If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you probably have many questions. Who will pay my medical bills? Will I be compensated for pain and suffering? Who is to blame for my injuries?
Unlike certain other personal injury claims, a product liability claim is complex and may involve multiple parties who are ultimately responsible for your injuries and losses. Seeking the help of a Miami product liability lawyer is the first step to holding those responsible for your injuries accountable.
Even if you are unsure of whether or not you have a valid product liability claim, Miami personal injury attorney Mike Redondo is here to take your call, answer your questions and help you pursue the justice you deserve.
What are the different types of product defects?
In most product liability cases, there are three types of product defects.
The first product defect commonly alleged in product liability lawsuits is called a “design defect.” Design defects occur when a product design is inherently dangerous or unreasonably safe as a result of the design itself. In these cases, the risks of using the product far outweigh the benefits. Lawn darts, for example, were considered inherently dangerous and were judged to be defectively designed.
A manufacturing defect is another common product defect alleged in product liability lawsuits. Unlike a design defect, which is unsafe from the start, a manufacturing defect is an unintentional defect that occurs in the manufacturing or assembly of the product. For example, a kitchen appliance that overheats or catches fire due to substandard electrical wiring would be considered a manufacturing defect.
Failure to warn defects
Not all product defects deal with the design or manufacture of the product. In some cases, a failure to warn or provide adequate instructions may also provide the basis of a product liability lawsuit. Power tools, for example, present risks to every person who uses them. But these risks may be minimized when there are proper warnings and instructions. A failure to warn defect occurs when the manufacturer or seller of a product does not give the user adequate notice of the dangers their product creates.
Who can sue for product liability?
Anyone who is hurt, injured or suffers loss from a defective product has a product liability claim. It does not matter who purchased the product or who owns the product. For example, someone who borrows a defective product, uses a defective product, or is injured by someone else’s use of the product can pursue a product liability claim.
To prevail on a product liability claim, however, you need to prove four basic elements.
First, you must prove that you suffered an injury or some other kind of loss, such as property damage beyond the product itself. Second, you must prove that the product that caused your injuries was either defective or lacked proper instructions and/or warnings. You must also prove that the defect or lack of instructions/warnings was the specific cause of your injuries. Lastly, you must be able to prove that when you were injured, you were using the product as it was designed to be used.
Who is responsible for my defective product injuries?
If you have been injured by a defective product, one of the most important things to consider when filing a product liability lawsuit is who might be liable for your injuries and losses. From the outset of your case, you will want to name all responsible parties as defendants to your claim for damages.
In product liability cases, determining who is responsible for your damages can be complex. There may be multiple parties who can be held liable for your injuries and losses, and naming the right defendants is critical to making a full financial recovery for your injuries.
In most product liability cases, you will want to include any parties in the defective product’s “chain of distribution.” The chain of distribution is the journey that a defective product takes from the manufacturer all the way to the customer’s hands. Below are three parties that are commonly named as defendants in a product’s chain of distribution.
In a defective product case, the first party that you name to your lawsuit may be the manufacturer. The manufacturer is often the beginning of the chain of distribution for the defective product. If the defective product is just one part or component of a larger product, then you can name the manufacturer of the defective product as well as the manufacturer of the whole product that uses the defective part.
Additional parties who were involved in the manufacture of the product may also be named. For example, if your claim involves a design defect, you could name any design consultants that were used by the manufacturer. Or, if your claim involves a failure to provide adequate instructions, you could also name any experts used by the manufacturer to write the instructions for the defective product as defendants.
After a product leaves the manufacturer, there may be a number of middlemen who carry the defective product to the retailer. For example, there may be wholesalers, suppliers, distributors and other parties that fall within the chain of distribution. All of these middlemen may be liable for your defective product injuries and should be named as defendants in your product liability lawsuit.
The retail store where the product was purchased may also be liable for selling the defective product that caused your injuries and losses. Although the retailer seems like an unlikely party to sue, remember that any party involved in the chain of distribution may be held responsible.
What can I recover from a product liability lawsuit?
If you have been injured by a defective product, then you may be entitled to monetary damages for your injuries and other losses. Damages for product liability claims include both compensatory damages and, in certain circumstances, punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for your injuries and financial losses, putting you back in the condition that you were in prior to your defective product injury. This form of damages includes economic damages, such as compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and property damage. Compensatory damages may also include non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
If a judge or jury determines that the defendants named in the lawsuit acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others, however, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for its conduct. These types of damages are also intended to deter other would-be defendants from engaging in similar conduct. Unlike traditional damages, these are not directly related to your actual injuries and can oftentimes be much higher than the award for economic and non-economic injuries.
Contact a Miami product liability attorney
If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The first step to recovery is just a free consultation away. Call Miami personal injury attorney Mike Redondo at Redondo Law, P.A. today to find out if you have a product liability case today.