When you purchase a product, you expect that it will operate safely and without risk of harm. Unfortunately, far too many people discover that products they’ve purchased are actually very dangerous and can leave them or their family members suffering from property damage or serious injuries.
Dangerous consumer products can cause devastating injuries and leave many people to file lawsuits in an attempt to recover compensation in order to gain the means to move on with their lives. This raises the question for many of those victims: “When should I sue for product liability?” This is because it does not always make sense to file a product liability lawsuit. Knowing how these accidents happen and the different circumstances that can lead to a product liability lawsuit can empower you with the appropriate information to make the best decision based on your specific needs.
The support of an experienced product liability lawyer can also help you navigate this process and help you decide when you should indeed file a lawsuit. Even though consumer product injuries decreased by 18% in 2020, dangerous products can and do still cause unnecessary damage. The top three consumer product related injuries are associated with stairs, ramps, floors, landings, beds, pillows, mattresses, chairs, sofas, and beds. Other dangerous products that many people do not expect to be harmful include soaps, detergents, television stands and sets, and cooking ranges and ovens. The more you understand about defective products and product liability, the easier it is to make a decision about moving forward with a legal claim.
As a victim, you might think the case facts are pretty clear and that the manufacturer should be held accountable. However, it’s still your job to present a compelling case in court arguing those same facts. The more organized you can be in telling your side of the story, the easier it will be to move the case forward either to settlement discussions or through the trial case, if needed.
Understanding Product Liability
Product liability claims involve allegations against the manufacturer of a product—or someone else involved in the manufacturing process—of a defective or a dangerous product. These processes usually involve a knowledgeable product liability lawyer who can help you to figure out the chain of distribution and explain how joint and several liability works when you have to sue more than one defendant.
At the start of the distribution chain, for example, is the manufacturer of the person who made the product that caused your injury. These manufacturers can run from solopreneurs all the way to national companies, and all of these factors can influence how you decide to answer the question: when should I sue for product liability?
You can sue for product liability when you have been seriously injured due to a product's improper safety information or when the product does not function as expected. There are three primary factors that can make up the basis of a product liability case. These are products that have been defectively manufactured, products that have been defectively designed, and products that do not have an appropriate warning about their dangerous elements. In all of these circumstances, you can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party, but this frequently begins with an investigation of who that responsible party is which is managed by a product liability lawyer. If your claim involves any allegations of a manufacturing defect, for example, you could also include quality control engineers that the manufacturer uses to make sure that their product is safe. In the event that the claim has to do with a design defect, you might also determine whether or not there are any design experts used by the manufacturer.
Finally, if your claim has to do with a failure to warn or failing to provide appropriate instructions, any outside experts that were retained by that manufacturer to help create those instructions could also be sued in the process. Even though the person who ultimately sold the end product in their store probably didn't make it, that individual could in some circumstances still be potentially liable for providing a dangerous product for sale. This does not apply in all cases, so you want to discuss the specifics with your lawyer.
This is not an issue of selecting one defendant over another, and this is why you need to involve an experienced product liability lawyer to investigate the entire chain of distribution.
There are a couple of other things that are important to consider when you are deciding when you should sue for product liability. First of all, you don't necessarily have to be the buyer of the product. You still could be able to recover compensation if you borrowed someone else's product. You also don't have to be the product user to sue for product liability. Even if you were injured by a defective product that someone else was using, you could still be eligible to file a product liability claim.
You also could potentially recover compensation for used products in very specific situations. When the retailing manufacturer or any other person is part of a chain of distribution in the defective product, this means they can usually be held liable.