Following up on part one of our frequently asked questions about tobacco litigation in Massachusetts, below are seven additional questions we are commonly asked. 

Q: Is it My Own Fault For Not Quitting?

A: No.

As one executive at tobacco company Brown and Williamson, makers of such brands as Carlton, Lucky Strike and Kool, wrote in 1963: “Nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug.”

In fact, tobacco companies conducted their own research on just how much nicotine was required to get people addicted without making the cigarettes taste bad. Over the years, they have adjusted the amount of nicotine to have the best chance of initiating and sustaining addiction in smokers. 

Even if you know smoking is bad for you, it can be challenging to stop. Addiction is not a choice. Some people are biologically more susceptible to nicotine addiction than others. While some might be able to stop or cut back, others might experience unbearable withdrawal symptoms, making it impossible to quit.

And how do the companies respond? As one tobacco company insider put it: “isn’t it fortunate for us that cigarettes are a habit they can’t break.”

Q: How Long Do Tobacco Lawsuits Take?

A: They can take years.

As we know, cigarettes are a billion-dollar industry and tobacco companies have a lot at stake. With very deep pockets, Big Tobacco vigorously defends every case brought against it. But, even though it might have taken years, many individuals and their families have successfully sued tobacco companies for their injuries or death. 

Q: What Can I Expect When I File a Tobacco Lawsuit?

A: A comprehensive look at your smoking history.

Because tobacco companies will invariably take your claim to court, you can expect to provide a comprehensive account of your smoking history, including medical records, accounts from friends and family about your smoking habits (including how and when you first started smoking), photos and/or social media posts that show you’ve been a long-time smoker and more. You will also be expected to answer questions from the tobacco company about your smoking history. While all of this may sound daunting, the tobacco lawsuit team at Shepard O’Donnell helps clients pull together all relevant information in preparation for a successful suit.

Q: How Much Can I Expect to Win?

A: $0 or $Millions.

This is a difficult question since every case and fact pattern is different. There are no hard and fast guidelines that allow us (or anybody else) to predict what a jury will decide. There is a very real chance that the award will be negligible. That said, however, the tobacco lawyers at Shepard O’Donnell were recently part of the trial team that won a ground-breaking $43.1 million verdict against RJ Reynolds on behalf of an individual victim. We do not guarantee similar results in future cases, and clients should be aware that even after a lengthy trial, the reward might be zero.

Q: I have COPD or Esophageal Cancer or Heart Disease; Will You Take my Case?

A: Not at this time.

Shepard O’Donnell is currently only taking cases involving lung cancer due to smoking but we are happy to refer you to experienced counsel who can evaluate your case.

Q: What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Tobacco Lawsuit in Massachusetts?

A: Three years (or longer.)

The general statute of limitations for Massachusetts, including for tobacco-related lawsuits, is up to three (3) years from the date your injuries were discovered or from your family member’s death. Even if you think you missed Massachusetts’ statute of limitations, it is still worth speaking with a tobacco lawsuit attorney. We can review the facts of your case to establish which deadline applies to your case and if you still have time or fall under certain statutory exceptions. You can rely on Shepard O’Donnell to consider every legal opportunity.

Q: How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

A: Call the experienced tobacco lawyers at Shepard O’Donnell.

A Massachusetts tobacco lawyer will help you determine which laws apply to your case and how. Shepard O’Donnell will also fully investigate your injuries and help you preserve all admissible, related evidence. Allow an experienced and compassionate tobacco lawsuit attorney on our legal team to evaluate your situation to provide clarity and direction regarding your options. Cigarette and tobacco companies willfully choose to place profits over people. Shepard O’Donnell will stand by your side throughout the entire process while holding these companies accountable for their careless and reckless actions.

Shepard O’Donnell is currently accepting cases for people living with lung cancer due to smoking that took place mainly in Massachusetts.

We have a strong track record of success when representing personal injury and wrongful death victims in matters against tobacco and cigarette companies, including a ground-breaking $43.1 million verdict against RJ Reynolds on behalf of an individual victim.