When purchasing a product, you rightfully assume that it’s safe to use. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When a product is improperly designed or manufactured, those defects can result in serious injury or death to the user.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused by a faulty or defective product, a product liability lawyer at Hotz & Associates, P.C. can help you seek compensation from the product manufacturers through a product liability lawsuit.
We’ve helped injured people and their families seek justice for over 40 years. To put our expertise to work for you, contact us online or call (865) 582-0042 to schedule your free consultation.
Steps to take if you were injured by a dangerous or defective product
The actions you take following your injury could have a dramatic impact on your recovery and your ability to obtain full compensation. Here are some steps to keep in mind if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
1. Hold on to the product
It is highly recommended that you keep the defective product that caused your injuries, but only if it no longer poses further threat of harm. Please do not tamper with it or try to determine what went wrong. Simply keep it in a safe place until you speak with a Knoxville product liability lawyer.
It is also recommended that you take photos of the product, including the serial number, and that you keep the instruction manual, packaging, your receipt, and any other documentation relating to it. This could all be highly valuable evidence in your personal injury lawsuit.
2. Visit the doctor
Your health is the priority. Don’t wait and hope that your pain will subside or that you’ll get better – get whatever medical help you need as quickly as you can. You could have been very seriously hurt, and if you wait too long to see a doctor, your condition could get much worse.
It will also be important that you follow your doctor’s treatment plan to the letter. If you don’t, the insurance company may argue that you aren’t hurt that bad, that you had a pre-existing condition, or that you caused your injuries to worsen by not adhering to your treatment plan.
Getting medical attention right away will also help your case because it will provide a record of your injury, as well as the treatment needed for you to recover. This will be additional evidence to support your case since all of your treatment will be documented.
3. Take note of the incident and your injuries
You should document the incident and the injuries you suffered. Write down what happened and how it happened, including everything you can about the defective product. Make sure you take special notes regarding:
- How you used the product
- How the product failed
- The injuries you sustained
Take pictures and videos of your injuries and document the levels of pain or emotional trauma you experience. Keeping daily or weekly notes can be very helpful for proving your damages.
4. Speak with a Knoxville product liability lawyer
The importance of getting legal help from an experienced product liability lawyer can’t be stressed enough. Product liability cases are very complicated. One of the reasons they’re so complicated is that you’re often going up against a large corporation with deep pockets that hire very skilled lawyers to protect its reputation and its bottom line.
At Hotz & Associates, P.C., our personal injury attorneys in Knoxville have successfully helped our clients obtain just compensation in product liability lawsuits for over 40 years. You owe it to yourself to put our attorneys’ skills, resources, and experience to work for you.
Common types of product liability cases we’ve handled
Our firm has delivered positive results to our clients in several kinds of product liability cases. Here are some of the most common types of product liability cases we’ve handled and won.
1. Manufacturing defects
A manufacturing defect can occur during any part of the manufacturing process, but that defect should have been caught during the quality assurance or control phase of production. Some causes of the defect include the use of poor-quality materials, improper materials (such as a screw that’s too short), substandard workmanship, and more.
A manufacturing defect claim can be brought through a claim of negligence, strict liability, or an express or implied breach of warranty. In any of these scenarios, the injured person must establish that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous at the time it left the manufacturer’s control.
This means that a manufacturer should be held strictly liable for any unaltered unreasonably dangerous product. Each type of claim has its own additional set of elements that must be proven and a determination of whether the seller or retailer is also liable.
These are only some of the complexities of a product liability lawsuit which is why you need the expert representation of a Hotz & Associates, P.C. personal injury attorney.
2. Design defects
Designers and engineers can also be held liable in a product liability case. If they should have known that the product’s design was inherently dangerous or that a different design was safer or could have prevented harm, they could be found negligent.
One common example of a design defect is a faulty brake system. If it fails and contributes to a car accident, the designer of the system could be one of the liable parties.
3. Marketing defects (Failure to warn)
A product can be designed perfectly and manufactured safely but still be defective. If the manufacturer fails to include potential dangers associated with the product on the packaging, that could be grounds for legal action.
Manufacturers must warn anyone who uses the products of possible risks posed when using the product properly. They must also include potential risks of harm for using the product improperly but in a manner that a reasonable person might have assumed was safe.
They’re also required to provide easily understood instructions to prevent people from being harmed. Failure to do any of these things could result in a lawsuit.
4. Breach of warranty
Most products available to the public come with some sort of warranty. This is a guarantee that the product will work in adherence to established standards. If a product fails or malfunctions, the manufacturer has breached that warranty which may give you grounds for a lawsuit.
The basis for a breach of warranty claim, such as if it was an express or implied warranty, might differ based on any promises that were made at the time of the sale. You should consult with a product liability attorney to determine your appropriate course of action.
Common product liability injuries
Defective products can result in a wide range of injuries. Some of them can have life-altering consequences, resulting in years of pain and disability. These are a few of the more common injuries that dangerous products can cause:
- Electrocution injuries
- Bone fractures
- Severe lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
Make sure you file a claim in time
Generally, in Tennessee you only have one year from the date you were injured to file a product liability lawsuit, however, there are some exceptions and limitations.
For this and many other reasons, it is in your best interest to talk to a Knoxville product liability lawyer with Hotz & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible after you were injured. We’ll need to investigate the accident, determine all potentially liable parties, and gather relevant facts and information in order to file a strong, well-supported claim.
What are some possible damages you could claim?
“Damages” in a product liability lawsuit are what you recover for the financial losses you’ve suffered as a result of the defective product and the injuries it caused. The two main forms of damages are economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are considered tangible because they’re easily proven through documentation. For example, your medical bills will show the costs of treatment you’ve received and your doctor’s reports will indicate your injuries and ongoing care you might need.
Your pay stubs will show how much money you’ve lost if your injury caused you to miss work or prevented you from returning to work. You might also have expenses related to property damage if the product damaged any of your real or personal property when it malfunctioned.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to calculate because they’re subjective and aren’t proven with receipts. Some common claims of non-economic damages are loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and emotional or mental distress.
Although these damages are more difficult to prove without an experienced personal injury lawyer, they are very real and can lead to substantial compensation. You could be leaving money on the table by not hiring a Hotz & Associates, P.C. Knoxville product liability lawyer.
Our attorneys work hard to get you full compensation
At Hotz & Associates, P.C., our experienced attorneys and staff will work hard and tirelessly to gather all the facts and evidence to support your case and then will pursue compensation against all liable parties on your behalf. We know you’re suffering terribly and are likely worried about all of the bills and other expenses you face due to your injury. Our team will aggressively pursue your case to help you obtain full and fair compensation.
Who may be liable for your injury?
Product liability cases can be very complex because the product’s defect can stem from several different causes: the design, the manufacturing, the marketing, or even the selling. This means that there are potentially multiple liable parties.
For example, if the manufacturer used faulty materials to build the product, not only could the manufacturer be held liable because they should have known the material was faulty, but the manufacturer and provider of that faulty material might also be liable. Then, because the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s control, the distributor, the wholesaler, and the retailer could also be responsible.
Correctly determining all liable parties could have a drastic impact on the compensation you’re entitled to.
How our attorneys prove liability
Proving liability first and foremost involves showing that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. Your attorney will need to show that the product was more dangerous than the typical consumer should expect. Your attorney might also need to prove that a prudent manufacturer would have recognized that the product was defective and therefore wouldn’t have made the product available for purchase.
There are additional elements that must be proven based on the basis of the action that you allege in your lawsuit. For example, all product liability claims must establish that a defect in the product exists. A product liability claim based on negligence also requires that the injured person prove that the product’s defect was the result of negligence during the manufacturing process or that the manufacturer or seller knew or should have known of the defective condition.
Regardless of what we need to prove, we will use evidence to prove liability such as photos, reports, and witness statements.
What is the cost of hiring a Knoxville products liability lawyer?
Hotz & Associates, P.C. provides services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay any legal costs out-of-pocket while we represent you.
If we’re able to achieve a positive result in your case, then you’ll pay us a portion of what you win. If we don’t win, then you won’t owe us anything.
Our Knoxville products liability lawyers are here to help
The Hotz & Associates, P.C. personal injury lawyers in Knoxville have decades of experience representing clients in product liability cases with successful outcomes. We’re ready to do the same for you.
Schedule your free consultation by calling (865) 582-0042 or using our contact form.