Each year, thousands of people become victims of dangerous or defective products in the U.S. According to Lex Machina, a legal analytics company, product liability cases continue to spike with the over 56,000 cases being filed in U.S federal district courts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that defective products result in around 30 million injuries and 22,000 deaths in the country per year. The cases are especially prominent in the pharmaceutical and medical fields.
When a consumer sustains an injury from a defective product, they can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or any other party within the chain of distribution of the product. This is to seek justice and compensation for damages and losses incurred.
Diaz & Gaeta has a team of skilled Marietta product liability lawyers ready to help you. Our personal injury attorneys in Marietta are skilled and experienced in product liability cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim, we can help you determine whether you have a solid case and help recover the damages you deserve. Call us at 678-503-2780 today to schedule your free case review and consultation appointment!
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability is a field in law that holds businesses that design, manufacture, or supply products liable in case the end-user sustains an injury or falls ill while using the product. These parties include manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and more.
It is imperative to bear in mind that the scope of this type of law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Product liability lawsuits are based on state laws and are often brought under the aspects of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability.
Depending on the state the claim is made, the victims of defective or dangerous products can receive a settlement through these avenues. In this case, victims of defective products in Marietta can recover damages in accordance with Georgia Code Section 51-1-11.
What Are the Common Causes for Legal Action?
Some of the common reasons for legal action regarding defective products are as follows:
Before a product is manufactured, it undergoes a design process. The final product is expected to function according to the standards set during this initial stage. This means a design defect claim doesn’t fault the manufacturing process. The product may have been made in accordance with the design specifications, but the design had a problem. This makes it unreasonably dangerous to the end-user.
For a product to be deemed unreasonably dangerous, the risks posed by the design need to outweigh the benefits. That’s why the jury looks at safer design options that the party could have used in order to achieve similar results.
For instance, a blender may have been designed with a flaw, but ends up working fine for the consumer. However, since the blender has moving parts, the consumer ends up losing a finger. This could have been due to an issue with the circuitry. In such a case, the injury could have been prevented if the blender started without fail.
These occur during the assembly stage. The design might be up to standards, but mistakes during the fabrication phase can make the product unfit for use. Every manufacturer has a quality control (QC) department whose role is to uncover any defects. A few examples include structural weaknesses, missing parts, contamination during packaging, and more.
These kinds of defects don’t usually affect the entire product line as most companies have strict QC oversight guidelines and regulations. However, it is not uncommon for a defective batch to slip through the cracks given the vast number of products manufactured every day.
When a product in that batch causes the end-user to fall ill or sustain an injury, the manufacturer is considered culpable and doesn’t matter if the right procedures were followed to prevent defects.
In such cases, the manufacturer is to blame for any injury or property damage.
Marketing and Labelling Defects
Using items like knives come with certain risks. However, if they are not obvious, the average consumer may not anticipate the dangers. As such, it is the responsibility of the seller or manufacturer to warn the end-user.
That is why most electronic devices come with a caution sticker and why pharmaceuticals include a list of potential side effects. For a product liability claim to be deemed valid, the injury, illness, or property damage should have been due to a failure to warn consumers properly.
For example, if you take medicine that has allergic reactions as a side effect, but this was not indicated and you end up sustaining an injury, then you can file a product liability claim.
How Is Liability for a Defective Product Determined?
To bring forth a product liability lawsuit in Marietta, GA, it should have the following grounds:
Under strict liability, you can seek settlement from the defendant if you can prove their product was defective and ended up hurting you. This is the case even if the other party followed the procedures to ensure the product was safe to use. As long as the item is proved to be unreasonably dangerous or defective when it reached the end-user, the defendant is liable for damages.
Failure to Warn
When products don’t provide sufficient warning regarding the dangers or risks associated with their use. This is known as failure to warn. Products should have an owner’s manual and warning labels that explain all the potential risks and dangers in a clear and concise manner.
Georgia law requires manufacturers and suppliers to include easy-to-understand caution labels on their products, stating any risks or dangers that may not be immediately obvious to the consumer.
The negligence aspect tends to focus on the actions of the defendant. If your product liability lawsuit is based on negligence, then any party can be held liable for damages if their negligence or carelessness resulted in an unreasonably dangerous or defective product.
Any party in the chain of commerce can be held liable if the failure to practice reasonable care resulted in a defective product. This differs from strict liability where the defendant can be held liable even if they were not negligent or careless.
For the defendant to be held liable for your injuries or losses based on negligence in Georgia, you have to prove that:
- You were owed a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- You sustained recoverable damages from using the damage.
- The defendant’s negligence led to your injuries and damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Damages?
In Marietta, GA, anyone in the defective product chain of distribution can be held liable for damages. This includes:
Manufacturers are the initial link in a product’s distribution chain. They are responsible for bringing the products you use, or at the very least, the components. Many companies rely on middlemen during this stage, including sourcing agents, wholesalers, and overseas trading firms. This makes it hard to pin down the liable party.
When filing a product liability lawsuit, you may need to sue various manufacturers depending on how the item was designed and made, and the components responsible for damages. For instance, if a stroller breaks after the wheels fall off, the parent can sue both the wheel manufacturer and stroller company.
Even though the store where you bought the unreasonably dangerous or defective product didn’t manufacture it, they can also be held responsible for damaged as they sold you the item. Keep in mind that this isn’t a matter of choosing one defendant over the other, regardless of the protests of the retailer who sold you the product.
According to Georgia product liability law, any individual or entity involved in the chain of distribution can become a defendant in your claim.
In the middle of wholesalers and retailers, there can be various suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, etc. Again, they are part of the chain of distribution of the defective product, making them potentially liable for your sustained injuries and losses.
Hospitals, Medical Clinics, and Doctors
In the case of medical products and pharmaceuticals, there are two other parties that can be held responsible.
Any hospital or medical facility that was part of the defective product distribution chain can be held liable for your injury or illness.
Any doctor who recommended medicine or medical product that resulted in harm and failed to warn you about the potential risks and dangers or did not provide enough instructions regarding the proper use of the product can also be held liable for damages.
Hire a Marietta Product Liability Lawyer Today!
In the past decade, there has been a spike in defective and unreasonably dangerous consumer products. While product liability is put in place to protect consumers, the claims process is not always as straightforward, usually because it is hard to pinpoint the party at fault. That’s why you need the right legal representation.
The lawyers at Diaz & Gaeta have vast experience in product liability law and will work hard to fight for your rights. We work on a contingency basis and so, you don’t have to fret about the fees. Call us today at 678-503-2780 and get your initial free consultation with a Marietta product liability lawyer!