The last time you purchased an electronic gadget, the furthest thought from your mind was whether it would explode, right? Most people do not check a tablet’s structural integrity when they bring it home; they charge it up, load their favorite apps, and begin enjoying it.
In Ohio, thousands of hard-working consumers learn the hard way that the products they trusted for decades are equally responsible for injuries or deaths as products they have never encountered before. Thankfully, laws protect the consumer who responds affirmatively to manufacturer negligence.
For product liability suits to survive the onslaught of meritorious defenses product makers will raise, these components should be present.
Using any product in ways it was not designed will automatically discredit your claim. However, using any item purchased from the store within the parameters the manufacturer defines protects you should an injury occur.
Once you have been injured, any flaws should be traceable to the manufacturer. This may include poor design, unlabeled choking hazards on toys, or anything related to mass recalls that was not made publicly available.
Lack of sufficient warning is another component of negligence, such as failing to warn end-users that placing items in excessive heat may cause items to explode. Same with failing to honor the manufacturer’s warranty.
As we touched on above, injuries from using products outside the parameters set by a manufacturer may discredit your claim unless parameters for expected consumer use were not set.
Those who have sustained injury from using products as directed may be entitled to compensation provided they are able to prove the product, by using according to directions, caused them harm. Claimants are required to file their suit within Ohio’s statute of limitations, currently set at two years.
If injured persons are found to have contributed more than 50% to their injury, claims will be outright denied in Ohio. This provision points toward individuals who misuse or abuse products which result in serious bodily injury.
Anything less than 50% will still qualify for compensation commensurate with your level of involvement. So, if you have been injured and were awarded $200,000 but had 30% involvement, you would be entitled to $140,000 ($200,000 – $60,000).
Juries tend to decide the level of personal involvement, needing strong physical evidence and testimony to arrive at contributory fault.
Product liability laws are complex. Litigable cases must have an obvious injury, a negligible party, and right to compensation stemming from product deficiencies. Some claims that persons may feel are ‘unsubstantiated’ may, in fact, have complete legal grounds for seeking civil damages. Some may get injured long after the product is deemed ‘unfit’.
For example, few knew that recalled Takata airbags were causing injury or death until news broke. After that, it seemed like everyone was victimized, or had grounds to seek civil damages.
It is important that one uses products as they were intended. If instructions are too vague or lack sensibility, bring it to the manufacturer’s attention. Log the date, time, and response. If nothing is done to remedy the potential flaw, and an injury occurs, you would be entitled to compensation based on the manufacturer’s failure to remedy.
Serving the greater Toledo area, Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC knows consumer products frequently injure those who use them as directed. Reach out by phone, email, or visit us in person to discuss your product liability issues.
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