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Q: Who can be held liable when a product causes an injury?
A: Manufacturers, wholesalers and sellers may be responsible when a product injures someone. A person injured by a defective product may file product liability claims based on a variety of theories, including strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty. Additionally, related negligence lawsuits can be filed arising out of the failure of parties to read the instructions or warnings for a product. These types of cases frequently arise when medical professionals fail to read the warnings for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, but do not fall under general product liability law.
Q: What kind of compensation is available in product liability cases?
A: Many different types of compensation can arise out of a product liability case depending on the strength of the case and the severity of an individual's injuries. Typical damages include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are sometimes available against manufacturers that behaved in a malicious or grossly negligent fashion. It is important to remember that the amount of available damages often varies by state and many states limit the amount of punitive damages or damages attributable to pain and suffering.
Q: How does a product's warranty impact my case?
A: A warranty often makes representations about the performance or safety features of a product. If the product failed to live up to the manufacturer's product standards, then you may have a claim based on a design or manufacturing defect.
Q: If I was hurt by a power tool that I was using, can I recover from the manufacturer?
A: A manufacturer can be held liable for design defects, manufacturing defects and failure to warn consumers of potential hazards. If your injury arose out of one of these situations, then you may have a case.
Q: What if the product that injures me was recalled? Can I still recover damages?
A: Product recalls often do not negatively impact product liability cases, but sometimes produce additional challenges. If a recall occurs after your injury, then it may not be admissible as evidence of a manufacturer's negligence. Recalls are sometimes useful to establish a design or manufacturing defect in a product, but the admissibility of recall evidence varies by jurisdiction. Speak with a product liability lawyer about your case to see how a recall impacts your chances of recovery.
Q: How do instructions impact my potential recovery?
A: Instructions are key to establishing product liability cases based on a "failure to warn" theory. If the instructions for the product were sufficiently clear and thorough, then you may not have a case against a manufacturer. Appropriate and clear instructions, however, will not bar product liability claims based on a manufacturing or design defect.
Q: What kinds of products are often found to be defective?
A: Product liability cases have been filed in connection with a vast array of products. Litigation in a product liability case is often lengthy and resource-intensive, so product liability cases are usually filed only when consumers experience significant injuries, property damage or death.
Significant product liability awards have arisen out of cases involving products such as:
- Automobiles, including tires and air bags
- Industrial and agricultural equipment
- Asbestos-containing products
- Unsafe toys and baby products
- Defective child restraints
- Dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices
- Popcorn flavoring chemicals
Smaller product liability cases involving many individuals are typically class action lawsuits because each consumer's potential damage award would not justify an individual lawsuit.
Q: What if I modified or destroyed the product that injured me?
A: Preservation of the product that injured you is ideal because then it can be examined by experts to bolster your case. If the product was destroyed for any reason, you may still have a case, but it is important to speak with a product liability attorney before your claim grows stale. It is also important to note that if your modifications of a product contributed to your injury, then this may greatly reduce or eliminate your recovery in a product liability case. However, you may have a case against an individual who made the dangerous modifications.
Q: How experienced is your law firm with product liability law?
A: The attorneys at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, P.C., are among the most prestigious trial lawyers in the country. We litigate cases throughout the United States and have recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for our clients, often in the biggest verdicts that our clients' districts have seen.
It is important to remember that each product liability case is unique and that it is important to speak with an attorney before making any decisions regarding your case. To learn more about the application of the law to your case, call a Humphrey Farrington product liability attorney at 888-353-0491 or contact us online.