The Hartman Law Firm, LCC is Charleston, South Carolina's Defective Product Injury Attorney
Were You Hurt by a Defective Product?
Because just about anything can be defective and can cause damage of some kind, defective product liability claims come in nearly limitless forms. Most cases, however, fall into one of three broad categories:
Failure to provide adequate product warning or instruction
Understanding each category and how it might relate to your case is instrumental to bringing a successful defective product liability case. For any claim to stick, however, it’s also imperative that you prove that the product’s defect caused your injury – it’s not enough to simply prove that the product is defective or that you were injured while using the product.
The most straightforward kind of defective product liability claim involves an injury-causing product that was manufactured defectively. Such a product is rendered defective via a flaw in its production, which usually occurs at the fabricating factory. The product is defective in a way that makes it unique from the rest of the products created in its likeness that hit the shelves. Defects that result from manufacture can be practically limitless in their variety and can range from tainted medications to the substandard production of an integral car part – and much, much more.
Things can get tricky when you must prove that the product’s manufacture defect caused your injury. If, for example, your car was equipped with defective brake pads, and you went out for a joy ride of a Sunday afternoon, misjudged a curve, hit the ditch, and were injured, you would have to be able to show that it was the faulty pads and not your faulty driving that caused the accident and thus your injury.
If a product’s design is defective, the product itself is inherently defective. Such defects, unlike manufacture defects, are not the result of an error in manufacture but arise out of the product’s original design. Thus, the entire line of products is defective and possibly dangerous. This is true even though the products were probably created in exact accordance with proper manufacturing. Again, such defects can be practically limitless, including cars that have a built-in tendency to overheat, sun protection that fails to protect, and toys that are made from toxic materials.
Bringing such a case is similarly tricky, because – again – you must be able to prove that the design flaw caused your injury. If, for example, you are injured while slamming into another car that you’ve been tailgating, you won’t have a viable claim unless you can show proof that your car was overheating at the time and that your accident was somehow caused by that overheating.
When a manufacturer fails to adequately warn or instruct you regarding a product, a failure to warn claim can come into effect. Such cases usually involve products that, if not used properly, can be dangerous or products that are dangerous in some way that isn’t obvious to users or that necessitate the exercise of caution with their use. This kind of defect can play out in several different ways, including a medication that isn’t labeled as contraindicated for use with other common medications, a cleaning agent that doesn’t come with adequate safe-handling instructions, or an electric skillet that doesn’t provide enough warning regarding how hot its handles become during the cooking process.
As with the other types of defects, you’d have to prove that this lack of instruction or warning caused your injury. If, for instance, you badly burn yourself while operating your electric skillet, you’d need to prove that the burn was directly caused by the skillet’s hot handles that you weren’t adequately warned about.
Understanding Defective Product Liability
A good way to better understand the three categories of defective products is to look at one product through the lens of each defect. Since medications are commonly cited in defective product liability claims, we’ll look at an over-the-counter pain medication, PainFree.
If you take PainFree for your headache and you’re injured because your bottle of PainFree is defective and includes a toxin that other bottles of PainFree don’t, you have a manufacturing defect claim.
If, instead, you take PainFree for your headache and you’re injured by the original product that was manufactured correctly, you have a product design claim.
Finally, if you take PainFree for your headache and you’re injured because you took it in combination with ibuprofen, which is contraindicated but is not identified as such on the label, you have a failure to warn claim.
Understanding how each category serves a specific purpose can go a long way toward helping you understand your defective product liability claim.
Your Defective Product Liability Case
Defective liability cases can be extremely complicated, and each case must prove not only that the product was defective in a specific way but also that that specific defect caused you harm. There’s often a lot involved, and large manufacturers aren’t in the business of taking such claims lightly. In fact, many have legal teams in place to effectively quash pesky defective product liability claims. If you’ve been injured by a defective product that you purchased in good faith, fight for your right to compensation. Obtain skilled legal representation with significant experience prosecuting defective product liability claims. The Hartman Law Firm, LLC. has decades of experience handling cases like yours, and we’re here to help guide your case toward its most satisfactory outcome. We care about you and your defective product liability case, and we can help – please give us a call.
Frank Hartman Understand Defective Product Liability Cases
Everything from batteries to airplanes have been discovered to have something that went wrong in the manufacturing process. While every company strives to create a product that is the best on the market, sometimes there are errors.
Every product has some type of government agency that double checks the work of a manufacturing company. These are the people who often find the defects as they track the performance of the product. If they feel it is a danger they will ensure it is pulled off the market for purchase and encourage owners to bring it in to be fixed or to be replaced.
If you believe your injury or illness was caused by a product that was manufactured wrong, you need to talk to an attorney who will work to see if there are other people having the same problems you are. That may be a large factor in getting what you deserve after the mistakes the company caused you.Frank Hartman is the attorney you need to put to work for you. His dedication to the answers is exactly what you need.
Defective Car Parts
If you have been injured or suffered other kinds of damages because of a defective car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, ATV, or other motor vehicle part, you may have a product liability claim.
Common Product Liability Claims for Motor Vehicles
Claims may be based on defects in:
The body and frame
Brakes and braking system
Cooling and temperature control system
Steering and suspension systems
Transmission and drivetrain, and other parts and accessories.
Types of Product Liability Claims
There are typically two types of product liability claims involving motor vehicles:
Defectively manufactured vehicles or vehicle parts. This type of claim involves vehicles or vehicle parts that have been improperly manufactured in some way. This may be the result of an error at the manufacturing facility where the vehicle or part was made, or a problem that occurs during shipping or at the dealership or supply.
Vehicles with an unreasonably dangerous design. This category of claims involves vehicles or parts that, although properly manufactured, have an unreasonably dangerous design that results in injury or other damages. Sometimes these cases involve vehicles or parts that have been on the market for some time before it is discovered that they are dangerous.
Product liability actions are often quite complex, and establishing legal fault often requires the assistance and testimony of experts. Additionally, every state has its own laws and specific statutes that will affect a product liability action. Accordingly, it is important to consult an experienced attorney if you or a loved one suffers injury caused by a potentially defective product.
Car Accidents and Injuries
Anytime you’re involved in a car accident – even a fender bender – you’re naturally upset. If you’re injured, the stress and expense are compounded. If your accident was caused by a defective car part or an unreasonably dangerous car design, things become even more troubling. When you get behind the wheel of your car, you take your driving responsibilities very seriously, and you expect the car manufacturer (or car part manufacturer) of the vehicle that you’ve purchased to take at least as much responsibility. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
The Motor Vehicle Chain of Distribution
Every car goes through an elaborate process that includes many different independent agents before hitting the showroom floor. If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by a defective motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, it’s important that you understand the chain of distribution – the path taken from manufacture to purchase – that your faulty car or car part processed through on its way to your driveway. This information can help you discern exactly where liability for your claim rightfully lies. Some claims include every participant that was involved in the vehicle’s chain of distribution. There are several participants on any car’s chain of distribution, and each category can offer more than just one defendant:
Your car’s manufacturer is almost certainly a large corporation that has the means to adequately compensate you for the injury you’ve incurred at their hand, but they also have the means to retain an expensive legal team to doggedly defend themselves (they may even have a cracker jack in-house team that does nothing but dissuade would-be litigants like you).
If your case includes a defective car part – the tires or the battery, for instance – the parts manufacturer (if separate from the car manufacturer) should be included in your claim. This is true unless you bought the parts separately, such as when you purchase new tires or replace a dead battery, in which case the car manufacturer would not be included in the chain of distribution and probably won’t share liability.
Car Dealership or Parts Supply Shop
Whoever sold you the defective vehicle or the defective car part may be found liable for your damages.
Middleman or Shipper
Any company in the chain of distribution might be found responsible (or sharing in responsibility) for the damages that you suffer from a defective car or car part, and this includes the shipper or other such middleman.
Even if you purchased your car used, in some cases, the dealer whom you purchased it from may be found liable. This is an area of the law that is evolving, so it’s important to take a careful look if your claim involves a used-car dealership.
What if the Defective Car is Not Yours?
If a defective car caused you damage or injury but the car doesn’t belong to you, your product liability case may remain viable. If, for example, you were driving a defective vehicle that you’d borrowed or if you were injured by another driver who was driving a defective automobile, your claim could still be valid and it should include every element of the chain of distribution that effectively applies.
Product Liability or Traffic Accident?
Claims can become confusing, and there’s naturally a lot at stake if you’ve been injured in an accident. But is it a product liability claim or is it a traffic accident claim? The two are not mutually exclusive and every element of your accident should be carefully explored before deciding how to proceed with your claim or claims. If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident in which either you or another driver was operating a defective motor vehicle, you may have both a product liability claim against the car manufacturer (and/or other elements in the chain of distribution) and a negligent driving claim against the other driver (if that driver can be shown to have contributed to the accident).
Legal Theories of Liability
There are several legal theories of liability that are commonly used in defective motor vehicle claims:
Breach of express warranties refers to the liability that arises when the defective car or car part came with a written warranty or guarantee, which means that the defect could amount to a violation or breach of that guarantee.
Breach of implied warranties refers to the liability that arises when the state’s imposed minimum standards for cars or car parts are invoked (regardless of whether there is an express warranty), which means that the defect could be in breach of this implied warranty.
Strict products liabilities refer to the liability that arises when a state has adopted strict product liability laws (like South Carolina has), which means that the plaintiff is relieved of the burden of having to prove that the manufacturer or supplier of the defective car or car part wasn’t sufficiently cautious in its actions. This is especially advantageous when bringing a defective motor vehicle claim.
Your Defective Car or Car Part Case
Bringing a successful defective motor vehicle or motor vehicle part case can be extremely complex and highly technical. In the end, you must be able to prove not only that your vehicle or part was defective but also that the defect caused your damages. It’s probably not something you should take on yourself. The representatives on the chain of distribution are sure to bring their best legal game, and your case is too important to leave to chance or to the discretion of those who share liability for your damages. You’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, and you deserve to be compensated accordingly.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto crash and you suspect a defective car part may have been the cause, you may be entitled to recover damages for any injuries that resulted. Determining your legal rights can be complicated, and it may be unclear who to bring a claim against, and to what sort of damages you are entitled. For these reasons and more it is critical to consult with an experienced attorney.
The Hartman Law Firm, LLC has decades of experience helping people like you exact their rightful compensation. We care about you and your defective product liability case, and we’re here to help – please give us a call at (843) 300-7600.