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Washington DC Personal injury law firm

Product Liability

Posted on November 9, 2016 to

Experienced Washington DC Product Liability Lawyers

Let a Proven Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC Product Liability Attorney Help!

Dangerous products can be frightening, especially when you hear stories about people involved in fatal car accidents due to dangerous car parts or children badly injured by defective toys. If a defective product has injured you or a loved one, the manufacturer or seller may be held liable for these injuries. This is true whether the product is a motor vehicle, machine, tool, building material, household appliance, personal care product, toy, medication, medical device, food or beverage. A knowledgeable Washington DC product liability lawyer can help you understand the process of filing a claim.

Products Liability Claims Based on Negligence

Product liability may be based on negligence and often results from a design defect, a manufacturing defect or a failure to warn.

  • design defect is a failure by the manufacturer or producer to design the product in a manner that is safe for its intended use. Generally, a design defect can be demonstrated by showing that a particular product could have been designed using a safer method. An example of a design defect is a machine that was designed without a safety device. Such a machine may injure users when it is being used for its intended purpose.
  • Manufacturing defects are defects that occur during the manufacturing process, regardless of the product’s design. Although the product may have been designed safely, the manufacturer made a mistake that made the product unsafe. Examples of these defects include a manufacturer using the wrong materials or forgetting a step during the manufacturing process.
  • failure to warn of a product’s danger involves the manufacturer’s negligence in failing to provide proper instructions about a product’s use. Even the simplest products may be dangerous if not used properly. Accordingly, manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers of any non-obvious dangers associated with the use of their products.

It is important that you have an experienced and winning Washington DC product liability attorney on your side. Our law firm has served many such cases and is well versed in how a manufacturer or company operates and how to obtain the best compensation for you.

Products Liability Claims Based on Strict Liability Theory

Washington DC Product Liability Lawyer - bar code picUnlike negligence claims, which focus on the behavior of the seller, strict liability claims focus on the product itself. Under strict liability, the seller may be held legally responsible for resulting injuries if the product is defective, even if the seller used all possible care in the preparation and sale of the product. Strict products liability applies primarily to manufacturing defects in which an individual was using a product in a manner that was foreseeable by the manufacturer. In some instances, strict products liability theory may also apply to design defects.

Strict liability only applies in cases in which:

  • The seller of the product was a “merchant” (one engaged in the business of selling goods of that particular kind)
  • The product was in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to users or consumers
  • There was no alteration of the product
  • The product was being used for a foreseeable use

Products are considered “defective” where there was either a manufacturing defect or where the consumer can prove that there was a design defect because there was a safer, economical and practical alternative method of designing the product.

Washington DC Product Liability Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Defective And Dangerous Products

What must I prove to win a products liability case?

A products liability case can be based either in strict liability or in negligence. Strict liability only applies to manufacturers that routinely sell that particular type of product. To prove strict liability, you must be able to show that:

  • The product was defective;
  • It injured you; and
  • Your injury was a result of that defect

If a seller cannot be held strictly liable, you must also prove that the seller’s behavior was negligent.

How can I prove that a seller’s behavior was negligent?

Negligent behavior can be proven by showing that there was a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a failure to warn. A design defect is a failure by the manufacturer or producer to design the product in a manner that is safe for its intended use. Generally, a design defect can be demonstrated by showing that a particular product could have been designed using a safer alternative method. An example of a design defect is a machine that was designed without a safety device so that the machine injures users when it is being used for its intended purpose.

Manufacturing defects are defects that occur during the manufacturing process, regardless of the product’s design. Although the product may have been designed safely, the manufacturer made a mistake that made the product unsafe. Examples of these defects include a manufacturer using the wrong materials or forgetting a step during the manufacturing process.

A failure to warn of a product’s danger involves the manufacturer’s negligence in failing to provide proper instructions about a product’s use. Even the simplest products may be dangerous if not used properly. Accordingly, manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers of any non-obvious dangers associated with the use of their products.

When can a manufacturer be held strictly liable?

Strict liability only applies to manufacturers that routinely sell that particular type of product. To prove strict liability, you must be able to show that the product was defective and that, as a result of that defect, you were injured.

Products are considered “defective” where there was either a manufacturing defect or where the consumer can prove that there was another safer way to design the product.

How long do I have to file my case?

Each state has its own statute of limitations, which is the time you have file suit. The statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the injury. If you have been injured, you should immediately contact a product liability attorney to determine how long you have to file suit.

What compensation may I recover?

In a products liability case, you may be able to recover:

  • Compensatory damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damage

Compensatory damages are those used to cover medical bills, lost wages due to an inability to work, and any property damage caused by a defective product.

Pain and suffering damages are those paid to compensate you for the pain endured due to your injury.

Loss of consortium is a special kind of damages intended to compensate for any negative consequences your spouse’s injury has had on your relationship. Generally, loss of consortium applies where a spouse was killed or received severe permanent injuries that require the other spouse to care for him or her.

What should I do if I have been injured by a defective product?

If a defective product has injured you, you may be able to bring a products liability suit against the manufacturer or seller for compensation for your disability, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. As promptly as possible after the injury, you should try your best to preserve the product in the same condition it was in when it caused the injury.

You should contact one of our Washington DC product liability attorneys to assist you in evaluating whether you may have a viable legal claim and in identifying any responsible parties. It is important to seek legal advice promptly because your right to obtain monetary relief may be lost if you wait too long.

If you need assistance in your products liability claim, an experienced Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia injury attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. is available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

If You Have Been Injured by a Defective Product

If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be able to bring a products liability suit against the manufacturer or seller for compensation for your disability, pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. As promptly as possible after the injury, you should try your best to preserve the product in the same condition it was in when it caused the injury. Contact a Washington DC product liability lawyer to assist you in evaluating whether you may have a viable legal claim and in identifying any responsible parties.