Seerden Law Firm, PLLC is staffed with trusted Houston product liability attorneys. We are committed to helping injured people recover compensation for the harm they’ve endured. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation, and let us get started on your case today.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
A defective product case is referred to as a “product liability” case. There are generally about four elements to proving a product liability case:
- You were injured. Any discussion of a product liability claim begins with the injury. What happened, and how badly were you injured? Due to the complex nature of these cases, bumps and bruises generally are not enough to merit a lawsuit. On the other hand, broken bones, burns, disfigurement, death, electrocution, serious medical issues, and other permanent or severe injuries may be.
- The product, medication, or device directly caused your injury. No matter how defective a device or product is, you will not have a right to collect compensation unless the device was the direct cause of your injuries.
- The product was defective. It is not enough to show that you were injured by the device or product. Instead, you must show that the injury was caused due to the defect. You must generally be able to show that the danger presented by the product or device is one that the typical consumer would not be able to understand or appreciate without proper warnings.
- You used the product or device as it was intended. If you were injured due to your own misuse of a product, then you will not likely be able to seek compensation. For instance, people have been injured while “adapting” or “customizing” obviously dangerous products like chainsaws and power tools to be used for other purposes. These are generally unlikely to be successful cases.
Of course, even if you prove all of these elements, you’ll still need to prove the adequate and proper amount of compensation, which is known as “damages.” An experienced product liability attorney can assist with this as well.
Compensation for Injuries Caused by Dangerous Products
When a dangerous product injures someone, there are a lot of concerns. For one, the injured person may be the sole breadwinner for the entire family. If so, the injury could mean a complete or partial loss of income.
Even if the injured person is not the main income earner, he or she may be responsible for caring for small children or maintaining a household. If the injured person is a child, then parents may have to entirely reschedule their daily routine, take time off work to go to medical appointments, or even hire expensive in-home care to provide for the child. Therefore, the following types of compensation may be available:
- Pain and suffering. No matter who you are, if you endure physical pain and suffering due to a manufacturing company cutting corners or concealing dangers from the public, you may have a right to seek compensation for that pain.
- Medical expenses. If the injuries resulted in expensive and necessary medical care, you can claim reimbursement for these expenses, as well as the reasonably anticipated value of future medical care and treatment. In many cases, this may include home healthcare, rehabilitation, adaptive equipment, prosthetics, and so forth.
- Adaptive housing improvements. If the injured person has been rendered disabled by the injury, then adaptations may be needed for the house and for an accessible vehicle.
- Lost income. When serious injuries result in temporary or permanent loss of work, lost wages may be claimed. If the injury is permanent and will likely prevent the victim from ever holding a full-time job again, additional compensation may be sought for future lost income.
- Emotional distress. A serious injury can cause a wide range of emotional effects on a person. It can lead to fear, anxiety, and severe depression, as well as a withdrawal from social activities. It can impact the person’s relationships and even reduce or eliminate intimacy with a partner. All of these are serious changes to a person’s mental and physical health which may be deserving of compensation.
- Wrongful death compensation. In situations where the defective product or device killed someone, the surviving family members may have additional forms of compensation available. For instance, a surviving spouse, child, or parent may claim money for lost financial and emotional support, loss of companionship, loss of intimacy, and emotional distress that comes with losing a close relative. Likewise, compensation can be sought for final expenses, burial and funeral costs, and final medical bills.
How a Product Liability Lawyer Can Help You
The first step to recovering compensation is making sure you know the rules and understand your rights. Before you attempt to speak with a representative from a manufacturing company, their insurance carrier, or a defense attorney, speak to your own attorney.
At Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, we carefully review the details and facts of each potential defective product case and look for ways to help. Here are a few of the steps that go into helping you recover:
- Case Investigation. Initially, you will meet and discuss your case with our product liability lawyer, Andrew Seerden. You can explain your injuries and how they’ve affected your life. During your initial consultation, you can ask questions and get practical advice and information on how to proceed. If we believe you may have a potential case for product liability, we will have you sign some forms that give us the ability to begin investigating on your behalf. These may include a contingent fee agreement, healthcare release forms, and other paperwork.
- Pursuing Compensation. Next, we will gather evidence, such as your medical treatment records, medical bills, reports, x-rays, MRIs and CT Scans, photographs and videos, witness statements, industry reports, and just about anything else we believe may help to demonstrate the product’s defect caused the injury.
- Consultation with Industry Experts. Most of the time, product liability cases are complex and require a lot of expertise to resolve. This is why our firm relies on trusted allies in the industry. These include medical experts like doctors and nursing consultants, as well as engineers, forensic specialists, and product liability experts. These consultants help us better understand the specific and unique standards of the applicable industry, as well as the nature and extent of your injuries.
- Litigation and Settlement. Some cases can be quickly resolved through an out-of-court settlement. Others necessarily require extensive litigation and even a trial. Many defective products are manufactured out of state, thus requiring something known as multi-district litigation (MDL). An MDL case is one where various lawsuits are pending all over the country in federal and state courts, all involving the same underlying product and type of injury. In these types of cases, our firm may be able to act as your personal attorney, while your case is included in a sweeping nationwide series of cases that are pending in court. By doing this, you ensure that you always have a local and trusted advocate on your side, regardless of what may be going on elsewhere.
- Post-Litigation Appeals and Lien Resolution. Even after a settlement or verdict, there is a lot to do. Often we must negotiate with healthcare providers to reduce your costs. Other times, we may need to work with Medicare to make sure the federal government is not claiming too much of your recovery. We can also help with negotiating medical collections and even assess the potential merits of appealing an adverse or negative decision from a judge or jury.
Statute of Limitations on Product Liability Claims
Statutes of limitations on personal injuries are designed to give certainty to the civil justice system by limiting the time within which people can seek to bring lawsuits. Typically, Texas law gives you just 2 years to bring a lawsuit after a defective product injury. But there are limited exceptions.
For instance, claims involve some injuries caused by defective medical devices may not be evident for a number of years. In these cases, the law may extend the time for bringing an action. Likewise, if someone deliberately committed fraud (e.g. a doctor lying about your injuries), you may have more time. Finally, children and those with severe cognitive impairment may have the statute of limitations tolled.
It’s important to remember that these extensions or exceptions to the rule and are by no means common. Instead, most people who wait too long will have their cases dismissed immediately if they try to file after the deadline. For this reason, it’s always best to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney right away. Even if you aren’t sure you want to take action, it can never hurt to get information and talk to an attorney early. This way you can make an informed decision.
Common Types of Dangerous and Defective Product Claims
There seems to be no shortage of defective products on the market. The medical and automotive industries are among the worst offenders. Here are some common examples of defective product claims surrounding product recalls that we may be able to handle:
Medical Devices. Every year, hundreds of medical devices are recalled or pulled from the market due to defects in design or flawed engineering. A few examples of devices that have caused serious injuries are:
- Vaginal mesh
- Hernia mesh
- Hernia mesh patches
- Bair Hugger warming blanket
- Hip implants
- Hip replacements
- Pain pump catheters
- Shoulder pain pump
- Knee implants
- Much more
Dangerous Drugs & Recalled Drugs. Examples include:
Some opioids have also been the subject of pharmaceutical lawsuits, due to their overly addictive characteristics and their overuse by physicians in some instances.
Automotive Defects. Automobiles and auto parts can also be defective and deadly. A few examples of recent auto defects include:
- Takata airbags
- Bad brakes
- Defective design rollover crash cases
- Defective restraint belts
- Defective child restraint anchors and seats
- Non-functioning collision avoidance detection systems
- Defective anti-lock braking systems
Ultimately, there are many types of defective products out there. The drive to make more money and the unbridled greed of corporate shareholders has led many families to suffer through lifelong injuries, disabilities, and even the loss of a close loved one.
At Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, we stand up to these massive corporations and their lawyers. We stand firmly with the injured consumers who are forced to live with the consequences of corporate greed.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a defective product or medical device, don’t just watch your rights vanish. Call Seerden Law Firm, PLLC today, and get aggressive, experienced legal advice and representation now.
Getting Help After a Defective Product Injury
For more than 20 years, Seerden Law Firm, PLLC has been a trusted advocate in the Houston area, helping injured people pursue compensation for serious and even fatal injuries. But remember, no lawyer can help you if the deadline passes. Texas statutes of limitations are very strict and rarely extended. Therefore, the sooner you speak to an attorney, the better off you’ll be.
Ask questions, get answers, and put yourself and your family on the path to a faster and brighter recovery today by calling Seerden Law Firm, PLLC. Consultations are free, and we only recover a fee if you win. So there’s no risk and nothing to lose by calling.