We assume that the products we buy and use will be safe. From the cars we drive to the toys our children play with, most people go about their daily lives without considering the safety of these everyday items. But when products turn out to be dangerous or defective, people can get seriously injured or even killed. That’s when having experienced legal counsel becomes important.
If you or a loved one have been injured because of an unsafe product, you may be entitled to compensation. The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico can review your case and explain your legal rights.
What Is Illinois Product Liability Law?
When a consumer item or other product causes injury to someone, the victim may be able to recover under product liability law. In Illinois, this broad legal area is based on the concept that the manufacturers, sellers, and designers of the everyday things you buy and use should take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of these items. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable.
Product liability claims are usually based on some error in the way a product was designed or assembled. Generally, these lawsuits usually fall into one of the following categories:
Design defects. This means the product flaw was based on the way it was designed, rather than the way it was put together. In other words, even if the product was used as intended it would not be safe.
Manufacturing defect. On the other hand, a product may be designed safely but assembled incorrectly, causing danger to users. This is known as a manufacturing defect.
Failure to warn. Products are required to come with proper instructions for safe use and warnings about what can happen with misuse. Inaccurate instructions or warnings, or failure to provide any at all, could cause injury to a user.
Various parties can be held liable for unsafe products, depending on what role they played in allowing the product in question to cause injury. One of the challenges of product liability lawsuits is identifying all potentially responsible individuals and companies involved.
What Are Some Examples Of Unsafe Products?
Nearly any product that you or a loved one regularly uses could cause injury. Some common examples of dangerous and defective products are:
Automobiles. Poorly designed or manufactured vehicles frequently hurt drivers, passengers, and others. Brake failures, rollovers, exploding airbags, seat belt problems, and tire blowouts are a few examples.
Toys. Children are at risk from unsafe toys that can cause a number of injuries. Some toys cause lacerations, burns, and similar immediate injuries, while others made with toxic chemicals can cause long-term damage.
Baby and children’s items. Cribs, high chairs, car seats, and other items specifically for infants, toddlers, and young children often pose different risks. Because of their age, the victims may not be able to warn parents about their injuries.
Household products. Electronics, appliances, furniture, cleaners, insecticides, and tools are just a few examples of dangerous household products. Anyone in your family can be hurt by these everyday items.
Prescription drugs. Medications can cause serious injury or death, but sometimes their dangers are not detected until years or even decades later. In recent years, drugs like Oxycontin and Zantac have made headlines due to a number of health risks.
How Do I Prove Product Liability?
There are different ways to pursue a product liability claim in Illinois, depending on the circumstances. Most lawsuits are based on one of three different theories:
Negligence. Under a negligence claim, the victim will need to prove that the manufacturer, retailer, and/or designer of the product in question failed to exercise proper care in doing so. As a result of such negligence, the victim, therefore, suffered an injury.
Breach of warranty. Products usually come with two different types of warranties, express and implied. Consumers are entitled to rely on these warranties, which are representations concerning the safety of the product. If a product does not work as represented, there may be a breach of warranty argument.
Strict liability. An injured victim who proceeds under a strict liability claim has to prove that the product was defective and caused an injury. Not all products will qualify, so you may need to use a different theory in your lawsuit.
What Damages Can I Claim?
Every product liability lawsuit is different, but some of the most frequently claimed damages are:
Medical bills. A victim can pursue damages for medical bills related to treatment, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and more.
Lost wages. If a victim is hospitalized or needs time to recover from injuries, he or she may have a claim for lost wages.
Lost earning capacity. Some victims are not able to work at the same productivity level as before their injuries, and could claim lost future earnings.
Pain and suffering. This is a class of non-economic damages that are not as easy to quantify as the above, but which can still be claimed in some cases.
Wrongful death. If your family member died from his or her injuries stemming from a dangerous product, you could have a wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Chicago Product Liability Attorney
The most important step you can take after being injured is to speak with an experienced attorney. There may be time deadlines nearing in your case, however, so don’t delay taking action. If you or a loved one were hurt by a dangerous or defective product, reach out to Hale & Monico today.