When you pick up something from the store, you trust that it’ll do what it says on the label and do so safely. Unfortunately, thousands of U.S. residents discover that unsafe products make it on store shelves and into their homes every year.
If you or your family member was injured by a defective or dangerous product, you might be able to file a product liability claim against responsible parties in the manufacturing chain, such as the parts manufacturer, assembly manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer. With the help of a North Carolina product liability lawyer, you can demand at-fault parties pay for your medical expenses, lost wages or salary, and pain and suffering.
Product liability covers consumer products but may apply to pets, writings, real estate, intangibles, and more. If you think you may have a product liability claim, our lawyers can help. Give us a call at (877) 300-1984 to learn more in a no-obligation, free consultation with the attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices.
Filing for a Product Liability Claim
The complexity of product liability claims can make them quite confusing without a qualified attorney on your side.
You and your lawyer will investigate to find out what parties are liable for your defective product injury. Once they know who is responsible, they can make a product liability claim against them and their insurance company. There are three basic types of product liability:
- Negligence: Someone within the manufacturing chain was negligent in a way that made the product defective, resulting in your injury.
- Breach of Warranty: No matter what warranty term the product has—lifetime, five years, one year—the product is warranted for that length of time. If the product becomes defective at that time, then that warranty was breached, and you can hold someone liable for the injuries you received using the product.
- Strict Liability: The defectiveness of the product is responsible for your injuries. That means you can hold the other party or parties liable for any injuries sustained while you were using it.
Each state has different rules and regulations for product liability and the types of claims you can file. In North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Product Liability Act, or Chapter 99B, you can’t file product liability claims for strict liability.
Our state laws on this are more stringent than most, which is why an experienced North Carolina product liability attorney should assist you with your claim. You must prove that there was some kind of negligence on the part of the company, the retailer, or manufacturer.
Any product liability claim in the state must also prove that the product that injured you was defective in some way. There are many kinds of product defects that a manufacturer can be held liable for, including:
- Design Defects – A poor design may cause a product to be defective before it even hits the manufacturing floor. You must prove that the manufacturing company designed the product unreasonably and that they knew the design could have flaws. If this poor design causes injury directly to you, then the company can be held liable for your injuries and potentially other compensation.
- Manufacturing Defects – A defect can happen during the manufacturing process. This usually doesn’t affect every product unit, but rather just a few of them.
- Marketing Defect – A defect during marketing as well, such as manual defects, or failing to warn of improper use or dangers of the product. If a line of the manual is missing or there’s a typo, the company may be held liable.
- Failure to Warn – When a company or manufacturer doesn’t adequately inform consumers of the proper way to use their products, or when they discover a flaw after the product has been on store shelves and fail to warn consumers about it, they may be liable for injuries.
- Breach of Warranty – A breach of warranty happens if the product becomes defective during the warranty period provided. If you’re injured by that defect during the warranty period, then you have grounds for a product liability case.
Once your lawyer is confident that they’ve proved the defect or other liability caused your injury, your lawyer will ask for copies of your medical bills, documentation of your injury, copies of any X-rays, information about your lost wages, future earnings, or potential disability from the injury so that you can seek compensation for all of your damages. With this evidence, your lawyer will demand that the at-fault parties pay what you deserve: full and fair compensation.
Reasons You May Not Be Able to File for Product Liability
If you were injured by a product, you might not be able to file a claim for a few reasons:
- If you altered or modified the product in any way. Changing the product may have caused your injured. The only exemption to this would be if you modified the product according to direct instructions from the seller or manufacturer. You can’t hold the company, manufacturer, or seller liable for the modifications that you made to their product.
- If you used the product in a way that defied the instructions or manual. An injury caused by using the product outside the instructions and injuring yourself would not be grounds for a product liability claim, per North Carolina’s Product Liability Act.
- If a seller had no way to inspect a sealed container. This is referred to as the Sealed Container exception. If something comes in a sealed container, the seller cannot reasonably inspect it without breaking the seal. You can’t hold them liable for your injury.
The best choice is to consult with a product liability lawyer to find out whether your injury is eligible for compensation. Ours at DeMayo Law Offices will help you understand your options during a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Product Liability
If you’ve been injured by a product and need to understand how to pursue a claim, the attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices can help. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about product liability.
How can I file my product liability claim if I’ve been injured?
First, contact a lawyer. You’ll need to prove that the company, manufacturer, or seller is liable for what happened to you. There’s no North Carolina tort for strict liability, so negligence is the only doctrine you can use to pursue compensation in the state.
Can I file a claim if I did not read all of the instructions before using a product and getting injured?
It depends. A company can’t be held liable if you operated the product incorrectly because you failed to read the instructions before using it. Talk to a lawyer to find out if this applies to your injury. Unfortunately, under the North Carolina doctrine of contributory negligence, an injured victim can’t recover damages if they’re found even partially at fault for the incident.
How long do I have to file a product liability suit?
In North Carolina, there is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you want to seek compensation for your injury, don’t wait too long. If you plan to sue under the statute of repose, there is a 12-year statute of limitations from the date of product purchase. If a 15-year-old lawnmower injures you, then you’ll be outside that statute of limitations and can’t sue the seller or manufacturer for any injury.
Can I sue if I bought the product from someone else and g0t injured?
Typically, only the original purchaser, their family members, guests, or employees can sue a company or manufacturer for product liability.
Why do I need a lawyer if I was injured while using a product?
In North Carolina especially, the law tends to favor the companies and manufacturers instead of consumers. The law surrounding product liability is delicate and requires someone with extensive knowledge to resolve a product liability case successfully. If you were injured while using a product, speak with a product liability attorney to determine if you have a case and the best legal options you can take.
Talk to our product liability attorneys to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.
If you suffer an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, talk to the North Carolina product liability lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices right away.
We understand the complex applicable laws and will work to help you get the maximum compensation possible for your injury. Even if you’re unsure whether you can claim damages for your injury, give us a call to discuss the details of your injury with you and determine your eligibility. Call us today at (877) 300-1984 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.
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