Product Liability and the Law
By: Frank H. Bailey, Attorney, Co-Founder & Partner
Every year thousands of people are injured or killed by defective and dangerous products. All states have enacted laws that allow consumers to recover for their injuries if certain standards are met. These product liability laws are different from ordinary injury laws. An injured person must prove that the product that caused the injury was defective and unreasonably dangerous in order to recover damages.
There are three types of defects that will qualify:
Design Defects are defects in the design of the product that make the product unsafe. This might be in the design of a seat belt.
Manufacturing Defects are defects that occurred in the manufacture of the product. This might be a bolt that was not made from the correct material.
Marketing Defects are defects including lack of warnings or improper labeling. This might be a failure to warn of a dangerous scissor point.
Liability for defective products can be assessed against the manufacturer, the wholesaler and the retail store that sold the product. Typically a claim is brought under theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty, and all parties that were in the chain of distribution are named as defendants.
In order to successfully prosecute a product liability claim, it is necessary to prove the actual defect that caused the injury or death. It is not enough that an injury occurred involving a product. Some products cannot be made entirely safe just by their very nature. An example of a product that cannot be made safe by its very nature is a chain saw. If an individual is injured by a chain saw, without something unusual that would probably not be a product liability case.
In order to prove a product is defective and unreasonably dangerous, you must have an expert witness that can demonstrate how the defect caused the injury, and how the defect could have been eliminated. At Bailey and Oliver Law firm, we have access to engineers and other types of experts who will investigate how the injury occurred and how the defect could have been eliminated. Without this type of testimony, it is impossible to recover.
Some attorneys charge hourly fees which can range from $200-$450 per hour. Other attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. Your hourly fees can add up quickly, and are owed even if the attorney loses your case. That is why you will want an attorney that works on a contingent fee basis. That means the attorney will only get paid if they win for you. At Bailey & Oliver Law Firm, we handle product liability cases on a contingent fee basis which allows you to level the playing with the defendants, without having to expend money out of your pocket.
We invite you to call us with your questions about product liability cases. There is no charge for inquires. Contact us at (479) 202-5200.