How are Defective Product Injury Claims Different from Traditional Personal Injury Claims? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

While an injury in a car accident on Interstate 64 (I-64) in Williamsburg, Virginia  and a defective lawn mower that suddenly catches fire in Chesapeake, Va both fall under the guise of “personal injury claims,” the process for pursuing financial restitution is quite different. 

Understanding the Different Types of Defective Product Injury Claims

In an auto accident injury case, an injured party (i.e. the plainiff), need to establish that the other driver (i.e. the defendant) was negligent. This is often established through eye witness testimony or a police report on the collision. However, defective product injury cases are different because liability can be established through three distinct legal theories:

  • Defective design – This means the defect was present in the product from the beginning, even before it was manufactured.
  • Defective manufacture – These defects appear during the manufacturing process.
  • Failure to warn – This involves defects during the marketing process and may include a lack of safety warnings, instructions for use and poor labeling.

Proving Your Defective Product Case Requires Meeting Higher Standard

The legal standard for establishing liability against a seller and manufacturer is quite stringent in Virginia. For example, Virginia law does not apply the doctrine of “strict liability” to claims alleging injuries from defective products, so your attorney will need to prove negligence on the part of the designer, manufacturer (or manufacturer of a component part), or distributor of a product placed on the market for consumption by the public. These are the elements you will need to prove:

  1. The product had a defect that foreseeably could cause harm;
  2. You were using the product for the purpose it was intended, without any alteration from its original condition when purchased; and
  3. As a direct result of a defect in the product, you suffered demonstrable damages.

Potential for Multiple Liable Parties

In many auto accident injury claims, there is typically only one liability party (i.e. the other driver). However, in product liability claims, there may be multiple parties who should be held responsible for causing your harms and losses. The manufacturer of the parts, the manufacturer of the product, the wholesaler and the retailer may all be at fault. 

Speak to a Lawyer Right Away

When you or a loved one suffered an injury, or died, as a result of a consumer product, you need to contact a defective product injury lawyer in Virginia right away. The team of attorneys at our firm will investigate the circumstances of your injury, or loved one’s death, and the defect that caused it. We will pursue not only a recovery of your financial damages but will seek compensation for damages to your quality of life as well. In addition, in the event of a particularly egregious disregard for the potential danger of an obvious defect, we may consider pursuing punitive damages to deter the negligent party from allowing similar dangers to consumers to occur in the future. Our firm has a track record of success in defective product injury cases. Take a moment to read about the firm’s $2.5 million jury verdict in a defective Ryobi lawn mower wrongful death case.  


·       What is the difference between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

·       What is Your Injury Claim Worth?

·       Personal Injury Lawsuit Misconceptions