Producers and manufacturers owe consumers who use their products should those products fail. But product liability can be tricky and challenging to prove.
This short guide will help you understand what you need to do to support your product liability claim and get the justice that you deserve.
Establish a timeline
The first thing you need to know about product liability claims is that most states have a statute of limitations on them – they can only be pursued for a certain amount of time after the event or accident has happened. Sometimes, this doesn’t present too much of a problem – if you’re in a snowmobile accident because your engine exploded, you will likely file a product liability claim right away.
But if you lived in a renovated apartment building with asbestos when you were in your 20s and then got lung cancer in your 50s, you might have a problem with the statute of limitations. There’s a list right here of all the states that you can use to check yours.
Identify All Possible Parties in Your Product Liability Claim
Having established a timeline, you need to begin to build a case. This is more than a matter of simply saying to a judge ‘look at my injury.’
First, you need to notify all the potential parties in your product liability case, including the manufacturer, the distributor, and whoever actually sold the product to you.
Traditionally, victims of product liability had to prove that the manufacturer was at fault. However, this is literally impossible in our modern global economy to prove, and the law has since been softened so that you no longer need to prove that the manufacturer was actually negligent.
However, you DO need to prove that you were injured, that the product was defective, the defect caused your injury, and you were using the product as intended.
Once you and your lawyer have informed all the parties, you need to figure out what you’re asking for.
Establish Your Damages and Build up Your Case
Damages are the amount of money you’re asking to be compensated for when you pursue a company for product liability. It’s usually a total of your past and future earnings, past and future medical bills, plus extra to cover pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Naturally, our legal system doesn’t allow you to simply make up a number and expect organizations to pay it.
You need to work with your product liability lawyer to find experts that can corroborate what you’re saying. For example, you might get a doctor to attest to your medical bills as well as project future medical costs Alternatively, you might get an economist to attest to your impinged earning potential.
What experts you end up working with will depend on the nature of your injuries and your specific claim. You’ll also work with your lawyer to confirm that you were using the product correctly as well as linking the defection to your injuries.
The next step is presenting the strongest case possible and working to get a fair settlement so you can move on and begin to put your accident behind you.