Thousands of people in the United States are hurt every year by unsafe or defective products. Product liability is a specific area of law that governs products and it differs from regular injury law in the United States.
If you have been hurt by a defective or unsafe product, you may have a claim. Product liability claims usually fall under three broad categories:
- Defective manufacture. This refers to products that became flawed during the manufacturing stage. An example is a cracked chain or a missing screw in a product.
- Defective design. This refers to a design that is inherently defective or dangerous. An example is a car model that tends to flip when turning.
- Failure to provide sufficient instructions or warnings. Some claims result from failure to provide sufficient instruction or warning about proper use of the product. This usually results when a product is dangerous in a way that is not obvious or requires special precautions. An example is a medication that does not have a warning that it may cause drowsiness if taken with a common over-the-counter medication.
There are also three types of product liability lawsuits: negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. A negligence lawsuit means you must prove that the seller or product manufacturer breached its duty to you as a consumer. You will need to prove either was aware of the product’s defect or should have been aware.
Strict liability refers to the manufacturing of a product that is unreasonably dangerous. This type of case does not require proving the manufacturer was negligent or there was an inherent design defect or manufacturing flaw. Note that many products are by design dangerous. For example, a butcher knife must be dangerously sharp to work. This does not make the manufacturer liable if someone is cut while using the knife.
Breach of warranty is the third type of lawsuit. When a manufacturer warrants characteristics of a product and it fails in a way that causes an injury, a breach of warranty lawsuit may be the result.
Proving Your Defective Product Claim
Winning your claim will require proving that you were injured or suffered losses, the product was defective, the defect was responsible for your injury, and you used the product as intended.
Defective product liability cases are notoriously complex as a product’s dangerous design may be subtle and hard to prove. The defect itself must also be responsible for your injury. This means that you were using the product as intended and did not behave recklessly when you were injured.
There are two common defenses against product liability: that the plaintiff (injured party) altered the product after it left the manufacturer’s control to such a degree that it was responsible for the injury or that the plaintiff misused the product in a way that could not have been expected.
If you have been hurt by a defective product, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in product liability. Establishing legal liability for a product injury often requires the help of expert testimony. Most personal injury attorneys of Albuquerque work on a contingency fee basis so you can have your claim evaluated and proceed at no cost; the attorney will only be paid if you receive compensation or a settlement.
If you think that you have a case about product liability, call Will Ferguson & Associates for a free consultation and discuss your case with a product liability attorney of Albuquerque.