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All of us encounter products of one sort or another on a routine basis. We drive to work in cars, we clean our house with vacuums, and we keep our food cold in a refrigerator. However, if these products fail to work as they should, not only may you have to replace it, but you could wind up with serious injuries and having to seek the help of an experienced Fort Collins product liability attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a product manufacturer, contact the product liability attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312.
WHAT IS PRODUCT LIABILITY?
A product is essentially anything that is sold outside of services or real estate. That could include the heavy machinery that you use at work every day, the bag of potatoes that you buy at the grocery store, or even the toy car you got your kid for their birthday. Anyone who creates or sells a product has a responsibility to make sure that the product is safe to use. They must follow all applicable laws and minimize the risks to the eventual consumer.
Product liability lawsuits come into play when someone fails to take the appropriate amount of care in manufacturing, marketing, or selling a product. This can happen in a number of different ways.
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Today, most of the products that we use or consume are produced en masse in factories with the help of machines. The companies in charge of creating those products have a responsibility to make sure that the processes are running smoothly and that the products don’t have defects. If something in this process breaks down, then a manufacturing defect could produce a dangerous product that is then sold to a consumer. For example, if you buy a power saw that is missing a screw due to a manufacturing defect, the blade could come loose.
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In certain cases, the production of the product may have gone exactly according to plan. However, if the design itself was defective, then the product could still end up being dangerous to the consumer. If this is the situation, then your attorney will need to argue that there were reasonable alternatives to the product’s design that would have been safer and not much more costly.
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Failure to Warn
If a product could potentially be dangerous, then manufacturers are required to warn potential users of that danger. These warnings should be in prominent locations where users are sure to see them. If they are not conspicuous enough, or if they are absent altogether, then a manufacturer may be liable if their product causes an injury.
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Misrepresentation in Advertising
Someone who markets a product in a deceiving way, or exhibits a dangerous or unintended use of the product, may be liable if their marketing leads a user to become injured.
COMMON PRODUCT DEFECTS
Given the vast scope of product liability law, there is a virtually unlimited number of products that could end up being the source of a lawsuit. However, there are a few types of products that tend to pop up in lawsuits more frequently than others.
Drug producers are required to follow very strict guidelines that are put into place by the FDA. However, even if a drug manufacturer follows all of these guidelines, they could still face liability if their product ends up causing an injury or disease.
Though it is a part of daily life for a lot of people, driving is a dangerous activity. Cars are heavy, and they can reach very high speeds. If all the components in an automobile are not designed and manufactured according to exacting specifications, then an automobile manufacturer may be held liable for their failure.
Machinery and Tools
Machinery and tools can lead to lawsuits because they are also dangerous, at least when designed or used improperly. For example, a nail gun or electric saw can quickly cause very severe injuries if it is poorly designed or manufactured, or if there are not clear warnings designed to attract the attention of the user and alert them to any possible danger.
HOW CAN A LAWYER HELP YOU WITH A PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIM?
An experienced Fort Collins product liability attorney may be able to help you with every aspect of your claim. First, an experienced attorney should be able to give you an idea at the outset of how your case should proceed. A lawyer may also give you an estimate of what your case might be worth and develop a strategy for moving forward with your claim based on their previous experiences. Along the way, your attorney should be available to answer all of your questions thoroughly and correctly.
Product liability cases are often very complex and can involve filing suits against multiple other parties. They will also typically involve retaining the help of an expert witness who is able to describe how the product was intended to work, and what went wrong along the way. The settlement process can also be very complicated, and going it alone means running the risk that the other parties will give you lowball offers in an attempt to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the situation. Hiring an experienced Fort Collins personal injury attorney may mean that you are more likely to get the compensation that you deserve.
HOW TO FILE A PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIM
Because there are so many products on the market – and so many things that can go wrong – no two product liability cases will ever look the same. There are, however, a few general steps that any victim should follow to maximize their chances of being fairly compensated for their injuries.
1. Contact an Experienced Fort Collins Product Liability Attorney
First and foremost, you should contact an experienced attorney before making any decision about your claim. Don’t simply hire the first attorney that you find—speak to attorneys about your specific case and ask the questions that you want to be answered. A good attorney shouldn’t make any promises or guarantees about dollar amounts that they can win for you, but they should be able to promise you that your case will get the attention that it deserves.
2. Gather Information
After you have hired an attorney, they may be able to begin gathering the necessary evidence and information that they will need for your case. In a product liability case, this might mean doing research into the design process for the question, conferring with experts in the subject area, and looking into your injuries through medical records
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Given that most cases will settle before they ever reach the courtroom, this step is critical. When negotiating a settlement, your attorney may be able to compile the information that they have gathered and present it to the other parties in a way that supports your claim for maximum compensation by maximizing the strengths of your position while simultaneously minimizing any weaknesses that may exist.
4. Go to Trial
If your attorney is unable to reach a fair settlement agreement with the other parties, then the only option left to seek damages may be to go to trial. At trial, your attorney may call witnesses and argue persuasively to convince the judge or jury of the truth of your position.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who Is Liable?
In a products liability case, there are many people along the chain of the product’s life who you may be able to hold liable. The seemingly obvious place to start is with the product manufacturer, and this is often a good idea. However, there are more parties who might share in the liability, including the store that sold you the product, the distributor or wholesaler, or any salesperson who may have pushed the product on you.
What Damages May I Seek?
In any sort of personal injury case, there are two main types of damages that a victim may seek—economic and non-economic. Economic damages are costs that are measurable and objectively verifiable, such as any medical bills you may have to pay, damage to property, and lost wages from missing work. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries. This category is more difficult to measure, but generally, the worse the injury, the higher pain and suffering damages might be.
Is the Claim Filed with State or Federal Courts?
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plaintiff may bring a products liability claim in either state or federal courts. Federal courts are known as courts of “limited jurisdiction,” which means that they are only allowed to hear the cases that are specifically enumerated by the Constitution. In some situations, such as if you are suing an out-of-state company, you may bring your claim in federal court. For the most part, product liability cases are brought in state court. An experienced Fort Collins products liability lawyer may be able to give you a better idea of where your case should be filed to give you the best shot at receiving maximum compensation.
GET A CASE EVALUATION WITH ZINDA LAW GROUP
Zinda Law Group believes that injury victims should not have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation after being injured because of the negligence of a product manufacturer. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis—you don’t owe us anything if we don’t win your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a product manufacturer, contact the Fort Collins product liability attorneys at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation.
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Call or text 800-863-5312 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form