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Where Do I File My Defective Product Lawsuit?

In the majority of personal injury lawsuits, the lawsuit is filed in the court that has jurisdiction in the location where the incident took place. For example, if a car accident occurs in Virginia Beach, the victim would file their car accident lawsuit with the Virginia Beach General District Court. But when it comes to a product liability lawsuit, there may be a question of where the lawsuit should be filed if the at-fault party is located in another state.

A 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set more rigid requirements that a victim needs to prove in order for the state they live in to have jurisdiction over the case. In some cases, this ruling has made it easier for corporations who are being sued by a victim for a dangerous or defective product to request the court dismiss the lawsuit since they lack jurisdiction. This is one reason why it is critical for victims to consult with a Virginia personal injury attorney before pursuing these types of civil actions.

A victim who is injured because of a dangerous or defective product may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and more.

The first thing an attorney will do will establish which state has jurisdiction over the case. It is not uncommon for an alleged at-fault company in defective product cases to have headquarters in another state other than where the victim resides, but certain factors can meet the jurisdiction requirements:

  • The company has a warehouse, branch office, or other entity that is connected to the defective product operating in the same state as the victim.
  • The company used phone calls, brochures, or other media to market their product to the victim.

In its 2017 ruling, SCOTUS wrote that a state does not have jurisdiction over an at-fault party without at least minimum contact that is somehow relevant to the lawsuit. For example, property the company owns in the state that is not connected in any way to the product in question would not qualify as minimum contact. In fact, in many cases where the states allowed jurisdictions, the at-fault parties are using this ruling to request that the case be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Product Liability Lawsuits

Defective product lawsuits often are brought under warranty law or negligence law. That is why it is important to talk to an experienced Virginia defective product attorney about your possible defective product legal case, and it is best to talk to an attorney as early as possible because there are applicable statutes of limitation for all defective product cases in Virginia, North Carolina as well as every other state.

At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, our product liability attorneys have proven results in winning tough product liability cases, such as a $2.5 million product liability verdict for the widow of a man who was burned alive when his ride-on lawnmower caught fire and exploded. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your product liability case. 

 

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Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia