Have you ever been hurt while using a newly bought washing machine and wondered if that was because of your carelessness or a defect in the product? Maybe your car’s airbag didn’t work as it was supposed to, leaving you greatly injured in a car crash? You might think that they’re a case of product liability; however, just because a product doesn’t work properly means you can sue and hold the manufacturer liable.
What Is Product Liability?
Due to the countless products available in the market, a product liability case is one of the most common types of lawsuits. A product liability suit involves a consumer getting harmed or injured because of a defective product. The manufacturer, however, will not be held liable for any injury caused by a product that was purchased secondhand or from grey market.
What Needs To Be Proven?
As with any other types of lawsuits, certain elements should be proven for a product liability case to be valid. Also, the burden to prove the following elements is on the plaintiff.
- Duty – The manufacturer or seller of the product must create or sell a product that is safe to use.
- Defect – The plaintiff must prove that there’s a defect in the product.
- Injury – The plaintiff was harmed due to the defective product.
- Causation – The plaintiff must prove that the injury sustained is directly caused by the defect.
Types Of Product Defects
Usually, product liability cases involve one type of defect. If it is proven that the product is defective in two or more ways, the liability of the manufacturer or seller may increase. A product liability claim can be proven using any of the following defective product theories:
- Warning Defect – The product lacked enough caution labels and safety instructions, and such lacks caused injury to the plaintiff.
- Design Defect – The plaintiff’s injury is a result of the defects in the product design. Usually, design defects affect large groups of people.
- Manufacturing Defect – The defect of the product lies in the way it was made or produced. Typically, the products are designed correctly, but somewhere along the manufacturing period, a defect on the individual product exists.
Tips To Prepare For A Product Liability Claim
Now that you’ve learned you have a valid case, here are the steps you can take to support your claim:
- Don’t throw the product away; instead, save it to be used as a piece of evidence in court.
- Save the packaging and instructions manual of the product as well. They can also serve as evidence to further support your claim.
- Keep your receipts as proof that you purchased the product from a reputable seller.
- If you’ve been severely injured, request a copy of your medical record and retain your receipts. These can be beneficial to determine the amount of damages you can receive.
- Figure out if the product is listed as a dangerous one. Research listings online and read product reviews.
- Prepare yourself for common defenses against product liability claims.
Types Of Damages You Can Receive
If your claim is successful, you can recover any or all of the following types of damages:
- Pain and Suffering – Clearly, this type includes any damages that caused you pain and suffering as a result of the injury.
- Compensatory damages – This includes your economic loss due to the injury, including past, present, and future medical expenses, lost wages, and damaged property.
- Punitive damages – If the defendant showed willful, scandalous actions, the court might award you this type of damages as a punishment for the defendant.
- Loss of Consortium – This type of damages is awarded to compensate the effect of the injury on your relationship with your spouse.
Although common, product liability claims are not simple. It requires an understanding of many different theories and elements, so the service of a product liability attorney is needed. If you believe you’re a victim of a defective product, reach out for legal help today!
Ashley Thompson strives to ensure her passion for reading about the law are reflected through the various pieces that she’s writing. She hopes to apply her years of study into helping explain legal issues to the public. Ashley loves cooking and often cooks for her family during weekends.