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Shapiro & Appleton

Injuries Caused by a Defective Product - Understanding Your Legal Rights

Many people contact our firm because they were seriously injured by a defective product or medication. Products ranging from mislabeled medications to lawn mowers have been found to be negligently placed in the stream of commerce for sale by a manufacturer (despite the presence of a wholesaler or other link in the chain of sale).

The most common question we get is – “can I sue the manufacturer?” To be candid, every case is different so I can’t tell you that you have a valid claim until I hear the specific facts of your potential case.

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Product defect injury cases can be complicated and there is a high threshold to prove liability. Virginia law does not impose upon a manufacturer a duty to design and market an accident-proof product. Instead, the law imposes upon the manufacturer the duty to exercise ordinary care in designing and marketing a product that is reasonably safe (1) for the purposes for which it is intended, (2) other uses to which it ordinarily would be put, (3) for other uses that the manufacturer reasonably could foresee. If the manufacturer violates this duty, they have committed negligence. So, for example, if you buy a lawnmower and the mower suddenly explodes propelling the blades into the air, you probably have a valid product defect claim.  

Many products come with an express warranty. However, even if your product doesn’t have an express warranty, there may be an applicable implied warranty. When a company manufactures and sells a product, it gives an implied warranty that the product (1) will be fit for the purposes for which such a product ordinarily is used and (2) will be fit for any other reasonably foreseeable use.

The burden we have, in a product defect injury claim, is to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence that the manufacturer knew, or reasonably should have known, that the product was unreasonably dangerous. If a judge or jury finds that the product was unreasonably dangerous, either for the use to which it would ordinarily be put (or for some other reasonably foreseeable use) then the manufacturer could be held liable for violating, or breaching, its implied warranty of fitness.  

 

Randy E. Appleton
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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