Roughly 30,000 new products hit the American market every year, and the vast majority of those products never cause injury or illness. However, those that do tend to leave significant destruction in their wake. Products that are marketed irresponsibly, designed poorly, or otherwise unsafe can leave victims with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and other expenses.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective or dangerous product in West Virginia, it’s time to talk to an attorney and find out what your legal options are.
Types of Defects
A faulty product may be considered defective for a variety of reasons. While many people assume that fault always comes back to the company selling the product, liability can actually fall on any party involved in the design, creation, marketing, or distribution of the product.
The main types of product defects include:
- Design defects. When the design of something is inherently flawed in a way that makes it unsafe to use, liability falls on the party responsible for designing the product. In this type of claim, the product was manufactured to the specifications given, but the specifications given were flawed.
- Manufacturing defects. In this situation, the product was designed in a way that would make it safe and effective for the intended market. However, during the manufacturing of the product, errors occurred. Perhaps the company responsible for manufacturing did not perform proper maintenance on their machinery, used subpar materials, or skipped steps in the manufacturing process.
- Marketing defects. Products are designed with a target market in mind and created for a specific use. If marketing paints products in a different light by recommending them to groups for whom the product is unsafe or recommends using products in a way that they should not be used, the marketing firm could be liable for victims’ losses.
Different Types of Liability Theories
Depending on the circumstances of your injury and the product that caused it, your lawyer may explore different theories of liability to determine which is best suited to your case. The main three theories used in these cases are:
- When designing, creating, and marketing products, companies are expected to use a reasonable amount of caution to ensure that they are not putting consumers in harm’s way. If they fail to meet this standard and cause injuries, they may be liable for the damage caused.
- Breach of warranty. Many products come with express or implied warranties. When companies fail to follow through on the terms of their warranties and someone is injured because of it, they may be held responsible for the consumer’s financial losses.
- Strict liability. In some cases, it is nearly impossible to prove that a product caused an illness or injury. However, this does not mean that the product did not cause illness or injury. Under strict liability, a company involved in the design, creation, or marketing of a product may be held liable even if it cannot be proven that they were negligent.
Damages for a West Virginia Product Liability Claim
When you are injured because of a defective product, you can seek compensation for your losses. What you actually get is dependent on the details of your case, how competent and aggressive your attorney is, and how much pushback you get from the liable party. Some of the compensation you may ask for includes:
- Medical bills, current and future. Medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, so if someone else is liable for your injuries it is only fair that they also cover your medical expenses. Generally, this only includes medical costs you have already incurred. However, if your injury is serious enough to require ongoing or long-term care, you may also seek compensation for future medical expenses.
- Lost wages and future loss of income. Taking time off work can be financially devastating, especially considering that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Whether you have to take a few days off of work to get treated for your injuries or you spend months away from work trying to heal, you deserve compensation for your lost wages. You may be awarded additional compensation if your ability to work is permanently affected.
- If an injury leads you with permanent disability, you should receive compensation for the expenses that come with this significant change. You may need money to rework your home for disability access, purchase adaptive equipment, and pursue occupational therapy to learn how to live with your limitations.
- Property damage. Some defective products cause property damage. Consider, for an example, a defective microwave that explodes and destroys your kitchen. These losses should also be compensated.
- Pain and suffering. Not every loss comes with a clear financial cost. That doesn’t mean that those losses shouldn’t be compensated. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-financial losses are still compensable.
- Punitive damages. If your case goes to court, you may be awarded punitive damages. Courts award punitive damages not to make the victim whole, but to punish the liable party and discourage similar behavior in the future. In a product liability case, this may be done if the company knew about the defects beforehand but chose to go to market anyway.
Why You Need a West Virginia Product Liability Attorney
The field of product liability law is complex, and without an attorney to help you with your claim, it’s unlikely you’ll get far in your quest for compensation. There are multiple legal theories that may be applicable to your case and you’ll need to meet a substantial burden of proof to get compensation.
An attorney can take this weight off your shoulders and allow you to focus on healing from your injuries. Through their investigation, they will figure out which party is liable for your injuries, how the product directly led to your injuries, and what it will take for you to receive fair compensation.
From there, they will move on to negotiations. Companies spend a substantial amount of money on their legal teams, so you want an attorney who is aggressive and willing to stand up to corporate lawyers. A seasoned attorney will build a solid case that proves why you deserve compensation and fight back against the other side’s efforts to discredit your injuries. And if your case goes to court, they will be ready to fight for every penny you deserve.
Contact a West Virginia Product Liability Lawyer Today
Defective products cause untold amounts of damage every year, but you don’t have to fight the company alone. With the help of an experienced product liability attorney, you can pursue just compensation for your injuries. Get in touch with an attorney today to help you with your case.