Consumers use millions of products on a daily basis, as new products enter the market continuously. While many products make our lives easier or improve our health, some products cause more harm than good. If you’ve been injured by a dangerous product, a Chicago product liability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help.
Product liability is a broad area of law concerning injuries that are caused by consumer products. If you’ve purchased an item and have sustained injuries that should have been prevented, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses.
Defect Claims and Product Liability in Illinois
Product liability claims are brought forward when a dangerous or defective product or component of a product results in injury to a consumer. While a claim can be filed for any product, some of the most common products include medical devices, children’s toys, and auto parts.
During the design, manufacturing, shipping, and distribution processes, the parties involved are responsible for ensuring the products are not defective or damaged. In the event shortcuts are taken for budgetary purposes or simple negligence lets a dangerous product slip through to consumers, the responsible party can be held accountable for any injuries and losses incurred by the consumer.
Product liability claims are built on the type of defect that caused the plaintiff’s injury. Most claims are built on design defects, manufacturing defects, or marketing defects.
Manufacturing defects develop when there’s a problem with how a specific item is made. This typically only affects one or a few items out of an entire line of products. Issues can arise in the event an error occurs on the assembly line in a factory, which would make certain products different from all the others.
Car accidents involving defective auto parts are typically the result of a manufacturing error. For example, if, during the production of brakes, a specific set of brakes passed through the assembly line with fewer components than the rest, the person that ends up with those brakes in their vehicle could potentially lose control and be unable to stop without colliding with another car or object.
An entire line of products can cause injuries in the event an error is made during the design process. Whether miscalculations were made, or the intended design was deviated from, the manufacturer can be held accountable for failing to take foreseeable risks into account.
For example, if components of a medical device are designed in a way that they can fragment inside a patient’s body, those with the device will likely have to endure a procedure to have it removed at some point. In severe cases, a dangerous device could result in fatal injuries.
To successfully prove a design defect, a lawyer will generally call on an expert to provide their testimony. The expert will be able to discuss why the design was unsafe and what could have been done to prevent harm.
If a manufacturer fails to provide adequate instructions on how to use a product, this can give rise to a product liability claim. The same goes in the event the manufacturer fails to warn consumers about a product’s inherent risks.
A marketing defect claim can arise in a situation where a consumer is injured by a household product that was not labeled as unsafe in certain situations.
It’s important to note that manufacturers cannot be held liable for failing to warn of obvious risks—like in the event someone falls off a ladder that was constructed properly.
Understanding Your Rights As a Consumer
As a consumer, you’re protected by the Consumer Bill of Rights. Under the law, consumers are entitled to the following rights:
- The Right to Be Informed. Consumers have the right to receive accurate information about the products they are considering purchasing so they can make wise decisions. Manufacturers and businesses are required to provide certain details about products, including a complete list of contents, materials, or ingredients.
- The Right to Choose. Because the United States operates with a market economy, consumers can choose from a wide variety of goods and services. This means that businesses compete with each other to sell their products.
- The Right to Safety. The right to safety means that consumers shouldn’t be wrongfully harmed by products. Manufacturers are legally obligated to make safe products and inform of potential hazards.
- The Right to Be Heard. Consumers have the right to voice complaints about products or services that do not work as intended or promised.
- The Right to Have Problems Corrected. In the event a product does not work properly after purchase, the customer usually has the right to take the defective item back to the store with a receipt. If the business cannot or will not correct the problem, the consumer can contact the manufacturer.
- The Right to Consumer Education. Consumers have the right to learn how the market system works. This includes understanding how to get the best value and satisfaction for your money.
- The Right to Service. Customers have a right to be treated in a respectful manner and served without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, or income.
In the event you believe your rights as a consumer have been violated and you’ve been injured as a result, you have the right to pursue legal action with the help of a product liability attorney.
Proving Product Liability in Chicago
In Illinois, there are two primary ways a plaintiff can go about proving a product liability claim. The first is the consumer-expectation test. Under the test, the plaintiff has to establish what an ordinary consumer purchasing the product would expect about it and its safety. The standard applies the objective view of the average expectations of a reasonable person.
The second method to prove product liability is the risk utility test. With this test, a plaintiff can win a strict liability design-defect case if they demonstrate the magnitude of the danger of the product outweighs the intended utility of the product.
Under either test, the plaintiff also to prove the product that caused their injuries was defective or unreasonably dangerous. Your Chicago attorney can help you build your claim and collect the evidence you need to prove you’re not responsible for your injuries and deserve compensation.
Get Help From Thomas Law Offices
If you’ve been injured by a dangerous product and are looking to recover compensation for your losses, a Chicago product liability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help. We’re prepared to represent you and hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and your losses.
We understand how intimidating it can seem to go up against a manufacturer—especially when they’re a large corporation. We’ll be by your side the entire time to ensure your rights are upheld and you’re offered full and fair compensation for your injuries.
The sooner you file a product liability claim, the better your chances are of maximizing your monetary award. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.