Unfortunately, the consumer always suffers. My guess is that the policy is so strict because there would be many false claims of broken screens without being dropped (even if there are cases where this would be true). Like I said, it's very hard to prove otherwise, so Verizon has the advantage on this one.
Just a quick note. My 1 month-old S3 cracked yesterday under similar conditions...In my pocket. I've NEVER dropped this phone. Interestingly enough, I've dropped my Blackberry Curve, Palm, Droid X...My wife has dropped her iPhone 4, and 5, and we've never had a screen crack. As a design engineer in the Semiconductor industry, I think the durability of the screen strength is a design vulnerability. Just my two cents.
Thats like saying that when your 27 inch tube tv fell it was fine but you bumped into your flat screen the display broke. Consumers want smaller and thinner devices but when it breaks call foul. Theres a reason why Otter boxes and other things exist nowadays ya know. Yeah we are comparing apples to oranges here but the concept is the same. And it being in your pocket a number of things could have happened.
And as I clearly stated, it was in your pocket and there could be a number of factors. Next time either buy a case; or chance it again in pocket. Who knows if it happened by...what pocket, what else was in pocket, how were you sitting, etc etc.