Product defects can cause a range of injuries. In some of the worst cases, a defective product could lead to lifelong injuries or even death.
For instance, tens of millions of vehicles underwent a recall because of the Takata airbag crisis, where the airbags exploded due to high heat and humidity and caused 17 deaths and over 200 injuries in the United States.
If a product injured you because it was defective, you may be able to sue a few different parties. Then, you can get your medical expenses covered and perhaps receive compensation for any pain and suffering you experienced.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take when suing for a product defect to ensure that your case will hold up in a court of law.
Get Medical Help – As soon as a product injures you, you need to go to the hospital and get checked out. You’ll need the medical records for your product defect case. Your doctor may recommend that you come back for more tests and checkups, take prescription medicine, visit as specialist or go through some other form of treatment. Always follow your doctor’s orders and don’t delay getting treatment, or else it could hurt your case.
Collect Evidence – You should take photos of the product defect, your injury, the instructions for the product, the warning label, the box the product was in and any other information that is on the product. If you threw out the box or instructions or don’t have additional information, gather as much as you do still have. It’s always best to keep the product in your possession, though.
Look at Warning Labels – In 1992, an elderly woman spilled hot McDonald’s coffee on herself and suffered third-degree burns. She subsequently sued the corporation and won nearly $3 million in punitive damages. Today, McDonald’s serves it coffee at a colder temperature and puts cautionary labels on its cups stating that the coffee is hot.
If you look at any other products, chances are, they also have warning labels, disclaimers and limited warranties on them. For instance, a car seat should have multiple warnings on it that say exactly how to install the car seat and the weight limit for the child who will sit in it.
If the consumer fails to follow the warning label and uses the car seat or another product in a dangerous way, then they may not be able to sue for a product defect. To win a case, you have to be able to prove that you used the product in the intended way and you paid attention to warning labels, and an injury still occurred.
Either way, it’s worth it to contact a personal injury lawyer to find out if your case is even valid.
Determine the Defect – There are different defects that can cause injury or death. One is a design defect, which is an issue with the product before it even goes to the market. For example, a surfboard that does not float would be inherently flawed and could cause injury to a surfer.
Another type of defect is a manufacturing defect, which happens after the product is designed and before it goes onto the market. For example, this would apply if a children’s toy is supposed to be constructed using four screws but the manufacturer only puts in three screws.
The third type of defect is a marketing defect, which could be relevant if the instructions for the product, warning labels or other information about the product were incorrect. For example, this would apply if instructions for putting together drawers failed to include a step to tighten some screws.
A product could have multiple defects, and more than one party would be responsible. You have to figure out what went wrong with the product and who made an error prior to starting your lawsuit. If you go after the incorrect party, then your lawsuit could be dismissed.
Remember the Statute of Limitations
There is a two-year statute of limitations for product defects in Georgia. If you file your lawsuit after this two-year period, then it will likely be dismissed immediately.
Start Your Lawsuit
Once you experience an injury from a product defect, you can reach out to a personal injury lawyer to help you start your lawsuit. If you’re too injured or busy to collect your medical records, your lawyer can assist you. Your lawyer will also work with you to gather as much information as possible so that you have a strong case. They will let you know who you can sue and how they’re going to initiate the lawsuit.
Your lawyer will need to call you for information, but you won’t have to file any forms or deal with any other legal aspects of the case. In terms of fees, personal injury lawyers might charge you an initial consultation fee, but then you won’t pay anything else unless you win your case. If you do win, you’ll pay a commission from your settlement.
Your settlement may include economic damages, such as your medical costs, lost wages and property damage, money for your pain and suffering and punitive damages, which will exceed simple compensation.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
You may be hesitant to sue for a product defect because you’ve heard of frivolous lawsuits. But if you look into these lawsuits – such as the McDonald’s hot coffee case – you’ll see that the plaintiff did deserve compensation for their injuries. Product defect lawsuits keep consumers safe and if you were injured while using a product correctly, you could not only help yourself, but thousands or millions of other consumers as well.
To find the right personal injury lawyer for your product defect case, look for a lawyer who has years of experience with product defect lawsuits. Then, request a consultation to see if you have a legitimate case on your hands.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
If a product injured you, we’re here to assist you. Find out how a personal injury attorney can help you with your product defect case by contacting the Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Winston Briggs today.