As more and more people suffer serious lung illness and other health issues linked to products like JUUL®, and the promotional practices of e-cigarette companies like JUUL Labs Inc. come under increased scrutiny, litigation around vaping products has really started to ramp up.
If you're thinking about filing a lawsuit over health problems caused by JUUL®/e-cigarettes, you probably have questions about the potential outcome of cases like these: not just the likelihood of winning or losing, but the chances you'll receive a settlement or see your case go all the way to trial. As with the majority of personal injury claims, most vaping/e-cigarette cases will reach an out-of-court settlement before the trial stage of the lawsuit. Let's take a look at what that means.
A settlement (in the context of a personal injury case) is an agreement between an injured person (the plaintiff) and the party allegedly responsible for causing the injury (defendant). The plaintiff agrees to accept a certain amount of compensation in return for releasing the defendant from any future liability for the incident that led to the claim.
A personal injury settlement will include compensation for a number of different categories of losses, such as pain and suffering, lost wages and future income, medical bills, and other expenses incurred as a result of the harm (like the cost of prescription medication, the need to hire household assistance, for example).
The dollar amount of any JUUL®/vaping lawsuit settlement depends on many things, including the nature of the claimant's respiratory illness or other health problems, and the strength (or weakness) of the medical evidence. Learn why a proper diagnosis is crucial in a JUUL®/vaping lawsuit.
These cases can sometimes be complicated by the passage of time between the claimant's use of a vaping product and the development of lung illness and other health issues. That's one of many reasons why it's often difficult for even an experienced lawyer to speculate as to what kind of settlement a claimant is likely to receive, although there are a few tried and true factors that affect the value of a JUUL®/vaping case.
With most kinds of lawsuits, the parties involved (and their respective lawyers) want to minimize risk and avoid any surprises. That's true of lawsuits over the safety of vaping products too. The claimant in these cases usually doesn't want to risk going all the way to trial and coming away with nothing, and the manufacturers of e-cigarettes and similar products don't want to put their financial viability (or their reputations) in the hands of a civil jury (more than a few of which have held product manufacturers liable for millions of dollars in damages based on less-than-airtight proof of liability).
A typical product liability lawsuit (like those based on the safety of e-cigarettes) proceeds along a fairly predictable timeline, but these cases can also reach an out-of-court settlement at any time. The parties might reach a settlement on their own, before a lawsuit is even filed, or after information is exchanged through the "discovery" process and one or both sides see the proverbial writing on the wall. Court-ordered attempts at resolution (like mediation and mandatory settlement conferences) can also help coax the parties toward resolution.
Learn more about the timeline of a typical personal injury case.
It's important to keep in mind that if your JUUL®/e-cigarette case settles, the defendant (that's Juul Labs, Inc. or another manufacturer) will pay you an agreed-upon amount, but there won't be any admission of liability in the settlement agreement (the defendant won't admit to having done anything wrong, in other words). And chances are the agreement will require the parties to keep the terms of the settlement (including how much you received from the defendant) confidential.
It's perfectly normal to wonder about how your vaping-related illness lawsuit might get resolved—how much compensation you might get, how long it could take—just don't expect any guarantees from an attorney. Learn more about finding the right lawyer for you and your JUUL®/vaping case.