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2013-2017

South Georgia Product Liability and Defect Attorney

Defective Product Lawyers Serving Clients in South Georgia

Consumers should be able to purchase products under the assumption that they are safe for their intended use. Whether it is an automobile, a children’s product, a prescription drug, or even a surgical implant, you should be able to assume that you will not sustain an injury because of product defect. However, products defects happen with some regularity, and it is important to learn more about the process of filing a claim for compensation from an experienced product liability lawyer in South Georgia.

Product Liability

Each year, thousands of victims sustain serious injuries from dangerous and defective products. Home appliances, food, drugs, automobiles, medical devices, medical implants, and a variety of other products used by consumers every day go wrong and cause catastrophic injuries and deaths.

Severe personal injuries and wrongful deaths could be avoided if the manufacturers or distributors of these products took reasonable steps to ensure consumer safety. If you or a family member or loved one has been injured, or died, as a result of injuries due to the use of a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer to recover damages. You do not necessarily have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent.

Manufacturers and their marketers must label products they distribute for public use in so as to warn of all dangers associated with its’ proper or foreseeable uses. They must specifically state how that product should be used and warn you of the hazards.

RESULTS

Automobile Accident

$2.6 Million Jury Verdict against Volusia County. Trial televised on Good Morning America

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Personal Injury

$2.6 Million Verdict against Volusia County, televised on Good Morning America.

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Medical Malpractice

Confidential settlement of over 100 cases against a pediatric dentist who faces prosecution for fraud based on abuse of children.

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Learning More About Product Liability Lawsuits

You might be asking yourself: what, exactly, is product liability law? Product liability law falls within the larger legal category of personal injury law, and it refers to situations in which product defects cause injury plaintiffs. According to the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII), the definition of product liability law is as follows: “Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by the product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain), an assembling manufacturer, wholesaler, and the retail store owner (at the bottom of the chain).”

Generally speaking, product liability claims will fall into one of the three separate categories:

  •      1) Design defect: a design defect occurs before the consumer product ever makes it to the manufacturer(s). When a design defect exists, this means that there is a safety defect in the very design of the product itself, and that no matter how carefully and accurately the product is manufactured and marketed, it still contains an inherent defect that may result in serious or even fatal personal injuries. What is an example of a design defect? For example, imagine that a kitchen knife is designed without a proper hand grip. As such, every time a chef uses the knife, she cuts her hand on the product because her hand slips onto the blade. Even if the kitchen knife is made with the best possible materials and is manufactured exactly as it is intended to be, the knife still remains unreasonably dangerous for consumer use.
  •      2) Manufacturing defect: a manufacturing defect occurs after the product has been designed and during the process of manufacture. Manufacturing defects can occur during the making of component parts (those going into the final product), or at the stage of assembly. What does a manufacturing defect look like in practice? Imagine the same example presented above concerning the kitchen knife. This time, the product was designed properly with a proper hand grip that has a guard separately the chef’s hand from the blade. The company manufacturing those hand grips, however, makes a number of hand grips in which the guard was not properly formed. As a result, the chef’s hand can slip from the grip and onto the blade, causing serious injury.
  •      3) Marketing defect, also known as the failure to warn: a marketing defect is distinct from design and manufacturing defects. When a marketing defect exists, there is nothing inherently dangerous about the product. However, it was marketed in a manner that did not make clear a possible hazard associated with the product. Accordingly, this defect is also known as a failure to warn, given that, if products can pose a risk to consumers in a manner that is foreseeable, then there is a duty to warn about the possibility of injuries. Typically, marketing defects fall into one of two categories: either a failure to warn about foreseeable risks, or a warning that is too vague or inadequate so as to serve its purpose. What does a marketing defect look like in practice? For instance, consider the recent popularity of laundry detergent pods (the small soap pods that can be used in lieu of a cupful of detergent in the washing machine). While there may be nothing wrong with laundry detergent pods in terms of their design or manufacture, they are brightly colored and often look like candy or toys to young children. When ingested, these laundry detergent pods may pose a risk of choking or can cause other injuries. A plaintiff may argue that this was a foreseeable use of the product and that the company needs to properly warn consumers about such a risk.

Recent Defective Product Recalls Impacting Residents of Georgia

As we have mentioned, product defects and safety recalls can impact a very wide range of consumer products. Examples of dangerous products that have been subject to recalls in recent years include but are not limited to:

  •      Auto parts, such as defective air bags;
  •      Children’s products, such as car seats or high chairs;
  •      Furniture, such as dressers that can tip over;
  •      Dangerous drugs, like Actos or Yaz;
  •      Defective medical products, like transvaginal mesh or certain hip replacements;
  •      Common household products, such as laundry detergent pods; and
  •      Electronic products, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone.

What Should I Do if I Own a Product Recalled Because of a Safety Defect?

What should you do if you own a product that is associated with a safety recall? According to an article in Parents magazine, the most important thing you can do is to heed the recall. Heeding a recall notice typically involves the following:

  •      Stop using the product;
  •      Contact the company for a repair or replacement; and
  •      When in doubt, simply discard the product so that it cannot pose a danger to your household.

It is important to note that some product safety recalls are more serious than others. In some instances, recalls concern only minor labeling problems, but in other instances, products are subject to recalls because they can cause life-threatening injuries.

Negligence or Strict Liability in a Product Defect Lawsuit?

Product liability claims are somewhat different from many other personal injury lawsuits because plaintiff may not always present a case under a theory of negligence. In some instances, a personal injury victim may indeed argue that the engineer, manufacturer, or sales distributor for a product was negligent, and as a result of that negligence, the plaintiff is entitled to damages.

However, depending upon the specific facts of your case and the location where you file your claim, you may file your lawsuit under a theory of strict liability. What is strict liability? In brief, strict liability allows an injured plaintiff to prove that a defendant is liable without having to prove that the defendant was negligent or behaved poorly. To be sure, the defendant can be very careful and still can be liable. A product defect lawsuit that relies on a theory of strict liability typically will require a plaintiff only to prove the following:

  • There is a defect in the product; and
  • The plaintiff suffered an injury as a result of the defect.

 

Product Liability Damages and Awards

If you file a product liability lawsuit, what types of damages can you hope to recover? In general, damages are likely to fall into one of two categories: compensatory damages and/or punitive damages. What is the difference between the two? Compensatory damages aim to compensate a plaintiff for his or her losses, while punitive damages aim to punish the defendant and to deter subsequent actions in the future.

Let Us Help You

If you have been injured by a dangerous product, we are here to help. The Georgia attorneys at the Law Offices of John M. Phillips are prepared to help you today.

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