Everyone has a right to trust that the products they use in their everyday lives have been thoroughly tested for safety. Unfortunately, some companies abuse this trust by releasing inherently unsafe items onto the market, injuring the consumers they profit from. When these hazardous products harm innocent consumers, the companies that design, manufacture, and sell them could be liable for the consequences — and it’s up to ordinary people to hold them accountable.
If a defective or otherwise unsafe product has hurt you, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Let a Michigan product liability attorney with Schwaba Law Firm help you pursue it.
Andrew Schwaba’s goal is to recover the money you need to get your life back on track, and he won’t charge you any fees unless he wins your case. Call Schwaba Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Michigan product liability lawyer.
What Does Product Liability Mean?
Product liability is a type of personal injury case someone can bring against a manufacturer or seller for putting a dangerous product on the market that injures consumers. Winning a product liability case requires proving the following elements:
- The product was inherently unsafe at the time it left the control of the manufacturer or seller; and
- Another production practice was available at the time of manufacture or sale that would have prevented the item from causing harm.
An experienced defective product lawyer in Michigan can review your situation and determine if you have grounds to pursue a lawsuit against the company that designed, produced, or sold the dangerous product.
What Are Common Examples of Defective Products?
Practically any consumer product could be dangerous if not designed or manufactured properly. Some examples of products that commonly give rise to a liability suit if they’re unsafe for use include the following:
- Medical devices, such as hip implants and hernia mesh
- Cleaning products
- Airbags and seatbelts in motor vehicles
- Produce and other food products
- Baby formula
- Childcare products, such as toys and car seats
- Chemical hair straighteners
- Recreational equipment such as trampolines and e-scooters
- Flammable clothing
- Industrial equipment
What Are the Different Kinds of Defective Product Liability Claims?
The origin of a product’s inherent danger determines which of the following kinds of product liability claim an injured user can bring:
- Design Defect – This type of defect is a flaw in the final design of a consumer product, and any item produced with a defective design will carry the same risk to a user. A real danger exists regardless of the warning labels on the box or safety precautions a consumer takes. For example, the design of some motor vehicles makes them susceptible to tipping or rolling because they have a high center of gravity. Someone might drive safely but get in an accident because of this design flaw.
- Manufacturing Defect – A manufacturing defect is one that occurs during the production and assembly of a product that has an otherwise safe design. The assembly team might not install a specific but essential part or neglect to finish the item to appropriate standards. A single item might be unsafe due to this defect or an entire run might be harmful.
- Failure to Warn – A product can pose a risk despite flawless design and manufacturing processes if it does not include instructions for its safe use. Injuries can also occur if the product doesn’t have labels warning consumers of the potential dangers. If someone uses a product in a manner other than the intended use, the manufacturer likely isn’t liable.
- Breach of Warranty – A warranty is a promise regarding the characteristics or quality of a consumer product. Two types of warranties exist: express and implied. Typically, an express warranty is in writing and includes specific terms about replacing or repairing a defective or damaged product within a specific period from the sale date. An implied warranty is one that is not explicitly stated in word or writing, but rather is automatically presumed of all sold items. It’s a promise that a product is safe for ordinary use or will fulfill its intended purpose.
Who is Liable if I Am Injured or Damaged by a Defective Product?
Depending on the circumstances, one or more of the following parties might be financially responsible for a dangerous product:
- Wholesalers and retailers
- Quality-control engineers
What If a Family Member Dies as a Result of a Defective Product?
If someone dies as the result of an unsafe product in Michigan, the personal representative of their estate (commonly called their executor) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. That person must send surviving family members entitled to compensation a written notice within 30 days of filing suit.
The individuals entitled to a monetary award include:
- Spouse and children
- Children of the decedent’s spouse
- Any person named in the decedent’s will
What Compensation Can I Recover for Defective Product Injuries?
The compensation you could recover through a defective product lawsuit could cover two different types of losses: economic and non-economic.
Economic losses are expenses related to an injury, such as:
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Medical expenses
- Damage to personal property
Non-economic losses are intangible consequences of an injury. Calculating them is more challenging because they don’t come with an invoice or billing statement like economic losses. They include:
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
How Long Do I Have to File a Defective Product Liability Claim in Michigan?
The statute of limitations for product liability cases in Michigan allows a three-year period to file suit, although certain things can pause this proverbial clock. If you attempt to file a lawsuit more than three years after your injury, your case could be thrown out regardless of its underlying merits. Don’t let that happen to you — consult with an experienced Michigan product liability attorney today.
What You Should Do if a Defective Product Hurts You
Prompt action is crucial if a defective product injures you, and you should do the following:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Follow your doctor’s treatment plan to treat your injuries to the letter. If defense attorneys or insurance adjusters determine that you delayed initial treatment, skipped appointments, or deviated from the recommended plan, they could use this information against you at trial or during settlement negotiations. By getting medical treatment, you create documentary evidence tying your injuries to the defective product.
Hold Onto the Evidence
Keep the unsafe product somewhere safe, as it could prove fundamental to your case. Do not tamper with it or throw it away. If possible, maintain the original packaging and any instruction manuals, labels, and other documents that came with it.
Write It All Down
Documenting everything related to your case is also important. Start a pain journal on the date of your injury in which you list the symptoms you experience, their severity, and how they affect you. You should also record your pain levels and indicate whether they worsen during specific movements or activities.
Keep Receipts of Everything
Hang onto your medical records and bills, as they can help establish your injuries and the costs associated with treating them. You can ask your medical providers to write statements explaining the effects of your injuries on your daily life and whether any are permanent.
Take a Social Media Sabbatical
Whatever you do, stay away from social media. You should not post to any platforms during your pending case, as the insurance company or defense attorney can use anything you post against you. Don’t sign into your social media accounts until your case ends.
Get an Attorney
The most important thing for you to do is consult a product liability lawyer in Michigan. Bringing legal action against a distributor or manufacturer is a complicated process. You should not do it alone. An attorney can handle this on your behalf, advocating on your behalf while you focus on resting and healing.
Benefits of Hiring a Michigan Product Liability Law Firm
Insurance carriers and defense lawyers will do whatever they can to avoid paying injured consumers the compensation they deserve. The manufacturer likely won’t admit to what they did. Fighting against large companies and their aggressive defense teams can be overwhelming if you try to do so alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to.
An experienced attorney can be a critical ally, relieving your burden and carrying it on your behalf. While you focus on your health and well-being, they can:
- Investigate the product defect to determine if it is responsible for your injury
- Identify all liable parties to bring claims against
- Gather evidence like medical records, expert testimony, and supporting documentation to submit to the liable party and their insurance carrier
- Submit an insurance claim and negotiate a settlement
- File a lawsuit if the insurer denies your claim or won’t settle for an adequate amount
Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Michigan Today
Manufacturers and retailers have an obligation to their customers. They violate that promise when they put unsafe products on the market. Andrew Schwaba knows the pain, confusion, and financial strain of an unexpected injury and the potential long-term consequences you could be facing right now. He will fight hard to get you the money you need to get your life back on track and the justice you deserve.
Contact Schwaba Law Firm today for a free consultation with a Michigan product liability attorney about your case.