Individuals who have been injured as a result of a defective product may be able to sue the manufacturer and distributor who sold the product for compensation related to their injuries. Depending on the facts of the case, other individuals like consultants, suppliers and quality-control engineers may be held liable. Products may be defective due to their design, manufacturing or labeling.
A design defect affects an entire line of products released by a manufacturer. Design defects are the subject of many product recalls every year. Sometimes the design defect is not discovered until a consumer uses a product in a particular way or until the product begins to wear down from regular use.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is improperly assembled or a mistake occurs during some point between the factory and wherever the product was purchased that makes the particular product dangerous to a consumer. Manufacturing defects differ from design defects because they usually only affect one particular product.
Labeling defects must tell consumers about any known danger associated with a product, including any harm that may result from foreseeable misuse of the product. For example, many toys are labeled with warnings that they could pose a choking hazard. Prescriptions are required to be labeled with any known dangers of side effects. If a manufacturer knew or should have known about a possible danger and failed to appropriately label their product, they could be sued on the basis that their failure to warn consumers contributed to the harm actually caused.
Manufacturers may be held liable for damages related to a product defect if the plaintiff can prove that the defect caused the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff has the burden of proving how they were harmed and the extent of their damages. This is based on proof presented at trial such as medical records and bills, the plaintiff’s testimony, and testimony from expert witnesses about how the product caused the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
If a defective product resulted in death, surviving family members may be able to sue on behalf of the deceased person. These rights vary according to state law. For example, siblings may sue in a wrongful death case in some states but not in others. If your loved one died because of harm caused by a defective product, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Plaintiffs in a products liability case may request compensation for compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. Compensatory damages include damages for actual money spent that is linked with the harm suffered such as the cost of medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for “pain and suffering” which is not associated with a dollar amount. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for causing the injury and discourage others from engaging in similar conduct.
If you suspect you have been harmed by a defective product, it is important to act right away. In all states, there are limitations which bar a plaintiff from filing a claim if the plaintiff waits too long. It is a good idea to contact an attorney as a first step in filing a claim, as many products liability cases require extensive research and investigation. In some cases, it is obvious that a product caused the harm suffered, such as when sharp edges on an item that appears safe cause a person to suffer cuts. In other cases, the connection between the product and the harm suffered may be less clear such as when a prescription designed to treat one illness causes a different illness to develop.
When you speak with an attorney, it is a good idea to provide all the details that you can about your case. This may include information about your injuries like where you received medical treatment as well as information about the defective product such as where you purchased it and why you believe that it caused your injury. An attorney may be able to help you by explaining your rights according to state law and assisting you with filing a lawsuit. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates specializes in these cases and will provide a free consultation to discuss your case.