Were you injured by a defective product in Wisconsin? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for your harm. But you need legal representation to effectively pursue the financial relief and justice you deserve. You need a compassionate Wisconsin product liability attorney from Schwaba Law Firm.

Andrew Schwaba will help recover damages for all of your financial and personal losses from a defective product injury. He is committed to holding the responsible parties accountable and zealously advocating for injury victims’ rights. Andrew works tirelessly to help clients rebuild their lives with meaningful compensation.

Contact Schwaba Law Firm to learn more about your legal options at a free, confidential case review and consultation.

What Does Product Liability Mean?

Product liability refers to a manufacturer’s or seller’s legal responsibility for any damage or injury caused by its defective or dangerous products. Consumers can sue the responsible party for compensation if a product fails to perform as intended or presents unexpected dangers that cause harm. Product liability can apply to all parties involved in a product’s supply chain, from its design and manufacture to its distribution and sale.

Product liability laws hold manufacturers and sellers accountable and incentivize them to ensure their products are safe for use. They also provide legal recourse for consumers injured or suffering other damages due to defective products. This is based on the expectation that products on the market should be safe for use and free of preventable hazards.

Product liability claims are typically categorized into three primary types:

  • Manufacturing Defect Claims – These claims arise when a product is defectively manufactured or produced. In these cases, the product is dangerous or harmful because it deviates from the manufacturer’s design or specifications.
  • Design Defect Claims – These claims concern inherently dangerous or defective products, even if they are manufactured correctly. The problem lies not in the production process but in the product’s fundamental design.
  • Failure-to-Warn Defect Claims – These claims involve failing to provide adequate warnings or instructions for a product’s use. This might include inadequate safety warnings, insufficient instructions, or a failure to inform consumers about the potential risks of using the product.

What Are Common Examples of Defective Products?

Dangerous defects can affect all types of products in many different ways. Here are some common examples of defective products that could give rise to product liability claims:

  • Defective medical devices
  • Metal-on-metal hips
  • Cobalt orthopedic devices
  • Defective breast implants
  • Defective lithium-ion batteries
  • Defective insulin pumps
  • Cars with faulty brakes
  • Defective airbags
  • SUVs prone to rollovers
  • Faulty ignition switches in vehicles
  • Car tires prone to blowouts
  • Lead-based paints
  • Faulty electrical appliances
  • Power tools without proper safety guards
  • Malfunctioning medical devices
  • Dangerous pharmaceutical drugs
  • Flammable clothing materials
  • Faulty sporting equipment
  • Defective furniture prone to collapse
  • Faulty construction equipment
  • Defective personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Unsafe or ineffective cleaning products

What Are the Different Kinds of Defective Product Liability Claims?

Product liability claims are often based on one of the following legal theories:

  • Strict Liability – This legal theory holds a defendant liable for harm without requiring proof of negligence or fault. In product liability, a plaintiff can hold a manufacturer liable if their product is defective and harmful, even if they didn’t act negligently.
  • Negligence – Under this theory, a plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to sell a safe product, they failed in this duty by selling a product with a defect, and this failure caused the plaintiff harm.
  • Breach of Warranty – In a product liability case, a breach of warranty happens when a product fails to live up to the manufacturer’s claims or promises (warranties), and this failure leads to harm. There are two kinds of warranties: express and implied. Express warranties are explicit promises the manufacturer makes about a product (for example, “This car gets 35 miles to the gallon”). Implied warranties are unwritten and unspoken promises that a product will function as a reasonable consumer would expect.

What Compensation Can I Recover for Defective Product Injuries?

With a successful product liability lawsuit or insurance claim, you could recover money for the following types of injury-related losses:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement or physical impairment
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Property damage costs

Who Is Liable If I Am Injured or Damaged by a Defective Product?

Product liability cases can involve multiple liable parties depending on the case’s specifics. Here are some examples of parties that could be responsible for defective product injuries:

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Manufacturers – Product manufacturers can be liable if a design, manufacturing, labeling, or instructional defect causes harm.

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Parts Manufacturers – If a product comprises different parts, the manufacturer of a defective part could be liable even if it didn’t manufacture the whole product.

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Assemblers or Installers – The party responsible for assembling or installing a product could be liable if the product was put together or installed incorrectly.

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Wholesalers – Wholesalers, intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers, could be liable in product liability cases if they were involved in distributing a defective product.

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Retailers – Retailers that sell products directly to customers could be liable for selling defective goods, even if they are second-hand and the retailer didn’t manufacture them.

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Product Designers – In some cases, the individuals or companies responsible for designing a product could be liable, particularly if the product’s design is inherently dangerous or defective.

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Product Testing Services – If a product was certified by a product testing service, the service provider could be liable if they failed to identify a defect or danger in the product.

What If a Family Member Dies as a Result of a Defective Product?

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In the unfortunate event that someone dies due to a defective product in Wisconsin, surviving loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against liable parties.

Grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit exist when someone dies due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or deliberate behavior, including cases where a defective product leads to death. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the decedent’s loved ones for their loss.

In Wisconsin, you typically have three years from the date of the person’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, certain circumstances could extend or shorten this deadline, so it’s essential to consult a Wisconsin product liability attorney to understand the laws that apply to your case.

What You Should Do If a Defective Product Hurts You

If you suffer injuries from a defective product, your next steps can significantly affect your legal rights and ability to seek compensation. Here’s what you can do to protect both:

  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor.
  • Preserve the product and any packaging or instructions.
  • Document the incident, including how you were using the product.
  • Take photographs of the product, your injuries, and the incident scene.
  • Identify any witnesses and collect their contact information.
  • Notify the manufacturer and retailer about the incident, if possible.
  • Keep a record of all medical treatments and expenses related to the injury.
  • Do not attempt to repair or alter the product.
  • Do not give statements or sign documents for a manufacturer or insurer without legal advice.
  • Consult a lawyer who handles product liability and defective product cases immediately.

Benefits of Hiring a Wisconsin Product Liability Law Firm

A Wisconsin product liability law firm can help your case by:

  • Leveraging Their Experience – An experienced Wisconsin product liability lawyer will understand the legal principles involved in your case, how to apply them, and your best legal options for pursuing compensation.
  • Gathering Strong Evidence – Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to gather all necessary evidence to support your claim, including expert examinations and medical records.
  • Negotiating with Insurers – If insurance companies are involved, a lawyer can handle all communication and negotiation with company representatives on your behalf.
  • Representing You at Trial – If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can present your case effectively, cross-examine witnesses, and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
  • Offering Affordable Services – Many product liability lawyers, including those at Schwaba Law Firm, work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t pay unless the attorney recovers money for your case.
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How Long Do I Have to File a Defective Product Liability Claim in Wisconsin?

You typically have three years to file a personal injury case, including product liability cases, in Wisconsin. Under state law, this three-year period begins on the date when you get hurt by a defective or dangerous product. If you attempt to sue after the three-year deadline, the court can and most likely will dismiss your case, eliminating your right to seek money for your losses.

In addition, Wisconsin has a “statute of repose” for product liability cases. A statute of repose provides a final deadline for potential cases, after which manufacturers and sellers are no longer responsible for their products. Wisconsin’s statute of repose bars lawsuits 15 years after the date of the product’s purchase or delivery to the consumer.

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Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Wisconsin Today

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If you were injured by a defective product, you could seek compensation for your harm. Reach out to Schwaba Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced product liability lawyer in Wisconsin.