Do You Need Product Liability Help?
March 18, 2014 @ 9:30 am
When you buy a product, a minimum level of safety should be part of its guarantee. But when a product’s design, a manufacturing flaw, the lack of safety information, or a breach of express warranty injures you, you might be able to recoup the costs stemming from injury. These four types of issues can lead to defective product liability claims, requiring an experienced lawyer on your side.
In Louisiana, personal injury cases due to products causing injuries are governed by the Louisiana Product Liability Act, or LPLA. In all such cases in Louisiana, the harm must have come from a defect in the product while it was in regular use.
Four Types of Cases
Most products are not 100% perfect. But when a product is “unreasonably dangerous” due to (1) a manufacturing defect, (2) unsafe design, (3) failure to warn, or (4) breach of express warranty, you may have legal recourse. Often, an injury due to an unreasonably dangerous product involves claims under each of these four theories of liability, or of some combination of claims under the four theories.
Sometimes, even a generally safe product can be made improperly. Many products have a quality control department, but mistakes slip through. Factory contamination, improper construction and missing parts can all lead to injuries. In these cases, called “manufacturing defect” cases, your case hinges on proving that your injury was caused by a product rendered defective by a manufacturing error.
There are other products that are unsafe by the virtue of their design. A common example of a claim for unsafe design occurs when a person is injured due to an automobile defect which is later recalled by the manufacturer, such as an unsafe seatbelt design, wheel attachment system, or rollover threshold. These types of claims usually involve weighing the utility of the design versus the risk it creates.
Inadequate warning or instruction by the producer, might, in and of itself, create an unsafe situation. While many products are dangerous to a certain degree, an adequate warning may insulate the manufacturer from liability due to an accident involving that product. However, many manufacturers do not place proper warnings on products for a number of reasons. For example, a drug manufacturer may not want to place a warning in its label of a certain side effect of a drug, in order to protect sales of the drug. Another reason is that the company may not want to incur the costs of placing an adequate warning, which in turn places a product in the marketplace which consumers do not know is unsafe.
The fourth type of claim under the LPLA is breach of express warranty. This type of claim involves a product which causes an injury despite an express warranty to the contrary.
Who to Claim?
The rule of thumb is to include all parties in the chain of distribution in your case. This includes the manufacturer, retailer and distributors of the product in question. Including all these parties in your claim ensures that you get the best chance possible to have the liable individuals pay for their negligence.
Damages are compensation for economic and non-monetary losses due to your injury. These include medical expenses, costs of adjusting your lifestyle, loss of wages or profits, property loss, and pain and suffering. You should include expenses for which you already have been or would be reimbursed by your insurance, as the company may ask for the payments back under what is called a subrogation claim.
If you believe you might have a case, contact an experienced attorney in your area to hash out the details before beginning to send out claims. Legal cases are complicated, and it pays to have experience on your side during such a delicate time. A trustworthy attorney will know which details to look for and forms to file in order to get you the compensation that you deserve.