If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product and are considering filing a product liability claim, you likely have some questions about what product liability is and how it works. As a consumer, you have a right to certain expectations when you purchase or use a product. The following questions and answers will help you with the fundamental aspects of product liability. For specific information about your case, you should consult an experienced product liability attorney.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is an area of law that governs who is responsible for defective products that have caused someone injury or harm. When an individual suffers injury due to a defective product, he or she can file a product liability claim and ask for damages from the product’s manufacturer, designer, distributor, or seller.
How Does Product Liability Work?
A product liability lawsuit may be filed under one of the following three theories:
- Strict product liability – In a strict liability case, the focus is placed on the product rather than the supplier’s or manufacturer’s conduct. If a product is found to be defective or unreasonably dangerous and has caused a person harm, that individual may file a claim.
- Negligence – This theory of liability focuses on the manufacturer’s conduct. In other words, it has to show that the product maker failed to use ordinary or reasonable care in the product’s design, manufacturing, or sale, and that it caused harm to the plaintiff.
- Breach of warranty – A warranty is basically a promise that is made by the manufacturer that a product will perform in a certain way or have specific characteristics. A breach of that warranty, that causes a person harm or injury, can be considered for a product liability claim.
What Types of Defects Can Result in a Product Liability Claim?
The defects on which product liability claims can be based fall into three categories:
- Design defects – This is an inherent defect in the design of a product, not the manufacturing. One example is an airbag in a vehicle that deploys with too much force, injuring the driver.
- Manufacturing defects – This is a defect that happens during the process of creating the product and results in a deviation from the design that makes the product dangerous for the consumer. An example of a manufacturing defect is a missing part that causes a product to break and injure someone.
- Failure to warn – Any product that can be dangerous or harmful should come with instructions for safe use. A warning defect occurs when there is no warning or user manual and someone is injured as a result. The injured party may have a product liability claim. An example of a failure to warn defect is a prescribed medication that might cause drowsiness without a warning label disclosing that. If the patient takes the medication, drives, and gets into a car accident because he or she was too drowsy, it may be a product liability case with merit.
What Must Be Proven in a Product Liability Case?
As with any type of personal injury case, there are specific elements that you have to prove in a product liability lawsuit. First, it must be proven that you used the product in the way that it was designed to be used and not for any other purpose. Second, it must be proven that the product was defective. Third, you must prove that you were injured. And lastly, it must be proven that your injuries were caused by the defect in the product.
What Type of Damages Can be Sought in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Damages are the financial compensation awarded for loss or injury in a legal action. If you are injured due to a defective product, you may ask for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of wages and earning capacity, and property damage. In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Spouses and children of someone injured by a defective product may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium. If a wrongful death results from a defective product, surviving family members may be able to seek additional damages.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Product Liability Claim?
Product liability claims are complex, require the consultation of medical and technical experts, and can be extremely time-consuming. It is always in your best interest to seek the advice of legal counsel in these types of cases.
At Ross Feller Casey, we have experienced personal injury attorneys and medical doctors on staff to assist you with your case. We also have a proven track record in winning multi-million-dollar product liability lawsuits and creating a much better quality of life for our clients who have been injured by defective products.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective product, you may have a product liability lawsuit. Ross Feller Casey can help you determine if you do, and how to proceed with your claim. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.
Our product liability attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you until your case is settled or successfully litigated in court.