Baltimore Product Liability Attorney
Did you ever stop to think how many consumer products you use in a day? In our modern post-industrial society, we depend on a plethora of products to accomplish our daily tasks and activities. New products come out every day and are marketed to the public as being a way to enhance the quality of our lives. Design, production, marketing, and distribution of the products we use are the basis for our economy. Owning and using products in many different categories gives us the lifestyle to which we have long since become accustomed.
People are injured and killed in the course of routine use of consumer products every day. When this occurs, the injured person has recourse against various parties in the distribution chain that ended with their use of the dangerous product. If you have been harmed while using any product in its original, unaltered condition, you may be able to recover money in compensation for your damages.
For help with your potential case, call (410) 694-7291 today for a free case assessment with the product liability attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.
What Can Happen to Someone Injured by a Defective Product?
Injuries from defective and dangerous products can range widely in the type of harm that results. In most cases, this will depend heavily on the type of product that injured you:
Household Appliances and Tools
Many kinds of kitchen appliances and tools used for yard work and home repair are dangerous. Inherently, as part of their design, these things include sharp edges or even spinning blades in the case of blenders, lawnmowers, and power saws. While using these tools comes with some level of risk, the design of these products must be reasonably safe, and the warnings included must help to keep users from becoming victims. In many of these injury cases, victims face cuts, amputation, electrocution, or other serious injuries.
Errors and mistakes with medication and pharmaceuticals can cause serious effects. In some cases, victims can be essentially poisoned by tainted medication or suffer neurological effects from drug interactions.
Medical devices go through a rigorous approval process, in part because so many of them have ended up being defective. From replacement joints to surgical mesh, many of these defective products have caused infections, reduced range of motion, and other more serious injuries requiring additional surgery and replacement of the medical device. Other medical devices like pacemakers could potentially kill someone if they are not in proper working order because of defects.
Defective auto parts can lead to crashes. This can result in all kinds of injuries from broken bones to head injuries to paralysis and loss of limb. Depending on what auto part malfunctioned or was designed dangerously, you could also suffer burns, especially in the case of fuel-related parts.
Can I Prove Liability in a Baltimore, MD Defective Product Case?
In a typical personal injury cause of action you, through your attorney, will need to prove that whoever you believe was responsible for causing your injury was negligent, and that by their behavior or acts violated a duty of care owed to you. This is not the case with product liability cases.
If you are injured or a member of your family is killed by a defective product, there is no requirement to prove negligence. Product defect cases, for the most part, are governed by the legal doctrine of “strict liability.” This means that you merely have to prove that the product had a defect, that you used the product without altering it from its original condition, that you used the product for its intended purpose in the manner in which it was meant to be used, and that because of the defect, you were injured and suffered damages.
Strict liability doesn’t mean proving your case is going to be simple. There is still a lot that goes into it. and the company that you are trying to collect damages from may have much deeper pockets than you do and can be counted on to employ a sophisticated legal team to try to extricate them from the case without their having to pay more than a token amount. You will need an equally sophisticated lawyer who is thoroughly committed to your rights to level the playing field and overcome the company’s (or their insurer’s) resistance to doing the right thing by paying you an adequate amount.
Strict liability is not the only legal theory on which to base a product liability claim. Negligence and breach of warranty are others; but strict liability is the most common and, depending on the details of the situation, often the most successful. Your lawyer will know the best way to approach the case to achieve the most favorable outcome for you.
Who is Liable in a Defective Product Case in Baltimore, MD?
Often, the manufacturer of the product will be the one on the hook for injuries caused by defective and dangerous product liability cases. Generally speaking though, anyone in the chain of sale can be held responsible for injuries to the person who ultimately purchased the product.
Modern laws focus on holding the manufacturer liable. Whether that be because the manufacturer committed mistakes in the design stage or in the assembly and manufacturing stage in the factory, the manufacturer is in the best position to prevent injury to the ultimate user of the product.
If the defective product was kept on store shelves, it might also make sense to include the seller of the product, whether that be a local store or a big box store. In cases where the seller was ordered to recall products because of a manufacturer’s recall, the manufacturer might be able to shift the blame to the store if the store continued to sell the defective product after being notified of its dangers, but this kind of case is rare.
Another rare situation that might cut off the manufacturer’s liability is when the product was repaired or tampered with by a third party. For example, if an auto part was not defective when it left the factory floor, but your mechanic broke it and failed to tell you or fix the damage, the mechanic might be responsible for your injuries rather than the auto part’s manufacturer. Similarly, if a pharmacy mixed up medication or a transportation company allowed the medicine to spoil in their truck on a hot day, then they should likely be responsible for your injuries instead of the manufacturer.
In some cases, multiple parties could share liability. Often, these kinds of fact-sensitive issues are the kinds of legal issues our product liability attorneys can help you figure out.
Can I file a Claim for a Loved One Killed by a Defective Product?
Product injury and product defect cases can deal with injuries or death. In the case of an injury, you would usually file your injury case on your own behalf, but you can also file on behalf of an injured child. However, in cases where a loved one passed away, you might be able to file the injury case on their behalf, but only if you meet certain requirements.
Generally, Maryland law allows people to file a wrongful death claim only if they are the parent, child, or spouse of the deceased. There are exceptions to these rules that allow other family members to file if there is no parent, spouse, or child able to file, but those people must also be dependents of the deceased.
When you file this kind of case, you usually file two types of lawsuits: a wrongful death action and a survival action. The wrongful death lawsuit pays damages to the family to cover things like the victim’s ongoing lost wages, and the medical and funeral expenses they suffered. The survival action is essentially a personal injury lawsuit filed in the deceased person’s place, so it can claim things like pain and suffering and other damages they faced before death. These damages are paid to the victim’s estate and distributed with their other assets according to the terms of their will.
In many cases, these lawsuits can result in punitive damages paid to punish the defendant for very serious negligence. However, for these damages to issue, there usually must be proof that they knew what they were doing was dangerous and let the defective products go to market anyway.
When Should I Seek Legal Assistance After a Defective Product Injury in Baltimore?
After any accident or injury, call a lawyer for help as soon as you can. Often, there is only a narrow window of time to collect evidence of the accident and file your injury case. In many cases, evidence will be lost or destroyed if you do not act quickly to preserve it, get statements from witnesses, and file the case. There is also a legal time limit to file your case, usually within 3 years of the date of injury.
Seek Legal Help for Your Baltimore Defective Product Injury Case
For help with your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 for a free case evaluation.