Product Liability Cases We HandleOur Richmond personal injury attorneys handle all types of product liability claims. The simple fact is that virtually any product on the market can potentially cause a serious injury if it is not produced and marketed in a safe manner. Some examples of products that are frequently at issue in Virginia product liability lawsuits include:
- Unsafe pharmaceutical products, including prescription drugs
- Defective medical devices and products
- Automobiles and related parts
- All types of equipment, machinery, and power tools
- Common household goods and consumer appliances
- Electronics, including e-cigarettes
Experience. Capability. Results.Emroch & Kilduff represents injured Virginians and their families in seeking compensation from those who did them harm. We have the experience and resources to investigate and litigate the most complicated personal injury matters, especially cases involving defective products. Over our firm’s history, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients thanks to our aggressive, sophisticated attorneys who know how to get results in and out of the courtroom. Of course, our success as a firm that advocates for injured Virginians cannot guarantee future results. But, we can promise to bring our best to every representation, especially when the party on the other side is a huge corporation or massive insurance company bent on denying our client compensation.
The Three Types of Product Liability ClaimsIn Virginia, many product liability cases are governed by the legal doctrine of implied warranty. Essentially, this doctrine states that consumers and workers should be able to assume that the products they buy are “reasonably safe,” even if a written warranty is not offered. Product liability claims will fall into one of the following three broad categories:
- Defective design: With this type of defect, the product in question will have an inherent flaw in its design. This means that the entire product line is unsafe and should never have been put on the market due to some problem with the way it was designed.
- Manufacturing defects: Alternatively, a manufacturing defect means that the product design is acceptable, but that something went wrong in the manufacturing process. As a result, some units were sold despite being unacceptably dangerous.
- Failure to warn: Finally, you may also be able to bring a claim if you were injured by a product that lacked proper warning labels or had insufficient instructions. Companies have a legal duty to ensure that their products are labeled and marketed in a manner that will encourage safe use. For example, drug manufacturers are required to warn consumers of harmful side effects known to the manufacturer that could potentially be caused by the medication. Sometimes, the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals fail to provide the proper warnings because they are in a rush to get their product to market. If a person is injured because a manufacturer failed to provide a required warning on a drug, the injured person has the right to compensation for her related injuries.
The Most Common Defective Product InjuriesDefective products have the potential to cause many different types of injuries, depending on the type of product and how it is typically used. There are, however, some defective product injuries that are more common than others:
- Choking injuries, often occur when young children put small toys, or pieces of toys, in their mouths. These product defects can be especially dangerous when the toy or part is large enough to obstruct a child’s airway, which can lead to brain damage or death.
- Burns are a common injury related to defective products because they can occur in so many different ways. An electrical appliance can cause burns if it overheats or if it acts as a conduit of electricity. A gasoline-powered product can cause burns if it explodes or catches fire. A product that contains caustic chemicals can burn if it leaks or leaches onto a person’s skin. Even a food product can burn if it’s prepared to an unexpectedly high temperature.
- Broken bones or fractures may occur when a product suddenly breaks or fails. Sitting in a defective chair, for example, can easily lead to a fracture.
- Lacerations occur when broken or defective objects cut the skin of the injured individual.
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, may occur when a product leads to or exacerbates a blow or jolt to a user’s head, such as when a chain breaks and allows a heavy object to fall on a victim or a bicycle helmet fails to absorb an impact as advertised.
- Death may occur from defective products that fail in catastrophic ways, such as when defective tires lead to auto accidents or defective building materials cause a structure to collapse or to harm someone’s health.
Who Is Responsible for a Defective Product?In the case of a defective product, responsibility may lie with all of the parties in the “chain of commerce” from the manufacturer to the end user. This may include:
- The store that sold you the product
- Wholesalers who passed the product on to your store
- The manufacturer who initially created the product
What Compensation Can You Ask for in a Defective Product Claim?If the only “injury” you suffer from a defective product is the cost of replacing it, you may be able to sort out a refund with the seller or manufacturer directly (so long as the cost of the product is not too high). When a defective product injures you, however, retaining an attorney can help you prove someone has legal liability for your injuries and recover the compensation you will need to move forward in life. In a successful claim for personal injury damages involving a defective product, you may be entitled to recover:
- Medical bills associated with the injuries the defective product caused: When a defective product causes injury, your uninsured medical expenses may be part of a damage award. These costs may include the bill for your initial trip to the hospital, including the ambulance ride; for the cost of tests and procedures; and for any physical therapy or additional treatment necessary to properly treat your injury over time. In some cases, it may be difficult to immediately assess the full cost of your injuries. In this case, an insurance company may estimate the anticipated cost of medical treatment and use it as part of your claim.
- Pain and suffering: Did your injury cause you significant pain and suffering? What about emotional distress or embarrassment, as might occur if a product’s defect caused problems in front of many different people at a highly sensitive moment? Your compensation may include an award of money damages to compensate you for these difficulties.
- Lost income: In some cases, serious injuries caused by a defective product can keep you out of work. Doctor’s visits and follow-up appointments can all require minor time off work, while hospital stays or long-term injuries may prevent you from returning to work for a long time. If you must miss work because of the injuries you sustained from a defective product, you may have the right to seek compensation for your lost wages and for any future wages you will not be able to earn because of the severity of your injuries. When a defective product takes the life of a family member, other family members may have the right to seek compensation for the income the deceased family member would have contributed to the family.
- Funeral and burial expenses: When a loved one dies as a result of a defective product failing, the victim’s survivors may seek compensation for the costs associated with a funeral and burial, along with the other types of damages listed above.
Your Deadline to File a Products Liability LawsuitVictims of defective products must act quickly to protect their rights. Under Virginia law, you only have two years to bring a product liability lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations, and you need to take it seriously. There are three important things that all victims should know about product liability claims and the Virginia statute of limitations:
- Initiating legal action: First, your product liability claim does not need to be completely resolved within this two-year period; instead, the timeline simply controls when you must file your legal claim.
- Date of injury: Next, it is important to understand when the two-year Virginia statute of limitations “clock” starts running. While there are limited exceptions, in most cases, this will be the date you were actually injured.
- The risk of losing out on your rights: Finally, it must be reiterated that if you fail to act in time, you will lose out on your right to bring a product liability lawsuit at all. Do not let this happen to you. The best way to protect yourself is to get an experienced Richmond product liability lawyer on the phone as soon as you possibly can.
Do Product Manufacturers and Stores Try to Avoid Responsibility?In a word, yes. A defective product may be a one-off problem, but in some cases it can signal a product-wide issue for manufacturers and others. In these cases, the parties in the chain of commerce may fight doubly hard to contest their own liability, fearing that an award in your favor may just invite other claims. Some of the tactics and arguments manufacturers and sellers may use to contest your defective product claim may include:
- Trying to prove that you used the product incorrectly, and that this incorrect use (and not their product) led to your injuries.
- Attempting to shift responsibility to another party—for example, the manufacturer claiming that product damage occurred due to poor storage at the store or that damage occurred during transportation.
- Offering you a low settlement that does not fully reflect the compensation amount you should receive for your injuries.
How Much Is My Product Liability Claim Worth?Ultimately, the value of your legal case will depend on the specific facts surrounding your claim. In the state of Virginia, victims can hold the negligent party responsible for the full extent of their losses. However, the big corporations and their insurance companies are rarely willing to pay victims the full compensation they rightfully deserve. It is imperative that victims of defective products work with an experienced attorney who can help them properly establish their damages so that they can make a fair recovery. Our team can help you recover for:
- All related medical bills and expenses
- Any costs associated with physical or psychological therapy
- Permanent physical disability or disfigurement
- Lost income, including diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering damages
- Wrongful death damages
How a Richmond Product Liability Lawyer Will Help YouProduct liability claims are notoriously complex. Indeed, they are perhaps the most complicated type of personal injury case. According to a study conducted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), product liability claims have a noticeably lower success rate in court than do other more common types of personal injury claims, such as auto accidents. Not only do product liability cases often involve incredibly complex aspects of state and federal law, but also, the defendants in these cases are usually large corporations. These corporations, which typically have mass produced the dangerous product in question, will fight aggressively to limit their liability. If you were hurt by a defective consumer or industrial product, it is critically important that you work with a qualified attorney. At Emroch & Kilduff, our Richmond product liability lawyers are standing by, ready to help. We will:
- Vigorously investigate your case
- Work to gather and secure all important evidence and information
- Consult with our extensive network of industry and medical experts
- Employ legal tools, including issuing subpoenas, to gain evidence held by the company
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Fight hard to hold the responsible corporation liable for the full value of your losses