Product Liability: What You Need to Know
Even though consumers have come to trust safety of the items they purchase for everyday use, product liability lawsuits continue to rise as defective products injure or kill individuals daily in United States. Seat belts fail and air bags do not deploy, ladders collapse and medical devices dismantle inside the body without warning. Power tools, household products and even toys and prescription medication do not work in the manner they were expected due to some defect, whether inherent in their design or in their manufacturing. The list of hazardously defective products can go on and on but the important question is this: What can consumers do to protect their rights when injured or killed by a product sold for general use?
Consumers’ rights to protection from defective products, and the ability to seek compensation, are covered under product liability law. Product liability lawyers specialize in representing those who have been injured by any consumer product and work within their legal area to aid their clients in collecting compensation from those responsible as well as to force product repairs or recalls.
Establishing Product Liability
Depending on the situation, who is to blame for the defective product may be: the designers of the product, the manufacturers, the distributors or any other parties operating in the consumer supply chain. There are three primary theories for establishing product liability: the theory of negligence, the theory of a strict liability, and the theory of breach of warranty.
The theory of negligence is used to established responsibility based on any carelessness that caused the injury directly or indirectly. In these cases the scrutiny generally falls on the behavior of the manufacturer and must be proven through evidence showing that the manufacture had an obligation to sell a safe product, known as ‘duty owed’, evidence of the guilty parties’ breach of duty owed, evidence that there was an injury or damage and proof that the breach of duty owed is what caused the victim’s injury.
Strict liability is applied when attempting to hold manufacturers of defective products accountable for developing hazard-free consumer goods. Strict liability is applied to the product’s design, rather than the product’s manufacturing. Strict liability does not require any proof of fault; it need only show that the product was indeed defective, that the defect existed before the product was released and that the defect caused the victim’s injury.
Breach of warranty is based on contract law. In any sales contract there are two types of warranties: express and implied. If either of these warranties are breached and this breach caused the defective product injury then the victim of the breach has a legal right to recover damages.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by what you believe to be a defective product then make sure to preserve the evidence by storing the product in a secure location. If the product belongs to someone else then contact a legal professional directly for assistance in preserving the evidence. You will need this proof for establishing product liability.
Selecting the Right Product Liability Lawyer
A product liability attorney should be contacted immediately after an accident caused by defective product in order to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. But in your haste to file in a timely manner do not neglect to use good judgment when examining prospective product liability attorneys.
The right lawyer for your product liability case should be well experienced in this area of law and fully comprehend complexities of their highly regulated field of practice. The best attorneys will have a large network of product liability experts that work with them to provide professional testimonials and consultations. Last but not least, the best legal counsel for you is a lawyer who behaves honorably and explains your options in outcomes fully at every step on your way to recovering damages.