Frequently Asked Questions About
Product Liability Claims


 
  1. Can the sellers of a dangerous products be held responsible for injuries they cause?
  2. What must be proven in a "products liability" case?
  3. Who might be held accountable for a dangerous product?
  4. What types of damages may be sought in a products liability lawsuit?
  5. What is the first step in pursuing a claim?
  6. What if I am told I do not have a good case?
  7. What about the costs involved in pursuing a case?
  8. How long will a case take?
  9. How long does one have to initiate a claim involving a dangerous product?

 

 

1.  Can the sellers of dangerous or defective products be held responsible for the injuries they cause?

 

Answer:
In many instances, yes.  A "products liability" lawsuit may be brought by or on behalf of an individual injured or killed by a defective product against the manufacturer (and possibly the wholesalers, distributors and seller) of the defective product.  Products liability lawsuits generally may involve several legal theories including negligence, "strict liability", and breach of warranty, as described below.  Back to FAQ menu. 

 
2.  What must be proven in a "products liability" case?  

Answer:
Product liability cases may involve several legal theories, including negligence, "strict liability", and breach of warranty.   Each of these theories has its own distinct elements that must be proven:

Negligence:
This theory of recovery focuses upon the product maker's conduct.  To prevail, one must  show that the maker of the product failed to use ordinary or reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, or selling the product, and that such failure on the part of the product maker was a cause of the injury to the person bringing the claim.

Strict Liability:
Under this theory of liability, the focus is upon the product itself rather than the conduct of the manufacturer or suppliers.  Generally speaking, to prevail under this theory, one must show a defect in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of a product which made the product "unreasonably dangerous."  It must further be shown that such defect was a cause of the injury to the person bringing the claim.

Breach of Warranty:
This legal theory focuses upon the substance of a warranty made by the manufacturer about its product.  A warranty is essentially a promise by the manufacturer that its product will have certain characteristics or perform in a certain way.  In certain instances, these warranties may be implied and need not be created expressly or in writing by the manufacturer.  To prevail in a breach of warranty claim, one must show that the product did not live up to the promise or warranty made by its manufacturer, and as a result was a cause of the injury to the person bringing the claim.  Back to FAQ menu. 

 
3.  Who might be held accountable for a dangerous product?

 

Answer:
Depending upon the legal theories that are pursued, it may be possible to hold any entity in the product's chain of distribution responsible for the harm caused by the dangerous product.  This could include the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturer of a defective component of the product, a distributor of the product, or the end-seller of the product. Back to FAQ menu. 
 

 
4.  What types of damages may be sought in a products liability lawsuit?  
Answer:
Generally speaking, one injured due to a defective product may seek compensation for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of earning capacity and property damage.  In certain cases, one may also be entitled to seek punitive damages.  A spouse or child of the victim may seek compensation for loss of consortium.  In cases involving death, additional damages may be recoverable as well.  Click here for more information on wrongful death claims.

Back to FAQ menu. 



5.  What is the first step in pursuing a claim?  
Answer:
Given that product liability claims generally involve a variety of complex legal and technical issues, the first step is usually to consult an attorney.  One who desires to consult an attorney to pursue a claim should do so as soon as reasonably possible because there are statutes of limitations and possibly other critical deadlines that may impact the case.  Back to FAQ menu. 


6.  What if I am told I do not have a good case?  
Answer:
Determining whether or not one has a "good case" is not always an exact science.  Because such determinations involve the professional judgment (based upon many factors and considerations) of attorneys, medical and other experts, it is recommended that you seek a "second opinion" from one or more qualified attorneys if told that your case is without merit. 
Back to FAQ menu. 

 
7.  What about the costs involved in pursuing a case?  
Answer:
Some attorneys (including the sponsor of this website) will agree to handle cases on a contingency fee arrangement.  This means that the attorney will not charge an hourly rate for his or her services, but instead will be paid a percentage of the recovery in the event of a settlement or judgment.  In many instances, such attorneys will also pay the case development expenses (such as expert fees, deposition costs, etc.) with the understanding that he or she will recoup such costs only in the event of a recovery.   Therefore, one may be able to secure legal representation without having to pay any attorney's fees or expenses out of one's own pockets.   Back to FAQ menu. 

 
8.  How long will a case take?  
Answer:
There is simply no easy answer to this question.  The vast majority of all cases, including product liability cases, are settled prior to trial.  Some cases are settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit, while others are settled during litigation or even on the "steps of the courthouse" just before trial.  A product liability case, if litigated to trial, could last a number of years.  One who pursues a product liability case should understand from the outset that a quick resolution can never be guaranteed.  Back to FAQ menu. 

 
9.  How long does one have to initiate a claim involving a dangerous product?  
Answer:
"Statutes of limitation" govern the length of time one has to file a lawsuit or be forever barred from pursuing such claim.  Under Georgia law, different statute of limitations periods apply as to personal injury cases under various circumstances.  In some cases, the statute of limitations may be as short as one year, while under different circumstances, it may be eight years or more.  Many factors bear upon when the applicable statute of limitations period expires including the age of the plaintiff, the type of personal injury claim, the particular facts giving rise to the injury, and others.  One must make absolute certain that they are aware of when their statute of limitations period expires, or risk jeopardizing their legal rights.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can be of assistance in this regard.     

A potential claimant seeking the advice of an attorney should do so without delay. 
  In certain cases, there may also be other deadlines that may also impact the case.  For example, claims against government entities may require that the entity or entities be put on "notice" much earlier than the the statute of limitations period.  Furthermore, given that expert and legal analysis must be done prior to filing a lawsuit, you should not wait until the statute of limitations period is nearing its end because the attorney may not have enough time to complete his or her review prior to its expiration.  

        There are other benefits to securing obtaining counsel early on as well.  Memories of the event or events in question tend to fade in witnesses, potential witnesses may later be unavailable because they have moved, become incapacitated, etc. 

 Back to FAQ menu. 

 

 
OTHER RELATED TOPICS:  
 

 

Free Case Review Home Directory Become a Participating Attorney

2000  Counsel Direct, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions of Use.