When consumers purchase a product, they expect it to work as advertised. Unfortunately, many people are injured by defective and dangerous products every year. The parties that made or distributed these products could be held accountable when a product causes injury or death. At Jay Trucks & Associates, we have over 150 years of combined experience offering legal advice to Michigan residents and their families, and a proven track record of success.
By filing a defective product claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our legal team has obtained more than $500 million in compensation for our clients. President and Attorney Todd Trucks is an active member of the Michigan Association for Justice.
A Clare defective product attorney from our firm is ready to review your situation, answer any questions you may have and discuss your legal options during a free consultation. There is no risk in calling us, no obligation to hire us and no upfront fees for our services unless we successfully help you obtain a recovery.
No Upfront Fees. (800) 762-8623
How Do I Know I Have a Case?
A product may be defective or dangerous for several reasons. This is why determining whether you may have a case will depend on certain factors unique to your circumstances. We recommend that you reach out to an experienced lawyer to discuss what happened.
Generally, there are three types of these cases:
- Defective product design – An error in the design of a product impacts every product manufactured with the design. The product was designed in a manner that made it unsafe to use for consumers to as intended. A design defect could also be a defect in the testing phase of the product.
- Defective manufacturing – This involves a product that has a sound design but was manufactured in a way that puts consumers at risk of serious injury or death. The defect was not intended but occurred when the final product departed from its intended design. A lack of oversight and cutting corners to reduce costs during the manufacturing process can result in a defective product.
- Failure to provide warnings or instructions – Manufacturers must provide proper warnings and instructions for consumers about the dangers and risks of a product. If a warning sign or label is omitted or instructions do not adequately convey the severity of a risk, it could be grounds to bring a claim.
According to Michigan’s product liability statute, you must prove that the product that caused you harm was unreasonably dangerous when it left control of the seller or manufacturer and that there was a technically feasible and practical alternative design available that would have prevented harm to others.
Three Legal Theories for Product Liability Actions
If you have been injured by a product, your Clare defective product lawyer may rely on one or more legal theories to pursue compensation. These theories include negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.
If someone else’s negligence caused a product to be defective, they could be liable for any harmed caused. Negligence is a lack of ordinary care and the basis for many personal injury lawsuits.
In order to obtain a recovery under a theory of negligence, you and your attorney must prove the following elements:
- The other party owed you a duty of care to protect you and other consumers from injury
- The other party breached this duty by failing to act as a reasonable person would have in the same situation
- The breach of duty was the actual cause of your injury and would otherwise not happened
- You suffered damages as a result of that negligence, such as medical bills and loss of wages
Similar to negligence, strict liability allows the injured party to seek compensation from the party responsible for the product being defective. However, you do not have to discover who exactly failed to do their duty. Strict liability only requires that you prove the following:
- The product was defective and unreasonably dangerous when it was designed, manufactured or sold
- The seller, manufacturer or distributor expected and intended that the product would reach the consumer without changes to the product
- You were injured by the defective product
Breach of Warranty
A warranty is like a guarantee given by a seller to a consumer about the product. There are express warranties and implied warranties.
An express warranty is a statement issued by the seller, either verbal or written, that generally guarantees that the product will meet a certain standard of quality. An implied warranty covers most consumer purchases over a certain value, but only offers a minimum or reasonable level of quality in the products sold.
If the product fails to work as intended or the quality is less than represented, the seller could be potentially liable for breach of warranty.
To learn which legal theory may apply to your situation, contact our Clare defective product attorneys today.
Free Consultation. No upfront fees. (800) 762-8623.
Damages in Defective Product Cases
Damages available in defective product cases typically consist of compensatory damages. These damages are meant to compensate the injured party for any losses associated with the defective product. The amount and kinds of damages that could be recovered will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Compensatory damages can be further divided into two subcategories: economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages refer to money or property lost or missed out on due to the injury, such as:
- Medical expenses – This could include hospital bills, transportation to and from doctor visits, medications, physical therapy, etc. If your injury requires ongoing medical treatment, you be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses needed in the future.
- Disability costs – If the injury has caused a loss of mobility, you may be able to recover expenses related to making adjustments and accommodations for your disability, such as home care costs.
- Lost wages – If the injury caused you to miss work, you may be able to recover lost wages or lost profits if you own your own business. If the injury will keep you from working in the future, a loss of future wages or profits may be compensable.
- Property damage – If the defective product caused damage to property, you may be able to obtain compensation for the cost to repair or replace that property.
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they have no set monetary value, such as:
- Pain and suffering – This could include physical pain, mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the injury. Anxiety, depression, and fear experienced may also be compensable.
- Loss of consortium – If your injuries have had a negative impact on your relationship with a spouse or partner, you may be able to obtain compensation for loss of consortium. This could include loss of affection, loss of companionship, and loss of emotional support.
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Cap on Non-Economic Damages
Michigan has a cap on the amount of non-economic damages you may be eligible to recover in a product liability case. For claims filed in 2020, the value of these damages cannot exceed $471,800 – this number goes up each year because of increases in the consumer price index.
There is an exception to this cap for cases involving death or permanent loss of a vital bodily function. In these cases, the cap increases to $842,500 for cases filed in 2020.
Michigan does not place a cap on other forms of compensation, such as economic damages and exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are awarded when injury victims suffer damages due to the at-fault party’s malicious, willful, wanton conduct that shows total disregard for the victim’s rights. These are similar to punitive damages awarded in other states, except they are not awarded as punishment.
Liability for Defective Product Injuries
Several parties could be held liable for any injuries a victim suffers from using a defective product. The company that designed the product, the product manufacturer or other companies or consultants who originally designed the product could be liable if a defective design caused the injury.
The manufacturer of certain parts or components of a product or quality control engineers overseeing the manufacturing of a product could be liable for injuries caused by a manufacturing defect. Third-party suppliers who supplied a part that was defective could potentially be blamed as well.
Even parties not involved in the development or manufacturing of the product could still be liable for selling a dangerous or defective product such as sellers, retailers and distributors. In many cases, more than one party may be responsible for the injuries you have suffered.
Most Common Defective Products
Some of the most common defective products that cause harm to consumers include, but are not limited to:
- Automobiles and auto parts – This could include brakes, ignition switches, seatbelts, emission systems and tire or airbag defects or an entire vehicle’s design, such as SUVs with a higher center of gravity that are more susceptible to rollover accidents.
- Medical devices – This could include surgical tools or faulty implants like heart monitors, hernia mesh products, hip and knee implants, as well as errors in labeling and preparing medications.
- Household appliances – This could include toasters, coffee pots, hair dryers, kitchen ranges, water heaters, air conditioners and any other electrical devices that can cause fires and electrocutions.
- Children’s products – This could include car seats, bedding, furniture and children’s toys that cause injuries due to an inherently dangerous design or a product being poorly labeled.
- Chemicals and cleaning products – Household chemicals and cleaning products, including cosmetics, that lack warning labels or are not properly labeled can cause poisoning or burn-related injuries.
If you are thinking about filing a defective product claim, it is important that you take action quickly. The statute of limitations in Michigan for these cases is generally three years from the date of the incident.
Speak With Our Clare Defective Product Lawyers
Defective product claims tend to be highly detailed and time-consuming. For these reasons, it is beneficial to seek legal help from a licensed attorney.
Our legal team at Jay Trucks & Associates is well-versed in state product liability laws and legal theories and in how to establish liability in these cases. We have more than a century of combined experience working with injury victims throughout Clare County and have recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our clients.
Our consultations are completely free with no obligation to move forward with our firm. We encourage you to reach out to discuss your claim and evaluate your legal options. There are no upfront fees and you only pay our lawyers if we help you recover compensation.
We are ready to take your call 24/7. (800) 762-8623.