Consumers put their trust in everyday products—from children’s toys to automobiles. It’s expected that when these products are sold, they will be reasonably safe for the average consumer to use. But sometimes, consumers are harmed by the products that are defective in design or defective in manufacture. If you’ve suffered an injury because of a defective product, you can hire a product liability lawyer to file a claim, or lawsuit, on your behalf. A product liability lawsuit may enable you to secure compensation from the manufacturer of the defective product.
In order to understand product liability, it’s helpful to understand the legal definition of liability. A person, company, or other organization may be held liable in a court of law. This means they are found to be legally responsible for something that went wrong and caused harm to another person. When someone is found liable, that person or organization may be ordered to pay a sum of money to the person who was injured.
A product liability attorney can investigate any type of allegedly defective product. A vast range of products have become the subject of litigation in court. These types of cases can generally be separated into two categories.
It’s possible for a lawsuit to claim that a product was defective in both design and manufacture. Some lawsuits may also claim that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions that would have enabled the consumer to use the product safely. For example, a pharmaceutical company might fail to warn consumers that a high blood pressure medication can lead to dangerous side effects if taken with grapefruit products.
Millions upon millions of dollars have already been recovered by consumers who were injured by defective products. Injured plaintiffs may recover money through a jury verdict or a settlement. A jury award is handed down when a jury finds the manufacturer liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. A settlement is a mutually agreed upon arrangement in which the manufacturer agrees to pay a certain sum of money to the plaintiff in exchange for the resolution of the lawsuit. If a settlement agreement is reached, the case won’t go to trial. As the plaintiff, you would have the legal right to either accept or reject a settlement—no one can accept it for you.
The compensatory money available falls into two categories: Economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to money paid for your actual, calculable losses. These include your medical bills, pharmacy co-pays, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity if you will be unable to work in the future. Note that you may be able to recover money for past, current, and future medical bills.
Non-economic damages are those that are less tangible. For example, you may be able to recover money for your pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Non-economic damages are more likely to be substantial if you suffered severe injuries or permanent disabilities.
Some consumers may also be able to recover punitive damages through a jury award. This is money paid for the purpose of punishing the manufacturer for conduct that was particularly egregious.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a potentially defective product, it’s important to take action right away. There are deadlines for filing a claim. These deadlines, called statutes of limitation, vary from state to state. If you wait to find a lawyer, you might give up your legal right to file a lawsuit.
Once you find a lawyer for your product liability claim, you’ll need to hand over all the information and records you have pertaining to your case. These might include medical records that document your injuries and a list of related expenses and losses, including lost wages if you missed time at work because of the injuries.
It can take a while to prepare a lawsuit for filing in court, but you can get started today by finding an attorney through the Legal Helpers. Just let us know your location and type of lawsuit, and we’ll connect you to a qualified attorney.