Product Liability Attorneys in Birmingham, AL
Every year, Americans spend billions of dollars on various types of products, from cars to furniture to home appliances. In fact, every second, the amount of money that is spent on consumer items in the U.S. increases rapidly.
When a consumer purchases a product, they do so because they believe that product will enhance their life in some way. Maybe the product will make accomplishing a task, such as preparing dinner for their family, easier or allow them to complete the task more quickly. Or, maybe the product is purchased for pure entertainment purposes, providing the consumer with a means of relaxation or enjoyment.
Whatever the product or whichever the consumer, one thing is certain: no one every purchases a product believing that that product could cause them harm. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens to hundreds of people throughout the United States every year, who become the unsuspecting victims of defective product accidents.
Commonly Defective Products
Nearly any product type has the potential to be defective. In fact, a quick look at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of recalls shows how prevalent defective products really are. Some of the types of products that have the potential to contain a defect that makes that product dangerous include:
- Chairs, dressers, cribs, and other types of furniture;
- Cars, truck, motorcycles, boats, bikes, and various other motor vehicles and modes of transportation;
- Children’s toys;
- Home appliances, including air conditioners and washing machines;
- Power tools;
- Clothing and children’s clothing;
- Prescription medications;
- Medical devices; and
- Cleaning products.
The above list is not complete and even the most unassuming of products can be hazardous when they are defective.
Types of Defective Product Liability Claims
While the list of potential products and product defects may be infinite, the types of defective product liability claims are limited to three different claim categories. These are:
- Defectively designed products. The first type of product liability claim is one which alleges that the product in question was defectively designed. In this type of product defect claim, the plaintiff seeks to prove that there is something inherently dangerous about the product’s design itself, and not something about the way the product was manufactured. For example, a clothing dresser that is designed to be top heavy with a poor base of support, therefore making it at risk of falling over when minimal amounts of force are applied, is an example of a defectively designed product. The same could be said of top heavy vehicles that are at risk of rolling over – defective engineering is to blame. Prescription medications often fall into this category when the risks of said medication outweigh the benefits.
- Defectively manufactured products. The second type of product liability claim is one that suggests that the design of the product is sound and safe for consumer use, but that something happened during the manufacturing process to render the product defective. For example, a car that is manufactured with an ignition switch that is designed to work, but does not due to inadequate wiring, is an example of a defectively manufactured product. This is the case for many types of defective products, including electronics, tires and other automotive parts, medical devices, and more.
- Defectively labeled (inadequate warning or use) products. The third type of product liability claim is one that holds that there is nothing defective in the design or manufacture of the product, but that the manufacturer had a duty to provide the consumer with a warning of any risks associated with using the product, or instructions for use (or both), and yet failed to do so. For example, the manufacturer of a prescription medication who fails to warn of the medication’s side effects may be guilty of defective and inadequate labeling. This is also true when a product poses a risk, such as the risk of electrocution, and yet this risk is not made known to the consumer.
Who Might Be Liable for an Injury Caused by a Defective Product?
Because the types of product liability claims differ dramatically, and because product defects can be vastly different, the number of parties who may be held liable for a defective product is large. Parties who might be held liable include:
- A product engineer/designer;
- The manufacturer of a product;
- A party involved in the manufacturing or distribution chain, such as a trucking company which, through improper loading, caused a product defect; or
- A distributor of a defective product.
Sometimes, another third party, such as a company responsible for testing a product to ensure its safety before consumer release, may be held liable if the company neglected its duty of care to the consumer.
If you can determine the liable party and prove that the party neglected its duty of care to the consumer via an act of negligence, and that this negligence was the direct cause of the product defect and your injuries, you can seek compensation for the full extent of your losses, including damages for pain, suffering, emotional anguish, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
If you are thinking about filing a defective product claim in Alabama, it is important to note that you only have two years from the date of your injury to bring forth your action. According to Alabama code section 6-2-38, if you wait longer than two years, you will be permanently barred from any recovery.
Contact Our Talented Birmingham Defective Product Attorneys Today
Defective product cases are extremely complex, and often require the help of experts, such as engineers and product design specialists, to be successful. At the law offices of Burge & Burge, PC, we have the resources that your case deserves, and are able to fully investigate the cause of your injuries and hire the experts essential to your case. What’s more, we work on a contingency fee basis, so you will never owe us compensation unless your case is won.
If you are ready to take action to improve your future and recover the compensation that you deserve, contact us today. Our experienced defective product lawyers are available now by phone or online. A consultation is completely free.