When It Comes To Product Liability Cases, The Most Important Steps To Follow Are: Understand, Collect, Reach Out And Contact
When a company makes a product and its use results in causing someone harm, the company is legally liable or responsible. This is called product liability and it occurs regardless of whether the company was negligent, didn’t adhere to the proper safety protocol, or failed to perform adequate testing to ensure that the product was not defective and could cause harm to another person. Manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available for public purchase are held responsible for the injuries those products cause.
The three major types of product liability claims surround around manufacturing defect, a design defect, or a failure-to-warn, which is also known as a marketing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs in the manufacturing process when parts of the product are assembled. This type of defect usually involves poor-quality materials or low-quality workmanship. A design defect occurs when the product design is inherently dangerous or useless. This defect can be demonstrated by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product. Or the defendant can prove that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits. Finally, a failure-to-warn or marketing defect arises when a product has inherent, non-obvious dangers. The dangers are present regardless of how well the product is manufactured and designed for its intended purpose. Moreover, if a company fails to provide relevant and necessary product instructions or sufficient product warnings, the company can fall into this defect claim category. However, this type of defect can be mitigated through adequate warnings.
Although the majority of product liability laws are determined at the state level, there are practical steps you can take when making a products liability case. Let’s go through each of the steps in greater detail below to understand how this process works for the type of claim you may want to make to help you get the appropriate compensation for your acquired injuries.
Step 1: Understand How Strict Liability Works
In many circumstances, to hold someone liable for your injuries you have to show that they were careless and that their carelessness or negligence led to your injuries. However, when it comes to products that are sold to the general public, it would be extremely hard and expensive for a single individual to bear that burden of proof. It would be painstakingly difficult to show how and when a manufacturer was careless in making a product. Furthermore, the consumer or user of the product cannot be expected to prove whether the company who distributed the product had a proper system in place for checking for the manufacturer’s defects. Nor can the consumer be expected to know whether the seller caused the defect after receiving the product from the manufacturer. Additionally, a consumer cannot be expected to check each product before using it in an effort to see if the item is defective in some way that could ultimately cause physical harm.
Because of the difficult nature that these expectations would cause, the law has developed a doctrine known as strict liability. Strict liability allows a person who is injured by a defective product to recover compensation. The compensation comes directly from the manufacturer or distributor of the product. The consumer does not have to show that the manufacturer or seller of the good was actually negligent.
So, the first step in making a products liability case is to understand how strict liability works. Here’s a quick breakdown of the law: If you’ve been injured by a consumer product, you’re entitled to compensation from either the manufacturer who made the good or the business that sold or rented the product directly to you. Understand that strict liability works against a non-manufacturer who sold or rented the product to you only if the company regularly practices selling or renting those particular kinds of products. For example, if you were to purchase a product such as a ladder from a garage sale and the ladder was defective in some way and caused you physical harm after using it, strict liability may not apply because the item was purchased by a non-manufacturer who sold the product to you but does not sell ladders on a regular basis. It is also important to understand that you may not be able to claim strict liability if you knew about the defect but continued to use the product anyway. Thus, if you continued to use the defective product, you may have given up your right to claim injury damages.
Summary: The first step in making a products liability case is understanding whether strict liability will apply. This is important because strict liability allows the injured party to recover compensation from their use of a defective product.
Step 2: Collect Evidence To Prove Who Was At Fault In A Product Liability Case
The second step in making a products liability case is to collect evidence to prove the company was at fault in order for the injured party to be awarded compensation. The particulars of what you must prove vary from state to state; however, product liability law requires that you prove all of the following in order to win:
- You were injured or suffered losses as a result of using the product.
- The product is defective.
- The defect caused your injury.
- You were using the product as it was intended. In other words, the product wasn’t changed in a way that affects how the product is intended to perform.
The initial days following an accident are often critical in setting the stage for a successful product liability action against the maker or seller of the product. After the proper medical treatment is obtained, you will want to make sure that all evidence is preserved. The defective product must be secured immediately. This will ensure that the item in question is available and guarantee that its condition will not be changed, which can adversely affect your case. Be sure to not dispose of the defective product unless it presents an immediate risk to you or others. In fact, you may choose to lock the defective product in a facility for safekeeping. Do not sell or give the product to any investigator before you have consulted with an attorney. Be aware that a successful products liability case will usually require the assistance and testimony of an expert witness as well. Common experts that are usually retained in a products liability case are: engineers, safety experts, and medical professionals. It is often up to you to find a qualified expert, and you’ll want to do this early in the litigation process.
Summary: After you have received medical attention for your injuries, the next step is to collect evidence for your case. Ensure all evidence is preserved by securely storing the defective product. Do not dispose of, sell, or give away the product to a third party unless necessary. Also, find a reliable expert witness to help you in making your claim.
Step 3: Reach Out To An Experienced Product Liability Attorney For Help
Finally, reach out to a products liability attorney to represent you in your case. Because you will need expert witnesses, medical evidence, and a deep understanding of negligence law, you’ll want to consult an attorney. You’ll have to make sure that your defective product claim meets all of the requirements in your state. This can be a tricky or daunting task. You may wish to consult with a lawyer who specializes in product liability to help you navigate through the process.
Summary: Find an experienced product liability attorney to represent your case. Consulting with a specialist can get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Law Firm Of Aaron W. Perry, PLLC For A Product Liability Case
If you feel you have a genuine product liability claim and want to be fairly compensated for your injuries, contact the Law Firm of Aaron W. Perry, PLLC. We are experienced attorneys who will fight for you to get you what you deserve. Reach out by phone at (713) 3939-7788 or email email@example.com.
Bellaire, Texas 77401
Phone: (713) 3939-7788