How Could a Vocational Expert Help My Product Liability Case?

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Product liability vocational expert

Product liability cases are a fascinating offshoot of personal injury matters. Why?  Because they cover a range of different types of injuries, they happen in varied circumstances, and they cover all types of products on the market.  Unlike a car accident lawsuit, which will inevitably share some facets with all other car accident cases, product liability cases come from all types of situations and cover people from all walks of life.  

In this article, we are going to take about some of the most famous product liability cases that you may or may not have heard of over the years.  Looking at these famous cases has the purpose of showing you the full extent of the product liability universe.  Then, we are going to discuss how a product liability vocational expert can be a crucial member of your product liability litigation team.    

If you have additional questions about incorporating vocational experts into your product liability case after reviewing this article, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.  We can provide life care planning for lawyers.  

We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.

The Most Famous Product Liability Cases in Recent Memory

A lot can be learned from precedent.  Lawyers tend to use precedent all the time to support their legal arguments in court.  More fundamentally, case examples help inform where the law currently is with regard to a certain legal specialty.  Thus, we are going to take a quick journey over the last few decades to see what can be gleaned from some of the most famous product liability cases in recent memory.

1. McDonald’s Coffee

You likely have heard about the case in which a person spilled coffee on themselves, and then turned and sued McDonald’s for it.  At first blush, you might think it would be crazy to hold McDonald’s liable when the coffee drinker herself was responsible for spilling the coffee on her lap, right?  Yet, as it turns out, the customer was not suing McDonald’s for her dry-cleaning bill.  Rather, the customer suffered third-degree burns from the spilled coffee.  While spilling coffee is never fun, especially when the coffee is hot, a customer should not expect to be permanently scalded.  

As it turned out, most food chains kept their coffee at a reasonable 140 degrees.  McDonald’s, however, kept their coffee at an extremely hot 180 to 190 degrees as a matter of policy.  Hence, a spill that should have just been an annoyance resulted in permanent burn injuries, and a $2.7 million punitive damages award against the golden arches.

2. Philip Morris Cigarettes

In 2002, a Missouri woman claimed that smoking Philip Morris cigarettes caused her lung cancer.  The tobacco company ultimately paid $28 million in punitive damages, and $850,000 in compensatory damages because of the dangers of its product.

3. Takata Airbags

Airbags made by Takata and used to minimize injury in car accidents actually had a faulty propellant canister that could explode through the airbag upon impact.  The airbag product has been linked to 150 injuries and 11 deaths.  There is currently a product liability class action suit pending.

4. Silicone Implants

Down Chemical and Corning Inc. worked together to create silicone breast implants that reportedly ruptured in patients, causing health issues and, in some cases, death.  The companies ultimately settled for $2 billion in a class-action suit. 

How Can a Vocational Expert Assist with a Product Liability Case?

If you have retained a lawyer to represent you in a product liability case, you may wonder why you would ever need a vocational expert.  That can be answered in one word – damages.  You see, in a product liability case, one of the most important, and often challenging parts is to quantify the damage caused by a malfunctioning product.  

While medical bills are valuable in quantifying the medical care you received, there may be other damages that are hard to prove.  For example, the fact that you were out of work for a period of time, or the fact that the injuries you sustained will now keep you from doing the work you were doing before the accident.  

A product liability vocational expert has particular experience quantifying, for purposes of damages, how much you will suffer because you can no longer do the job you used to do before the accident.  An expert can also use his or her expertise to calculate the future earnings you can no longer earn because of the faulty product.  Thus, a product liability vocational expert can be vital to your product liability case.     

Let OAS Be the Product Liability Vocational Expert for Your Case

Many attorneys fail to realize the importance of properly documenting damages in a case.  Sometimes, all emphasis and energies are placed on the initial hurdle of liability, and the impact of the injury on the client’s ability to work and earn money is ignored.  A good damages preparation may help to strengthen a case once liability has been established.  To date, vocational experts have been used in a wide variety of cases.  Their expertise can benefit personal injurymedical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, matrimonial, age discrimination, and wrongful termination cases.

The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases.

OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case.  From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented. 

OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.

We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts.  OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys. 

The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.

OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.  

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.