Maryland Product Liability Attorney
If you have sustained harm due to a defective product it likely has made a profound impact on your life. Whether the personal injury was the result of a failed airbag system in your car, or a drug with dangerous side effects you were not warned of, the quality of your life is diminished and you face considerable medical bills arising from numerous doctor visits and potentially months of ongoing treatment. You’re also not likely able to work, so this burden has spread to the rest of your family. Perhaps a beloved family member has died after a serious product injury. Whatever the fallout from the injury or death, you will need to consult with a Maryland product liability lawyer to understand the specifics of your case and determine if you have a valid claim.
By working with a Maryland product liability lawyer to file a claim, you will be holding the manufacturer or producer of the defective product responsible for their negligence. This is important for two reasons; you can win fair compensation for all the harms and losses you have suffered, and the manufacturer of the product is on notice to correct the hazardous conditions that led to the injury or death. Requiring those responsible to revise their practices so that other people are not harmed keeps not only you and your loved ones safe, it provides for a safer community. By holding the company accountable for its actions, you could help save countless others from also being harmed by their products. Here is more information:
Call the Maryland product liability attorneys at our firm today if you’d like to learn about how to begin filing your claim.
The “Chain of Responsibility”
A product manufacturer is duty-bound to use reasonable care in the design, manufacture, testing and inspection of its products to assure their safety for the public. This includes warning consumers if their goods are unsafe when they are used. It is also responsible for informing the public, and any agencies that certify or regulate its products when problems occur.
If a manufacturer uses a part or material from another supplier for a product, the manufacturer has a duty to make reasonable inspections and any tests of the material to confirm its safety; and make any necessary modifications – or recalls – if that is not the case. The maker of the component is under the same obligation to notify as the manufacturer. Those who distribute these products are also bound by this strict covenant of transparency. But that universal responsibility typically ends with the product retailer; unless it can be proven the final link in this defective product supply chain was aware of these problems up-the-line and did not immediately pull defective products from their shelves. Otherwise, retailers – and usually unlicensed wholesalers – are often immune from defective product injury claims.
When your Maryland product liability lawyer conducts his or her investigation of your case, he or she will seek to determine when or how the chain of responsibility was broken and how that may help to determine fault.
Types of Product Liability
The most common legal theory of product liability is some form of manufacturer negligence. This occurs when the plaintiff claims that any party within the chain of manufacture or distribution did not fulfill their legal duty to protect consumers through some form of negligence. In order to win a case through claims of negligence, your Maryland product liability attorney must show the defendant (or defendants) failed to use ordinary or reasonable care in producing, designing, manufacturing, or in some cases, selling the product; and that this failure resulted in your injuries.
Unlike negligence, strict liability alleges the impropriety – usually the malfunction – of the product itself. Strict liability cases can be easier to prove because the defective product is obvious. Instead of trying to pry into the minds of the product manufacturer in a negligence-based lawsuit, plaintiffs alleging strict liability can show obvious results of defective design, manufacture, or marketing of a product.
Prodcut Liability Damages
The damages that are generally sought and awarded in product liability suits are for medical expenses, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical injuries, pain and suffering, the loss of earning capacity, and property damage. If a product causes a wrongful death, all of the above damages are possible, in addition to those surrounding wrongful death; most commonly being loss of consortium (husband/wife) and if the deceased family member was in business with other members of the family. Additional damages to surviving family members for mental or psychological anguish, and loss of affection, may be appropriate in certain cases.
Punitive damages may also be available in these situations and are almost always awarded in the event of the manufacturer’s gross negligence, willful disregard for the possibility of injury, or deceptive acts that can be proven. An example of the latter would be false advertising; when those in the manufacturing or distribution chain knew of the possibility of physical harm from the product, yet still made false claims that resulted in the defective good’s purchase and subsequent injuries. Punitive damages are monetary awards intended to punish the plaintiff for heinous acts and deter them from similar behavior in the future.
Defective Prescription Drugs & Medical Devices
Many of Americans depend on prescription drugs and sophisticated medical devices to improve their health and quality of life. Every year, a slew of new drugs and medical devices are reviewed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Many are subsequently approved. Sadly, more than a few produce side effects which can range from mild to extremely dangerous. The same thing can be said for wondrous medical devices, such as artificial prosthetics and materials used to replace joints, tissues, portions of organs and bones. Unfortunately, some of those medical marvels also end up causing physical harm and, in some cases, deaths.
When side effects result in a prescription drug or medical device doing more harm than good, the FDA can take steps to curb or eliminate their use. But often, it ends up being a case of too little effort made too late, leaving innocent victims harmed or killed due to illnesses, injuries, and complications caused by dangerous drugs or defective medical devices. In some cases the warnings or precautions the FDA issues on these products are inadequate, primarily because the agency mistakenly relies on the research of the pharmaceutical companies that make these products — many of whom have been found to have intentionally misled the FDA and, by extension, the public.
Injured victims of prescription drugs or medical devices have little recourse but to sue these manufacturers for damages. Those damages are generally for the same categories that other injury victims can recover: medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and wrongful death. While millions of consumer legal claims have been presented against these manufacturers just in this millennium, it is important to remember that in Maryland, plaintiffs have a three year statute of limitations to file their claims against manufacturers of harmful products, drugs, or defective medical devices. It begins the day they are aware of the injury or of the realistic possibility that injury or illness may occur.
A Maryland Product Liability Lawyer Can Help
The personal injury group at our firm cannot undo the damage caused by dangerous or defective products, but we can help you determine whether you have a valid claim to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, economic losses – past, present, and future – and wrongful death damages, if you have lost a family member.
Our Maryland product liability lawyers are dedicated to helping you, the individual, and your family as you square off against powerful manufacturing behemoths. Contact the firm today for an initial, no-cost consultation and find out how to best protect you and your loved ones.