Defective Product Lawyers in Lake Charles
As a consumer, you have the right to expect that products will work for their intended purpose. You have the right to be confident that you will not be hurt or suffer fatal injuries due to defects or undisclosed risks of use. Manufacturers are responsible for testing the safety of their products in order to prevent harm to customers.
However, sometimes dangerous products are sold to the public. When harm results, victims or surviving family members have certain legal rights. A Louisiana product liability lawyer can help you to understand your options. You have a right to recover compensation after you or someone in your family was hurt by a defective product that failed to perform as intended. With more than 30 years of experience and a history of helping clients to recover more than $100 million in compensation, Broussard & Hart, L.L.C. has built a strong reputation for successful client advocacy after injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys can help you.
What is a Defective Product Liability Claim?
As consumers, we assume that the products we purchase and use in the United States have been properly tested and regulated, making them safe for use. Most of the time, this is the case; however, despite stringent oversight by numerous federal consumer protection agencies, defective products do still make it into the marketplace. Those defective products may cause serious, even fatal, injuries to consumers who use the product. When that happens, an injured victim, or the survivors of a fatally injured victim, may be entitled to compensation by pursuing a defective product lawsuit. Only an experienced product liability attorney can evaluate your specific situation and provide individualized advice and guidance; however, a general understanding of what constitutes a defective product is a good place to start if you believe you are a victim of one.
In the United States, the area of the law that allows a victim to seek compensation for injuries is known as “torts”. Product liability law is a specific type of tort that addresses injuries caused by defective products.
There are three ways in which a product may be found to be defective:
- Design Defect – a design defect is one that is inherent in the design of the product. As such, all products that make their way into the stream of commerce will have the defect. For example, assume that company XYZ manufactures tires for passenger vehicles. A new tire was just released for sale in the U.S. Unfortunately, company XYZ failed to properly test the tire under extremely hot and dry conditions before putting it on the market and it turns out that when the tire is used under those conditions, such as in the American Southwest, the tire becomes weak and is prone to blow outs. All tires have this defect because they were all manufactured with the same faulty design.
- Manufacturing Defect – a manufacturing defect is one that is introduced into the product during the manufacturing stage, meaning that not all of the product will have the defect. Using the company XYZ tires again, assume that the design did actually account for, and test for, extremely hot and dry conditions; however, on a specific day in one of the company’s manufacturing plants the wrong rubber was used when making the tires and that rubber cannot withstand the hot and dry conditions, causing only the tires made at that plant on that day defective.
- Failure to Warn Defect – some products simply cannot be made safe because of the intended purpose of the product. For those products, the law requires a proper warning be included with the product. Failing to include an adequate warning is considered a “failure to warn” defect. Cleaning products, for example, that you use to clean your oven are dangerous because of the chemicals needed to achieve the purpose of the product. Therefore, the product must contain a warning alerting consumers to the danger.
Your Rights after a Defective Product Injury
If you or someone you love was harmed by a product defect, you may be entitled to compensation. If the product was used as intended and caused you to suffer unexpected harm contact a defective product attorney at Broussard & Hart, L.L.C. Potential damages you can recover include:
- Medical costs incurred due to the defective product.
- Loss of wages (if your injuries caused a reduction or lapse in your ability to earn a living)
- Physical pain and suffering arising from injuries caused by the product defect.
- Emotional distress (if the accident or your resulting injuries cause you to experience mental anguish).
- Wrongful death damages, such as funeral expenses, loss of wages and loss companionship.
Often, the most difficult part of cases involving defective products is proving that the harm experienced was directly caused by the dangerous item. Experts can be retained to establish a connection between your injury and the product.
What Compensation Am I Entitled to in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Although there are a myriad of state and federal laws in the United States aimed at preventing defective products from reaching consumers, defective products do still make it into the marketplace at an astounding rate. If you have been injured by what you believe to be a defective product you may have the basis for a product liability lawsuit. As such, you may be wondering “What compensation am I entitled to in a product liability lawsuit?”
When a defective product causes injury it falls under the area of the law known as “product liability.” Product liability, in turn, falls under the larger legal umbrella of “torts” which address injuries to your person or property. In the State of Louisiana, a product must be “unreasonably dangerous” before a victim may be entitled to compensation. A product may be “unreasonably dangerous” if:
- The product is unreasonably dangerous in construction or composition because the product deviated in a material way from the manufacturer’s specification or performance standards.
- The product is unreasonably dangerous in design because there was an alternative design that would have prevented the victim’s damage.
- The product is unreasonably dangerous because of the lack of an adequate warning.
- The product is unreasonably dangerous if it does not conform to an express warranty.
If the product is found to be unreasonably dangerous you could be entitled to economic and non-economic damages. These are both compensatory damages, meaning they are intended to compensate a victim for expenses or injuries actually incurred. Economic damages refer to out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are what people often refer to as “pain and suffering” and represent the subjective, intangible injuries suffered by a victim. Non-economic damages are almost always more difficult to value because of their subjective nature. Where a victim usually has a bill, statement, or receipt for economic damages claimed in the lawsuit, there will be no such tangible proof for non-economic damages, making them harder to quantify.
In some cases a victim may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer, not compensate a victim. As such, punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or malicious.
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Our attorneys will review your case and represent you throughout your product liability claim. Contact Broussard & Hart L.L.C. today for help pursuing a product liability settlement. Your first consultation is free and we won’t charge fees unless money is recovered.
Learn More about Product Liability Lawsuits
When is a Product Dangerous?
When is a Manufacturer Liable for a Defective Product?
What Compensation Am I Entitled to in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
How Do I Know if I Have a Defective Product Case?