What are the Steps Taken in a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Our Arkansas product liability lawyers are well-versed in the laws and regulations that protect consumers from dangerous and defective products. When someone relies on a product to perform as intended, they do not anticipate being severely injured. When a defective product harms someone, there are a number of parties that are potentially liable for the damages.

Depending on how the injury happened and what was wrong with a product, the manufacturer or another party in the distribution chain could be held accountable. If a defective product caused harm to you or a loved one, there are some steps you should take to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

The first thing you should do after being injured by a defective product is getting medical attention. After that, you should secure the product and contact our Bella Vista defective product injury lawyers to discuss a possible lawsuit. To schedule a free appointment, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.

Understanding Your Product Liability Claim

Before moving forward with a product liability lawsuit, you have to determine if you have the grounds for a lawsuit. The first step is to talk with one of our knowledgeable Arkansas product liability attorneys to review the injuries you sustained and the circumstances that led to them. Several factors could constitute grounds to file a lawsuit if you were harmed by a defective product.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect occurs when a mistake happens during assembly and the product is not in the condition it was intended. A defect is typically only found in a small percentage of products. Under the theory of strict liability, a manufacturer is liable for a defect that causes injury regardless of the care taken throughout the manufacturing process. All the injury plaintiff needs to prevail under this theory is that the defect existed when the product left the factory.

Design Defect

Unlike a manufacturing defect, a design flaw is inherent in every product on the market. Something in the original design or blueprint renders the product unreasonably dangerous. Our Bentonville Defective Product injury lawyer will have to answer three questions to demonstrate grounds for a lawsuit.

  1. Was the design unreasonably unsafe before production began?
  2. Was it foreseeable that the design flaw would cause harm?
  3. Was there another design that was economically and commercially viable?

There are situations where a design flaw was not known at the time of production, but the manufacturer became aware of the problem yet continued to produce the product.

Improper Warning Labels

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) promulgates safety regulations and rules regarding product safety signage and warning labels. According to existing standards, a warning label should clearly perform the functions listed below.

  • Inform the consumer of the danger
  • Describe the severity of risk involved with using the product
  • Describe the effects of the danger
  • Inform the consumer how to avoid harm

Additionally, a warning label should be affixed in a highly visible area that is reasonably close to the danger or hazard. It should also be made with the life expectancy of the product in mind. A warning label that fades or falls off is not effective.

To determine if grounds exist for a claim based on an improper warning label, our Arkansas personal injury lawyers will ask some of the following questions.

  • Was the product likely to cause harm?
  • Was the plaintiff using the product as intended?
  • How severe were the injuries?
  • Did the manufacturer reasonably understand the knowledge the plaintiff possessed?
  • Did the label rely on experience or prior knowledge?
  • Was the label clearly written and easy to understand?

Collecting Evidence

Once you have decided that you want to follow through with a lawsuit, it is time to gather evidence. With the assistance of our Fort Smith defective product attorney, you will collect documentation and other evidence necessary to draft the complaint and support your position. This process could take a significant amount of time. It also might not be fully completed before the complaint is filed.

Shortly after the complaint is filed and the defendant files a response, the discovery process begins. Through the discovery process, our office will request documents, file interrogatories, and request formal depositions to gather additional evidence.

The type of evidence required and available will depend on the type of product that caused your injury. However, there are some common types of evidence necessary in most cases, including proofs of purchase, a copy of the warranty, and the product itself. Our office will usually have to take steps to gather other critical evidence such as design schematics, technical files, internal company e-mails, and medical records. Furthermore, we will likely question product designers, engineers, and other experts that could speak to the product that caused the harm.

Obvious or Hidden Defects

There is a legal phrase Res Ipsa Loquitor which means “the thing speaks for itself.” In some product liability cases, the product’s flaw is so obvious it is almost impossible to miss. If this is the situation, our office will present evidence to demonstrate that the defect was obvious and that you were injured by the product. If a reasonable person is able to look at a product and recognize the defect, strict liability applies.

When the defect is not obvious, additional evidence is required. However, unlike a car accident case, a plaintiff is not required to establish that the manufacturer was negligent. The plaintiff has the burden of proving that they were injured by a defect or flaw in the product. When the defect is hidden or not obvious, our Rogers defective product attorneys will have to look to the original design plans, independent testing, and expert witnesses.

Contact Our Products Liability Attorneys for a Free Consultation

A product liability case is substantially different from other types of personal injury cases. They can become complicated when a design flaw or defect is not obvious. Our skilled Springdale defective product injury attorneys have the resources and knowledge to handle the most challenging case. If you believe you have been hurt by a defective product, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.