Defective Product Accident Lawyer in Ocala, Florida
There have been countless examples of product manufacturers betraying the trust that consumers place in them when they choose to buy a product. Over the years, numerous stories have come to light of companies that knew what they were doing when they sold a defective product to the public.
While some companies will immediately move to recall the product to take it off the market, others will cover up the product defect and do everything they can to keep profiting from it. Regardless of what happened, you may be entitled to financial compensation when you have suffered an injury due to a defective product.
Whether you purchased a new car with defective tires or a household product at the Ocala Walmart that later malfunctioned, the legal team of Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. is ready to help if you suffer injuries.
We handle complex product-related cases, including:
- Obtaining $1 million for a client who suffered injuries due to an exploding flashlight battery
- Obtaining $1 million for a client with a defective gun holster that caused a firearm to discharge
Reach out to learn how we might help after your product accident.
Examples of Companies Paying for the Damage Their Products Caused
When you use a defective product, it can cause accidents in many ways.
Here are some examples of lawsuits that accident victims filed who used a defective product:
- In one of the earlier major product liability lawsuits, drivers of the Ford Pinto and their families obtained large verdicts against Ford because the gas tank placement led to explosions when another car crashed into it.
- Polaris, the maker of off-road vehicles, is routinely sued for accidents involving its vehicles, including numerous recent lawsuits where its ATVs caught fire.
- John Deere was held responsible for the defective design of its bobcat that requires users to stand in place after a man pitched forward and the machine ran over him.
- Takata, the company that made airbags, went out of business due to lawsuits after it sold airbags that explosively deployed
Why You Need a Lawyer With Product Liability Experience
Product liability lawsuits require an experienced lawyer:
- There is very complex scientific and technical evidence involved before you can show that a product was defective.
- You are up against a company that has every incentive to fight your case until they cannot fight anymore.
- You have suffered significant injuries, and the financial compensation can be very high.
- There are multiple specialized steps involved in product liability litigation.
- Product liability lawsuits are very evidence-intensive and can involve receiving millions of pieces of evidence from the defendant in discovery.
Even when companies know they have risks, they will often fight the initial cases and only work on a possible large-scale settlement after a jury severely punishes them. If the company does not at least take the chance to defend itself, it can face a severe liability that may put it out of business. There is a reason why lawyers call significant product liability cases bet-the-firm lawsuits.
Hold the Company Accountable for the Injuries You Suffered
Practically anything you buy can end up being defective. Manufacturers make decisions about how to design their products. Your safety is in their hands. You will hope the manufacturer has tested the product extensively and considered numerous possible designs before putting it on the market.
If you buy food, you expect the seller to inspect the product for any defects that can cause illness. With most products, it is not a stretch to say that you are putting your life in someone else’s hands.
If you have suffered an injury due to a defective product, you have many reasons to file a lawsuit against the responsible manufacturer or seller.
- You have suffered severe injuries and need compensation for them
- You want justice by holding the seller responsible
- You want to take care of your family by ensuring that they have money when you are suffering from injuries
Who Can You Sue in a Product Liability Lawsuit
You can hold anyone in the stream of commerce legally responsible for the damages you suffered. The stream of commerce means anyone involved in making or selling the product from start to finish.
This can include:
- The manufacturer
- The wholesaler or middleman
- The store or dealer where you bought the product
- A product reseller
Usually, it is the manufacturer who is responsible for the defect and is the one who you will sue. However, you can add everyone to the lawsuit. For example, if you bought a defective ladder at Home Depot, the store can also be made to pay for your damages, even if they were not the ones who manufactured it. The store and the manufacturer can figure out who pays what – it is not your problem.
How to Win Your Product Liability Case
There are several ways to win your case in any product liability lawsuit. First, you must prove the product was defective. If you succeed, the manufacturer will be held strictly liable for the damages you suffered. The burden will then shift to the defendant to show why they should not be liable (this is where they will try to blame you for misusing the product).
There are three ways that you can show that a product is defective:
- Design defects – The product manufacturer has chosen a design that makes the product inherently dangerous to the consumer. For example, they can choose a carcinogenic material or design an engine using parts that are more likely to catch fire or explode.
- Manufacturing defects – There is nothing wrong with the design itself, but something happens in the manufacturing process that makes the product defective. For example, a manufacturer can improperly assemble brakes, causing them not to engage when needed.
- Marketing defects – The company improperly markets the product. This is also called a failure to warn when the company knows or should have known about a product defect, yet it failed to alert the public about it and continued to sell the product as is.
In almost every product liability case, your lawyer will try to use a combination of these theories to hold the defendant liable. Usually, most defendants know about a product defect but do not report it or take steps to conceal it. They may use extensive testing mechanisms before they sell the product, and they continue to monitor it. However, they often keep selling defective products in the name of profits when the right thing to do is pull the product from the market and alert the public.
You Can Also Prove Negligence and Breach of Warranties
You do not necessarily have to show that a product was defective to win your case. There are other legal theories that you can use in a product liability case. The most common alternative theory is showing that the defendant was negligent.
Like any other personal injury case, the defendant who sells you a product owes you a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances. Selling you a dangerous product that injured you means that the defendant acted unreasonably, even if you cannot show that the product was defective.
Other theories can include:
- Breach of express and implied warranties that the seller makes to you as the consumer
- Violation of a state consumer protection law
- Fraudulent conduct in covering up known product defects
Your Attorney Will Work with Experts to Prove Your Case
We mentioned the highly technical nature of a product liability case. Much of your proof in the case comes from your attorney working with experts to establish that a defective product harmed you.
A qualified expert will need to analyze the design or the product to conclude that it was defective. Meanwhile, the defendant will always challenge the expert testimony’s qualifications or relevancy, forcing the judge to rule on the expert’s admission. This is one of the most crucial stages in every product liability case.
Product Liability Cases Are Hard-Fought and Involve High Stakes
Product liability lawsuits may have a different legal procedure from many other cases. You can assume you were not the only one injured by the product, and there may be thousands of people who are also filing their lawsuits. Many product liability lawsuits become part of mass tort cases with very high stakes for the defendant.
You need an attorney who can represent you when many people fight the company at once. On the one hand, there is strength in numbers. On the other hand, many others are all fighting for a slice of the figurative pie.
Damages in a Product Liability Case
The damages in a product liability case can be considerable. Consumers can end up seriously injured, especially when an accident involves a defective product. Some may not even survive the accident, leaving their family to seek financial compensation for their injuries.
Here are the damages you can recover if you win your product liability case:
- Economic damages, such as the total cost of your medical bills and lost wages for the time you miss from work (or any reduction in your earning capacity)
- Non-economic damages that compensate you for the ordeal you are going through because of your accident injuries, including pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive Damages in a Product Liability Case
Many times, you see that plaintiffs have been awarded eye-popping verdicts against companies that can reach tens of millions of dollars. These verdicts grew so large because the defendant’s conduct shocked and angered juries, which decided to hit them with large punitive damages to punish them and send a message.
For example, in one of the Ford Pinto lawsuits, a jury issued a verdict of $127 million against Ford, a huge sum back in 1981.
- Punitive damages can be reduced by a judge or on appeal, but they often leave some of these damages in place. For example, in the Ford Pinto case, the trial judge reduced the verdict to $3.5 million, which was still a large amount of money for the time.
- Often, the earlier cases will result in extensive punitive damages. When the defendant realizes that their defenses are not playing well to a jury, they will move to negotiate a global settlement that covers the remaining cases because they know that their very existence may be at risk.
Even if the cases settle, you need an attorney to represent your interests. The defendant may set up a settlement fund for all the cases, and you will need to secure your best possible settlement from the fund. You do not necessarily have to join the settlement or take the first offer. In addition, you will still need to prove that you are entitled to damages and can make a claim before you get a settlement offer.
Companies Should Not Get Away with Harming You or a Loved One
Courts have made companies pay when they put profits over people. You may think you have little chance of getting justice when a large and powerful corporation has harmed you, but the law says otherwise. Case law has many examples where injured plaintiffs, just like you, stood up and held big companies accountable.
When it comes to product liability law, you have rights that companies cannot buy their way out of, no matter how big they are. Your first step is to contact an experienced product liability lawyer who knows how to take the fight to the company and get results.
Call an Ocala Defective Product Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered an unexpected injury due to a product you bought, you have legal rights that include full compensation when you can prove that the product was defective or that the seller breached their obligations to you. Often, these companies have large law firms to defend them. You need the help of an experienced attorney.
The attorneys at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. are aggressive and determined when we go after large corporations and businesses that harmed you. Contact us online or call us at (352) 377-9000 for your free initial consultation.
1521 S Pine Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471
My experience was more than great, from the moment I acquired about their services to the moment my case was finalized and settled, there was steady communication, and I was consistently in the loop. They explain things to you in a way that you can understand and ensure that you are involved in the decision making. Everyone is super kind and stays in contact with you even after settling. They truly care about your well being and I will definitely keep them at the top of the list for any other cases.