I Have Been Injured by a Defective Product. How Do I File a Lawsuit?

Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or their property was destroyed by defective products that are on the market. Knowing what to do when this happens is important. The faster you act, the greater your chances are of receiving compensation for what you have lost.

Here are a few things people should know about product liability lawsuits.

What are the Types of Product Liability Claims?

There are three different types of product liability lawsuits. Each one has different criteria for proving claims for damages.

{1} Manufacture Defect – When a product is made incorrectly or with inferior materials

{2} Design Defect – When the correctly-made products is dangerous or useless

{3} Failure to Warn (aka Marketing Defects) – When a product is not obviously dangerous but can be dangerous and there are no warnings

Items that are most often involved in product liability lawsuits are cars, tools, farm equipment, household chemicals, tainted food product, baby products, playground equipment, toys, medical devices, prescription drug and other items bought at a pharmacy.

What is Privity and How Does it Apply to Product Liability?

In the instance of product liability, privity ( refers how the consumer came into possession of the defective or dangerous product. For example, if the consumer bought a tool from a retail outlet and because of a defect the consumer was injured, he might sue the retailer. The retailer, in turn, could sue the company where the retailer got the tool. This is usually the manufacturer or a distributor.

The law looks at who had the sales contract with whom. Because of this, the consumer may not sue the manufacturer because his sales agreement was with the retail store. This doctrine is designed to protect parties that were not involved in a contract or agreement.

However, general duty of care may come into play with product liability lawsuits.

What is General Duty of Care?

As the industrial age emerged, it because clear to the courts that the public could be harmed by the negligence of company that didn’t directly sell their products to the public. Automobiles are an example. By building cars that the manufacturer understands will be purchased by the public, the car manufacturer owes a duty of care ( to those who will ultimately drive them. Therefore, the courts may, and often do, find the car manufacturer responsible for negligent workmanship that led to injury.

Product recalls are generally an effort to call back products that might lead to product liability lawsuits. It is cheaper for the company to call back or repair the products than to pay countless or class action lawsuit awards. However, a product does not have to be part of a recall for you to file a claim.

What about Consumer Protection?

Many consumer protection laws are enacted in the individual states. Some of these laws provide for remedy simply because the product is unusable, therefore causing economic injury, even if the product does not cause physical injury.

The US Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) is assigned the task of checking products before they are released to the public. However, it cannot check every individual product, so it’s possible for anyone to get a defective or dangerous item.

What Should You Do if You or Someone You Know has been Hurt by a Product or Service?

[1] Maintain possession of the product that injured you or other property. The product will be needed as evidence. If instructions came with the product, keep that printed material, too.

[2] Get medical attention right away.

[3] Document the circumstances surrounding your injury. Include the date and time the injury occurred or was first noticed. Take pictures of the product and the injury it inflicted on your body and/or the damage it caused to property.

[3] Record where the item was purchased and when. If the item that caused injury is a medical device, write down how it came into your possession, such as from a prescription, from a doctor’s office, hospital or dentist.

Defective medical devices are a common problem. With competition growing, manufacturers sometimes rush to launch the latest product or style. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medical devices and issues recalls on products that have proved to be unsafe. However, you may be the first to be injured by a particular device.

[4] Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. State statutes clearly indicate the statute of limitations of product liability cases. These limitations vary from state to state and are strictly adhered to by the courts. If you try to file a case after the deadline has past, your case will not be heard.

[5] If the injury occurred in a public place, your lawyer will secure statements from witnesses. For this reason, it is vital that he be made aware of your injury as soon as possible. He will also keep track of your injuries as to whether they are on the mend or getting worse.

If you have been injured by a product or service, call Attorney Michael Montesi ( at (901) 526-2126. Request a free consultation so you can explain what happened. Attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi have been successfully handling product liability claims since 1970. They have the experience you need to file a case on your behalf.

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