Were you or a loved one injured by a defective product?
Our Georgia product liability lawyers will help you seek maximum compensation.
Each year, thousands of products are recalled by federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
These products are deemed to be unsafe or unfit for human use, and as a result must be removed from the market.
But not all unsafe products are removed soon enough, resulting in many American consumers getting hurt or becoming ill. What’s more, many product injuries don’t trigger a recall at all because it’s a fluke defect that causes a singular accident or injury.
Regardless of whether a product has been formerly recalled or not, any person who suffers harm while using a product that was manufactured or marketed in a defective or dangerous way may be able to recover damages from the responsible party in a product liability-based personal injury suit.
An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson in Macon, GA can determine if you have a legitimate claim against a product manufacturer or seller, and we can help you recover the damages to which you’re legally entitled. We can help you recover full and fair compensation you may be owed for:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
With offices conveniently located in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins, we serve clients in Atlanta, throughout Georgia and across the southeastern United States.
What is product liability?
Product liability law enforces the responsibility of a manufacturer, seller or distributor of goods to compensate consumers (buyers) for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products that it puts in the market. According to product liability law, the companies providing the products are usually in the best position to prevent defective products from entering the marketplace, so if they fail to do so they should be held accountable.
Although there’s no limit to the list of products that could form the basis of a product liability suit, our law firm frequently represents Georgians who have been injured by the following types of defective and dangerous products:
- Auto parts (including defectives brakes, tire defects, air bags, seatbelts, door locks, or auto safety design)
- Child safety seats
- Children’s toys (including toys which cause choking or contain unsafe amounts of lead or lead paint)
- Construction equipment
- Electrical appliances
- Ladders and scaffolding
- Manufacturing equipment
- Medical products and devices
- Motor vehicles (including trucks, vans and SUVs which are prone to rollover accidents)
- Pharmaceutical products
- Recreational products
- Space heaters, propane tanks and other products which cause fire, burns or serious injury or death
- Unsafe drug (including dangerous medications which fail to adequately warn of serious side effects)
- Wood chippers, lawn mowers, weed whackers and other lawn and garden tools
Types of product defect claims
Product liability involves product design defects, manufacturing defects, and lack of adequate safety warnings. If you’re injured by a dangerous product, you may be entitled to compensation from the company that made the dangerous product, the company that distributed the dangerous product, and the store that sold you the product.
There are 3 main types of product defects that can give rise to a product liability lawsuit:
Manufacturing defects are usually easier to prove than design defects and arise when a product isn’t manufacturers or made as intended. For example, if a person’s gas fireplace explodes when first lit, this is evidence that the fireplace wasn’t manufactured as the designer intended it to be.
In a design defect case, the product may have been manufactured as it was intended to be, but the design was deficient or fundamentally flawed in a way that posed unreasonable hazards to consumers. For example, a design-defect case could arise if many or all fireplaces of a manufacturer’s particular model posed a threat of explosion.
Lawsuits for marketing defects typically arise because of a lack of proper warnings and instructions included with the product. If a manufacturer fails to provide clear instructions and warning labels that help consumers avoid an injury, then they can be held liable for resulting injuries.
Georgia product liability law
The plaintiff’s burden in a dangerous or defective product personal injury case is heavier than in other types of civil cases. Although product liability law has evolved over the years, these cases are still challenging for plaintiffs. At one time, caveat emptor (literally translated as “buyer beware”) was the standard to which manufacturers were held.
Today, “strict liability” is often imposed in product liability cases. In Georgia, product liability claims can be based on strict liability or negligence.Under the standard of strict liability, manufacturers are responsible for any injuries caused by defective or unreasonably dangerous products even if they weren’t negligent.
Georgia Code Section 51-1-11 details the state’s product liability laws:
The manufacturer of any personal property sold as new property directly or through a dealer or any other person shall be liable in tort, irrespective of privity, to any natural person who may use, consume, or reasonably be affected by the property and who suffers injury to his person or property because the property when sold by the manufacturer was not merchantable and reasonably suited to the use intended, and its condition when sold is the proximate cause of the injury sustained.
It’s also important to know that Georgia’s statute of limitations puts a time limit on how long you have to file a product liability case in the Peach state. Aside from a few rare exceptions, injured Georgia consumers have just 2 years to file a personal injury claim caused by a defective or dangerous product, and 4 years to file a property damage claim. This “clock” starts ticking from the moment the injury is discovered, but there is a maximum deadline of 10 years on all product liability claims.
Product liability laws regarding the burden of proof and statute of limitations vary from state to state, which is why it’s important you consult a personal injury attorney near you to discuss the specifics of your case.
How to win your product liability case in Georgia
In a product liability lawsuit, the injured person—or plaintiff—must prove that there was a design or manufacturing defect in the product, or that the manufacturer didn’t adequately warn consumers about the product’s possible dangers.
The plaintiff must also establish, through relevant and credible evidence, that the product caused the injury, and that he or she was using the product in the way it was intended to be used (or that the manufacturer should have anticipated that the product could be dangerous if “misused” in the way that it was) at the time the injury occurred.
Proving causation in a product liability case can be tricky. The plaintiff must establish that the product was defective when it left the hands of the manufacturer, distributor or seller, and that the defect was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If the injuries could have arisen from several potential causes, the plaintiff usually must establish that the product defect played a substantial role in bringing them about.
Making the case for a dangerous or defective product
There are several possible legal arguments that can be used to secure financial compensation and recovery in dangerous or defective product personal injury cases. The most common legal theories of recovery are:
- Negligence. When a lack of reasonable care in the manufacture or sale of a product, or in warning about the product, results in an injury.
- Breach of warranty. When an injury happens due to failure to fulfill the terms of a promise regarding a product’s performance.
- Misrepresentation. When a company gives consumers a false sense of security about a product’s safety.
- Strict liability. When a product’s defect renders the product unreasonably dangerous, the defendant is responsible under the theory of strict liability—regardless of whether or not they are at fault for the defect.
The resources needed to win
Unlike some personal injury attorneys who settle all of their cases, we are not afraid to go to court if needed. Our firm has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare, try and win complicated cases.
We are dedicated to doing everything legally and ethically possible to obtain the best results for our injured clients. Hard work and dedication have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for people in personal injury and wrongful death claims.
When to contact a Macon, Georgia product liability attorney
In any product liability case, it’s best to save the product in question—in the same condition it was in immediately following the accident. After you’ve received initial medical treatment for your injury, contact an experienced personal injury or product liability lawyer near you who can give you advice about the complexities of your case and guide you through the legal system toward the most favorable outcome.
At the injury law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson in Macon, GA, our attorneys consult with some of the best design engineers and product safety experts to look for information that would provide us with the cause of your injury — whether it was a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or an inadequate safety warning — which could lead to a claim of negligence.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as a result of using a dangerous or defective product, our experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys can advise you on whether you may have a claim against the product manufacturer or seller. We can help you recover the maximum damages recoverable under the applicable laws.
We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means there’s no reason why you can’t have a well-respected, reputable law firm with over 200 years of combined experience representing your best interests. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.