Every year thousands of people in the United States are injured by defective products that make their way into the marketplace despite efforts to keep them out. Fortunately, most of those injuries are relatively minor; however, sometimes people are seriously injured, even killed, because of defective products. As the victim, or loved one of a fatally injured victim, of a defective product you may be wondering “What damages are available in a product liability lawsuit?”
In the U.S. there are a number of federal agencies that are responsible for monitoring the products that make it into the hands of consumers. These same agencies enact safety laws and have the authority to enforce those laws when violations occur. Unfortunately, defective products still make it through and into the hands of consumers at a surprising rate. Sometimes products make it through because the defect is not obvious. Sometimes untested products make it past customs inspections and into the marketplace. Regardless of how a defective product made it into the stream of commerce, once there it can be a ticking time bomb, just waiting to injure someone.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a defective product, or you are a surviving family member of someone who was killed by a defective product, you could be entitled to damages from the negligent party(ies). Damages in a product liability lawsuit include economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate a victim for the out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, or the cost of repairs to personal property damaged as a result of the defective product. Non-economic damages are what people often refer to as “pain and suffering,” although they can include much more. Non-economic damages represent the intangible, emotional injuries a victim suffers. Things such as disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, scarring, and loss of consortium are also frequently included in non-economic damages.
While the value of the economic damages portion of an award or settlement is usually fairly easy to determine, the value of the non-economic damages are much more difficult to value because they are subjective in nature.
Economic and non-economic damages are part of a compensatory damages award or settlement and are meant to compensate a victim. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the wrongdoer. As such, punitive damages are only awarded when the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or reckless.
If you have additional questions or concerns about damages or any other aspect of a defective product lawsuit, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Broussard & Hart, LLC by calling 337-439-2450 to schedule your appointment today.