When we purchase products as consumers, we are under the impression that these objects will work as described and be safe to use.
Unfortunately, on a daily basis throughout the nation, defective products cause of a wide range of injuries. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers may be liable for any injuries caused by their products. Hazardous materials and chemicals used in the manufacturing process can cause burns, respiratory issues, and allergic reactions. If products aren’t properly tested or assembled, unassuming consumers may be left with fractures, lacerations, concussions, spinal injuries, and paralysis. Merchandise should also be marked with instructions on how to use the product to avoid injury and medications should list possible risks.
All products have the potential to be defective, and defective products are more common than one might expect. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website warns consumers about hundreds of dangerous and defective products, which include infant car seats, talcum powder, automobile tires, toasters, and more. If you are injured by a defective product, the product manufacturer, distributor, or seller may be held responsible for your financial losses and your pain and suffering.
Common Defective Products
Faulty or defective products can cause serious bodily harm, leading to both internal and external damage, and in the most tragic cases, these injuries can prove fatal. If you were injured because of manufacturer negligence, speak with an experienced Nebraska personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options. The Robert Pahlke Law Group can help you seek monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
Some products commonly involved in defective product claims include:
- Children’s toys
- Children’s car seats
- Household appliances
- Produce / groceries
- Electrical equipment
These products can all lead to severe injuries and losses, but some of the most devastating damages are caused by defective automobile parts. If you have sustained an injury involving a failure with the brakes, door locks, seatbelt, airbag, or any other part of your automobile, don’t hesitate to contact our team. Regardless of the type of defective product that caused your injuries, it is imperative to take legal action as quickly as you can.
The Different Product Liability Lawsuits
Design defects – A product may be designed or made poorly. When a product suffers from a flawed design, the entire line of the product is inherently dangerous and potentially harmful. In fact, it’s quite possible for the product to be constructed exactly to the manufacturer’s instructions and still be defective.
At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, we leverage our national reputation and comprehensive knowledge to obtain outstanding results in various different types of product liability cases. In one recent case, we were able to successfully retry a product liability case that involved a client who suffered a construction site injury due to a failure to warn. We secured $21,131,633 in compensation for our client; at the time, this amount constituted a record verdict in Nebraska.
Manufacturing defects – A product can be thought of as defectively manufactured for errors in production, errors in assembly, or if constructed of poor quality materials. This particular product may cause injury, while those manufactured without errors will not.
Warning defects – Failing to warn consumers of product dangers is ethically irresponsible, as well as illegal. Although some consumer products have obvious risks, others have hidden dangers. Products not marked with an adequate warning are considered legally defective. For a warning to be effective, it must be clear, concise, and easily understood.
In one complicated product liability case, our client suffered an injury while working with defective gasoline equipment. We successfully secured $5,000,000 in compensation for our client, which was the largest personal injury verdict in Nebraska history at the time.
To better understand product liability law, consider the following hypothetical scenario. You purchase a common household cleaning product. If you suffer an injury because the cleaner was inadvertently put in a non-tempered glass bottle during the manufacturing process and shatters in your hand, you would have a claim based on a manufacturing defect. If you suffer an injury because the ingredients in the cleanser turned your hands blue, you would have a claim based on a design defect. Finally, if you suffered an injury because you combined the cleanser with bleach and the product did not have a warning indicating that this mixture is dangerous, you would have a claim based on a failure to warn.
If you were injured by a defective product, you should contact a Nebraska personal injury attorney to determine whether you’re eligible to seek compensation. At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, we have the experience and resources to help you seek justice. As a top-rated personal injury law firm, our legal team has extensive experience gathering and presenting the evidence needed to prove the validity of your claim.
If you were injured by a product and your injury was unexplained and unexpected, it is reasonable to assume that the product was defective. We all should be able to eat a caesar salad without worrying about contaminated romaine lettuce, and parents across the country should be able to put a newborn in a crib or car seat without worrying about a risk of injury. Yet, year after year, countless Americans are injured by defective products; these injuries are often severe and, in some cases, fatal.
When you suffer an accident caused by a defective product, a personal injury attorney can help you determine how and why the injury happened. When a person sustains an injury while using an industrial or consumer product, there are several different types of claims to consider.
Generally, the manufacturer of a product has a responsibility (a.k.a. “duty of care”) to provide a safe product to:
- Anyone who buys the product
- Anyone who might be expected to use the product
- A bystander who may be injured by the product
In negligence cases, a claimant has the burden of proof in establishing the following:
- Carelessness in the design or development of the product, which led to his or her injuries,
- That the manufacturer should have known the product was defective, and
- That the defective product caused the injuries.
Negligence may be proven in a variety of ways, including by establishing that:
- A product was not made according to its specifications
- There was insufficient research prior to manufacturing a product
- A product was not adequately tested
- A product did not carry an effective warning of potential risks
Additionally, once a danger or defect becomes apparent, the manufacturer must recall the product or issue a warning; failure to do so may result in increased liability.
In general, strict liability is straight-forward and relatively simple to adjudicate. If a plaintiff successfully establishes that a product is defective, and proves that his or her injury is the result of the defect, the manufacturer may be held strictly liable for damages, as long as the product was not purchased second-hand.
Breach of Warranty
An express warranty is, in effect, a description of the product. It usually highlights the value of the product. Legally, the words “warrant” or “guarantee” are not required to establish an express warranty. Although not explicitly mentioned in the product description, an implied warranty gives a purchaser a level of confidence that the item will meet certain standards.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), almost every consumer purchase in the U.S. includes an implied warranty. The information regarding warranties must be made available to consumers before they purchase any product.
Who Is Responsible?
In any defective product case, you must first determine who was initially responsible for the defect that caused injury. Compliance with safety standards and regulations does not prevent liability. Product liability law is complex and multifaceted; manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers can all be held liable, depending on the circumstances.
Defective products are often involved in workplace injury, construction site, or medical malpractice cases. At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, our attorneys have a national reputation for an aggressive approach and extensive experience litigating a wide range of different cases, including personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. We have the resources and resolve to bring justice to our clients.
In product liability cases, the corporations, manufacturers, and/or retailers named as defendants will have experienced legal representation to represent them. To defend against liability, defendants in product liability cases often claim that:
- They did not design, manufacture, or sell the defective product
- The product was not defective
- Someone further down the chain of sale altered the product
- The plaintiff misused the product
- The plaintiff’s negligence caused the injuries
Product liability is an intricate and interesting part of the legal system. The U.S. does not have federal product liability laws, and although Nebraska’s state statutes are generally consumer-friendly, they are also filled with caveats, restrictions, and exceptions meant to shield companies from liability. Special circumstances come into play when dealing with product liability for inherently unsafe products, such as guns, ammunition, alcohol, drugs and certain consumable products. Certain entities are exempt from strict liability, including:
- Vendors who sell used products
- Financial institutions
- Blood banks
- Professional service sellers
Compensation May Be Possible
Under Nebraska law, product liability and personal injury claims caused by negligence must be filed within four years from the date of the injury. Nebraska has enacted a 10-year statute of repose, which begins to run from the date in which a product is first sold. As in all serious personal injury cases, compensatory and punitive damages may be possible. The actual amount of financial recovery is specific to each individual case, as it depends on the severity of the injury and the possibility for full recovery.
Some of the most common economic losses include:
- Lost wages or profits
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy costs
- Adaptive or assistive devices required due to injury
- Property loss or damage
Compensatory damages for non-economic losses may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Victims of severe psychological injuries often find it difficult to adjust to lifestyle changes that they were not expecting. For example, it is not uncommon for victims to experience:
- A loss of interest in their normal activities
- Problems sleeping
- Overwhelming sadness
- Incapacitating frustration
- Suicidal thoughts
Liability for Food Poisoning
Generally, we should not have to be worried when we consume store-bought hamburgers, lettuce, eggs, or peanut butter, but food-borne illnesses seem to be on the rise recently. Although it is difficult to connect the dots and trace outbreaks to the location of contamination, anyone along the chain of distribution can be held liable.
If you have been sold a defective product (which includes food) that results in injury or harm, then you may be able to seek compensation for damages, such as hospital bills and lost wages under the protection of product liability laws. Food poisoning cases can be a challenging situation. By the time an illness presents itself, valuable evidence will likely either have been consumed or discarded.
If you believe a particular food product that you consumed was contaminated, or if there is a reported incidence of food contamination in your area, see a medical professional immediately. There are diagnostic tests that will help determine if the food you ate contained disease-causing microbes, and if the food caused you to become ill.
Food poisoning is serious, and extreme cases can cause:
- Renal or liver problems
- Severe dehydration
- Neurological problems
A product liability attorney can help to collect the evidence necessary to substantiate your claim, as well as determine the best way to proceed at each step of the way.
If You Believe You Have a Product Liability Claim
Manufacturers have a responsibility to do all they reasonably can to ensure the safety of their products. Whether that involves including proper warnings or performing a battery of tests, these steps are sometimes neglected to maximize profitability. In some circumstances, government regulations of these consumer products may not be able to discover a defect in a product until it is too late.
Do not suffer the aftermath of a product liability alone. Call the Robert Pahlke Law Group at (308) 633-4444, or contact us online, if you believe that you were harmed by the negligence of another party.
When you contact our firm, you can discuss your situation with an experienced Nebraska personal injury attorney who knows the law and understands the various factors involved in filing this type of claim.
At The Robert Pahlke Law Group, we can perform a thorough investigation of the product that has caused you or a loved one injury to determine liability. We have a strong understanding of product liability law in Nebraska and can assist you with every aspect of your claim or lawsuit. It can be difficult to sue a large manufacturing company because they likely have a variety of legal defenses established, but our team is experienced in taking action against major manufacturers and we can advocate on your behalf as well.
The attorneys at the Robert Pahlke Law Group have extensive experience defending the rights of those hurt or injured by defective products. Collectively, we believe that:
- Manufacturers should be held accountable for the safety of their products.
- Safety should never be an afterthought.
- It is not acceptable for any entity along the chain of distribution to prioritize profits over safety.
- It is our responsibility to seek just compensation for our client’s injuries.
We take our responsibilities seriously, and we work tirelessly to protect the rights of our clients. Whether you were injured as the result of food poisoning, a car accident, or a defective toy, we can stand by your side and walk you through every step of the process. We hope that our efforts will contribute to overall product safety reform and improvements.
If you have questions about filing a product liability or personal injury claim, contact the Robert Pahlke Law Group today at (308) 633-4444 or online to discuss your available options to pursue justice.