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Products Liability

Product Liability: What You Need to Know

July 3, 2020

We expect the products we buy to be safe for our use, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Dangerous products can result in serious injuries that can require months of recovery or even result in permanent disability or even death. These cases can be extraordinarily challenging because it can be difficult to know who exactly is responsible. If you’ve been injured as a result of using an unsafe product, a Billings personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and get you the compensation you deserve. 

Know What You’re Up Against

Product liability cases are extremely difficult for non-lawyers to pursue for several reasons. First, as mentioned above, it can be difficult to identify who is responsible for your injury. Most, if not all, product liability cases involve corporate entities that deliberately try to make it difficult to identify who is responsible for any defects. 

Second, the company will have both in-house lawyers and outside counsel who are working to deny claims and reduce liability. Their knowledge of the law and the ability to navigate the claim process puts non-lawyers at a significant disadvantage. 

Third, product liability cases are complex. More than likely, you will need an expert who can identify specific defects with the product and how those defects led to your injury. No matter how obvious you think it may be, you will be required to prove why the company should be held accountable for your injuries. 

Different Types of Defects

In order to hold the company liable for your injuries, you need to prove that their product was defective. In this context, it’s important to understand that defective doesn’t mean that the product was broken. Instead, you must demonstrate that the product was defective in one of three ways: 

  • Design defect – the product was designed in such a way as to be inherently unsafe.
  • Manufacturing defect – the product was safe as designed, but the way it was manufactured rendered it unsafe.
  • Failure to warn/labeling defects – Some products carry certain risks that can’t be avoided. In these situations, companies have a duty to disclose any risks that aren’t immediately apparent. 

Some product liability cases can involve two or three of these defects. An experienced Billings personal injury attorney can review your case and identify the possible defects that caused your injury. 

Strict Liability

In Montana, product liability cases are judged according to a “strict liability” standard. This means that if the product is deemed defective, then the company should be held liable. In contrast, many personal injury cases require that you prove the other party was negligent. As a result, the company’s conduct is irrelevant, even though they will try to persuade you that they shouldn’t be held liable because of all the efforts they make to protect their customers’ safety. 

Potential Defenses

In pursuing a product liability claim, there are a couple of defenses that you may face:

  • You discovered the defect or the defect was obvious and you used the product anyway;
  • You did not use the product as intended. 

While these are legitimate defenses, please note that they may not prevent you from recovering compensation. An experienced Billings personal injury attorney can evaluate your claim and provide an estimate of what it may be worth.

Contact Billings Personal Injury Attorney Jim Ragain

You don’t have to pursue your product liability case alone. Billings personal injury attorney Jim Ragain has the knowledge and experience you need to get a fair result. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us at 406-651-8888 to schedule a free consultation today.