Our world is one filled with mass-produced products. From cars to televisions, construction tools to kitchen equipment, toys to home furnishings, consumer products are all around us in our daily lives. Normally these products perform their intended function without issue, or they break or wear down without causing injury. But occasionally the products we use create unacceptable dangers. When a defective product causes injury, the maker and seller of that product may be liable for those injuries.
Over the last half-century, products liability law has greatly evolved to provide better protections for consumers. Previously, consumers injured by a defective product would have to show in court that there was some negligence or culpability on the part of the maker of the product in order to recover in court. Today, products liability is a form of strict liability, meaning that if the product is defective, for any reason, the consumer can recover for his or her injuries. In addition, not only can the manufacturer of the product be held liable, but others who regularly deal in the product, including distributors and dealers. Alabama has adopted its own different version of strict liability. In Alabama, product liability claims are brought pursuant to the Alabama Extended Manufacture’s Liability Doctrine (AEMLD).
There are several ways in which a product may be defective. One form of defect is a manufacturing defect, where the product that caused injury was manufactured with some sort of flaw not present in the rest of the similar products. This would include finding a piece of glass in an ice cream sandwich, or failing to properly affix the seatbelt in a vehicle. It is not intended by the manufacturer, but the manufacturer is responsible for it. Sometimes manufacturing defects happen across a set of products, resulting in a recall.
Another form of defect is what is called a design defect. This is where the product is designed in a way that is unreasonably dangerous. Examples include three-wheel ATVs, lead paint on children’s toys, and the Ford Pinto, which was designed with a gas tank dangerously exposed in rear-end collisions. Unlike manufacturing defects, the product is produced exactly as the manufacturer intended, but the design presents unacceptable dangers.
The third form of defect is a warning defect. Many products are dangerous, but nonetheless have valuable uses in our society. Cleaning chemicals and chainsaws, for example, are dangerous if misused, but are very useful if used properly. Where a product has inherent dangers, the manufacturer of the product generally has a duty to warn the users of the product of those dangers. Where there is an inadequate warning of the dangers of a product, and an injury occurs that would have been prevented by a proper warning, this may result in a product liability claim.
Product liability claims provide important compensation to victims of dangerous products. They also serve the important purpose of keeping dangerous products off of the market, encouraging safe design, and ensuring that products have adequate warning labels. Because products liability claims often depend upon expert testimony regarding the design of the product, they can be expensive and difficult to pursue.
Our Alabama product liability lawyers represent individuals and families who have suffered serious injuries and lost loved ones in accidents involving all types of defective products. This includes accidents at home, at work and on the road. Regardless of what happened, if you believe you may have a claim, we can help you, and we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.
Contact us to discussing your claim involving any of the following types of defective products:
In addition to product liability claims, we handle negligence-based claims against manufacturers, retailers, contractors, drivers and other parties as well. By pursuing all available claims for liability, we ensure that we are able to recover maximum compensation for our clients’ losses.
After a product-related accident, you should take the same steps you would take after any other accident resulting in a serious injury. These include seeking medical attention, taking notes and speaking with an attorney. Seeking medical attention should be your first priority; but, in order to protect your product liability claim, you will also want to write down everything you can remember about the accident and discuss the accident with an Alabama product liability attorney as soon as possible.
If you do not have the product or its packaging, that is okay. In many cases, we represent clients who have been injured by products belonging to others (i.e. in the case of an aviation accident or a vehicle collision in which the other driver’s vehicle was defective). Once again, the key is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, as it will be necessary to conduct an investigation before critical evidence disappears.
The amount you can recover depends on the amount you have lost. While Alabama law provides for the recovery of punitive damages in some cases, the majority of accident victims’ financial recoveries are for compensatory damages. These damages compensate you for your actual losses; so, in order to assess the value of your claim, our attorneys will need to meet with you to learn the details of your specific case. While case results vary, we have recovered well in excess of $1 million for many of our clients.
When you choose Cross & Smith, it costs nothing out of pocket to pursue your product liability claim. We will cover the costs of pursuing your claim; and, with offices in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, our product liability attorneys can travel to meet with you statewide. If we win your case, our costs and fees will be deducted from your award. If we don’t win, you owe us nothing.
At Cross & Smith, we are committed to getting results for our clients. We have obtained millions of dollars in damages for those injured or killed due to dangerous products. We have the resources and the know-how to pursue the most complex products liability cases in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham through trial. If you have suffered injury due to a dangerous product, call our office today at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.
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Posted By: Chuck Kelley