Naming Multiple Defendants in a Product Liability Lawsuit (Infographic)

Who gets sued?

Product Liability clients being sued for damages are usually amazed at how many parties are named in the lawsuit. They’re also surprised by how many of the named parties have little or no connection to the product.

Keep reading below the infographic for three reasons that should offer some insight into this practice.

[sc:InfoGraphic imagealt=”Who Gets Sued” imageurl=”” imagewidth=”400″ imageheight=”1021″ permalink=”” infographictitle=”Who Gets Sued” ]

The 3 reasons so many are named in Product Liability lawsuits

  1. The Alternative Liability Theory* shifts the burden of proof. Plaintiffs don’t have to prove who is responsible.  Using this theory, the plaintiff has to prove the product caused the injury, but not identify the source of the product. The defendants must prove they were not the source of the injury. Innocent defendants avoid liability as the process weeds out the responsible parties.
  2. The plaintiff’s attorney could be sued for malpractice by failing to name a responsible party. This would result in the plaintiff not receiving compensation for the injury. The plaintiff’s attorney cannot legally bring the same lawsuit twice, so he/she must name all parties who may have even a remote responsibility for the injury.
  3. Liberal U.S. discovery rules result in attorneys having perfected the art of covering up defendants with paperwork. It’s in the best interest of the defendant’s insurance carrier to settle the case rather than pay the high costs to comply with discovery.

Multiple product liability defendants
The third reason is what makes people so cynical about the legal system.

The bottom line

Simply put, naming as many defendants as possible enables the plaintiff’s attorney to increase the potential financial awards.

Say the cost of complying with discovery is $10,000. By settling for $7,000, the insurance carrier ultimately saves $3,000.  Therefore, it’s economics that drives an insurance carrier’s decision to settle rather than defend a frivolous Product Liability lawsuit.

What if you’re adamant about defending what you see as a frivolous lawsuit? Be prepared for your insurance carrier to agree to pay you the settlement amount. That way, you’ll be allowed to hire your own attorney to defend the claim.

*Product Liability law is subject to individual state laws. The Alternative Liability Theory may not apply in your state.
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