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If you are injured by a defective product, who is responsible?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2020 | Personal Injury

Dangerous and defective consumer products – electronics, appliances, vehicles, vehicle parts, and sadly, even children’s toys – can cause serious injuries. If you’re injured using a defective product, speak to an Indiana product liability attorney about your right to compensation.

What steps should you take if you’ve been injured using a defective product? How will an attorney be able to help you? Will the product’s manufacturer reimburse your medical expenses, and if you missed work due to the injury, your lost wages?

If you’ll keep reading this general discussion of product liability law, those questions will be answered, but if you are injured using a defective consumer product, you’ll need the personalized legal advice regarding your own situation that only a product liability lawyer can provide.

In What Ways Can the Items You Purchase Put You at Risk?

Consumer items sometimes cause injuries that are disabling, catastrophic, or permanent, including spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. When the defective item is a vehicle or vehicle part, anyone on the road is at risk. If it’s a prescription drug, the results are sometimes deadly.

Under Indiana law, manufacturers of dangerous or defective consumer products may be held liable and required to pay for the injuries and other damages caused by those products. A few examples of the types of defects that trigger product liability lawsuits are:

  • Design defects that are “built in” to a product’s design, making it inherently hazardous
  • Manufacturing defects that happen during the item’s production or assembly
  • Marketing defects such as inaccurate labeling or inadequate warnings and instructions

Always Keep the Receipts

You can’t sue for your injuries if you are not sure who caused your injuries, so Indiana consumers should always keep their sales receipts and any additional related documents.

If, for example, you’re injured using a power tool, and you purchased the tool a few years back, you may not remember where you purchased it. Also, product labels tend to wear and fade after an item has been used for a few years, so it may be difficult to identify a product’s manufacturer.

What To Do When an Injury Happens

When a defective product causes an injury, seek medical attention at once. That is the top priority. Try to collect any evidence, and take photographs of your visible injuries and the general accident site. If you’re unable, ask someone to collect evidence and take photos for you.

Have a medical examination at once – even if there’s been an accident with a consumer item and you are not certain of the extent of your injuries. You may have sustained a latent or hard-to-detect injury, and without a medical examination, that injury could develop after a few days into a serious medical condition.

See a Doctor First – Then See a Lawyer

You also need a medical exam to create the medical records you need to protect yourself legally. Without an immediate examination, it may be difficult to link your injury to a specific, product-related accident, and if you file a product liability lawsuit, the item’s manufacturer could claim:

  • You were actually injured in some other way at another time and place.
  • You’re not actually seriously injured at all.

After a medical examination, gather any labels, receipts, and any other documents you have that are related to the consumer product that injured you, and then schedule a meeting with an Indiana product liability lawyer.

Tell that lawyer what happened and have the lawyer explain your legal rights and options. Scheduling a legal consultation as quickly as possible is important. Your lawyer needs to scrutinize the evidence while it’s fresh and speak to the witnesses before their memories fade.

How Can You Prove a Manufacturer Should be Held Liable?

If you are injured by a dangerous or defective consumer product, and if you file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, you (the “plaintiff”) and your lawyer must prove:

  • The manufacturer (the “defendant”) was negligent.
  • The manufacturer’s negligence caused your injury.
  • You sustained injuries and related damages and are entitled to compensation.

Your attorney will have to prove that the defendant could and should have known of the item’s risks and dangers before or during the manufacturing process. That’s a lot to prove, but with the evidence and the right product liability attorney on your side, your lawsuit is likely to prevail.

The laws are different for used consumer items. Parties that rebuild, refurbish, or recondition consumer products are liable only for their own work but not for a product’s original defect or flaw.

How Are Product Liability Claims Handled and Resolved?

Of course, every product liability case will be different, and if you are the injury victim, you will need personalized legal advice. Your attorney will examine your medical records, any video or photos of the accident, and learn if the manufacturer has faced previous product liability claims.

Many cases involving dangerous consumer products are resolved out-of-court through negotiation or mediation when the parties and their attorneys negotiate a settlement arrangement that’s acceptable to all parties involved.

However, if no reasonable settlement offer is made, an Indiana product liability attorney may take your case to trial, tell the jurors what happened, and additionally tell the jurors why they should order the payment of your compensation.

Can You Protect Your Family?

Dangerous and defective brakes, tires, tools, electronic devices, and appliances are everywhere in today’s world. Cell phones have exploded and injured people. So have cigarette lighters. What can you do?

Read carefully the directions, labels, and warnings that accompany consumer products, maintain your vehicles, and monitor the news about consumer product recalls. Several federal agencies and a number of TV and radio stations provide product recall information on their websites.

When Should You Contact a Product Liability Lawyer?

Indiana’s general statute of limitation rule for product liability claims is two years from the date of the injury, or within ten years after the delivery of the product to the initial user or consumer. However, if the cause of action accrues at least eight years but less than ten years after the initial delivery, the action may be commenced at any time within two years after the cause of action accrues.

Don’t wait two years after you’ve been injured to speak with an attorney – or even two weeks. The sooner your case is in the right attorney’s hands, the sooner you can be compensated for your medical costs, your lost wages, and your personal pain and suffering.

Indiana injury attorneys offer a free case review with no obligation. It’s your opportunity to learn more about product liability law and how it applies in your own situation. If you’ve been injured in Indiana by a dangerous or defective consumer product, put the law to work for you.