When you get hurt using a product you purchased, and the injury you suffer is due to some defect in manufacturing, packaging, warnings or the like, the manufacturer of that product can sometimes be held responsible for the damages you suffer.
These kinds of cases are called product liability claims, and they have to be pursued in a very specific way. Learn how product liability claims are processed, the legal theories involved, and why it’s so important to have a qualified injury lawyer help with your case.
Legal Theories in Product Liability
In the vast majority of personal injury cases, the concept of negligence comes into play. While this is certainly true of some product cases, it doesn’t attach in all. In fact, any given product injury case can employ a number of different approaches, including strict liability, negligence, warranty breach or fraud, among others.
Strict Product Liability Cases
The vast majority of product liability cases work on the concept of strict liability. What this means is that you purchased a product that was sold containing inadequate warnings, or with an unreasonable danger associated with its use, that the seller knew of the danger and had no intention of it being repaired before getting to you, and that it was this danger that caused you harm.
The reason that this is the legal theory most commonly applied is that it opens up the door to a broad range of damage awards and that it covers most of the bases of liability. It’s the easiest and broadest to pursue.
Negligence requires several standard factors. You’ll need to show, first, that the manufacturer had a duty to create a product that was free from unreasonable risks when used as intended. Second, they in some way violated this duty — they created an inherently risky product, and they failed to warn of these dangers. Finally, it was this failure to uphold their duty that caused the accident which resulted in your injury.
Proving a breach of warranty can be difficult, especially if there is no overt warranty packaged with the product. That’s because the first step is to prove that a warranty or guarantee existed. Secondly, you’ll need to show that in some way the product didn’t live up to the warranty or guarantee.
In cases of fraud, you will need to demonstrate, in brief, that the defendant in some way grossly misrepresented their product, did so deliberately, and that your reliance upon this misrepresentation was what led to your injuries. This generally carries some assumption of malice on the part of the manufacturer, but if it can be established can open the case up to additional awards, like punitive damages.
Working with an Injury Lawyer
Most businesses have solid teams of attorneys and experienced insurance companies backing them up, which can make it hard to pursue product liability claims. Those who find themselves in this situation should seek the help of a qualified personal injury attorney. If you’re in Oklahoma and need help with a product liability case, call Parrish DeVaughn today for help, advice, and consultation about your needs.