Products liability law involves injuries resulting from defective products. These are often among the most serious injuries. Products liability cases involve injuries caused by a defectively designed, manufactured, repaired, or maintained product. For example, if a company designs automobile airbags that do not inflate properly upon impact, the laws of products liability apply.
If your client is injured by a defective product, hold on to the product for dear life. Access to the product provides the best chance for success in the lawsuit. If you do not have the product, you must act to ensure that it is not destroyed. You should immediately contact the owner of the product and request that it be preserved for purposes of the litigation. If the product is lost or destroyed, neither your experts nor the company’s experts can examine the product for defects. It is your client’s legal burden to prove the product was defective. If the product cannot be examined in its intact condition, you may be unable to prove the case.
The products liability law in your state may apply strict liability. Strict liability involves the assessment of liability on the basis of the defect itself. The law permits liability to be assessed against the defendant on proof that the product was defective.
Cost to Pursue
Products liability cases are very expensive to pursue. Expert engineers must testify concerning the product’s defect. The big corporations involved with design, manufacture, etc., of products have teams of lawyers and large budgets. They hope to paper to death the opposition with legal motions, petitions, etc. You must have the know-how and resources to do battle with the “big boys.” Many PI attorneys refer products cases to lawyers who specialize in products liability. You simply cannot accept every case that comes through the door, intending to learn a new area of law when the need arises. Your clients deserve zealous representation by counsel who already understands how to help them.
Because of the expense and time involved in products liability litigation, the injuries must be serious for the case to be viable. As with medical malpractice cases, unless the case is worth $75,000 or more, it may not be worthwhile to take on a products case, and it will be hard to find a lawyer to refer it to.