The holidays are behind us, and most of us have returned to business as usual. However, if you were injured by a Christmas gift, you may be facing painful and debilitating injuries that compromise your lifestyle and financial future.
If you believe that your product-related injuries are due to defects in the product, or that the manufacturer failed to warn you of the risk for injury, you may be able to seek damages for your injuries through a product liability suit.
Product liability law in Texas is often complex, and proving that the manufacturer is liable for your injuries requires an extensive investigation of the product and thorough documentation of the accident and injuries. A knowledgeable Texas personal injury attorney can help you to navigate this process.
Types of Product Liability Recognized in Texas
Texas product liability law operates under strict liability. This means that negligence does not matter. There are therefore three types of product liability recognized by Texas state law: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.
If a product is defectively designed, it endangers the user even if it is manufactured perfectly. In order to successfully prove that design defects caused the injury and receive compensation, the plaintiff must demonstrate that:
- It was possible for the manufacturer to use a less-dangerous design
- Using this design would have been technically and financially reasonable
- The alternative design would not significantly compromise the product’s utility
A manufacturing defect is a chance event, and is not present in every individual product produced. Manufacturing defects are usually due to errors in production or product quality control. Unlike design defects, specific criteria are not necessary for a manufacturing defect liability claim.
However, clear evidence of the product’s defect must be provided. You must also demonstrate that this defect was responsible for the injuries.
Failure to Warn
Under Texas law, a product can also be considered defective if the manufacturer did not provide proper safety warnings or instructions for product use. This is known as failure to warn.
The manufacturer must warn of any potential product hazards that are not readily apparent. Further, instructions for safe use must be provided. Failure to do so can result in the manufacturer being held liable for resultant injuries.
Elements Needed to Prove Liability
In order to prove liability, you must be able to show that injuries occurred due to the product in question, and that the product was defective:
Injuries resulting from product use must be thoroughly documented. Evidence of the personal and financial consequences of the injuries are also helpful in seeking damages.
Injuries Were Due to the Product in Question
You must be able to prove that your injuries occurred due to the defective product in question. Thorough documentation of the accident, and if possible, witness statements, are necessary.
The Product Was Defective
An expert evaluation will be needed to prove that the product was defective under one of the criteria described above.
What to Do if You Are Injured by a Defective Product
A successful product liability claim requires that every element of the case is thoroughly documented. As the plaintiff, it is important that you are aware of what needs to be documented so that you can gather the necessary evidence.
Save the Product
Because product liability law focuses on defects in the product, it is imperative to save the product itself. Keep not only the product, but also all packaging, instruction manuals, and safety warnings. If you can locate a purchase receipt or warranty information, this may also be helpful.
Seek Medical Attention
For your own safety, seek medical attention right away for your injuries. Keep records of all emergency room and doctor’s office visits to demonstrate that you sought medical attention as soon as possible after the accident.
Document Your Injuries
It is important to thoroughly document the nature of your injuries. Keep all medical records, including ER or office visit summaries, your patient chart, and results of any diagnostic tests such as x-rays or an MRI.
If possible, it may also be helpful to take pictures or videos of your injury. This provides evidence of the true nature of your injuries and how they affect your life. Pictures and videos may also be more relatable to a jury.
Document What Happened
It is important to prove that your injuries resulted from the product in question. Thoroughly document the events leading up to your injuries. Write up a full account of the accident with as much detail as possible, and electronically time and date stamp it.
If anyone else was present during the accident, ask them to also write up a detailed account of the accident. You may also need them to testify as witnesses in court.
Keep Medical Bills, Pay Stubs and Tax Returns
It is important to document the financial burden of your injuries. Keep all medical bills to document these expenses. If your injuries render you unable to work, keep pay stubs and tax returns to document lost wages.
Work with a Defective Product Lawyer
As mentioned above, this area of the law can be incredibly complicated and confusing. Moreover, when filing a product defect lawsuit, you are almost guaranteed to be taking on a business that possesses more money and resources that you. That likely means a high-price legal team and a strong desire to quash your suit as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
To effectively fight back, it is vital that you not only work with a respected defective product attorney who has a track record of success, but also that you get in contact as soon as possible. Do not delay. Reach out now to give yourself the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing law in Texas in 2005. Before joining the Fulgham Hampton Law Group, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.