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Product Liability: What To Do When Injured By A Faulty Product
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 180,000 people die from injuries every year. For people under the age of 44, the 90,000 deaths per annum from injury are greater than deaths from non-communicable diseases (53,000) and infectious diseases (10,000) combined. The largest portion of these deaths is due to auto accidents, some are due to gunshot wounds and others from faulty consumer products.
Personal injury attorneys are often hired in order to recover losses from all types of accidents, including those that come from malfunctioning toys, household products, automobiles and other goods. So prevalent are these cases, that an attorney who specializes in such faulty product cases is often known as a “product liability attorney”.
Product-related injuries are particularly surprising because it seems as if companies would be exceptionally stringent about safety before releasing their merchandise to the marketplace. Still, manufacturers make errors of negligence in three ways:
• Product design – This occurs when the very nature of the product, manufactured to design specifications, lends itself to user injury. Then there is a strong case for negligence. This can occur, for example, when a safety latch on a child’s crib is within reach of a toddler-size arm – an unfortunate task for a product liability attorney to try to defend.
• Manufacturing methods – This occurs when the product may have been well designed but was poorly made and failing to meet design specifications. In some cases, this happens because the product is manufactured by outsourcing, where the owner of the brand is unaware that something harmful such as lead-based paint is being used.
• Poorly written instructions – This occurs when the user/consumer of the product is not given adequate instruction, training or warning to guide safe use of the product. The principle of “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware) matters in law, but the law also requires the manufacturer to properly educate the buyer on safe use. An experienced product liability attorney will be skilled at defining the difference between effective and ineffective warnings.
If you or a loved one is injured by a faulty product, you should take several steps if you believe the injury and related expenses rise to the level of negligence and possible litigation. Preserve all evidence, including and especially the malfunctioning product itself. Seek appropriate medical treatment for the injury, and follow instructions from your healthcare provider – to the letter. Then contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in product liability issues to discuss your case.
R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.
Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.
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