On September 26, 2015, the American Museum of Tort Law (the first and only museum of its kind) opened its doors in Winsted, Connecticut – the hometown of the museum’s creator and founder, Ralph Nader. It is not your typical museum; instead of interactive art or history exhibits, you can see the 1963 Chevrolet Corvair that led Mr. Nader to write Unsafe at Any Speed, the book that helped Americans see that they deserved to be treated with respect and dignity – and that defective product manufacturers needed to be held accountable – when they suffered a serious personal injury.
It seems almost serendipitous that Mr. Nader’s museum opened only a week or so after the GM recall debacle, because it once again underlines the importance of having dedicated counsel on the side of injured consumers. Car safety, factory safety, medical safety, air quality control, the dangers of football: these issues, which so many people scoffed at when they first arose, have been challenged and addressed because of the work of Plaintiffs’ Bars and attorneys all over the country.
“The cruelest movement I’ve ever encountered”
At the heart of the museum lies the ever-changing debate regarding tort reform. The New York Times quotes Mr. Nader as saying that “’Tort law is being run into the ground, maligned, caricatured and slandered because it’s effective,’” and that the “conservative agenda of tort reform, which seeks limits on lawsuits and financial awards, [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][is] ‘the cruelest movement I’ve ever encountered.’”
This new museum could help to counter the push for tort reform throughout the country, by reminding people about the good done by personal injury lawyers and consumer protection agencies. Some of the exhibits on display examine:
- The history of the Ford Pinto’s problems with exploding gar tanks
- The Dalkan shield, an unsafe IUD that was linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and harmed more than 200,000 American women
- The Stella Liebeck case, where a woman suffered second and third degree burns from a cup of McDonald’s coffee
- Big Tobacco’s fall from power, as the New Haven Register describes it
- The infamous “Flaming Rats” case, which forced manufacturers and facilities owners to take responsibility for their own shoddy training, and to be held liable for the injuries their workers sustained when that training was not in place
In the end, the American Museum of Tort Law offers a fascinating look into what it takes to make the world a better and safer place for our families. While the museum may look like a “greatest hits” collection for Ralph Nader, it explore so much more than just his contributions. And it reminds us that those contributions can sometimes take years and years of persistence, rejection and dedication before they come to fruition.
As personal injury attorneys, we fight many of the same battles that Ralph Nader fights, albeit on smaller scales. The legal communities we join allow us to work together to fight on a larger scale. Everything we do, we do to help our clients have better futures – and to make it less likely that future generations will have to fight the same battles over and over again. So if you happen to be in Connecticut (or are a student, practitioner or passionate follower of the justice system), consider making the American Museum of Tort Law one of your stops. We bet it will be a fascinating day.
Crandall & Pera Law offers comprehensive counsel for medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury victims throughout Ohio and Kentucky. To learn more about our services, we invite you to contact us.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]