Defective Products and Product Liability

When you buy a product, you trust that it’s going to work as you expect. You believe that what you buy isn’t going to cause you harm. Unfortunately, sometimes the things we purchase don’t work as planned.

When you’re hurt because of a malfunctioning product, you may be able to recover for your injuries and losses. It’s essential to contact a qualified personal injury attorney if you have been hurt by a defective product to ensure your case is built in the best possible way considering the specific circumstances.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability is the legal culpability that a manufacturer has when they make and sell a defective product. Nevada law requires manufacturers to pay for a victim’s losses when a person gets hurt because of the items they make and sell.

Manufacturers are responsible for the products that they make. Nevada law says that it’s only fair to make the manufacturers pay when their products malfunction rather than leaving a victim to pay for their own losses.

Types of Product Liability Cases in Nevada

There are several ways that a product might be defective in a way that gives rise to product liability in Nevada:

Breach of Warranty

A warranty is a guarantee. It’s a promise that your product is going to work as it’s meant to work. A product might come with an express or implied warranty.

Express Warranty

An express warranty is an explicit promise that a product will work. It might be a guarantee on a label. It might be a promise on advertising or packaging for the product. When a seller makes promises to induce a sale, it’s an express warranty. If the product doesn’t live up to the warranty, the buyer may have a claim based on products liability.

Implied Warranty

A warranty may also be implied. When you buy a product, it’s fair to believe that the product will work for its intended purpose. For example, when you buy a light bulb, you trust that it’s going to light up like it’s meant to. The manufacturer doesn’t have to state that a light bulb is going to work like a lightbulb.

Instead, you’re safe to assume the light bulb is going to light up when you purchase it. If the light bulb flickers and doesn’t produce steady light, you may have a claim against the light bulb manufacturer for breach of implied warranty. To have a claim for breach of implied warranty the product’s purpose must be obvious.

Strict Liability

If you’re hurt because of a defective product, the manufacturer is strictly liable for your damages. You don’t have to show that they should have been more careful or that they did anything wrong. Strict liability for a defective product arises when there’s an error in the manufacturing process.

For example, a specification error causes a defect in the structure of a whipped cream canister. The canister explodes and hits the victim in the eye. The victim likely has a strict liability claim for a defective product.

For strict liability to apply, the victim must use the product in a foreseeable way. The product defect must cause the victim’s injuries. You don’t have to be able to prove how the defect occurred. All you have to show is that a defect caused your injuries.

Negligence

Determining Negligence in Product Liability

If strict liability doesn’t apply, you may still be able to recover from the manufacturer, distributor or seller under a negligence theory. For negligence to apply, you must prove that the other side didn’t act in a reasonably careful way. Their negligence must result in your injuries.

For example, a distributor brings chairs from a manufacturer to a big store for sale. The distributor stacks the chairs on top of each other in the truck during transit. The stacking puts too much weight on the chairs, and it compromises the structure of the chairs. You go to the big store and purchase a chair. You get home and sit on the chair. It breaks. You fall to the floor and break your arm. You likely have a claim against the distributor for negligence.

Misrepresentation or Fraud

When a manufacturer knows about a defect and chooses to conceal it, their deception can create product liability. You must prove that the manufacturer knew about the defect and decided to misrepresent the situation or intentionally lie. Although it can be hard to prove intent, you can take advantage of discovery options that allow you to conduct depositions and demand evidence from the manufacturer.

Available Damages

There are a variety of damages that you may be able to recover if you’re injured because of a defective product:

  • Medical bills
  • Mobility aids like a cane, wheelchair or electronic chair for your home
  • Occupational therapy to help you return to work or train for a new job
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages if you miss work
  • Lost future earning capacity if you’re unable to return to work for a long time
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of normal functioning
  • Punitive damages to punish the manufacturer for dangerous conduct

Each case is different, and your damages depend on your exact losses. Some damages are easy to add up. Others are harder to quantify like pain and suffering and future lost earnings. An experienced attorney can help you examine the damages in your case and gather the appropriate evidence for the recovery that you deserve.

Class Action Cases

Sometimes, a lot of people get hurt because of a product defect. When that happens, the parties can join together to bring an action together. A class action is a case that involves many plaintiffs making a claim about a similar problem with a product. Working together can save victims time and resources.

How Can an Attorney Help?

When you’re hurt because of a defective product, it can be hard to know where to begin. A qualified injury lawyer can help you determine how you might be able to recover for your losses. They can help you understand what you need to do to prove your case.

Although bringing a personal injury case after being hurt by a defective product can seem overwhelming, it is possible to recover compensation to help you down the road to recovery. Finding the right resources, including legal representation, enables you to understand your options and harness Nevada law to get the compensation that you deserve.