Category Archives: Personal Injury Law

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What to Do When You Have a Defective Product in Your Home

Defective products enter homes every day. Unfortunately, even companies who pride themselves on the highest of quality are not immune to releasing a product that could potentially cause a personal injury or kill someone. As careful as many consumers try to be, they are also not guaranteed a safe product. Defective products, sad to say, are a fact of life. Does this mean that we, as consumers, need to be OK with that? Of course not, but we can prevent the possibility of an incident in our own home by being a little more proactive and aware.

What is a Defective Product?

A defective product is simply something that doesn’t work the way it was intended to and can potentially result in the injury or death of an individual. Generally, there are three types of product defects: design, manufacturing, and marketing.

  • Design Defect exists before the product is manufactured. For example, a piece of machinery could be missing an essential safeguard that was overlooked during the design process. If someone is injured while using this product, it could be blamed on a design defect.
  • Manufacturing Defect occurs during the construction or production of the item. In many incidents relating to a manufacturing defect, only a small amount of the product (such as a batch) are deemed defective. Manufacturing defects are common and can include anything from automotive recalls, food products, and various products throughout the home.
  • Marketing Defect is the failure to warn consumers of danger or having improper instructions. Most often, marketing defects are fixed shortly after the report of a design defect.

In some cases of a defective product, the product can be taken off of the market because it contains all three defects.

Defective Products: Dangerous for All Ages

Visit Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on a weekly basis and you will most likely see new recalls directly related to a design, manufacturing, or marketing flaw. CPSC’s mission is to alert consumers before anyone is injured or killed. In the case of many recalls, the defect was discovered before an incident occurred or reported. Any product can be defective, whether they are toys for a child or a simple over the counter medication. Here are just a few examples of defective products that really left a lasting impression on consumers of all ages:

  • Bouncy Moon Houses: These inflatable amusement houses that have gained popularity in backyards and kid-centered events for years. Between 2003-2013, there were an estimated 113,272 ER treated injuries and 12 deaths associated with the inflatable homes.
  • Tylenol: This common, over-the-counter pain reliever was forced to recall millions of product in 1982, when 7 people died after ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. In a “Top 10 Recalls” list released by Time, the tragic incident forced Tylenol to change packaging, resulting in a much safer product.
  • Firestone Tires: In 2000, 6.5 million Firestone brand times were recalled after 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries, a defect related to manufacturing.

What if I have a Defective Product?

The best way to avoid purchasing a defective product is by paying attention to daily and weekly reports released by the CPSC. While they cannot guarantee “catching” every defect, their list is extensive and lifesaving.

If you suspect or know a product is defective, collect as much information as you can about the product (serial numbers, barcodes, descriptive information) and report it to saferproducts.gov Don’t become a statistic, help prevent defective products from entering homes.

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What Is A Personal Injury Attorney?

When a person has been injured, whether physically, emotionally or both, as the result of an act of negligence or wrongdoing, they often choose to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer. These legal professionals are engaged in protecting the rights of injured persons, filing claims and lawsuits, and managing all aspects of recovering compensation.

All personal injury cases hinge upon the legal concept of negligence, which is essentially when a person (or entity) acts or fails to act in a manner that another reasonable person would.

It is a broad concept, but can be applied to countless situations, such as drunk, speeding, reckless or distracted drivers, acts of medical malpractice, unsafe premises, or even dangerous dogs that have been allowed to roam freely. Establishing negligence is the first order of business for the personal injury lawyer, and he or she will review the facts in the case to make a decision about its merits. Some cases of negligence are very clear, and not in question, where others could are far more difficult to resolve.

Most injury cases are settled outside of court, but some must proceed to court when challenged, or when an insurance company will not pay adequate compensation to a victim.

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and are commercial operations that answer to upper management and shareholders. The bottom line is the profits made by the company. Most people do not fully understand the processes that insurance companies employ when evaluate the value of, and pay out compensation for claims. Initially, an interview with the injured person takes place. Unfortunately, these interviews may have a hidden goal – getting the injured party to admit to some level of responsibility for the injury. Access to medical records is part of the process as well, and your entire medical history will be painstakingly reviewed to find out if there is any condition, illness or other situation that could have made the level of injury worse.

For example, if you had an existing back pain problem, were then hit by another driver, and your back injury was exacerbated, the insurance company could claim you already had a back condition and the accident was not the sole cause of the injuries you sustained. A personal injury lawyer works to protect the injured from these types of strategies, and is very familiar with how to manage requests for information from an insurance adjuster. In many cases, a person who is represented by an injury attorney will recover double or triple the amount in compensation than if the he or she had tried to resolve the case without legal help.

Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Lawyers

Insurance company personnel can often try to deter an injured person from contacting a lawyer, and will say that all that will occur is that some of the settlement money will be lost in legal fees. In fact, a personal injury lawyer takes a set percentage of the final settlement, which if it is far higher than the injured person would have recovered, is still significantly higher in value. How do they do it? They know how to correctly evaluate the long term consequences of the injury upon the person, and how state-specific laws or caps on certain damages can impact the amount sought in a claim or lawsuit.

For serious injuries, it is important that the injured person is adequately compensated. An individual who is facing disabilities, whether physical, mental or both, will be dealing with difficult challenges, and may never be able to work in his or her chosen profession again, or provide the income, love and care to the family as prior to the injury. These are all issues that must be evaluated and given a monetary value. A personal injury lawyer is a professional in this field, and can advise you of the actual value of your injury claim, and then proceed to pursue compensation that is fair. Insurance company personnel, such as defense lawyers, are aware that when a legal professional is on the case there is far less “wiggle room” and a much lower chance of getting an injured person to accept an unfair settlement.