Beds, clothing, and even your favorite flat-screen television can injure you when you least expect it. Most consumers do not think about the products they use every day causing them harm. Yet nearly 11 million people have received emergency room treatment because of injuries from consumer products. When your favorite product hurts you, there is recourse. Reaching out to a personal injury lawyer skilled in product liability can ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
What is product liability?
Product liability is the legal term used to describe the responsibility of distributors, manufacturers, and sellers of defective items. While accidents can and do happen with any consumer product, manufacturers must follow certain standards designed to help prevent injuries and even deaths from normal use of their products.
Any product can become the target of a personal injury lawsuit. It could be a piece of furniture with a design flaw prone to breaking during normal use, or clothing that does not meet the federal flammability standards. Sometimes it takes a personal injury lawsuit to prompt a product recall. Other times, the product already was recalled and ended up in the hands of the consumer anyway.
Buyers have legal protections when products are determined to be unreasonably dangerous. While no federal product liability laws exist, each state has its own rules. In New Mexico, distributors and manufacturers are liable for defective products that cause injuries to consumers when negligence can be proven.
Steps to take after a faulty product injury
Consumers who are harmed by faulty products must be proactive in seeking out assistance to improve their chances of receiving compensation for their injuries. Following these recommended steps can help strengthen your case against product distributors and manufacturers.
- Seek medical care for your injuries
There are two reasons to seek immediate medical treatment for injuries caused by defective items. First, to ensure you receive appropriate treatment for the type of physical harm caused by the product. Second, to document those injuries for later use in a personal injury lawsuit. Medical records are essential components to any successful personal injury complaint, especially one that involves product liability.
- Check for a recall
Some product recalls receive a lot of attention. You hear about them on the news, through social media, and even from signs posted in the retails locations where the products are sold. Others may not garner as much awareness. One of the best sources for checking on product recalls is the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission posts information on its website about all recalls, including those that have not managed to make the 6 o’clock news. Consumers can search by date, category, type of hazard, and manufacturing origin. If the product that caused your injuries is the subject of a recall, you can export the data from the commission and add it to your evidence for a potential personal injury claim against the distributor or manufacturer.
- Seek legal counsel
Determining liability for faulty products is an important step when considering a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury attorneys experienced with product liability can guide you through the process to ensure your rights are protected. One of the first things your personal injury lawyer will do is check to see if a class-action lawsuit for the item already has been filed. If one exists, you can consider joining it. There are pros and cons to joining a class-action lawsuit. Your attorney can discuss these with you before you decide whether to join one or file an individual claim.
- Identify all responsible parties
As previously mentioned, this is where hiring a personal injury attorney skilled in product liability law comes in handy. Experienced product liability attorneys can follow the distribution chain to identify all responsible parties. From designers and manufacturers to retail distributors and wholesalers, each plays a unique role in getting a product to market. Some entities may have more responsibility for your injuries than others depending on why the product is defective. Your attorney can determine if some or all the parties involved should be included in the personal injury claim.
- Gather supporting documentation
Another perk of hiring an experienced product liability law attorney is they will provide direction on which kinds of records can help prove your case. Receipts, product registration numbers, warranty information, and medical documentation of your injuries are just a few of the items that can point to liability.
Knowing when to settle
Most personal injury lawsuits never make it inside a courtroom, including those for product liability. Settling outside of court can be a beneficial experience for victims when they work with a reputable and skilled personal injury attorney. They can receive appropriate compensation for their injuries and other damages while being spared the stress of a lengthy court case. The product liability law experts at Cameron & Russell protects your rights while seeking the best route for recovering fair compensation. Schedule your free case evaluation today to get started.