What is Product Liability?
According to the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, liability can be placed on one of many parties in the line of responsibility. Blame could fall to the owner of the store which sold the product, the wholesale operation that supplied the product to the retailer, the manufacturer in charge of assembly, or a separate manufacturer that created the parts and pieces of the product.
In some cases, the entire chain may be separately responsible for damages sustained, since all parties involved maintain the responsibility for selling and producing a safe product. The job of a product liability attorney can be difficult; he or she works to determine which parties are responsible for the injuries incurred.
In order to determine that a product is defective, there are three categories that attorneys need to consider:
- Defects in marketing: This type of flaw covers things like neglect in the warnings attached to the product and instructions for proper use.
- Defects in design: When the product’s normal use poses possible dangers, this is usually found to be caused by a defect in the product’s original design. An example of this would be a set of drawers that tips over on children when the bottom drawers are open or a safety latch that opens easily.
- Defects in manufacturing: This category generally does not affect a large batch of products, but rather a few products that weren’t built correctly during the manufacturing or production phase. An example of this would be a change in the materials used to produce a child’s toy, which led to injury.
By determining which type of defect caused the injury, a Missouri product liability attorney may be able to more clearly decide which party or parties are liable.
What Damages Can a Missouri Product Liability Attorney Seek?
The wide range of possible damages that can affect a victim means there are several types of injuries a victim can claim. Many people realize that wages lost as a result of the injury and medical bills can be claimed in a lawsuit, but there are several other types of damages that can be sought. According to Enlightenme.com, other possibilities include:
- Loss of companionship: If the defect caused the death of a person, the surviving family members may be entitled to damages due to loss of companionship. This can also apply if the injured person is still alive, but the injuries are so severe that the person is no longer the companion that he or she was prior to the incident.
- Punitive damages: In cases when injury was almost guaranteed and the defendant was behaving negligently, the court may award punitive damages which are meant to punish the offender and discourage future reckless behavior.
- Emotional distress: Many victims claim that the incident left them with nightmares or emotional damage that is difficult to overcome. Awards for emotional stress are meant to try to compensate for what the victim is suffering on that level.
- Wrongful death: This award takes into account the loss of companionship suffered as well as the financial contribution the victim would have made to the family.
An attorney can determine whether these or other types of possible damages, including wrongful birth and loss of consortium, are applicable to each individual product liability case.
How a Missouri Product Liability Attorney Can Help
Product makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a product maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by the fault of others may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.