What Type of Evidence is Sought in a Product Liability Case?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Justin A. Smith with Sloan Firm.
Product liability lawsuits arise when a product is unreasonably dangerous to one or more parties in ways that should have reasonably been prevented in either the design or manufacturing process. These cases can be wide-ranging, and may involve children’s toys, defective car parts, and unsafe kitchen devices such as pressure cookers or blenders to name a few. If you or a loved one were injured by a potentially defective or dangerous product, you may be eligible to file a product liability claim to seek compensation for damages including medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, for a product liability case to conclude successfully, specific types of evidence will need to be gathered and evaluated by experts.
Do not throw away a potentially defective or dangerous product that caused the injury.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in a product liability case is the product itself. It will be important to determine if the defect which occurred was relevant to only your specific product, or to the line of products in general. This and other information about the design and manufacturing process can be determined by an expert given the chance to analyze the product. If you have already turned the product into the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), you can ask to have it returned to you to be evaluated by a professional. Product liability attorneys have access to these and other expert resources to help collect the evidence for your case at no cost to you.
Do not throw away the packaging or instructional material that accompanied the product.
This is another element of necessary evidence that is particular to product liability cases. It’s important to maintain possession of the packaging the product was sold in, as well as any accompanying material such as instructions or warning labels. This may help identify whether or not the warnings included were adequate or accurate, and whether or not the injury may have occurred due to a true defect or user error. However, if you cannot find this material, it’s still a good idea to reach out to a product liability attorney; they may be able to help in locating the evidence you need.
Take pictures of any damage or injury caused by the product.
Pictures can be extremely important in proving when, where, and how an injury occurred. It’s a good idea to take pictures of not only the injury, but to also include pictures of the product itself. If you can take a picture of the product in the state it was in at the time of the injury, this might be particularly helpful. If the product caused additional visible damage such as a burned electrical socket or food splatter on the walls, take pictures of this as well. If you are unsure whether something is or is not relevant to your case, take a picture anyway. You never know what might come in handy when it comes to proving your claim.
Request a copy of your medical records.
It’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible after suffering an injury from a potentially defective product. Waiting to seek care can actually have a negative effect on your case further down the road, and seeking care ensures that an official record exists documenting what happened. However, it’s important to refrain from discussing any potential or current litigation regarding the injury with your doctor, as all of this can be included in your records and later used against you.
To learn more about the types of evidence sought in a product liability claim or for help filing, talk to a product liability attorney sooner rather than later.