Widespread product recalls are nothing new. You probably see or hear about them every few weeks:
- Manufacturer recalls high-performance utility vehicles because of fire hazard
- Manufacturer recalls wall ovens due to malfunction caused by improper manufacturing
A product liability case is when someone is injured by use of a product that is defective or unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. Almost any product can be defective and cause personal injuries. Some examples of these consumer products include motor vehicle components and parts, tires, prescription drugs, toys and baby products, construction equipment, etc.
You may have a case if the product in question was defective in design, production, packing, or distribution. Even if there no defect in the way the product was made, you may have a case if the design of the product makes it unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. There are a number of factors that go into determine whether or not a product is defective. If you have been injured by use of a defective product, call the attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett to determine if you have a case.
As with any personal injury claim, you can recover damages for medical expenses, past and future lost wages. pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Punitive damages may be available depending on the facts of the case.
Product liability case are generally taken on a “contingency fee” basis, meaning the attorney’s fee is based on a percentage of the settlement or judgment and the attorney does not get paid until there is a settlement or verdict in your case. However, there are costs associated with pursuing a case such as investigative and expert charges. These charges can be substantial in products liability case as it usually necessary to retain an engineer or another expert to look at the product.
Tronfeld West & Durrett has handled major products liability cases against automotive manufacturers, tire makers, and medical device manufacturers. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlements for our clients against these manufacturers.
Virginia law allows you to bring a personal injury case against a wide range of parties associated with the product.
The cause of your injury will likely determine who you can file a claim or lawsuit against. You may be able to file claims against the designer, manufacturer, distributor, shipper, wholesaler, or seller of the product.
In product liability cases you may be able to collect:
- Compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, necessary home or vehicle renovations, or damage to any personal property
- Damages to cover your pain and suffering as a result of the accident
Proving your faulty product claim will require you to provide various types of evidence, including:
- The faulty product itself
- Any receipts proving purchase of the product
- Any additional information, instructions, or warnings that came with the product when you purchased it
- Copies of medical records for anyone who is injured as the result of the product
Proving you suffered damages requires evidence such as receipts of any property damage caused by the product, proof of time missed working as a result of your injuries, and medical bills.
Keeping substantial documentation is one of the most important things you can do in regards to a personal injury lawsuit.
Having a team of personal injury attorneys on your side will make it easier to ensure you provide all the necessary evidence and make certain you get the settlement you deserve for your losses.
Previously, the law stated that if you were not able to show proof of purchase of the defective product, you would not have grounds for a product liability case.
However, lawmakers have since rectified this law, meaning that you can bring up a personal injury lawsuit even if you did not buy the product — whether someone gave or lent it to you, or if you were leasing it at the time.
The statute of limitations for a product liability lawsuit in the state of Virginia is two years. This means if you do not file a claim or lawsuit within two years of the date of injury, you will be unable to recover compensation for the injury. These time periods may be longer for minors under 18 years old and persons under a disability. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine the applicable statute of limitations.
No. Unfortunately, just because you sustain harm while using a product, it is not automatically grounds for a product liability case.
Unlike most states, Virginia does not recognize strict liability law, so you must prove the manufacturer was negligent or breached the product’s warranty to be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit.
If you suffered harm while using the product and are not sure if it was your fault, be sure to do some research to see if there is a pattern of injury for other consumers using the product as well. This may help your case.
A product recall will typically not stop your personal injury case, but it can make the situation more complicated.
While the recall might help you prove the product was defective, it can also hurt your case. For example, if you used the product even though you knew it was under recall, the insurer or jury may find that you are to blame for your injuries.
In addition, if the recall occurs after you suffered your injury, you may not be able to use the recall as evidence of the defect.
The first thing you should do if you are harmed is seek immediate medical attention. You should do this regardless of the severity of the injury; some symptoms are not visible and some take days or weeks to show up.
After a doctor has treated you, and if you believe the product is faulty, you should follow these guidelines before bring about a lawsuit:
- Maintain the integrity of the product – keep it in the same working order it was at the time of your injury
- Find and maintain all documents pertaining to the product. This includes warranties, instruction guides and your proof of purchase
- Contact a products liability attorney who can help walk you through all the steps of proving negligence and winning your personal injury case