People expect that the products they buy in stores should work as designed and as claimed by marketing materials. They certainly don’t expect to get harmed by them or have their property damaged. When this happens, the victims may have grounds for a product liability claim.
What do you have to prove in these cases to have grounds to sue in Arizona? This is a complicated question because there are several ways you could sue a manufacturer for product liability. Here’s what you need to know about these cases from Zanes Law.
The Three Forms of Liability
Product liability law recognizes three kinds of defects that a product could have that may lead to a lawsuit. These are flaws in the product’s design, the way the product was manufactured, and flaws in the labeling or marketing of the product.
Depending on these flaws, a product manufacturer may face claims of:
Each has its own approach to grounding a product liability claim. Our product liability lawyers can tell you which ones apply to your case and what you’d need to do to sue.
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Things You Should Do in Product Liability Case
To be successful in a product liability lawsuit, we’ll need evidence to build a case. Here are things you should do after your injury to improve your chances of success:
- Save the product or its pieces, but do not use it further
- See a doctor for a diagnosis and tell them about how the product damaged you
- If anyone witnessed your injury, get their contact information
- Do not throw away any instructions, packing, or other materials that came with the product
- Speak with a product liability attorney in Arizona
You will also need to act as soon as possible. In Arizona, you have two years to file a case based on negligence or strict liability for product liability cases. In a breach of warranty, you have six years to sue.
Defective Design Claims
To win a defective design claim, you have to prove three things:
- The defendant has a relationship with the product (for example, we can prove they sold the product)
- The product is defective or unreasonably dangerous despite being used as expected
- That the defects or danger of the product caused your injuries
Let’s take an electric knife as an example. Electric knives are inherently dangerous, but if used with care, they are safe. However, if an electric knife had so much vibration that it was impossible to control safely or so strong that it cut through your counter, that could be a defective design.
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Manufacturing Design Claims
This is the most common form of product liability. The design may be fine, but something went wrong with the manufacturing to make the product dangerous. For example, a tire may have an excellent design, but a design flaw in a batch of tires could cause blowouts or tread separation that leads to an accident.
Proving a manufacturing design claim has the following requirements:
- Proving the product was defective
- Proving you had an injury
- Proving that the defective product caused your injury
- Proving that the manufacturer acted negligently when making the product
Product liability lawyers use their expertise along with the advice of expert witnesses to examine the manufacturing of products to see if there are flaws. These may reveal cost-cutting measures that caused the product to become dangerous and open the manufacturer to a lawsuit.
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Labeling Defect Claims
We’ve all seen drug ads that have huge disclaimers for side effects or read instruction manuals with seemingly stupid warnings. The reason these are there is to avoid labeling defect claims. Manufacturers have a legal duty to warn consumers of the dangers of their products.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers, by nature of the danger of their products, face strict liability if they fail to warn about side effects. Even if they weren’t negligent, we could still hold them liable just because it’s a medication.
While companies do not have to warn about every potential risk that could happen, they have to warn about the most common and reasonable ones based on the best knowledge available. They can even get sued if the warning is poorly worded or isn’t in an obvious location, which is why most product manuals have their warnings on the first pages.
Were You Using the Product Correctly?
A major part of your claim will be if you used the product correctly or not. If you used the product unreasonably, the defendant may dispute that you have a case. Some examples of unreasonable use are:
- Never reading the instruction manual (and thus never seeing the warnings
- Not performing necessary maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer
- Not using the product for its intended purpose, like trying to use an electric knife to cut hair
Sometimes, a consumer may even modify a product and make it more dangerous. For instance, if a defendant finds out you removed a safety guard from a power tool to make a particular cut easier and injured yourself, that modification could make compensation impossible.
If you get injured by a product you purchased, follow the steps we revealed earlier to find out if you have a case and to preserve the evidence of the defective product. Zanes Law can tell you if you have grounds for a product liability claim in Arizona in a free consultation when you contact us today.