Special Considerations in Products Liability Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, the first thing to do is seek proper medical care. After that, you may wish to take legal action. Products liability cases can be complex, so it is important to seek the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you sort out the details and secure the expert witnesses you need.
What to Do when You Have Been Injured
After seeking medical treatment, you can take steps to strengthen your case. Do not throw away the product that hurt you if it is safe to keep it. This will preserve important evidence about what went wrong and what kind of defect the product had. If an investigator for an insurance company or the manufacturer asks you to hand over the product, consult with an attorney first. If the product that harmed you was a car, notify anyone who tows it or otherwise comes into contact with it not to destroy or alter it.
Take note of when and where you bought the product. If the product came with instructions or a warning, did you read it? Make note of how the accident occurred and how you were using the product at the time.
Meeting with a Lawyer
When you meet with a products liability attorney, the attorney will want to hear the story of how you were injured. Tell the attorney the details you remember without embellishing. This allows the attorney to accurately evaluate the strengths of your case.
The attorney may also ask you about the life of the product — if it was new when you bought it, if you altered it in any way and if it was in your possession the whole time you owned it.
Successful products liability cases often require expert witnesses to examine the evidence and explain its meaning. Expert witnesses can clarify to the jury or the judge the problem that made the product defective or unreasonably dangerous.
Expert witnesses typically have backgrounds in areas such as engineering, safety issues, medicine and design. Qualified experts can be key to the success of your case, depending on its complexity and level of detail.
Negotiations and Trial
Depending on the particular strengths of your case, your attorney may wish to negotiate with the manufacturer or seller of the product that injured you. Negotiations can save the time and expense of a trial; if the opposing party does not extend a reasonable offer, however, then trial may be the better choice.
Although some federal rules regulate aspects of product safety, each state has its own laws on products liability. This is why it is so important to work with a knowledgeable products liability attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state. Contact an attorney for more information on how your state's laws affect your chance for recovery.
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