In our society, virtually everything we use each day is designed, produced, and distributed by someone else. We are a consumer-based economy, and we depend on businesses to produce the goods we use. In doing so, these businesses make profits for their owners. But with the opportunity to profit comes a duty to the consumer to do no harm. A company that breaches this duty can face a lawsuit and be forced to compensate one or more victims for defective product injuries.
Any item that is produced for the U.S. market could harm a consumer: food, beverages, cars, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles, tires, toys, power tools, furniture and kitchen appliances, electronics, computers, medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, and other consumer goods all have the potential for causing injury if they are not designed, produced, and distributed with proper care.
Proving Your Case
When you acquire a product and use it as directed, you should never have to worry that you will come to harm as a result. Unlike most other states, Virginia law does not apply the doctrine of “strict liability” to legal actions regarding injuries from defective products, so your lawyer will need to prove negligence on the part of the designer, manufacturer (or manufacturer of a component part), or distributor of a product placed on the market for consumption by the public. These are the elements you will need to prove:
- That the product had a defect that foreseeably could cause harm;
- That you were using the product for the purpose it was intended, without any alteration from its original condition when purchased, and;
- That as a direct result of a defect in the product, you suffered demonstrable damages.
You will want to have an attorney who understands product liability law and handles defective product cases regularly. In Virginia, the product liability attorneys in the personal injury group of the MichieHamlett law firm in Charlottesville have extensive experience recovering damages for clients who have been injured, both in individual and class actions.
Where and When Defects Occur
Defects in products responsible for injury to a consumer can occur at various stages along the chain of production and distribution, from conception to sale, from design to the hands of the consumer, including:
- The product may be poorly designed with an inherent defect.
- A defect may occur in the manufacturing process.
- A defect may occur in faulty labeling or incorrect, misleading, or confusing instructions for using the product. “Failure to warn” defects occur when possible dangers are not communicated on the label or in the instructional materials.
Free Defective Product Consultation
When you or a member of your family has suffered an injury as a result of using a consumer product, we will investigate the circumstances of your injury and the defect that caused it, bringing in industrial engineers and other experts to help prepare your case for presentation to a jury. We are often able to settle these cases out of court, but if going to trial is the only way to get you an appropriate recovery, we will be fully prepared for trial. We will pursue not only a recovery of your financial damages but will seek compensation for damages to your quality of life as well. In addition, in the event of a particularly egregious disregard for the potential danger of an obvious defect, we will often request punitive damages to deter the wrongdoer from allowing similar dangers to consumers to occur in the future.
Call the Charlottesville personal injury lawyers at MichieHamlett today for a free consultation. It will cost you nothing—either now or later—unless and until we win money for you.