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Product Liability Lawyers

Defective Product Lawyer

What is a Product Liability lawyer?

A product liability lawyer is someone who handles cases that involve defects in consumer products–basically, anything you buy that is dangerous or injures people somehow. Tens of millions of people suffer injuries from using things they bought that should have been safe, but turned out to be dangerous. When companies don’t do the work to design a safe product in the first place, they can be held responsible legally if they injure someone, whether they meant to or not.

Product liability lawyers usually step in when it’s something more serious than just the product not working. When a personal injury is involved, the companies responsible for selling you something dangerous need to be held responsible.

If you’ve been injured by using a product that you think might have caused the injury, call us at 657-845-3100 or e-mail us at contact@kneuppercovey.com. You may have a product liability claim and our law firm may be able to help. We’re happy to give you a free consultation on whether you might have a case.

What are some examples of a defective product?

Any product that is either has a basic design flaw that makes it a hazard, or that is dangerous when people use it in a way that’s foreseeable for that type of product.

So for example, a toaster wouldn’t be defective if you stuck your hand inside and turned it on and got burned. Normal people don’t use toasters that way. But if the toaster is designed so that it overheats just from turning it on and can cause an electrical fire, then that’s a defective product. Normal people will put bread in a toaster and turn it on to heat it up. Everyone knows that - so if the manufacturer doesn’t make it safe for normal use, that product is defective.

Do you charge for consultations?

No. We ordinarily take product liability cases on contingency, which means we do not charge any fees at all unless we win, and what we do charge comes out of the amount we win. We believe that gives us an incentive to fight harder for you, and it makes it easier for people who don’t have money to fight back against bigger companies who aren’t making sure that the public in general is safe. If you would like a free case evaluation from one of our product liability attorneys, give us a call at 657-845-3100 or e-mail us at contact@kneuppercovey.com.

What is a design defect?

A design defect is when a product is dangerous even when it’s made exactly how it was supposed to be. That means that there’s something wrong with the way it was designed, not with the way it was made.

So if the brakes on a car don’t work properly in cold weather and cause car accidents whenever it snows, that’s a design defect. Or if power tools don’t have a safety guard on them, that’s a problem with the design as well. The product’s design itself is the problem, not anything to do with the materials or how it was made. With a design defect, everyone using the product is at risk.

Design defects are more common than you’d think. In fact, there are recalls every week of hundreds of thousands of consumer products that people thought were safe, but turned out not to be. Dangerous products need to be fixed, and part of the reason for bringing a products liability lawsuit is to get manufacturers to change the design to make it safe. If everyone using a product is at risk, you’re doing a public service by making it expensive to injure people.

What is a manufacturing defect?

A manufacturing defect is a little bit different. That’s when a product had a good design, but something went wrong in actually making it. An example would be if you bought a shampoo, and it was contaminated with lead. The lead isn’t supposed to be in there, so it’s not a defect in the design. It’s a defect in the way the shampoo was made. The manufacturing process has something wrong with it, and some percentage of the products being made don’t actually follow the design like they’re supposed to.

We’ve handled manufacturing defect cases in a number of contexts. Sometimes they are cosmetic products that have some kind of contaminant - we’ve seen people’s skin get chemical burns, or seen them suffer extreme allergic reactions. We’ve handled contaminated pet product cases where a product has caused someone’s pet to suffer serious injuries and lots of vet bills, or even death. We’ve seen people suffer embarrassing hair loss from contaminated shampoos.

Another thing that happens is that sometimes a part isn’t put on properly or is broken. So you could have a lawnmower, for example, where the blade was cracked and wasn’t safe to use. The design for the blade might be a perfectly good one - but you have to actually make it properly for it to work.

With manufacturing defects, not everyone who uses it will be at risk from a product injury. Instead, it might only be a small number of people who suffer injuries. But if you’re that person, you deserve compensation.
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What kind of damages can I get for a product liability case?

It depends on how severe the injury was. You might be able to recover your medical expenses, damages for pain and suffering, damages for emotional distress, or various other kinds of damages to try to make you whole. It’s hard to predict how much verdicts will be because juries vary dramatically. Many cases settle as well, so it could depend on whether there is insurance and whether the company that’s at fault has admitted to the issue.

Another issue affecting damages is how many companies have liability. Under product liability law, there is a concept called “strict liability,” which means that a company can be liable whether they were negligent or not. In other words, it doesn’t matter if they knew, and it doesn’t matter if they had any bad intent. The law holds them liable anyway. And in many states, the retailer or distributor are strictly liable as well. That means if you bought a product on Amazon that injured you, you might be able to sue Amazon–even if they aren’t the one who made it. The idea is to protect consumers from danger. So if it’s a dangerous product from China, who are you supposed to sue? You can’t go to China. But if Amazon imported it here and sold it here, then by doing so they’ve assumed responsibility for any product defects in the things they’re selling you.

Can I sue for wrongful death in a products liability case?

If a loved one has died from a defective product, you may have a wrongful death claim if you’re a family member or part of their estate. You may have rights to claim damages for emotional distress you’ve suffered, for what’s called “loss of consortium” - in other words, loss of that person from your life, or for lost wages that might have been earned during that person’s life. You might also be able to recover burial or funeral expenses, or for medical bills that are owed by the estate.

These kinds of cases can be more complex, and may involve other family members as well. If you’re not the one who was injured, you also will want to take steps to preserve any evidence about the product you think was responsible (including the product itself). Part of any products liability case involves analyzing the product, and sometimes expert testimony. So if a family member has died, you need to make sure that any important evidence is preserved before their estate is sold or given away to family.

Contact Kneupper & Covey

Kneupper & Covey accepts consumer protection cases across the country, with licenses to practice in California, Georgia, and Texas. We have physical offices to meet you in California and Georgia.
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