The manufacturers and distributors who provide the products people in West Virginia use daily have an important responsibility to ensure that those products are safely designed, manufactured, and properly labeled with instructions or information about how to use the product. If you have been injured as a result of a defective product, a West Virginia defective product attorney can help you understand the process of seeking compensation through a product liability claim.
Types of Defective Product Cases
There are three types of product defects that can result in injury and give rise to a product liability claim:
- Design defects. Before most products are manufactured, they’re designed by engineers. Product liability claims involving design defects involve something in the engineered design that will render all the products manufactured through this design to be defective. For example, a design defect in a motor vehicle can lead to a car accident, so it is important to take all recall notices for your vehicle seriously.
- Manufacturing defects. A properly designed product can become unsafe if there are mistakes made in its manufacture. Manufacturing defects are often a chief complaint in claims involving processed foods, baby formula, and other consumables that become tainted through the introduction of bacteria or foreign materials (such as glass) during manufacturing.
- Packaging defects. Manufactured products, including food and drugs, must be labeled with information that will allow the user to know how properly use the product in order to avoid injury.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured by a Defective Product
If you have been injured by a defective product, you should do the following:
- Seek medical care for your injury or illness as soon as possible.
- Keep all medical records related to the incident.
- Keep a journal about the impact that the incident has had on your life and health.
- Save the product, if possible.
- Speak with an experienced West Virginia defective product attorney who can help you determine your next steps, which can include seeking compensation for your injury through a personal injury claim filed against the liability insurance policy of the at-fault manufacturer or distributor.
How to Bolster Your Case
Preserve evidence, including the product that caused your injury and medical records of the medical treatment you received for the injury. You should also write down important details, including the date and time when the injury occurred, the symptoms you suffered that made you realize you were injured, and where the incident occurred. If anyone witnessed the incident, be sure to keep their contact information so that they can make a statement.
If a Manufacturer Contacts You Directly About a Settlement
Manufacturers or insurance companies providing their liability insurance will often contact those who have been injured as a result of a product defect shortly after the injury occurs. They will offer a quick resolution to the claimant by way of a settlement. This is a well-known insurance tactic, and accepting the offer is risky as—so early after an injury occurs—it is impossible to determine the true and full economic and psychological costs the sufferer will incur. Early settlements are almost always low settlements, and once the claim is settled, there is no opportunity to seek more money from the defendant, meaning you will likely be left with uncompensated expenses.
If you are offered a settlement and have not yet spoken to an experienced West Virginia product liability attorney, it is a good time to do so. Your lawyer can protect your claim from the insurance company or manufacturer tactics by managing communication with them. Additionally, they can also properly value your claim so that you can more easily determine if a settlement offer is fair.
A West Virginia Defective Product Attorney Can Determine if You Have a Case
An experienced defective products lawyer can help you determine if your claim meets the criteria for seeking compensation. This criteria generally includes being able to show that you purchased a product that, when used as instructed on the label, caused an injury due to a defect in its design, manufacture, or in the information contained on its packaging label. Your attorney will investigate whether the product is under recall and if others have filed claims against the company for injuries suffered.
How a West Virginia Defective Product Attorney Can Help
There are several services that a West Virginia product liability lawyer can provide to assist you with your claim, including:
- Investigating your case to determine the type of product liability claim you have, who the at-fault party is, and the financial and psychological costs of your injury
- Communicating with the at-fault party’s insurance provider in order to obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf
- Managing the legal process
- Assisting you with receiving the compensation owed to you by way of a negotiated settlement or a court award
Many product liability claims wind up being part of a mass tort, such as a class-action lawsuit or multi-district litigation. Additionally, all personal injury claims have a statute of limitations, meaning that in order to use the court system to pursue compensation in the event the at-fault party’s insurance provider fails to pay the claim or offer a fair settlement, the lawsuit must be filed in court within a certain period of time.
In West Virginia, defective product claims must be filed in court within two years of the date on which the incident occurred that resulted in injury or when the injured person knew or reasonably should have known they were injured. Your product injury lawyer can ensure you meet any deadlines so that you do not lose the right to claim compensation.
Contact a skilled West Virginia defective product attorney today for a free, no-risk consultation. These attorneys have expertise in a wide range of personal injury cases that may relate to your case, including medical malpractice, workplace accidents, truck accidents, and more.