Who decides how much money is paid to victims?

If you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous product and are considering making a legal claim (that is, bringing a lawsuit) against the product’s manufacturer for monetary compensation for the harm you’ve suffered, you’re likely to be curious about the amount of money you might be entitled to, and who will decide this.

First, it is helpful to understand how losses for which you might be compensated are characterized. In a product liability case (such as when a defective drug or medical device has injured you), there are four types of damages (money award) you can potentially recover:

  1. Compensatory damages: This is money to cover your actual medical bills, lost wages (if you had to take time off from your job), and any property damage (not usual with medical products) that occurred because of the defective product.
  2. Pain and suffering: You might receive additional money for the pain caused to you by your injury that was a result of the defective product.
  3. Loss of consortium: If your relationship with your spouse suffers, “loss of consortium” damages might compensate you for this circumstance.
  4. Punitive damages: These damages are meant specifically to punish a wrongdoer (such as a company that is not merely negligent but intentionally causes harm). Note that if a court does order a blameworthy party to pay punitive damages, some or all of the money might go to charities, legal aid funds, or other public organizations. Punitive damages are not intended to reward the victim.

The actual compensation you might be legally entitled to receive necessarily depends upon the specific, particular circumstances of your case.

How much you might receive from the manufacturer of a defective product that has caused you harm will depend on whether your lawsuit goes to trial or, instead, the manufacturer and you are both willing to settle the matter out of court. Settlement can happen at any time—even before you file a lawsuit (if you inform a manufacturer that its product has harmed you) and even after a judge rules in your favor (you might accept less than the court awards to avoid expensive appeals)… and at any time in between.

Typically, if a defective product manufacturer believes that it is likely to lose at trial, it will offer you an amount of money in exchange for your agreement not to sue (or to discontinue any suit already started). As a lawsuit progresses toward trial and each side reconsiders the strengths and weaknesses of its case, settlement postures might change. (Settlement  is essentially a compromise, and it has been said that the best compromise is one that makes both sides equally unhappy.)

Some manufacturers of defective products acknowledge their fault and are therefore more willing to settle with victims before any lawsuit is filed. Other manufacturers refuse to admit any wrongdoing and will pay monetary damages only if a court orders them to do so. If the manufacturer of a defective product that has caused you harm is unwilling to accept responsibility and offer you compensation, filing a lawsuit will often send a strong message that you are serious about holding the manufacturer responsible for its actions that hurt you or a loved one.

The lawyers of the Rottenstein Law Group have been through the process of demanding compensation for victims time and time again. We know that you’ve suffered and you shouldn’t have to go through more trouble to be compensated. RLG will be with you at every step of the process of getting satisfaction, which we will make as efficient as possible. You’ve taken enough. We’ll take it from here.

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rlg Previous Comments

  1. Guest
    on April 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

    My replacements were modified to make them metal to metal, since I was so young they thought they would last longer. I have never stopped hurting since and my first one was in Dec. 4, 2001.

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