Product Liability FAQs
Product Liability/Mass Torts FAQs
- What does it mean when a law firm acts on a "contingency fee arrangement"?
- How big a danger do consumer and pharmaceutical products pose to U.S. customers?
- Who is responsible for consumer product safety in the United States?
- Who is responsible for pharmaceutical (drug) and medical device safety in the United States?
- What is the Consumer Product Safety Act?
- What is mesothelioma and how does someone contract it?
1. What does it mean when a law firm acts on a "contingency fee arrangement"?
The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin works on a contingency fee arrangement. That is another way of saying that the attorney's fee is based on a percentage of the gross recovery. While a case may have fees and costs associated with it, there is no hourly fee charged by the firm. Simply put, if you do not recover compensation from your claim, there is no attorney's fee. This allows the firm to bear the burden of investigating and pursuing your claim, which allows you to focus on your well-being.
In certain cases, such as class actions, the court may specifically set the attorney fee, but in those situations the fee will still not exceed the contingent percentage in the firm's fee agreement.
2. How big a danger do consumer and pharmaceutical products pose to U.S. customers?
Millions of pharmaceutical and consumer products are used by U.S. consumers everyday. While most of these products are safe, that is not always the case.
Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
- Dangerous products are related to 28,200 deaths and 33.6 million injuries each year.
- More than 200,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year due to toy-related injuries alone.
- Deaths, injuries and property damage cost the nation more than $700 billion annually.
In terms of pharmaceuticals, events such as the Vioxx disaster of the early 2000s and the $2.3 billion fine Pfizer paid in September 2009 for off-label marketing practices (the largest criminal fine ever levied in the United States for that illegal practice) show that pharmaceutical products often pose serious underlying threats to consumers.
3. Who is responsible for consumer product safety in the United States?
On the federal level, that responsibility falls under the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from the thousands of consumer products under its jurisdiction.
Ultimate responsibility for product safety, however, lies with the manufacturer or vendor of goods. These entities are responsible to for ensuring that products are safe for consumer use. A product liability case against a manufacturer or vendor may be appropriate if someone is injured due to (a) faulty product design; (b) a manufacturing defect; or (c) insufficient warnings about a product's known dangers.
4. Who is responsible for pharmaceutical (drug) and medical device safety in the United States?
On the federal level, that responsibility lies with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This federal agency was established to regulate the release of new foods, drugs and other health-related products and devices such as heart defibrillators.
Ultimate responsibility for drug and medical device safety, however, lies with the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. A product liability case against a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturer may be appropriate if the manufacturer failed to warn the public about inherent dangers in a drug, hid information about serious drug implications from the FDA, failed to follow marketing protocol, or allowed a product to be introduced to the market when the manufacturer knew or should have known of the product's potential danger.
5. What is the Consumer Product Safety Act?
The Consumer Product Safety Act is a consumer protection law passed by the United States Congress in 2008, largely in response to several high profile recalls involving products made in China during 2007 and 2008.
6. What is mesothelioma and how does someone contract it?
Mesothelioma (me-zo-thee-le-O-muh) is a rare cancer of the thin lining surrounding the lung (pleural membrane) or abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure.