Product liability cases involve a plaintiff who was injured by a product made by the defendant. These cases can be complicated and aren’t the same as most personal injury cases. The standard for proving liability is different for defective product lawsuits, and you may have longer to file your lawsuit.
The good news is that our Atlanta product liability attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Here, we’ll discuss how product liability cases are different from ordinary personal injury cases.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Atlanta Treat Product Liability Cases Differently
As a rule, our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta treat most personal injury cases the same. They work hard to prove the defendant was negligent. Once they do that, they must prove your damages.
However, with a product liability case, your attorney doesn’t have to prove negligence. Manufacturers are held strictly liable for any injuries their defective products may cause. This makes it sound like product liability cases are easy to prove. Here, we’ll discuss why this isn’t always the case.
Manufacturers Are Typically Held Strictly Liable for Defective and Dangerous Products
The most interesting thing about product liability cases is that manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their products cause. Unlike other personal injury cases, your Atlanta product liability attorney doesn’t have to prove negligence.
Oftentimes, the hardest part about a personal injury lawsuit is proving negligence. Juries don’t always agree that the defendant in these cases acted any differently than a reasonable person would. With product liability, you don’t have to worry about this.
What Does Strict Liability Mean?
Strict liability is a legal term that means a defendant can be liable for damages regardless of whether they were negligent or not. For example, with product liability cases, manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their defective products cause.
Perhaps the best way to explain this is by way of an example. Consider the following scenarios. You buy a toy for your son. He plays with it for a few hours. The next thing you know, he’s choking on a small part. He goes to the hospital, is intubated, and ends up needing a trach for the rest of his life.
To prove negligence, your personal injury lawyer in Atlanta would have to submit specific proof that the manufacturer breached their duty to your son. This can be quite difficult. Plus, it would be nearly impossible to trace the manufacturer’s behavior as it regards the specific toy purchased for your son.
With strict liability, all you need to show is that your son played with the manufacturer’s toy and that the toy injured him. As you can see, the burden on the victim is much lower with strict liability.
The Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Cases is Not as Strict
Another major difference between personal injury and product liability has to do with the statute of limitations. For personal injury in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years.
However, when it comes to product liability, the two years don’t start until you know or should know that you’ve been injured because of the defective product. You could have bought the product a year before you ever got hurt. It could also take another few months to find out it was the product that caused your injury.
One other thing to note is that, for failure to warn cases, the statute of limitations works differently.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta Must Still File Before the Statute of Repose Expires
According to Georgia Code §51-1-11 (b) (2), you must file your product liability case within ten years from the date of the incident. Since the statute of limitations for product liability is flexible, the legislature wanted to put a fixed end date on these cases.
The reason this is important is that, with product liability, the clock doesn’t start until you learn of an injury caused by a defective product. It can take longer than two years for this to happen. The statute of repose limits the total time between your incident and your lawsuit to ten years – no matter what.
Georgia Law Treats Failure to Warn Cases Differently Than Other Product Liability Cases
To complicate things a bit more, Georgia Code §51-1-11 (c) states that the statute of repose does not apply to failure to warn cases. What this means is that there is really not a hard filing deadline for these types of cases.
Keep in mind that just because the law in Georgia gives you a lot more time to file suit, you don’t have to wait. Once your Atlanta product liability attorney can prove that you were injured by a defective product, you should proceed with legal action.
You Don’t Even Need to Provide Proof That You Purchased the Defective Product
There is one other difference between product liability and personal injury worth noting. Years ago, if you wanted to sue a manufacturer in a product liability case, you had to provide proof of purchase.
This requirement comes from a common law rule that stated there needed to be a relationship, or contract, between the plaintiff and the defendant. However, as indicated by Georgia Code §51-1-11 (a), plaintiffs no longer need to do this. Your personal injury lawyer in Atlanta does not need to prove that you bought the defective product. It’s enough that you used it and were injured by it.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta Will Fight to Get You the Compensation You Deserve
If you or your loved one were hurt while using a defective product, you have rights. Your personal injury lawyer in Atlanta doesn’t even have to prove negligence. However, they do need to prove causation.
Given the fact that the defendants in these cases are corporations, it’s in your best interest to have an Atlanta product liability attorney handle your case. We offer a free, initial consultation to our new clients. Call today and schedule a date and time to come into the office.