You could be significantly hurt or even killed by using a defective product. While you never want to spend time in a hospital or out of work recovering, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Let’s take a look at who the law says could be liable for any damages caused by a product, such as a waist trainer, handbag, that didn’t work like it was supposed to.
Who Was Negligent?
There are many parties that could be negligent for allowing you to acquire an item that was not working properly. Typically, the company that made the product or the store that sold it have a duty of care to its customers and end users. In some cases, the person who let you borrow or otherwise use an item that was modified or had a history of being defective may have acted in a negligent manner as well.
Product Defect Cases Typically Use the Strict Liability Standard
The strict liability standard says that a party can be held liable for damages even if it didn’t know about a defect. For instance, if an automaker didn’t know that the brakes didn’t work properly, it would likely still be required to pay an accident victim’s medical bills and other costs.
Was the Product Modified in Any Way?
Strict liability cases are generally easier to win than typical personal injury cases. However, you won’t necessarily win just because you were injured while using a product. If you modified the item prior to using it, it is likely that any consumer protections that you were entitled to are no longer available. It is also likely that modifying a product will void any warranty that it came with. Therefore, you could be the one responsible for paying medical bills or paying the cost to replace the modified item.
Has the Statute of Repose Expired?
In some states, a statute of repose governs how long you have to make a defective product claim. This helps to ensure that companies aren’t liable for claims involving products that have outlived their useful life. Typically, the statute of repose lasts for anywhere between 10 and 12 years depending on the product. However, it may still be possible to sue after this period has expired if the defect was the result of a willful error. An exception may also be made if it was not reasonable for a person to identify the error before the statute expired.
Did You Suffer Any Financial Losses?
It is important to note that you can generally only seek damages in a product defect case if you actually suffered a financial loss. This could be in the form of bills related to seeking treatment for an injury or lost wages because you had to stay home from work after getting hurt. Consulting with an attorney may make it possible to determine if you had any losses related to a defective product and if you still have time to take legal action.
If you are hurt by a product that was poorly made or designed, you generally have the right to take legal action. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and for physical and emotional pain and suffering. Punitive and other damages may also be available to the extent allowed by state or federal law.