Throughout every single day of an individual’s life, they continually rely on millions of products to assist them in daily tasks. Whether those products are home appliances, clothing, computers or automobiles, most individuals assume that such products are safe to use without considering the possibility of injury.
Fortunately, our legal system has established countless guidelines and standards which a product must adhere to before entering the marketplace to ensure the safety of consumers. However, there are still numerous instances of dangerous or defective products injuring consumers each year.
What Should Be Done if an Injury from Using a Product Occurs?
If you or a loved one have sustained an injury as a result of a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to receive compensation. However, having a thorough understanding of the legal components and requirements involved in a dangerous or defective products case and presenting a solid case is crucial.
That is why our experienced Raleigh attorneys are here to provide assistance in understanding and navigating through the complexities of a product liability claim. For 60 years, we have successfully assisted clients in carrying out their prosecution and receiving compensation.
How Do I Build an Effective Dangerous or Defective Product Case?
In order to receive compensation from the company or manufacturer that distributed the dangerous or defective product, you must build a solid product liability claim.
To do this, you must ultimately do the following:
- Establish the type of defective product
- Prove fault / provide a legal theory
- Prove that you were personally injured as a result of the defective or dangerous product
3 Types of Defective Product Liability Claims
The first step in a dangerous or defective product case is establishing what type of product liability claim will be in question.
Product liability claims generally fall into the following three categories:
- Defects in Design. A defect in design claim argues that a product’s design is inherently dangerous or defective. This claim does not suggest that an error occurred during the manufacturing process of a product, but that an entire line of products is dangerous or bound to be defective, as all products in a certain line utilize the same design. In other words, this claim argues that although a product’s manufacturing process adhered perfectly to the specifications, the design of the product itself is faulty. For example, a brand of electric blankets that can electrocute the user when set to high would certainly be considered to have a defect in design.
- Defects in Manufacturing. A defect in manufacturing claim arises when a product becomes flawed due to an error in manufacturing, meaning it is then unlike the normal, other items of the product line, and subsequently causes injury. This claim proposes that although the design of the product line is safe, the manufacturing of a particular product varied from these specifications, resulting in a malfunction and subsequent injury. For example, a medication that was accidentally manufactured with an excess of an ingredient, subsequently making it hazardous to ingest, or a car that was manufactured without an essential component of the brakes, would fall under a defect in manufacturing claim.
- Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions. The final type of product liability claims is rather self-explanatory. This claim results from a product failing to provide enough instructions regarding proper usage or warnings. Some occurrences that would be classified as failure to warn claims are a medication that neglects to mention the dangerous side effects of the medication when taken with another common drug, or a powerful construction tool that fails to include instructions for safe use.
Providing a Legal Theory / Proving Fault
After establishing which type of product liability claim is in question, the next step is proving fault by providing a legal theory. The three main legal theories for product defect cases include negligence, strict liability, and breach of express warranty.
- Negligence: If an individual proves that the liable defendant (the manufacturer or retailer) operated with negligence when producing the defective product, they may be able to collect damages. Negligence is generally established when a breach in duty to the consumer is made evident. For example, if a car manufacturer neglected to thoroughly test an individual car’s brakes, consequently resulting in serious injury to the passengers when the brakes failed to work, negligence would then be established.In order to receive compensation under the theory of negligence, the following elements must be evident:
- The manufacturer owed a duty to the plaintiff
- The manufacturer breached a duty to the plaintiff
- The breach of duty was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury
- The breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the negligence
- Strict Liability: Strict liability allows individuals to prove fault without having to navigate through the challenging task of proving that the manufacturer or seller was careless or negligent in their duties. If all of the following are evident, then strict liability, or fault, can be established:
- The product had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that injured the consumer or user.
- The consumer was injured as a result of the defect while using the product in a way that it was intended to be used.
- The defective product had not been substantially altered from the condition in which it was sold.
- Breach of Express or Implied Warranty: A warranty is essentially a form of a guarantee that emphasizes the quality of a product. In other words, a product generally includes what is known as an express warranty which expresses certain guarantees about the product. The Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C) recognizes express warranties and two types of implied warranties: the implied warranty of merchant-ability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. An implied warranty of merchant-ability ensures that a product functions properly and is in good condition, while an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose ensures the consumer that the advice on how to use a product is correct. If an individual proves that any of these product warranties are breached, they may be able to receive compensation.
Types of Damages You Can Recover
If an individual successfully establishes a product liability claim, proves fault, and proves that the injury was a result of the defective product, they may be able to recover the following damages:
- Property losses
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Low income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the care and companionship of a loved one
- Punitive damages
The amount of compensation received in product liability cases varies depending on the type, severity, and ramifications of the misconduct.
Contact Our Product Liability Attorneys in Raleigh For Assistance Today
Handling all the various legal components involved in a product liability case can be difficult. From determining which type of liability claim should be established, to proving fault and subsequent injury, all of these processes involve complex legal guidelines and requirements that are difficult to understand. That is why it is best to contact an experienced attorney to help you decide which actions are best to take for your particular case and to assist in building a solid case.
Schedule your consultation with our professional Raleigh attorneys today to see how we can help you recover damages from your defective or dangerous product case.
Give us a call at (919) 615-2473 or complete the contact form below.
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