Fredericksburg Product Liability Attorney
Experienced Product Liability Lawyer Serving Clients throughout Fredericksburg, Virginia
Product liability law is one facet of a much broader area of the law known as personal injury law. When a consumer or worker is injured because of a defect in a product, then product liability law allows the victim to file a claim against the responsible party to seek compensation.
Product defects occur much more often than they should. Indeed, according to an article in USA Today, injuries among infants and children have risen dramatically as a result of harmful product defects. And as you may know, the last couple of years have seen numerous automobile recalls. Most notably, as a report from Consumer Reports highlights, the Takata airbag recall, prompted because of a defect that could cause the airbag to explode and launch shrapnel at unsuspecting drivers and passengers, affected dozens of automobile makes and models.
When product defects cause injuries, plaintiffs can seek compensation by filing a product liability lawsuit. An experienced product liability attorney in Fredericksburg can get started on your case today.
Product Makers Are Supposed to Issue Recalls for Defective Products
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) emphasizes that when a product maker learns of possible defects and resulting injuries, it should issue a recall. To be sure, many recalls occur without any consumer or worker getting hurt. Still, there are numerous instances in which companies recall products only after people have reported serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries.
What should you do if you learn that a product you own has been recalled? The CPSC recommends that you stop using the product and learn more about the recall. If there is a fix or a repair, you may be able to contact the company that manufactured the product for a free repair kit. Sometimes, you may be able to take the product into a certain location to fix it. In other instances, the product’s defect may not be capable of repair. Typically, the company will provide a replacement item, part, or component depending upon the nature of the recall. As owners of vehicles with Takata airbags are learning, however, sometimes replacement parts can take a long time to arrive.
Types of Product Defects that Can Result in Recalls
In general, there are three kinds of product defects that can lead to a recall or cause injury. The Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) identifies the following types of product defects that can result in serious injury:
- Defect in design: A design defect occurs very early on in the life of the product—when it is still in the planning phase, before it is ever manufactured. Many different people work on a product’s design, so there are numerous parties who could be responsible for a design defect. It is important to understand that such defects are unrelated to an issue with the product’s manufacturing process. Instead, a flaw exists in the way the product was designed.
- Defect in manufacture: A manufacturing defect occurs in the process of making the product. When a manufacturing defect exists, the product can be designed perfectly. Instead of a flaw in design, there is something defective about the building of the product or its components. The manufacturing defect may have occurred in a domestic or foreign plant, or the when the components of the product were being assembled. A manufacturing defect does not signal anything is wrong with the way that an engineer designed the product. Instead, the defect happened during the production process.
- Defect in marketing (or failure to warn defect): In the case of a marketing defect, it may be that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the product’s design or manufacture. Where, then, is the product defect? In brief, if a product distributor, for instance, fails to warn the consumer or worker about a hazard associated with the intended use of the product, it can be liable for injuries resulting from the marketing defect. For example, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) sometimes places “black box warning” labels on particular drugs. This type of warning is given to medication that carries significant risks or can cause major side effects. Yet many drug manufacturers, in a rush to get their product to consumers, may intentionally fail to provide warnings about known risk factors. In this context, failure to warn can cause significant harm to users of the medication. Additionally, liability for a marketing defect can occur even when the product is not used as it was intended, if it is used in a manner that should have been foreseeable to the company selling the item.
Understanding Contributory Negligence in Fredericksburg Product Liability Lawsuits
In some situations, an injured victim may be partially responsible for the accident or for the severity of the injuries she sustained. This is the case only if the injured party knew about dangers and continued to use the product in a way that was dangerous. For example, an injured party may be deemed negligent if he or she continued to work with asbestos even after knowing about the presence and dangers of the substance.
This is an important concept to understand because, under Virginia law, a plaintiff cannot recover any compensation from the defendant if he played any role in causing the accident or contributing to the severity of his injuries.
Statute of Limitations for a Fredericksburg Product Liability Claim
The statute of limitations in Virginia for injuries caused by a defective product is two years. This means that you must file your claim within two years from the date of your injury; otherwise, you cannot seek financial compensation through a lawsuit.