A product liability claim is a type of civil case that can be brought against a product manufacturer or distributor for a defective or dangerous product that results in consumer injuries. To have grounds to file a product liability claim in Albuquerque, you or your attorney must show evidence of a few key elements. Only by establishing these elements can you receive financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Existence of a Product Defect or Breach of Warranty
First, the product must possess a defect. There must be evidence that a product is faulty or defective, meaning it has an issue that was not intended by the manufacturer or that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumer use. After an injury occurs, the product should be kept for photographing and inspection. Keep all of the product’s original packaging, as well.
Three main types of defects are recognized by product liability law:
- Design defect: the item was unreasonably dangerous due to an issue with its inherent design or conception.
- Manufacturing defect: the item was flawed due to an error during its production or assembly.
- Marketing defect: the item was dangerous due to inadequate instructions or warnings.
In addition, the defect should not be obvious to the average consumer. Otherwise, the manufacturer can argue that a reasonable and prudent consumer would have avoided injury. A product liability claim can also be brought on the basis of a breach of warranty. This means the manufacturer violated an express or implied guarantee that a product was safe or conformed to specific standards.
The second element of a product liability claim is causation – the defective product must be the actual or proximate cause of the victim’s injury, illness, property damage or death. The injury being claimed must be a direct result of the defect in the product. You or your attorney must be able to show that you would not have been injured were it not for the defect in the product. If careless conduct by another party contributed to your accident, for example, the product manufacturing company may not be entirely liable. Using copies of accident reports and medical records can help you prove causation.
Intended Use of the Product
The third element of proof is that you were using the product as the manufacturer intended at the time of the accident and injury. If you were misusing the product, such as attaching the incorrect blade to a power saw, you may not be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for a defective product. You must be able to prove that you were using the item in a way that was appropriate, intended or how a reasonable consumer would have used it in similar circumstances to be eligible for compensation.
The final element of a product liability claim is that you suffered damages due to the accident. You must be able to prove that you have specific losses because of the defective product. These can include physical injuries, property damage, medical bills, disability, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Proof of losses often comes in the form of medical documentation, bills, receipts and wage documents. You can also keep an injury journal to describe how the accident has impacted your life.
For more information about how to bring a product liability claim in New Mexico, contact The Fine Law Firm for a free case consultation.