When Should You File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
March 15, 2019
When you purchase a product, you expect it to be safe and reliable. You don’t expect your microwave oven to burst into flames, or your brakes to fail at a red light. Most companies and manufacturers design and assemble products with the consumer’s safety in mind to avoid a product liability lawsuit, but what happens when you are seriously injured because a product you trusted malfunctions?
Who is responsible for your medical bills? Your lost wages?
Do you have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit?
The answers depend on several factors, which are detailed in the Michigan Product Liability Act.
How Product Liability Lawsuits Work in Michigan
To win a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The product was defective in some way.
- The plaintiff sustained injury or damage.
- The injury or damage was caused by the defective product.
Types of Product Defects
According to Michigan product liability law, there are several ways a product can be considered defective:
This is one of the most common claims in product liability lawsuits. For example, suppose a child suffered serious burns from a space heater that caught fire. If the heater was designed without an automatic shut-off feature, the company could be guilty of negligent design.
In these cases, part of the manufacturing process caused the product to be dangerous. Let’s look again at the aforementioned example of the space heater. However, this time, the manufacturer neglected to install the shut-off equipment according to the design. In that case, the manufacturer would be at fault.
Negligent failure to warn about an aspect of the product
Manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers about hidden dangers that would not be obvious to a “reasonable user.” They are also required to provide instructions on how to safely use the product and avoid any inherent dangers. Failure to do so could result in a product liability lawsuit.
Fraud or misrepresentation
A consumer may suffer from harm because the manufacturer provided false or misleading product information. In this instance, the product liability lawsuit is based on untrue information rather than a product defect.
Breach of an implied or express warranty
Manufacturers often provide warranties, or guarantees, which ensure their products meet certain quality standards. There are two types of warranties: express and implied.
In an express warranty, the manufacturer makes specific representations about the product’s quality. A consumer may file a product liability lawsuit if the quality is less than the manufacturer represented.
According to the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), there are two types of implied warranties:
- An implied warranty of merchantability promises the product is in good working order and will perform accordingly.
- An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose means the instructions for using the product are correct.
The Role of Comparative Negligence in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Michigan personal injury law includes the concept of comparative negligence. If the defendant can prove you were partially at fault for your injuries, your settlement may be affected. If the plaintiff’s fault exceeds the defendant’s, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering will not be awarded.
“Product liability lawsuits can be incredibly involved,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “That’s why you need an experienced lawyer who understands this complex area of the law and knows what it takes to win your case.”
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, call us. We’ll fight to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Product liability law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.