How Do I Know If I Have A Product Liability Case?

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    We face many choices in daily product purchases. Generally, we trust these products to work well and be safe. Sadly, this trust is not always justified. Often, defective products initially seem fine. Let’s explore what happens when a defect causes injury.

    ¿Qué es la responsabilidad por productos?

    Product liability is legal doctrine that lets injured consumers sue makers or sellers. It’s based on their duty to ensure product safety.

    There are three main types of product liability:

    • Manufacturing defects: These defects occur when a product is made incorrectly, such as when a part is missing or installed incorrectly.
    • Design defects: These defects occur when the design of a product itself is unsafe, even if the product is made correctly.
    • Marketing defects: These defects occur when a product is not properly warned about its risks, or when there is inadequate information about how to use the product safely.

    To win a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the product was defective, that the defect caused their injury, and that the defendant was negligent in designing, manufacturing, or selling the product.

    The Consumer Expectation Standard and the Risk-Utility Standard

    In order to determine whether a product is defective, courts often use two different standards: the consumer expectation standard and the risk-utility standard.

    • The consumer expectation standard: Under this standard, a product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous to an ordinary consumer. This means that the product is dangerous in a way that the consumer would not expect.
    • The risk-utility standard: Under this standard, a product is defective if the risks of using the product outweigh the benefits. This means that the product is too dangerous to be used, even if it has some benefits.

    The court will choose which standard to apply based on the specific facts of the case. For example, the consumer expectation standard is more likely to be applied in cases involving simple products that are used by ordinary consumers. The risk-utility standard is more likely to be applied in cases involving complex products that are used by experts.

    How to File a Product Liability Lawsuit

    If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit. To do so, you will need to hire an attorney who specializes in product liability law. Your attorney will help you gather evidence to support your case, such as medical records, product testing reports, and expert witness testimony.

    The amount of compensation you can recover in a product liability lawsuit will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. However, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

    If you have been injured by a defective product, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can help you file a product liability lawsuit if necessary.

    Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

    Examples of Cases That Can Result in Product Liability 

    Plaintiffs in product liability cases will often use all available theories to obtain recovery. That means if you are injured by a product, your lawyer may well allege negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability. The theory of recovery does not affect the amount of your recovery.

    • Defective Design—designs make product inherently dangerous:

    A person’s face, neck and back were burned because the pressure cooker he was using could be opened before it was depressurized. The plaintiff opened the cooker according to its design, and the scalding contents sprayed onto the plaintiff.

    • Defective Design—Missing Safeguards:

    Plaintiffs have recovered when dangerous machinery they were using (lawnmower, snow-blowers, industrial equipment) did not have appropriate safety designed in, such as automatic shutoffs and guards that keep hands out of dangerous areas of equipment.

    • Defective Design/Hidden Defect—Medical Devices:

    Some medical devices have unknown impacts on the body that become known only after they are approved and in use. When a flawed medical device causes additional injury, illness, need for additional surgery or death, a person may recover for their injuries. A recent case involves a popular hip replacement device that caused new injuries to patients requiring a new hip replacement. The company subsequently recalled the device and is now dealing with the damages of those who were injured by the faulty device.

    • Failure to Warn—Inadequate Instructions/Safety Warnings:

    When a product is made dangerous or more dangerous because it comes with flawed or inadequate instructions on assembly, use or storage, people injured as a result may recover for their injuries.

    • Malfunctions:

    A person was making fresh pasta with a machine designed to turn off when the user opened the lid. In this case, when the person opened the lid, the machine malfunctioned and did not shut off, causing injuries that led to the amputation of the person’s hand. The machine’s manufacturer was in Italy and had no office or employees in the U.S. The plaintiff was able to recover for the injuries from the U.S. distributor of the product.

    A malfunctioning pool heater emitted lethal amounts of carbon monoxide resulting in the death of a swimmer. The swimmer’s estate recovered for wrongful death.

    • Hidden Defects/Defective Processes: Toxic Food:

    When people become sick from eating food processed at a plant that is dirty or has been contaminated, they can recover for their injuries.

    • Hidden Defects—Toxic Chemicals in Products:

    When a product contains toxic ingredients, injuries can arise years after the product has been purchased, installed or used. Materials such as lead in paint, asbestos in insulation, DDT sprayed on crops have all been the subject of litigation. If you have been poisoned or otherwise injured by toxic ingredients that are in a product, you can recover damages.

    • Hidden Defects—Dangerous Medications:

    Some medications have dangerous, but unknown side-effects that become known only after they are approved and in use. When an unknown side-effect causes severe injury, illness, birth defects or death, a person may recover for their injuries. The most famous case of this type was about the synthetic estrogen, DES, which caused numerous and severe birth defects in babies and increased cancer risks in mothers.

    Conclusión

    We’ve discussed various product liability scenarios. If a product fault injures you through no fault of your own, consider consulting us. Understand that specific circumstances influence our ability to take a case. There’s no settlement guarantee.

    Should I Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

    Woman in road after being hit by car while bike riding thinking about consulting personal injury attorney

    Nadie quiere verse involucrado en un accidente grave. Hay muchas emociones involucradas, pensamientos de a quién culpar ya quién llamar. Este artículo revisa cuándo podría tener sentido consultar con un abogado de lesiones personales con respecto a una lesión.

    Tabla de contenido

    1. Introducción
    2. Límites de tiempo para la presentación
    3. Decisión de emprender acciones legales
    4. Cuotas y gastos
    5. Expectations of Having an Attorney Review Your Case
    6. Conclusión

    Introducción

    Recently injured in an accident? Was a loved one killed in an accident? Maybe you were wondering if hiring a personal injury attorney makes sense for your situation? A personal injury attorney specializes with physical or emotional harm due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party. You may have mixed emotions about consulting a personal injury attorney. Sometimes this stems from guilt about making a claim against another party.

    It’s important to have a lawyer explore your rights, helping you through your difficult time. An attorney with the right experience and knowledge takes the burden from you feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed about bringing up a personal injury claim against another party. Besides, many times the initial consultation, and even the cost of litigation, is not required to be paid upfront—only upon settlement or judgement. Reasons to consider a personal injury attorney to help in an injury case follow.

    Límites de tiempo para la presentación

    Depending on the type of claim, the law sets forth a very specific limit (a statute of limitations) on filing a personal injury claim. Depending on the state and the type of injury, you may have only a few months or years to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your damages. A personal injury attorney helps you determine the applicable statute of limitations and file your claim before it expires.

    • Por ejemplo, en términos generales, en el estado de California, por lesiones personales, debe presentar su reclamo administrativo dentro de los 2 años posteriores a la fecha de la lesión de acuerdo con Código de Procedimiento Civil de California Sección 335.1. This sets forth the statute of limitations (time limit), for filing a civil lawsuit in California. There are additional timeframes established, however, depending on the particular cause or nature of the injury that may decrease or increase this timeline based on knowledge of when the event occurred. This is one of the reasons it is essential to contact a licensed attorney as soon as possible to assess the qualifications of a potential claim.
    • In Texas, any civil action for “personal injury” must be filed not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues according to Código de Gobierno de Texas § 16.003. There could be additions or subtractions to this timeline, however, depending on circumstances of the injury. Having a licensed attorney available to consult on the knowledge of the law is essential in learning if your case is valid and conforms within the statutes.

    Decisions To Pursue Legal Action

    Pursuing a legal action can be challenging when dealing with the aftermath of an accident. Medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress are overwhelming. You may face resistance from the insurance company or other parties trying to deny or minimize your claim. Personal injury attorneys handle the legal aspects of your case allowing you to focus on recovery. They can gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary. In fact, it is important to consider consulting with an attorney before speaking to your insurance company, or other parties involved in the case, in the event such actions could be used against you in a court of law. Besides, this helps take the burden of navigating the legal system from you and onto your attorney.

    Cuotas y gastos

    Hiring a personal injury attorney does not mean that you have to pay upfront fees or expenses. Clients pay personal injury attorneys on a contingency basis, generally. Personal injury attorneys pay the costs of litigation up front from their own funds taking a percentage of recovery as their fee. You do not have to worry about paying anything unless you receive compensation for your injuries.

    DB Hill, A Professional Law Corporation offers personal injury work on a contingency basis. This is of utmost importance, so you don’t have any hesitation in deciding to come to us for advice on your issue. It’s a great first step in setting your mind at ease by consulting a personal injury attorney at DB Hill Law!

    Expectations of the contingency fee will vary from law firm to firm.  Across the U.S. some fee cases are 40% or more depending on case complexity, with the average being about one-third of total earnings of the case.

    Expectations of Having An Attorney Review Your Case

    What should you expect having an attorney review your case?  During the initial consultation, your attorney asks about the details of your accident, your injuries, and the financial losses incurred. They will also review any documentation available such as medical bills, police reports, and photographs.

    Once your attorney has a good understanding of your case, they will be able to advise you on your legal options. They may recommend that you file a lawsuit or suggest you try to negotiate a settlement with the other party’s insurance company.

    If you decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney will handle all of the legal paperwork and represent you in court. They will also work to gather evidence to support your claim and negotiate with the other party’s insurance company trying for maximum compensation.

    El proceso de revisión de un caso de lesiones personales puede llevar varias semanas, meses o más. Sin embargo, es importante recordar que su abogado está trabajando arduamente para obtener la compensación que merece.

    Expect the following during the review of your personal injury case:

    • Su abogado le hará preguntas sobre el accidente y sus lesiones.
    • Su abogado revisará todos los registros médicos, informes policiales u otra documentación que tenga.
    • Su abogado discutirá las opciones legales disponibles para usted.
    • Su abogado lo ayudará a presentar una demanda o negociar un acuerdo.
    • Su abogado lo representará en la corte si es necesario.

    The review of your personal injury case can be a stressful time. Your attorney is there to help you get the compensation you deserve, lessening that stress.

    Conclusión

    Rember, if an accident has caused injury or death to you or a loved one, consult a personal injury attorney. They can help you protect your rights, pursue your claim, and obtain the compensation you deserve. It removes the stress of seeking help or remedy on your own. In California or Texas, contact us today for a free consultation in person, over the phone, or via online chat. Don’t hesitate, we are here to help.