Because of a few highly publicized incidents (some of which never really happened), many people don’t take defective product cases seriously. But they should.
As a consumer, the manufacturer of a product owes you a duty of reasonable care. If they fail to exercise that care in making their product, and you sustain a serious injury or loss during normal use, they’ve also failed you. You therefore have the right to sue.
Suppose the blade of your brand-new lawnmower breaks unexpectedly while you’re mowing your lawn and damages your classic sports car. It will be expensive to fix, so you’ll face a monetary loss because of the incident. If the blade embeds itself in a tree, however, you’ve suffered little or no loss.
Not necessarily. In the U.S. legal system, you, as the plaintiff, bear a stiff burden of proof. You’ll have to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
A defective product is one that fails during reasonable use because of flawed construction or bad design. If you shoot yourself in the leg because you put a loaded pistol in your pocket, that doesn’t count. The same goes for accidentally dropping a sharp kitchen knife on your foot. But if you’re shooting at a pistol range with standard rounds and the pistol explodes, you have a reasonable product liability claim. Similarly, you have a case if your knife handle breaks while you’re cutting vegetables, and the blade slices your hand.
You and your personal injury lawyer will have to prove that:
You must have suffered physical injury or monetary loss in the accident. Almost isn’t enough. Even though the lawnmower blade in the earlier example could have hurt you or your car, if it embedded itself in a tree, you have no claim.
If the lawnmower blade broke because you took it off to sharpen it and failed to tighten it down properly, you have no case. If it broke for no obvious reason, you might. In order of descending provability, you can claim the defect was caused by:
The defect itself, not a secondary effect, must have caused the injury. When mowing your lawn, an unexpected blade breakage that damages you or your car is actionable. A rock or croquet ball you ran over is not, even if the blade then broke and hurt you. The defendant’s attorney can reasonably argue the blade was fine until you ran over the object.
Using a product the wrong way won’t get you much sympathy. You have to have been using the product the way the manufacturer intended. In your mower broke for no apparent reason while you were mowing, you have a case. If it hurt you while you were using it to mulch a pile of leaves or dead plants, you might have a case. If it hurt you while you were crossing a gravel path with it running, you’re out of luck.
If you believe a defective product has caused you injury or loss, call Russell & Lazarus APC at (949) 851-0222 today. Our product liability attorneys will help you determine whether you have a case. We’ve successfully prosecuted many defective product cases, making our firm the logical choice to help you take a stand for your legal rights.