We have certainly all suffered at least minor injuries from a product at some point in our lives; perhaps cutting ourselves shaving with an old razor or burning our fingers on that bowl that wasn't meant for the microwave. But there is a difference between run-of-the-mill minor accidents involving products (some of which are our fault) and being seriously injured by a defective product. When you are injured by a product due to a defect in the product's design, manufacture, or faulty/incomplete instructions, you may be able to bring a successful lawsuit to recover damages for all of your injuries. Below is a brief overview of the basics of seeking compensation in connection with a defective product.
Who Can Bring a Defective Product Lawsuit
Perhaps the most important requirement for a defective product lawsuit (also called “product liability suit”) is that you have suffered an actual physical injury from the allegedly defective product. If your riding lawn mower stops working after all applicable warranties run out, but you are not physically injured by it, then you may simply be stuck with a dead lawn mower. But if your arm was severely injured by the lawn mower's blade due to a defectively installed guard, then you may have grounds for a successful defective product lawsuit.
There is no requirement that you as the injured party actually have purchased the product; even if the product was purchased by a family member, friend, or even a stranger, you can still bring a product liability suit against the manufacturer, seller, and any other party in the chain of distribution who possessed the product at the time the defect existed.
How a Defective Product Lawsuit is Won
One challenging aspect of a defective product lawsuit is to prove that there was a causal connection between your injury and the alleged defect in the product. There are three primary legal theories on which product liability suits are won:
- Manufacturing Defect: Here, the plaintiff is alleging that the product was improperly manufactured with a defect, and the defect caused the injury. Taking the lawn mower example, if a guard covering the blade was only loosely bolted on, and it came off causing your injury, that would be a manufacturing defect and the manufacturer and seller would be liable.
- Design Defect: With this theory, the plaintiff is arguing that the product was defectively designed from the start. Here, a plaintiff might allege that the lawn mower should have been designed with sturdier bolts holding the blade guard in place, and it was thus defectively designed by including less sturdy bolts.
- Failure to Warn / Improper Instructions: Many products simply carry unavoidable risks (e.g. power tools) but these risks can be avoided through proper instructions on usage and explanation/warning of those risks. If a manufacturer or seller failed to warn of risks and/or include proper instructions, this may also be the basis for a successful lawsuit.
Individual Actions vs. Class Actions
Plaintiffs wishing to recover damages for their injuries stemming from a defective product have the option of bringing their own individual suit or potentially joining a class action if there are numerous other individuals who have similarly been injured due to the same defect. Although a plaintiff may in some cases be better off bringing an individual suit (especially in situations involving a manufacturing defect where it may be unlikely that many others were injured by the same defect), a class action provides an enormous amount of leverage against a defendant as the class can essentially pool its resources in bringing the action.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Herrington Law
The attorneys at Herrington Law have decades of experience in bringing and winning product liability suits and class action suits on behalf of injured victims throughout Mississippi and elsewhere. Firm founder Brian Herrington has been spent his career fighting for the rights of individual plaintiffs who have been wronged by the actions of large corporations and businesses, and he and his team will bring that same drive to your case. Contact the office of Herrington Lawtoday for a free consultation to discuss obtaining recovery for your injuries.