Have you suffered an injury after using a product that was manufactured improperly? Perhaps a product you purchased was defectively designed, and because of that design, you were harmed when using it. In either case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. While most people think of personal injury cases as related to car accidents and medical malpractice, they can also be used to recover damages related to product use. Here's what you need to know:
The Three Categories of Defective Product Cases
In order to win a personal injury case, your lawyer must typically convince the judge that the defendant you are bringing to court acted negligently. Then, it must be demonstrated that the act of negligence led directly to your injury. The process of establishing negligence can get pretty complicated in defective product cases. To simplify the idea behind this type of claim and determine what can and cannot be brought to court, these types of cases are typically divided into three categories:
Injuries Caused by Improperly Manufactured Products
Claims in this category are made when a product is not made the way it should be, and thus leads to an injury. For example, if you purchase a bicycle that is missing some screws and falls apart, causing you to break your shoulder, you can make a claim for an improperly manufactured product.
Injuries Caused by Defective Product Design
If the design of a product presents danger even when that products is manufactured according to specifications, then your case would fall into this category. For example, if a line of hair dryers electrocutes the user when turned on high, injuries you sustain can be said to be caused by a defective design.
Injuries Cased by Inadequate Labeling or Instructions
When instructions fail to warn the user that a product is dangerous when used in a certain way, and the user becomes injured when using the product in this way, the case falls into this category. For example, you may take a cough syrup that does not tell you it's not safe to take if you have heart disease,, and suffer a heart attack as a result.
Expenses That Can Be Recovered
The idea behind any personal injury case is to collect funds to cover medical costs related to an injury. Your lawyer will help you establish the exact amount of money to ask for in your case. Generally, items that are included are hospital bills, surgery costs, the cost of medication and the cost of therapy. You generally cannot collect medical expenses related to pre-existing conditions that you had before you were injured by a product, nor can you collect for expenses related to issues that develop after using the product but cannot be proven to be caused by the product.
If you miss work because of the injury, you may be able to sue for your lost wages. In some cases, funds may also be rewarded for pain and suffering -- but this is situation dependent.
Tips for Seeking Legal Assistance in Faulty Product Cases
If you think you have suffered an injury after using a product, it's important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Keep careful track of your symptoms, the way in which you use the product, and your medical expenses, as your lawyer will need this information to file a case.
There is a chance that others may have already filed similar cases after using the same product. Your lawyer can find out if this is true in your situation, and may be able to use the results of those cases to bolster your case.
Also keep in mind that when many people suffer the same injury after using a product, they may get together and file a class action lawsuit against the product's manufacturer. You can always opt out of this case and sue on your own. Your lawyer can help you determine whether participating in a class action lawsuit or filing your own case is a better choice in your circumstances.
In the United States, there are laws in place to protect consumers from dangerous and improperly made products. If you feel you've been injured by a product, you have the right to file a civil suit. Make sure you have a good personal injury lawyer on your side, and keep in mind that filing your case may take some time. Product injury suits are complicated, but if you have suffered high medical costs because of an injury, filing one is worthwhile.