Defective Products/Product Liability Lawsuits Frequently Asked Questions

What does "product liability" mean?

A. "Product liability" refers to a type of legal case that seeks monetary compensation for a person injured or killed as a result of a defective product.

What legally makes a product defective?

A. Each state has its own laws which govern product liability lawsuits. Generally, though, a product is legally deemed defective when the plaintiff proves that the product has a condition that makes it unsafe for its intended use or reasonably foreseeable uses. Proving the existence of a product defect is usually difficult and requires a great deal of skill and research.

The defendant — whether a manufacturer, distributor or seller — vehemently defends against the existence of a defect in most product liability claims. The defendant often goes even further and argues that the injured consumer was using the product improperly and any resulting harm was because of user negligence.

What is the difference between a design defect and a manufacturing defect?

A. A "design defect" occurs when the manufacturer designs a product that is unreasonably dangerous to the consumer. An example of a design defect is a vehicle that has a tendency to flip over under reasonably foreseeable driving conditions.

A "manufacturing defect" occurs when an error in the manufacturing process creates an unreasonably dangerous condition in the product. All products should go through a rigorous inspection process so manufacturing defects can be detected before the product is placed on the market.

What is a "failure to warn?"

A. A "failure to warn" occurs when the manufacturer fails to warn consumers about a product's dangers or fails to instruct them on how to properly use the product. In some cases, courts have found a "failure to warn" even when a manufacturer's instruction manual warned of a danger, but the warning was hard to see or unclear. In many instances, bold stickers or other warnings on the packaging are necessary to adequately warn the consumer about the danger of serious injury or death. The type of product can also be a factor in determining whether there was a failure to warn.

Failure to warn cases are extremely complicated and typically involve a great deal of evidence presented by both sides.

What is a "breach of warranty?"

A. A "breach of warranty" occurs when the manufacturer or seller makes a promise to the consumer about the product and the promise is then broken, resulting in harm. Warranties can be formed verbally, in writing or they can be implied.

What is an implied warranty?

A. An implied warranty is an obligation legally imposed when there has not been an express promise. For example, if you purchase a baseball from a bin at a sporting goods store, there is an implied warranty that the baseball can be hit with a bat without exploding and subjecting the consumer to serious harm. The salesperson and/or product packaging did not need to state this promise for an implied warranty to protect the consumer.

What parties may be liable for a defective product?

A. Product liability law is designed not only to deter the production of dangerous goods, but to discourage unsafe products from moving through commerce. Each case is unique, but the manufacturer, distributor and/or seller can typically be held strictly liable for a defective product that injures the consumer.

What damages are recoverable in product liability cases?

A. Each product liability lawsuit is different and the recovery of damages depends on numerous factors, including the state law in effect and the severity of injuries suffered by the consumer. In a successful product liability claim, the plaintiff can recover economic damages such as medical expenses and loss of income.

Noneconomic damages are often sought in product liability suits. Examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, resulting disabilities and physical disfigurement.

While economic and noneconomic damages are designed to compensate the plaintiff for injuries or wrongful death, punitive damages may also be available to financially punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are meant to deter other companies from making defective products. Punitive damages are extremely rare, and usually require the plaintiff to prove the defendant's misconduct was reckless or intentional.

The product that harmed me was clearly defective; why do I need a product liability attorney?

A. For a successful product liability claim, you need to prove that a defect existed and caused your injuries. If you cannot prove those two elements, your claim fails on its merits. Further, the defendant will go to great lengths to demonstrate not only the safety of its product and absence of a defect, but that your negligent misuse of the product was the cause of the harm.

Even product liability lawsuits that seem to be straightforward need a defective products attorney to ensure that the claim is successful and obtains maximum compensation. Damage valuation is a complicated process that requires specialized expertise. You generally only have one chance to recover damages for your injuries; if your claim leaves you undercompensated, you likely won't have further legal recourse.

Why is Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., the right law firm to handle a product liability case?

  • Rapoport Law Offices, P.C.'s attorneys have a strong record of success representing clients who suffered injury or the families of those who died because of a defective product. Our product liability lawyers are skilled negotiators; however, they are also highly experienced litigators who are not afraid to take a case to trial.
  • Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., has an established and constantly expanding network of expert resources to aggressively pursue the best outcome for our clients under their unique circumstances.
  • Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., exclusively represents individuals who have suffered severe injuries and families who have lost loved ones as the result of a wrongful death, including cases arising from defectively manufactured products.
  • Our product liability lawyers and legal support staff take great pride in delivering personalized legal service never losing focus of what matters: our client.

Will I have to pay a fee to have an attorney at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., review my case?

A. No. If you feel that you or a loved one may have been harmed by a defective product, rest assured that there is never a fee to have the circumstances reviewed by one of our experienced attorneys.

What does it cost to hire an experienced product liability attorney and law firm?

A. In personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, injured parties usually pay a "contingent" legal fee. Under a contingent fee arrangement the client does not pay the attorney an hourly rate. Instead, the attorney's fee is a defined percentage of the amount of money that is recovered in a lawsuit. That percentage can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Additionally, the law firm you are working with will usually pay all necessary out-of-pocket expenses subject to a right of reimbursement without interest at the conclusion of the case, sometimes before, and sometimes after the contingent fee is calculated. In a contingent fee arrangement, if there is no financial recovery in a lawsuit there is no fee paid to the attorneys.

What is the best way to contact a lawyer at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C.?

A. Click here to email an attorney at Rapoport Law Offices, P.C., directly. If you prefer to telephone a lawyer, our toll free number is 877-216-4213. Or, you can begin by simply pressing the contact button on the top of this web page.