When we purchase a product or use a piece of heavy machinery at work, we expect that item to work as advertised and not cause us injury or harm. Unfortunately, items aren’t always as safe as they’re advertised. In many cases, injuries and complications occur after using a product due to negligent or careless actions the manufacturer performed. If you’ve been seriously injured after using a product as it was intended, a Charleston product liability lawyer can help.
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC has years of experience providing legal options for those wrongfully injured in Charleston. A single person trying to recover from their injury may not be able to figure out the complexities of product liability law. We understand the laws and how to protect your rights, so you get a fair settlement for your injuries.
If you’re wondering about why you’d want to go through this process in the first place, it’s important to understand that you may need the compensation. An injury can be expensive when you add in the cost of going to the hospital, getting tested, undergoing procedures or treatments. You may also need medical equipment or additional treatments in the future. During this time, you may be unable to work. Your injury may not only be painful, but it can make your everyday life significantly more difficult.
All these situations take a financial and physical toll on you when you weren’t the one at fault. Filing a product liability claim may let you receive damages for recovery costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. You’ll be able to have some security for the future, so you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay a bill and instead can work on getting better.
You should know how products become dangerous or hazardous in the first place. You may get a better idea of what went wrong with your product and how it caused you harm, which could help your lawyers in their investigation.
What Causes Products to Become Defective?
Manufacturers are required to adhere to certain state and federal regulations regarding the safety of their products. These standards can include everything from proper warning labels, safety features, the use of non-toxic materials, freedom from design or manufacturing flaws, and compliance with performance requirements.
When these standards and regulations are not met, individuals and their families who have been injured by defective and unsafe products can file what is called a product liability lawsuit against the corporation or individual that designed, created, or sold the faulty item. Doing so can award the victim with financial compensation that can be used to aid the recovery process as well as ensure the guilty manufacturer uses safer materials or creates a new model that isn’t defective.
Products often become defective due to the following reasons:
- Design Defects. If a product has a faulty design or uses unsafe or untested materials, an entire product line can become defective. Manufacturers often create unsafe designs when attempting to cut corners or put a product line together cheaper.
- Manufacturing Defects. If a product has a safe design but is carelessly put together or fails to be properly tested, it may be sold with a manufacturing defect in place. Manufacturing or testing negligence is usually the top cause for these types of defects. Depending on the defect and its nature, this type of issue may involve a single item or an entire product line.
- Marketing Defects. Products must be sold with adequate safety warnings and features in place. If a product is sold without proper warning labels, it may be possible to hold the distributor or marketer liable for injuries a victim sustains.
- Failure to Warn. Manufacturers need to provide warnings on a product that will inform the consumer of possible dangers. While not all products need a warning, if the manufacturer knows of a nonobvious danger that could harm the consumer, they need to put that information on the product.
At the law office of DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, our attorneys work with design engineers, toxicologists, materials experts, chemists, and others in exposing dangerous products and manufacturing flaws that injure our clients. We know how to find the evidence and data needed to prove your claim and win your case against corporations that will often do everything they can to argue against these types of claims.
If you or a loved one was injured by a product that was defective or unreasonably dangerous, you may be compensated by the company that manufactured the product, the distributor that sold the product, or both.
West Virginia Product Liability Law
The U.S. civil justice system helps hold product manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and engineers responsible for injuries that occur due to manufacturing defects, careless building procedures, or components or materials that are unsafe. Far too often, product manufacturers look for as many ways to save money as possible. When shortcuts cause a product to become unsafe, however, manufacturers need to rethink their priorities. The safety of the American people should always come first.
The WV Code §55-7-31 defines product liability action as a civil action that’s brought against a manufacturer or seller of a product. The lawsuit is part of strict liability in tort, or because of personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage.
The term manufacturer applies to a person who designs, assembles, fabricates, produces, constructs or otherwise prepares a product or a component part of a product before it’s sold to consumers.
Specifically, the injury occurred because of an issue with manufacturing, construction, design, formula, installation, preparation, assembly, testing, packaging, labeling, marketing or sale of a product.
When we review your case, we will work tirelessly to find out what the problem was with the product and how it happened. Then, we’ll look at your medical records to see how the product injured you and what medical treatment you’ve needed.
While it can be nerve-wracking to file a lawsuit against a manufacturing company, your actions are holding them accountable. They may change policies to make sure this doesn’t happen again because they won’t want to face another lawsuit.
Common Types of Defective Products in Charleston
Our law office has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for workers and consumers who have been injured by dangerous or defective products, such as:
- Coal mining equipment
- Heavy equipment such as trucks and soil-moving equipment
- Chemicals, tools, or other items commonly used at workplaces
- Manufacturing equipment
- Household products and appliances
- Consumer products
- Defective fire alarms
- Unsafe sporting equipment or toys
- Auto defects on cars, trucks, and auto parts such as tires, seat belts, or airbags
- Railroad parts and equipment
Negligence in product manufacturing can potentially harm anyone. These lists cover items used for specific jobs to common products you’d find in a house. It’s not okay for companies to sell hazardous products. That’s why we’re here to stand up for you.
The Dangers of Defective Products
When a product doesn’t work and causes harm, the person using it can suffer from serious injuries. Here are a few potential injuries that can occur:
- Head Injuries. If you’re driving a car with defective brakes, you could get into an accident and suffer from a head injury. It could be a mild concussion, but more severe head injuries could be traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A TBI could cause bleeding or swelling in the brain, which could cause major health complications.
- Burns. Defects could make certain products a fire hazard, which can cause burn injuries. A burn can range in severity. First degree burns are when the outer layer of skin is affected, often leaving a red mark that may be painful for a while but doesn’t need immediate medical attention. As the burns get deeper into layers of skin, tissue, muscle, and bone, the effects are much worse. People need intense medical treatment that could require skin grafts. The injuries can be extremely painful, or the burns could do so much damage to the nerves that there’s no pain at all. Regaining control or feeling of the burn site may not happen.
- Broken Bones. If you’re depending on equipment to keep you safe but it has a flaw, you could suffer from injuries such as broken bones. This could apply to unsafe equipment used for sports, work, and traveling. A broken arm or leg could make you unable to work for a few months. If the break happens in the spine, then the injury could have a longer recovery time and more consequences like issues with walking and having back pain.
- Lacerations. Dangerous products like kitchen appliances or toys could cause severe cuts that require stitches.
We’ll make sure that your compensation takes the full extent of your injuries into account, so you will be able to get the best care to treat them.
Your Rights as a Consumer
As a consumer, you have rights that protect you from a defective or dangerous product. The Federal Trade Commission ensures that consumers are protected from bad practices through the Consumer Bill of Rights. Through this bill, you have these rights as a consumer that a lawyer will help you defend:
- The Right to Information. Every manufacturer is required to list specific information about their product so that consumers have an accurate idea of what they are getting. Information like ingredients, contents, and materials in the product allow consumers to be informed and better able to make a decision about whether or not the product is right for them.
- The Right to Safety. Consumers have a right to be safe from the products that they use, meaning that a product shouldn’t wrongfully harm them. If a product is advertised as safe and ends up harming a consumer in a way that was not listed, then the manufacturer could be breaking this right.
- The Right to Choose. When a consumer is informed, they are able to choose the correct product for them. Since the United States operates as a free market where manufacturers compete for customers, consumers have the right to choose which product is best for them from competing manufacturers.
- The Right to Be Heard. When a product is not what it was marketed to be, or if it doesn’t work as it was supposed to for a consumer, they have the right to file a complaint and be heard.
- The Right to Redress. Redress means that consumers have a right to have a problem corrected. If a consumer files a complaint or wants to return a product that didn’t work for them to the store or manufacturer, then the problem needs to be corrected or they can return it with a receipt.
If a manufacturer, store, or other distributor acts negligently, misrepresents their product, or breaks any of your rights as a consumer that lead to you suffering from an injury, then you could have a claim against them. A Charleston product liability lawyer form DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can represent you in your case to ensure that your rights are protected, and you get the compensation that you deserve.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Defective Product?
After suffering from an injury from a defective product, there could be physical, emotional, and financial costs that you incur from your injuries. When you decide to file a product liability claim, your lawyer will help you determine what you can recover in damages from the product manufacturer, seller, or any other party who was responsible for the production, marketing, or selling of the defective product.
It’s important to hold these companies accountable for their negligence so that other consumers don’t suffer from the same damages. By working with a Charleston product liability lawyer, you can recover those damages that you suffered and ensure that the company is found liable. Here are some of the damages that your lawyer can help you recover in your product liability claim:
- Economic damages. In your case, these are the damages that stem from the physical costs that you incurred from your injury. By compiling medical bills, treatment costs, lost wages from missing work, and any other potential costs that you had to pay because of the injury caused by the defective product, your lawyer can calculate how much you are owed in physical damages. If you will require treatment for the rest of your life and will unable to return to work in the coming weeks, months, or ever, then those costs can also be factored into your economic losses.
- Non-economic damages. These damages are more emotional and abstract, which makes them harder to calculate. When you can prove that you have endured pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, or mental anguish because of your injury, then you could hold the company accountable for your non-economic damages.
- Punitive damages. These damages are the rarest form, as most states have caps for how much you can recover in punitive damages. These are meant to punish the negligent party for their negligent, reckless, or malicious actions and exceed the damages that were calculated from documents and other suffering. In West Virginia, the cap on punitive damages is the greater of either four times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000.
Your product liability lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC will help you calculate your damages and determine what amount you deserve for full and fair compensation. Our legal team will fully investigate your product liability claim and defend your rights against a negligent product manufacturer.
Get Sound Legal Advice from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC has the experience and resources to investigate and prove complex product injury cases. Our record of accomplishment speaks for itself. Our lawyers have obtained some of the largest jury awards and settlements in the state.
We handle all product injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay us anything upfront for our legal services. If we’re successful, our fee will be a percentage of the jury award or settlement we obtain for you. If we’re not successful in obtaining compensation for you, you will owe us nothing. Contact our Charleston office to learn more.