Product manufacturers, retailers, and others are obligated to produce, distribute, and sell products that are reasonably safe. When this doesn’t happen, a product can cause significant injury and open the door to liability. The Northern Virginia personal injury attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP have extensive experience handling product defect cases. We understand what it takes to build a compelling case and hold the responsible parties accountable in court.
Types of Claims Involving Defective Products
Claims involving defective products usually fall into one of three categories:
- Design defects. This means there is something inherently wrong with the design of the product that made it unreasonably safe. Even if the item was manufactured and assembled correctly, it would still be dangerous and have the potential to cause injury.
- Manufacturing defect. Conversely, the design of the product may be perfectly fine, but the specific one that caused injury could have been put together improperly. A manufacturing defect is often the result of a quality control failure or the use of defective parts.
- Failure to warn. A failure to warn happens when the manufacturer doesn’t include warnings or instructions to prevent reasonably foreseeable accidents. Even relatively simple devices like ladders come with numerous warnings and instructions to keep consumers and other users safe.
A number of different people are responsible for getting various products into the hands of consumers. From the designer to the retailer, multiple parties are involved with the item. That means several different parties could be held liable for an injury, including:
- Materials and parts suppliers. Manufacturers usually rely on outside parts suppliers to assemble their products. If those parts are defective, or built with dangerous or unreliable materials, then the product itself could pose a danger.
- Manufacturers. Of course, the manufacturer itself could ultimately be liable for building the product. The manufacturer, which could be anything from a small business to an international corporation, could share blame for poorly designing the product as well.
- Retailers. The retailer bears responsibility if it sells a product it knows to be defective. The retailer could also be liable for improperly storing items or failing to inspect them for problems.
In Northern Virginia, there are generally three causes of action a plaintiff can bring after being injured by a defective product. Those are:
- Negligence. This is the most common theory, and involves showing some act of carelessness or irresponsibility on the part of the manufacturer, retailer, and/or other parties.
- Breach of warranty. Products usually come with both express and implied warranties. These are essentially representations that the item will be safe when used properly.
- Consumer fraud. The Virginia Consumer Protection Act may have additional remedies in the event a manufacturer fraudulently misrepresented the safety of a product to consumers.
What to Do After You’ve Been Injured By a Defective Product
If you’ve been injured, first get the medical attention you need. Next, try to take pictures of the product, the injury, and the product wrapping if you still have it. Keep the product itself along with proof of purchase. Do not attempt to take apart the product or fix it, as this could jeopardize your claim. Also, get copies of your medical records regarding treatment, and proof of any other losses you suffered because of your injuries (such as missed time from work).
You might be tempted to reach out to the store where you purchased the product or the manufacturer. But speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney first. Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP represents the victims of defective products. We will investigate the history of the product, identify potentially liable parties, and demand the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Reach out to us today to get started.