Countless new products come on the market every year, all of them claiming to make our lives better in one way or another. But as we know, products often fail to live up to their hype, and what’s worse, they sometimes contain defects and dangers that can harm users. When consumers or businesses purchase and use a product, they have the right to expect that it has been thoroughly vetted for safety. And when one of these products causes injury during the course of regular use, those who have suffered harm deserve to be fully compensated.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we represent clients throughout West Virginia who have been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective product. Products can include anything from a kitchen appliance to power tools, lawn mowers and tractors. As well as those injured because of the following:
- Defective Design
- Defective Parts
- Defective Repairs and Rebuilds
- Defective Product
- Defective Performance
- No Safety Warning
- Inadequate Safety Warnings
We can help you determine if a product defect may have caused or contributed to your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries (or the wrongful death of a loved one), as well as compensation for any property damage.
We have several decades of dangerous product trial experience. We understand product liability law. If you have been seriously injured due to a vehicle defect, product defect, or dangerous product, you need to contact our experienced Charleston dangerous products lawyers today. We offer free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Our representation of clients in product liability cases can include:
- Defective automobiles
- Talc Litigation
- Defective medical devices and drugs
- Juul litigation
- 3-M Ear Plugs
- Defective firepots and fuel gels
- Defective equipment (including defective tools)
- defective roof bolting machines
- defective drills
- defective blasting equipment
- defective industrial equipment (including defective booms)
- defective bulldozers
- and other defective clear-cutting machinery
Who is Liable for a Defective or Dangerous Product?
In order to determine who is at fault for a product that has a defect or poses a hazard, it is important to get to the bottom of what caused the problem with the product in the first place. This can usually be traced back to one of three areas:
- Design Flaws: A designer might develop a product that has inherent flaws and/or is hazardous to users. For example, a toy maker might create a line of toys in which small pieces of plastic can easily detach and end up in a child’s mouth. Or in the auto industry, there are vehicles (such as SUVs) that are designed with a high center of gravity that makes them unreasonably hazardous and likely to roll over under various conditions.
- Manufacturing Errors: Some products are designed safely, but they become flawed because of an error in assembling that particular product, or a more widespread error within the manufacturing process. For example, a manufacturing error could happen with a particular batch of medicine in which there was an incorrect mixture that resulted in a dangerous side effect.
- Labeling/Marketing Defects: Sometimes there is nothing inherently wrong with the design or manufacture of a product, but there was a failure to provide an adequate warning about the dangers of a product under certain circumstances and/or instructions on how to safely use it.
There are several parties that could be held responsible for an injury that results from a defective or dangerous product:
- Third-party consultants/contractors
- Other parties within the product’s supply chain
A thorough investigation is required in order to determine which of these parties was at fault based on the specific facts and unique circumstances of the case. In many instances, more than one party might be responsible, and a product liability lawsuit could be brought against multiple defendants.
Pursuing a Product Liability Claim in West Virginia
When someone is injured by a defective or dangerous product, there are three potential legal theories under which the claim could be brought:
- Negligence: Negligence is the theory that the defendant breached their duty of reasonable care to provide a product that was safe and free from hazards and defects. Negligence can occur at any stage during the product development, marketing, and distribution process. As we talked about earlier, it could be a design flaw, a manufacturing error, mislabeling or deceptive marketing, or any number of other negligent acts throughout the process. Negligence is frequently used in product liability claims, and the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, that their negligent or reckless actions constituted a breach of this duty, and that this breach resulted in compensable losses (e.g., injuries and property damage).
- Strict Liability: Many product liability claims can be brought under the theory of strict liability. Because the product production and distribution supply chain is extremely complex, an injured consumer might have a hard time pinpointing exactly where the negligence occurred. But if the product is defective and/or unreasonably dangerous (during the course of regular use), then anyone within the product’s supply chain could be held responsible.
- Breach of Warranty: When a product comes with a warranty, this is a guarantee that it will perform in a certain way and/or meet a certain standard. A consumer might have an express warranty, which is an explicit guarantee that the seller makes (either in writing or orally) at the time that the buyer purchases the product. A product might also come with an implied warranty, which is a legally required assurance that a product will meet market expectations and/or is fit for a particular purpose. For example, a steering wheel on an automobile is expected to be able to steer the vehicle properly, and a car buyer would not need an express warranty from the seller to have this expectation. Breach of warranty is the most seldomly used legal theory in a product liability claim, because there are several limitations that restrict its usefulness.
Product liability claims are very complicated legal actions, and it is always best to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible, so they can go to work immediately investigating the case, uncovering critical facts, and preserving important pieces of evidence. It is also important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations for all types of personal injury claims in West Virginia is generally two years from the date that the injury occurred. If you fail to bring an action within the required timeframe, there is a very good chance that it will be thrown out of court.
Contact Our Firm for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
If you or someone close to you suffered injury because of a defective or dangerous product in West Virginia, contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. for a free consultation and case assessment. We will meet with you to thoroughly evaluate your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. To get started, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979. We look forward to serving you!
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.