Buying something new can be fun and exciting. Opening and using something for the first time can be fun, especially for things like children’s toys or a new car. Hopefully, everything goes well, the product works fine, and no one gets hurt.
Unfortunately, whether a product is new or old, it may have unforeseen problems that cause people to get hurt. Most products carry warnings labels instructing on the proper use or warning of dangers involved with the product, but some do not. Others may have been improperly made at the factory, causing them to break during use or otherwise poorly designed. If this has happened to you, and you or a loved one suffered injury because of a defective product in Springdale, Arkansas, call Ken Kiekllak. Ken is an Arkansas attorney who deals with products liability and defective products cases.
Types of Products Liability Cases
Generally, the creator of a product is liable for the injuries it causes. Many products are inherently dangerous to use, like knives, lawnmowers, or chainsaws – and creators cannot be held accountable for every injury. The typical injury that is excluded from this is one where the product was misused, or was used intentionally to hurt someone. In those cases, injuries may be attributable to the individual who misused them.
In cases where the creators of the products are liable for injuries they cause, there are usually a few methods of showing the creator’s fault:
A design defect is when there is a problem with how something is designed to work. In these cases, usually the product works exactly as it is designed, but that causes some danger or injury. An example might be a food processor that works while the lid is removed. That means that someone could put their hand into the machine, then accidentally turn it on with their hand inside, causing serious injury.
In order to prove a design defect, there are three elements:
- A safer design is possible and can be produced
- Producing a safer design would not have been significantly more expensive
- The product could be made safer and still work as intended
Back to the food processor example, the injured party could argue that the product would be safer if it could not turn on without the lid attached. If making that happen would require only a slight, inexpensive modification and would not get in the way of the machine’s purpose, the injured party can win the case.
Sometimes products have a good, safe design, but when they are put together in the factory, something is done incorrectly. This is known as a manufacturing defect. It might be that a weaker material was used instead and the device broke, it could be that a bolt was not tightened enough, or it could be something as bad as a missing part. In the case of heavy machinery and medical devices, this can cause serious injury.
In order to prove this case, the injured party must show that the product was not up to specifications. This usually means bringing the product to court and having it examined by an engineer or other expert.
Failure to Warn
In cases where a product was made correctly, and designed correctly, there can still be suits. One of these is for a failure to warn. This comes up in cases where products have some foreseeable risk, but there was no warning about it. Products usually have so many warnings to prevent these kinds of injuries and lawsuits.
What Damages are Available?
Most damages caused by a defective property can be redressed by a court of law. That means that whether the product caused personal injury, property damage, or merely caused pain, there is something that courts can award you as “damages” for your injury.
Courts can make the manufacturer pay for medical bills related to the injury. That includes not only the cost of hospital treatment or surgery, but also X-rays, MRIs, and physical therapy from your injuries.
If you were forced to miss work or can no longer work due to your injury, then you may be entitled to lost wages. That means covering both the wages you have already missed and the wages you will miss in the future.
Any damage to property can also be redressed. While the focus is generally on the injury suffered, many products with more catastrophic defects can cause fires or explosions, damaging your house and other property.
You can also recover damages based on your pain and suffering. While this is obviously difficult to put a price on, Arkansas’ constitution prohibits any legal limit or “cap” on these damages. Because of this, you could recover as much as you need to cover your pain and suffering.
A Springdale Product Liability Attorney Can Help You Recover Compensation
If you have been injured by a defective product design, defective manufacturing, or a failure to warn about a product’s danger, you should speak with an attorney about what legal remedies you might have. For products liability cases in the Springdale area, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law can help. For a free consultation about your injury, call (479) 316-0438.