National Product Liability Cases
If you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. Contact an experienced product liability lawyer at Saunders & Walker’s office to obtain expert legal advice.
The attorneys at Saunders & Walker P.A. are experts in national product liability law. We fight on behalf of injured victims and the families of those who have been wrongfully killed as a result of flawed products. Contact our law firm if you’ve suffered harm at the hands of unethical or irresponsible companies and would like to pursue a product liability claim. We’ll evaluate your liability case at no cost to you and then represent you on a percentage fee basis. As a national law firm, we’re also able to handle product liability claims in various jurisdictions across the country.
What Is Product Liability Law?
Dangerous products can cause injury or even death. Every year, defective products harm thousands of people. In general, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer or vendor to ensure that their merchandise is safe. If a malfunction results from poor design, faulty construction, or improper labeling, then the injured victim has a legal right to seek compensation for the damages. If a court determines that the producers or distributors are at fault for a product malfunction that causes damage, then a settlement is awarded.
Understanding Product Liability Law
Product liability law exists to protect consumers from the harmful effects of dangerous products. It holds makers and sellers responsible for defective manufacturing or improper labeling. Product liability cases follow a different set of rules than normal injury law. Without a federal code to govern product liability claims, the law varies from state to state. Florida, for example, has its own set of rules and regulations that differ from the statutes existing in other states. That’s why it’s important to find lawyers that are familiar with the various state codes and who can therefore take on product liability cases no matter where they occur.
The Legal Process
It’s important to remember that the law is complex, involving scientific evidence and intricate legal points. Lawsuits often proceed very slowly. Be prepared for a lengthy and time-consuming process. Your ability to recover damages may also be limited if:
- You knew about a particular defect but used the product anyway.
- After buying the product, you substantially changed it in a way that fundamentally altered its operation.
- You used the product in a way that was unintended or ignored clear safety warnings.
The only way to determine whether you have a valid product liability claim is to contact a qualified defective product attorney. A skilled attorney can help you evaluate your claim, examine the evidence, and advise you on the proper course of action. Call Saunders & Walker at 1-800-748-7115 to schedule a free consultation with aPinellas County defective product lawyer.
Types of Product Liability Cases
Defective products can include anything from cars and airplanes to cigarettes and energy drinks. They malfunction for any number of reasons. Most product malfunction cases fall into a few general categories:
- Design Flaws – Products that come with design flaws are inherently defective. They’re prone to failure even before they come off the factory press. Since the flaw is built into the product itself, this is the hardest problem to fix. Examples with design flaws are:
- Barnett Cross Bows Without Thumb Guards
- Automobile Airbags (e.g., Takata Airbags)
- Automobile Tires
- Power Tools
- Medical Devices such as Artificial Hips
- Cigarette Lighters
- Electrical Appliances
- Taser Stun Guns
- Poor Construction or Shoddy Manufacturing – Sometimes a product is well-designed, but poorly constructed. This sort of problem starts at the manufacturing stage. Unlike design flaws, most manufacturing defects only affect a certain portion of a product line. Examples with poor construction or shoddy manufacturing are:
- Steel Used in Building Construction
- Food Recalls
- Incorrect Labeling or Failure to Warn – Some products feature labels that can easily confuse people. Some contain incorrect instructions. Others come with inadequate safety warnings. Any labeling flaws can lead customers to use a product incorrectly, resulting in injury or illness. Failure to warn consumers about the dangers of a product can form the basis for a lawsuit. That means alerting the public to risks associated with certain uses. The manufacturer of a bookshelf, for example, must state if it has a tendency to tip over when placed on certain surfaces. Examples of famous product liability cases that arose as a result of incorrect labeling include:
- Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower Body Powder
- Bausch & Lomb
- Propane Tanks
- Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Dietary Supplements
- Household Chemicals
Types of Lawsuits
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a responsibility under the law to exercise a reasonable standard of care when making or selling products. If their inattentiveness causes harm, they are guilty of what’s called product liability negligence. A jury can then hold them liable for any damages that may result from any injuries or illnesses associated with the product.In order to win a settlement on the basis of negligence, the victim of the defective product must first prove that the company did not exercise proper care—that it did know or should have known about the risks posed by a defect—and that its negligence directly caused their injury.
- Strict Liability
Even if a manufacturer or seller did not engage in negligent behavior, the court may hold them responsible for any damage their product caused. Strict product liability cases focus on the product itself, not the behavior of the manufacturer or vendor. In such defective product cases, an injured person only needs to prove a few strict product liability elements: that the product was defective, and that the flaw caused their injuries or contributed to their illness.
- Breach of Warranty
A warranty is a contract between a buyer and a seller. When a manufacturer provides a warranty, it is guaranteeing that its product will not harm the user as long as it is used properly—i.e., according to the manufacturer instructions and with due regard for all warning labels.For the purposes of the law, there are two kinds of warranties: express and implied. When a manufacturer or retailer makes explicit promises, it’s called an express warranty. Say a sport vehicle company says its ATV can take sharp turns on rough terrain. If it easily tips over on the way up a hill, causing injury, then the occupants may have a valid legal case.An implied warranty, on the other hand, occurs when the buyer has reasonable expectations about the product. If, for example, someone buys a tea kettle, they can reasonably expect that it can handle high temperatures without exploding. If it can’t, any injured parties may have a valid case even though the manufacturer did not specifically state that its tea kettle could handle high temperatures.
- Food PoisoningMost food poisoning incidents fall under product liability law. In such cases, the food is the “product.” The defect is the contaminant—either bacteria or a virus. People can become sick from raw or undercooked food, foods that have been prepared by someone with unclean hands, foods that have touched soiled cooking utensils, and foods that haven’t been stored at the proper temperature.In order to win damages in a food poisoning case, you must first prove that the specific food you ate was contaminated and that contamination caused your sickness. That can be difficult unless you’re able to test the food, or unless other people suffered similar symptoms after eating at the same place.
Who Is Held Liable for Damages?
Under product liability tort, a manufacturer is responsible for any harm their product may have caused, whether injury results from an inherent design flaw or from false advertising and inadequate warnings. Distributors and retailers may also be responsible if they mislabel or misrepresent a product, or if they fail to exercise proper caution when stocking their inventory.
Injured parties can sue for compensatory damages, which result from medical bills or loss of income, or punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer in particularly egregious cases. When a court awards punitive damages, it sends a clear message that it will not take carelessness and negligence lightly.
Time to Act
The only way to determine whether you have a valid product liability claim is to contact a qualified defective product attorney. A skilled attorney can help you evaluate your claim, examine the evidence, and advise you on the proper course of action.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a faulty product, you need an advocate who will put your interests first. You need a lawyer who knows how to fight big corporations and public entities with their deep pockets and unscrupulous methods. The lawyers at Saunders & Walker P.A., based in Pinellas Park, Florida, have decades of experience helping ordinary Americans pursue justice against companies who care about only one thing: their bottom line.
We’ll be happy to speak with you over the phone or by email (at no charge) about your defective product claims. Call Saunders & Walker P.A. at 1-800-748-7115 to schedule a free consultation with a Pinellas County defective product lawyer.