Virginia Beach Product Liability Lawyer
Every day, you may use hundreds of different products. Most of these products – such as the car you drive or the range you cook on – are perfectly safe. Yet there are times when these products are dangerous or defective in a way that can cause serious harm.
If you have been injured by this type of product, then you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the designer, manufacturer, and retailer of the product. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A seasoned Virginia Beach product liability attorney will fight for your right to full compensation.
The personal injury lawyers of Poole, Brooke, Plumlee advocate for accident victims throughout the commonwealth. Whether you have been hurt in a car accident caused by a faulty brake or injured by a battery that caught on fire, we can help you get the money that you deserve. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability lawsuits fall under the broad category of personal injury law. Generally, product liability means that a person can file a claim against an at-fault party if a product that they manufactured, designed, or sold caused them harm. To win this type of claim, you must be able to prove that the product was dangerous or defective in some way, or that the at-fault party failed to warn about a foreseeable risk of using the product.
Product liability claims fall into one of three categories:
- Design Defect: the product or its components were designed incorrectly. Even if the product was manufactured properly, the design makes it unsafe for consumers. For example, if a medical device such as a pacemaker fails due to a defect in its design, a person who was hurt by this failure could file a product liability claim.
- Manufacturing Defect: when a product is not produced as it was designed, it could form the basis of a product liability lawsuit. For example, if a batch of airbags is manufactured without the device that triggers the airbag to deploy, then anyone harmed by that defect could file a claim against the manufacturer.
- Marketing Defect: if a product does not come with adequate warnings or instructions and someone is hurt as a result, it could be considered a marketing defect. This can occur with products that are inherently dangerous, like a chainsaw, or products that aren’t normally dangerous, like a bookshelf. If the product doesn’t come with the right instructions or warnings about proper use – such as directions to secure the shelf to the wall to prevent a tip-over if a child climbs on it – then it could form the basis of a lawsuit.
Product liability claims may be pursued under a theory of negligence (carelessness) or breach of warranty. Unlike many other states, Virginia does not recognize strict liability for product liability cases.
Negligence claims may be based on a design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn. The injury victim (plaintiff) will have to prove that the company that designed, made, or sold the product had a duty to create a safe product, that making a safe product was possible, and that the company failed to meet those safety standards. A skilled Virginia Beach product liability lawyer can help you determine if your injuries may have been caused by negligence.
A breach of warranty claim can be brought when a product does not work as it should. Essentially, if the manufacturer or distributor made a claim about a product that was not true and someone is hurt, they could be held liable under a breach of warranty theory. For example, if a step ladder is advertised as being safe for adults up to 200 pounds, and it broke when a 150-pound adult stood on it, they may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer, retailer, or designer for breach of warranty.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit in Virginia
If you were hurt by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a lawsuit against:
- The designers of the product;
- The manufacturers of the product or its component parts;
- An assembling manufacturer (the company that assembles the components into a finished product);
- The creator of the packaging and/or user manual in failure to warn cases; and/or
- Wholesalers and retailers who sold the product.
Importantly, you can file a product liability claim against any of these parties even if you did not purchase the product yourself. For example, if you are using a friend’s coffee maker and are burned when it sprays excessive steam and hot water (an issue with some older models of Keurig coffee makers), then you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The question is not whether you bought the item, but whether you were hurt by it due to negligence or a breach of warranty.
Through a product liability claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your injuries. This may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Monetary and non-monetary damages compensate an injured victim for their losses, while punitive damages punish a wrongdoer for intentional or reckless conduct.
Economic damages cover direct financial losses. It is usually fairly easy to document economic damages through pay stubs, invoices, and medical bills. Examples of economic damages include lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, medical expenses, and future medical treatment.
Non-economic damages include money for intangible losses. These damages can be harder to prove, but they are just as real and important to injury victims. Examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and disfigurement.
Punitive damages are available in rare cases when the at-fault party (defendant) acted recklessly or intentionally. A classic example of punitive damages in a product liability claim is the infamous McDonald’s “hot coffee” case, where a jury awarded the injury victim $2.7 million in punitive damages. This case has gotten a bad rap, but the underlying facts showed that McDonald’s intentionally served their coffee at a very high temperature despite knowing that it had caused injuries because it saved the corporation money.
Product liability cases are often complicated, as they require evidence of some type of defect or a breach of warranty. An experienced Virginia Beach product liability lawyer can help you file a claim and get top dollar for your losses.
How Our Product Liability Lawyers Can Help
We trust that the products that are sold in stores are safe, yet the reality is that there is very little oversight. In many cases, it is only after a person gets hurt – and files a lawsuit – that products are changed or made safer. If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, our lawyers will fight for your right to full compensation.
Poole, Brooke, Plumlee advocates for injury victims in Virginia Beach and beyond. We offer free initial consultations for personal injury cases and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a Virginia Beach product liability attorney, call us at 757-499-1841 or fill out our online contact form.
Does Virginia Have Product Safety Standards?
In Virginia, products must be reasonably safe for the purpose for which they are intended and for their reasonably foreseeable uses. However, products do not have to be made as safe as possible – as this would often be impractical or too expensive. Instead, they simply must be reasonably safe for their intended use.
Companies must take into consideration that people may misuse their products, which is why products must also be designed and manufactured based on reasonably foreseeable use (i.e., how people will likely use them). If you have been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, we can help. Call Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Long Do I Have to File a Product Liability Lawsuit in Virginia?
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 2 years. With a few exceptions – such as if the injury victim was a minor at the time – this means that you have 2 years from the date of the accident or injury to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit within this time, then you will likely be barred from doing so.
2 years may seem like a lot of time, but product liability cases are often complicated. The best way to protect your rights is by reaching out to a Virginia Beach product liability attorney as soon as possible. Contact Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.