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Shapiro & Appleton

Virginia Injury Lawyers’ Advice: What is Product Liability?

Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage or injury caused by that product, according to Cornell Law. Virginia Code § 38.2-5101 defines product liability as having responsibility for paying monetary damages due to the victim of any "personal injury, death, emotional harm, consequential economic damage or property damage, including damages resulting from the loss of use of property, arising out of the manufacture, design, importation, distribution, packaging, labeling, lease, or sale of a product, but does not include the liability of any person for those damages if the product involved was in the possession of such a person when the incident giving rise to the claim occurred."

To put it plainly, if you were injured by a defective product, you can file an injury claim against the manufacturer of that product. Expert testimony is normally needed to show the nature of the problem inherent in the product's design or in the way the item was produced. The injured person has to prove that the car or product was not safe for use at the time it was sold or left the maker's hands. 

"Which manufacturer?" you might ask. A product liability claim can be filed against the manufacturer of the defective product's "component parts" (i.e., the parts manufactured at the top of the chain), assembling manufacturer, wholesaler and the retailer (i.e., the owner of the store where the product was purchased).

A common type of product liability case involves a defective auto part. Car, truck and SUV manufacturers routinely produce vehicles with defective brakes, airbags and fuel lines. A possible example may be a major accident involving a family traveling in a 2011 Chevy Traverse on I-64 in Norfolk, Virginia (VA). On July 3, 2011, The Traverse suddenly erupted into flames, and the father was forced to pull over to save his family. The father, a U.S. Navy sailor, bravely sacrificed his life to save his young son.

What caused this fatal interstate fire? Reports indicate it may have been due to a faulty fuel line.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt and suspect the injury was caused by a product malfunction or defect, do not hesitate or delay calling a lawyer. The statute of limitations for a defective product liability claim in Virginia is only two years after the injury occurred. This means that if you were injured in, let's say August of 2009, you would need to file a claim by August 2011. If you tried to file in October 2011, the defense would file a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. 

Our firm has experience handling these types of injury cases. For example, fellow Virginia personal injury lawyer Rick Shapiro secured a $750,000 settlement for an injured factory welder who was seriously hurt by a defective drop-leg jack. 

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Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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