Can I Sue the Manufacturer If Their Defective Product Caused My Accident?
You encounter thousands of different products in your everyday life. For the most part, you can trust the safety and effectiveness of these products. Unfortunately, errors can happen during product manufacturing – especially if the company is negligent. If you discover that a defective product caused your recent accident and injury in Nebraska, find out whether you have grounds for a claim against the manufacturer.
Types of Product Defects
Manufacturing companies have legal duties, such as obeying federal safety regulations and warning consumers about known risks. A manufacturer’s duties of care include maintaining certain safety standards in the facility, properly training assembly line workers, using FDA-approved materials and ingredients, inspecting products, maintaining high quality standards, and testing new products for customer safety. If a manufacturing company skips steps, cuts corners or is otherwise negligent in the production of an item, that item could contain dangerous defects that injure consumers.
- Design defect. A problem with the design of a product that leads to a dangerous item, such as a chair designed with an unstable leg.
- Manufacturing defect. An error during a product’s manufacture that causes a defect the designer did not intend, such as a fan missing a finger guard.
- Marketing defect. An issue with an item’s marketing, packaging, instructions or warning labels, such as a child’s toy that does not list the right age range.
If the item that injured you had one of these product defects, you will not need to prove the manufacturer’s negligence to be eligible for financial compensation. You will have grounds to file a strict product liability claim instead. This type of claim says that a manufacturing company will be liable for a victim’s injuries – regardless of its negligence – if its item caused the injuries and contained a defect. You could recover compensation, therefore, without needing to provide the courts with proof of a manufacturer’s negligence.
Elements Necessary for a Product Liability Claim
You or your injury attorney will need to establish three main elements to win a strict product liability claim. The first is that the product was defective. This may require proof such as photographs of the product or the actual product in its original packaging. The second element is causation between the product’s defect and your injury. Your lawyer must show that the defective item caused your injury – not your own actions. You must have been using the product as the manufacturer intended at the time of your injury. The third element is damages, or specific losses you have because of the defect.
If you cannot base your claim on the doctrine of strict product liability, you may still have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer based on negligence. To win this type of case, your lawyer will need to demonstrate the company’s breach of duty of care to you. This could refer to any action or omission that another manufacturer would not have done in the same circumstances. You may also be able to sue the manufacturer based on a breach of warranty. This is the company’s failure to fulfill a promise or guarantee it made to consumers about the safety of a product.
Keep in mind that the manufacturer may not be the only party you can hold responsible for your accident or injury. Other parties involved in getting the product to you could also be liable, such as a supplier, assembler, distributor, installer, repair team or retailer. It is important to work with a lawyer during a product liability case in Nebraska. A lawyer can give you advice about your claim and help you meet your burden of proof. A lawyer can increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for an accident involving a defective product.