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Holding companies responsible for defective products

A product with a design flaw or manufacturing defect could cause an injury that changes a New Yorker's life forever. According to Take Justice Back, the result of such an event may be a recall issued by the company that announces the newly identified danger. However, the hazard is not always a previously unknown threat, as companies may have weighed the risk of harm against the potential for profits and introduced the defective product to the marketplace anyway.

The American Association for Justice explains that one of the primary functions of the civil justice system is to prevent more events like this from happening. By taking the company to court over the injury, one person may be able to keep many others from being harmed. The resulting awareness of the danger and the possible damage to the company’s reputation may both be deterrents to other consumers’ use of the dangerous product. Not only that, when one person files a products liability lawsuit, others who have suffered the same issues from that product may also step forward, raising the stakes for the company.

There is another important goal that civil litigation may accomplish, as well. The company may be required to provide compensation for the injured person’s damages. These typically go beyond the mere payment of medical bills and lost wages, which may have a concrete dollar amount attached to them. Often, a judge or jury assigns a financial value to the victim’s pain and suffering, as well as any physical impairment. Mental anguish may also be compensated, and the plaintiff may also receive an award for lost quality of life.

Because the decision makers in the case have so much leeway in setting these amounts, the result is occasionally an award so large, it has the power to damage the company. This is another way that the civil courts prevent further injuries. 

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