If you are injured by a defective product, you may have a products liability case. In other words, you may want to sue the manufacturer or seller of the product and seek compensation for your injuries. A well-known products liability example is when someone is injured because their airbag fails to deploy. Another example is when someone is injured by a defective prescription drug.
Products can be defective in a few different ways. There are design defects, where the product was designed poorly. In this situation, you’d have to prove that the designer was negligent.
Products can have a manufacturing defect, which means that the design was proper but a mistake was made during the manufacturing process. You generally do not have to prove negligence in the case of a manufacturing defect; you just have to prove that the defect existed.
Another way that a product can be defective is if it’s unreasonably dangerous and does not include a warning. A person injured by such a product can sue under products liability. In these cases, the product is generally designed and manufactured properly, but it is so dangerous that it requires a warning to the consumer.
Aside from considering the type of defect involved, you (and your attorney) will consider the extent of your injuries before deciding whether to pursue a lawsuit. Basically, if your injuries are serious, you will have an easier time finding an attorney to take your case. Like many personal injury lawsuits, a products liability lawsuit can be very expensive. One reason is that experts are paid to testify about the product and its defect. Attorneys usually cover these costs, so they are picky about the cases they take and prefer those with a likelihood of success, as well as a significant recovery. If your airbag fails to open, but you suffer only a minor concussion, you will have a hard time finding an attorney to take your case.
Products liability attorneys generally charge a contingency fee. This means that they are not paid hourly – they are paid a percentage of what you win. If you don’t get anything, neither do they. It’s a risk for the attorney, but with a possible reward for taking that risk. For the client, contingency fees level the playing field – anyone can afford a lawyer because the client pays nothing upfront in most cases.
Your best bet for a successful products liability claim is to hire an attorney with significant experience in this area of law. In Illinois, you’ll probably find these attorneys in Chicago, although there are products liability attorneys elsewhere. The bottom line is to find an established firm or attorney, meaning that they have products liability experience, a good reputation and a track record of success.
We know who the established products liability attorneys are in Illinois. Call or email us at any time for a free case evaluation. We’ll listen, answer your questions, and refer you to the best attorney we know for your situation.
Written by Michael Helfand