Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Product Manufacturer?
When consumers buy a product on the open market, they have the right to expect that product is safe for its intended use. But every year, thousands of consumers are injured and many are killed by defective consumer products. If you have lost a loved one because of a fatal injury caused by a product defect, one way to seek justice is a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer.
To prevail in your lawsuit, you would have to prove a number of elements:
- The product had a defect at the time it was sold — For you to be able to sue the manufacturer, the defect has to be built into the product. If a defect occurs when the product is installed or maintained, your action would be against the company that installed it or serviced it.
- The defect made the product unreasonably unsafe — “How dangerous is too dangerous” is a question for a judge or jury to decide. Some products, such as chain saws, are known to be inherently dangerous. Manufacturers can sometimes shield themselves from liability by labeling products with warnings to consumers, provided the warnings are adequate. You must prove that because of the defect, the manufacturer’s product was not safe for sale to the public.
- The victim used the product as intended or misused it in a way that was foreseeable — Negligent misuse of a product can bar the injured party from suing if it seems that the injury happened because of the misuse rather than with a defect in the product. However, the court could decide the manner in which the victim misused the device was predictable, and the manufacturer should have planned for it.
- The defect in the product caused a fatal injury to the victim — There has to be an unbroken chain of causation from the defect to the injury to the victim’s death. If the defective product injured the victim but another subsequent event was the direct cause of death, the victim can only recover for the injury. For example, if the victim received incompetent medical treatment for wounds, the death might be due to medical malpractice, not product defect.
Products liability cases are complex, requiring in-depth investigation and testing of the product. Defendants are generally large corporations often willing to spend millions of dollars defending claims. For these reasons, it is very important to retain an experienced products liability attorney to prosecute your wrongful death claim.
If your loved one lost their life to a defective product, trust Largey Law to fight aggressively for justice. To schedule an appointment with an experienced wrongful death lawyer at our firm, call 352.508.1485 or contact our office online.