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Defective Products: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to the law and regulations surrounding defective products, we often see some familiar questions making themselves known time and time again. Rather than covering them individually, we thought it would provide a much better resource if we combined them into this FAQs guide. If you, or anybody you know, needs the answer to the questions we have today, feel free to share this guide and spread the knowledge!

 

What are the different kinds of defective product liability claims?

In truth, there are a whole manner of different defective product claims depending on the case in question. Assuming you have been injured as a result of a defective product, your first step should be to contact a professional and reliable attorney. From here, they’ll recommend the next steps and it could involve the following types of cases;

Defective Design - Firstly, did product liability arise from poor design? Did the manufacturer miss an important danger with their design? Could they have prevented injury by working on a better design where the same danger isn't present? If you were injured due to defective design, it’s important to get the message out there because other consumers will be at risk.

If we look at a couple of examples, it could be an electric blanket that overheats and causes a fire hazard when turned up high. Elsewhere, it could be a car that stalls the engine every time you go at a certain speed or in a certain gear. With regards to your injury, it must have been a direct result of the defective design.

Defective Production - With product liability, this is perhaps the most common issue and it comes from a problem in the manufacturing process. Whether the machinery was to blame, human error, or even the way the material interacted with the machinery, injuries can result from these circumstances. For example, this could include a food product with a risk of containing plastic, a swing set with a weakened chain, or brake pads missing from a vehicle.

Once again, your injury must be a direct result of the defective production. If we take the vehicle example, what would happen if you misjudged a corner and injured yourself after veering off the road? Well, you would have to prove, with the help of a professional, that the missing brake pads caused the accident as opposed to your mistake.

Lack of Instruction or Warning - Finally, to round off the three most common types of defective product liability claims, we have a company failing to meet the instructional or labelling demands placed on them. Did they let a kettle leave their factory without the instruction manual? Did the company not provide instructions for safe use with a corrosive paint? As long as your injury was caused by the company’s negligence, you will have a case moving forward.

Once you get in contact and start working with a reliable attorney, you can decide on the right type of case for your lawsuit.

Who is to blame if I sustain injury by a faulty product?

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective product or perhaps even a dangerous property, you could have a case against the manufacturer, retailer, or owner. Unfortunately, defective products and premises are both still huge issues and they certainly need addressing. If you need help, please contact a professional as soon as possible to get the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.

Defective Product - If we start with defective products, the manufacturers have a responsibility to provide end users with a safe product. If there is an element of danger, such as the chemicals within paint, the product needs to come with the appropriate warnings, labelling, and instructions. If you have been injured despite following the instructions and using the product as it was intended, you should have a case. Depending on the circumstance, you could file a defective design, defective manufacturing, or insufficient labelling/instructions case against the company.

Defective Premises - Alternatively, you could have been injured on the property of another individual or business. If this is the case, there are a couple of considerations to make before anything else. For example, did the owner have a duty to keep the premises safe? Were you invited to the property/did you have a right to be there? Were you using the property normally? As long as you were abiding by the law and not doing anything out of the ordinary, you may well have a lawsuit.

Who Is Responsible? - Starting with product liability, this can be anybody involved in getting the product from the factory to the hands of the customer. While the manufacturing company is normally responsible for design and production errors, some cases will also involve the retailer since they have a duty to check all products they sell. If you were using the product incorrectly or if you went against the instructions, you would be responsible.

With defective premises, these cases can be a little difficult since the occupier can be different to the owner. If so, finding liability depends on the role of both parties, what property it is, who had a duty, and more. With a rented apartment, the occupier generally takes responsibility for all movable items inside the apartment while the landlord has responsibility for all immovable objects and everything outside the apartment.

 

What must I prove in order to win my defective product liability lawsuit?

For you to win the lawsuit, there are a few things you need to prove;

Injury or Loss - Unfortunately, what ‘could’ have happened isn't good enough for a lawsuit so there needs to be some form of monetary loss or injury. Of course, the term ‘injury’ is all-encompassing and could include a whole manner of things from burns to broken bones.

Defective Product - From here, you must prove that the product that caused the injury is defective. Ultimately, the ease of doing this will depend on the product and the claim you’re making. While some can be incredibly tough, others can be simple like a clear fault in the design. Not only can the product that caused the injury be checked, all products that left the factory can be assessed for the design error.

Connection Between the Two - From here, there needs to be a distinct connection between your injury and the defective product. Once again, this can be tough or quite simple depending on the case in question. If there’s a fault in a vehicle but you also misjudged a corner, as we discussed earlier, it would be difficult to prove the defect as the main cause since your mistake may have also played a role.

Your Actions - If your attorney can prove the link, the next step will be to prove that you were using the product as it was designed and intended. For example, a kettle should be used to heat water (within the minimum and maximum lines) for drinks and cooking purposes. If you decide to pour boiling water into the wading pool for your children and there’s an accident, the case may not be valid.

Professional Help - As you can see, the process of gathering proof can be somewhat difficult which is why we always advise professional assistance. If you team up with a service that can offer experience and the right skills, they’ll investigate everything on your behalf and you can concentrate on getting healthy once again.

 

How long do I have to file a defective product liability claim?

If you’re thinking of filing a lawsuit as a result of an injury caused by a defective product, you might be wondering exactly how long you have to take action after the incident has occurred. In legal terms, the time limit on cases is known as the ‘statute of limitations’. These days, each state will have their own statute of limitations and they’re specific to each case type which means that defective product liability claims will have its own time limit in your state.

Although we can’t list the 50 states here today, we can say that no state has a statute of limitations for defective product cases that lasts less than one year. While some offer two years, most extend this to three years and there are a handful that even offer four years. Essentially, this means that you have four years from the date of the incident to file a claim.

While on this question, it’s important to note that not every case will have the clock start on the day of the incident. If your injuries aren't discovered until a number of months later, such is the case with damage to lungs after inhaling chemicals and dangerous fumes, you may be allowed to file a claim even after the statute of limitations for normal cases. With some states, the statute of limitations begins as soon as the injury is discovered and this allows for a leeway for those who have injuries like those discussed previously.

If you’re not sure or have experienced an injury of any kind, we highly recommend enlisting the help of professionals as soon as possible. Rather than waiting, it’s always best to get the ball rolling not only so you don’t fall foul of the statute of limitations but also because it will allow your attorney to gather the evidence more efficiently. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to gather evidence.

At The Injury Firm, we can help with our superb team and extensive experience with product liability claims. At 954-951-0000, you can get started with a free consultation!

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