If you suffered serious injuries caused by a defective product, you may have the legal right to recover compensation for your damages.
Products sold to consumers must not pose any undue harm, as long as the products are used as they were intended. If a product defect caused harm to you or a loved one, a Birmingham defective product attorney can help.
The Fob James Law Firm provides compassionate legal representation for personal injury victims in Birmingham and throughout Alabama.
Our consumer product lawyers take a different approach. We limit the number of cases we accept, allowing us to provide a highly personalized level of service.
We move quickly and aggressively to hold the at-fault party accountable and seek the best possible outcome in your case.
Our goal is to help you seek justice and fair financial compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
What Is a Defective Product?
The legal concept of a defective product encompasses any aspect or characteristic that makes the product not reasonably safe to a user or consumer.
To support a legal cause of action for a personal injury claim, the defect must have been the direct or proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.
In addition, the victim must have been using the product for its intended purpose without having made any alterations.
Any product can be dangerous if it subjects a member of the public to an unreasonable risk of harm.
By their nature and design, some consumer products pose a greater risk than others.
A welder’s torch, for example, poses inherently more dangerous than a set of couch cushions.
However, making a strong product liability case may be difficult if the torch came with comprehensive instructions for use and safety warnings.
Common Causes of Defective Product Injuries
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) provides a variety of helpful information regarding dangerous and defective products.
Some of the most common causes of product-related injuries include:
- Power tools,
- Window blinds,
- Home appliances,
- Personal care items (blow dryers, etc.),
- Children’s toys,
- Baby cribs,
- Car seats,
- Sporting goods,
- Household chemicals,
- Fuels and lighters,
- Recreational vehicles, and
- Motor vehicle components.
The most common victims of defective products are babies, children, and seniors.
However, teens frequently suffer serious injuries due to their affinity for products such as hoverboards, skateboards, bikes, motorized scooters, and ATVs.
Defective automotive components are particularly hazardous.
A defective tire can cause your vehicle to crash or rollover at high speeds.
Flawed seatbelts and airbags can fail to provide adequate protection in the event of a collision.
Automotive design defects are another common cause of catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
Types of Product Liability Claims in Alabama
The Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine, or AEMLD, establishes the legal framework for product defect claims in our state.
Your Alabama consumer product lawyers will carefully evaluate the details of your case within the AEMLD framework to determine which of the three primary product defect categories is most appropriate for your claim.
In this category, the product design was flawed in some way.
Your lawyer must prove that a safer design exists.
Once that fact is established, liability for your injuries and damage may fall to the product’s designer and/or manufacturer.
In this category, some portion of the manufacturing process caused the product’s defect.
Your product liability lawyer must prove that the product was faulty when it left the manufacturing facility.
This category is one of the easiest to prove legally.
Marketing Defects and Failure to Warn
In this category, your defective product attorney must prove that the faulty product was made available to consumers with inaccurate or incomplete consumer safety warnings or notifications, or without clear instructions for using the product as it was intended.
Common Types of Defective Product Injuries
A defective product can cause virtually any type of injury, ranging from mild to catastrophic.
According to the CPSC, the most common types of dangerous product injuries include:
- Cuts and bruises,
- Broken bones,
- Chemical and thermal burns,
- Electric shock,
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Neck injuries,
- Spine injuries,
- Loss of vision or hearing,
- Loss of digits or limbs,
- Internal injuries,
- Paralysis, and
No matter what type of injury you might have sustained from a defective product, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation.
Your Birmingham, Alabama product liability attorney can explain your options and help you determine the best way to pursue your claim.
Determining the Value of a Defective Product Injury Claim
The type of injuries you sustained help determine the value of your claim.
How your injuries might affect your life will also influence the claim’s value.
Depending on the details of your case, you may have the right to recover compensation for:
- Emergency medical transport,
- Emergency room treatment,
- Hospital stays,
- Physician bills,
- Surgeon and anesthesiologist bills,
- Medical testing,
- Prescription medications,
- Physical therapy, and
- Assistive devices.
If you require future medical treatment and care, your lawyer will include the estimated cost of those services in your claim.
If your injuries leave you unable to work, you may be eligible to recover current and future lost wages and benefits.
You may also have the right to pursue non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional trauma,
- Lost earning capacity, and
- Lost life enjoyment.
Finally, your attorney will also pursue damages for any permanent scarring, disability, or disfigurement you have experienced.
Product Liability Statistics and Data
Despite an ever-growing awareness of potential product defects and the harm they can cause, Americans suffer thousands of product-related injuries every year.
The CPSC reports annually on some of the most hazardous consumer products.
ATV-Related Injuries and Deaths
In 2018, more than 80,000 people went to the emergency room for injuries sustained in ATV-related incidents. A large percentage of victims were age 16 or younger.
In 2017, almost 500 people died from injuries sustained in ATV accidents.
Although not all of these accidents occurred due to product defects, consumer product attorneys often cite all-terrain vehicle design flaws as a primary cause or contributor to ATV injuries and fatalities.
Furniture Tip-Over Injuries and Deaths
Furniture tip-over accidents pose a growing concern for consumer safety experts and parents alike.
In the period from 2016 through 2018, more than 27,000 people went to the emergency room as a result of a tip-over accident.
Of those incidents, 46% involved children and another 16% involved seniors age 60 and above.
Small children and seniors can sustain life-threatening or fatal injuries when household furnishings fall over, potentially trapping or crushing the victim.
Bookshelves, entertainment centers, appliances, chests of drawers, and television sets are common sources of tip-over injuries.
Many victims and their families have recovered significant product liability settlements or been awarded substantial jury awards for incidents of this type.
Nursery Product Injuries and Deaths
In 2018 alone, almost 60,000 children aged five and under were taken to the emergency room due to injuries caused by nursery products.
Highchairs, strollers, baby carriages, cribs, and baby carriers combined to cause 66% of these injuries.
Playpens, portable baby swings, infant carriers and cribs/mattresses caused almost 85% of infant and toddler fatalities. Although federal standards attempt to regulate nursery product manufacturers, the CPSC continues to push for voluntary standards.
Until manufacturers comply with requests for voluntary standards or federal laws compel their adoption, nursery products will continue to pose a significant threat for dangerous product injuries and deaths of young children in the U.S. Although no settlement can reverse the damage done, devastated parents can turn to dangerous product attorneys for help.
These are just a few examples of the risk that ordinary household products can pose to unsuspecting consumers.
If you have been wrongfully injured by a defective product, you need an advocate who won’t hesitate to stand up to large corporations and insurance companies.
Time is of the essence if you or a loved one sustained injuries or died due to a product defect.
Seeking the assistance of an experienced defective product attorney as soon as possible can help ensure your legal rights to recover compensation.
Alabama Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Claims
The Alabama code establishes a two-year statute of limitations for defective products. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this period, you could lose your legal rights to recover damages.
Because of the complex nature of these personal injury claims, talking to an attorney as soon as possible can help ensure you do not jeopardize your right to recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Under some limited circumstances, the statute of limitations may be suspended for some period of time. This circumstance, known as tolling, allows some personal injury victims to pursue legal action beyond the term of the statute of limitations.
Your attorney can advise you about the time within which you must take action or potentially lose your right to pursue a lawsuit.
Filing an Alabama Defective Product Injury Claim
In most cases, product liability attorneys can pursue your claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the complex federal laws and Alabama statutes that govern consumer protection.
Your attorney will also understand the intricacies of investigating your case and gathering evidence to support your claim.
This may include:
- Physical evidence,
- Witness statements,
- Product design documents
- Manufacturer safety records, and
- Product safety expert opinions.
After assembling evidence and building your case, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to arrive at a fair settlement.
This helps get you the resources you need as quickly as possible.
However, if the insurer does not make a fair settlement offer, your attorney can move forward with a civil lawsuit.
Your attorney will work diligently to protect your legal rights during the process and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Types of Product Defect Claims
Defective product claims fall into one of these legal categories.
Strict Product Liability
This approach to product liability requires demonstrating the following three elements:
- Proper use: you used the product as intended;
- As-sold: the product had undergone no significant modifications; and
- Causation: you sustained a provable injury due to a product defect.
This category is the most common basis for product liability claims.
Breach of Warranty
This approach requires demonstrating the same three elements noted under strict product liability.
In this circumstance, the term “warranty” references the manufacturer’s representation that the product in question was appropriate for its intended use and functioned as it was designed to do.
Proving negligence, although not usually necessary in a product liability case, can provide some specific benefits.
If your attorney seeks to prove negligence on the part of the product’s designer, manufacturer, or distributor, he or she must demonstrate the four legal elements of negligence, which are the duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and actual damages.
An experienced Alabama consumer product lawyer can determine the most effective way to approach your case and proceed accordingly.
Finding the Best Product Liability Lawyer in Birmingham, AL
To prevail in your product defect case and obtain the financial compensation you deserve, your lawyer must build a persuasive case supported by documentation and evidence.
Choosing a law firm that will fight for your rights is critical.
You need a consumer product attorney who crafts a customized strategy for you and the unique details of your claim.
However, never forget the importance of having a compassionate advocate on your side.
The experienced product liability attorneys of the Fob James Law Firm understand the challenges you are facing.
Your health and your future may depend on your ability to recover compensation, so you can obtain treatment and have the resources you need to get well.
You don’t have to fight this battle alone.
When you trust us to assist you, your lawyer will work directly with you. In fact, we don’t even use case managers.
This allows our attorneys to provide the dedicated focus your case deserves. We handle every aspect of your case, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.
Don’t risk your future by trying to navigate this complex area of the law on your own.