The future of product liability lawsuits is changing rapidly. Millennials are now old enough that they are regularly appearing on jury panels, making important decisions in product liability trials, and the results are a little shocking.
Everything from the result to the presentation in product liability cases is slowly undergoing a shift due to the preferences and opinions of this younger generation of jurors.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability lawsuits typically revolve around cases involving defective, poorly designed, or improperly advertised products that do harm to a person or persons. For example, if a person is injured in a car accident because the manufacturer cut corners when building the car, the injured person could sue the manufacturer for product liability.
Generally, the defendants in these cases are large corporations accused of putting profits before consumer safety. Many product liability lawsuits develop into class action suits when more than a few people are harmed by a defective drug or product.
How Are Millennials Changing Product Liability Lawsuits?
Millennials, the term given to the generation born between the early 80s and the mid to late 90s, have a very different view of the world than their parents, and certainly their grandparents. They tend to differ on almost every aspect of how a trial should be conducted, as well as the verdicts.
For example, generations before this one tended not to be impressed by modern, polished presentations. However, millennials have come to expect it. They prefer high-tech presentations and slick visual aids.
Also, while the older generation of jurors liked to hear every last detail when it came to expert testimony, millennials have a much shorter attention span. They only want to hear the important things, and nothing more. The popular Internet term “TL;DR” has become something of a nickname for millennials’ trial preferences among attorneys. “TL;DR” stands for “too long, didn’t read” and accurately reflects this generation’s short collective attention span.
Another noticeable shift in juror opinion is that most millennials do not hold big businesses in high regard. In fact, most tend to be outright against large corporations. This will no doubt spell trouble for big business in the future.
Perhaps the most important change is that this generation is so concerned with safety over profit. Millennials are concerned that larger businesses focus more on profits rather than employee or consumer safety. When polled, 84 percent of millennials agree that big business should be made to take every precaution, no matter how expensive or impractical it is to ensure the safety of both workers and consumers.
It’s exciting to see these changes as they all look to signal a positive change for victims of big business profiteering. Jurors today look to be more inclined to sympathize with people who are harmed by negligence of large corporations. Design defects, failure to warn, defective drugs, improper marketing, and other dirty tricks big businesses use to drive profits at the expense of consumers should not be tolerated, and won’t be tolerated by the new generation of jurors.