Product liability cases are one type of personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury lawsuits are cases where the plaintiff (injured party) suffers an injury due to a failing on the part of the defendant (party at fault).
More specifically, product liability cases involve an injury due to a defective and/or improperly labeled product. A product may be defective by design, due to manufacturing error, or because of incorrect or inadequate instructions, among other reasons.
Product liability lawsuits are civil actions, meaning that the plaintiff is seeking monetary compensation from the defendant, whom they are holding liable (legally responsible). The defendant in a product liability case is the company or group of companies responsible for designing, manufacturing, marketing, and distributing the defective product.
If you’ve been harmed by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation – but it can be difficult to actually get a settlement. Product liability cases are very different from other personal injury cases and are often very complex, which means that you can’t rely on just any lawyer to get you the settlement you deserve.
The experienced injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group specialize in product liability cases like yours. We have the knowledge and savvy to handle even the most challenging product liability cases. We’ll fight hard for you, but we’ll also fight smart for you.
Examples of Types of Product Liability Cases
An American adult may use hundreds of products per day. We use, consume, and otherwise come in contact with many products while getting ready for the day, at work, running errands, socializing, caring for family members, working on our health and fitness, and even just relaxing at home.
Virtually any category of consumer and commercial goods and materials can include defective, dangerous products. Some products that have been found to be defective and cause injury fall into categories including, but not limited to, the following:
- Pharmaceutical drugs (such as prescribed or over-the-counter medications)
- Medical devices (such as implanted or surgical devices)
- Machinery and equipment (such as industrial equipment or consumer tools)
- Vehicles (such as cars or motorcycles)
- Construction materials (such as plumbing or building supplies)
- Athletic equipment and gear (such as bicycles or helmets)
- Products for babies and children (such as strollers or toys)
- Grooming products (such as cosmetics or shampoo)
- Food and beverages (such as products served at a restaurant or pre-packaged snacks)
These products can be defective in different ways. The three main types of product liability claims are as follows:
- Manufacturing defect
The dangerous flaw is due to an issue in the manufacturing process, such as a mistake on the part of an employee or use of incorrect or low-quality materials.
- Design defect
The product was designed or formulated in such a way as to make it unreasonably hazardous for use.
- Failure to warn (also called warning, labeling, or marketing defect)
The hazard is the result of insufficient or improper labeling, warnings, and/or instructions. Product liability cases involving pharmaceutical drugs typically fall into this category.
The wide variety of hazardous products can lead to a wide variety of injuries. These injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Head injuries (such as traumatic brain injuries)
- Internal injuries (such as internal bleeding or diminished organ function)
- Spinal cord injuries (such as paralysis)
- Skin injuries (such as wounds or burns)
- Infections (such as hospital-acquired bugs)
- Diseases (such as various types of cancer)
- Bone fractures
- Wrongful death
Many survivors of product-related injuries are not sure whether they may have a viable product liability case. Take for example, the case of a woman who suffered kidney damage while using a diabetic medication (the label of which did not warn of this risk at the time she was taking it). She wonders whether it was the medication or her diabetes that caused this injury; her doctor may have even attributed it to her diabetes. She believes that she would not be eligible to receive any compensation from the company responsible for her injury. However, this is not true: she may in fact be able to win a settlement in this matter.
Who Can Be Sued in a Product Liability Case?
The defendant in a product liability case is the party at fault for the product’s defects (and/or marketing defects) and is typically a company rather than an individual.
Many product liability cases involve multiple defendants. This is because different companies (sometimes owned by or affiliated with the same parent corporation, sometimes under separate ownership) will work together to develop, manufacture, market, and/or a product. This is also because the product and/or its marketing may be defective in multiple types of ways; for example, the design and the marketing of the product (which may have been handled by a different company) may be hazardous.
Your attorneys will most often be dealing with defendants’ attorneys and/or insurance companies rather than representatives from the liable company itself, though some companies do rely on their in-house counsel to address product liability lawsuits.
Different Manners of Resolving Product Liability Cases
The wide range of defective products (and companies involved), types of product defects, and injuries associated with the dangerous products means that there are many ways to resolve product liability cases. This also means that the best manner of resolving one product liability case may be completely different from the best path to settlement for another case.
If you have suffered unusually severe, egregious, and/or life-altering injuries due to a dangerous product, then pursuing an individual case against the responsible company may be the best course of action for you. Individual cases are also generally appropriate when there is not a large pool of potential plaintiffs who were injured by the same product or category of products.
While some attorneys shy away from individual product liability cases because they can be very complicated and challenging, the experienced lawyers at The Ryan Law Group specialize in product liability cases and will do whatever it takes to get you the high-value settlement you deserve.
Out of Court
Many product liability cases are settled out of court, meaning that the parties reach an agreement without going to trial. This is often preferable for both the plaintiff and the defendant because it can be extremely expensive and time-consuming (think years, not months) to prepare a case for trial and to try a case in civil court.
When a case settles out of court, it is usually done with the help of a mediator (a mutually agreed-upon impartial third party who helps the parties come to an agreement).
When the parties cannot reach an agreement outside of court, the case may go to trial. The case may be tried in state or federal court, depending on the particulars of the situation.
If your case goes to trial, a judge and jury will hear arguments from both sides. You will most likely need to be present in court for the duration of the trial and take the stand yourself.
The talented attorneys at The Ryan Law Group have extensive trial experience, so rest assured that no matter how complex or difficult your product liability case may seem, it is in good hands.
Mass Tort Cases
When a specific product or category of products has injured many plaintiffs, it may be most efficient and effective for attorneys to pursue a consolidated action. This is referred to as a mass tort; “mass” refers to the fact that there are numerous plaintiffs collectively suing the same defendant or defendants.
Class action lawsuits are one type of mass tort. In a class action lawsuit, the entire class (group of plaintiffs) is represented by a class representative, so plaintiffs’ claims are not regarded as individual cases.
Joining a class action lawsuit may be the only sensible course of action for some plaintiffs. A class action lawsuit may be appropriate when it is difficult to prove use of the product (for example, when the product is a common retail good, such as a specific bottled beverage – very few people keep receipts of such purchases). A class action is also typically appropriate when the defective product was very widely used and the injuries or damages were not severe. It would never be reasonable to take this kind of case to trial or to mediation on an individual basis because the settlement value would be too low to justify the time and costs associated with doing so.
Joining a class action lawsuit is typically not considered to be the best option for a plaintiff who has suffered any kind of severe, life-altering injury due to a defective product. This is because the individual merits of a plaintiff’s case – which, under these circumstances, would most likely lead to a greater settlement value – are not considered in a class action.
MDL (Multidistrict Litigation)
Once multiple plaintiffs’ cases have been filed in federal court alleging harm due to the same defective product or category of products, a multidistrict litigation (MDL) may be established.
The establishment of an MDL means that many plaintiffs’ cases, often from across the country, are joined and assigned to the same federal judge. This allows multiple attorneys representing these plaintiffs to collaborate on discovery (fact-finding) for the common benefit of all the plaintiffs’ cases.
If a settlement cannot be reached between plaintiffs and defendants, Bellwether cases will begin to go to trial – these are intended to be representative individual cases that will help determine the potential value of the entire group of cases.
If Bellwether trials consistently result in jury verdicts, all or many of the cases in an MDL may be settled en masse. This is because defendants do not want to incur the expenses or bad publicity associated with losing many jury trials.
Unlike in a class action, the specifics of each individual case are considered in an MDL.
Every type of defective product is a bit different, and every experience suffered by an injured individual is unique as well. Call The Ryan Law Group with any questions you may have about your potential product liability case. Our highly experienced team will give your case the individualized attention you need and deserve.
What to Do When You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product
When you’ve been injured by a defective product, you may feel pulled in a million different directions. You need to focus on recovering from your injury and taking care of your health, but you also have to deal with mounting medical bills, your uncooperative insurance company, and trying to get back to your daily routine. Many people who have suffered injuries due to defective products feel powerless and believe there is nothing they can do to change their situation.
These feelings of frustration are perfectly understandable, but it is not true that there is nothing that can be done. It is crucial to gather and preserve evidence related to the defective product and your injury as soon as possible – this can make an immense difference for your product liability case.
Some of the many ways of preserving evidence you should consider are:
- Making a record of your injuries (by seeking medical attention, taking photographs, writing down your account of relevant events, etc.)
- Obtaining medical records and medical bills related to the defective product and/or resultant injury
- Obtaining the relevant police report, if applicable
- Finding and organizing receipts and/or other proof of your purchase or use of the defective product
- Documenting the scene of the product-related accident that led to your injury, if applicable
- Creating a witness list (including contact information) of anyone who may have witnessed the product-related accident, if applicable
Even if you did not immediately begin gathering and preserving evidence following your injury, you should begin doing so as soon as possible. Having as much evidence and information as possible regarding your case will help your attorneys to assist you in the most efficient, effective, and lucrative way possible.
You should also be careful not to create evidence that may help the defendant in your case. Our experienced attorneys at The Ryan Law Group advise our clients and prospective clients to exercise caution and restraint when posting on social media following their injuries – even if they are not specifically posting about the defective product, their injury, or the lawsuit. Defendants often use posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to discredit plaintiffs and keep them from winning the high-value settlement awards they deserve.
What a Lawyer Can Do to Help
Hiring an attorney greatly increases your chances of receiving compensation for your injury, but working with an excellent, experienced Los Angeles law firm like The Ryan Law Group gives you the best possible chance of walking away with a high-value settlement award.
We Use Individualized Strategies
Our skilled injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group have ample experience working on cases like yours in the Los Angeles area. We know the ins and outs of our area’s court systems, and we employ the best practices and strategies for your individual case based on the defendants, lawyers, courts, judges, insurance companies, and specific circumstances involved. We use our insider knowledge and close attention to detail to get our clients the high-value settlement awards they deserve as efficiently as possible.
We Pursue Justice
Some companies think of injuring consumers like you as part of the “cost of doing business.” These businesses believe it’s acceptable to take unnecessary risks that will harm people – even their own customers – as long as it doesn’t hurt their bottom line. The passionate lawyers at The Ryan Law Group strongly reject this way of thinking and can help you fight back.
Many of our clients have told us that they are pursuing product liability cases to seek not only monetary compensation, but also justice. It is empowering for them to fight back against the companies that caused their injuries. They aren’t letting these companies get away with their illegal and immoral business practices, and neither should you.
We Get Results
Defendants and their attorneys and insurance companies often try to intimidate plaintiffs into dropping their lawsuits or settling their cases for less than they are worth. We won’t let that happen: we know all their tricks and we can beat them at their own game. The Ryan Law Group has a proven track record of winning high-value settlements in product liability cases for the people of Los Angeles.
We Believe in Your Case
The lawyers and other professionals at The Ryan Law Group work on a contingency basis, meaning that our compensation is a percentage of your eventual settlement award. If you don’t get paid, we don’t paid – and if you don’t receive compensation, then you will never owe us any money for our time or for any costs we may have incurred related to investigating or working on your case. Because of this, it is in our best interest as well as yours to get you the large settlement you deserve as efficiently as possible.
Call The Ryan Law Group Today!
If you’ve been harmed by a defective product, don’t delay: call the highly qualified product liability attorneys at The Ryan Law Group today.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling our law firm for a free consultation. We will discuss your potential case with you, evaluate your claim, and quickly let you know whether we can represent you in this matter.
We have helped many of your neighbors in the Los Angeles area to win the high-value product liability settlements they deserved, and we can help you, too. Call The Ryan Law Group today for your free, no-commitment consultation.