Suing Big Tobacco

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Holding Big Tobacco Accountable

These days, it's no secret that smoking is dangerous. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in five deaths in the United States is smoking-related. Moreover, tobacco use results in annual medical costs of over $75 billion. Many individuals who have experienced the harmful effects of smoking have started to explore their options to hold these cigarette companies accountable. One option is to file a lawsuit against tobacco companies. Below outlines how to go about initiating a legal action against cigarette manufacturers.

Consult with an Attorney

The first step before filing any lawsuit should be to consult with a lawyer. Common causes of action against big tobacco include:

An experienced attorney will be able to properly assess a case, and determine whether suing big tobacco is a good idea. An attorney can also direct their clients to other resources, such as government programs, that help compensate harmed individuals in different ways.

Be Patient

It can be difficult to be patient when suffering or watching a loved one suffer from some of the more painful effects of cigarettes. If a lawsuit is in order, expect the case to be a long and difficult process. Tobacco companies have a history of aggressively defending against lawsuits. In fact, the industry went decades before actually losing a case.

However, in recent years, litigants have been able to develop several theories of liability that have left big tobacco more exposed. Additionally, the progression of medical science and the discovery of documents that demonstrate many big tobacco companies knew they were manufacturing and distributing a dangerous product have made lawsuits a more successful endeavor than in the past.

For example, in 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that cigarettes are dangerous, tobacco companies are negligent, and smoking causes a variety of cancers and other illnesses. Precedent such as this is not binding on other state courts, but it can be incredibly persuasive where the facts and law are similar. Some parties have even been successful with filing class action lawsuits. In the event a party becomes involved in a class action lawsuit, the process only becomes more complicated, and more patience will be in order.

Hire the Right Attorney

Although these lawsuits can be incredibly long and complex, and the right attorney may not be the first one you consult with. Fortunately, finding the right personal injury attorney does not need to be a painful process. The Internet has made lawyers more readily available than ever before. Take your time and speak with as many lawyers as you see fit before deciding to hire one.

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Last Modified: 06-27-2014 02:23 PM PDT

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