When you purchase a product, you naturally expect it to work as advertised. However, when it fails to uphold its promises and causes an injury, you can now file a product liability lawsuit. Examples of a product failing to function as promised include a piece of machinery that malfunctions and harms the user, a defective drug, a car part that fails and causes harm, or a medical device that hurts instead of treats the patient.
However, before you proceed with a product liability suit, you’ll need to work with product liability lawyers like us to navigate the complex processes you’ll encounter. We can help you prove to the court that the product is defective in its manufacturing or design and that the company neglected to inform users of its potential dangers. We will also ensure that the manufacturer, who is responsible for compensating you in this scenario, follows up on their commitment. Alabama laws state that a product liability lawsuit can be filed to safeguard your rights and allow you to seek compensation, although there are a few challenges you may face. Here are some of them:
Statute of Limitations
Alabama allows residents two years to file a product liability injury or death lawsuit and one year for actions against the original seller or manufacturer. If you decide to seek legal assistance after the statute of limitations, you may be barred from filing your claim, hurting your chances of receiving your rightful compensation. The statute of limitations can challenge your case if you encountered a harmful substance and became aware of its adverse effects several months later. For this reason, it is crucial to consult with an experienced product liability law firm, who will ensure you won’t miss the window to file your lawsuit.
Limits on Damages
The state of Alabama limits damages in certain product liability cases under the pure contributory negligence standard. Suppose you were somehow negligent in your use of the product, contributing to your injury or harm. In that case, the defendant will argue that you are also at fault for your injury and thus should not recover compensation. Examples include texting while driving and your car’s brakes seized and failing to follow the instructions of a machine.
Probability of Accidents
Alabama law requires that manufacturers affix a Duty to Warn and a Duty of Safe Design guarantee on their products. This law doesn’t mean that they must produce and sell entirely accident-proof products. However, the manufacturer or seller must warn about all the potential dangers of the products. The warnings must be reasonable, comprehensive, and the product must come with clear instructions. The company must also have been responsible to the user in all possible ways; otherwise, you can prove that they were negligent or reckless in ensuring their customers’ safety.
Similarly, you may have difficulty filing your lawsuit if you did not read the product’s instructions. This instance makes it challenging to claim a warning failure since awareness of the instructions did not change the outcome.
When you file a product liability lawsuit, your lawyers must prove that there was negligence on the seller or manufacturer’s part, which can be found in a breach of warranty and strict liability. Operating under Alabama’s extended manufacturer’s liability doctrine, you must demonstrate that you received the product without any modifications and that the injury you experienced was solely due to the product’s defects. You will then have to show that the manufacturer could have designed the product more safely. You’ll also have to demonstrate that you used the product safely yet still encountered a flaw that made it dangerous to use.
Even though the manufacturer is responsible for providing safe products to its consumers, they’ll do their best to avoid paying compensation, which means they’ll challenge your claim and shift the blame to you. By being aware of these challenges and working with competent product liability lawyers, you can file your lawsuit within the window and enjoy the highest chances of success.
The lawyers of McCallum, Hoaglund, and McCallum, LLP offer more than 75 years of experience to the practice of law. Situated in Birmingham, Alabama, we seek justice for our clients in state and federal courts in various practice areas, such as product liability, complex business litigation, medical malpractice defense, and many more. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.