Product Liability Claims in Personal Injury Cases
Every year a staggering number of people are injured or killed in the United States because of unreasonably dangerous products. These injuries and losses come at a substantial price to consumers and to the U.S. economy in general. In fact, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development it was recently estimated that the cost to this country from unsafe consumer products comes to about one trillion dollars. From children's toys to step ladders and from shoes to pressure cookers, unsafe products can cause injuries and death to unsuspecting consumers. When you or a loved one has been the victim, you can do something about it. A personal injury claim can bring about accountability and compensation for your losses.
Examples of Product Liability Claims
The types of product liability claims are as varied as the types of consumer products on the market. Examples include unstable shoes (with no warning), pressure cookers that explode, toys with small separating parts and step ladders that are unstable. When a manufacturer sells a product that is in a defective condition such that it is unreasonably dangerous to the consumer, they may be held strictly (automatically) liable for the injuries and losses caused. This doctrine of strict liability can be used to impose liability on the manufacturers of just about any product that can and does cause injury.
By way of example, one of the more topical products liability claims in the United States today has to do with the weed killer Roundup and the claims that it causes cancer. There have been several trial verdicts here in California in which juries have found Roundup caused or contributed to the development of cancer in the consumers using the product. The owner of Roundup (Bayer AG) has appealed the awards but without much success. In fact, according to a Bloomberg report just today, a U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to overturn a 2019 decision in the only case to go to trial in federal court.
What To Do When You Have Been a Victim
When you or a loved one believe you have been the victim of a defective product, if at all possible you should keep and preserve the product so it can be tested and/or used in a future personal injury claim. Unfortunately, many people sometimes react to being injured by throwing away what has caused them harm. This is especially true where the product is food. If you are a customer in a restaurant and the food you eat causes an injury to your mouth or teeth, keep whatever you can of the food. At a minimum, it helps to carefully and closely photograph the product or food causing harm. Sometimes this is just not possible, such as when you eat tainted food and only develop symptoms hours or days later. In those instances, it is a good idea to make sure you keep credit card receipts and any other proof of what you bought and when and where you bought it.
In addition to maintaining the product, photographs or proof of purchase, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible after a product related injury. This will help you and others determine whether the injury was indeed caused by the product and will aid in documenting the full nature and extent of the injury. A perfectly valid personal injury claim can be weakened greatly if there is no medical documentation to prove a product-related injury. Manufacturers and their insurance companies often argue a delay in treatment or absence of medical documentation prove the lack of any serious injury or a product-related injury at all. Documenting the injury can be as simple as a visit to the local urgent care so that a health care professional has evaluated the injury, its cause and the need for treatment. The cost of this initial treatment is a recoverable element of your damages in the related personal injury claim.
A Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one think a product has caused injury, getting the help of an experienced product liability attorney can help you determine whether you have a valid claim. Mr. Ralph has 30 years of experience handling products liability and other personal injury claims. Initial consultations are always free and are as easy as picking up the phone or sending an e-mail with the facts of your potential case. A response to your inquiry will be provided promptly and what is discussed remains entirely confidential. Don't let an injury get you down and keep you down.