If you’ve ever watched an infomercial you know that for every solution there is a corresponding problem. You can order almost anything from the internet and have it less than two days.
Most of these products make life easier or serve some useful purpose. But what about those times when you end up with a defective product? More importantly, what if the product causes an injury?
Keep in mind that there is a difference between a defective product and a scam product. One is a product not working as it’s supposed to through some form of manufacture or design flaw. The other is a matter of bad faith from the outset.
Let’s go through how to identify a defective product and what steps to take if you’ve been injured by one.
Defective Product Do’s
When a product has a defect that causes injury to you or someone you care for, it’s important to take the correct steps right away. The fine details are everything when it comes to providing a legal matter and corporate lawyers and insurance companies look for any out they can find.
Being injured by a defective product can be harrowing. It’s easy to get gun-shy around similar items or to experience fear or revulsion at having to deal with them. Despite the difficulty, it’s important to follow through on these steps to help yourself and others down the road.
If a product doesn’t work as intended and creates a hazard, follow the steps below. Before buying sounds too good to be true items, always consider this.
1. Keep the Product
You can’t simply claim that a product injured you and show the results of an injury. Even visiting a doctor to get documentation (covered later) only provides circumstantial information.
You need to keep the original product so that it can be inspected to figure out what the problem was and to demonstrate that the product malfunctioned on its own, not through misuse.
When you can’t keep the product, such as when the product is a part of another device, take photos and even record video if possible.
For a necessary item, such as a car, it can be difficult to retain the item without restoring it to working conditions. There are some things you have specifically because they do or assist with work. Still, it’s better to keep the item intact as it was when the injury occurred.
2. Detail Injuries
Take stock of what and who was damaged by the product. When looking to make defective product claims, you want to specific and holistic.
Part of this effort helps you to make a full listing of your issues when recovering. The other part is to create a more precise picture of what went wrong with the product. This kind of information is commonly acquired by a company when a product is discovered to be defective off the line.
Safety and regulatory boards perform detailed investigations to get to the root of a problem and fix it within the factory to prevent bad products from going out and to create better internal practices.
You aren’t expected to have the same knowledge of the product and be able to create the same kind of investigation or documentation, but everything you can add about your experience helps paint this picture.
3. Document Everything
Start with the initial purchase and work forward. What store did you buy it from, what time of day, how many other units were on the shelf or in the lot, etc.
Contact the point of purchase and let hem know that there is an issue. They will want to remove and set aside other products from the same batch to protect consumers.
What was your health and life like before and after? How much work did you miss and what levels of stress and extra problems stemmed from the injury?
Keep a journal of your day to day after the injury to provide a mirror for you and for making a product liability claim. Depression and anxiety are especially common after an injury related to a defective product.
Make a note of any warnings or instructions that came with the product. Even if the language on the labels indicates your injury is a possible consequence, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.
4. Hire an Attorney
As soon as possible, contact an attorney to help you sort out the aftermath. Attorneys skilled in product liability from a firm you trust can help you.
They know the steps to take to get on top of the case. They’ll explain the issues with proving liability on the part of the manufacturer. They also have the knowledge to build a timeline of how long a case takes to reach a settlement.
Most importantly, they’ll explain the differences between negligence and strict liability and what those terms have to do with your injuries. The short answer is these are different levels to which a company was aware of the possibility of a defect.
Also, they will go over the statute of limitations for filing a case. If you are unable to contact an attorney early on, it’s important to find out how long you have left to file a claim.
5. File a Claim
The last step, of course, is to file a claim that details the defect in the product and the injuries you suffered as a consequence.
Filing a claim goes a long way to ensure that companies are held responsible for poor practices and keeps the public safer. Fighting back against wrongdoing, accidental or otherwise, also empowers you.
That kind of empowerment matters a lot after being injured.
When everything is said and done, reporting on a defective product helps you to feel in control after an incident. Being injured by something you had no reason to distrust adds injury to insult.
In this instance, it’s recommended you don’t take it personally.