Why We Need the Civil Justice System

November 1, 2019

Outside of recovering money for clients, trial attorneys often act as “the civil police” of the automobile and manufacturing industries

By: Matthew J. Bilker, Esquire

So often, when prospective clients call me for the first time or come in for a consultation on an injury claim, one of the very first things they all tell me, “I never do this” or “I am not the type of person who sues people.” And, generally, I respond with, “that’s what everyone says. You never want to sue someone until you’re injured, it’s not your fault, and you have no choice but to make a claim.”

Maximizing recoveries for injury victims is the best part of my job. When people are injured and its someone else’s fault, I like getting them just compensation. Oftentimes, that compensation replaces what they lost when they missed work for weeks or months following surgeries (or worse, when they could not return to work at all). Or, it is replacing monies that they had to spent on deductibles or co-pays for medical treatment. Of course, the bulk of the financial recovery represents just compensation for pain and suffering that people sustain when they get injured in collisions or falls or by defective products or malpractice. I like that our office doesn’t charge an hourly rate to clients in injury cases. I like that we only get paid when we succeed. And I like that, when my clients’ cases are concluded, that they like me (or at least pretend to).

However, there is a “global” benefit to the work that we do as well.  Some notable examples:

Vehicle Safety:

The automobile manufacturing industry has been slow to correct major defects in the vehicles that it created. It is not until those manufacturers are sued in court that they are forced to make these vehicles safer for consumers (i.e., you). A few cases:

  • Several auto manufacturers designed vehicles with defective gas tank placement, which resulted in fires and explosions following automobile collisions (even low-impact collisions). As a result of the work of trial attorneys, gas tanks are now universally located within rigid frames.
  • SUVs that experienced high levels of rollover rates were simply not being modified until trial attorneys filed suit against manufacturers. Now, there is an increased emphasis on the development of stability and control.
  • When Generation X first started using cars, seat belts were an afterthought. Even when they became popularly used, manufacturers had inferior seat belts in cars that often unlatched in accidents. Seat belts, and seats themselves, have been redesigned as a result of litigation.
  • Tire manufacturers covered up defects for years until they were sued. Those defects caused hundreds of deaths, and the litigation that followed forced tire manufacturers to fix many of the problems associated with their products.
  • Years ago, a police officer was paralyzed following a low-impact, side collision. Litigation forced car manufacturers to re-design the side impact protections in their vehicles.

Toy and Child Hazards:

It is no secret that children get hurt easily. Hundreds of thousands of children are treated every year for toy-related injuries. Some examples:

  • For one reason or another, kids put toys in their mouths. Kids’ jewelry that contained lead or other toxic metals caused serious illnesses. Litigation forced manufacturers to stop using lead, but the fight is not over. Many toy manufacturers have refused to recall items, meaning that toxic jewelry is still all over the country and in the hands of our children.
  • Aside from toxicity, millions of toys have been recalled over the past several decades due to children choking on them. These toys either fail, or barely meet, the government standards in place to regulate dangers.
  • Manufacturers often use small, powerful magnets in their products. However, if a child swallows two or more magnets, they can attract to each other through intestinal walls and result in devastating internal injuries.

Policing the automobile and toy industries are just a few examples of how trial lawyers have acted to protect consumers through the years.  It is rewarding to hit home runs for your clients of course, but it is equally rewarding to be a part of protecting the greater good from unnecessary risks and dangers.

If you were injured by a defective product as a consumer, contact our trial lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete an online form for a free consultation.