There are millions of consumer products on the market today, more than at any other time in history. While most of these products are not only safe for use, but also improve a consumer’s quality of life, many are dangerous. To be sure, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that thousands of products are recalled every year, many for defects that have caused consumers harm.
Suffering harm as a result of a product that you expected to bring you convenience, if not joy, is unacceptable. When defective products cause consumers harm, our lawyers believe that product manufacturers should be liable for damages. When you call our Alabama defective products lawyers, we will evaluate your case at no charge to you, immediately get to work on investigating and building your claim, and fight for your right to compensation. We have what it takes to stand up to big companies – call us today for the representation that you deserve.
Common Types of Defective Products
The list of potentially-defective products is infinite; nearly any product could have some sort of defect. However, defects tend to be found in some product types more than others. Indeed, some of the products that are most commonly affected by defects include:
- Automobiles (more than7 million automobiles were recalled in a single year alone in the United States);
- Children’s toys;
- Kitchen appliances;
- Pharmaceutical drugs;
- Tools and machinery; and
- Household products.
Harm Caused by Defective Products
When a product is defective, a consumer who uses the product—even when using the product as intended—may suffer an injury as a direct result of use. Examples of injuries and harm that consumers have suffered as a result of defective products include:
- Puncture injuries from exploding shrapnel in defective airbags;
- Crush injuries as a result of unstable dressers;
- Choking injuries as a result of small parts on toys wrongfully marketed to small children;
- Burn injuries from electronics that have combusted;
- Heart attacks, internal bleeding, and other health complications as a result of defective drugs;
- Cancer and other health complications as a result of exposure to dangerous chemicals found in household and agriculture products, such as fertilizer; and
- Car accident injuries, ranging from broken bones to spinal cord injuries and more as a result of defective vehicle parts or technology.
The list above is not inclusive, and is only a very small look into the serious harm that may befall someone who uses a defective product.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured by a Defective Product?
See a Doctor
Your first step should be seeking medical attention. Injuries can be serious, even if they initially appear to be minor. Not only is this important for your health, it is important for your personal injury claim. A successful injury claim requires proof that you were actually injured and that your injury was caused by the product. The sooner you see a doctor after an injury, the sooner you create a paper trail that links your injury to the defective product.
Make sure you keep copies of any medical documentation you get, including medical records and bills.
Keep the Item and Anything That Came with It
Put the defective product in a safe place. On top of that, you’ll want to save the product’s packaging, instruction manual, accessories, and anything else that came with it. This will help your attorney determine where the error occurred—in design, manufacturing, or marketing—and build a solid case. If possible, you’ll also want to find your receipt from purchasing the product. This proves when and where you bought it, so there’s no way to claim that you had an old version or kept it too long for it to be safe.
Gather Other Evidence
Any other evidence you can collect during this time will be useful to your personal injury claim. Take pictures of your injuries and any changes in their appearance over time. You may also want to take pictures showing how the defective product was set up when your injury occurred.
Another important piece of evidence is your retelling of the accident. You’d be surprised how quickly memories fade, so you should write down your retelling of the injury as soon as possible. If anyone was with you when it occurred, have them write down what they observed. Make copies of every piece of evidence you get, since you may need them for your own records and your attorney.
Stay Off of Social Media
You may feel tempted to take your story to social media so you can share your outrage and get support from your loved ones. Avoid this temptation, no matter what. Taking your claims to social media can only hurt your case—it can never help you. It alerts the company to your actions and gives them the chance to intervene or start doing damage control.
Contact an Attorney
Finally, it’s time to contact a personal injury attorney. Defective product claims are incredibly difficult to settle on your own, since companies spend a shocking amount of money on their legal teams. If you try to complain about their product on your own, you’ll likely end up with nothing more than a coupon for a free item or an insincere apology. If you want to recover actual compensation and ensure that this does not happen again, you should contact an attorney who can help you fight for what you’re owed.
Proving a Product Defect and Recovering Damages
If you have been harmed and you believe that your harm would not have occurred but for your use of a product that was clearly defective, you will need to prove that you were using the product as intended, that a defect existed, and that the defect was the proximate cause of your harm. There are three different theories of products liability on which you can base your case:
- Defectively designed product. The first theory of products liability claims that a product was defectively designed, and therefore inherently dangerous. For example, if a household product contains an ingredient that is known to cause cancer, then the product is fundamentally dangerous for use based on that ingredient. Product manufacturers are often held liable when a defectively designed product is the cause of a consumer’s harm.
- Defectively manufactured product. Often times, the design of a product is safe, but something occurs during the manufacturing process that renders the product defective and dangerous. For example, if a sharp piece of metal falls into a cup of yogurt during the packaging phase of the process on the yogurt-manufacturing line, a manufacturing error has occurred. If a consumer is harmed as a result of a manufacturing error, the product manufacturer may be held liable. Further, any party who distributed the product who knew of the defect, such as an auto dealer who sold a vehicle that they knew to be defective, could be held liable as well.
- Labeling error. Sometimes, products contain hazards that are unavoidable, even when designed to be safe and manufacturer appropriately. For example, electronics that rely on electricity to run present the risk of electrocution if placed in water. While some hazards are unavoidable, a manufacturer has a duty to disclose those risks and hazards to consumers, and to provide instructions for proper use. If a labeling defect or error exists and a consumer is not forewarned of dangers or is not instructed regarding safe use of the product and harm occurs, the manufacturer can be held liable.
Our lawyers can help by investigating your case and determining what type of defect exists. We will then gather evidence to prove the existence of the defect, including experts’ opinions. Defective product claims are often research-intensive, and should not be pursued without qualified legal counsel.
Statute of Limitations on Product Liability Claims
Whether you are bringing forth a claim against a product manufacturer or another party along the distribution chain, if you think that you have a product liability claim, it’s important that you meet with an attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. If you decide to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your harm, you will only have two years from the date of cause of action, per Alabama Statutes Section 6-2-38. If you breach the two-year deadline and fail to file your suit, you will be permanently barred from recovery, and the at-fault party will escape liability.
You Owe it to Yourself to Meet with an Alabama Defective Products Attorney Today
If you have been harmed by a defective product, you owe it to yourself—and to other vulnerable consumers who are at risk of injury—to take action. When you call our defective product attorneys at the office of Mann & Potter, P.C., you can count on the aggressive legal representation that you need to stand up to a product manufacturer. Call our law office today at 205-879-9661 for your free consultation, or send us a message or stop by our office to learn more.
600 University Park Place,
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Mann & Potter, PC is located in Birmingham, AL and serves clients state-wide, including communities in Jefferson County, Shelby County, Calhoun County, Tuscaloosa County, Montgomery County, Marion County, Talladega County, Macon County, Marengo County, Greene County, and more.