Product liability refers to a claim that holds a manufacturer or retailer liable for selling a defective product to consumers. Research conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that defective products cause 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths each year. An estimated $700 billion is spent each year to cover the damages.
Understanding Product Liability Claims
Presently, there is no federal law that governs product liability. To recover damages from an injury caused by a defective or dangerous product, claimants must follow the guidelines in their state. Per the Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA), a plaintiff must prove the following in their claim:
- During “reasonably anticipated use” of the product, the plaintiff was harmed due to an unreasonably dangerous characteristic of the product.
- The product was unreasonably dangerous in construction or design, lacked an adequate warning label, or did not meet an expressed warranty.
- The product’s unreasonably dangerous characteristic must have either existed when it left the manufacturer’s factory or happened from a “reasonably anticipated alteration or modification.”
Who Is Responsible for Defective Products?
Any parties that are involved at any stage of the supply chain can be held liable in a product liability claim. This includes manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail stores.
Types of Product Defects
Before a product is sold, different factors can cause a defect before it falls into the hands of a consumer, including:
- Manufacturing defects: Issues that occur during a product’s construction that pose a threat to the consumer.
- Design defects: These are defects that made the product unsafe before it was even assembled.
- Marketing defects: This describes a lack of appropriate labels, instructions, or safety warnings to let users know about risks that could lead to injury.
Legal Options After Being Hurt by a Defective Product
After someone suffers an injury or dies because of a defective product, the claimant can recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, emotional distress, and wrongful death as outlined by the LPLA. Product liability cases can be highly technical and more complex than other personal injury claims. Working with a knowledgeable product liability attorney is critical for navigating communication with corporate insurance companies, coordinating an investigation, and negotiating a fair settlement.
Smith Shanklin Sosa has a track record of success when working with people in product liability cases and other personal injury claims. Our attorneys are known for their attention to detail, structured approach to cases, and commitment to helping each client. For a free consultation, call our office in Baton Rouge at 225-424-6094.