Product liability is an important division of the law that helps protect consumers from faultily manufactured – or otherwise dangerous – products. When you commit to spending your earnings on a consumer good, you expect it to work as advertised. In fact, you may not even consider the issue of safety because, after all, you’re purchasing a brand-new product. Your trust, however, may be misplaced. Companies that manufacture consumer goods are in the business of turning large profits, and some of them cut corners when it comes to product safety, product testing, and more. If you or someone you love has been injured by a faulty consumer product, it’s time to consult with an experienced Huntsville product liability lawyer.
Product Liability Attorneys in Huntsville Representing Victims’ Rights
At Cloud, Ryan & Rouse, LLC, in Huntsville, our dedicated product liability attorneys are committed to representing the rights of victims like you. Our legal team has extensive experience effectively and efficiently helping clients just like you obtain the compensation to which they are entitled and that they need to move forward after a serious injury. Your rights and your case matter far too much to leave to chance.
What Is Product Liability?
Every year, thousands of people in the United States are injured by dangerously defective products, and product liability law is the corner of the law that concerns itself with this important issue. Product liability law comprises the legal regulations that determine responsibility for dangerously defective products. Product liability law differs from basic personal injury law, and it is intended to help victims of defective products more effectively recover on the damages they endure.
Product liability law is naturally quite complicated, but there are some basics that apply across the board, and that can help you better understand the practice. These include:
- Someone must have purchased the product in the first place, but the injured party does not have to be the original purchaser.
- Product liability can lie with any entity in the chain of the product’s distribution (in the regular course of the supplier’s business). These can include the manufacturer of the product, a manufacturer of parts, the wholesaler, and/or the retail store that ultimately sells the consumer product.
- For product liability to apply, you must be able to prove that the product in question was defective, that the defect left the product unreasonably dangerous, and that this defect directly caused you to be harmed.
- There are three basic categories of product defects that include design defects (the design itself is dangerously flawed); manufacturing defects (the defect arises in the manufacturing process); and marketing defects (the product is marketed in a flawed manner that fails to adequately warn consumers about any safety hazards or to provide sufficient safety instructions).
What Kinds of Products Can Cause Injuries?
Nearly any kind of defective product can cause injuries, but several kinds are most closely associated with serious product liability cases. These include:
- Children’s Products – Children are some of the most vulnerable consumers, and they have no say regarding which consumer products they do or don’t use. When a child is hurt by a defective consumer product, it is devastating, but unfortunately, these kinds of injuries are more common than you might think. For example, drop-side cribs were designed to help parents have easier access to their little ones, but in the end, they’ve contributed to a number of serious and even fatal injuries. Even children’s toys can be culprits. A fairly recent recall highlights this fact – certain toys manufactured in China (as many are) were decorated with paint containing poisonous lead. Further, even children’s clothing can be dangerously defective – sleepwear that fails to meet fire-retardant standards is a prime example.
- Vehicles – The vehicles we drive are often essential to our livelihoods and lifestyles, and when vehicles are defective, they can obviously lead to extremely dangerous accidents. In fact, traffic accidents are among the deadliest accidents, and defective vehicles are sometimes at fault. Some examples include SUVs and ATVs that are prone to deadly rollovers; vehicles with tires that are prone to blowouts; motorcycles that don’t remain safely stable at high speeds; and many more. A vehicle that is dangerously defective endangers everyone on the road.
- Household Appliances – Our household appliances fuel our lifestyles and keep our families going strong. We heavily rely upon our household appliances, and when they’re defective, it can come as a shocking surprise. Some examples include washers and dryers that start fires or lead to dangerous burns; defective furnaces or other kinds of heating units that leak carbon monoxide; countertop appliances like toasters, pressure cookers, and microwaves that pose fire hazards and/or have electrical defects; and stoves and ovens that lead to fires, dangerous burns, and/or dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.
- E-Cigs and Vape Pens – Vape pens and e-cigarettes hit the markets as a safer alternative to smoking and as a means to help smokers kick the habit. This isn’t the way it’s worked out to date, however. In fact, many people simply use both. Recently, vape-related illnesses – and even deaths – have received significant media attention. The overarching negative consequences of e-cigarettes and vape pens may not be fully understood for years to come. In the meantime, however, vape pen explosions and serious vape-related illnesses continue to occur, and they often lead to important product liability cases.
- Pharmaceuticals – We turn to pharmaceuticals to help us remain safe – not to injure us – but the fact is that pharmaceuticals are a common cause of large class-action product liability suits. Prescription medications can be harmful on a variety of levels, such as drugs that have a manufacturing defect (something taints or otherwise makes the drug in question dangerous in its progress from the factory to purchase); drugs that have dangerous side effects; and drugs that are marketed improperly (often without the necessary warnings). Drugs are often so vital to maintaining our health that dangerously defective drugs can be especially harmful.
- Cosmetics – We use cosmetics for cosmetic purposes, and as such, generally don’t think about them as being potentially dangerous. The fact is, however, that defective cosmetics can and do cause serious injuries. Examples include serious burns, permanent hair loss, infections, facial disfigurement, cancer risk, scalp irritations, lung damage (from inhaling powders and/or aerosol sprays), birth defects, vision loss, and more. Cosmetic products play an important role in our lives, and when they’re defective, they can have a significant impact.
- Furniture – You probably don’t think about the furniture in your home or office as being any more dangerous than causing the occasional bruised shin. Furniture, however, can be surprisingly dangerous. One of the most common – and dangerous – furniture defects is seating that collapses and leaves the person or people attempting to sit down seriously injured. Other dangers can include heavy furniture that tips over on consumers; glass furniture – or glass components of furniture – that break and lacerate consumers; furniture that unexpectedly ignites; furniture that gives way when leaned on; furniture that’s painted or otherwise coated with a toxic substance, and furniture that rolls on its casters over consumers’ feet or other body parts.
Protecting Your Rights After an Injury Caused by a Defective Product
If you or someone you care about has been injured by a defective product, you have rights that are important to defend. The damages incurred in a serious product liability case can be immense, including:
- Medical Expenses – If you’ve been seriously injured, you’ll have extensive medical expenses to contend with. These can include the cost of emergency care and transportation from the scene of the accident, surgery and aftercare, treatment and ongoing care from doctors, specialists, and therapists, prescription medications, physical and occupational therapy, adaptive physical devices, home adaptations, home health care, and beyond. The medical costs associated with a product liability case, alone, can be overwhelming.
- Lost Wages – Returning to work after being injured by a defective product can take a considerable amount of time, and you are likely to experience lost wages. Lost wages can segue into a diminished earning potential, and if your injury is very serious, it can permanently alter the course of your career – or even be permanently debilitating.
- Pain and Suffering – The emotional pain and suffering you experience as a result of being injured by a defective product can be immense and should never be discounted.
- Punitive Damages – If the responsible party acted especially egregiously, you may be entitled to punitive damages that are intended to punish the defendant and to send a serious message that such reckless negligence will not be tolerated.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Huntsville Product Liability Attorney
Product liability cases are serious legal matters that require the professional legal counsel of an experienced product liability attorney. The legal team at Cloud, Ryan & Rouse, LLC, in Huntsville has the experience, skill, and resources to bring your strongest case against the at-fault party. Our dedicated product liability attorneys are committed to aggressively advocating on behalf of the compensation to which you are entitled. We’re on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 256-801-1000 to schedule a free case evaluation today.