When you spend your hard-earned money on a product, you expect the product to work. Sometimes, a malfunctioning product doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but other times, a product malfunction can seriously harm your health or property.
If this has happened to you, then you may be entitled to compensation. In 2017, the average jury award exceeded $5000 for product liability cases. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to even more.
If you’ve dealt with a faulty product and want the settlement you deserve, then take a look at these five major things to consider when preparing for a product liability lawsuit.
Proper Product Use
In the time preceding malfunction, was the product used as intended? Misuse of a product may affect your case, but that doesn’t mean that you should necessarily give up. Depending on the nature of the product and the severity of the malfunction, the manufacturer may still be liable for damages even if the product was misused.
Although the defense will try to use your misuse of their product against you, with a professional Richmond product liability lawyer on your side, you stand a good chance of getting the compensation you deserve. Perhaps the instructions were unclear, or maybe the manufacturers should have foreseen certain patterns of misuse.
Whether you misused the product or not, you shouldn’t let that stop you from consulting with a legal professional who has the expertise to assess your case.
Is There Evidence?
Like any lawsuit or civil case, you need to prove your claims. To prove your claims, you’ll need evidence. While your immediate reaction may be to throw the defective product away, it is much better to maintain possession of it. In order to verify your claims, the courts want to see the defective product. If you currently maintain possession of the product, you should take multiple pictures of the product and anything else that it may have damaged during or after its malfunction. Even if you don’t have the faulty product itself, pictures of damages, receipts, and any other pieces of evidence are extremely useful when proving damages and determining liability and compensation.
Your settlement is meant to realistically reflect the monetary value of gross damages caused by the product’s malfunction. Damages may include but are not limited to: destruction of personal property, bodily harm or injury, emotional distress, missed wages due to workplace absence, long-term medical outcomes, and more.
A skilled product liability lawyer will work with you to assess the extent of your damages and get you a settlement that reflects the hardships you’ve had to face. While money may not erase this horrible experience from your memory, you should still be compensated justly so that you can get your life back on track.
Nature of the Defect
How was the product defective, and where did the defect start? Is the defect due to a negligent design flaw? Did something go wrong at a manufacturing facility? Was it damaged in transit? Did the retailer improperly store or handle the item? These questions should help you and the legal team determine who is liable.
Think about your experience with the product. Did you notice something wrong with the product shortly after purchase? Was the defect visibly detectable at all? In what state was the item purchased? Matters of residency and geographic location may be relevant when trying to build a case.
Did you interact with or receive assurances from any customer service agents, retail managers, or anyone else? Every detail matters in a lawsuit, so it’s important to dig deep and try to remember as much as you can about your experience with the product.
No piece of information is too small. Something that may seem insignificant to you might make or break your cases. Whenever you remember anything about the incident, write it down or record it in some way. Information is your greatest asset, so you should try to provide your legal team with as many details as possible.
Warnings and Marketing
Some products have inherent dangers, but those dangers are often not too obvious to your average user. Manufacturers are responsible for providing ample warnings and instructions for their products, and when they fail to do so, they may be at fault. Even if you don’t have the original box or instructions, a skilled legal professional can help you find all relevant warnings and marketing information. If the manufacturer isn’t including adequate warnings and instructions with their product, then many others may be at risk.
A lawsuit may sound daunting, but with an experienced legal professional by your side, you can rest assured that no stone will be left unturned. You deserve compensation for everything you’ve had to suffer, and by stepping forward and demanding compensation, you’re likely helping others avoid the heartache and damages that you’ve had to deal with. If a faulty product has negatively affected your life, then please consider reaching out to an experienced Richmond product liability lawyer.