Thousands of consumers are injured across the United States each year due to defective, dangerous products, including medical devices, personal care items, and children's toys. These individuals are entitled to compensation under their state's product liability laws.
About Product Liability Law
Product liability is an area of law that deals with the responsibility for damages caused by defective and/or dangerous products. It is based on state laws regarding negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. In Louisiana, product liability claims are prosecuted under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.
Liability for damages can rest with any party involved in the distribution of the product, including the manufacturer, manufacturer of component parts, assembler, wholesaler, or retail store. The responsible party is determined based on the specific nature of the claim, including:
- Defective design claims suggesting that the concept of the product itself is flawed
- Manufacturing defect claims stating that an error in the manufacturing process created the danger
- Marketing claims arguing that consumers weren't adequately informed of the product's risks due to misleading or inaccurate ad campaigns
To win a claim under the Louisiana Products Liability Act, you must be able to prove the following:
- The product had a dangerous design, composition, or construction.
- There was an unreasonably dangerous aspect of the product that could cause harm during a reasonably anticipated use.
- The unreasonably dangerous aspect existed when the product was sold or was the result of a reasonably anticipated modification of the product.
Types of Damages in a Product Liability Claim
When you file a product liability suit, you can seek reimbursement for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages refer to expenses that can be verified with receipts or bills from service providers. Possible categories of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses. If you've been injured by a defective product, you can seek compensation for all costs related to your medical care. This includes emergency room care, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, and prescription medications. If applicable, the cost of any future medical care may also be included in your claim.
- Loss of wages. You're entitled to compensation for any time you missed at work due to your injury, as well as any applicable loss of future earning potential due to your injuries.
- Property loss. If the defective product damaged your home, automobile, or other property, you're entitled to the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Cost of disability. If the defective product left you permanently disabled, you can seek reimbursement for the cost of accommodating your disability through modifications to your home or vehicle or hiring household help to perform tasks you are no longer able to do independently.
Non-economic damages, sometimes called non-monetary damages or general damages, refer to intangible losses with no easily verifiable dollar value. Categories of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering. You're entitled to compensation for both the physical pain of your injuries as well as the emotional suffering you've incurred as the result of the defective product.
- Loss of consortium. If you're married, you may be able to claim damages to compensate for the negative effect of your injuries on your relationship with your spouse. Loss of consortium damages are intended to reimburse for factors such as difficulty with sexual relations, no longer being able to have children, being unable to assist with household chores, and being a less attentive partner due to the emotional strain of your injuries.
Seeking Legal Representation
If you're interested in pursuing a product liability claim, experienced legal representation is a must. The companies involved in product liability lawsuits typically have access to teams of attorneys working to represent their interests, so it's vital that you have someone to advocate for your needs throughout the process.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents settle their product liability cases. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.