When you use a product in the way it was intended, you don’t expect it will cause you harm. Whether it’s a vacuum cleaner or a ladder, you assume you’ll be safe. Unfortunately, people in Georgia suffer harm every day because of the products they use. If you suffered injuries caused by a defective or dangerous product, you may be eligible for compensation. However, you will need to work with an Atlanta injury lawyer to build a strong case. Product liability law can be complex, and you may have to go up against a big company with high-powered attorneys. You’ll need to ensure you have strong legal representation as well.
Product liability lawsuits hold manufacturers and distributors legally responsible for the damages their products cause. All businesses should make sure their products are safe for their intended use. If they don’t ensure an item is safe through proper design, testing and labeling, they can be held liable. Let’s look at what the law says about product liability and how a lawyer can assist you.
What’s Covered Under Georgia’s Product Liability Statute
To convince a court to rule in your favor in a product liability lawsuit, you will have to prove four elements. These are:
- The product had a defect at the time you were injured
- The defect caused your injury
- The product was more or less in the same condition as it was when it left the manufacturer
- You used the product as the manufacturer intended
You don’t need to prove that you purchased the product to sue the manufacturer. Therefore, if you borrowed a product from someone, you can take legal action. In most cases, you won’t have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in any way. Georgia has strict product liability laws. The company that made the defective product is responsible for any injuries it causes. When you meet with an Atlanta injury lawyer they will advise you on the best way to proceed.
Types of Product Defects
Three main types of product defects can result in lawsuits in Georgia. Design defects occur when the product turned out how the manufacturer intended but the design is unreasonably dangerous. This means that the risks inherent in the product design outweigh the benefits. The court may question whether the company could have used a safer alternative design. Manufacturing defects occur when the product was designed to be safe, but something went wrong during the manufacturing process. The third type of product defect case is a failure to warn consumers about a non-obvious, foreseeable danger. This danger must be present when the product is used normally.
If one of these issues is present, it’s unlikely that you will have to prove negligence. It should be enough to show that the defect exists, and that it caused your injuries. That being said, some product liability claims require the injured party to prove the defendant was at fault. You would have to show the manufacturer breached a duty and this led to unsafe conditions and your injuries.
You can bring a negligence claim against product manufacturers, retailers, and distributors. However, retailers and distributors tend to have more limited duties to consumers. Depending on the nature of the product, you may not be able to hold them liable. Negligence claims usually require that the at-fault party knew or should have known the product was defective.
The Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Cases
If you believe you have been injured by a defective product, you need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. In Georgia, you have two years following the injury to file a personal injury claim relating to a defective product. If you don’t discover your injuries until sometime later, the clock doesn’t start running until the date of discovery. However, there is a ten-year statute of repose in place. This means you have to file your claim within a maximum of ten years. The only exception is if the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about known or foreseeable risks. In such a situation, there is no statute of repose.
Contact an Atlanta Injury Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product
Each product liability claim is different, so you need to seek advice about your specific case. An Atlanta, Georgia personal injury law firm can notify you of the relevant deadline and rules. To get the advice you need to file a claim for compensation, contact the Bethune Law Firm today. Your first consultation is free.