder where women have involuntary loss of urine, or you know – leaking.
Bladder slings are meant to stop this leaking.
And for some people it does.
But other people are suing manufacturers and winning huge settlements along the way. The main culprit is the symptoms that patients face comes from the surgical mesh in the product. These meshes can cause:
- Difficulty urinating
- Intense pain
- Abnormal discharge
- Injuries to other organs
- Bowel and bladder issues
Issues of the sling eroding into other organs are also reported. Intercourse may become painful from mesh contraction, too.
These lawsuits are popping up all over the country, and it will be interesting to see the settlements that these patients get for their pain and suffering.
2. Talc Powder Lawsuits
Thousands of women are suing Johnson & Johnson over talc powder. This powder was a mainstay in many homes, and people thought that it could be used for cosmetics, hygiene and even to treat rashes. The product was and is loved by people to this day.
But then came ovarian cancer claims.
Yup. As it turns out, talc powder can cause ovarian cancer. If you look back to 1971, researchers found that 75% of ovarian tumors had talc embedded in them. Cancer Prevention Research released an abstract of study that shows talc powder can increase ovarian cancer risks by 20% – 30%.
A plaintiff’s family has been awarded $72 million in a case against Johnson & Johnson.
The company didn’t disclose the risks of talc powder and the higher risk of ovarian cancer from using the product.
Women are dying from ovarian cancer because they trusted that a major corporation would divulge any risks they may face when using their product.
Johnson & Johnson has only won one case. People are being awarded millions and millions of dollars in settlements.
Can your small business withstand these kinds of settlements? Most large businesses can’t.
3. General Motors
General Motors thought that a previous bankruptcy filing shielded the company from potential victims’ due process rights. The assumption came to a head in July 2016 in the Second Circuit court. The finding explains that the company didn’t disclose the ignition failure during their bankruptcy despite recalling vehicles in 2014.
GM plans to appeal the decision, but this particular product defect shows small businesses that even after bankruptcy, it’s possible to be liable for product liability.
The company recalled 800,000 vehicles initially before recalling nearly 30 million vehicles.
The company knew of the defect for over a decade, according to reports, and the defect led to 124 deaths. The company had to forfeit $900 million to the US and provide compensation for the deaths that occurred.
The automaker was also part of a multidistrict litigation.
Product liability, whether it’s an automobile, cell phone or health device, among many others, can lead to millions of dollars in defense fees and millions in settlements, too.