Tennessee Personal Injury Law: Product Liability
Typically, one would anticipate the products they purchase to have passed extensive safety tests, can be utilized as intended, and don’t carry the potential to result in injury or harm. However, tales from the news regarding faulty and hazardous products are a consistent warning to pay close attention to the products manufactured by big companies, as their top priority may not always be consumer safety. Unfortunately, larger corporations often take shortcuts for the purpose of reducing their costs and obtaining higher sales.
Although the probability of winning a case against large companies and their extensive teams of attorneys may appear to be low, InjuryTN can assist you in switching that balance of power back on the side of the every day consumer. For more than 25 years, our attorneys have aggressively represented those who have been injured as a result of defective products and have been able to recoup millions in settlements on their behalf.
Using a combination of our long-running institution of empathetic advocacy and aggressive legal representation, our Middle Tennessee product liability attorneys are dedicated to assisting those injured receive the fair compensation they deserve. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced product liability attorney.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is the concept that consumers should not be harmed by the products they buy, and in the event that they are injured by a business’ products, that they should be held accountable for the damages caused by their defective products. Product liability claims are a kind of personal injury claim which is filed with the intention of obtaining compensation for those who were injured by defective products from parties residing in the chain of manufacture, which can include:
- Assembly manufacturers
- Parties who repaired or modified the product
- Parts manufacturers
- Product designers
- Retail store owners
Types of Product Defects
Claims for product liability can be filed for three primary types of defects, which are:
- Design Defects – Products whose defects may be a result of flaws in the product’s design. Products that were designed defectively pose an imminent danger even if manufacturer’s standards were met. Unfortunately, designs which have been proven defective make their whole line of products hazardous. The product’s design needs to have taken its intended use into consideration, in addition to reasonably predictable applications and misuses.It may be required that those injured prove that safer alternatives for the product’s design were available when the product was manufactured.
- Manufacturing Defects – Products which have been deemed defectively manufactured will have imperfections in the process by which they were developed, like the use of inferior materials or contaminated ingredients, having loose or missing parts, or erroneous assembly. A defect in a product’s manufacture could influence the entirety of the remaining units in a product line, or it may be contained to a specific batch or lot.
- Marketing Defects – Products that have been determined unsafe due to the lack of suitable instructions, descriptive labels, or appropriate warnings. Such defect claims are also referred to as “failure to warn” claims and focus primarily on the manufacturer’s prior knowledge of a given risk or hazard posed by the product.
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Product Liability Concepts
Most often, product liability suits from plaintiffs are filed on the basis that one or more of the accompanying concepts hold true to the specific circumstances of a case:
- Breach of warranty – With breach of warranty claims, contract law is the primary focus, and the warranty can be either explicitly expressed or reasonably implied. If the existence of a product warranty can be proven by the purchaser, they have the ability to claim that the terms of the warranty were not fulfilled.
- Negligence – Defined as the product owner or manufacturer’s inability to exercise reasonable care and precautions. Those injured would need to prove that a company owed them a duty of care; that the company violated that duty of care; and that if duty of care would have been payed, the injury would not have happened. Generally, this duty of care is required at every point throughout the chain of manufacture and distribution, which includes a product’s design, marketing, manufacturing, shipping, label, and eventual sale.
- Strict Liability – In cases where strict liability is a prominent concern, a more direct approach is used than in that of negligence claims. These cases would involve disregarding manufacturer conduct and primarily concentrates attention to 2 main aspects:
- The product is defective;
- The defect in the product resulted in the injury;
Plaintiffs in product liability cases typically identify as many reasons for civil action as well as defendants as can possibly be gathered in order to strategize your litigation and bring to light the maximum amount of possible compensation sources.
Compensation for Product Liability Claims
Consumers who have been injured due to a defective product might have the option to recoup compensation for any of the following types of damage:
- Economic damages, which includes remuneration for loss of wages, damage to property, medical bills, and other
- Non-economic damages, including any pain and suffering endured by those injured as well as mental anguish
- Punitive damages, when the defendant’s lack of appropriate conduct is determined particularly deplorable.
The experienced product liability lawyers at InjuryTN work alongside experts in order to determine what previous and potential damages may be claimed by a consumer who has fallen victim to a defective product injury. Recouping potential damages is even more significant for those whose injuries may lead to life-long medical care, disabilities, and considerably long periods of missed work.
Comparative Fault in TN Product Liability Cases
Defendants in product liability lawsuits may claim that their product was not fulfilling its intended use, or was being used incorrectly, at the time of the injury. Additionally, they often claim that a product liability injury victim’s negligence was the primary cause of the injury, commonly referred to as comparative fault.
Comparative fault laws in Tennessee utilize The 50% Rule, whereby victims are allowed to seek compensation for injuries if they were less than 50% at fault for the occurrence. But, the total damages able to be received is diminished in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. For instance, if you won a case but were determined to be 20% at fault, your compensation would be diminished by 20%.
Those who fall victim to Tennessee defective products and are determined to be at least 50% at fault for their injuries may not be allowed to recoup any form of compensation, which provides large companies incentive to claim (factually or not) that the plaintiff is at fault for their own injuries. A major component of any successful product liability claim is providing evidence to the contrary of a defendant’s claims about comparative fault.
Statute of Limitations for Tennessee Product Liability Claims
In Tennessee, a plaintiff will need to file a product liability claim within one year of the day they were injured. Wrongful death claims which are related to product liability will need to be filed within one year of the day the victim died.
The inability to file a product liability lawsuit within a year of the injury date may cause your legal rights to be forfeited, which creates a dire need to consult with an accomplished personal injury lawyer at once.
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Holding Large Businesses Responsible
Generally, regulators of product safety will have much less authority and resources than the businesses they oversee. These large businesses often will conduct their own safety evaluations and voluntarily recall products which have been determined hazardous. Occasionally, these companies will make a deliberate evaluation of whether the defect would be less expensive to fix or just cover up while allowing the public to face the brunt of its effects.
Severe injuries and deaths relating to consumer products won’t always be a result of a defect in the product. However, numerous annual injuries and deaths are caused by defects in products with faulty design, careless manufacturing, and even substandard marketing. Success in holding those who are responsible for the distribution of defective products accountable for their negligence hinges on the efficacy of the civil justice system. Filing product liability claims can bring monetary alleviation as well as bringing egregious corporate conduct to light which may never have been exposed otherwise.
Our Experienced Nashville Product Liability Attorneys Can Help
Even with the help of an attorney, proving that the majority of fault in the injuries you sustained from a defective product can be a cumbersome task. That’s why it’s so important to have the accomplished and expert product liability attorneys of InjuryTN at your side.
The knowledgeable product liability attorneys at InjuryTN have years of culminated experience handling intricate personal injury claims. We utilize that experience every time we take on a new product liability case and enable our clients to have the ability to take on big companies whose negligence resulted in a severe injury or death. Over the course of our 29 years representing clients in product liability cases who aren’t able to take on big companies alone, we have been able to assist countless individuals recover the financial compensation they need to cover lost wages, medical bills, as well as other expenses.