Every day, we interact with a wide range of products designed to make our lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable. But what happens when one of these products doesn’t work as intended and you get hurt as a result? Depending on the circumstances, you could be entitled to compensation from the company that designed, manufactured, or sold the unsafe product — and a Green Bay product liability attorney with Schwaba Law Firm wants to help you demand it.
Andrew Schwaba’s skill, experience, and dedication have helped him recover millions of dollars for individuals and families throughout Wisconsin, and he’s ready to put these qualities to work for you. Andrew isn’t afraid to go up against big companies when they’ve cut corners and harmed innocent people.
When you hire Andrew for your defective product injury matter, there are no upfront costs to you. Instead, if you choose him to handle your case, you’ll only pay legal fees if he gets you the money you need to get your life back on track.
Let Andrew make your recovery our priority. Contact Schwaba Law Firm today to speak with a product liability lawyer in Green Bay. You’ll get a free, no-obligation case review and consultation.
What Does Product Liability Mean?
Product liability is a term that refers to the legal responsibility that makers and sellers of products have to ensure that they are safe to use as intended. When companies fail in this responsibility, they can be held financially responsible for the consequences. In other words, if a product turns out to be faulty or dangerous and consequently harms someone, that person can demand money in compensation for their injuries and other losses. Those losses often include things like hospital bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and long-term impairment.
What Are Common Examples of Defective Products?
From the cars we drive to the medication we take and the appliances we use at home, any product can cause harm if it’s designed, manufactured, or marketed incorrectly.
Common examples of defective products include the following:
- Vehicles, tires, automotive parts
- Baby and children’s products such as toys and car seats
- Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs
- Medical devices and implants such as a hip implant or hernia mesh
- Machinery and tools
- Household appliances
- Electronics and electrical devices
- Construction materials
- Cosmetics and personal care items
- Fitness equipment
- Furniture and home decor
- Industrial equipment
- Lawnmowers and gardening equipment
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Pesticides and chemicals
- Safety gear and equipment
- Clothing and accessories
- Cleaning supplies
- E-cigarettes and vape pens
- Heating and cooling devices
- Kitchen appliances and utensils
What Are the Different Kinds of Defective Product Liability Claims?
There are three main kinds of product liability claims based on the origin of the item’s inherent danger:
- Defective Design Claims – This type of claim focuses on the actual design of the product. Even when a defectively designed product is manufactured perfectly to specifications, it is inherently flawed in a way that poses a risk to consumers.
- Manufacturing Defect Claims – These claims are about problems that occur during an item’s production. In these claims, the product’s design is safe, but a mistake or issue in the manufacturing process creates a defect that renders the product dangerous.
- Inadequate Warnings or Instructions Claims – These claims involve products that are potentially dangerous in ways that aren’t immediately obvious or those that require special care or precautions during use. If a manufacturer doesn’t provide adequate warnings or instructions for these products, they could be liable for resulting consumer injuries.
Who Is Liable If I Am Injured or Damaged by a Defective Product?
Several different parties could be liable for the harm caused by a defective or dangerous product, such as:
- Manufacturers – If a product is designed poorly or made incorrectly and ends up causing harm, the manufacturer could be held responsible. This includes the makers of component parts, not just the final product.
- Retailers – Even though retailers don’t usually make products themselves, they are part of the supply chain and responsible for selling safe products. For example, retailers could be to blame if they sell out-of-date food items or products that their manufacturers have recalled.
- Distributors or Wholesalers – These are intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers. They get products from manufacturers and supply them to stores. If these parties modified or mishandled the product, they could also be held accountable for the harm they cause.
- Designers – Sometimes, the same company both designs and manufactures a given product. But in cases where these are separate entities, and a product’s design is inherently unsafe, it’s the designer that would likely be responsible.
What If a Family Member Dies as a Result of a Defective Product?
If someone dies in a defective product incident in Wisconsin, the law allows certain surviving family members or the personal representative of the estate to bring a wrongful death case against the liable parties.
A wrongful death lawsuit allows you to seek compensation for a variety of losses related to a fatality caused by a defective product. These can include final medical expenses incurred before the person’s death, reasonable funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased’s income and benefits, and intangible losses like loss of companionship.
A knowledgeable Green Bay product liability attorney can investigate your loved one’s death and determine whether you have a wrongful death case.
What Compensation Can I Recover for Defective Product Injuries?
If a defective product injured you, its designer, manufacturer, or distributor could owe you money for your:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
How Long Do I Have to File a Defective Product Liability Claim in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin law typically gives you three years from the date of a defective product injury to file a legal case against a liable party. This three-year countdown starts on the day you got hurt, discovered the injury, or should have reasonably known about it.
Wisconsin law also imposes a strict 15-year outer time limit on product liability lawsuits. This ultimate deadline is 15 years from the day you purchased or received the product. So, if you develop an injury due to a product you got more than 15 years ago, you might be unable to sue. There are some exceptions to this rule, like if the manufacturer knew about the defect and didn’t tell consumers, but such cases could be more difficult to prove without the help of an experienced attorney.
Missing any of these legal deadlines could seriously hurt your case. If you don’t file within the appropriate time limit, you might not be able to bring your case before the court at all, no matter how bad your injuries are or how clear it is that the product caused them.
Given the many different and potentially confusing time limits that apply to product liability cases in Wisconsin, it’s wise to get help from a lawyer after being hurt by a dangerous product. A Green Bay defective product lawyer can handle your case efficiently to avoid any issues with these filing deadlines.
What You Should Do if a Defective Product Hurts You
Hurt by a dangerous product? Here’s what you should do after getting emergency medical attention:
- Document your injury or illness in detail, including how it occurred and how it develops.
- Save the defective product, along with any packaging, instructions, receipts, or purchase records.
- Do not attempt to repair, alter, or dispose of the defective product.
- Identify potential witnesses who were present during the incident and get their contact details.
- Report the incident to the manufacturer and request a copy of their report for your records.
- Document all medical treatments, hospital visits, and other expenses related to your condition.
- Consult a seasoned lawyer who handles product liability cases in Wisconsin.
- Avoid discussing the incident on social media or with anyone other than your attorney.
- Decline to give statements or accept settlement offers until you have spoken with a lawyer.
Benefits of Hiring a Green Bay Product Liability Law Firm
If you get hurt or contract an illness because of a defective product, a legal professional can handle many of the difficult and time-consuming tasks involved in pursuing your case, such as:
- Explaining your rights and legal options in clear, understandable terms
- Gathering and preserving evidence to support your case
- Identifying all potentially liable parties in your case
- Conducting an independent investigation into the incident
- Hiring expert witnesses to testify in support of your case
- Filing necessary case paperwork in a timely and correct manner
- Communicating with all involved parties on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance companies to pursue a fair settlement
- Evaluating settlement offers and advising you on their implications
- Preparing and presenting your case in court, if necessary
Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Green Bay Today
Has a defective product injured you? Schwaba Law Firm is here to get your life back on track by holding the at-fault parties liable for the harm they caused you. Reach out today to find out how during a free consultation with a Green Bay product liability lawyer.