The United States of America has some of the highest rates of product-related injuries. Thousands of people are hurt every year, and when this happens they are well within their rights to seek out compensation. This is especially true if a serious injury was sustained, or a loved one died as a direct result of a liable product. When it comes to seeking litigation, what are your rights and options? This guide has all the information you need to get started.
First Up: How Is Product Liability Defined?
Product liability is a term that’s thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? This phrase refers to the legal responsibility of a manufacturer that kicks in when someone is harmed or killed in direct relation to their product. This could be because of a defective product batch, or a lack of care and attention in the manufacturing process, but if there is a reason, it will be found. It may be deemed appropriate that the seller is culpable as opposed to the designer or manufacturer, but the investigation will be thorough regardless of the outcome. Sometimes it can overlap with other claims, but there is a clear narrative about how to proceed, and it is essential to access proper representation.
A High Profile Example
There are millions of product liability claims filed every year. To provide a relevant, recent example of a major lawsuit in this area, it is good to refer to the Johnson&Johnson talc lawsuit. Claimants are seeking compensation and justice over the claims that these talc-based products are linked to certain types of ovarian cancer. This has never been confirmed nor denied by the company, yet it has gained global interest and there has been a number of in-depth, scientific studies as a direct result that prove the viability of these claims.
What Are The Leading Causes of Product Liability?
When product liability is called upon, there has to be a clear reason. This can be found in three key areas: manufacturing, design, and marketing.
If it is the fault of the manufacturer, this means the product will have some sort of negligence attached to the actual production. A sharp edge on a toy or a faulty part are both great examples of being let down by the manufacturer. This is supposed to be an expert process, but if there was a lack of quality assurance, for instance, then this will be easy to prove and pave the way for a clear resolution for the injured party. An attorney will look at a wider portfolio of consumer interaction and establish whether or not the particular victim had a product that defected from the intended purpose.
Unlike manufacturing, the design considerations are slightly more precise. There is a liability in this context if the original design of the product was flawed in some way. Whether it was overlooking an essential aspect of safety to make the product functional or cutting corners on the cost of materials, there is plenty to dive into here that could prove blame.
Marketing is such a vast entity that there are bound to be mistakes made from time to time. However, when these mistakes cause injury, there is liability to be found. It could be a missing warning sign to highlight potential risks of a product or one that is hard to find on the actual packaging. There are lots of products out there fulfilling a number of purposes, and these are fed out to clients with a range of medical conditions and restrictions. So if there is no warning about the potential stroke risks, for instance, and a victim suffers a stroke, the company is liable.
What To Do If You or Your Loved One Are a Victim of Product Liability
The most reliable course of action is to find a reliable attorney to represent your case to the opposing party. It is natural to want to find justice and even to seek out compensation for the damages caused by the product liability. The case might be tough, but there is a high success rate for this type of litigation that will secure the best possible outcome. Find the right attorney, and the case will be smooth sailing from start to finish as far as that is possible.
The first step is to collect and collate all the evidence that has led you to make a claim in the first place. What are your injuries and concerns? Is there a clear timeline of the medical interventions as a result of the damages caused by the product? Has there been a professional opinion as to the root cause of the injury or death? All of these factors are reliable assets when it comes to representing your evidence. An attorney will guide you in the right direction and even do the work for you, but evidence has to exist in order to make a viable claim in the first place. Typical pieces of evidence are:
- Other accounts of injured parties.
- Eye witness testimonies.
- Photographs of the injuries.
- Medical records.
- Professional letters of support.
Verify the Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations is a timeline that dictates exactly how long you have to proceed with your legal case. If you don’t act within this time frame, your claim will be invalid regardless of whether the manufacturer/designer/marketing team is at fault or not. That is why it is important to act quickly and find a solution as soon as possible. Delaying a claim may negate it entirely if you miss the window.
Ultimately, when product liability is on the table, there is always a path forward. Whether you can prove it or not, if an injury happens or even death and is linked to the use of a consumer product, there is a claim to be made. Find a great attorney and do not hesitate to seek information about what you can do to move on with your life after the dust settles.
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