Typically when people are injured (whether it’s on the road or not) and they think of contacting a lawyer, it’s due to some sort of faulty product or person using the product.
When we think of product manufacturers, we often forget that, they are people too, and just as capable of making major mistakes. In the state of Alabama, according to current liability law code 6-5-521, you can file a lawsuit against a manufacturer for negligence or breach of warranty. A personal injury lawyer will need to do a thorough investigation as to what went wrong and why.
However, it can be difficult to determine exactly where in the manufacturing process the defect occurred which is why the courts will look more at the evidence of the defect. The law may mandate the company to determine what step they missed so that they can correct the problem if it is a recurring issue or potential problem for additional customers. For the purposes of filing an injury lawsuit, it will be about proving blame for the defect which caused the injury and, that the defect itself is to blame for the injury in the first place.
Common Types of Product Defects
To further complicate this process there are many different types of liability that can come into play with most products such as:
- A Manufacturing Defect – which occur during the manufacturing process and are most commonly associated with not using quality materials or a lack of quality control throughout the process.
- A Design Defect – by default a product can be considered dangerous or faulty based on the design alone. A perfect example would be a car which has a higher likelihood of rolling over due to poor design. A design defect can also be subjective and must be shown as a failure to satisfy a typical consumer’s expectations. If consumers consider the product to be dangerous or it does not function as described, the product can be ruled defective.
- A Failure to Warn or a Marketing Defect – products must mitigate injury from their use by warning consumers of potential dangers (which are not readily identifiable) or potential health hazards using, injesting, or coming in contact with the product. For example, even peanuts include a warning on the label which reads “contains peanuts.” Most would assume thats an obvious risk but due to the health risks involving those allergic to peanuts, the warning is warranted.
While the United States recognizes these common types of defects in product liability, they are not, in and of themselves a legal claim. Plaintiffs must use a defect claim in their plea which often entails negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or even claiming ignorance to the dangers of using the product due to improper design, manufacturing, or labeling.
Product liability can also include more than just your own or your families use of a particular product. It also includes everyone who may reasonably use the equipment. So, for example, if you lend your drill saw to your neighbor and the neighbor suffers a serious injury, then the neighbor has rights to sue the manufacturer or store owner of the drill saw (depending on who made the mistake).
Considerations Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Keep in mind, it will be difficult to sue without the proof of a defect. Under code 6-5-521, you can sue for design flaws if you feel that contributed to your injury. There are some limitations.
For example, if you you dropped something on your toe because the handle wasn’t “a good fit” for your hands, then that’s not technically a design flaw. Another example, you may have been working with a product which came with inherent risks, such as a nail gun. When you purchase a product like this, you agree to use at your own risk and exercise extreme caution when working with it at all times. You understand there are inherent risks.
However, if the safety features itself on the product are faulty, then your serious injury claim should be discussed with an Alabama personal injury attorney. Alabama also has a stipulation called contributory negligence, meaning you may not get full compensation for your injury claim if you were found to have contributed to the product causing the injury (for example, chatting on a phone when you should have been paying attention to the task at hand.)
With so many possible liability considerations to explore and the importance of a high degree of carefully documented details about your injury and your activity at the time of the incident, do not overlook the importance of finding an Alabama product liability attorney to represent you. Also keep in mind there is a short time span of only two years to file an injury claim in Alabama from the data of discovery (unless the victim is under the age of 18).
When all you or your loved ones wants to do is get better, thinking about filing a claim or hiring an attorney may be the last thing on your mind, but it could be detrimental to your case the longer you wait. Noel B. Leonard is a Foley injury lawyer, serving all of Mobile, Baldwin, and Escambia counties. Noel deals with personal injury claims daily and can help answer the tough and complicated questions about personal injury claims within the state of Alabama. Schedule a consultation with Noel today or call 251-732-2701 to discuss the specifics of your case and determine if a product liability injury claim is warranted.