Manufacturers in the United States have a legal responsibility to ensure their products are reasonably safe for consumers to use as directed. If someone gets hurt because a purportedly safe product is defective in some way, the manufacturer may bear civil liability for the consumer’s ensuing damages.
However, successfully filing suit against a massive manufacturer can be challenging without assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney. At Smith Hulsey, a seasoned Gainesville product liability lawyer could explain the legal theories for seeking civil compensation and work on your behalf to pursue comprehensive recovery.
Unlike most other kinds of personal injury cases, product liability claims are typically not based on legal negligence, except in rare circumstances. Most of the time, companies can be held strictly liable for damages caused by a product defect, if the injured plaintiff and their attorney can show that the item was defective when it left the manufacturer’s direct control.
There are three types of product defects that could serve as grounds for a civil case.
First, a product may have a design defect. This means that some core element of its basic formulation and construction is defective, making every incarnation of it inherently unsafe to use.
Alternatively, a single incarnation or batch of an item may have a manufacturing defect. This means that an error during its production and/or assembly caused an otherwise safe design to become dangerous.
Finally, manufacturers must warn consumers of known hazards associated with their product, even if it is free of design or manufacturing defects. A manufacturer’s failure to fulfill this obligation may constitute a marketing defect.
Like other types of personal injury cases, defective product claims can recover for economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and various types of pain and suffering. However, to pursue compensation for defective product injuries, plaintiffs must adhere to the four-year filing deadline for property damage claims and the two-year deadline for personal injury claims set by Official Code of Georgia §§9-3-31 and 9-3-33, respectively.
However, an additional limitation known as a statute of repose also applies to product liability claims. Specifically, Official Code of Georgia §51-1-11(b)(2) states that no civil claim based on a defective product may be brought more than 10 years after the date on which the plaintiff first purchased the product in question. A knowledgeable local attorney could offer further clarification about how these deadlines might impact recovery for product liability cases.
Even if you have valid grounds to file suit over a defective consumer product, getting a positive outcome for this type of claim can be difficult. Product manufacturers often retain experienced legal teams dedicated to contesting liability for injuries to customers. If you want to effectively pursue the compensation you need, you will likely need a skilled legal advocate of your own.
A Gainesville product liability lawyer at Smith Hulsey could stand by your side at every stage of your case and fight for the restitution you deserve. To schedule a consultation about your legal options, call today.
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