Product liability laws vary from one state to another. When filing a product liability lawsuit, plaintiffs need to understand the different terms and theories used in such negligence claims. A good product liability lawyer can be of great help when it comes to navigating this complex process.
In general, product liability lawsuits are a special type of personal injury claim that can be brought against businesses being accused of selling products that have manufacturing defects. However, in such cases, it is important to understand that the burden of proof lies on the product liability plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit.
Proving that a manufacturing defect was the cause of the plaintiff's injuries, or that the manufacturer did not take reasonable care or warn consumers about the dangerous product is not easy. A good lawyer, with a deep understanding of all the legal theories involved is required. In Houston, Texas, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help. They can give more information on damage caps In Texas.
What Can Cause a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Personal injury cases involving defective products can be caused by a wide range of injuries, such as:
Harmful side effects after using over-the-counter medication
Illness that can be traced back to the victim's use of a product
Cancer or other chronic conditions that are linked to exposure to a certain product, for example, asbestos
Health complications caused by a defective product or medical device
If these injuries can be linked back to a design defect, manufacturing defect, or inadequate warning by the manufacturer, the plaintiff has a very good product liability lawsuit on their hands. In general, a product liability lawsuit is caused by a product not performing as it should, to the point where it causes harm to the injured party.
The injured person can sue the manufacturer for the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, just like in any other personal injury lawsuit.
Who is Responsible for Product Defects?
It is not always the manufacturer of the product who is held responsible for the defective design. There are many other possible defendants in these cases, such as the retailers, the distributors, the wholesaler, or the component/parts manufacturer.
Understanding the specific product liability laws in the state where the lawsuit is being filed is very important in this case. It helps to determine which defendant's actions can be held responsible for the injuries caused to the plaintiffs.
Some situations make it complicated to pin down the liable parties, such as cases involving a manufacturer that has since gone out of business. Having a good attorney/client relationship with a reliable personal injury attorney will help determine the best course of action in such rare scenarios.
Understanding the Burden of Proof in Product Liability Claims
The burden of proof can be described as the legal requirement that the plaintiff has to provide adequate evidence to show that their claim is valid. Terms such as "clear and convincing," "preponderance of the evidence," and "beyond a reasonable doubt" are used in various states to determine the level of proof that is required.
When dealing with strict product liability cases, or other types of product liability claims, it is up to the plaintiff to prove that the defendant is liable because of their unreasonably dangerous product. The burden of proof in such cases requires two important things, which are:
The plaintiff must have suffered an injury
It must be shown that the product defect is responsible for the injury
Four Common Theories of Liability Cases
Many theories are applied in product liability lawsuits that determine whether it is a strict liability case or other type of claim. In Texas, the following four theories apply:
When dealing with strict liability (also called a strict product liability case), the burden of proof must show that:
The plaintiff was injured by the defective product
There was an expectation by the defendant that the product would not change until reaching the consumers
The product was sold without adequate warnings and in an unreasonably dangerous condition
Using the negligence theory requires the following evidence:
The defendant breached the duty owed to the plaintiff
This breach of duty resulted in significant harm to the plaintiff
Duty of care was owed to the plaintiff by the defendant
Fraud is another common theory that a personal injury attorney can use, in which case the following proof is required:
Harm was caused to the plaintiff due to the defendant's falsehood
The plaintiff's reliance on the defendant was justified
The defendant knowingly made false representations to the plaintiff in a bid to sell the product
Breach of Warranty
Lastly, the plaintiff can make breach of warranty claims if they can prove that:
There were implied warranties or express warranties on the product
The product failed to meet the terms of the warranty
Common Defenses Used by Liable Parties
When faced with a strict liability lawsuit that can result in huge damages being paid for medical expenses and other losses, the defendant's legal team usually tries several ways to avoid accepting responsibility for the injury.
The following are some of the common defenses that can be used by the assembling manufacturer, retailer, or any other defendant:
Someone else interfered with the product between the time the defendant released it and when the plaintiff was injured, meaning the injury was not caused by defective design.
The safety concerns were known by the plaintiff but they decided to use the product anyway.
Injuries were caused by the plaintiff's misuse of the product, either intentionally or carelessly.
Suing for a Defective Product? Call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys
Proving that a manufacturing or marketing defect is the direct cause of injuries suffered by the plaintiff is not easy, and not every attorney advertising their services in Houston has the experience required to win such cases.
A good attorney has to know everything about product liability law in Texas. This means answering questions such as "What is the burden of proof in a product liability case?" or "How do you prove a product is defective?" and then being able to apply the correct theory for each particular circumstance.
When faced with a stubborn defendant who refuses to take responsibility for the injuries their product caused, victims need a reliable law firm in their corner. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has been assisting Houston, Texas residents with product liability claims for many years now. Victims should call them today and schedule a free consultation.