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How Do You Establish Liability for a Defective Product?

microwave on fire due to being a defective product.
microwave on fire due to being a defective product.

Have you been hurt because a product you were using was defective? Do you believe you may have grounds for a product liability claim? Whether your injury was caused by a faulty electronic device, a poorly manufactured car part, or a pharmaceutical drug that did not undergo adequate testing, a product liability lawyer in Cody, WY may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses.

How Do You Establish Liability for a Defective Product?

Companies that provide consumer goods are legally responsible for taking measures to ensure that their products can be used safely. If you can prove liability in a defective product case, you are entitled to receive financial compensation for your losses.

However, in order to establish liability, you must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • The product you were using was defective
  • You sustained an injury
  • There is a direct causal link between the product defect and your injury
  • You were using the product according to the intended purpose when your injury occurred

Establishing liability is not always straightforward, especially because there may be little documentation to show how the injury occurred. While a car accident case might yield surveillance footage, reconstructing an incident that occurred in the privacy of the home is more difficult. Our lawyers will work with you to thoroughly investigate the incident, using a variety of sources such as the physical product itself, your medical records, any available footage, and witness statements.

Proving That the Product Was Defective

A product can develop a problem at any point in the chain of distribution, from the design phase to the day it lands in the hands of a consumer. In general, there are four ways in which a product could be considered defective:

Design Flaws

Poorly designed products can have the potential to cause harm, even if they are correctly made and used appropriately. Take, for example, a baking dish that was designed using a formula that made the glass prone to shattering at high temperatures. A consumer might be able to file a product liability claim after riding in a golf cart that flipped over as a result of poor weight distribution.

Manufacturing Errors

Many product defects originate at the manufacturing phase due to factory oversights or other errors. In a product liability case involving an electric blanket catching fire, for example, the consumer may be able to show that the casing on the wires was compromised in production, making the blanket dangerous.

Failure to Warn

Proving that a product is inherently dangerous is not enough to establish product liability. Many everyday items, such as cooking knives, scented candles, and even hand scissors, cannot be issued to the consumer without some degree of risk. However, if you were injured because an item was sold without adequate warning labels, you may be able to argue that the company is liable for failing to disclose the risks of using its product incorrectly.

Proving That You Sustained an Injury

According to product liability laws, companies are only responsible for providing compensation if their products actually cause harm. In other words, even if you identify that a product was poorly designed or incorrectly made, you cannot file a lawsuit unless you actually suffer an injury as a result of the defect. When establishing grounds for a product liability case, your medical records and the expert testimony of a doctor can often suffice as evidence of your injury.

Proving That the Product Caused Your Injury

When establishing liability, you must be able to show a clear connection between your injury and the product defect. While this requirement may sound like a technicality, it is important to rule out the possibility that your injury and the product defect occurred coincidentally. For example, if you need to file a lawsuit after suffering adverse side effects from a painkiller, you will need to show that the problem with your health was not the result of a preexisting condition.

In the case of the painkiller, you might find it difficult to differentiate between the side effect and the problem that originally caused you to take the medication. Your lawyer may focus on proving that the pharmaceutical company was aware of the potential side effects and chose not to disclose them.

Proving That the Product Was Used as Intended

In a product liability case, the defense may try to argue that the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from misuse of the product. You can only collect damages for injuries caused by products that were being used in a reasonable way. For example, it would be difficult to win a case involving a faulty iron if you were using it to heat food when the injury occurred.

Sometimes, a case can still be made for liability if the use of the product was reasonable, despite differing slightly from the advertised intent. You may still be able to secure a settlement for faulty “fingernail clippers” if they were being used to clip toenails or for a tea kettle that was being used to heat water for instant coffee. However, cases like these usually require strong arguments from an experienced attorney.

Who Is Liable?

Product liability cases can be complex because multiple companies often play a role in the supply chain. Some parties that may be liable include the product designer, the manufacturer, a supplier who contributed the faulty parts, a transportation company that was responsible for shipping the product, and the vendor.

We can help you establish where to direct your claim for the highest chance of success. In some cases, you may be able to file more than one claim.

Do You Need to Prove Negligence to Establish Liability?

In many personal injury cases, the plaintiff must show that the liable party is guilty of negligence. According to personal injury law, negligence occurs when one party fails to uphold a duty of care it owes another party. Negligence may or may not factor into a situation involving a faulty product. In some cases involving strict product liability laws, the plaintiff can focus on demonstrating the effect of the defect rather than the source of the oversight.

The Quality of Your Legal Representation Matters

Establishing liability for a defective product requires an advanced understanding of personal injury law. Our lawyers have successfully brought in millions of dollars for cases within the product liability niche. Our success rests on our ability to demonstrate how an accident occurred while overcoming arguments from the defense, often going up against large corporations and their legal teams.

We are highly familiar with the intricacies of product liability laws, and will give you a candid assessment of your case. We will be sure to address any gray areas, such as how to identify the liable party or demonstrate that the product was being used appropriately. To schedule an initial consultation with us, you can call (307) 337-9714.

How to Find a Product Liability Lawyer in Cody, WY

When you need expert legal representation to defend your rights as a consumer, our law firm is there for you. We focus on helping our clients obtain compensation for losses incurred while using a faulty product, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and trauma. To speak with a qualified product liability lawyer in Cody, WY, contact Ochs Law Firm.

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Our experienced Wyoming personal injury lawyer, Jason E. Ochs will fight to help you recover proper compensation in a class action, pharmaceutical, and medical cases throughout multiple states. Contact us today.

Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.