Accidents happen. From kids playing on the swing set to adults putting it together in the first place, chances are someone is going to get hurt. Often, these incidents arise not from carelessness of the individuals using the product but because of inherent defects with the product itself. When this happens, the victim might be able to bring a products liability lawsuit against the maker or other related parties. Defective product cases can be technically challenging and require the skills of a competent attorney who specializes in defective products., personal injury and wrongful death.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of product liability and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients who were injured by defective products. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if your injuries were a result of someone else's negligence. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Our team of attorneys have posted their legal answers below to commonly asked questions associated with product liability.
What is Product Liability?
Legally speaking, product liability is the designer, manufacturer, or distributor's failure to produce or distribute a product that has undergone strict quality control and provide sufficient warnings and instructions. Those responsible for maintaining public safety must provide all foreseeable uses of the merchandise, goods, and products they offer for sale. The strict liability applies to every product including automobiles, toys, kitchen devices, clothing, industrial products, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and medical devices.
What is the Manufacturer's Responsibility?
The manufacturer is legally responsible for producing and inspecting a product before it is released to the public. If any defect in the product causes injuries, death, or damages, the manufacturer, designer, and distributor could be held legally liable.
If a Defective Product Injures or Kills Someone I Love, How do I Hold the Manufacturer Legally Responsible?
All victims or a deceased victim's family members have a right to make a claim filed against the product manufacturer to seek and obtain financial compensation to recover their damages. Some plaintiffs also file a claim against the distributor. If the product was in any way changed or repaired, the individual or business involved in altering the product or making a repair might also be held financially responsible to the victim.
How do I Prove my Product Liability Case?
Proving a case at trial can be complicated. Your attorney must have a comprehensive understanding of tort law to prove the three basic elements to resolve a product liability case. These elements involve:
- Defective or Dangerous – The product that caused harm must have been defective or unreasonably dangerous to the victim when used for its intended purpose. The negligence of the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of a dangerous or defective product must be a factor in the case caused by an inadequate quality controller's failure to properly inspect the product before selling it to the consumer.
- An Existing Defect – The product must have been defective when leaving the control of the manufacturer.
- Proximate Cause – The plaintiff can prove how the defective product proximately caused their injury or claimed the life of a loved one. Legally, the proximate cause might identify one or more causes.
Once the three elements have been proven to the jury, the attorney must show a that their client's injuries are real.
Is it Difficult to File a Claim Against a Product Manufacturer?
Generally, it can be extremely challenging to fight a product manufacturer because they will often stop at nothing to deny a claim for injuries or defend their position that they are not responsible. Successfully pursuing a claim usually requires an experienced legal firm with access to all the necessary financial resources and experts to push a claim to its successful conclusion. A good attorney will develop an effective strategy before beginning a lawsuit or filing a claim against the manufacturer. The plaintiff will likely win only if the attorney has thoroughly investigated the problem and researched the company to show how they were negligent in their manufacturing, designing, or distributing their product.
If Winning my Case is so Difficult, Would I Have any Chance of Compensation?
You will more than likely be successful if you hire a law firm that has extensive experience in resolving product liability claims, even against a joint product manufacturer. An ideal attorney is thoroughly prepared and knowledgeable in Illinois tort law and will provide you a significant advantage compared to going alone. If your injuries are real, the evidence is solid, and the attorney has previous success in product liability cases, you have a good chance of obtaining compensation.
The Product That Injured me had a Disclaimer. Does That Absolve the Manufacturer's Duty of Safety?
If the manufacturer added the disclaimer in the product labeling, that at no way absolves them from liability if you used the product as intended. The manufacturer, designer, or distributor must ensure that when the product is used properly, it will not cause injury or death. In fact, if the product manufacturer has received information of injuries or death associated with a defect or failure of their product, they are obligated to warn and instruct users of what to do. This responsibility might also extend to a duty to warn the public after the sale is made.
The Product That Injured me was old. Does the Manufacturer Still Have a Duty of Safety?
Typically, a product manufacturer has a continuing duty to inform and an obligation to warn consumers using its products, even if the product is sold. As a legal concept, the term “useful life” is used in the courtroom to allow judges and juries to decide if the manufacturer is still reasonably responsible if the components and parts used in the product are still being sold to consumers. However, if the product appears dangerous or hazardous to an average user, then obviously the jury or judge will likely conclude that the product should not have been used or should have been taken out of service or destroyed.
My Injuries Were the Result of Using the Tool. Can I Still Recover my Damages From the Manufacturer?
Your ability to obtain compensation depends on the strength of the evidence of your case and if you can prove that the product was defective. Your attorney will need to show that there was either a manufacturing defect, a design flaw or a failure of the manufacturer to provide proper instructions and warnings on the product or its packaging.
There Was a Written Warning on the Defective Product That Injured me. Will That Hurt my Case?
More than likely the manufacturer added a product warranty to represent the safety and performance of the product that must comply with certain safety standards. However, if your attorney can prove that the manufacturer failed to meet the safety standards of the product that caused you harm, that element might help support your claim for compensation.
I Accidentally Threw the Product of Harm Away before Calling an Attorney. Is That a Problem?
While it would be better evidence for your case if you had kept the product that caused your harm, a successful personal injury attorney who specializes in product liability cases might still be able to move your claim for compensation forward. An attorney can hire an expert to explore problems with the manufacturer and if others have been injured by their defective products. Throwing away the defective product should in no way deter you from contacting an attorney to begin your case for compensation.
I Never Read the Product's Instructions Before I got Hurt. Will That Hurt my Case?
The attorneys working on behalf of the product manufacturer might have a good defense against your filed complaint if the manufacturer posted clear, concise, and proper instructions on the device or in its labeling material. However, the product that caused you harm might still have been defective or malfunctioned when your injuries occurred. It is important to speak to an attorney before giving up on filing for compensation.
I Think the Product That Caused the Injuries was Recalled. Can I Still File a Case for Compensation?
A federal recall of the product will likely not affect the outcome of your case. Instead, the recall could support your case that the product was harmful, dangerous, or hazardous when used. However, sometimes to establish that a defect existed, the defense will show how the recalled product should not have been used by the consumer (the plaintiff).
I Modified or Altered the Product Before I was Injured. Can I Still Recover my Damages?
The outcome of your personal injury case might be significantly changed if there was a modification or alteration of the product before you were harmed. However, your attorney might be able to show how the alteration or modification did not contribute in any way to your injury. However, proving that in court might be difficult. Because of that, it is essential to hire a personal injury attorney with a comprehensive understanding of your state's tort law.
I Borrowed the Product That Caused my Injuries from my Neighbor. Could I Still File a Case for Compensation?
Some time ago, the courts required that a “privity of contract” or a contractual relationship exists between individuals when someone was injured or killed by a defective product. However, today, an individual injured by a product does not have to be the buyer to receive financial compensation for their damages.
What can I Expect to Recover if my Defective Product Case is Resolved?
Your attorney will build the case on receiving adequate compensation to recover all your damages that might include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills,
- The cost of hospitalization,
- The need for therapy and rehabilitation to fully recover from your injuries,
- Lost wages caused by your time away from work due to your disabilities,
- The loss of future earnings in maintaining the job you were in before your injuries occurred,
- Non-economic damages including pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and grief,
- Burial costs and funeral expenses in wrongful death cases.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
The defective product injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that the injuries you have suffered were not your fault but caused by a defective product. We have successfully obtained millions on behalf of the victims and their family members to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage and we can help your family too.
Our legal team encourages you to contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. We accept all personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits, and product liability injury claims through contingency fee arrangements. This legal contract postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully completed your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.
Our law firm gets results quickly because we understand you need money now. We probably offer every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential.