Most of our experiences with defective products are simply disappointments. We expected that the product would do what we wanted but it didn’t seem to work. That new glue just didn’t have the sticking power or the new blender was too weak to make a proper smoothie. But in some cases, a defective product can result in serious injury or even death.
When a defective product results in damages of this nature, you are able to seek compensation for what you’ve suffered. Defective products are covered under the Indiana Product Liability Act, which sets out how these cases function in our state. We’re going to use that act as a guiding light to illuminate the important aspects of these cases.
We’ll start by looking at the different types of defective products there can be according to Indiana law. Once we understand what it covers, we’ll look at what it takes to win a case. Finally, we’ll discuss the statute of limitations of defective product cases and why it’s important to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later.
How Does Indiana Define a Defective Product?
Indiana’s civil code gives a lot of information about defective products, which is great because it allows us to know exactly what would fall into this category. With other types of cases, it isn’t always so easy to figure out if you have a viable lawsuit on your hands.
In Indiana, a product is defective if:
- It is in a condition that a reasonable person wouldn’t foresee
- It causes unreasonable danger to the user when being used according to the instructions
- It was not properly packaged with adequate warnings
- It fails to provide adequate instructions on the proper use of the product
When discussing defective product cases, there are three types of cases that cover pretty much the range of what could go wrong with a product. They deal with the design of the product, the manufacturing of it, and the proper labeling of the final product that the buyer receives.
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail:
- Defective Designs: Some products are simply designed to hurt people. A famous case of this would be lawn darts, which were basically javelins you threw at each other. The product was doomed because the design itself was defective; it didn’t matter how it was labeled or manufactured since its very conception was defective.
- Manufacturing Defects: Defects can occur during the manufacturing process itself. Imagine a child’s safety seat for the car. Best design in the world, the design is perfect. But during the manufacturing process, the company used a weaker material for the buckles than they were supposed to. So instead of strapping the child in properly and withstanding the force of an accident, it breaks and results in injuries to the child. Everything was properly labeled and the design was great, but the choices in the manufacturing process resulted in a defective product.
- Defective Labeling: If your new window cleaner can burn the skin off your hands, then it needs to be properly labeled so you know to wash your hands as soon as you get any on you. It is negligent to release a product into the world without warning people of any potential harm it may cause. But it is also negligent to release a product without proper instructions. More on this in the next section.
Keep in mind that it isn’t enough for a product to be defective. You must be able to show it was defective, show that you followed the instructions, and have suffered some damages due to the product (otherwise there is nothing for you to recover).
How Do You Win a Defective Product Lawsuit?
A defective product lawsuit is a kind of personal injury lawsuit and so that means there is a chain of important features you need to show the court:
- You need to show that you suffered damages, otherwise there is nothing to recover
- That those damages were suffered due to the product in question
- That the damages were suffered while using the product according to instructions (if included)
- And that it was the defective design, manufacturing, or labeling of the product that is the cause
It can be harder to prove these points than you may think. You have to remember that the company or individual on the other side of the courtroom is going to want to defend themselves with everything they’ve got. So not only do you need to prove these points, but you have to prove them while somebody else is actively trying to disprove them. It isn’t enough that you know for a fact that the defective product caused your damages, if you can’t prove it to the court then you can’t win.
One key element to this are the instructions that came with the defective product. If it has instructions then the other side may work hard to try to get you to admit that you used the product in a way that wasn’t instructed. This point should be kept in mind at all times.
How Long Do You Have to File a Defective Product Lawsuit?
You have two years from the date of your injury to be able to file a defective product lawsuit. This sounds like a lot of time. In some rare cases, it is. But the fact of the matter is that these cases often require a lot of time, investigation, and commitment in order to successfully win. You shouldn’t underestimate how slow the legal process can seem sometimes.
Should I Work With a Defective Product Attorney?
Not only should you work with a defective product attorney but you should contact them immediately. The more time you have to work with your attorney to build a case, the more time you’ll have to strengthen that case to ensure you have the best shot possible at winning. Slacking off doesn’t bring positive results, so act today and set up a consultation with a defective product attorney immediately.