Where Can I Find Help for My Product Liability Cases in Chicago?332 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 900
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Product Liability Cases in Chicago
You may be wondering what to do if you’ve suffered an illness or injury resulting from a defective product. After all, large businesses and corporations make most products, and who are you to file a lawsuit against them? However, there are laws in place that protect average citizens from the financial repercussions caused by a defective product.
Every product sold in the United States must be properly inspected and tested before being sold to the general public. There are rules in place for quality control that companies must follow.
When there’s a possibility of consumer injuries related to the use of a product, the company must make sure that they include an appropriate warning label on the product’s packaging.
Despite the number of rules governing product safety, thousands of Americans suffer from injuries each year due to defective products. Injuries can vary from mild to severe and sometimes result in a fatality.
You might be asking yourself, “Where can I find help for my product liability cases in Chicago?” The skilled legal team at Morgan & Morgan has extensive experience in Chicago product liability cases.
We can help you obtain compensation from big companies that produce defective products. Use our contact form today to schedule a complimentary case consultation and review.
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What Is the Chicago Law Concerning Defective Products?
Chicago adheres to strict liability law in cases of defective products. Under strict liability, any individual or entity involved in producing goods for sale is strictly liable for any injuries the product causes, provided that the injured party can prove a few elements. Case elements to be met under strict liability include:
Product Was Unreasonably Dangerous
Some products contain inherent risks. For example, cigarettes are known to cause lung cancer and other diseases, while individuals who purchase a gun take on the chance that they may harm themselves or others if they use the gun unsafely.
However, if the product contains a defect, it may be considered unreasonably dangerous, even if it carries inherent risk. If a consumer purchases a gun, they expect it to operate according to its specifications. However, if the firearm suddenly backfires on its own, with no apparent cause, it is likely unreasonably dangerous.
A product doesn’t have to carry an inherent risk to be considered unreasonably dangerous. Someone who purchases a T-shirt probably expects it to be a benign piece of clothing they can wear at home or while running errands.
However, if the T-shirt contains a dye that causes severe skin damage, a court may declare the T-shirt to be unreasonably dangerous.
No Modifications to the Product Were Expected
Products typically take some time before they become available to the public. They’re manufactured, then shipped to a retail store or warehouse before being sold.
During the manufacturing process, various ingredients or parts may need to be combined to produce the product. In some cases, further modifications are necessary for the product to go to market.
Consider a manufacturer of automobile airbags. The company produces the airbags and ships them to a car manufacturer that uses them in its vehicles. The car manufacturer places an airbag inside a vehicle’s steering wheel, and in doing so, makes certain adjustments before sending it to dealerships.
Now consider what would happen if the car manufacturer failed to make the required adjustments to the airbag for a single vehicle. That car is later involved in a severe accident, and the airbag fails to explode.
Since the airbag manufacturer provided the part, but the car manufacturer failed to make the requisite adjustments, the airbag manufacturer would likely not be strictly liable. Instead, the court would attribute the product defect to the automobile company.
Consumer Suffered Injuries
There may not be grounds for a defective product case if the consumer did not suffer injuries associated with using the product. For instance, if a consumer notices that something appears wrong with a chair they purchased but don’t use, they won’t be able to file a claim.
If they later take the chair to have it checked at the retail outlet, and the retailer notes that it has a broken leg, there is no claim, even though the chair is defective.
To have a case, the consumer must prove that using the defective product resulted in injuries. Consumers should return faulty products that don’t cause damage for a replacement product or a refund. If the consumer files a case against the manufacturer, the court will likely throw it out because it hasn’t caused any injuries.
Consumer Use of the Product Was Reasonable
Finally, the consumer must prove that they used the defective per reasonable expectations or in compliance with the product’s instructions. If the consumer used the product in an unreasonable manner, the claim might not stick.
For example, consider a consumer who purchases a board game. Most people would expect the consumer to play the board game with friends or family. However, if they use pieces of the board game as ingredients for a cake they bake, and someone chokes on them, the board game manufacturer wouldn’t be liable for a defective product.
Normal use of the game pieces would not include using them as ingredients in a cake. The person baking the cake would know that putting in-game pieces could cause harm to someone eating the cake. In this case, the court would dismiss the claim because the consumer unreasonably used the product.
What Are the Most Common Types of Defects in a Chicago Product Liability Case?
Three main types of product defects result in product liability cases. They include design, manufacturing, and marketing defects.
A design defect occurs when the manufacturer or company designs a product in a way that leads to unexpected injury.
For instance, a kitchen knife that unexpectedly snaps in half may have a defective design if the accident occurs while using it in its usual manner. The knife’s design may include the wrong type of metal or a handle that detaches too easily with regular use.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a company improperly assembles a product during production. A single product or dozens of products could be defective.
Consider a pair of sneakers. The shoe designer uses an appropriate form, but during the manufacturing process, the company fails to adhere the soles of the shoes properly. A consumer purchases the damaged sneakers and proceeds to use them on a run. While running, the sneakers become detached, and the runner falls, breaking her ankle.
In this case, the runner may be able to prove a manufacturing defect in the shoes.
A marketing defect claim arises when a company fails to appropriately label its packaging with potential risks or harms that can occur with the product’s usage.
For instance, a pack of cigarettes sold without the appropriate warning from the surgeon general has a marketing defect. Similarly, a blender sold with no instructions might have a marketing defect.
How Should I Start a Product Liability Case in Chicago?
You should never attempt to bring a product liability case to court on your own. There are many nuances to product liability law, and you can easily make a mistake if you’re unfamiliar with them. In addition, corporations and large companies often have teams of lawyers available to defend them in product liability cases.
Lawyers will seek to undermine your case as much as possible. They’ll look for every hole in your story and try to prove that their client’s products didn’t cause your injuries.
If you believe a product caused your injury, working with a trained attorney experienced in product liability law is essential.
Document any evidence you have related to the product and your injuries. Take pictures of the product and make sure that you keep it. Don’t throw it in the garbage.
Visit a doctor and receive treatment for your injuries. Keep all records of your visit, including laboratory tests, X-rays, and medications prescribed. If you’re receiving ongoing treatment or therapy for your condition, continue with your visits.
If you stop medical treatment, an attorney may argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as they actually are.
How Long Do I Have to File a Product Liability Claim in Chicago?
Illinois has a statute of limitations for product liability claims. A consumer must file a claim for product liability resulting in personal injury within two years of the incident. If the product caused property damage, the consumer must file a claim within five years.
What Type of Damages Can I Receive in a Product Liability Case?
Monetary compensation for a product liability case may cover past and future medical costs, lost wages and earnings from being unable to work, mental pain and anguish, and disability or disfigurement.
If the defective product caused property damage, the claimant might receive compensation for the property. Damages vary depending on the severity of the case, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced lawyer for assistance.
Where Can I Find Help for My Product Liability Cases in Chicago?
Finding help for your product liability case is crucial if you want to recover damages. You’ll want to consult with a product liability attorney to determine the appropriate steps to take for your case.
At Morgan & Morgan, we have a team of experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you with your product liability case.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Most personal injury cases result in a settlement. In fact, more than 96% of cases settle without needing a trial. However, every case is different, and sometimes defendants are unwilling to provide a reasonable settlement to injured victims.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are experienced negotiators who can work with insurance agencies and companies to get fair compensation for you. If the insurance agency is unwilling to provide you with a fair settlement, we have no problem taking your case to court.
Is Hiring a Lawyer Expensive?
At Morgan and Morgan, we work on a contingency fee basis. We only receive payment for our services if we successfully obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor. In product liability cases, it’s critical to have a lawyer on your side who understands the law. You don’t want to leave your case to chance by trying to go it alone.
Get Help With Your Product Liability Case From Morgan & Morgan
Morgan and Morgan is the largest personal injury attorney firm in the United States. Our team of over 900 attorneys has obtained many settlements and verdicts for our clients injured by defective products. We can also help you get the compensation you deserve.
Fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.