When you purchase a product, you put faith in the manufacturer and seller that the product is actually safe. You never expect that you will be injured by a product.
However, product liability injuries are far more common than you think. If you have been harmed by a product, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. First, you need to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller. Contact the product liability attorneys in Mt. Pleasant at Rikard & Protopapas to learn more about your legal rights in a case involving a dangerous product.
Product Liability Statistics Paint a Picture of Growing Danger
The number of product liability recalls hit a four-year high in the first quarter of 2023. By August 2022, there were already a total of one billion product units recalled — a figure that had only been reached twice in United States history.
Recalls are usually reported to and overseen by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. This federal agency is tasked with protecting the public from dangerous products, like the one that may have injured you. The Food and Drug Administration oversees recalls involving food products and pharmaceuticals.
According to the National Safety Council, there were over 12 million people treated in emergency rooms for injuries resulting from consumer products in 2022. While some of these injuries were minor, other consumers may find their lives permanently changed by a product-related injury.
For example, over 50,000 women have filed lawsuits claiming that they were sickened by Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder. The product is alleged to contain asbestos, which has been connected to ovarian cancer among women who used the product regularly.
How You Can Prove that a Product Was Defective
There are numerous legal theories that you can use to qualify for compensation in a product liability lawsuit. The first theory that our dangerous product lawyers may use is strict liability. Under strict product liability, the defendant is presumed to be at fault once you prove that the product was defective. The burden then shifts to them to show why you would not deserve compensation.
There are three ways that a product could be defective:
- A design defect is when there is something wrong with the product’s design that makes it inherently dangerous. An example of a design defect is when an SUV is prone to rollover when it is being driven
- A manufacturing defect is when there is nothing wrong with the design, but something goes wrong when the product is being made that makes it unreasonably dangerous. An example is a batch of drugs that became contaminated with a possible carcinogen due to an unsanitary plant.
- A marketing defect is when the maker knew or should have known of a defect, but they did not take any action to fix the defect or warn the general public. The failure to include proper instructions to use a product safely could also be a marketing defect.
A product liability lawyer could also rely on common law theories, such as negligence or breach of warranties.
Potential Defendants in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Anyone who was involved in the “stream of commerce” can be held responsible in a product liability case. The court, or the defendants, would decide how to apportion liability — it is not your problem. For purposes of your case, the “stream of commerce” can include:
Product Liability Cases Are Always Legal Battles
Product liability cases tend to be difficult.
First, you are likely not the only person who was harmed by a defective product. In many cases, there are thousands, or even hundreds of thousands or people who were injured. Thus, the defendant could be facing hundreds of millions of dollars of liability, or even more. They will fight your lawsuit hard until they realize that they do not have other options. The initial cases in the lawsuit may even go to trial.
Second, product liability cases often come down to science. You need to prove exactly what the defect was that made the product unreasonably dangerous. Your product liability attorney would work with expert witnesses to prove a defect. The defendant will almost always try to get your expert witnesses disqualified because they know it could mean the end of your case.
Damages in a Product Liability Case
The median jury verdict in a product liability case is well over a million dollars.
There have been some instances that juries ordered defendants to pay tens of millions of dollars. This does not necessarily mean that your case will automatically be worth that much. How much you may get depends on a number of factors, including:
- Your own particular injuries that you suffered; cases that result in death may be worth even more)
- Whether the defendant settled the lawsuits; you would file a claim against a global settlement fund that the defendant established)
- Whether the jury wanted to punish the defendant by awarding punitive damages
In the very large verdicts, there are usually punitive damages involved. Juries get angry because defendants often knew that they were selling you a dangerous product, yet they chose to keep doing so. For example, there were multiple jury verdicts for more than $50 million in the Roundup product liability litigation, where the company’s response to the danger of its products was to pay scientists for favorable research reports.
Our injury attorneys in Mt. Pleasant are not afraid to take on the biggest corporations to fight for what you deserve. It does not matter who we are up against — we will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice on behalf of you and your family.
Contact a Dangerous Products Lawyer in Mt. Pleasant Today
One of the first things that you need to do when you have been injured by a defective product is to contact an attorney. The attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas are standing by and ready to fight for your legal rights. You can schedule a free consultation by contacting us through our website or by calling us today at 803-978-6111. You owe us nothing unless you win.