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Defective Product: Making Your Legal Case

Sep 11th 2014 at 7:21 AM

If you buy a product and it turns out to be defective, you can usually return it to the store or to the manufacturer and receive a refund. If you are harmed by that product, then you may have a liability issue on hand, one that could result in litigation to make you whole. Here is what you need to know about product liability as the result of a defective product.








Do You Have a Claim?

Before you seek out a personal injury attorney, you should consider if you have a claim to begin with. A defective product alone isn’t enough — you need to have experienced injury to have your case heard in court. An injury can also include some type of loss — such as an inability to work — to help make your case. Then, you need proof that the defect caused your injury. Further, you need to demonstrate that you were using the product as it was intended.

If you meet the required parameters, then you may have a case. Your case will pass muster if you can demonstrate that the injury was serious enough to warrant a claim. For instance, if that new space heater you bought blew up and destroyed your family room and caused you second-degree burns, then you have a case. However, if the that same space heater merely shorted out, then you do not have a claim.

A product defect isn’t always easy to prove. You may have a case, however, if you weren’t the only person who found that the switch to the space heater malfunctioned, leading to the explosion. It could be a design defect or a manufacturing error — in either situation you probably have a case.

In some cases, a case can be brought against a manufacturer for failing to warn you about a potential problem. It might not be the switch that causes the space heater problems, rather the plug left in the wall socket that could. The court will look at the manufacturer’s warning label to determine if the the warning was reasonably sufficient — as in unplugging the space heater when not in use — to determine whether you have a claim or not.

Attorney Assistance

Meeting with a product liability attorney can help you determine if you have a claim or not advises Watson Burns PLLC. Your attorney will want to determine if the defect caused you injury and demonstrate how that happened. It can help your case if the injury resulted in an emergency room or a doctor’s visit, perhaps one of the easiest ways to to document the injury. If not, your attorney may have you visit your doctor to see if the injury affected you in some way. If it did, then your attorney may have a case to build.

Your product liability attorney will also determine if you were using the product according to how it was intended to be used. For instance, if you plugged the space heater into an outlet that wasn’t sufficiently grounded, then the fault may lie with you. However, if you followed the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, then you may have a claim. Your attorney won’t pursue a claim if it is weak or if it clearly shows neglect on your part. Even so, meet with an attorney to have him make that determination — neglect sometimes follows confusion, particularly if the instructions were not clear.

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