Do You Have a Product Liability Case?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of John Sloan with Sloan Firm.

Do You Have a Product Liability Case?
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When an injury occurs due to using a specific product, it can be difficult to know if the injuries were due to user error or a truly defective product. There are some specific signs to look for which could indicate a legitimate product defect, in which case you would be eligible to file a product liability claim and pursue compensation for damages incurred by the product.

It is rare that a manufacturer will admit to their mistake when a customer is injured by a product. In general, manufacturers will immediately blame the victim and claim that the injury was due to user error, regardless of the facts of the situation. This is why it’s important not to expect honesty or fair compensation from a manufacturer without legal pressure.

It’s important to note that there are several types of product defects that could make you eligible for a product liability claim:

  • Manufacturing Defects
    • Manufacturing defects occur when a product designed to work a certain way fails to work that way. Manufacturing defects often occur as a result of flaws in the manufacturing process.
  • Products Without Appropriate Warnings
    • A common type of product defect occurs in the form of a lack of appropriate warnings. Many products present inherent risk to the users. Companies have a legal responsibility to inform consumers of these risks and provide adequate instructions for safe use of the product. When a company fails to inform the consumers of important safety guidelines, this is considered a product defect.
  • Defective Design
    • This is a relatively straightforward type of defect. Defective design is exactly what it sounds like: the design of the product itself is defective in nature, making the product unsafe to use. Defective design generally occurs when obvious risks associated with a product which could be identified with common sense are overlooked and not compensated for. In some cases, designers are warned that the design itself is unsafe but decide to manufacture the product anyways.
  • Foreseeable Disuse
    • A common type of product defect occurs in the form of foreseeable disuse. This occurs when a company should have been able to predict misuse of their product (i.e. a product is likely to be used in a family home but has elements that could be dangerous if children try to handle it), and fails to predict that disuse. Manufacturers are required to plan for the misuse of their products due to the product’s design, and to issue adequate warnings and instructions for its safe use.

Do not throw a defective product away.

If you are injured by a product, it is imperative that you hold onto the product as well as any packing or instructions it came with. Throwing away the product or additional material regarding it could hurt your case if you choose to file a product liability claim. If you have already turned in the product to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), you may ask for the product to be returned to you. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the injury itself for evidence as well as the state of the product when it injured you.

Seek medical care regardless of the injury.

Even if the injury caused by a defective product seems relatively mild, it’s still a good idea to seek medical care. This way a medical record regarding the injury exists to support your case, and a manufacturer can’t claim that your injury was not severe or made up.

Avoid discussing your case with anyone other than a lawyer.

It’s important to refrain from discussing your injury, the product, or any other details of your case with anyone outside the issue. This includes posting pictures, videos, or statements on social media, as these could actually weaken your case in court.

If you think you might have a product liability case, seek legal counsel to learn more about your rights as a consumer and how to pursue a product liability claim.

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