Recently, we discussed the basics of defective product cases, including what your settlement can account for. Today, we will look at the specific grounds for defective product victims to get financial relief for getting hurt—or even for a family member’s death. You can seek compensation under all grounds in the same lawsuit.
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This means the manufacturer is accountable even if it used all possible care in making the product, and even if you didn’t buy it directly from them.
But it’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. A basic part of these cases is proving an “alternative feasible design.” That means the victim must prove another design of the same product existed, which cost about the same and worked about as well, which would have prevented the injury.
You can’t get punitive damages if you win under strict liability.
“Negligence” is the legal word for “carelessness.” There are three ways to recover for manufacturer carelessness for a defective product, which applies even if you didn’t buy it directly from them:
- Design defect. These are challenging, costly cases for victims. That’s because, like the strict liability case discussed above, you’ve got to prove an alternative feasible design.
- Inadequate warning. This doesn’t mean the product itself is defective, just that the manufacturer didn’t warn you about dangers associated with its intended use. First, you’ve got to prove a product needed the warning to be safe. Then you’ve got to prove how the warning fell short of advising users of the danger. That can include whether it was placed on the product where a user could see it and whether the print was big enough to properly warn. Then you’ve got to prove the lack of warning caused the injury.
- Manufacturing defect. These cases are rare. This involves mistakes in the manufacturing process that don’t get caught before you used it. They require proof the product fell short of the manufacturer’s production standards or specifications or performed substandardly. The victim must prove the substandard performance made the product unsafe.
Breach of Warranty
A warranty is the manufacturer’s promise a product will perform a certain way. “Breach” means “break.” Breach of warranty is basically the manufacturer’s broken promise the product will work safely.
There are three main types of warranty:
- Express warranty. “Express” means “actually stated.” These warranties are often contained in packaging or labels or even sales materials. For example, a roofing manufacturer’s ad that a roof has a “20-year bond” can give you the right to recover if the roof fails before 20 years.
- Implied warranty of merchantability. An implied warranty need not be actually stated. But it can be disclaimed, meaning the manufacturer declares it void. To win on implied warranty, you’ve ordinarily got to prove you bought the product directly from the manufacturer. For this type of case, victims must prove the product is unfit for its ordinary use.
- Implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. This is very similar to merchantability. You may have a case if you get hurt during the ordinary or intended use of the product.
Sound Complicated? It Is
While the law gives a lot of ways for innocent victims to recover, these cases require a lot of expert help to prove. They need to be carefully researched legally to be sure the case can be proven from an expert standpoint. But if you’ve been seriously hurt or lost a loved one from a defective product, being part of these cases can be worth it, since you can help make the world a safer place by calling out a manufacturer for selling a product that harms or kills.
Feel free to start a live chat right where you are to schedule a free strategy session to investigate whether your loss can be proven to be caused by a legally defective product.