If a product you used injured you, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover for your injuries with the help of a Hyannis product liability attorney. This lawsuit is what we refer to as a defective product liability claim.
But before you decide that you want to file a lawsuit, it’s important that you first find out whether your claim is valid by familiarizing yourself with what the law requires you to prove in order to win your case.
The law typically requires you to prove the following things:
- You were using the product as intended
- The defect caused you injury
- The product is defective
- You suffered injuries
You Were Using the Product as Intended
All products come with specific instructions from the manufacturer as to how they should be used. For instance, an electric kettle is meant to heat water but you cannot use it to heat a swimming pool. If you use it to heat a pool and it explodes, causing you serious injuries, then you do not have a case. The manufacturer is obligated to design a kettle that is safe for using the right way and not for heating a pool.
This, however, does not mean that the way you were using the product when you were using it must be exactly the way the manufacturer intended for it to be used.
Let’s say you bought a pair of scissors intended for cutting paper but you used it to cut a piece of cloth. As you were cutting your cloth, one of the blades snapped off and pierced one of your eyes, causing blindness in that eye. In such a situation, you have a valid claim.
The Defect Caused Your Injury
You have to show the court that your injuries were caused by the defect itself and not by other causes. For instance, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident because the brakes didn’t function properly, you might have case.
You must prove that you were not over speeding, you weren’t distracted and you were adhering to traffic rules because the motorcycle manufacturer will use these points to argue that their motorcycle design did not cause your accident.
The Product is Defective
Your Hyannis product liability attorney will work to prove that the product was defective and therefore caused your injuries. This may not be easy depending on the type of claim that you are making. You can make three claims:
The Manufacturer Did Not Warn of the Possibility the Product Could be Dangerous
You are more likely to be successful at showing a product is defective if you can demonstrate that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangerous quality of the product especially if it was not obvious to the ordinary consumer.
The manufacturer may be held liable depending on whether the warnings and instructions they provided were reasonably sufficient.
For instance, if you bought an electric kettle with the steam valve hidden by an ornamental object on the side, instead of it being on the spout where the ordinary consumer would expect it to be, then you might have a strong design claim.
The manufacturer should have included caution stickers and a user manual with clear warnings about the position of the steam valve. If they had, then perhaps you would have avoided getting severe injury burns.
The Product Design Is Unreasonably Dangerous
This might be a little hard to prove but there are obvious instances where the design of a product is unreasonably dangerous. If you were in a minor car crash and you are sure you would have come out unscathed if it wasn’t for the airbags, your case might not hold up in court. The car manufacturer will argue that airbags are an effective and low cost way of saving people’s lives in car collisions so they can’t be classified are unreasonably dangerous.
You also can’t argue that just because a product is dangerous, that the design is flawed. For instance, if you cut yourself with a razor blade while shaving, you won’t have a case in court over product design. The razor was meant to have a sharp edge, otherwise it wouldn’t function.
You might actually make a case by claiming that there was a manufacturer error when designing the product. For instance, if the teakettle had the wiring done wrong and it exploded while being used, you could argue that there was manufacturer error.
You Suffered Injuries
Without an actual injury, you wouldn’t be able to make a claim. You can’t go to court and claim the kettle almost burned you or the razor nearly cut you. You need to show evidence that indeed, you sustained injuries and you went to the hospital to be treated for them.
How Long Do You Have to File a Defective Product Liability Suit?
There is a statute of limitations for filing a product liability suit and the amount of time varies from one state to another. If you fail to file your lawsuit in time, the judge will throw out your case no matter how good your claim is.
In Massachusetts, the clock doesn’t start running until the injury is discovered. And if you think you have a lot of time to file a lawsuit, remember that you need to prepare your case and this might take quite a while. You need to gather information, evidence, expert witnesses, etc. who can testify that indeed the manufacturer of the product is liable for your injuries.
Ensuring that your case includes all the basic elements required in Hyannis, MA can be tricky. Depending on the nature of your case, you may want to consult with a Hyannis product liability attorney.
At Kevin P Landry law offices, we have a team of attorneys who can handle your case pn a contingency fee basis. This means that if we don’t win your case, we don’t get paid. We also offer free initial consultations