Personal Injury Attorneys-Product Liability Lawsuits
What happens when you buy a defective product that causes you harm? Under product liability law, manufacturers are liable for products that are defective and cause injury.
When purchasing an item, consumers have a right to expect that the product is reasonably safe to use. If it is not, then a product liability lawsuit may be filed. While product liability laws vary between states, they all provide legal rights to consumers injured by defective or dangerous products.
The product liability lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience successfully representing clients in product liability lawsuits. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We work on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay attorneys’ fees if we win your case.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability means that a manufacturer or seller can be sued for a defective product that causes injury. A product liability lawsuit can be filed against all parties in the distribution chain.
Examples of liable parties in a product liability lawsuit include:
- The manufacturer of the product
- The manufacturer of product components or parts
- The company who assembles the product
- The wholesaler
- The retail store who sold the final product to consumers
Compared to ordinary injury lawsuits, it may be easier to sue under product liability because plaintiffs do not necessarily need to prove negligence. In a regular personal injury claim, the plaintiff typically needs to show that the defendant was negligent, or careless, and subsequently failed in their duty of care.
Under product liability, a product is expected to meet consumers’ ordinary expectations. If the consumer is injured while using the product as intended, then it cannot have met ordinary expectations.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
Any product is subject to product liability law. To name a few common examples, an injured consumer may sue over an allegedly defective drug or medical device, or a recalled automobile. Product liability lawsuits may be filed over hygiene products (such as talcum powder), defective baby products, faulty kitchen appliances, and many other products.
Since there is no federal product liability law, product liability claims vary by state. In general, there are three main theories in product liability: strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty. Among these, strict liability is the most commonly asserted in product liability lawsuits.
General personal injury claims, as previously stated, usually requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent with regards to their care, leading to injury. When suing under strict liability, however, plaintiffs do not have to prove negligence.
Under the theory of strict liability, an action can be brought simply because the product itself was defective and harmed the plaintiff. Strict liability exists because it is unrealistic that a plaintiff would be able to show when and how a manufacturer was negligent in making a consumer product.
Negligence means that the defendant was careless in a way that caused injury to another individual. The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty which caused harm, and then show that the harm resulted in damages.
Product liability lawsuits can generally assert strict liability if the plaintiff was injured due to a product defect, and the injury occurred when the product was being used as intended, and the product did not change substantially from the time of purchase.
A product defect lawsuit may be filed under breach of warranty. Warranty means that the seller or manufacturer guarantees that their product will meet certain standards of quality or reliability. If a product fails to meet this standard, then the seller is obligated to replace the item or have it repaired free of charge. There are several different types of warranties; it may be explained when the product is purchased, implied, or the consumer may pay extra for an extended warranty.
Virtually all products are under an implied warranty of merchantability. This means that when you buy a product, it is guaranteed to work as claimed. Implied warranty of fitness means that a product was guaranteed for a specific purpose. For example, if you buy a coffee maker, you reasonably expect that it will make coffee.
Types of Defects
A product can be defective in different ways, but these defects fall into three general categories. A product can contain a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a marketing defect. A plaintiff can file a product liability lawsuit alleging these defects.
A design defect means that the product is dangerous even when manufactured as intended. In this case, the plaintiff alleges that the product was inherently defective prior to being manufactured or assembled. The plaintiff may also be required to show that it was feasible to implement a safer design and that the defect caused the injury.
When a product contains a manufacturing defect, it could mean that the product was safe in its design but became dangerous during the production process. Products containing a manufacturing defect may be different from the original design. For example, a kitchen appliance was safely designed but became dangerous when assembled incorrectly at the factory.
A marketing defect means that the product was marketed in an improper manner. A product liability claim alleging marketing defects may claim that the manufacturer failed to warn about dangers, labeled their product incorrectly, or failed to include adequate instructions for use.
The law requires manufacturers to warn of any hidden dangers associated with using their product. Manufacturers must also provide instructions on how to use their product safely. Generally, warnings must be clear, specific and easy to find.
How to Sue for a Defective or Dangerous Product
If you were injured due to a defective product, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. Injuries from a defective product, such as a defective drug or medical device, can be serious, debilitating, or life-threatening. Product defect injuries can cause financial loss, emotional distress and impede on your everyday life.
For more information about filing a product defect lawsuit, contact a product liability attorney at Parker Waichman today.
Damages from a product defect lawsuit can include medical bills, including emergency room visits, hospital fees, the cost of surgery, prescriptions, doctors’ visits, medical equipment and physical rehabilitation. An injured plaintiff can also recover for loss of income, both for past and future earnings.
For example, you may have had to miss many days off from work or perhaps your injury left you unable to continue your profession. Other damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Filing a Product Liability
If you or someone you know was injured due to a defective product, contact one of our product liability attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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