How Do I Determine if a Defective Product Caused My Injuries in an Accident?
When we get hurt, many of us have a tendency to blame ourselves for doing something wrong. But if you suffered injuries in an accident that made you miss work and left you facing big medical bills, it is only fair to yourself and your family to find out whether there was a problem that caused your accident. One of the causes of accidents that people tend to miss is defects in the products they or others use.
We expect products to work as advertised. We take it for granted. But sometimes, a mistake in the creation of the product fills that product with hidden dangers. When that happens, the manufacturer or seller of the product may be held liable, even if they were not negligent. A knowledgeable product liability lawyer could help investigate to determine whether a faulty product was responsible for your accident injuries. If so, you could be entitled to receive compensation to make up for your losses, including pain and emotional anguish.
Two Ways to Consider Product Liability in an Accident Situation
When you are trying to determine whether defective products are to blame for your injuries in an accident, you need to consider two factors. First, examine the situation to determine whether defects in a product caused the accident itself. For instance, a defective tire could blow out while a vehicle is cruising on the highway, causing the driver to lose control and resulting in a car or truck accident.
Another factor to examine after an accident is whether a product defect is directly responsible for injuries, or for turning minor injuries into serious ones. For example, if someone is using a power tool with a defective guard mechanism, a slip-up that should have caused only a minor laceration could instead result in arterial bleeding or an amputation. A defect in a seatbelt could cause someone to suffer a traumatic brain injury rather than a minor bruise. A lawyer can review the accident situation in detail to determine whether a defective product either contributed to the cause of the accident or made the outcome of the accident much more serious.
Products Often Found to Be Defective in Accident Cases
Any product defect can cause severe injuries in certain circumstances. Failure in the metal of tiny screws can cause parts to separate under stress, and that separation could cause serious harm, depending on the location of the screws. If they were holding the rungs of a ladder in place, someone could fall from a great height. If the screws were holding together the braking mechanism of a vehicle, suddenly the brakes could become useless, leading to a collision.
Some products that a Tallahassee product liability lawyer has found to cause accident injuries because of defects include:
- Children’s toys and playground equipment
- Components of automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles
- Professional and household tools
- Electronic devices
- Household products
- Landscaping equipment
- Small appliances
It is not always obvious when a product has failed or when a defect is the cause of an accident or injury. In many cases, a product liability lawyer will call on expert witnesses who can show how an injury was caused by the defect.
Different Ways a Product May Be Considered Defective
Most people think of a defect as a problem that occurred during the manufacture of a product. But courts in Florida and Georgia look at three distinct aspects of a product that can be defective.
A product can be designed defectively so that it is inherently dangerous even when manufactured properly. Courts often apply a “consumer expectation” test to ascertain whether a product is unreasonably dangerous. If a product is used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner and it fails to perform as safely as a reasonable consumer would expect, then it can be considered unreasonably dangerous.
In these situations, a product design is reasonably safe, but an error in the manufacturing process results in a flawed product. The defect could be in the makeup of an individual component, such as a plastic compound with a missing ingredient. Or a Tallahassee product liability lawyer could determine that the defect stemmed from the way components were assembled or treated after assembly.
Those who manufacture and sell products are responsible for ensuring that a product is labeled correctly and that it is accompanied by appropriate warnings. This can include marketing materials that show a product being used in a particular way. For instance, if the photo on the label of a step stool shows someone leaning on a paint tray that is not designed to support much weight, it is foreseeable that a consumer would use the product in the same way as shown in the picture. If they do so and suffer injuries as a result, then anyone in the supply chain of the product can be held liable for those injuries.
Facts and Evidence are Vitally Important
When someone brings a claim for damages caused by a defective product, the company facing liability is likely to offer several arguments to show why it should not be held at fault. They may assert that you misused the product in a way that was not foreseeable or that the product was modified after it left the company’s control.
It is crucial to collect all types of evidence to refute these assertions. For that reason, it is best to start working with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. This allows your legal advisor the opportunity to investigate while the evidence is still fresh.
Find Out How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help After an Accident
While you are dealing with the effects of your injuries, it can be very difficult to focus on investigating the cause of your accident. A dedicated Tallahassee product liability lawyer at Searcy Denney can help collect and preserve evidence, and also handle questions from attorneys and insurance companies to reduce your stress and give you time to focus on healing.