If you have been hurt by a defective or dangerous product, you have the right to file product liability claims to recover financial compensation for your injuries. The laws that govern these claims are largely the same in both Illinois and Missouri, but every case has the potential to become complex. For this reason, it is important to speak to a product liability lawyer in Illinois and Missouri that can explain the laws of your state and how they apply to your case.
Contact Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC today for a lawyer who can help you through the process.
What are Product Liability Claims?
A product liability claim allows you to hold manufacturers, sellers, and/or designers of products liable for paying damages if you are harmed by a dangerous or defective product. Through a product liability claim, you can recover damages for any loss you suffered as a result of the accident caused by the dangerous product.
Due to the fact that a product changes hands so many times between manufacturing and when it appears on the shelves, there are a number of potentially liable parties in product liability claims. The most common parties held liable through these claims include:
- Manufacturer of the product
- Manufacturers of parts of the product
- Installers or assemblers of the product
- Distributors of the product
- Retail stores that sold the product to consumers
Consumers typically have very little knowledge about the manufacturing and distribution of the products they purchase, making it difficult to determine which party is liable for the dangerous product. A product liability lawyer in Illinois and Missouri will investigate the facts of the case to determine which party is at fault.
Product Liability is Generally Strict Liability
The vast majority of personal injury cases rely on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence is an action, or a failure to act, that is careless and does not exercise reasonable care to keep others safe. When filing a negligence claim, you must prove the act of negligence, that the act of negligence caused the accident, and that you sustained injuries as a result.
Product liability claims, though, are governed by strict liability laws. Under strict liability law, you are not required to prove the manufacturer was negligent. Manufacturers owe a very high duty of care to the consumers that use their products. As such, you must only prove the defective or dangerous product caused your injuries. Product liability claims are governed by strict liability law in both Illinois and Missouri.
Breach of Warranty Claims
A breach of warranty assumes either a written, verbal, or implied communication of contractual standards were not met by one of the parties. There are two different types of breach of warranty claims. The first is express warranty, in which a verbal or written warranty was offered, and the consumer became injured from the product. The second type of claim involves implied warranty, in which there is reason for consumers to expect the product has met the minimal safety standards for sale. Essentially, consumers are trusting sellers not to sell them a dangerous or damaged product.
Types of Defects in Product Liability Claims
Although you do not have to prove the manufacturer or seller was negligent when filing a product liability claim, you do have to prove the product was defective and you became hurt as a result. To do this, you will have to prove the product contained one of three different types of defects. These are as follows:
- Design defects: A design defect occurs before a product is even manufactured. These types of defects mean the product is inherently flawed because it was not designed properly. For example, if a lawnmower did not have a guard between the cutting blade and the operator, that is a design defect because a reasonable person could assume the blade would hurt someone.
- Manufacturing defects: A manufacturing defect occurs during the actual manufacturing of the product. Using the same lawnmower example as above, the machine may have a guard for the cutting blade included in the design. However, during manufacturing, the guard was not attached properly and so, it would come loose while in use.
- Marketing defects: Sometimes, a product is inherently dangerous, even when properly designed and manufactured and used as intended. In these cases, the manufacturer is required to warn consumers about the potential danger and how to avoid it. When they fail to do so, it is a marketing defect.
It is not always easy to determine what type of defect the product had that caused injury. For example, consumers may not know that an important piece of equipment should have been included in the design but was not. A product liability lawyer in Illinois and Missouri can determine what part of the product was defective to help prove your case.
Damages Available in Product Liability Claims – in Missouri and Illinois
One of the most common questions our product liability lawyers hear is how much a specific claim is worth. Although there is no way to determine the worth of a case without fully reviewing the facts of the case, there are some guidelines you can follow to estimate how much your claim may be worth. For example, you can recover compensation for all of your medical expenses and lost income. A simple calculation of these losses can help you determine the approximate value of your claim.
For losses that do not have a concrete dollar value, such as pain and suffering, you should speak to a product liability lawyer. Calculating these damages is not easy and a lawyer will know which formula to use to ensure you recover the full amount of damages you deserve.
Call Our Product Liability Lawyer in Missouri and Illinois Today
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a dangerous product, our Illinois and Missouri product liability lawyer at the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, can assist with your claim. Call us today at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.