Let’s say your furnace goes out and you contact a furnace repair technician to schedule an appointment. However, the furnace repair technician will not arrive for at least 24 hours and it’s very cold inside. You turn on a portable electric heater and go to bed. The next thing you know, your room is on fire. The electric heater fell over due to poor design and the automatic emergency shutoff switch failed to turn off the electric heater. You manage to escape, but suffer severe burns in the process. In situations like this, you may be entitled to damages under product liability laws.
What To Do After A Product-Related Injury
When you are injured by a product, head to the emergency room if you have suffered a serious injury. Otherwise, you will want to write down everything that occurred that led up to your injury. Make sure to clarify that you used the product as intended. This should include how you were using the product and how the product caused your injury. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the defective product, and your injuries. If there were any witnesses to your injury, write down their contact information as well. Then, you will want to contact a personal injury attorney with experience in product liability cases.
You will likely need the product which will serve as evidence. You must also connect the product to the manufacturer or supplier who you intend to sue. Some defendants may argue that they are not connected to the product. However, the defendant may have market share liability in the case of a defective medication.
Part of the reason you’ll need the product is that the manufacturer may claim that you substantially altered the product. Keeping the product in the state it was in will allow you to disprove this claim.
Product Liability Cases
After being injured by a product, you have every right to seek compensation under product liability laws. Generally, the product will need to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. So, if the product has an unexpected defect or danger, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Under Missouri law, the product needs to be in an unreasonably dangerous condition when it is used in a reasonable way. Then, the product needs to cause damages. Also, if the product has a danger that you may not have been aware of, the company needs to provide a sufficient warning.
While most liability cases require that you prove that the party was negligent, product defect cases are considered strict liability cases. With product liability, any manufacturer, supplier, or retailer of a defective product holds responsibility for any injuries resulting from the product. However, not all product defects can lead to the manufacturer having strict liability and you will want to speak to a product liability lawyer in Springfield MO about what type of case you must build. Normally, a product defect is automatically considered a form of negligence because the product defect speaks for itself.
Product liability can involve a manufacturing or design defect. With a manufacturing defect, the product became defective after the manufacturer built it. However, with a design defect, the product was always inherently defective.
For certain types of products, such as a chainsaw, the product is considered unavoidably unsafe because it wouldn’t be able to serve its function without being unsafe to some extent. However, the designer is still responsible for taking steps to minimize the danger posed by the product.
Compensation For Product Liability Cases
After you have been injured due to a defective product, you will be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost potential earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in extreme cases
You cannot be promised a specific monetary reward but your attorney can help you anticipate how much your settlement might be worth.
Wrongful Death Due To A Defective Product
Tragically, some defective products even lead to the death of the user. If this occurs, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the product manufacturer if you are the spouse or child of the deceased. If you are a parent and your child passed away due to a defective product while under the age of 25, you may be entitled to wrongful death benefits. If you are responsible for the defendant’s estate, you will also be responsible for suing for wrongful death. Then, the beneficiaries of the estate will receive the benefits.
Why You Need a Product Liability Attorney
Even in cases of strict liability, you may have a legal fight on your hands. The company that manufactured the product will likely have a legal team and extensive resources to use when fighting against your claims of negligence.
Personal injury cases involving product liability often require highly technical knowledge. Therefore, it’s important to speak with an attorney who has access to a database of expert witnesses who have the knowledge necessary to craft a case that can prove that the product designers or manufacturers were negligent.
Your product liability lawyer in Springfield MO will try to help you reach a settlement so you can avoid having your case go to trial. That way, you may avoid an expensive and lengthy trial in which there is no guarantee that you will win. Sometimes, you may be able to use mediation and arbitration to resolve the case. However, some product manufacturers believe that they will have a better chance of winning in court.
However, you won’t want to wait too long. You do have five years to file a product liability claim, but waiting too long will reduce the odds that you will win your case. You may lose critical evidence and you may also lose contact with witnesses. If you are considering pursuing a product liability case, give our law office a call. Our initial consultation is free.