Virginia Product Liability Attorney
In our consumer-driven society, we buy and use products every day without giving a second thought that the products we buy are safe and will work like they are supposed to. With all the consumer product safety laws in place and government agencies regulating foods, drugs, automobiles and household products, surely manufacturers test their products and have procedures in place to make sure every unit that leaves the factory was designed and manufactured according to acceptable standards.
As consumers, we have no way of knowing what steps manufacturers are taking for our safety. In fact, we have no way of knowing if the product we purchased is safe. We only know after we used the product if it worked as it should or if instead we became ill or injured. Of course, after an injury, it’s too late to do anything except seek medical attention and try to find a way to hold the manufacturer accountable so the same harm doesn’t happen to someone else. MichieHamlett can help you do that. Our skilled Virginia product liability attorneys work to hold the largest manufacturers – including automotive companies – accountable for the harm they have caused. If you believe you have been harmed by a dangerously defective product in Virginia, call MichieHamlett for a free consultation regarding any potential claims you may have.
What Are the Different Kinds of Product Defects?
Product defects generally fall into one of three different categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn or marketing defects.
Examples of products that are dangerously designed include cars that roll over too easily or explode after a relatively minor impact, appliances that don’t shut off if they get knocked over or are left on too long, or power tools that don’t come equipped with safety guards. When a product is defectively designed, every unit produced carries that defect. Not everyone who uses the product will necessarily get injured, but the potential is there.
Even products that are designed for safety can be faulty because of a glitch in the factory machinery, an untrained or negligent worker, or the use of substandard materials. When a product fails due to a manufacturing defect, it can be hard to know whether other units are also defective, and if so, how many.
Failure to Warn Defects
Products can be safely designed and manufactured but still carry defects if they don’t contain adequate warnings about dangers or instructions for their safe use. If a product should be kept away from children, only used in well-ventilated areas, not mixed with other products, or only used with protective gloves, masks or eyewear, then these warnings need to be clearly marked on product packaging, instructional materials or the product itself. Warnings should be easy to understand and easy to notice.
How Do You Hold a Company Liable for Defective Products?
In most of the country, state laws hold manufacturers strictly liable for injuries caused by defective products. There, it is not necessary to prove negligence or fault on the part of the manufacturer; you merely have to show that the product was defective when it left their control, and this defect caused an injury. Virginia, however, does not follow “strict liability.” Here, to hold the manufacturer liable, it’s essential to prove they were negligent. The elements of a product liability case in Virginia include:
- Proving the product had a defect the could foreseeably cause harm;
- Proving you were using the product for the purpose it was intended, without any alteration from its original condition when purchased, and;
- Proving that you were injured as a direct result of the defect and suffered demonstrable damages.
Products liability cases are complex and challenging to pursue. Often the defendants are large corporations with armies of lawyers and in-house legal departments. The evidence you need to prove your case might be in the hands of the defendant, and despite laws requiring them to turn over documents and evidence, corporations have been known to bury documents and hide them from the courts and opposing parties.
You will want to have an attorney who understands product liability law and handles defective product cases regularly. In Virginia, the product liability attorneys at MichieHamlett have extensive experience recovering damages for clients who have been injured, both in individual cases and class actions. Class-action lawsuits can be particularly appropriate in products liability cases where multiple people may potentially be injured, and it takes a large class-action case to force the corporation to take notice and change their design or manufacturing process.
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.
Legal Advice and Help After a Product Defect Injury in Virginia
If you believe that you or a member of your family has been harmed by a defective product, call the Virginia products liability lawyers at MichieHamlett for a free consultation. We can be reached at 434-951-7200 or 800-451-1288, or you can fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.