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Jury awards $5 million in compensation to cigarette smoker

Many residents of Billings, Montana smoke cigarettes, although there are inherent health risks associated with smoking. Although disclaimers in advertisements and on the cigarette packs often warn smokers about those risks, there is still a chance that a smoker who sustains a smoking-related disease can claim compensation.

A jury recently awarded $5 million dollars to a man who sustained coronary heart disease because of cigarette smoking. The 69-year-old Florida man filed a products liability lawsuit against tobacco giants Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds.

After a two-week trial, the grand jury decided to award the man $12.5 million. However, that amount was reduced by 60 percent because it was decided that the man was partly liable for failure to quit his one-and-a-half-pack-per-day habit after developing heart disease. The man smoked Marlboros, a Philip Morris product, from 1965 to 2009. He was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in 1994. Philip Morris must pay the compensation.

However, the jury decided that RJ Reynolds is not liable for the man's illness, even though he smoked Pall Mall cigarettes between 1958 and 1965.

Cigarettes can cause injuries and illnesses. Failure to warn consumers about the inherent risks of using a product is considered negligence. Products should be tested before they are distributed to consumers to make sure that they will not compromise their well-being.

It can be challenging to demonstrate that a dangerous product results in a person's illness or injury. In this case, for instance, certain factors, such as the user's inability to stop using a health-risk product, can affect a product liability claim.

In the event that a person sustains injuries or illnesses from a defective product, it is critical to establish the manufacturer's negligence. If negligence cannot be proven, no compensation will be awarded to the victim, despite injuries or even death. The victim may wish to consult a personal injury professional to ensure their rights are protected and they receive all the compensation to which they are entitled.

Source: KeysInfoNet, "Jury awards Keys man $5 million from Philip Morris in tobacco case," Jay Weaver, Jan. 22, 2014

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