Under product liability laws, if you are injured by a dangerous product, you may have the right to file a claim for damages and/or sue the manufacturer. With a successful lawsuit, you can hold the manufacturer accountable for its wrongdoing and recover compensation for your medical bills, missed wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Parties that sell or manufacture defective products face obligations to put safe and properly designed products into the stream of commerce including strict liability laws in Kentucky. Strict liability means that in certain circumstances you do not have to prove negligence; you only have to show that the product that hurt you was defectively designed, defectively manufactured and/or was dangerous and the provider/manufacturer failed to warn of the dangers.
What Makes a Product Defective?
Products can be defective due to problems with design, manufacturing, or inadequate warnings. For example, a knife might be designed with a slippery handle and cut someone, a chair may be missing a bolt and collapse when someone sits on it, or a medication may fail to warn consumers about dangerous side effects.
Some products come with certain risks even when they are used correctly, so every injury does not justify a claim and or lawsuit. Some injuries result from improper use and, in those situations often will not justify a claim or lawsuit. For example, if you juggle chainsaws and get cut, you likely cannot successfully pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Another example would be that you may not be able to file a lawsuit if you accidentally hurt your hand while hammering a nail because everyone is aware of the basic risks a hammer presents. If the rubber grip on a defective hammer comes loose while you are using it, and you hurt yourself as a result, however, you may have a valid claim.
Do I Have to Join a Class Action?
No. The office of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC often handles product liability cases as “single event” cases rather than the case becoming part of a class action or mass tort.
Discuss the pros and cons of pursuing a single-event case versus joining a class-action or mass tort lawsuit with your attorney.
Will My Product Liability Lawsuit Make it to Court?
Under the Seventh Amendment of the United States, you have the right to a trial by jury. Nevertheless, you may choose to waive this right by agreeing to a settlement with the manufacturer or seller.
Many product liability lawsuits do not make it to court because the liable parties will pay an acceptable amount of money to make the claim go away.
Because accepting a settlement involves waiving your constitutional right to trial by jury, you should never accept a settlement without talking to a lawyer first.
Note: you may receive a settlement offer from an insurance company as soon as the seller or manufacturer learns of your injury – perhaps even before you consider filing a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that insurance companies for manufacturers, sellers, etc. are not on your side. Hiring a lawyer to review your settlement offer cannot only help you determine if you are getting a reasonable settlement offer but also give you more negotiating power, often increasing your potential settlement.
Drug and Medical Device Injuries: Informed Consent
All patients in the United States have the right to informed consent. This means you must be informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a given medical procedure or intervention.
If a drug or medical device manufacturer fails to warn the public about risks associated with its product, it can be held accountable for a failure to warn.
If your doctor fails to warn you about known risks associated with a drug or medical device, you may need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit instead. More often, in medication cases, the allegations are against the manufacturer for failing to warn (or the pharmacy for failing to provide warnings, instructions, discovering dangerous interactions with other drugs, etc.)
Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC has been handling product liability claims and medical malpractice lawsuits since 1991, and we have decades of proven success.
If you are injured by a dangerous product, we can help you understand your rights and legal options during a free consultation – and you won’t owe us any money unless we win your case and recover compensation on your behalf.