All product liability claims are unique. But at the same time, they will also all contain the same basic components and premises. What is needed to make one product liability claim is needed to make the next.
There are four elements needed in a product liability case:
- Defective product: Of course, it probably goes without saying that there must be a defective product in order for there to be a defective product claim. Defective products come in all types, though. Everything from a power tool or a flat-screen television to an automobile or a prescription drug are products, and all of them can be defective due to an error of the manufacturer, distributor, or vendor.
- Intended use: For the most part, you must have been using the defective product as it was intended to be used. Tampering with a product, intentionally damaging it, or using it in a way that the average person reasonably would not have done could jeopardize your case by taking liability away from the product maker. However, most product makers are strictly liable for harm caused by their products, even when someone is hurt while not following the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. As long as you weren’t being reckless or unreasonable with the product, you probably still have a valid claim.
- Injury: You must have suffered an injury that caused damages for your product liability claim to be valid. Not all injuries cause damages. For example, a scratch on your arm that barely draws blood and heals within a few hours arguably does not cause any damages because you don’t need medical attention, did not endure great pain, and were not psychologically scarred by the event. On the other hand, a severe injury will cause financial, physical, and emotional damage.
- Causation: Lastly, there must be more than a speculative link between your injury and the defective product. Causation can be proved with tangible evidence, like pictures of the defect and the injury you suffered because of it. Testimonies from other injured consumers, medical experts, and engineers can also be useful in showing that the product was harmful and more than likely caused your injury.
Keep the Product & Packaging
You should keep the defective product and any packaging that came with it, including instructions. The product maker will probably tell you to send it back to them, so they can inspect or replace it. You are under no obligation to send it back. As the owner of the product, it is yours to keep, even if you are accusing the product of being dangerous.
Your product liability attorney should be the one who makes the decision to send back the product or not. They will want to inspect it for themselves and possibly show it to an expert, like a product engineer, who can detail all of its flaws and how those contributed to your accident. After your lawyer is satisfied that they have as much information and evidence as they can get from the product, then they might say it is fine to send it to the product maker.
Summary of What You Need for a Product Liability Claim
- Defective product
- Intended use
- Product and packaging
Do you need help managing a product liability claim in Rapid City, South Dakota? Make Whiting Hagg & Dorsey, LLP the first law firm you call for help. With more than 150 years of combined attorney experience, we are more than capable of challenging virtually any product maker and insurance company head-on. Contact us now to learn more about our services and your options after being hurt by a defective product of any sort.