A law firm is advertising on CNBC, trying to gin up plaintiffs for lawsuits against siren manufacturers. The pitch is: “Have you lost hearing after working around loud sirens?”
There must be people who have lost hearing from sirens. However, sirens are supposed to be loud. No one could reasonably expect otherwise. Nor is it the responsibility of siren makers to protect people from sirens. Individuals, and perhaps their employers, should do that.
Probably what the lawyers intend to do is find a large group of people who have imperfect hearing and used to drive ambulances or work in factories, assert that their hearing problems result from on-the-job exposure to sirens, and extract a settlement from siren manufacturers who want to avoid expensive litigation and the financial Sword of Damocles of a possible adverse jury verdict (jurisdiction to be selected for maximum plaintiff-friendliness).
Who will bear the costs of these cases (unless they are thrown out as they should be)? The siren manufacturers will go out of business, pay out a lot of money and/or move overseas. Sirens will cost more. The private firms and governments that use sirens will pass along the higher costs in the form of higher prices for their products, higher taxes and fewer jobs. Perhaps they will use fewer sirens in the future, which might lead to more accidents and related costs. Employers will tell workers to wear ear plugs, but many workers will not do so. Some of the plaintiffs, whose hearing loss may or may not have been caused by sirens, will receive windfalls. The lawyers will make a lot of money and look for other industries to plunder. Maybe they will sue rock bands or the Army next.