Most people don’t think twice about purchasing a product they need or an item they want. Consumers trust that when they buy a product, they are getting a safe and useful tool for everyday use, a fun new toy for a child, or a product that addresses a need to make life easier.
Unfortunately, most people don’t find out until it is too late that the product they brought into their home could be dangerous, and even life-threatening. Data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that at least 29.4 million injuries and over 21,000 deaths can be attributed to unsafe or defective products each year. From furniture and décor to toys and children’s devices, products that are not safe are hitting store shelves and online retailers. The result – injuries and deaths that could have been prevented.
Unfortunately, injuries related to unsafe products are more common than people realize. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious injury due to a defective or unsafe product, it is important for you to understand that you have legal rights.
Don’t settle for an apology, store credit, or a replacement product. Contact the Hickory personal injury law firm of DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., at (828) 345-1111 to schedule a free legal consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, and the last thing you want to do is sweep this incident under the rug so that an unsafe product remains in the marketplace, waiting to do damage to someone else. The product liability attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., can help you get justice for your injuries.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability law is the set of legal rules and regulations that dictate who can be held responsible for an unsafe or defective product. These laws can help victims injured by a defective product seek compensation for damages. There are no federal product liability laws; each state sets its own standards for product liability.
Most of the country follows what is known as “strict liability” for product liability claims. This simply means that the victim does not need to prove that there was a specific breach of duty. However, North Carolina is not one of those states. North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 99B, Sections 1-12 cover the state’s product liability laws.
These statutes dictate that the victim must prove that either the manufacturer or the seller was negligent in some way in order to be compensated for damages related to an unsafe product. This can be a complicated process to navigate, especially without the help of an attorney experienced in product liability.
It is also important to note that these statutes also lay out a time frame, or statute of limitations, for when you are allowed to file a claim. Victims injured by a defective or unsafe product must file their claim within three years from the date that they were injured.
Product Liability Claims in North Carolina
In the state of North Carolina, there are three main categories involving product liability claims. The vast majority of product liability incidents will fall into one of these three categories:
Manufacturing defects refer to a defect with the product caused by an error in the manufacturing process. It is a flaw that was not intended by the manufacturer. This could include a mistake made at the factory, or even made at some point in the journey between the factory and the retailer, where the product was purchased. The mistake results in the product being faulty in some way.
Design defects are products that have been manufactured correctly, but due to a flaw in their initial design, they are dangerous in some way. Whereas a manufacturing defect may only impact a certain batch of products, a design defect may apply to an entire line of products.
Failure to Warn
There are certain products that can be dangerous despite the fact that there are no design or manufacturing flaws. These types of products typically carry warnings so that consumers understand the risk that the product may pose. Some products may fall under a product liability claim if there were inadequate instructions or warnings about the potential risk or dangers associated with the product. Warnings need to be spelled out clearly and be specific as to the risk the product could pose.
Again, in the state of North Carolina, unlike other states, the victim of the dangerous product bears the responsibility of proving that either the manufacturer or seller was negligent in some way in order to recover compensation. That means gathering evidence to back up claims that there was, in fact, a manufacturing defect, design defect, or inadequate warning, and that the party failed in their duty to protect the consumer.
Many companies have defense tactics already lined up to counter product liability cases. Some tactics that can be used to counter victims’ claims include the manufacturer claiming a third party tampered with the product rendering it unsafe, they had no way of knowing their product was going to be unsafe, or that the consumer was just plain careless. Many companies will resort to contributory negligence, which means they can claim the consumer knew the product was defective but used it anyway, or that the user didn’t use due caution or care when using the product.
Larger manufactures and sellers already have a legal team in place and a strategy ready to counter victims’ claims. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of using a defective product, you need a strong and aggressive legal team willing to fight for your rights and take on businesses who try skirt their responsibility. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of the products you buy. The attorneys with DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., care about getting you the compensation you deserve after a product fails to live up to basic safety expectations.
Types of Products That Are Commonly Involved in Injury Claims
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is an independent federal body that was put in place back in 1972 in order to help protect the public from unreasonable risks from consumer products. The agency is in charge of issuing and enforcing product standards, educating consumers on product safety, following recall notices, and researching potential product safety hazards.
Between information from this agency and the types of cases we see most often, these are some of the products that are more commonly involved in consumer injury claims:
- Children’s toys
- Baby furniture
- Power tools
- Building materials
- Household appliances
- Medical devices
While this list is extensive, these are not the only types of consumer products that may be responsible for causing injury to consumers. If you have questions about a product that caused an injury, contact our legal team at DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. We can provide a free initial consultation and review the facts surrounding your injury and potential claim.
What Types of Injuries Can Someone Suffer from a Defective Product?
The types of injuries that can result from a defective product can vary from case to case and depend on the type of product involved. Cases involving pharmaceuticals may involve internal injuries or illnesses, while a defective e-cigarette device or electronics equipment may cause serious burns. Defective children’s toys can lead to burns, cuts, bruises, even broken bones. While every case is unique, one thing is for certain, defective products can lead to serious and sometimes fatal injuries for consumers.
Compensation for Product Liability Claims
The types of injuries that can be caused by a defective product vary, just like the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. There is no “magic number” when it comes to the amount of damages you may receive after being injured by a defective product. Consulting with an attorney about the specifics of your case is the best way to get an accurate picture of what you can expect when it comes to damages for your unique situation.
In general, though, here are some of the types of compensation you may be able to recover:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Loss of income from missing work
- Loss of future income if your injuries prevent you from returning to work
- Pain and suffering
Talk to an Attorney Experienced in Product Liability Claims
In North Carolina, product liability claims can be difficult and complicated to pursue. The burden is placed on the victim to show that the company responsible knew they were negligent and should be held accountable. It can seem like an uphill battle.
At DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P., we want to assure you that we take your claims seriously and will work with you to protect your rights. As a consumer, you should feel safe making purchases for you and your family. When a company breaks that trust, they deserve to be held accountable.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a product, reach out to our Hickory personal injury attorneys at (828) 345-1111 and let us review your legal rights. You deserve compensation, and we can help you fight for what you deserve.
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