We trust the designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of the products we buy to make sure that they are reasonably safe for use. From the cars we drive, the medicines we take, the toys we give our children, and more must be engineered, made, marketed, and sold responsibly. And yet injuries and deaths from defective products are shockingly common.
If you have been injured by a defective product, the Decatur product liability attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., want to help. Our skilled defective product lawyers have been fighting for clients throughout Alabama since 1966. During that time, we’ve helped personal injury victims recover millions in compensation. We’re also highly respected by our peers and in the local community. We have received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
We pride ourselves on providing trusted legal representation to injured people who need it. Get your free case review today by calling our Decatur office or visiting our contact page.
Common Types of Product Liability Cases in Decatur, Alabama
There are three broad categories of product liability cases. Those categories are:
- Manufacturing defects – These kinds of product liability cases involve some kind of issue with how a product was manufactured. The defect could have been caused by the manufacturer using low-quality materials or by careless employees during the making of the defective product. Manufacturing defects can also happen when the wrong parts are used when assembling a product or if parts are attached incorrectly, for example.
- Design defects – These kinds of product liability cases center on some kind of issue with how the product was designed. Even if the product in question was made exactly to specifications, the design may be flawed in some way that puts users in danger. These defects are present in every unit of a given design, unlike manufacturing defects which may affect only certain units.
- Failure to adequately warn or provide instructions – Manufacturers are required to provide warnings when their products could be dangerous to the user and to offer instructions on how to use their products safely. Failing to adequately warn users about a product’s potential dangers could be grounds for a product liability claim if the user is harmed because they were not properly warned.
Here are some examples of the most common kinds of product liability cases:
- Vehicle defects – Cars and trucks are made of thousands of interdependent parts. Disaster can result when just one or two of these parts don’t function as they should. Defective tires, malfunctioning airbags, cars igniting after a crash because of fuel system issues, seat belt failures, and many other mechanical defects can all put drivers at risk.
- Medical device defects – Special care needs to be taken with all medical devices, as many of these devices are made to be implanted inside our bodies. When these devices aren’t designed or manufactured properly, the results can be devastating, sometimes inflicting permanent injuries on patients who’ve had these devices implanted.
- Dangerous drugs – Prescription medications need to be tested carefully to make sure any harmful side effects are identified. And yet, in their rush to bring their products to market, many pharmaceutical companies do not adequately test upcoming products, leaving patients at risk.
- Defective household products – Many appliances we use every day can be dangerous if there is a mechanical issue with the product. This includes things like gas grills, water heaters, and propane tanks. A defect in any of these devices could cause a serious explosion that could injure or kill someone. Some household cleaning products and similar chemicals can also cause harm if you’re exposed to them for a long period, especially if the manufacturer doesn’t provide enough warning about the potential side effects.
- Malfunctioning equipment – Industrial machinery needs to be carefully designed and made to make sure the devices don’t place users or anyone in the vicinity in danger. However, not all industrial equipment gets the rigorous testing needed to avoid unnecessary accidents. If a product isn’t designed carefully or tested properly, an accident could easily occur.
Compensation in a Product Liability Claim
Some examples of what you could be compensated for in a product liability case include:
- The cost of the medical care needed to treat your injuries
- Your lost wages and reduced earning potential, depending on the severity of your injuries
- The physical pain and mental suffering you’ve endured because of your injuries
- The value of any property that may have been damaged by the defective product, including the cost of the product itself
One final category of compensation to note in product liability cases is something known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are not related to any specific loss that you incurred from the defective products. Instead, the goal of punitive damages is to deter future bad actors by punishing the negligent parties in exceptional cases. Punitive damages are not a part of all product liability cases, and your attorney can tell you more about whether punitive damages may apply in your case.
Steps in a Decatur Defective Product Case
Here are the basic steps of most defective product cases in Alabama:
- Investigate your case – Your lawyer can examine the product and other evidence to determine what really happened as well as the nature of the defect. It may be necessary to consult with engineers, medical professionals, or other experts.
- Determine liability –The next step is to figure out who is liable for the defect with the product. This could be the designer or manufacturer of the product, as well as any retailers who sold the product.
- Begin settlement negotiations – Once you’ve determined what happened and who is responsible for your injuries, the next step is to pursue settlement negotiations with the liable parties. This could go on for a while, as the liable parties are unlikely to accept your initial settlement demand unless there’s strong evidence in your favor.
- Prepare your case for trial – While most personal injury suits are settled out of court, sometimes a lawsuit is necessary for fair compensation. Your lawyer can prepare your case for trial while settlement negotiations are ongoing. Should negotiations break down, they can file your claim in the appropriate civil court. Many product liability claims are litigated as a part of a larger class-action or mass-tort case.
What to Do If You Are Injured by a Defective Product
Here is what you need to do if you are injured by a defective product:
- Preserve the product as best you can – The product itself is a key piece of evidence in any product liability claim. You want to keep it in the condition it was in when your injuries occurred. Do not dispose of or replace the product before talking to a lawyer.
- Hold on to your medical records and other evidence – Make sure to save all of your medical records related to your injuries. If you have other evidence from the scene, such as photos, video, police reports, etc., make sure to save that information as well.
- Save your receipts, pay stubs, and other records of your financial losses – To seek maximum compensation for the financial losses stemming from your injuries, you will need documentation of your lost wages, medical bills, etc. Hold on to any records you have related to these matters.
- Follow your doctor’s orders precisely – Failing to follow your doctor’s instructions could lead to negative health outcomes and reduced compensation for your injuries. Be sure to listen carefully and follow those instructions.
- Don’t make any public statements about the accident – Don’t say anything about the accident to anyone without speaking to a lawyer first. Your words could be twisted and used against you if you’re not careful.
- Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible – To effectively pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, you need help from an experienced product liability lawyer.
Contact a Decatur Product Liability Lawyer for Help
While you focus on getting the medical care you need after a defective product injury, our team of dedicated attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can begin investigating your case and working to pursue the compensation you deserve. Get your free initial consultation today by calling our Decatur office or visiting our contact page.