To prove a defective product injury, you must be able to show that you sustained an injury and suffered losses, that a product’s defect specifically caused those losses, and that you used the product as intended at the time of the injury.
Understanding the elements of a product liability claim can help you better determine how to approach a potential case.
How to Prove a Defective Product Injury
If you sustain an injury from defective products of any kind, you may be able to recover compensation from liable parties in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Like other types of liability cases, you will need to prove a number of factors to show liability if a defective product causes injury.
To better determine how to prove a defective product injury, you should know about all of the elements that go into these particular cases. It’s also best to understand the difference between a personal injury claim and a lawsuit, depending on the nature of your case and what specific type of case you should pursue.
Elements of a Product Liability Claim
There are four key elements of a product liability claim that may help prove that you sustained an injury from defective products.
You Sustained an Injury or Other Losses
The first item you must prove in a liability case of any kind is that you suffered a specific injury or another type of damage, such as property damage.
For example, if a faulty electrical product presents an electric shock hazard, you won’t be able to pursue a liability claim unless this hazard causes injuries to users or damage to the surrounding property. An injury or other loss will provide the foundation for a case.
The Product Has a Defect
In addition to an injury or damage, you will need to show that the product in question was defective. There are different types of product defect cases that will help determine what kind of defect is present and the hazards that came with it.
The Product’s Defect Was the Cause of the Damages
You will then need to prove that the defect in the product was the cause of your injuries or losses.
Going back to the electrical product mentioned earlier, you would need to show that the defect was responsible for any electrical burns, property-damaging fires, and other damages. However, the injuries and damages may have actually resulted from misuse of the product that a user manual that came with the product may prove.
You Used the Product as Intended When the Injury Occurred
You must have also been using the defective product as intended at the time of the injury. Even if the manufacturer doesn’t specify a particular use that led to an injury, you may still be able to build a case if you used the product in a way that the manufacturer should have anticipated.
For instance, if the defective electrical product mentioned earlier was meant to perform a certain task in a specific consumer application, a consumer may suffer injuries when using the product to perform a similar task that the manufacturer should have been able to expect.
What Are the Types of Product Defect Claims?
There are a few different types of product defect claims that could develop, depending on what party is liable and the specific type of defect involved.
These case types may include:
If the design of the product allows for a defect to develop upon manufacturing the product, this design defect would be the reason for any injuries and other losses. These cases would involve showing that there was a defect in the design, which can be challenging because of the potential development of a defect through erroneous manufacturing processes.
If the product’s design isn’t responsible for any injuries or other damages in an accident, they may have resulted from a manufacturing defect. These types of defects may include faulty manufacturing equipment that fails to build products correctly or inferior materials that fail to meet design specifications.
Failure to Warn
Products could become dangerous when consumers don’t use them as intended, but the product manufacturer or retailer fails to warn of potential hazards through sufficient labeling. While the manufacturer or retailer may not be able to anticipate certain instances of misuse, they must warn of potential risks that could be present when using the product.
What Is Tort Law?
In product liability cases, tort law comes into play, and you’re likely to encounter this term at some point when building a product liability case. To put it simply, it’s a type of law governing wrongful injuries. It involves instances of civil wrongs on the part of negligent parties leading to injuries or losses, making those negligent parties legally liable.
Tort law differs from criminal law in that the former doesn’t involve criminal acts that the state may punish.
Determining the Amount a Claim Is Worth
Another question you’re likely to ask at some point is, “What is my claim worth?” No two product liability cases are the same, and they involve different factors that can contribute to the total amount of compensation injury victims may recover.
There are several factors that could influence the total amount your case is worth, including:
- The severity of your injuries and the extent of other damages
- The degree of liability and the parties responsible for the defective product
- Lost income resulting from time taken off from work to recover
- Lost earning capacity due to disability
- The pain and suffering the victim experiences because of his or her injuries
By showing that you sustained an injury, that a product’s defect caused the injury, and that you used the product as intended, you may be able to successfully prove a defective product injury.