Personal Injury Litigation & Changes in the Law
Part of what we do as lawyers is to make society safer. Many critics of personal injury lawyers say “They’ronly in it for the money.” Many times the best we can do to achieve justice for our clients is to recover money damages for the harms and losses.
However, other times we can effectuate safety changes in response to a tragic incident. Pursuing lawsuits against manufacturers of defective products like auto-mobiles, medical devices, the designers of covers for swimming pool pumps, and prescription medication, have led to defective products being withdrawn, recalled and redesigned to be safer and to protect society so similar deaths and/or tragic, horrific injuries, do not happen to others.
Through the litigation process we can identify how and why tragic incidents occur and what can/should be done to prevent similar events from happening again. In my practice we represented a woman who had a 5’ tall, 40-pound picture frame fall from a shelf at an internationally known retail clothing store. The frame fell on her head and neck, ruptured discs, and caused her to undergo two neck fusion surgeries. The reason the 40-pound frame was not secured safely to the wall was that the retail clothing store had a particular “look” they wanted to achieve by leaning all of their framed artwork at a certain angle; safely securing the frame to the wall did not allow for the “look.” After we started the lawsuit and pursued my client’s remedies against the retail store, the corporation changed its methods and proceeded to secure all of the artwork at all of their 200+ stores across the United States and the world so that a similar incident would not happen to another person. This change was extremely gratifying to my client, knowing that she was responsible for effectuating safety changes and saving others from going through what she had experienced.
Similarly, we represented a vibrant, 100-year-old woman who was being transported to a medical appointment by a medical van. As the driver entered a parking ramp, there were no overhead height restriction warnings alerting the driver of any height restrictions inside the parking ramp. She was able to drive the van into the ramp but, 30′ later, the 7′ 6″ tall van came to an abrupt stop when its roof crashed into an overhead cement beam that was only 6′ 11″ high. The crash caused a traumatic rupture of the 100-year-old passenger’s aorta and she died 24 hours later.
We were able to pursue remedies against the driver of the van and her employer, but also the owner and designer of the parking ramp that failed to incorporate standard overhead height restriction warnings (many of you have seen the “bumpers” that come into contact with the roof of your vehicle if your vehicle is too tall for the ramp). Once again, while my clients experienced a very tragic death of their family matriarch, it was comforting for them to know that by pursuing the claims they were able to effectuate change for the safety of others. The parking ramp now has safe and proper overhead height restriction warnings so as to prevent this from ever happening to another person.
If you have lost a loved one as the result of someone else’s negligence, your first step should be to contact a Minnesota law firm you can trust. The experienced attorneys at Meshbesher & Spence will help you navigate the complexities of a personal injury case – competently representing your family with integrity.