Each one of us uses a wide variety of manufactured products each day. Whether it be prescription medication, food products, medical devices, or any other item, a manufactured product can cause serious injury or death if it malfunctions, or is made improperly. Flaws in design and manufacturing can cause users of products to suffer serious injuries, and even death.
The manufacturer or seller of a defective product can be held liable for any injuries and damages caused by the use of such product. If you have been injured as a result of a defective product, under Texas laws, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages you have suffered.
If you have been injured by a defective product, it’s important to have a team of trusted legal advisors to help you navigate through your claim, and answer the many difficult questions you may have. At our San Antonio, Texas personal injury law firm, our product liability lawyers and defective product attorneys put the victims of defective products first!
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability is the legal responsibility that companies involved in the supply chain must take on if they deliver unsafe products to consumers. Any company providing consumer goods should only deliver safe products to the market. If they fail to meet that obligation, you can hold them responsible with the help of a product liability attorney.
These product liability cases can be complicated. In many cases, simply identifying the party responsible for your injury can be challenging. Companies may pass the blame around and leave you confused regarding what you need to do. The injuries that people sustain from defective products can also be quite varied in terms of severity. Some injuries may be easily treatable, while others may force you into an extended hospital stay.
No matter what kind of product liability case you have on your hands, you will benefit immensely from the assistance provided by a legal expert. Get in touch with a defective product law firm in San Antonio and retain their services as you proceed with your case.
Definition of a Defective Product
When does a specific product go from being a low-quality offering to something that can be deemed defective? Let us discuss the possible answers to that question in this section of the article.
First, the defect affecting the quality of a particular product could be related to its fundamental design. At some point during the design process, a flaw may have originated that the manufacturers failed to identify. The flaw may have also bypassed quality checks somehow. The design flaw can be regarded as a defect if it presents a clear danger, even if you use the product as intended. Manufacturers should be diligent enough to prevent those design flaws from eluding them. If they fail to catch those flaws in time, they may be responsible for any injuries they cause.
The defect affecting your purchased product may have also emerged during the manufacturing process. You can tell the product is defective because it differs substantially from other items in the same line. Manufacturing defects may come about during production, but they may also emerge later down the line.
The product may have developed a defect from the manufacturer to the retailer while it was in transit. In that case, the transport company may be responsible for the issue. Mistakes made while storing the product may also explain why it is now unfit for consumption. The retailer will likely need to take responsibility if the defect developed due to improper storage.
Products can also be defective because they are not appropriately labeled. For instance, you may have purchased some food that contains ingredients you are allergic to. However, the problematic ingredients were not listed, so you were unaware of their presence. You only realized that those allergens were present when you started experiencing adverse reactions to them. Hire an experienced defective products lawyer and work with them as you pursue legal action against the company responsible for releasing that improperly labeled product.
How Will a Texas Product Liability Lawyer Help Me?
Partnering with a defective products lawyer is an absolute must if you want a good chance to win your lawsuit. You will understand why their assistance is so important after you learn more about their services.
Identify the Party Responsible for Your Injury: As we detailed in the previous section, different parties could be responsible for the product defect that caused your injury. Therefore, when you move ahead with your lawsuit, you must be certain that you are going after the right party. Your lawyer can investigate your case and identify the party responsible for the defect. Once you have identified the right party, you can build your case.
Acquire Evidence Needed to Strengthen Your Case: While investigating your product liability case, your defective products lawyer can gather evidence to strengthen your claim. For example, they can collect evidence regarding defective products’ design, production, transportation, and storage. By doing so, they can prove that the other party is responsible for your injuries.
Negotiate with the Other Party: Companies typically do not like a word about their defective products reaching the public. Therefore, they may negotiate a settlement with you to take care of the situation for good. Let your personal injury lawyer handle those negotiations. They will ensure that you get a fair settlement from this whole ordeal. If the other side is unwilling to play ball, you can still take the case to court and win there.
Types of Defective Product Cases
Defective product cases may differ based on the items central to the issue. Many of these cases involve electronics. For example, manufacturers may release chargers or smart devices that get too hot when plugged in for a long time. That issue could be related to a design or manufacturing defect that the companies involved should have addressed before the products hit the market.
Products made for consumption, such as food and drugs, are often at the heart of product liability cases. As we noted earlier, those products may be defective if they contain potential allergens that they do not list on the label. They may also be defective if they did not store them properly before they sold them. Cars and car parts are also often recalled due to defects. Hopefully, your drive is not disrupted by one of those defective products.
Even kids are not safe from defective products because many toys have problematic flaws. They may present a choking hazard, or they could rely on components that could electrocute children. Be selective while shopping so you can avoid purchasing those troublesome toys.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect from My Defective Products Case?
What kind of compensation can you receive in your product liability case? If your defective products attorney wins the case, you will likely be in line to receive economic and non-economic damages. Learn more about economic and non-economic damages by continuing below.
Economic Damages: Economic damages cover the quantifiable losses you sustained due to your injuries. For example, these damages should pay for your medical expenses and cover the wages you lost while you took time away from work. You may also receive additional economic damages if the defective product damages your Bexar County home or some of your valuables.
Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages give plaintiffs compensation for the unquantifiable losses they sustained. The injuries you sustained from using the defective product may currently be causing you plenty of emotional distress. The non-economic damages are supposed to offer you some measure of relief for that.
Texas Product Liability Laws
Your product liability attorney is already familiar with the laws that will likely be relevant to your lawsuit, but it does not hurt to be informed yourself. In this section of the article, we will discuss the laws that will likely affect the outcome of your lawsuit. Commit them to memory so you can understand how things may turn out for you.
Proving the Product’s Design Is Defective
In the state of Texas, plaintiffs complaining about a poorly designed product must meet certain standards if they want that claim to stick.
More specifically, you must prove that the defect you are pointing to directly caused the injury you are seeking damages for. On top of that, plaintiffs must also prove that a “safer alternative design” could have been utilized for the defective product.
The safer alternative design must be an improvement that could have prevented your injury. The design you are pointing to should also have been “economically and technologically feasible” back when the defective product was still in the hands of the manufacturer or retailer.
As you can tell, there is a high bar for you to clear if you want to validate your claim. Enlist the help of a product liability lawyer so you can present the strongest claim possible.
The Impact of Strict Liability
Texas is a strict liability state, which is an important detail if you pursue compensation in a product liability case. Because of strict liability, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent while handling the defective product. Even if the manufacturer did everything they intended, they might still be liable for your injuries because they made that product available to you.
Plaintiffs have a better shot of claiming compensation due to strict liability.
The Principle of Proportionate Responsibility
The principle of proportionate responsibility, also known as modified comparative negligence, can affect the compensation you receive in your personal injury case. In Texas, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as they do not bear more than 50% of the blame for their injuries. However, their compensation can decrease based on the percentage of the blame attributed to them.
Working with a product liability attorney is necessary if you want to avoid having your compensation unfairly reduced.
How to File a Product Liability Claim in Texas
If you intend to file a product liability claim in Texas, there are two statutes you need to keep in mind if you want to be certain that the court will recognize your lawsuit. Those are the statutes of limitations and repose.
The Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Claims in Texas: The statute of limitations for product liability claims in Texas is two years. If a defect affecting your car were the primary reason you got into an accident, you would have two years to sue the manufacturer for releasing that flawed product. Notably, the clock only starts from the day you were injured.
Still, two years is not much time, so you should get your defective products attorney on the case as soon as possible. Ask them to gather evidence and get the paperwork in order so you can file the lawsuit without any unnecessary delays.
The Statute of Repose for Product Liability Claims in Texas: Think of the statute repose as the hard deadline for filing a product liability lawsuit. In Texas, plaintiffs can file a product liability lawsuit as long as no more than fifteen years have passed since they bought that item.
If more than fifteen years have passed since you purchased that product, then filing a lawsuit is no longer an option. This is because the courts will not recognize your lawsuit beyond that point.
Proving Fault in a Defective Product Case
How do you establish fault in a product liability case? In most personal injury cases, you must prove that someone owed you a duty of care, that the party in question breached that duty of care, and that their decision to do so directly caused your injury. You need to do something similar to prove a defective product case.
Start by proving that the product was defective. We already mentioned the different types of defects that you can highlight in cases like these. Prove that the defect exists so you can clear the first hurdle. Next, you need to prove that the defective product caused your injury; this should be easy enough to prove if you are working with a lawyer and a doctor. They can provide documentation showing that your current injuries are related to your usage of the defective product.
Lastly, you must prove that you used the product as intended when you were injured. You can argue that you were following the instructions when the product malfunctioned. No one would reasonably suspect a product could still malfunction if used exactly as the manufacturers intended. In addition, you will solidify your case if you can successfully argue that point.
Defective Products Lawyer in San Antonio
Product liability cases can be tricky to prove, but you can make that challenge easier by seeking the help of an experienced lawyer. We at Barrus Injury Lawyers have extensive experience when it comes to handling product liability cases. Contact us today if you are interested in leveraging our expertise.