Product liability is the area of law that deals with defective and dangerous products injuring consumers. Manufacturing companies must maintain high standards of care in the design, production and manufacturing of their products. When they breach these duties, intentionally or negligently, consumers can pay the price.
If you have an injury from a defective product in Fairfax or if you believe a loved one died due to an item’s defect, do not wait to contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP for a free initial legal consultation. Our Virginia product liability attorneys can help you understand the elements of your case and fight for financial compensation, if applicable. Speak to a lawyer at no obligation today at (703) 218-4410.
Why Choose Us?
- We have more than four decades of experience representing plaintiffs during personal injury and product liability claims throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.
- We have obtained outstanding results in our years representing clients. Our case successes document multimillion-dollar outcomes as well as highly satisfied clients.
- We are one of the largest and most well-respected plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in our region. Five of our lawyers have won the honor of Best Lawyers in America.
- We represent product liability claimants in Fairfax on a contingency fee basis, with no attorney’s fees charged upfront. You will only pay after we obtain compensation on your behalf.
What You Need a Defective Products Lawyer For
Product liability law is a complex field with unique factors compared to general personal injury claims. The legal process can involve multiple theories of liability, including negligence and breach of contract. It can be difficult to understand and navigate these laws on your own. A simple mistake could delay the processing of your claim or even interfere with your ability to recover financial compensation.
Hiring a defective products lawyer in Virginia could take the burden of legal action off your shoulders. Your lawyer can handle tasks such as negotiating with insurance adjusters and bringing your claim to trial on your behalf while you focus on healing from your injuries. If you suffered catastrophic injuries or a loved one died, it is even more important to hire a lawyer. Otherwise, the insurance carrier of the product manufacturer might try to convince you to settle for a lowball amount that does not meet your needs.
Product manufacturing companies do not want to maximize your financial recovery. They want to minimize or eliminate it to save themselves and their investors money. Conversations with insurance companies, therefore, might not go your way. If you retain an attorney to represent your rights and interests during a defective product claim, however, you can rest assured someone is fighting for maximum compensation on your behalf using all possible outlets and strategies.
Negligence in Product Liability
The three legal doctrines that apply to most product liability claims in Virginia are negligence, breach of contract and strict liability. The doctrine your case will use depends on its factors. Negligence is a common doctrine for personal injury and wrongful death claims of all kinds. Negligence is the violation of a duty of care to the victim, such as the duty to manufacture reasonably safe products. Proving negligence generally requires proof of four essential elements.
- Duty of care owed. All manufacturers in the US owe a duty to exercise reasonable care in the creation of its products. This responsibility includes obeying related federal safety laws, properly testing and inspecting products, marketing items correctly, and recalling items with known defects.
- Duty of care breached. The manufacturer in your case must be guilty of a breach of duty of care to bring a claim based on negligence in Fairfax. A breach of duty can refer to any act or failure to act that another entity would not have committed in similar circumstances.
- Actual cause. The violated standard or duty of care must be the proximate cause of your injury or a family member’s death. The manufacturer’s negligence must be the reason the defective product injured you; in other words, your injuries would not have occurred were it not for the defendant’s negligence.
- Damages inflicted. The manufacturing company’s breach of duty of care must have given you real and compensable damages. In Virginia, compensable damages can include physical injuries, health care bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Proof of damages can include photographs, pay stubs and medical documents.
If a manufacturing facility or distributor breached any duties of care to you as a consumer, and this caused your injury or someone’s death, it may owe you compensation based on the legal theory of negligence. Many manufacturers are guilty of negligence such as skipping steps or cutting corners to increase profits. Others intentionally break the rules to cut costs or protect their reputations. Any provable act of negligence could force a manufacturer or distributor to pay for your related damages.
What Is Strict Liability?
Many product liability lawsuits in Virginia use the theory of strict liability rather than negligence. Strict liability means the manufacturer or distributor of the product will be liable for injured consumers’ damages whether or not the company was negligent. Even if the defendant did everything he or she reasonably could have to create a safe product, if the product contained a defect that injured someone, the company could be financially responsible based on the doctrine of strict product liability. Strict liability might take effect if you or your lawyer can show proof of one of three types of product defects.
- Design mistake. A design mistake is an error while contriving, planning or creating the blueprints for the product. A design mistake can lead to items that are inherently too dangerous for consumers to use even if manufactured correctly. An example is a piece of playground equipment with a design that poses the risk of child entrapment.
- Manufacturing error. A manufacturing error is a mistake during the assembly or production of a product that makes it dangerous. The company might not notice a manufacturing mistake until consumers come forward with incident or injury complaints. An example is a batch of spinach contaminated with E. coli.
- Marketing defect. A marketing defect is a problem with the item’s advertising, marketing or instructions that make it unreasonably dangerous for consumers to use. The company must adequately warn consumers of any known risks of the product. An example of this type of defect is a children’s toy that is only safe for children three and up that does not have a label with an age minimum.
If you or your product liability lawyer from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can prove the product that injured you contained one of these defects, and that the product is responsible for the injuries you are claiming, you will not need to establish negligence. It will be enough to demonstrate the existence of the defect and the cause of injury. Our attorneys can review your individual case to let you know if we believe the doctrine of strict liability will apply.
The Different Types of Defective Products
In more than 40 years representing injured clients throughout the region, our product liability lawyers have helped people deal with claims involving all types of defective and dangerous items. We understand how these cases work and how to protect consumers’ rights against all types of manufacturing companies in Virginia. We have the experience to help you go up against a manufacturer and/or distributor for any type of defective product.
- Appliances and furniture
- Chemicals and cleaners
- Children’s toys
- Construction equipment
- E-cigarettes and vapes
- Electrical equipment
- Medical devices
- Playground equipment
- Vehicles and car parts
A defect with any type of consumer product could potentially cause personal injuries and wrongful deaths. No matter what type of product you believe caused you or a loved one’s recent injuries, contact us to discuss the possibility of bringing a lawsuit. One or multiple parties may owe you financial compensation for several different damages.
What Must Be Proven To Win a Defective Products Case?
The proof required for a defective products case will depend on the legal doctrine the case involves. The doctrine you or your lawyer use to bring your case will determine how many elements you must establish for damage recovery. In general, a claim based on negligence or breach of contract will have greater evidentiary standards than one based on strict liability.
A breach of contract case is similar to a negligence case in that the requirements for compensation include the plaintiff establishing the company’s neglect to fulfill the terms of a contract, guarantee or promise. Your attorney will need to show evidence of the existence of a valid contract or agreement between you and the product manufacturer, a breach of this contract and subsequent related damages to win your case.
The burden of proof in all civil claims, including those centered on product liability, is a preponderance of the evidence. Rather than the requirement to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as is the case in criminal law, you or your attorney must only prove your argument is more likely to be true than not true. An attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can help you with the specific elements and burden of proof in your Fairfax product liability lawsuit.
What Compensation Is Available for Defective Products Cases?
A successful product liability lawsuit in Virginia could yield financial recovery for all the damages you and your family sustained because of the defective or dangerous product. If a defective car part caused a catastrophic car accident, for example, the manufacturing company may owe you compensation for your bodily injuries and vehicle damages. You may be eligible for many different types of damages for a defective product depending on the case.
- Medical costs of an injury. You could recover the price of all past and future medical bills, including money spent on doctor’s appointments, specialists, procedures, medications, medical devices and nursing care.
- Losses connected to a disability. If the defective product permanently injured you, you may be eligible for lifelong benefits for losses such as missed earning opportunities and disability accommodations.
- Loss of income. Any missed paychecks from having to stay home from work while you undergo treatments or recover from your serious injury are recoverable in Virginia.
- Noneconomic damages. You may recover a compensatory award for intangible damages such as emotional distress, anguish and trauma, as well as any physical pain and suffering or lost quality of life.
- Property damages, if applicable. Some defective products, such as those that cause fires and explosions, could lead to the damage or loss of property. The defendant may owe you money to repair or replace this damaged property.
- Legal fees and court costs. The defendant might owe you compensation to make up for any attorney’s fees, legal costs and courtroom expenses connected to bringing your product liability lawsuit.
- Death benefits for a deceased loved one. If a defective item killed your loved one, the defendant might owe your family members payment for lost future wages, loss of consortium, funeral and burial expenses, and more.
- Punitive or exemplary damages. Punitive damages might increase your final award amount if a judge believes it is just to punish the defendant for engaging in gross negligence, maliciousness or fraud.
The value of your product liability lawsuit in Virginia will depend on many factors unique to your claim. Our product liability lawyers can review your specific case and give you an accurate estimate of how much we believe the defendant owes you. From there, we can help you negotiate with the defendant’s insurance provider for fair and full financial compensation. If the defendant refuses to meet our demands, we can represent you during a product liability trial in Fairfax County instead. We are the best when it comes to all types of personal injury claims in Fairfax & Virginia.
Contact a Fairfax, VA Product Liability Lawyer Today
Defendants, legal doctrines, elements of a claim, burdens of proof and statutes of limitations are all things our lawyers at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can handle for you during a Fairfax product liability claim. We can walk you through the laws related to your specific case and help you go up against a large and powerful manufacturing facility in Virginia. No matter what type of product caused your injury or what diagnosis a physician recently gave you, contact us to discuss a case with lawyers who are passionate about helping injured consumers. Call (703) 498-2929 today to schedule your free product liability case review in Fairfax.