Hiring Legal Representation for Product Liability
You waited months for that new face cream to come out from your favorite brand. As soon as it hit the store shelves, you rushed out to buy it. After just one application, your skin became red, irritated, and formed painful blisters. It was hardly the outcome you were anticipating. Calls to the product manufacturer did not resolve the issue. A few days later, you find online reviews that others are having the same painful experience. Is the product defective? Quite possibly.
No one expects a product they buy to be defective, especially if it is a product from one of their favorite brands. We all expect the products we buy to be safe when used for their intended purposes. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes products are faulty and can cause serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a product, you may be legally entitled to compensation from the product’s manufacturer.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is the legal term to describe the responsibility for injuries or deaths caused by defective products. The manufacturers and sellers of such products can be accountable for any damages. New Mexico law defines three types of product liability claims:
- Design defects are flaws in the design of a product that can cause injury to a consumer who is using it as intended. For example, if you are using a brand-new treadmill and the track cracks on it and it throws you off, breaking your leg, that would be considered a design defect.
- Failure-to-warn defects mean a manufacturer or seller was aware of a defect and the potential safety hazards associated with it, but sold the product anyway. This is the most serious of all product liability claims because manufacturers and sellers are required to notify consumers of issues with products that could cause them harm.
- Manufacturing defects are exactly as they sound – they are errors made in the manufacturing of a product that prevents it from being used as intended.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a product defect, do not wait to seek legal help. You have a right to damages for any temporary or permanent injuries suffered from normal use of the product.
Who is Liable for Product Defects?
While a product liability case might sound mundane, do not be deceived. Product liability cases can be hotly-contested, with multimillion-dollar corporations on the other side. Corporate attorneys will do their best to squash a case to protect the reputation of their clients. That can leave consumers on the hook for thousands in medical bills and lost wages if the injuries they suffered required hospitalization and time off work to recover. Never think you can handle a potential product liability case on your own. They are complex and when big corporations are involved, consumers often get short-changed in the exchange.
Product manufacturers can be held liable for damages their products cause. What is considered a ‘product’ is a very wide range of objects. Products can range from devices used for medical treatment to car parts to the appliances we rely on every day to complete daily living tasks. Whether as big as a truck or as small as a toddler’s toy, defective products come in all shapes and sizes.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a defective product, do not let product manufacturers get away with violating your rights. Make sure you contact The Law Offices of Cameron & Russell, LLC at your earliest convenience, so our legal team can help you evaluate your options.
What is Required to Prove Product Liability?
To be held liable ordinarily requires that the product be used for its intended purpose. An example of using something for its intended purpose might be driving on a new tire. Consumers have the reasonable expectation that a new tire will work as intended on their vehicle, allowing them to safely drive down the road. If that new tire is defective and blows while you are driving the car at 70 mph down the Interstate, causing you to crash and be seriously injured, you may have a product liability case. However, if a child is using a brand new couch for a trampoline and the frame breaks, causing the child to fall and break his arm, that is not a case of product liability since the couch was not being used for its intended purpose.
Product liability cases also generally require proof a defect of some sort exists. These defects are often hidden and things only a specialist might be able to identify. A product may be defective either in its design or by some fault in its manufacture. If you have been harmed by a product and are unsure whether the product suffered from a defect, it is often worth having that product examined. Typically, an expert witness in the field of the type of product that injured you is retained to evaluate whether a product was defective in some manner. Our offices work with expert witnesses to help clients demonstrate they have a valid claim.
What Kinds of Injures Do Defective Products Cause?
Like the number of objects that are considered products, the types of injuries a defective product can cause are numerous. Product liability cases may include injuries such as:
- Burns – whether from heat or chemical exposure
- Lacerations – cuts and the scars that may follow
- Poisoning – such as from lead in a child’s toy
- Food poisonings – such as Botulism or E. Coli
In a worst-case scenario, some defective products can even cause a consumer’s death. When that happens, additional legal options may be at your disposal, such as claims of wrongful death in addition to product liability. Our attorneys are experienced in thoroughly evaluating a case to determine the best course of legal action on behalf of our clients.
Collecting Damages for Product Liability
Negligence and strict liability are involved in the majority of product liability cases. As such, compensatory damages may be awarded. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages typically are comprised of medical expenses, lost income, disability costs, and property damage. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering and permanent disability or disfigurement.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in product liability cases. New Mexico law requires the claimant to prove the defendant acted intentionally or with reckless disregard for the well-being of consumers.
Do You Really Need to Hire a Product Liability Attorney?
There are many reasons you may wish to consult an attorney regarding injuries sustained from a defective product. The many injuries detailed above often result in racking up large medical debts that can be compounded by having to take time off from work or for having to pay for services you used to be able to perform yourself before being injured. Manufacturers and sellers may be liable for these damages and more. You need a strong legal team with the experience to evaluate your circumstances and help you make an informed decision.
There are also many non-economic reasons to hire an attorney to work on your case. If a large corporation is putting their interests ahead of the safety of consumers of their product, they need to be brought to justice. Product liability lawsuits can help rebalance the profit incentives so that safety is preserved. Brining a product liability suit can help to ensure that product manufacturers continue to think of their customers first.
Even if a product manufacturer is not careless in their manufacture of a product, there may be other reasons to bring a product liability suit. Since a product’s manufacturer may be strictly liable for the damages their product causes, there may be no need to demonstrate their fault for you to recover. Bringing a product liability suit may help you recover from the losses their product caused, while also alerting the manufacturer to the potential for further similar defects. This has the effect of helping to safeguard future purchasers and generally make products safer for everyone.
Call Cameron & Russell, LLC Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a defective product, call our offices today. Bill Russell has years of experience representing clients in product liability matters. Our team can help you evaluate your options. We can investigate your case on your behalf, with the help of expert witnesses in any product’s field. Do not let your rights slip away. Call (505) 218-7844 or inquire online to schedule a free consultation.