The verdicts awarded to two men injured by diacetyl inhalation provide two examples of how expert witness testimony can strengthen an injury case. One of the victims was a regular consumer of microwave popcorn, while the other man worked in a California flavoring plant. Both men developed a serious respiratory condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung,” from inhaling the diacetyl used for butter flavoring and smell in microwave popcorn. The popcorn-eating victim was greatly assisted in his claim by the lung specialist who treated him and wrote to federal authorities after becoming convinced of diacetyl’s risks. The specialist’s research and testimony helped to show that diacetyl levels in the man’s home were reaching levels normally seen at popcorn plants. The victim was eventually awarded $7 million in the case.
The flavoring plant worker took his popcorn lung case to trial and benefitted from his own expert witness. The victim was shown to have reduced lung function due to diacetyl inhalation in an unsafe plant. According to the worker’s attorney, his client rejected earlier settlement offers and was ultimately awarded $2.6 million in damages, a figure more than four times greater than the highest settlement offer from the man’s employer.
Demonstrating a condition such as bronchiolitis obliterans and establishing negligence as the direct cause requires a deep understanding of the medicine involved and the harmful mechanism of something like diacetyl on human tissue. Not every injury case will require expert testimony on such a particular and rare condition, but having a skilled expert to relate specific information can help any client’s case. The defendants will not waste time finding experts to fight injury claims, so it is important to secure the quality expert testimony early on.
Where Can Plaintiffs Find Expert Witnesses and Other Case Support Services?
The best expert witnesses can be very expensive, with fees of several hundred dollars per hour of work. The good news is that plaintiffs’ lawyers do not have to pay these fees out of pocket while building a strong case. FOCUS Case Support Services coordinates and finances the support that injury cases demand including expert witness testimony, record retrieval, presentation materials, and transcription services. Attorneys who use FOCUS Case Support Services are able to build stronger cases without financial burden, as costs are repaid upon settlement. To start receiving the support services to build a case or grow your caseload, call 855-909-0000 or fill out a quick application.
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