Whether it’s their vehicle or headache medicine, most consumers typically assume that the products they use are safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When someone suffers an injury caused by a product, they may have recourse for recovering compensation for any damages caused. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a product you’ve used, talking with a good injury lawyer is critical to understanding your options.
Factors Considered in Product Liability Claims
Negligence is a major element in any personal injury claim. However, there are three specific factors that are usually considered in product liability claims, including:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- Failure to warn
When a product is improperly manufactured and causes harm, manufacturers may be held liable. Sadly, manufacturers sometimes put cost and speed of production above safety. Incorrect assembly, faulty installation of wiring and circuitry, and use of wrong materials to construct a product are just a few examples of manufacturing defects. Top car accident lawyers have litigated many cases involving manufacturing defects such as brake failure, unintended acceleration, and improperly deployed airbags.
Design defects typically happen during the development of a product. Design defects can involve a product causing harm when being used correctly, or when harmful materials are utilized to make a product. Examples include designing top-heavy SUVs that increase the risk of rollover when making sharp turns at high speeds, or creating children’s toys that pose a choking hazard.
Failure to Warn
Products that have the potential to be dangerous must have adequate warnings to help consumers use them properly and avoid being injured. For instance, a tool such as a chainsaw should have instructions for proper use and warnings about any potential hazards. Even if hazards are evident, consumers should be informed that failure to use a product as it is intended could lead to serious harm. If there is no warning included and someone gets hurt, the manufacturer may be liable.
Proving Product Liability Claims
For a viable product liability claim, it is not enough to simply demonstrate that a product is defective. Your attorney must prove that you were injured due to the defect while using the product as intended. If you were using it in an inappropriate way when injured, you may not be entitled to compensation. You also must demonstrate that you suffered losses due to your injuries, such as medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Sufficient Evidence is Key
Product liability claims can be extremely complex, especially when they involve products such as pharmaceuticals or dangerous chemicals. To prove product liability, the best accident lawyers utilize evidence such as:
- The actual defective product
- Product design plans
- Evidence of designer or manufacturer knowledge of the defect, which may include notes, designs, emails, and other internal or external correspondence
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Proof of income, such as pay stubs and W-2s
- Photos of the defects and consequent injuries
- Accident reports
- Witness testimony
- Expert witness testimony
- Labels, instructions, and warnings
- Marketing materials
Your lawyer also will collect any other relevant evidence and put it all together to demonstrate that you were harmed by a defective product, and that you suffered injuries and loses.