What Type of Evidence is Important in a Defective Product Case?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of George E. McLaughlin with McLaughlin Law Firm.
When an injury occurs due to a potentially defective or dangerous product, it may be possible to file a product liability claim. A product liability claim or lawsuit is a way to hold the designer or manufacturer of a product accountable while seeking compensation for costly damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and more.
However, product liability cases are notoriously hard to litigate. It generally takes a product liability expert to access the necessary company records to adequately investigate the design and manufacturing process; this is an essential part of building a strong product liability claim. However, there are additional types of evidence that may be available to the injured person and their family that are also vital to making a claim.
Important types of evidence in a defective product case include but are not limited to:
- The product itself: The product that caused the injury is largely considered the most important piece of evidence in a product liability claim. Without this product, it will be hard for an attorney to help you prove how the injury occurred as well as assessing the individual product for a potential defect. If you have already turned it into the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), you can ask to have it returned to you.
- Evidence of purchase: If you have evidence proving when and where you purchased the item, this may also be helpful for your case. Written, printed, or electronic receipts can all help track where the item came from, how much was paid for it, and might even identify one or more potentially liable parties.
- Product packaging: The packaging in which a product was purchased or delivered is another important piece of evidence in a product liability claim. This packaging may have constructions or product use warnings that could be valuable in building your claim.
- Instructional materials: Similar to packaging material, instructional material is typically supposed to contain instructions for safe use. A product liability expert can analyze the instructions accompanying a product to determine whether or not the instructions were sufficient and/or included the proper warnings.
- Warning labels: Similar to the above, it’s important to retain any warning labels accompanying a product. Warning labels could come in the form of stickers, packaging, instructional material, or as separate warning sheets accompanying the product.
- Pictures of the product: It’s highly recommended to take pictures of the product in the same state it was in when the injury occurred. Taking pictures of any resulting damage may also help reconstruct the scene of the accident. For example, if a kitchen appliance explodes and splatters food on the walls and ceiling, take pictures of the splatter in addition to the product in the same position it was found after the explosion.
- Medical records: Seeking medical care as soon as possible after sustaining a product injury is extremely important, both to your health and to proving the legitimacy of your case further down the road. The records resulting from your medical care will play a big part in proving your damages after a product injury.
For more advice on what to do if you suspect a product is dangerous, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a product liability attorney in your area.