A product liability lawyer helps victims hold individuals and companies accountable for manufacturing dangerous and defective products. A defective product is any product that is unreasonably dangerous when being used for its intended purpose. Anyone who suffered an injury or damages because of a defective product can file a product liability claim. The plaintiff does not need to own or have purchased the product to have a valid claim.
Go to the doctor and receive treatment for the injuries. Continue treatment as instructed by the doctor. Save all medical records, including bills and receipts. Take photos of the product and the damage it caused, including physical injuries. Keep the product and any documents and packaging that were included, including instructions and labels. Keep the product in a safe place where it won’t be touched. Keep the product intact – do not attempt to fix it or take it apart. Identify as much information as possible about the product including the manufacturer, make and model, place and date of purchase and serial number. Keep any receipts and proofs of purchase. Obtain information from any witnesses who were present (name, address, and phone number). Call an experienced personal injury attorney without delay and do not discuss the case with anyone other than your attorney.
Product liability cases may arise from design flaws, manufacturing defects, inadequate warnings or instructions, false advertising, and breach of warranty.
Liability may arise when a flaw in the design of a product causes it to be unreasonably dangerous. This means the product’s design caused it to be dangerous even though the product was made to the manufacturer’s specification. Examples of defective design include: a defective SUV design which causes the vehicle to rollover, a defective power saw design which lacks adequate safety guards, a defective hip implant design which causes health complications, and a defective motorcycle helmet design which fails to secure properly.
A manufacturing defect is when a product does not conform to the specifications of the manufacturer. A product has a manufacturing defect if there was an error in making it which caused it to deviate from its intended design. Examples of manufacturing defects include: an improperly assembled airbag which fails to deploy, an improperly assembled stove which causes an explosion, an improperly assembled window which becomes a fall hazard, and a tainted batch of medication which causes it to become poisonous.
Liability may arise when a product is improperly labeled, provides insufficient instructions, or fails to warn about a product’s hidden dangers. Examples of inadequate warnings include failure to warn that certain toys are unsafe for children, failure to warn about dangerous chemicals in household sprays and cleaners, failure to warn that a medication may be dangerous when taken in combination with other medications, and failure to warn about hidden risks in electrical and gas appliances.
False advertising is a false or misleading claim made to induce someone into buying a product. California law prohibits both intentional and negligent false advertising, which means the defendant is liable if they should have known the statement was false (actual knowledge is not required). False advertising includes misrepresentations, omissions, hidden fees, bait-and-switch tactics, misleading comparisons, and unverified claims.
A product warranty is a promise that the product is free of defects and will work as advertised for a certain period. Product warranties may be express or implied. An express warranty is an oral or written statement from the manufacturer or seller. Express warranties may take the forms of labels, sales contracts, or advertising materials.
There are two types of implied warranties. Virtually all products come with an implied warranty of merchantability, which means that the product will work as reasonably expected. The second type of implied warranty, an implied warranty of fitness, applies when you buy an item for a specific purpose. Examples of implied warranties of fitness include shoes made for running long distances, commercial stoves made to withstand many hours of continuous use, and winter tires made to provide traction in snow.
Manufacturers sometimes cut corners to save money, regardless of the harm it may cause to consumers. In many such cases, the consumer may file a product liability lawsuit. Aside from the manufacturer, other parties responsible for defective products may include distributors, retailers, assemblers, suppliers of components, testing laboratories, consultants, contractors, engineers and anyone else connected to the problem which caused the injury.
The plaintiff need not have purchased the product to file a product liability claim. For example, someone injured by a defective vehicle driven by another driver may still have a valid claim against any of the defendants mentioned above even though the vehicle did not belong to the injured person.
Product liability claims generally require the plaintiff to prove four things to win: 1) The plaintiff suffered injury or harm, 2) The product was defective or lacked proper warnings or instructions, 3) The defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries, 4) The plaintiff was using the product as it was intended to be used.
The court will allow expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiff and the defendant(s). Proving a product liability case may require the expert opinions of doctors, engineers, vocational experts, and other experts depending on the circumstances of the case. Expect each defendant to deny liability and place the blame on others. Also, the claim must be filed within the applicable time limit. The statute of limitations for a defective product claim is two years from the time the plaintiff knew or should have known about the injury through the exercise of reasonable care. If the claim is for property damage, the plaintiff must file a claim within three years of the date the property damage occurred. These are just a few of the reasons we suggest contacting an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible if you were injured by a defective product.
Victims injured by defective products may recover for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. If someone died because of a defective product, the victim’s family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
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One of the biggest jury verdicts ever against Ford. First paintiff victory after 11 consecutive victories for Ford in rollover lawsuits involving the Ford Explorer. It was later reduced to $82.6 million.
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