How Much Money Can I Get From The Baby Formula Lawsuit? – Forbes

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Some parents of premature babies who were given formula in the hospital are filing lawsuits claiming the formula caused severe injuries to their infants, including a serious gastrointestinal condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). These lawsuits claim the formula manufacturers knew of and failed to warn medical providers and parents about the risks involved with their baby formulas.

Parents filing a baby formula lawsuit may receive compensation based on the severity of their child’s injuries. However, since no baby formula claims have been resolved yet, it is impossible to determine the exact worth of the claims. This article explains the baby formula lawsuits and discusses the factors in a product liability settlement or verdict amount.

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What Are The Baby Formula Lawsuits About?

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NEC causes severe intestinal inflammation and bacterial invasion in premature and medically fragile infants. Although its cause has not been conclusively identified, NEC is linked to tube-feeding premature infants formula made from cow’s milk. Nearly 70% of cases of NEC occur in premature infants.

NEC can cause severe injury to the infant’s intestinal walls, frequently leading to necrosis (death) of the intestinal tissue and perforation of the gut wall barrier. Leakage from the intestines into the abdominal cavity can cause severe damage to other organs. Unfortunately, between 10% and 50% of infant cases of NEC are fatal.

These cases are now the basis of thousands of lawsuits against two major formula manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories (the producer of Similac products) and Mead Johnson (the producer of Enfamil formulas). As the baby formula lawsuits proceed, many people wonder how much the expected average settlement will be.


What Are the Claims in the Baby Formula Lawsuits?

Plaintiffs argue that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson knew or should have known about the significant risks associated with their formula products, including the increased risk of premature infants developing NEC. Some of the formula may have been made from milk from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as “mad cow disease,” linked to various human illnesses.

Plaintiffs’ complaints against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson include claims that the manufacturers were negligent, fraudulent and failed to adequately warn customers about the risks associated with their formula products. The lawsuits involve cases of NEC, sepsis, failure to thrive and other injuries to premature infants linked to the use of defendants’ formula products.

Some plaintiffs claim Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson knew of and took steps to actively conceal the severity of the risks from patients, doctors and hospitals. Plaintiffs contend that if they had known about these risks, they may have chosen not to use these products or taken additional precautions when doing so.

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How Are Baby Formula Lawsuit Claims Valued?

The value of a claim depends on many factors, including the severity and nature of the injuries at issue. Where a case is filed also impacts what type of compensation a plaintiff can recover because the laws vary from state to state.

Compensatory damages awards can be significant, especially in cases involving young victims with permanent, life-altering injuries. Treating NEC in premature babies involves antibiotics, diligent monitoring and intensive treatment. Surgery is often necessary to remove parts of an infant’s intestinal tract that sustain irreparable damage. Infants that survive NEC can have lifelong digestive issues, neurological problems and nutritional complications.

Since the baby formula claims involve young, vulnerable patients with devastating long-term injuries, compensatory damage awards could be substantial. The highly sympathetic nature of the plaintiffs may cause Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson to settle out of court rather than bring these cases before juries at trial.


Punitive Damages Awards In Baby Formula Cases

Punitive damages may be available in some of the baby formula cases. These awards can greatly exceed the compensatory damages a jury awards because they are intended to “send a message” to a company for its wrongdoing. Juries have awarded significant punitive damages in lawsuits involving deceptive, harmful marketing practices.

For example, a jury in Louisiana Federal Court slapped two drug manufacturers with a $6 billion punitive damages award for deliberately concealing the known cancer risks associated with Actos, a diabetes medication. This amount was on top of $1.475 million in compensatory damages the jury awarded to the plaintiffs of 2,700 consolidated lawsuits against the drug manufacturers.

The baby formula lawsuits allege that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson knew of the threats their formula products posed to defenseless infants and engaged in deceptive or fraudulent behavior to minimize these risks. If a jury believes the manufacturers deliberately concealed or misled parents and medical providers about the dangers of their products, it may enter an award of punitive damages against one or both companies.


Potential Baby Formula Lawsuit Settlement Value

Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson have denied their formula products caused injury to any of the plaintiffs in these ongoing cases. No cases have gone to trial before a judge or jury, so it is difficult to say what these claims will be worth. The manufacturers may explore a large-scale settlement with the remaining plaintiffs if the first bellwether cases result in large verdicts.

Large-scale claims about dangerous or defective products, like the baby formula lawsuits, often result in settlements between the manufacturers and a consolidated group of plaintiffs. Typically, these packages include compensation to individual plaintiffs, an amount to settle any class action lawsuits and fines or penalties to regulatory agencies.

The settlement value of each case depends on many factors, including the severity of each plaintiff’s alleged injuries, the number of overall plaintiffs and how strong the evidence is against the defendants. Therefore, the amount each individual recovers in such a settlement can vary widely.

A settlement package could be very large because of the number of plaintiffs involved in the baby formula lawsuits and the nature of the injuries to such vulnerable patients. If evidence shows that Abbott Laboratories or Mead Johnson knowingly withheld information showing their products were harmful to infants, the total amount may be staggering.

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Did your baby develop NEC after being fed Similac or Enfamil? You may be eligible for significant compensation. Find out if you qualify.


Seeking Legal Guidance For Baby Formula Lawsuit Claims

Act promptly if you believe you may have a baby formula lawsuit. Laws called statutes of limitations can limit your time to pursue a claim. Experienced legal counsel can help you determine whether you may have a claim for baby formula-related injuries and help you take the next steps to recover compensation.

Did Your Baby Develop Nec After Being Fed Similac Or Enfamil?

You may be eligible for significant compensation. Get your free case review today.
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