Charleston Product Liability Lawyer
When you’re using a product of any kind in the comfort of your own home, you expect those items to be safe and not cause harm to you or a loved one, especially when you’re using the products according to the instructions on the label or instruction manual.
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries from consumer products, medication, vehicles, medical devices, and numerous other items occur every day.
According to research data from the National Safety Council (NSC), there were 12.7 million reported consumer product injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2022, an increase of 7.8% from 2021. Most of these injuries involved everyday products, such as household cleaners, furniture, and stairs.
This statistic only covers the injuries that were treated in emergency departments, not any that may have been treated at urgent care centers or primary care doctor’s offices.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective or dangerous product, you can seek compensation for your injuries and damages by contacting a Charleston product liability lawyer today. Hendrickson & Long, PLLC serves Charleston and all of West Virginia, assisting victims of faulty products, just like you, and protecting consumers’ rights.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office for help with your case.
What Is Product Liability?
State laws require product manufacturers to ensure their items meet at least the minimum standard in terms of quality and safety. When that doesn’t happen and something goes wrong, often resulting in injury or damage, manufacturers and distributors of these faulty products can be held legally responsible.
In the case of product liability in West Virginia, the victim (or plaintiff) can bring a claim against the product’s manufacturer and/or distributor on the grounds of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. In the case of strict liability, the plaintiff does not have to prove negligence in order to pursue legal action; they only have to show that the product is indeed defective and that defect caused harm.
The defendant in product liability claims can be any person or entity that contributed to supplying the faulty product to consumers.
Common Defective Products in West Virginia
With so many products out there being used every day, it’s hard to know what is safe and what isn’t.
These are some of the most common defective, dangerous or faulty items our office has seen:
- Toxic chemicals and substances (such as pesticides, asbestos, or mold)
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective automobile parts: Including tires, seat belts, airbags, use of recalled parts
- Vehicle recalls due to poor design or manufacturing
- Defective medical devices, including hip and knee replacements
- Defective tools or machinery, including poor design of heavy equipment
- Defective toys or children’s items
- Defective household products and appliances
- Other consumer products
This is a general list of common types of products that affect consumers every day, and it is not comprehensive. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to a product type not listed here, our office will likely still take your case.
Three Categories for Faulty Products
In West Virginia, three main types of product defects lead to lawsuits. If any one of these defects exists, the plaintiff will likely have grounds for a strict liability claim, and the courts will hold the defendant liable. Those three categories are:
Sometimes, a product is created, usually accidentally, with flaws that make its use dangerous to consumers.
A good example of this is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, released in 2016, which had a battery issue that caused the phone to overheat and explode. Samsung recalled the faulty devices and lost over five billion dollars in doing so.
Later information showed that properly testing their product, instead of rushing it out to consumers so quickly, could have avoided the issue and recall altogether.
Incorrect Labeling or Marketing
Most products come with instructions and warning labels explaining correct usage and possible dangers if the item is not used according to its intended purpose.
In some cases, improperly labeled products have dangers not known to the consumer. For example, children’s toys are usually marketed toward different age groups based on small parts or materials used. Failure to market these toys for the intended age can make otherwise harmless items dangerous and defective.
Anyone can make a mistake, but if someone on an assembly line of a manufacturing facility forgets to put in an important piece of a product, that mistake can lead to major injury.
The product might have been tested and shown to be completely safe for consumers, but if a piece is missing or if it’s been assembled incorrectly, it can easily be a dangerous item.
Determining the Responsible Parties
One of the most important and often most difficult components of a product liability case is determining who actually is liable. Sometimes, more than one person or entity can share responsibility for your injuries, and identifying these parties is why hiring an experienced lawyer is so important.
Your Hendrickson & Long, PLLC attorney will do a thorough investigation into your claim to bring those responsible to justice.
Liable parties are often one or more of the following:
- Outside contractors or consultants
- Distributors or retailers
- Any other parties involved in the design, manufacturing, designing, and disbursement of the faulty products
Who is Most at Risk for Consumer Product Injuries?
Faulty products can affect anyone at any time; however, there are certain items and age groups that are more likely to suffer injuries from some products than others.
For defective household or daily use products, those shown to be most at risk for serious injury are children (age 0-4) and elderly adults (age 65+).
Children, especially, are most at risk for injury or death from such items as soaps or detergents, television sets and stands, and cooking ranges or ovens, while elderly adults are most at risk for injuries relating to stairs, ramps, floors, and landings.
Other defective products that are known to cause injuries to consumers outside of the previously mentioned age groups, such as vehicle recalls, are a constant problem each year for drivers of all ages.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 932 vehicle safety recalls in the United States in 2022 alone, affecting more than 30.8 million vehicles. It’s not just the vehicles themselves that may have defects, but items used in or on vehicles as well, such as child car seats or bicycle racks.
Notable Product Lawsuits and Recalls
Every day, there seems to be a news story about previously unknown side effects of commonly used products, from pain medications to weed killers, which results in recalls and lawsuits. Some of these more infamous defective products may sound familiar:
- Elmiron: Linked to many cases of severe eye damage and vision loss
- Defective hernia mesh: Caused infections, additional surgeries, organ damage and many more problems in patients
- Talcum powder: Connected to many cases of ovarian cancer
- Round-up: Cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma reported after extended exposure
- Zantac: Known to contain low levels of N-nitro dimethylamine (NDMA), which causes many types of cancer
Most of the lawsuits surrounding those products have now been settled and the products have been recalled. However, you may be able to submit a claim if you or someone you know has been affected by those listed, which your Charleston product liability lawyer will be able to guide you on.
Additionally, there are still faulty and dangerous products around us, such as:
- Peloton, the maker of popular exercise bikes and treadmills, recalled their Tread+ exercise machine in 2021. Many injuries because of the Tread+ were reported, but this recall was issued only after at least one child died from being pulled under the machine.
- Quaker Oats recently issued a recall for some of their granola bars and cereals, which were linked to a potential risk of salmonella.
- Children’s applesauce and cinnamon apple puree products from brands WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis were recalled in November 2023 due to elevated lead and chromium levels.
To check if any products you use have new or existing recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has an online form, as does the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), both of which are updated regularly.
Choosing the Right Product Liability Attorney
Dealing with sudden injuries, damages, or wrongful death after the use of a common product can be a devastating situation. Not only might you or a loved one be injured, but you are faced with medical bills, lost wages, and so much more.
You want those responsible to be held accountable, but you don’t know where to start. This is where our skilled attorneys at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, come in.
We handle cases just like yours every day and have secured compensation for our clients for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property loss
- Disability costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial costs
We know how traumatizing this can be, and you can rest assured that we will take your case seriously and that it will be filed within the two-year statute of limitations required for West Virginia product liability claims.
Contact our office today and see how we can assist you with your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.