What can I recover in a product liability claim?
Product liability claims are brought on behalf of injured persons to compensate them for those injuries. The compensation is in the form of money damages and the amount that can be recovered varies from person to person. Generally, the total amount of money damages that a person can recover consists of the sum of various categories of damages. For example, a person who is injured because of a defective product can recover what are called compensatory damages, these are damages designed to compensate you for your medical bills, your lost wages and your out-of-pocket expenses like payments for household help and medical supplies. Compensatory damages also consist of future losses, for example, you may no longer be able to work or may only be able to work part-time or in a sedentary or lower paying job. Thus, you may be entitled to recover not only past lost wages but also future lost wages. Similarly, you may require medical treatment for many years to come, the cost of that future medical care can be recovered. Thus, compensatory damages consist of your financial losses, they should put you in the financial position you would have reached if you were never injured by the defective product.
The second category or type of damages consists of pain and suffering damages. The judge or jury or perhaps the arbitrator or mediator will be asked to evaluate the pain and suffering caused by this injury and to consider how the injury has affected your lifestyle, your ability to perform your activities of daily living, your ability to raise your family, to participate in sports and to enjoy your hobbies.
Your spouse may also have a claim for loss of consortium. These damages are designed to compensate your spouse for the impact upon him or her caused by your injury. Even though your spouse may not have been directly injured by the defective product, your spouse can recover these damages if, for example, your spouse must take care of you or assume many more responsibilities for you, your family or your home.
Although some companies do produce reasonably safe products, we are still very often exposed to defective products and many people each year are injured by those defective products. Product liability claims can be complicated cases, an expert engineer may be needed to examine the defective product and offer an opinion as to whether it should have been manufactured or designed differently. An experienced attorney can work with mechanical, electrical and industrial engineers and analyze in great detail all aspects of the design and manufacturing process associated with the defective product. Although it can be very expensive to hire engineers and completely analyze a defective product, we initially pay those expenses and we recover those expenses only if we win your case by obtaining a verdict or reaching a settlement. Product liability cases are complicated and are best handled by experienced lawyers who are familiar not only with product liability laws but also with engineering principles and the appropriate engineering analyses.
While statistics and our own experience show that many cases settle before trial, we prepare each case with the assumption that we will have to present your case to a jury. We study the product and work with our expert engineers so we can explain, in clear terms to the jury, all of the sometimes complex, scientific and technical issues that arise in product liability cases. Our willingness to present our cases to a jury reflects the confidence we have in our ability to prove that the product that injured our client was indeed defective and that our client truly and rightly deserves to be compensated for those injuries. This approach certainly enhances favorable settlements for our clients.
If you were injured by a dangerous product and want to know if you have a product liability claim, feel free to contact our personal injury lawyer at 877.944.8396.