Bringing a Claim for a Defective Product

We all love getting new gadgets, tools, and appliances. They make getting tasks done easier, entertain us, and improve the quality of our homes, workplaces, and travel. But far too often, those products actually cause physical harm – the kitchen gadget that cuts your hand, the hair care product that burns your scalp, the malfunctioning escalator that throws you to the ground.

When injury from a defective product happens, the scenario is often this: a lone, injured consumer takes on a deep-pocketed manufacturer with a team of in-house lawyers and outside counsel whose business it is to defeat the claims of injured victims. This is why it’s so important for a person injured by a defective product to find an attorney with the suitable experience and qualifications to pursue a defective product claim. Below are a few general topics you’ll want to keep in mind as you find the product liability attorney who is right for you.

Who Can Pursue a Defective Product Claim?

You might think that only a person who actually purchased a defective product can bring a claim, but the law allows for almost anyone who has been injured by a defective product to bring a claim for damages. Such parties include:

  • A family member who was injured by the product
  • A person who borrowed the product and was injured
  • A purchaser of the product through a garage sale or online resale
  • A person who was injured by a stranger’s use of a defective product
Who is a Proper Defendant in a Defective Product Claim?

An injured plaintiff can bring a products liability claim against anyone who had control over the product in the manufacturing or sales processes, including:

  • A manufacturer of the product
  • A manufacturer of a defective part used in the product
  • A wholesale distributor of the product
  • A retail seller of the product, including a store or individual salesperson
  • A reseller of the product, including a pawn shop or individual salesperson

The crucial fact a plaintiff will need to show is that the defect was present in the product at the time that the defendant had control over the product. With most defendants, there is not a requirement that the plaintiff show that the particular defendant acted negligently, but rather only that the defect was present. This is one of the few advantages in favor or plaintiffs in produce liability cases.

How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Defective Product Claim?

Statute of limitation issues will vary from state to state, but an injured victim nearly always has a limited window within which to pursue a claim for his or her injuries. It is important to remember that this time is usually measured from the date of injury, not the date of purchase. Therefore, do not assume that because a product was purchased years ago this will prevent a claim if the injury recently occurred. A good defective product attorney will inform you of the applicable statute of limitations rules in your case.

Will Incorrect Usage of the Product Defeat a Defective Product Claim?

The short answer is that “it depends,” but the best defective product attorneys will help you gauge whether your use of the product will prevent recovery. In many cases, incorrect usage of the product (i.e. using the product for longer than recommended in the owner’s manual) will not prevent a successful recovery as long as the defendant had a reasonable expectation that the product would be used that way.

Qualities to Look For in a Defective Product Claim Attorney

When you’ve been injured by a defective product, it is important to find an attorney who has experience in these cases, and in particular, taking on big companies and insurance providers. Use our website to find well-qualified lawyers that care about your claim and will work to maximize recovery.

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