When a consumer sustains any type of injury from a product they believe is safe, various parties could be held financially responsible. Manufacturers are supposed to warn users of potential hazards that can result in an injury or fatality. If there’s an issue, they’re supposed to fix it or provide a warning label, so people know how to use the product without hurting themselves.
Unfortunately, some companies prioritize making money over safety, and they fail to warn consumers of – or even hide – the dangers of their products. In fact, anyone in the distribution chain could be at fault for a consumer getting hurt or developing a medical condition, from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the retailer.
Our Charlotte product liability lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices are ready to fight for your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. We have represented nearly 100,000 clients since attorney Michael A. DeMayo founded our law office in 1992, and we’ve established a strong track record of successful verdicts and settlements.
If you want to learn more about filing a claim or lawsuit, call us at (704) 333-1000 today to schedule a free consultation.
Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing Defects
There are three major categories of defects that can exist in a manufacturer’s product. Depending on the type of defect that caused your injury, you might qualify for a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler.
A defect in a product’s design occurs when there’s a flaw in the original design that creates a hazard for consumers. When an insurance adjuster or jury in a court case reviews the details of the defective product’s design, they will ask three important questions:
- Was the design dangerous before the production process?
- Should the company have known that the design defect could harm a consumer?
- Was there an alternative design that the manufacturer could have used to prevent a design defect?
This type of defect is the result of an error during the manufacturing process. If someone manufacturers the product and there’s some sort of damage or defect, they should be aware of it and prevent it from going to market. You could pursue a monetary award if the defect was present when the product left the factory.
Failure to Warn
Manufacturers are supposed to provide adequate warning labels that list the potential risks of using their products and how consumers can avoid an injury. The label should be easy to read and provide detailed explanations of the potential hazards and safety procedures to follow. According to the American National Standards Institute, manufacturers should use warning labels on their products that do the following:
- Inform the user of any hazards
- Inform the user of the hazard’s effects
- Inform the user of the severity of risk from the product
- Inform the user how to avoid the hazard
Types of Product Liability Cases
You can base your product liability case on one of the theories below.
If you base your case on negligence, you’ll have to prove that your injury was the result of the product’s design or manufacturing methods. To show that, there should be evidence that the following elements existed when you sustained an injury:
- Duty: The manufacturer owed you a duty of reasonable care to avoid causing bodily harm;
- Breach: They breached their duty of care;
- Causation: Your injury was the direct result of the breach; and
- Damages: You suffered damages from the injury.
During product development, negligence can occur from any of the following:
- Failure to test the product for safety
- Drawing faulty product plans
- Failure to maintain functioning machines responsible for product parts
- Failure to foresee inaccurate uses of the product that could result in an injury
- Releasing the product to the public despite defects
Breach of Warranty
There are two warranties all users rely on when they buy a product: express warranty and implied warranty. A breach of warranty is basically a breach of contract. It happens when a manufacturer fails to provide necessary assurances about their product.
- Express warranty: The manufacturer’s representation of their product and its safety.
- Implied warranty: The manufacturer’s implied promise that the product won’t cause harm if the consumer uses it as intended.
Parties to Hold Liable for a Defective Product Injury
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury, you could potentially seek compensation from a liable party, such as the manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler. When you hire DeMayo Law Offices, our Charlotte product liability lawyers will review the details of the case to determine who was at fault for your injury.
- Manufacturer: Any company responsible for designing or marketing a product for consumer use is a manufacturer. Liable parties can be the manufacturer of the product as a whole or the manufacturer of specific defective parts.
- Retailer: When a retailer sells a product, they basically imply that it’s safe for someone to use. Even though they didn’t design or build the product, they could be liable for a resulting injury because they sold it.
- Wholesaler: The wholesaler is a company or individual that provides products from a manufacturer to a retailer for sale. They’re the “middleman” and don’t involve themselves in manufacturing or selling it to the consumer. However, they’re responsible for ensuring the products they purchase from the wholesaler is safe to sell to the retailers.
How Much Compensation Could I Get from a Product Liability Claim?
If you suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm because of an unsafe product, you’re entitled to recover a settlement from the negligent party. Whether you pursue a case against the manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer, you could potentially receive compensation for compensatory damages. There are two categories of compensatory damages: economic (expenses) and non-economic (intangible losses).
Economic damages may include:
- Medical costs
- Prescription drugs
- Loss of income and lost future income
- Occupational retraining
- Property damage
- Short-term or long-term disability benefits
Non-economic damages may include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Psychological injuries, such as PTSD or anxiety
What We Can Do for Victims of Product Liability
When you hire DeMayo Law Offices, and our Charlotte product liability lawyers, we will take care of every legal aspect of your case, including:
- Investigate the details of your injury and what caused the product defect.
- Speak to experts about the type of injury you sustained and the extent of your damages.
- Refer you to medical providers that can treat your specific injuries.
- File an insurance claim on your behalf with the liability insurance company for the manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.
- Collect sufficient evidence that proves the faulty product you used caused your injury.
- Submit documentation to the insurance carrier, such as your medical records.
- Negotiate a full and fair settlement with the insurance adjuster.
- File a lawsuit and prepare your case for trial, if necessary.
Common Defective Products That Cause Injuries
The following are types of products commonly found to be defective or harmful to consumers:
- Car parts: airbags, brake systems, seatbelts, tires
- Household appliances: toasters, coffee pots, water heaters, air conditioners
- Children’s products: Car seats, toys, bedding, cribs
- Medical devices: Surgical mesh implant
- Pharmaceutical drugs: Zantac, Ortho Evra, Belviq
- Chemicals and cleaning products
What Should I Do if a Defective Product Injured Me?
If you think you might need to file a claim or lawsuit against the product manufacturer or another party for the harm it caused, you should take these steps immediately:
- Don’t dispose of the product or return it to the seller. Keep it as evidence so an expert can locate the defect.
- Seek treatment for your injuries and continue to see your doctors until you completely recover, or they release you from care.
- Hire a Charlotte product liability lawyer.
- Keep all documentation related to the case, such as medical records, receipts, prescriptions, letters from the insurance company, and product packaging and instructions.
- Speak to people who saw you use the product and the side-effects you experienced and ask if they would provide a witness statement.
- Take photos of visible injuries.
- Keep records of all personal property damaged by the defective product.
Relevant evidence is crucial in any product liability case. If you don’t have evidence showing your injury was the direct result of the product and its defect, it will be challenging to convince an insurance company or jury that you deserve compensation.
Product Liability Statute of Limitations
Every state has statutes of limitations regarding accidents and injuries. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for a product liability case is three years. This statute is a strict deadline for you to file a lawsuit against the negligent party for their actions that led to your injury.
The “clock” starts ticking on the date you incurred the injury. If three years pass and you haven’t filed suit with the civil courts, you’ll lose your right to any financial award for this specific situation. That’s why knowing what the statute of limitations is before beginning your case is essential. It takes time to gather evidence, build a case, and secure compensation, so it’s important to contact DeMayo Law Offices as soon as you can.
Injured by a Defective Product? Call DeMayo Law Offices Today
If you or a loved one sustained an injury from a dangerous product, you should contact our Charlotte personal injury law firm immediately. You can depend on us to handle your case efficiently and help you move forward with your life.
You’re going through a traumatic experience. You might be in severe pain and can’t take care of your family or return to your job. You’re missing out on daily life events you used to enjoy before the injury. We will provide emotional support and legal services you need to recover.
Call us at (704) 333-1000 today, and we’ll schedule a free initial consultation. There’s no risk to speak with us about your case. We also take cases on contingency, so you don’t have to pay us upfront fees or costs.