Types of compensation available for defective product claims in GA
When you sustain injuries from a defectively designed or manufactured consumer product, it may be possible for you to receive compensation from the maker of that product or the party that sold it. Consumers everywhere rely on manufacturers to deliver products that have been designed, tested and manufactured with safety in mind. When they fail in that role, significant harm can result and cause a lifetime of physical and financial challenges.
Because the Georgia legislature has imposed time restrictions on how long you have to file a defective product lawsuit, it is essential that you are familiar with these limitations and to preserve your right to compensation.
When an injury victim is able to establish that defective products are to blame for the harm sustained, there are various kinds of damages that may be available. For example, compensatory damages are those meant to provide recovery for losses caused by the defendant.
Under the umbrella of compensatory damages are special damages that could include payment for medical bills, lost wages, etc. In addition, general damages include payment for less-tangible kinds of harm such as physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost enjoyment of life, etc.
Though not as commonly awarded, punitive damages are sometimes available, and they are meant to deter and punish the type of conduct at issue. In Georgia, these damages are usually only awarded in cases where a defendant is found to have acted maliciously, fraudulently or with blatant indifference to the dangers posed to others.
How long do I have to seek damages?
Broadly speaking, injury victims are given 2 years following their injury date to pursue a defective product lawsuit in Georgia. There are some exceptions to this general rule, such as those with a mental disability or other attributes that excuses their ability to file within the traditional time period.
There is another type of limitation imposed on these types of lawsuits—known as the statute of repose. Litigation of this nature typically must be filed within 10 years of the date when the product at issue initially hit the market. Some exceptions to this rule include instances in which the product is alleged to have caused a birth defect or disease, cases in which injuries were caused by a maker’s reckless or wanton disregard for others or instances in which a manufacturer failed to warn of known risks of harm posed by its product.
Regardless of the available time frame to file in a given case, the best course of action is to seek the guidance of an experienced Georgia defective product lawyer as soon as possible. In this way, it is easier to begin the process of documenting the harm, securing key evidence and building persuasive arguments.
Personal injury damage caps
Prospective plaintiffs in Georgia product liability cases need to know that unlike some other jurisdictions around the country, the state has not imposed any cap or limit on the compensatory damages that may be available in a product liability case.
Special damages are far more easily reduced to a concrete number than general damages, but in both classifications there is no formal cap on what may be received.
The role of comparative negligence in your product liability case
Georgia follows the doctrine of comparative negligence in assessing personal injury cases. Though it is true that even if a plaintiff played some role in the harm ultimately suffered, they may still receive compensation, it is also the case that the damage award will be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault.
When to consult an experienced Georgia product liability attorney
Filing a defective product claim is a complicated process that calls for the knowledge and resources of a personal injury lawyer. Claims of this nature require meticulous research, documentation and organization, including testimony from expert witnesses and loss valuation analysts.
In many situations, it is possible to engage in settlement negotiations with the maker or seller of a defective product and ultimately arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution. However, when that proves futile, it is important to align with a product liability lawyer with the background, resources and determination to bring a case to trial.
Suffering serious harm after placing your trust in the hands of a consumer product manufacturer is always a disconcerting and disappointing experience. Fortunately, the law provides the opportunity for accountability and financial compensation to help with the losses that result.