In today’s commerce driven society, mass produced commercial products are can often be defective. Whether due to problems in their manufacture or their design, these defects can and do lead to serious injury, and when that happens, it’s important to take a good hard look at how and why the injury occurred, and if the cause for the defect in question should lead to compensation for that injury.
What hurts defective products personal injury claims the most are often mistakes that plaintiffs make in the days and weeks following a defective products injury. The following makes are among the most common (and most damaging) mistakes that should be avoided when pursing personal injury damages from a defective products case:
Not Identifying The Correct Defendant: One of the biggest difficulties in bringing a personal injury claim in a defective products case is identifying the responsible party in each case. When commercial products are mass produced, they often go through a long chain of custody before they actually reach the consumer, and along that chain, many hands have a responsibility in creating and delivering a safe product to that consumer. Oftentimes, claimant must determine where the defect lies in order to isolate where the responsibility for that defect should be placed. Is the problem one of design? In that case all of the products on shelves may potentially cause injury. Is the problem one of manufacture (i.e. a defect lies in the production of this particular example of the product in question)? In that case the manufacturer and, perhaps, distributor may bear the bulk of responsibility for your injuries. Is the product one that is inherently dangerous (a power tool or a space heater, for instance) and produced without adequate warning? In that case the party responsible for marketing the product may be the correct defendant.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help identify exactly who is responsible in the failure that led to your injury and avoid costly, and unnecessary, litigation.
Discarding the Product (and Packaging) in Question: It seems obvious, but in order to demonstrate that the product in question was indeed defective, you have to have the product in evidence. Sometimes consumers suffer injury from products long after their use (i.e. medication that causes undo harm, topical products, food products), and its only natural that those products and their packaging have been discarded in the meantime.
It’s important the moment you realize that you may have suffered injury from a consumer product that you track down the product and packaging, so that you may have evidence of the cause of your injury should you need it. Food products are important to retrieve, if possible, if food poisoning is the culprit because doctors may be able to determine the source bacteria more quickly with a sample of the food you consumed.
And, of course, should the product in question be inherently dangerous but lack appropriate warning or instruction, having all of the packaging provided upon purchase is one way to document the lapse that occurred in bringing the product safely to the consumer.
Waiting Too Long to Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries: If you’ve been injured as a result of use of a defective product, you should immediately seek medical care. In order to effectively treat your injuries, early medical intervention is always advocated. But also, as a claimant, it is your responsibility to mitigate damages by seeking immediate treatment. Delaying medical care can exacerbate your injuries and cause even greater harm, for which courts often attribute fault to you. So don’t wait to see a doctor if you’ve been hurt by a defective product. Make it your first priority.
Waiting to Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney: One of the biggest mistakes people make when suffering harm from a defective consumer product is that they simply wait too long to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate their case. Many times the statute of limitations begin from the point at which the claimant learned (or should have learned) of the injury in question. Waiting too long to contact an attorney may hamper your ability to recover damages if the statute of limitations leaves little time to gather evidence, conduct research to determine the appropriate defendant(s) and properly prepare a personal injury claim.
The attorneys of Bizzieri Law Offices have years of experience pursuing defective products personal injury claims. These cases are often complex and difficult to prove. Our attorneys work hard to recover the highest awards for our clients. If you have questions about filing a personal injury claim, please call 773.881.9000. We can help recover the damages you deserve.