Get Defense In The Wake Of A Defective Product Injury
As consumers, we all purchase products expecting that they will work well and help us in our home, work, or recreational activities, serving the purpose for which we bought them. Consumers in America make millions of purchases daily, both in stores and online, from cleaning products to sports equipment, protective gear, children’s toys, automobiles, and domestic appliances to high-end technology goods. Unfortunately, not everything we buy lives up to the expectations we had when we chose to purchase it. A considerable number of products turn out to be defective or even dangerous, some of them even ending up causing us injury or damage to our property.
According to the US Consumer Production Safety Commission, each year consumer products are involved in thousands of deaths and millions of injuries, with nearly 51,000 deaths occurring in 2019, and 28.5 million medically treated injuries in 2020 associated with consumer products . In such cases, product liability law may be relevant, as manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and suppliers of products or sellers of goods may be legally liable to compensate buyers, users, and even bystanders for the damages or injuries caused by the defective or dangerous product in question.
If you or a loved one has suffered a physical injury due to a defective or dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The same holds true if a product tragically leads to the loss of life, where a wrongful death action may be an available civil remedy. Seeking professional advice from a skilled personal injury attorney will enable you to find out about your options, allowing you to make informed decisions on how to assert your rights effectively. The legal team at Legal Help in Colorado, has the high level of experience and expertise necessary to guide you through and support you in getting the compensation that you deserve, allowing you to focus on what is truly most important: your recovery.
Some of the most common products to cause injury if found to be defective:
- High Chairs
- Appliances like hair dryers and toasters
- Childrens Toys
- Car Parts
- Safety Equipment such as helmets & seatbelts
Defective and Dangerous Products
The notion of product liability allows persons who have suffered damage or injury due to a consumer item to receive compensation for any harm and loss they incurred. As there is no uniform federal product liability law as such, each state has its own laws governing product liability actions, although certain federal laws could be relevant in some product liability litigations.
A product is said to be defective if it presents a flaw preventing it from functioning correctly. The victim may well be entitled to compensation if this flaw renders the product in question defective or dangerous and leads to the injury, damage to property, or death of its user. It must also be proved that it was this defect that caused the injury or damage.
Categories of Defective Products
Products that are commonly said to be defective or dangerous in the context of related product liability lawsuits typically contain one of the following three categories of flaws:
1. Design Defect
Products with defective designs are those that have an inherent flaw in their design, meaning that their very blueprint or inherent structure is deemed unsafe even before they are actually manufactured. Such products would in any case be faulty, even if they are manufactured impeccably. Products regarded by the law as containing a design effect are those that do not work as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner . Some examples would include a piece of furniture that does not have the required stability and so it topples over, clothing made of material that is unduly flammable, a high chair with a baby seat that has no safety belt to prevent a child from falling over, or a toaster that overheats and melts when you turn it on the high setting. When it comes to design defect lawsuits, it must be noted that in most U.S. states, including Colorado, the burden of proof to prove the existence of a design defect is on the plaintiff.
2. Manufacturing Defect
Manufacturers are under obligation to design products that are reasonably safe for consumer use. They also need to make sure that products are manufactured correctly. Manufacturing defects occur during the construction or production of an item, due to errors on the part of the manufacturer in the process of making a product. These errors render it defective or unsafe, despite the apparent absence of flaws in its design. Accordingly, this category concerns products that are improperly manufactured, do not perform in the manner that they were intended and designed, and end up causing injury or damage to their user. There are literally thousands of ways in which such manufacturing defects can occur, including a contaminant tainting a batch of foodstuffs or medicinal products, poorly manufactured car breaks, wires or circuity improperly installed, etc.
3. Marketing Defect
Even when products have a solid design and are manufactured appropriately and in a way that conforms with all required standards, it is imperative that they are marketed in the right way. In practical terms, this means that they must include all necessary instructions for their proper use, including warning labels informing consumers of latent dangers in the product. Any potential hazards associated with a product should be displayed on its packaging or marketing materials and each product should be accompanied by suitable use instructions.
Product Liability Lawsuit Basics
If a product is found to be defective in any of the above ways, malfunctions, and ends up causing injury, damage, or—even worse—death to its user, it is possible that a lawsuit for financial compensation against the party liable for this defect may be available. Such lawsuits normally come into play when the risk of using a product is not warned, cannot be anticipated, or outstrips its beneficial aspects.
Of course, one of the main things you will need to determine in order to succeed in a product liability lawsuit—and this is often far from being an easy task—is which party (or parties) are to be held liable. For example, you might be able to sue the company that sold the product or that which designed or manufactured it. In reality, product liability cases often involve meticulous supply chain management, as it is crucial that you correctly identify the person or entity responsible for the defective or dangerous product. Failure to do so may have a serious impact on the outcome of your case, and it is useful to bear in mind that one of the main defenses invoked in such lawsuits is, indeed, that the plaintiff did not correctly identify the proper manufacturer that created the product that hurt them.
Another key requirement to remember is that you will have to show causation, as well as determine that you sustained actual injury or damage. In other words, you must prove that there existed a defect in the defendant’s product and that it was actually this defect that caused your injury or damage to your property. You must also present evidence of the injury or damage you suffered. If you are successful in proving the existence of this link between the product in question and the injury or damage-induced, the defendant will often be ordered to recall the product as well as pay you damages.
There are three main liability theories that may act as bases for product liability lawsuits in the US, namely negligence, breach of warranty (whether implied or expressed), and strict liability.
Product Liability in Colorado
In the State of Colorado, product liability lawsuits are commonly brought under the doctrine of strict liability, although negligence or breach of warranty may also be applicable. This means that a person or entity can be held responsible without having to prove that they were negligent in any way or that they acted with intent. Hence, when the strict liability standard is applied, a defendant will be liable if their product is dangerous or defective and causes injury or damage, whether they are at fault or not.
Even so, to succeed in a product liability lawsuit you will still have to show that:
- The defect in the product in question was present at the time when it left the defendant’s possession—i.e. that it was not modified by someone else after it left the defendant’s control.
- That you used it in what is perceived as being a “reasonably foreseeable” manner (which is to be determined by the Court).
- That you suffered actual harm as a result of this defect.
Making sure that you sue the right person(s), that your case meets these requirements, and that you have all necessary proof in place, is a complicated and demanding process. Therefore, it is highly advisable to consult a personal injury attorney who is well versed in defective product claims. These cases are typically complex, difficult, require many resources, and take a lot of time and concerted effort to build. Having an experienced and assertive team on your side, who will take all necessary actions to make sure your case has the best possible chances of success, is crucial. At Legal Help in Colorado, we provide a high level of service and have exactly the kind of experience and extensive practice in product liability law to help you pursue a successful claim.
Filing a lawsuit for product liability within the prescribed time limits is also of the essence. Generally speaking, the State of Colorado statute of limitations stipulates that a victim or their family have two years from the date of injury, death, or property damage in which to file a product liability lawsuit . While this is applied quite strictly, there may be exceptions. For example, the state’s discovery rule may be relevant , whereby the clock is said to start ticking on the date both the injury and its cause are known or should have been known by the exercise of reasonable diligence.
Having said that, the Colorado statute of repose  also stipulates that, if it can be shown that ten years have passed since a product was first sold, the law presumes that it was not defective at the time it was sold. To be certain about what applies in your particular circumstances, it is highly recommended that you seek professional advice.
If you are successful in a product liability lawsuit, and depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in such cases usually include compensation for related medical bills (existing and future), rehabilitation costs, in-home nursing care, various other out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury and rehabilitation, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damages, and so on. This type of damages is more easily quantifiable, particularly if you can base them on documentary evidence that will define their value.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and are meant to cover the emotional aspects of the injury suffered. They may include financial compensation for the pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc. Although quite rare, punitive damages may also be available in certain cases if it can be shown that the person responsible for the product that caused the injury acted in a willful and wanton manner.
According to Colorado law, a manufacturer or seller will not be liable if it is found that it was the plaintiff’s own misuse, rather than a product defect, that caused the plaintiff’s injuries, damages, or losses. Under the contributory negligence rule , which is applied in Colorado, the amount of damages that may be collected by a plaintiff will be reduced if their own negligence has contributed to the injury or damage sustained, regardless of the existence of a defective or dangerous product. In such cases, you will still be able to seek compensation, but your award may be reduced by your own degree of fault. Thus, if a jury awards you $1 million, for example, but finds you to be 20% at fault, the compensation you will receive will be $800,000.
Colorado laws on product liability and consumer protection, as well as relevant case law, set out specific rules and caps pertaining to the amount of damages a plaintiff can be awarded. In any event, you must remember that the damages that may be claimed in your individual case are unique to you: our job, as personal injury attorneys, is to thoroughly investigate your case particulars, advise you accordingly, and prove the full value of your claim.
Asserting Your Rights
Pursuing a product liability case, and seeking compensation for damages related to a defective or dangerous product, can be a challenging process. You may be going up against big companies with dedicated legal teams that are used to putting forward defenses that will keep you from receiving the payment you deserve, often through intimidating practices. Ross Ziev and his legal team at Legal Help in Colorado have the experience and skill to take on your case and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. We are familiar with such practices and well prepared to face any challenge that may come our way.
If you or a loved one have been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, schedule your free initial consultation with Legal Help in Colorado today to receive a comprehensive legal evaluation. We understand the laws and know how to hold the responsible parties accountable. Most importantly, as in all personal injury cases we handle, we work on a contingency fee basis—which means that you will not have to worry about paying us any fees unless and until we obtain a compensation payment on your behalf.
Contact Legal Help in Colorado
Ross Ziev, along with our entire legal team at Legal Help in Colorado, is committed to getting justice for victims of negligence. We are well-seasoned in this area of law and set to pursue your claim aggressively, without succumbing to intimidation practices commonly adopted by at-fault parties.
Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment. Initial consultations are free and conducted with absolute confidence. If we take on your case, you can rest assured that our contingency payment policy means that you will not have to worry about being able to afford a skilled lawyer, on top of all other pressing considerations, as we only get paid when we win your case, contact Legal Help in Colorado online, call us at (720) 743-3682, or visit our offices at 8480 E Orchard Road, STE #2400, Greenwood Village CO 80111 to discuss your case!