Not many people expect a product that they buy to hurt them, so not many people know what to do when defective products cause harm. However, if this does happen, it is important to know the law in determining whether a manufacturer is liable.
Know the Elements of a Valid Claim
There are certain elements that you must prove to have a valid product liability claim. The most basic element is proving that there was an injury or some damage caused from the use of the product. You must then prove that the product is defective in some way. This defect must be the actual cause of the damage or injury sustained. The final element of a product liability claim is the proof that you were using the product in its intended use and how the manufacturer instructs. If all these elements are in place, it is important to contact a lawyer as your next step.
Defective Product vs. Defective Design
Most product liability cases involve products that are defective and have been damaged in the manufacturing process. While this is typically the easiest to prove, it is not the only scenario possible in product liability.
It is also possible for the design of a product to be defective, creating an unnecessary danger or hazard to the user. Normal or predictable hazards are not included in this description. An example of a normal hazard would be hitting your thumb while using a hammer. This is not an unnecessary hazard or danger. A hazard that is not predictable or obvious must be illustrated by the manufacturer. While it still may not be considered a defective design, it is possible that the manufacturer could be found liable for not informing a consumer of the inherent dangers of using the product. To prove a defective design, you must prove that the design presents an unreasonable danger that is not integral to the effective operation of that product.
Find a Lawyer
This might seem like an obvious step, but it is amazing how many people make the mistake of not choosing the right lawyer. Laws can vary from one state another, so, if you got hurt in Virginia, find a Richmond product liability lawyer. It is important to note that you should find a lawyer that specializes in product liability. They will have experience and knowledge in this specific area of law, maximizing your chances of winning your case.
The last thing to remember, settling is common in these types of cases. Manufacturers will (more often than not) have more resources for litigation than the plaintiff. Settlement amounts are usually less than what would be awarded in a successful case, but they often a wise compromise.