Sustaining an injury as the result of using a product does not mean you’re out of luck. Depending on the specifics of the situation, you may be able to take legal action. The only way to know for sure is to schedule a consultation with a product liability lawyer and go over what’s taken place. These four questions are likely to come up at some point in the discussion.
What’s Meant by Product Liability?
Product liability is a term used when the use of a product results in harm to a member of the public. In short, if you’re injured or otherwise harmed because something that you purchased did not perform in the way that you were led to believe it would, one of several entities may be held accountable.
The range of entities that may hold some degree of liability or accountability is broader than many people realize. The accountability could rest with the entity that designed the product. Perhaps the manufacturer is liable. It could also be distributors, suppliers, and even retailers who bear some of the responsibility. Your legal counsel can provide advice about which entities may relevant to the case.
What’s a Failure to Warn?
A failure to warn is involved when inadequate instructions related to the project are not supplied. This is generally the province of the manufacturer, since details about responsible use are often included in the product packaging, or in the contract governing the purchase. However, others may also be cited for failing to provide adequate information.
For example, a retailer who fails to utilize a manufacturer-approved display module that includes warnings about use may be considered guilty of a failure to warn. This is another area where a lawyer can determine if more than one party failed to provide you with information that all consumers should know.
Is There a Difference Between a Design Defect and a Manufacturing Defect?
Issues with products can begin before anything is actually produced. The product design itself may be flawed, and may be the cause of whatever distress you’re experiencing. When this is the case, it’s said that a design defect is present.
A manufacturing defect indicates that the production process resulted in a finished product that was not in full compliance with the original design. For example, the manufacturer failed to observe reasonable quality control, or materials other than those specified by the designer were used to manufacture the product.
There can be instances when the injury has to do with both a design defect and a manufacturing defect. Your product liability lawyer can determine if this is true in your case.
How Long Can a Product Liability Case Go On?
While there is a limited number of exceptions, expect the product liability case to last two years or less. Even with exceptions, the case may not last longer than four years. Your legal counsel can advise you of the potential duration based on laws that apply in your jurisdiction.
Keep in mind that this has to do with receiving a verdict in a court of law. There’s always the possibility that the responsible party will seek to reach a settlement and avoid a drawn-out court battle. Your lawyer can seek to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured after the use of a product, don’t assume that there’s nothing to be done. Seek legal advice. Should the lawyer find legal grounds for taking some sort of action, seriously consider authorizing the legal counsel to do so.