Lugar Injury Law will fight for you to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries if you were injured by a faulty product.
When a product is not as safe as it should be, or lacks proper warnings, the manufacturer or retailer may be liable for compensating you for the injuries you suffered for using it. However, not every injury related to a product in Virginia results in a valid product liability claim. If you were injured because of a dangerous product, whether it was a defective power tool or faulty medical device, you should call a Roanoke product liability lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options.
This area of law can be complex and confusing, which is why it is essential to speak with an experienced Roanoke personal injury attorney. By working with a legal representative from the beginning, you will gain invaluable insight and improve the odds of obtaining a favorable outcome. To speak with an experienced attorney about pursuing compensation through a product liability lawsuit, contact Lugar Injury Law at (540) 384-0348 or through our online form.
Types of Defective Product Liability Claims
There are three main categories of product defects:
Product liability based on a design defect alleges that the product was not designed in a way that made it as safe as possible. The company in control of designing the product could have used a safer design while still ensuring the product was useful or as effective as intended. Under a design defect, all items are affected and potentially dangerous
Product liability based on a manufacturing defect claims that the purchased product does not adhere to the intended design for that product, and because of this discrepancy, the product becomes inherently dangerous. Under a manufacturing defect, only a certain portion of the items are defective.
Many useful and effective products on the market come with risks. However, consumer rights require companies who create, market, and sell these inherently risky products to include appropriate instructions and warnings. When a product lacks necessary instructions and warnings, the user of that product could suffer harm, and the product is considered defective. This defect is also known as a failure to warn defect.
Who Is Liable for a Defective Product?
A defective product that causes harm may pass through many hands depending on their connection to the product and the hazardous defect. Some parties that may be responsible are the:
- Packing and Labeling Company
- User Manual Creator
Theories of Liability
For a manufacturer, retailer, or another party to be held liable for your injuries, you must prove they are responsible based on one or more legal theories. The most common theories of liability used in product liability lawsuits are:
Negligence-Based Product Liability
If you allege the other party was negligent, you must establish that they owed a duty of care toward you, that they breached this duty of care, and that this breach is the direct and proximate cause of your injuries. Another way to view negligence is that the manufacturer or retailer was careless. This careless conduct led to the creation of a product that was not reasonably safe, which caused your injuries.
Strict Product Liability
Under a theory of strict liability, a party that was responsible for the creation and sale of the product is automatically responsible for injuries that product causes when used in a foreseeable manner. Unlike with negligence, when you argue the other party is strictly liable, you do not have to prove they did anything wrong.
Breach of Warranty Product Liability
When products are marketed and sold, businesses make a number of explicit and implied warranties. Explicit warranties may be made verbally by a retailer, or more likely in written advertisements and other materials. Implied warranties typically arise from the law, such as the implied warranty of merchantability, which means the product works for its intended purpose. These implied warranties are part of your consumer rights. If you base your product liability claim on a breach of warranty, you must prove a product warranty exists, the other party failed to uphold it, and this breach caused you harm.
Injured by a Defective Product? Don?t Throw it Away
As veteran product liability attorneys, we routinely advise people who have been injured by a faulty product is to keep the product if at all possible. It may feel instinctive to throw the item away, but you could be discarding important evidence regarding the product?s possible defect. Instead, try to preserve the item in question, seek appropriate medical attention, and contact us to discuss your next steps.
Commonly Defective Products
Any type of product can be defective in some way. However, certain defective products are more likely to cause harm than others. At Lugar Injury Law, our product liability lawyers have seen many product liability claims arise:
- Defective Household Items
- Defective Equipment or Machinery
- Defective Vehicles and Parts
- Dangerous Swimming Pools
- Defective Children?s Toys and Baby Products
- Hazardous Personal Care Items
- Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Dangerous Medical Devices
- Contaminated Food and Beverages
Product Liability Compensation
Holding negligent manufactures, retailers, and anyone responsible for defective products may be the best way to make changes regarding product safety and to obtain what you need to move forward after a serious injury. Product liability lawsuits, in the past, have led to improved product safety and consumer rights. By holding a manufacturer, retailer, or other parties responsible, you may protect others. On a more personal level, filing a product liability lawsuit is your best chance to recover your:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and/or disfigurement
- Reduced earning capacity
- Reduced quality of life
Common Product Liability Defenses
When you file a product liability claim, you can expect the manufacturer, retailer, and other parties named to defend themselves. These claims can be complex and contentious. The parties you name as may claim:
If you misused the product in an unforeseeable way, and this unintended use led to your injuries, then you may not receive compensation, or your compensation may be reduced.
If the defendant can establish that you were also negligent, and your own conduct contributed to your injuries, then you will be barred from receiving compensation. Virginia follows a pure contributory negligence rule, which means the other party must be 100 percent at fault for you to collect compensation.
Assumption of Risk
A defendant may be able to prove that you assumed a risk of harm when you used a certain product. If you voluntarily assumed the risk associated with the product, you cannot recover compensation.
An Intervening Factor
A defendant may attempt to show that an intervening factor, like a substantial change to the product after it was sold, caused the injury and relieves them of liability. This defense is more likely when you buy a used item. However, not purchasing an item yourself or buying it used does not bar you from filing a product liability lawsuit.
Was There a Product Recall?
Whether there was a recall related to your product may be critical to your case. If there was a recall and you were notified, the defendants could use this as a defense against liability. They can say you were aware of the danger and chose to use the hazardous product anyway.
Or, you may learn during the discovery phase of a lawsuit that there was not a recall despite the defendants knowing about the defect. Evidence of a lack of a recall can be used to prove the other party is liable for your injuries.
The Product Liability Statute of Limitations
If you believe you were injured because of a defective product, it is important to speak with a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will conduct the initial investigation into your circumstances to determine if it was likely that the product was defective and the businesses that may be liable. If you have a valid product liability claim, then your attorney will make sure you file in the proper court before the Virginia statute of limitations for product liability claims, which is two years, runs out. You have two years from the date you were injured to file the lawsuit.