Dangerous and Defective Product Claims
As consumers, we make assumptions that the products we buy will be safe for us and our families. Sometimes, this is not the case.
Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Located in Wilmington, North Carolina
When an industrial, medical or consumer product malfunctions in a way that causes injury or illness, the manufacturer can be held accountable for the damage. Our Wilmington product liability lawyers can help in the following types of cases, among others:
- Motor Vehicle Defects: Faulty or improperly maintained vehicle components and systems lead to many serious injuries and deaths. Whether these injuries are related to well-publicized cases or to lesser-known problems, auto manufacturers and dealers can be ordered to compensate victims. Our experience includes tire blowouts, air bag failures and SUV rollovers.
- Medical Devices: The clinical use of medical devices always carries risk, but in many cases, a device has inherent design or manufacturing flaws that cause serious injury or death. Device manufacturers can be sued for damages.
- Defective or Harmful Drugs: Pharmaceutical companies manufacture and market hundreds of new drugs each year. Though all these products are regulated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, thousands of people die from using them each year due to known and unknown side effects. By law, drug manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries if the product they sell is defective or unreasonably dangerous, whether with regard to manufacturing errors, inadequate consumer warnings or design flaws. Many drug products have caused such widespread injury that class-action suits or mass torts have been filed against their manufacturers.
- Consumer Products: From toys and other children’s products to appliances and electronics, many potentially dangerous consumer products are allowed into U.S. stores. When they cause injury, manufacturers and even retailers can be called to account.
- Construction Products: Problems with construction products have produced some of the toughest litigation in recent decades. Our attorneys have been involved in dozens of these national complex legal battles. We are constantly evaluating new problem building products. Our firm endeavors to force those who make these compensate our clients for their damages. Our present defective building product cases include Chinese drywall, LP Trim Board, Atlas shingles, Pella Architect and Designer Series windows, Rust-Oleum Restore products, and much more.
- Mass Torts and Class Action Lawsuits: Our firm is equipped to represent clients in complex litigation, including cases involving data breach and defective surge protectors.
How a Wilmington Attorney Can Help You File a Product Liability Lawsuit
The consequences and injuries caused by defective products can range from serious to fatal. They can include broken bones, burn injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and in the most extreme cases, even wrongful death. When this is the case, the person injured, or the loved ones of the person injured, may be eligible to receive compensation. However, getting the compensation deserved is a complicated process, and a difficult one for those not familiar with it to maneuver. And in the end, they’re not always successful for those most affected by them.
In order to file a product liability lawsuit with the courts the plaintiff, or person injured, must be able to prove three things:
- The product was defective, and there was no way to know of the defect before using it
- An injury was sustained and,
- The injury sustained was the direct result of using the defective product
All three of these things can be difficult to prove in court. In order to do so, the victim should retain any and all documentation regarding the product and the injury including medical records, photographs of the injury, hospital bills, proof of purchase, instruction manual, and warranty information. Even with all of this evidence, it can still be difficult to prove product liability cases in court.
In just about any product liability case, the option of a class action case or mass tort could be looked at. This is because manufacturers typically produce hundreds, and sometimes thousands of any one product, meaning that many, many people can be affected by any defects found within that one product. When that happens, a class action case or a mass tort might be filed.
While they do differ from each other, class action suits and mass torts involve large groups of people that have a similar lawsuit against one company or responsible party. Filing these types of lawsuits can give plaintiffs larger amounts of compensation, save them costs, and can also keep the court systems from filling up with the same case over and over again.
Not all product liability cases however, meet the criteria needed to file a class action suit or mass tort. In these cases, private product liability claims can be filed; and even when there are several plaintiffs with the same claim, this might still be the most desirable option. To determine what’s best for you and your case, speak to a professional Wilmington product liability lawyer, such as us here at Rhine Law Firm, P.C.
This is because typically the defendants, or those being sued, are large companies and major corporations that have unlimited funds when it comes to their teams of attorneys. Those attorneys work very hard to discredit witnesses, find loopholes within the law, and at best case, confuse the injured parties into settling for a much smaller amount. It’s for this reason that if you’re considering pursuing a product liability case, you should call an experienced Wilmington product liability attorney.
A product liability attorney will know how those big companies, and their lawyers, work; and they’ll use their experience to fight for you and your case in court, should it get that far. Your attorney will provide you with expert legal counsel so you can make the most informed decisions possible about how to pursue your claim, and how to help get you the compensation you deserve. Often however, cases don’t even make it to court because a settlement agreeable to both parties is reached before that time. This can be a very attractive option, saving everyone time and money, and a good attorney can help make that happen.
Of course, no one can tell how much compensation any product liability claim is worth without fully understanding all the details of the case. However, a Wilmington product liability lawyer can help you understand the types of damages that are available in these types of cases.
Damages awarded in product liability claims or personal injury claims are typically divided into two categories: compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the victim or injured party for what they’ve lost, and nothing more. This would include things such as financial loss due to being unable to work, medical bills, or the loss of the limb, or the actual injury itself.
In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are damages awarded to the injured party that are intended to punish the responsible party.
In North Carolina there is a statute that sets forth many factors taken into consideration when considering damages, including the responsible party’s ability to pay, the degree of negligence or misconduct on their part, and the responsible party’s history of acting in a similar manner. This can be a complicated process to wade through, and having a good attorney by your side can make the entire process much simpler.
“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”
“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”
“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”
“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
Should I Settle or Litigate My Product Liability Claim?
Ideally, every product liability case would settle out of court. It would certainly save the courts and parties involved a lot of time and money. Unfortunately, the parties involved in different cases don’t always agree and when this is the case, it’s taken to the courts to decide.
In any case, every effort should be made at negotiating a deal that satisfies both parties. While this sounds reasonable, many injured parties are so enraged by what’s happened, they close themselves off to negotiation and believe going to court is the only way to get the compensation they deserve. This isn’t always the case, so it’s important to remain open-minded throughout the process.
On the other hand, sometimes the parties responsible become so sure of themselves and of their case that they become over-confident and believe there’s no way they could ever lose in court. When this is the case, they often become closed off to negotiation and rush to take the case to court. And when that happens, it can actually work in favor of the defendant, because the responsible party has already “showed their hand”.
This is another area in which having a product liability attorney on your side can be beneficial. Here at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we take our years of experience into these negotiations and fight hard to get our clients the settlement they deserve. When needed, we’re also prepared to go to court to aggressively fight your case when a settlement cannot be reached.
We are proud to serve the people of North Carolina.
Although our primary office location is in Wilmington, North Carolina we represent clients nationally and across the state of North Carolina. Some of the many areas we serve are listed below.
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