When you purchase a product, food, or medication, you expect that it is safe to use. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States are injured and killed by defective products each year. Gadsden product liability lawyers handle defective products and the injuries they cause.
If you or a loved one was hurt by a defective product, you have the right to hold those responsible accountable for your injuries or losses. The Gadsden product liability lawyers at Mike Bell can help you do exactly that. Contact us today via phone at 256-666-6000 or using the contact form provided to schedule your free consultation.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability is an area of law that determines what party is responsible for a defective or otherwise dangerous product that causes a consumer injury, property damage, or even death. A product is required to meet the reasonable expectations of consumers under the law. If it fails to meet such expectations and results in harm, that's unacceptable and someone should be held accountable. The Gadsden product liability lawyers at Mike Bell fight for our clients.
Do I Have a Product Liability Claim?
To have a valid product liability claim, it must fall under one of the three categories below:
Design Defect: It is a flaw that occurs during the product's design phase and prior to manufacturing. You can have a valid claim if the product's design is unreasonably dangerous and poses a threat to the safety and wellbeing of the user.
Manufacturing Defect: It refers to problems that arise during the manufacturing process such as manufacturing errors or even contamination. To prove manufacturer defects in product liability claims, the product's original design is used.
Marketing Misrepresentation: It refers to the misleading, insufficient, or incorrect labelling, safety warnings, or instructions that may cause consumers to use products incorrectly thus putting them at risk for injury or even death.
Types of Defective Products Cases
Product liability law is a broad area of law that contains several different types of claims and cases. The experienced Gadsden product liability lawyers at Mike Bell have a lot of experience handling cases dealing with:
- Defective Children's Products
- Nicotine Poisoning
- Defective Medical Devices
- Defective Guardrails
- Defective Aircrafts
- Defective Vehicles
- Other Defective Products
How Can I Prove a Product Was Defective?
Under product liability law, you are required to prove that the product was defective. So, for you to prevail in a lawsuit, you must show that there was at least one of the 3 types of defects described above in the product (i.e., design defect, manufacturing defect, or marketing misrepresentation).
What Are the 3 Types of Product Liability Lawsuits?
Product liability lawsuits are all unique, but under the law, there are 3 categories under which you may seek compensation. Simply put, there are 3 types of product liability cases:
Negligence refers to a lack of ordinary care. If an entity or individual causes a product to be unsafe or defective, they can be held liable for any harm it causes. The negligent party could be the manufacturer, distributor, parts supplier, designer, or just about anyone in the supply chain.
Negligence and defects may occur during phases such as coming up with the design, maintaining equipment, facility inspection, testing the ingredients of the product, or properly marketing the product.
Strict liability, just like negligence, allows the victim to pursue compensation from the entity or party responsible for the defective product. Unlike negligence, however, the injured party isn't required to prove which party failed in their duty of care.
Under strict liability, the victim only has to show that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous. However, the product must have been purchased in the chain of distribution. A product purchased second-hand isn't eligible for strict liability claims.
Breach of Warranty
You typically rely on 2 warranties when you purchase a product.
The express warranty is the safety and product information that the retailer or manufacturer provides to you when you purchase the product. The implied warranty, on the other hand, is an implied promise by a product's manufacturer that they have provided a safe product that doesn't have any defects.
A problem with breach of warranty is that sellers typically put restrictions on what injured consumers are eligible to claim in the fine print. Fortunately, a breach of warranty cause of action covers anyone that would reasonably be expected to use the product.
When Is a Class Action Lawsuit Appropriate?
A product liability lawsuit can be filed either individually or as part of a class action lawsuit in case the defective product injured many people in similar fashion. In a class action lawsuit, a small group of people represent hundreds or even thousands of others that have sustained similar injuries.
A class action lawsuit can be appropriate when the damages each plaintiff is expected to receive are nominal and where the potential value of an individual suit wouldn't outweigh the legal costs involved. It is not typically appropriate is a consumer has sustained unique or severe injuries.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Defective Product Injury?
Injured consumers can seek compensation from one of multiple liable parties, which include manufacturers, wholesalers, and/or retailers depending on the specifics of the case. When putting together a claim for a defective product, you need to include all parties involved in the chain of distribution. The Gadsden product liability lawyers can help you with your case.
Here are some of the parties that can be held liable for defective product injuries:
Manufacturer: The manufacturer can be an individual working out of his/her garage, a large multinational company, or any parties involved in a product's design or marketing. Depending on the product's size, claimants may include the manufacturer of the defective part or the manufacturer of the product in its entirety.
Retailer: Whenever a retail store advertises a product for sale, it impliedly ensures that the product is not only safe but suitable for use. If a consumer were to purchase a defective product, the seller of that item (retailer) can be held liable for damages even if they were not involved in its manufacturer.
Wholesaler: The wholesaler is regarded as the “bridge” between the manufacturer and the retailer.
Essentially, any or all the parties above could be held liable for damages that result from an injury caused by a defective product.
What Damages Can a Gadsden Product Liability Lawyer Help Me Recover in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
If you suffer injuries or other kinds of damages after using a defective product, you can count on the experienced Gadsden product liability lawyers at Mike Bell to pursue compensation on your behalf. Damages for injuries caused by defective products can be either compensatory or punitive. Gadsden product liability lawyers can determine what you may be able to recover in damages.
Compensatory damages in product liability claims are aimed at compensating or reimbursing the victim for the harm suffered. These damages are divided into two categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
You can easily identify economic damages based on the dollar value of the expenses associated with an injury resulting from the use of a defective product. Economic damages include but are not limited to the following:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Past, current, and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Reduced earning capacity
It is much harder to quantify non-economic damages in monetary terms since there's no specific dollar amount attached since they are mostly subjective in nature. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
Punitive damages are solely intended to punish the at-fault party as well as discouraging others from engaging in similar behavior. Simply put, punitive damages are intended as a punishment for a supplier or manufacturer's clear disregard for safety. Gadsden product liability lawyers can help you find out what you may be eligible for.
What Are the Elements of a Successful Product Liability Claim?
Plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits are required to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant had a duty to sell a safe product. The plaintiff on the other hand, had a duty to use the product as intended by the manufacturer intended.
- The defendant breached this duty by selling a defective product. In other words, the product had either a manufacturing or design defect or the company failed to provide adequate warning of the risks associated with using the product.
- The product's defect was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury. The injury sustained must have been the direct result of the defect itself.
- The plaintiff suffered losses or was injured or after using the defective product. The plaintiff is required to show actual injury or monetary loss after using the defective product. The plaintiff won't have a valid claim without an actual injury or damage.
Call a Gadsden Product Liability Lawyer Today
Injuries resulting from the use of a defective product may result in substantial emotional, physical, and financial stress. If you or a loved one was injured by a defective or faulty product, our Gadsden product liability lawyers at Mike Bell can help your case. Contact our Gadsden product liability lawyers and legal team at 256-666-6000 or using the contact form provided for your free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.