When you purchase and use a product, you have a reasonable right to assume that the product is safe and fit for human use. When it’s not, or when you happen to come into contact with a defective product, and the product injures or harms you in some way, then you may be entitled to compensation.
You could potentially be compensated for pain and suffering, hospital and medical bills, lost time and wages, and more. The amount you can receive typically depends upon the details of the incident and the severity of your injuries. No matter how much money you stand to obtain, the essential thing to accept, of course, is justice. To make sure you get the justice you deserve in this type of case, be sure to keep a few tips in mind.
Types of Product Liability
If you have been injured or suffered damages because of a product, you may have grounds for a defective product liability claim. In the United States, product liability claims tend to involve negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and various consumer protection claims.
There is a range of product liability cases, but they fall into three main categories:
- Defective manufacture
- Defective design, and
- Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.
Understanding the differences between these categories will help you to determine what kind of claim you have, whether you have a valid claim, and what strategy to use in presenting your case.
Attorney Joe Zaid explains that injuries can arise from design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure of the product maker to be forthcoming with the associated dangers of the product. The design may be faulty, the manufacturer may have used improper materials or methods to produce the product, or the retailer may have improperly displayed or stored the product.
Whoever is to blame for the consumer’s injury may be responsible for paying damages.
An experienced product liability attorney knows what to look for when determining where the mistake was made in allowing a defective product to reach their client.
Determine Who’s at Fault
One of the first things to figure out in a product liability case is who’s at fault. The answer isn’t always as cut and dry as you might expect. You have to examine the problem or issue that caused your injury, and then it has to be traced back to the root cause.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this type of detective work on your own. The right personal injury attorney can do it for you.
While your attorney can help you to pinpoint responsibility, keep in mind that the following are typically cited offenders in these types of cases:
- The manufacturer of the product or one or more of its parts
- The distributor of the product
- The assembling party
- The wholesaler
- The store from which you purchased your product
Once you and your lawyer have determined blame, you are ready to start building a case.
How to Prove Your Case
First, let’s consider a defectively manufactured product. In this case, the injury-causing product is usually flawed because of some error in its fabrication.
To have a chance at winning your case, you will have to prove that the product was defective and that the defect was responsible for causing your injury.
In the second type of product liability, it is necessary to prove that the design is inherently dangerous or defective.
The last type of product liability claim involves a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions about the product’s proper use. These failure-to-warn claims generally involve a product that is dangerous in some way that’s not obvious to the user, resulting in injuries due to that lack of instruction.
Each type of product liability claim requires different elements to be proven to present a successful claim.
This can be a lengthy and complicated process, depending on the product. Still, it’s essential to take the time to include all parties involved with the manufacture and distribution of the defective product. What you’ll need to do is identify which people and companies might be liable and then name them as defendants in your claim. You don’t have to choose one defendant over another; instead, everyone involved in the distribution chain should be detailed in your lawsuit.
The Chain of Distribution
The chain of distribution can be lengthy and usually begins with the manufacturer. Next, it’s essential to consider the retailer since they could be liable for selling you a defective product.
Finally, in terms of the distributor chain between these two points, know that there may be any number of wholesalers, suppliers, and distributors involved. They are all part of the chain of distribution of the defective product, are therefore potentially liable, and should be named defendants in your defective product lawsuit.
You might also be able to recover from injuries caused by used or second-hand products. If you purchased a used product that turned out to be defective, you could potentially sue the supplier, depending on such things as what the product is, the nature of the defect, and the legislation in your state.
A product liability attorney will be aware of the state laws and their impact on your product liability claim.
For example, a few states have laws that protect retailers from strict liability. In these states, the person making a claim must prove that the retailer was negligent before receiving compensation. Some specific details determine whether the designer or manufacturer of the product is at fault.
The laws involving product liability are complex and may be much different than you imagined. A product liability attorney can explain how the laws of your state pertain to your situation and your legal rights for filing a claim.
Don’t Be Afraid
Sometimes, these types of cases involve going against big-name corporations or companies. If that’s true in your circumstance, don’t panic. A good, qualified lawyer will likely have dealt with these “big name companies” in the past. Also, remember that even the biggest and most powerful corporations in the world make mistakes and, when they do, they have to pay for them.
Furthermore, many of these “big name” companies want to keep their big, good name, so they’ll happily negotiate a settlement without you having to go to court. That means you get what you’re entitled to without a lot of hassle.
Settlement or not, and no matter who is at fault, speak up if a defective product has injured you. You deserve for your voice to be heard and justice to be served. Finding a qualified personal injury attorney can significantly help you receive justice and the compensation to which you are entitled.
Finally, if you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective product or another issue of product liability, you don’t have to pursue your claim alone. Contact a product liability lawyer like Joe Zaid in Houston, Texas, to discuss your rights and your case.