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Hiring a Defective Product Attorney: Product Liability Cases

By: Kathy McArthur, Defective Product Attorney for over 44 years

Product liability is the legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers when their defective products cause injuries or death to a user. This guide written by our Law Firm’s product liability lawyers near me explains “product liability” tort claims and how victims can litigate to obtain full compensation for their losses.

Strict liability law in America has been around for about 120 years. So, in 2024, by law, consumers now have the right to be protected from dangerous products and misleading ads. Kathy McArthur and her co-counsel successfully litigated a recent $19 Million defective product jury trial outcome on behalf of our client.

These types of cases are called “strict liability” claims, meaning that the elements of proof are far more relaxed than in an ordinary negligence claim, such as “who was at fault in a car wreck?” In all states, product liability attorneys near me helping those who have been harmed litigate these claims.

Protecting consumers at TWO levels. For over a century in the United States, product liability laws have permitted an injured party to seek recovery from either the manufacturer or supply chain (seller) or from both. Under the strict liability laws that exist in America, putting a defective product into commercial sales potentially makes both parties accountable for injury or property damage caused by these products.

What is Strict Product Liability? With regard to laws sanctioning products liability, a seller or manufacturer can be held liable when the plaintiff (injured party) proves that that product is defective, without any need to prove an “intent to harm.” If intent to harm was proven to have occurred, then these cases would justify criminal charges.

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Who bears the cost of a defective product lawsuit? Most companies making products have some level of product liability insurance to cover the costs of defective product settlements or lawsuits. Product class action lawsuits result in manufacturers paying settlements to those harmed (and their lawyers) for defective products.

The agency in the United States that oversees consumer product safety is the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. The federal agency uses emergency room visits at hospitals nationwide as their “barometer” of rising or falling statistical data in recent product liability cases.

This quote (from the CPSC) explains trends taken from recent annual data reports:

“Following the record low number of consumer product-related injuries reported in 2020, injuries increased 6.8% in 2021 and 7.8% in 2022. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that in the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid the majority of shelter-in-place restrictions, visits to emergency departments for consumer product-related injuries fell 24%.”

Examples of such national “alerts” in 2023 often came from contaminated food items that had metal shards or plastic inside packaging. A person ingesting such harmful items may have had to undergo surgery to remove these items, and that hospital cost, lost wages while recovering and a pain and suffering claim can all be available to the injured person.

When consumers suffer injuries or death due to a product defect, those individuals are legally entitled to seek money damages. Product liability laws across the United States govern the manner in which victims can seek monetary compensation for damages caused by defective products.

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Who Can Be Sued in a Product Liability Case in Georgia?

Anyone involved in getting a product to consumers could be held responsible if there is a problem with the product. If there is a problem with a product, anyone involved in its distribution could be held responsible.

There are multiple types of defective products .This includes the manufacturer, the parts manufacturer, the product assembler, the product installer, wholesalers, and merchants.

Sellers can only be held responsible if they sold the product as part of their regular business. This rule protects occasional or hobby sellers from legal claims regarding faulty products. To be held responsible, sellers must have sold the product as part of their normal business.

If our client is the first to file a significant product lawsuit, a class action case can be filed. The word “tort” is a legal term meaning “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.”

This rule protects people who sell products occasionally or as a hobby from being involved in legal claims about the faulty product manufacturer. Plus, businesses that stock their shelves with those products to make a profit can also be held partly responsible, too.

Yet, resales of a product by an individual at a yard sale are not the targets of these laws. For instance, if an individual sells a defective baby carriage on E-bay, the person who posted the listing on the reseller marketing platform wouldn’t be held responsible under the principles of strict liability.

Plus, each state’s laws have a time limit called “the statute of limitations.” This limit of time for filing a legal action in court controls how long you have to file a claim for an injury or wrongful death. Time limits in for this type of jurisprudence are crucial. A deadline prompts people to take legal action before evidence and witnesses are no longer available.

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In Georgia, what is the Time Limit to File a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Georgia’s statute of limitations (time limit to sue) for filing a defective product liability legal action is:

  1. Two (2) years for claims involving injury to persons (i.e., food poisoning claims), and
  2. Four (4) years on property damage claims that were caused by flawed design or installation (e.g., brake pads that fail, on your new car or truck).

One more statute exists, too, called a “statute of repose” which (in the Peach State) is 10 years from the manufacture date. As Westlaw states the rule, this is “A law that extinguishes a right of action after a specified period of time has elapsed, regardless of whether the cause of action has accrued. Courts generally find that statutes of repose begin to run without interruption once the triggering event occurs.”

So, if a defective product has harmed you or a loved one (e.g., a child of yours), you need to act fast to get legal help. The legal concept of “privity” is modified for these tort claims, under OCGA 51-1-11. Failing to assert you claim in a timely fashion, though, can cause you to lose that right to sue.

An experienced product liability lawyer can help you understand the applicable time limit in your region, making sure you don’t miss the opportunity to assert your legal rights. Kathy McArthur has been a product injury attorney near me for over 40 years, and can help those who have either:

  • a. A serious bodily injury from a defective food item or product, which was either very painful, required invasive surgery, or was disfiguring or irreparable; or
  • b. Caused a death due to that defective product’s defectiveness.

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What Recovery Type of Recovery is Available if I Suffered Grievous Injuries or A Family Member was Killed by a Faulty Product?

Should you suffer injury due to a faulty product, you may be eligible for compensation covering various types of damages such as:

  • Healthcare costs (present and future) and expenses
  • Loss of income or earnings
  • The level of physical discomfort endured and the level of pain the person suffered (e.g., from a defective airbag propelling metal fragments or shards into your eyes and face)
  • Any possible claims for psychological trauma and anxiety triggered by a near death experience, etc.

In the event of a fatality due to a product flaw, the deceased’s surviving relatives or estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This allows the victims to receive compensation for the deceased’s potential income; for medical expenses incurred before the death, for funeral costs, and for the loss of the deceased’s companionship.

Product liability claims can arise three different ways. In short, through (1) design, (2) manufacturing, or (3) marketing defects in a product. In order to proceed with a product liability lawsuit, the aggrieved individual, also referred to as the claimant, needs to prove certain aspects.

A design defect occurs when a product’s design is inherently dangerous or flawed, making it unsafe for its intended use. Manufacturing defects happen during production and lead to dangerous or defective products. Marketing defects occur when a product lacks sufficient warnings, instructions, or labeling to inform consumers about risks or usage.

Seeking an Attorney to Pursue a Claim for Product Liability Near Me?

Kathy McArthur and her Legal Team can be the product liability claim lawyer near me in Georgia. Plus, in major class action cases, they can also cover claims in other states, too, having handled cases on over a dozen other jurisdictions and federal courts nationally.

Courts overseeing a national class action allow for the claimant’s damages and legal fees for his or her lawyers. For your free consultation, call McArthur Law Firm if SERIOUS injury or death have occurred to you or a loved one at 478-238-6600. Our many defective product lawyers are ready to help.

More Product Liability Resources

If you’d like to learn more about how McArthur Law Firm handles product liability cases, read our informative articles on the subject below. We explain all the different types of product liability cases we represent.