Guide to Product Liability and Consumer Recourse

Defective and dangerous products do harm to thousands of individuals each year in the United States, and virtually every product one can think of has the potential to harm a consumer. Examples may include a variety of goods, from motor vehicles to electronics, to children’s toys and other products.

For example, in 2015, there were approximately 69,000 emergency room visits nationwide among children five years of age or younger, resulting from defective nursery products. In 2014, 48 percent of injuries associated with whirlpools were caused by circulation entrapment due to the unit’s faulty design. Product liability laws hold companies responsible if an item they place on the market ultimately proves hazardous to the consumer.

Types of Product Defects

The product is usually required to meet the consumer’s expectations, within reason. If a product has an unexpected danger or internal error, it is unable to respond to these expectations and a type of harm may happen. Depending on the kind of situations, various parties may be held responsible for injuries caused by the defective item, such as the seller or the manufacturer.

Three basic types of defects could lead to a consumer’s injury, and subsequently the manufacturer’s liability. These three categories are marketing defects, manufacturing defects, and design defects.

Design defects are present even before the product has been produced. This means that the original “blueprint” for the end product was flawed, leading to a hazardous situation for the user. Manufacturing defects occur during the assembly of the product. Finally, marketing defects include a broad range of problems, such as inadequate safety warnings, insufficient instructions, or improper labeling.

Steps to Follow if Victim of a Product Injury

Below are several steps you should take immediately to protect yourself if you have been harmed due to using a particular product:

Seek Medical Advice

Seek medical attention immediately if you have sustained any injury or feel sick after using a product. Your injuries should be documented by a licensed medical provider who is qualified to make a diagnosis regarding the harm you sustained. Keep all your records from each appointment, including copies of x-rays, blood work, and the general findings made by the attending physician. These documents help prove that your injury or illness was a direct result of the faulty product.

Keep the Product and Other Pertinent Items

If at all possible, never throw away the product or item that caused you harm. Also, keep any information you have on the product, such as the items listed below:

  • Receipt for the product
  • Instructions or warranty book
  • Packaging or boxes with lot or serial numbers
  • Pill bottles
  • Inserts about medications from your pharmacy
  • Sales slip for the product with statements made by the distributor

Gathering this evidence as quickly as possible after your injury occurs can significantly enhance your chances of a successful outcome when your lawsuit is filed. It also gives your attorney the additional information he or she needs to pursue every angle of your case to the fullest degree possible.

Product Recall

As soon as possible, check to see if the item has been recalled. This information can be obtained from some institutions, like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Ongoing Litigation

Determine if any multidistrict litigation cases or class-action lawsuits have already been filed. Many defective products harm or injure thousands of people. Therefore, sometimes victims become part of a class action suit or join their cases together before one magistrate to simplify the process for everyone involved and make it easier for them to obtain compensation. If pending cases already exist, you may be able to join the group, but this is something you must first discuss with your lawyer to determine whether or not it is the most suitable approach.

Consult a Lawyer

After seeking medical care, the most important step to take next is consulting a qualified attorney to handle your case. It is never in your best interest to attempt to manage such a situation alone, as consumers typically do not have the knowledge and experience to proceed in a competent manner. Although there are no guarantees, your chances of successfully winning compensation due to injury from a faulty product increase considerably when you place your case in the hands of a legal professional.

Time Frame

In particular cases, there is something referred to as a “statute of limitations” regarding product injury lawsuits. This only means that, depending on your individual situation and the type of injuries sustained, there may be a particular time frame during which you must pursue compensation or forfeit this option. Experienced attorneys are familiar with these limitations and will properly advise you to ensure you do not inadvertently go past the date and lose your chance to win a settlement.

Product manufacturers and their legal teams and insurers have substantial resources and personnel to begin preparing a defense against your claim at once. Therefore, it is in your best interest to immediately retain a knowledgeable product liability lawyer who is prepared to face off with the negligent distributor or manufacturer that ultimately caused your injury.

The attorneys at Law Offices of Vastola & Associates. have a significant amount of experience representing victims of defective and dangerous products that have caused harm. This experienced team of legal professionals understands that the trauma, whether physical or mental, surrounding the injury can be life changing in a negative way to both the victim and his or her family.

It is essential to understand your legal rights if you or a loved one has been victimized by a defective product injury. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your case is placed in the hands of a legal expert is invaluable. For this reason, you should not procrastinate. Rather, contact Law Offices of Vastola & Associates., to schedule an appointment during which you can discuss your case and obtain step-by-step help throughout the entire process.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Research–Statistics/Injury-Statistics/