You use countless products, from the pens you write with to the car you drive. Most people are able to live their lives without constantly worrying about the safety of each item they interact with, but the truth is that almost all products have the potential to cause harm if they are defective. If you have been injured by a defective product, a product liability attorney in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Laramie, Wyoming can help you seek damages.
What Are Defective Products?
Defective products are consumer items that exhibit a flaw. Most of the time, a defective product simply doesn’t work. Maybe the protective case you buy for your phone doesn’t snap on correctly or the pack of cinnamon raisin bagels you purchased contains no raisins. When you encounter a benign product defect, you can usually just return the item or leave a negative review.
Products that cause injury are another story altogether. Depending on the incident, product defect injuries can have life-altering consequences. In some cases, defective products can even lead to death.
How Do Product Defects Occur?
Product manufacturers are required by law to ensure the safety of the items they make for commercial distribution. Defective products can result in lawsuits, so companies usually go out of their way to test their designs for safety and run quality control inspections throughout the production process. However, accidents still happen, and a small percentage of output is almost always defective in some way. There are three main categories of product defects:
Sometimes, flaws initiate as soon as the company begins to develop the concept of a new product. During the design phase, the form of the product is planned and modeled to ensure that it meets all functional and aesthetic requirements. Sometimes, manufacturers fail to recognize that their design has the potential to cause harm to consumers. For example, if a toy is designed with small parts that easily break off, it could pose a choking hazard for young children.
Even a product that is perfectly designed can end up with flaws if there is a mistake during the manufacturing phase. There are many ways in which manufacturing can result in problems, including the use of poor quality materials, oversights in assembly, and the use of damaged equipment.
Incorrect or Incomplete Information About the Product
Manufacturers are responsible for informing the public on how to use their products safely. Any potential risks posed by the product need to be disclosed, often by including labels or informational booklets.
You have probably noticed many disclaimers and warnings on products that you use. For example, when you buy a hairdryer, you often see a tag with a picture of the device falling into a bathtub accompanied by a lightning bolt symbol. If a product causes injury or death to someone who was not properly informed about its risks, the manufacturer could be held liable for the resulting damages.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured by a Defective Product?
Whether you got injured as a result of a flaw with the design, manufacturing, or information about a product, you have the right to file a product liability claim. Any claim related to an injury is complex, but product liability claims tend to be more nuanced than others. Therefore, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney before you proceed.
When you are choosing an attorney, focus on finding one that has expertise in product liability, specifically. There are many attorneys who can take on a personal injury claim, but not all are prepared to represent clients in product liability cases. If possible, find an attorney who has previously dealt with the type of product that injured you.
What Compensation Can You Receive After Filing a Product Liability Claim?
If you are able to prove that your injuries were caused by a defective product, the manufacturer will be liable for covering all of your injury-related expenses and providing compensation for non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering. You can expect to collect:
All of the costs related to the diagnosis and treatment of your injury fall under the category of medical expenses. Your medical expenses might include:
- Hospital visit
- Surgical procedures
Additionally, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your travel costs to and from the medical facilities.
If you need to take time away from work to recover from your injury, the manufacturer or their insurance company will need to pay you for the income you could not collect. A claim for lost wages should also include benefits, overtime, missed promotions, commissions, and bonuses when applicable. If you are a seasonal worker or self-employed, your attorney can help you calculate a fair estimate of your lost wages based on your past income.
General damages are losses that do not have a monetary value. For example, if your injury prevents you from continuing an activity you enjoyed, such as running, the loss of that activity would fall into the category of general damages. Similarly, emotional distress and pain and suffering qualify as general damages. If you suffered from scaring or another type of disfigurement as a result of using a faulty product, you could seek damages for the change in your appearance as well.
What Types of Product Defects Are Most Likely to Result in a Product Liability Claim?
Some types of products are inherently more likely than others to cause injuries. As a result, attorneys can develop distinct strategies for arguing different types of product liability cases. The most common product liability claims involve:
Automobiles and Auto Parts
Cars have the potential to crash at high speeds, making them particularly dangerous when flaws are present. While car manufacturers frequently issue recalls in response to defects, they sometimes choose to risk a lawsuit instead of incurring the expense of replacing many parts. In other situations, the manufacturers do not know about the problem until someone gets hurt or killed.
As you probably know from preparing meals and keeping your kitchen clean, food can be extremely toxic if handled improperly. Sometimes, food products are made with contaminated ingredients, causing people to suffer from food poisoning. Other times, the food becomes dangerous as a result of improper storage or transportation prior to the sale.
Over-the-counter drugs and prescription medication are ingested, giving them the same potential to cause harm as food. If pharmaceuticals are made using incorrect formulas or if they undergo chemical changes due to the way they are handled, they can cause serious harm and even death.
Defective Medical Equipment
Health professionals rely on medical equipment to perform surgeries, provide effective treatments, and otherwise care for the health of their patients. Every year, many people are injured as a result of problems with medical devices and other equipment.
Meet With a Product Liability Attorney in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Laramie, Wyoming
You deserve to buy and use products with the expectation that you will not suffer an injury. If you have been injured by a defective product, the right product liability attorney in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Laramie, Wyoming can help you recover compensation. To discuss your product liability case, contact Ochs Law Firm.