If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous consumer product in Louisiana, after you’ve been examined by a medical provider, speak at once about your right to compensation and your legal options with a Metairie personal injury attorney.
What is product liability? If you are injured while using a defective or dangerous consumer product, what are your rights? What steps will you need to take? Will you have to bring a lawsuit? Will you be reimbursed by the item’s manufacturer for your hospital and medical costs?
If you’ll keep reading, those questions are about to be answered. You’ll learn the facts about product liability law and more about your legal rights as an injured victim of negligence under Louisiana law.
What Product Defects Pose A Risk To Louisiana Consumers?
Every year in this nation, dangerous and defective consumer products injure thousands of consumers. A defective product could be almost any item you purchase – from a child’s toy to an appliance, power tool, auto part, food product, or an over-the-counter or prescription drug.
In Louisiana and every other state, product liability laws protect consumers and compel product manufacturers to protect the public from a consumer product’s potential and real hazards.
By law, manufacturers of dangerous or defective consumer items may be deemed liable and ordered to pay victims for the injuries that those items cause. Victims should understand that a product liability case may become complicated if the manufacturer is located outside of the U.S.
If a product manufacturer has reorganized or changed owners, an injured consumer still has recourse. The legal doctrine of “successor liability” will mean that new owners or a successor company legally “inherit” the original company’s liability.
What Product Defects Should You Know About?
Three types of product defects may cause injuries and trigger liability claims:
- Design defects are the “built-in” defects that make a product inherently dangerous.
- Manufacturing defects may occur during a product’s production or assembly.
- Marketing “defects” may include inaccurate labeling or inadequate warnings.
Always Keep the Receipts
Always keep your sales receipts and the pertinent related documents, because if you’ve had a product for several years or more, you may not remember where you bought it.
Furthermore, most labels wear and fade over the years, making it difficult to identify a product’s manufacturer. You can’t bring a lawsuit if you can’t identify the party to be sued.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
Seek medical attention at once if you are injured using a defective or dangerous product. No lawyer will be there to advise you, so collect any evidence that’s at the scene. Take photographs of the scene and your own visible injuries. Gather any labels, receipts, and related documents.
After you have been examined by a healthcare provider, treated, and released, ask a Louisiana product liability lawyer to explain your options and rights. Your first consultation is provided with no cost or obligation, and you will receive the personalized legal advice that you’ll need.
Your attorney will launch a preliminary investigation of your case, scrutinize the evidence, and question any witnesses. Product liability claims are often challenging to prove, so your attorney may suggest having an expert witness testify on your behalf.
Do not procrastinate. Your attorney needs to see the evidence while it’s fresh and question the witnesses before their memories fade, and the Louisiana statute of limitations in product liability cases – the deadline for taking legal action – is only one year.
How Are Product Liability Cases Resolved?
Most product liability cases are settled in private, out-of-court negotiations. Sometimes, just hiring an attorney and filing legal papers will compel a product manufacturer to offer you a reasonable settlement. Many companies settle these cases privately to avoid negative publicity.
It’s rare, but if a product manufacturer denies liability for an accident and injuries, or when there is a dispute about the injuries or the extent of your injuries, and no reasonable settlement amount has been forthcoming, your attorney will take your product liability case to trial.
In a Product Liability Trial, What Will an Injury Victim Have to Prove?
At a product liability trial, you and your Metairie personal injury attorney must prove that the product’s manufacturer was negligent, and you must further prove that the negligence was a direct cause of your accident and injury. You must prove each of these elements of your case:
- The manufacturer (“the defendant”) owed you (“the plaintiff”) a “duty of care.”
- The manufacturer did not meet that obligation due to negligence.
- The negligence was a direct cause of your accident and injury.
- You are legally entitled to recover compensation.
You and your product liability attorney also must show that the manufacturer could and should have foreseen the hazards and dangers of the product before or while producing it. However, if you have the proper evidence – and the right attorney – your claim should prevail.
How Do Manufacturers Defend Themselves in Product Liability Cases?
In its own defense, a product manufacturer may claim that an injured plaintiff ignored instructions and warnings or used a product in a way that its manufacturer couldn’t have foreseen. You had to be using a product the way it’s intended to be used, or you have no claim.
Injuries caused by defective products range from cuts and bruises to wrongful deaths and permanent disabilities. These injuries include spinal cord injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, and injuries requiring amputation.
A personal injury linked to a defective vehicle or vehicle part, power tool, electrical appliance, or a defective prescription or over-the-counter drug may cause long-term, catastrophic physical damage. And when a vehicle or vehicle part is defective, everyone in traffic is at risk.
What Kind of Attorney Will You Need?
Victims who sustain serious spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, or multiple surgeries, and victims who require lifelong care and treatment will need the maximum amount of compensation that’s available – and an attorney who will not settle for less.
Dangers are everywhere in our world today. Every year, federal agencies issue hundreds of recalls for defective and dangerous consumer items, including scores of automobiles and food items, and the number of product liability claims increases every year.
Every product liability case is unique. You’ve been reading a brief introduction to product liability and the law in Louisiana, but if you have been injured using a consumer product, you’ll need personalized, specific, and prompt legal advice from a Louisiana product liability lawyer.