As a consumer, if you are injured by a product when using it for its intended purpose, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and related damages through a product liability lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer. In some cases, there may be multiple parties that can be held liable for your damages, if they released a product that they knew or should have known would be dangerous to consumers.
In the United States, product recalls are issued weekly, if not daily, as dangerous elements of a product released in commerce are discovered. Consumers using these products are often the first ones to raise alarm bells about dangerous items. When a consumer or group of consumers can show that a product caused unreasonable harm, this information could lead to a recall of the product and even a class action lawsuit against the company.
Types of Defects: There are three primary causes of action that enable a victim to recover compensation for injuries caused by defective products:
- Manufacturing defects;
- Design defects; and
- Failure to warn.
By consulting an experienced and knowledgeable product liability lawyer, you can determine the proper cause of action and the strength of your claim.
Sometimes, determining whether a product had a manufacturing or design defect requires insight from an outside expert to identify what phase in the manufacturing process led to the defect. In some cases, more than one claim may be raised and a thorough examination of the product in question usually leads to the initial determination of which course to pursue.
Understanding Manufacturing Defects: Manufacturing defects occur due to problems in the assembly process and are not associated with the design of the product. Typically, only a small portion of units manufactured will have some type of defect.
A manufacturer, however, can be held liable for any manufacturing defect that occurs due to problematic construction. The plaintiff is responsible for showing that the defect was responsible for the injury, and that it was present at the time that the product left the factory in which the good was made.
Understanding Design Defects: A design defect is a flaw in the original creation of a product’s design that causes it to be potentially dangerous for consumers. This kind of defect will typically be found throughout all of the units manufactured with that design.
A Nevada defective product attorney will sit down with you at the outset of your case to discuss whether the product’s design was unreasonably dangerous prior to the production stage and if the company could have anticipated the dangers for a potential user. Through the course of discovery—a phase in litigation—your attorney will likely explore if safer, alternative designs existed.
If you and your attorney determine that the product was defective and dangerous from the moment that it was designed, you may consider filing a design defect claim against the manufacturer to recover compensation for your damages.
Understanding Failure to Warn: Manufacturers have a legal responsibility to include warnings and instructions about foreseeable risks of a product including information about how to appropriately and safely use the product.
A warning label should inform the consumer of any existing hazards, the effects of these hazards, and how to avoid dangers associated with the product. The warning should be positioned as close to the area of the hazard as possible and be highly visible to consumers.
When deciding whether is it appropriate in your case to bring a claim for failure to warn, your attorney may consider the following factors:
- The severity of harm caused by the product;
- The likelihood that this harm may result from use of the product; and
- Whether there were warnings on the product clear enough for consumers to understand.
Determining Liability in Product Liability Lawsuits
Product manufactures are held to different standards depending on the type of product liability claim against them. A manufacturer may be liable for damages caused by their negligence, breach of warranty, or under a theory of strict product liability.
Negligence: In order to succeed with a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that the manufacturer breach a duty of care, which caused their injuries and resulting damages. This may be evidenced by a manufacture’s lack of due diligence or lack of care in designing or testing a product. It may also be evidenced by a lack of care in ensuring the safe assembly or production of the product.
Strict Liability: The majority of product liability cases are filed under a theory of strict product liability. The injured party is responsible for showing that a defect in a product exists and that an injury was sustained as a result. Under this claim, the plaintiff need not prove that the manufacturer acted negligently.
Breach of Warranty: Whether express or implied, there is generally a representation—or warranty—that a product will perform to a certain standard or in a certain way. When a product fails to function in such a way and causes an injury as a result, the injured party may have a viable claim for breach of warranty.
Filing A Defective Product Case: Prevailing in a defective product claim requires a thorough understanding of applicable law and the ability to collect and present evidence that proves each element of your claim.
If you have been injured due to a defective product, you have four years to file a claim for compensation, but you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon as you are injured or discover the defect. Evidence that is essential to your case may be more difficult to collect as time passes.
For a consultation with a skilled products liability attorney, contact The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC. We will use our years of experience in product liability law to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
Gina Corena is a skilled litigator that has practiced in Nevada her entire career. Ms. Corena prides herself in her devotion to representing injured clients and has acquired millions in settlements and litigation awards for her clients since founding The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC. Named a Top 40 under 40 Attorney by the American Society of Legal Advocates and one of the “Ten Best Attorneys” in Nevada for her exceptional and outstanding client services, Gina Corena is a litigator that will fight for you.
For a consultation and review of your case, contact us online or by phone at (702) 680-1111.