Should I Sue a Faulty Product Manufacturer?
3 Things to Consider Before Filing a Civil Lawsuit
Defective products are quite common. Chances are, you have encountered many faulty products in your life. In most cases, when a product fails to perform as advertised you can simply return it to the place of purchase for exchange or a refund. When a faulty product causes serious personal injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses under various laws that govern the safety of consumer goods, mechanical equipment, medical devices, and medications. Before you make the call to pursue a civil lawsuit against the individuals and/or companies you believe to be at fault, there are 3 things to consider first.
#1 Was the Product Being Used as Intended?
Every product sold to consumers has an intended use. While we often use certain products for other purposes, it is not reasonable to expect the manufacturer to warrant that their product perform safely in every possible circumstance. Take heavy-duty duct tape for example. This product has a reputation for being so strong that it has been used for a wide range of purposes from repairing tents to holding vehicle parts in place, yet the only stated purpose for duct tape is to seal the joints between metal ductwork in HVAC projects. Now, if the company ran an ad showing duct tape being used to repair a tent or hold car parts in place without stating that the product was not intended for that use, you could possibly have an argument that the product is unreasonably safe and defective if it were to fail and cause injury.
#2 Did You Follow the Directions for Use?
Aside from using the product for its intended purpose, it is important to follow the directions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the product performs safely and without undue risk of harm. An example of this would be a hairdryer being used to dry your hair (its intended purpose), but in a manner violating the directions for use, such as in an environment in which you just heavily doused yourself with flammable perfume. If you caught fire as a result of using the product around flammable materials it is unlikely you would have a valid claim. On the other hand if you were using the hair dryer exactly according to the directions, including maintaining it and keeping it free of hair, lint, and debris and it suddenly burst into flames and caught your hair on fire you may just be able to hold the manufacturer accountable.
#3 Did You Heed the Warnings On the Label?
Any product can cause injury if used in certain ways. Manufacturers are required to place warnings of injuries that are possible while using the product. These warnings should indicate what risks are involved and how you can avoid injury by taking proper precautions. In some cases, even if you read the warnings and followed all safety precautions you may still be seriously injured. Typically, if you were warned of the potential for injury yet still decided to use the product knowing the risks involved it may be difficult to claim that the product was defective. In contrast, if the product proved dangerous in some way that wasn’t made obvious, you may have a valid claim. For example, if you were seriously injured while using hedge clippers while being cautious to avoid cutting yourself, yet the item burst into flames, you might have a claim. In contrast, if you failed to heed the warning that the item was sharp and cut yourself the blame will most likely be placed on you.
Find Out If You Have a Defective Product Case
If you did in fact use the product according to its intended use, the injuries you suffered were not mentioned as a risk of using the item, and all directions for proper use were followed, yet you still suffered serious personal harm you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation for your injuries. Keep in mind that unique aspects and specific circumstances apply to each case. Even claims that appear to be straightforward may, in fact, be quite complex. If you believe you have a defective product case, the best way to find out is to request a complimentary case evaluation.
Contact Our Morgantown Personal Injury Lawyers
No Fee Unless We Win Your Case
If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a defective product, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your losses. Cranston & Edwards PLLC is a specialized personal injury firm based in Morgantown, WV. Our AV® Rated law firm works on a contingency basis for those who have been seriously injured or lost a family member due to the negligence or fault of another. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers for effective legal representation, more than 55 years of collective litigation experience, proven skills, and a track record of success. There are absolutely no legal fees until we win your claim. For a free case evaluation, contact us today at 304-296-3500.