5 Factors To Prove To Win a Product Liability Lawsuit
When you purchase a product, you assume it will work correctly and safely. The last thing you expect is for it to harm you or someone you care about.
Manufacturers must design and manufacture their products correctly and safely to avoid causing harm. They must also warn of the known dangers of using their products. Any negligence or intentional choices to violate your rights could entitle you to significant financial compensation in a product liability lawsuit.
Defective products can do a great deal of harm that may entitle you to economic, non-economic, and potentially even punitive damages. To win compensation, you must prove your product liability claim. At Daniels Law, our California product liability lawyers know what factors are essential to prove your case.
The following five factors are necessary to prove your product liability claim.
1. Establish a Design Defect in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Many product liability lawsuit cases are due to a defective product design that hurt you. This means the product was dangerous from the outset because the manufacturer or designer was negligent in some way. They failed to design a product that would work as intended or without causing harm. A defectively designed product is problematic even if the manufacturer builds it precisely as planned because the flaw is with the design itself.
Establishing a design defect typically requires expert testimony. Complex scientific, medical, or engineering issues are often present in the design that require those with specialized knowledge to investigate and explain. Your defective products attorney works with experts who know how to determine whether a product was defective in its design and testify to that in court.
A manufacturing defect may also cause you harm. This occurs when a problem in the manufacturing process is the reason you were harmed. In either case, the experienced product liability attorneys at Daniels Law are ready to help.
2. Demonstrate Breach of Duty of Care
To win your product liability case, you must also demonstrate the defendant breached their duty of care. A manufacturer's duty of care is based on negligence law. Negligence occurs when a manufacturer has a legal duty of care to avoid causing harm and breaches that duty. When that breach causes you harm, the defendant is negligent in their conduct.
You may also show that the manufacturer committed a breach of warranty, which is a breach of a promise of some quality or character for the product.
Alternatively, your case may be based on strict liability law. Manufacturers are often considered strictly liable for faulty products available for purchase. Strict liability means the manufacturer is responsible if you prove the product was defective. This is true regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent or if they were as careful as possible. Your legal representative will be able to determine if your case falls under the strict liability or negligence standard and will utilize the relevant factors to establish your claim.
3. Address Causation and Foreseeability
Another critical factor you must prove is that the product caused your injury and did so in a foreseeable manner.
Establish a Direct Link Between the Product Defect and the Injury
One way to prove causation is to show how the defective product caused your harm. For example, medical devices sometimes cause serious injuries.
Suppose a defective pacemaker suddenly stops working, leading to a serious cardiac event. When you prove that the pacemaker was defective, you can also likely show that you would not have suffered cardiac arrest if it had worked correctly. This is a direct link between the defective product and your injury.
Evaluate the Foreseeable Consequences of Negligence
Some injuries have an obvious direct link, but others do not. A dangerous product may instead create a chain of foreseeable events that cause your harm. If this is the case, you and your defective product attorney must show that your harm is a foreseeable consequence of the manufacturer's negligence.
4. Calculate Damages in a Product Liability Case
Successful product liability lawsuit settlements or jury verdicts may win you substantial damages. Similar to personal injury cases, this financial compensation should help you recover economic and non-economic damages as you work to return to everyday life. The more serious your injuries and psychological harm, the higher your potential compensation will likely be.
Medical Expenses and Lost Wages
Medical expenses and lost wages are two of the most significant economic damages you might face. Medical expenses include hospital bills, surgeries, and ongoing medical care. You could be entitled to both past and present medical costs. Lost wages are the income you should have made while working if not for your injuries.
Other economic damages available in a product liability claim include:
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damages
- Costs to accommodate a disability
Pain, Suffering, and Other Non-Financial Issues
A defective product can also cause serious non-financial harm. You may be owed significant compensation for the pain and suffering you endured. Physical harm is painful and may take a psychological toll on you and your family. You may also lose a person you love, and a wrongful death lawsuit can help you win compensation for your loss.
Other non-financial damages may be compensable, too, such as:
- Loss of companionship and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages (in limited cases)
5. Prove Compliance With Product Instructions
Many defendants in a defective product liability lawsuit will attempt to claim you used the product incorrectly and therefore caused your own harm. They try to shift the blame to you, often with little to no evidence to support that claim. Proving compliance with product instructions is crucial to a successful product liability claim.
To prove compliance, you and your attorney will prove that:
- The product had instructions that you could follow (or that the instructions were missing or faulty).
- You understood and followed the instructions.
- You used the product appropriately or in a reasonable and foreseeable manner.
- Your proper use of the product still resulted in harm because the product was defective.
Speak with your attorney about your injuries, how they happened, and how you were using the product when the injury occurred. Showing you were using the product correctly helps place the blame back where it belongs and not on you.
Leverage Legal Expertise in Product Liability Cases
At Daniels Law, our product liability attorneys have decades of experience handling cases like yours. We understand the serious injuries defective products can lead to. You are entitled to safe products that do not cause you harm. Instead, dangerous products can leave you injured, financially harmed, and in great pain. When that happens, we are here to help.
Daniels Law can help you file an individual case or a product liability class action lawsuit. Utilize our legal expertise in product liability lawsuits by scheduling a consultation today.
Contact us to learn more.