A product liability claim can be complex, extensive, and involve top-tier lawyers for the defense. If you’re trying to file a suit against a manufacturer due to a defective product that burst into flames, the case can take years to settle.
If you’re dealing with product liability, there is a lot that you should be careful not to do.
5 Things Not to Do When Dealing with a Product Liability Claim
1. Don’t File a Lawsuit Without a Lawyer
Product liability is very complex, and you will need to prove that the injuries were caused by a product that was:
- Used properly and as intended
- Not modified
- Responsible for causing injuries or damages
The defense will work to cast doubt on your claim and will want to pay out as little as possible. Seller liability may or may not be involved, depending on your state, and the court may decide that you did have some fault in your case.
Product liability can also have joint or several liability.
More than one party may be liable. The state will decide if you can pursue your case against one party and will allow the respective party to seek compensation from the other at-fault parties.
There may also be limits on the award that you can seek. Some states have limits on both injury and punitive damages.
A lawyer will be able to determine if you have a viable case, if pursuing a case is worth the expense, and which parties to hold liable.
2. Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Product Liability Claim
Mulling over filing a claim is common. You may procrastinate, doubt whether or not you even have a claim, and take your time deciding to file. The more time that passes, however, the harder it will be to argue your case.
As soon as an injury or damages occur due to a faulty product, you should contact an attorney in order to discuss your possible claim. Don’t let your time run out and miss out on the compensation you deserve.
3. Don’t Ignore Medical Attention
If you suffer burns, bruises, eye injury, or any other injury, seek medical attention immediately. One of the key reasons for losing a claim or having a claim dismissed is that there were no documented injuries. If you don’t seek medical attention, there’s no way to prove that the product actually caused you harm.
Be sure to seek medical attention and adhere to the advice of your doctors.
If you fail to adhere to your doctor’s advice, the defense can argue that your own negligence led to your injuries worsening.
Medical attention also allows you to have a point of reference for your:
4. Don’t Automatically Assume You Have a Case
You might think that you have a product liability claim when you don’t. Filing a claim with no legal basis is not ideal. An attorney will best be able to determine if you have a case and if you should file a product liability claim.
When a defect in a vehicle causes an accident or causes or increases someone’s injuries from an accident, the applicable law is product liability law. This type of lawsuit would be handled by an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases.
Product liability should not be confused with Lemon Law.
Liz Gayle, a California Lemon Law Attorney, explains: “A Lemon Law case usually also involves a defect in a vehicle, but the vehicle has not yet caused an accident or injuries. It has been at a dealership for repair repeatedly or for many days and still is not fixed. This type of lawsuit would be handled by an attorney who specializes in Lemon Law cases.”
There are a few reasons that you may not have a case:
- The injury was due to an inherent product risk
- Your recklessness (or the recklessness of the person who used the product) led to the injury
- You used a product past its expiration date or failed to adhere to recall notices
- There were no real damages
- There is no way to verify your injuries were caused by the defect
- You used the product in a way that it was not intended to be used
- The product was modified in some way
Before assuming that you have a case, be sure to discuss the incident with a lawyer.
5. Don’t Settle Without Consulting With a Lawyer
If you decide to file a claim on your own, you may be offered a settlement. The goal of a settlement is to not drag out the proceedings and try to avoid litigation costs. It’s often in the best interest of the defendant to settle to save money.
When a settlement offer comes in, the defense can be intimidating and very convincing.
Lawyers know that the first settlement offer is a starting point. It’s expected that you’ll negotiate, and you should try negotiating to receive a settlement that is in your best interest.
If you decide to take the first offer, you’re likely choosing to settle for less than you deserve.
A product liability claim is complex and requires proof that you were using the product as intended and a defect of some kind led to injuries. If you believe that you may be able to file a claim, call Product Liability Lawyer to substantiate your claim and estimate how much your claim may be worth.