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When you purchase a product, you assume it is safe if you use it properly. Unfortunately, there are defective products for sale across several consumer categories, and the companies who designed or produced them should be held responsible for accidents that result from their use.
Using a defective product can lead to severe injuries and financial difficulties for you and your family. Understanding product liability law is critical to recognizing when your injuries were someone else’s fault and when you should contact an attorney experienced in product liability law to represent your interests.
A Brief Overview of Product Liability Law
In Virginia, product liability is defined as liability for personal and property damage due to manufacturing, designing, importing, distributing, packaging, labeling, leasing, or selling a product. It allows for damages including the following:
- Personal injury
- Emotional harm
- Consequential economic damage
- Property damage, including damages resulting from the loss of use of property
You do not have to be the person who purchased the product to file a defective product lawsuit. You can also bring a case if you leased a product instead of owning it.
A product liability legal action is complex. You must be able to show you were harmed and that your harm was due to the defective product and determine who is liable for your damages. In many cases, you will be taking on deep-pocketed corporations, insurance companies, and attorneys. You should not fight them alone.
An experienced defective products lawyer can help you by thoroughly investigating your case, representing you in negotiations, and aggressively fighting on your behalf in court.
Types of Product Defects That Can Lead to Injuries
Any product can have defects that cause harm. Three types of defects are commonly noted in Virginia's defective product law:
- Design defect: You can make a claim if your product had a faulty design, such as a lack of safeguards around a spinning blade.
- Manufacturing defect: A common claim in product liability cases relates to how a product was made, such as faulty wiring that causes fires.
- Failure to warn defect: Consumers deserve a warning if a product is inherently dangerous. A warning could include proper use guidelines, heat warnings, and appropriate instructions for safe use.
Who Could Be Held Liable in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Under Virginia law, determining liability in a defective product lawsuit starts with drawing a path from the manufacturer to the party who put the dangerous product into your hands. Several people along the way could be liable, depending on the specifics of your case.
Manufacturers are responsible for defects that arise when products are made. Multiple manufacturers could be involved, such as when you purchase a car with unsafe parts like a defective airbag.
Wholesalers play a crucial part in the movement of products from manufacturers to retailers, and in some cases, directly into the hands of consumers. They may be liable for damages if they sell defective products.
Retail Store Owners
The final step before most products get into consumers’ hands is retailers. Like wholesalers, they are obligated to sell safe products.
It is essential to have a solid legal team on your side to sort out who is responsible for the damages caused by a defective product. You may have a case for damages against multiple parties. If you do, you should name all parties in your defective product lawsuit to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact a product liability lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case, as you must bring a claim for personal injuries or wrongful death within two years of the harm-causing incident.
How To Prove a Product Liability Case
To succeed in a product liability case, you must be able to show the product was unreasonably dangerous for its intended use or for a use that was reasonably foreseeable to a manufacturer or seller. You must also show the danger existed when the product left the hands of the person you are suing for damages.
Your attorney must demonstrate there was a breach of warranty or negligence on the other party's part. A warranty could be either explicit or implied.
To show negligence in a personal injury case, your lawyer must prove the other party did not behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have given the same situation. This could include cases like a marketing defect for a children’s product that is not actually safe for young people or a lack of adequate warning that consuming too much of a product could harm your health.
Do You Have a Case if You Were Not Injured?
You do not have to demonstrate a physical injury or related medical condition to bring a defective product claim. The law also provides remedies for property loss or the loss of use of property due to a defect.
An example of property loss with no physical harm is if your house burns down, but everyone gets out safely. You still have a design defect product liability claim if the cause of the fire was a defective product, such as a space heater that produced much more heat than intended.
An example of loss of use of property is if your car is defective and you can no longer drive it. Part of your damage claim would include the cost of a rental car.
You can also pursue a defective product lawsuit for the emotional distress caused by the defective product. Losing all your possessions and thinking about the potential harm to your family could lead to problems like lack of sleep, difficulty returning to work, and post-traumatic stress.
The law recognizes emotional distress as a form of pain and suffering, and you deserve to collect compensation when a defective product leads to these problems.
Schedule a Consultation Today To Discuss Your Product Liability Claim
If you or a loved one were hurt or lost your property due to a product defect, contact our experienced defective products lawyers at the Commonwealth Law Group in Richmond, Virginia.
We will listen to the details of your case with the compassion and respect you deserve, collect the evidence you need, and fight vigorously on your behalf during every step of your product liability lawsuit.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.