Every defective product case is unique. Even when the same product hurts different people in similar ways, there will be some details to one case that will not be found in the other. Yet there are some essential elements to every product liability claim that must be present in order for the case to be legally valid. Otherwise, the claim will probably be rejected by the court or, at the least, be vulnerable to insurance company defensive tactics.
What You Need to Prove to Win a Product Liability Claim
There are four essential elements to every product liability claim:
- Injury: In most product liability cases, the plaintiff or claimant must have suffered an injury of some sort, such as a physical injury or emotional traumatization. However, a claim can be valid if there was no direct injury, but the plaintiff still suffered some sort of loss. Such cases are more difficult to argue, though.
- Defect: The product in question must have some sort of recognizable defect. Products can be defective due to design flaws, manufacturing errors, and marketing mistakes. If there is no defect in the product, then it will be much easier for the defense to argue that the plaintiff or claimant must have done something wrong to cause their injury.
- Cause: With this said, there must be proof that the product’s defect was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury or loss. Loose associations between a defect and an injury will weaken the claim.
- Intent: Lastly, a product liability claim relies on the claimant having been using the product as it was intended when the defect caused their injury. Misuse of a product – especially when the misuse is intentional – can completely nullify a claimant’s argument and shift liability onto themselves.
Takata Airbags Set a Clear Example
In late 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered the auto part manufacturer to issue a nationwide recall for any vehicle containing its airbags, which had been discovered to explode violently and possibly at random. Over the next few years, hundreds of people were injured by the defective airbags and at least 25 people have died around the globe due to the shrapnel projected by the exploding airbags. To this date, there are still believed to be millions of affected vehicles still on the road.
The Takata airbag recall crisis serves as a clear example of a product liability case that contains all essential elements. Drivers were injured, the airbags were defective by design, the injuries were caused by those defective airbags, and the drivers were using their vehicles as intended when the injuries occurred. With no way to argue around such solid evidence of product defects, Takata quickly fell into bankruptcy as it rushed to fix its fatal mistakes.
Want to Know More? Call a Local Lawyer
If you live in Chicago and think you have a product liability claim on your hands, you can make certain of it by calling (312) 487-2461 and connecting with McHargue & Jones, LLC. For 20 years, we have been here to help people in difficult situations make the right decisions and fight for the compensation they deserve from liable parties. See how we can help you, too, by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation.