Product Liability

Chicago Product Liability Attorneys

Holding Companies That Make and Sell Unsafe Products Responsible – Experienced Defective Product Injury Lawyers

When consumers purchase products, they justifiably presume that the item will be safe when used as intended and free of hidden defects. Nonetheless, defective products injure millions of people every year. Sometimes products are dangerous because manufacturers place profits above consumer safety and cut corners in the design or manufacturing process. Increasingly, American companies are importing products for sale from countries with a poor record for consumer safety. The purpose of product liability law is to protect consumers from unsafe products and to provide a way to compensate those injured by unreasonably dangerous or defective products.

The experienced Chicagoland product liability lawyers at Stein & Shulman, LLC have more than forty-five years of cumulative experience representing victims of faulty products. Our experience, litigation resources, and network of industry experts have enabled us to develop effective lawsuits involving defective products. Our lawyers have successfully obtained over forty million dollars in insurance settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Many large corporations have extremely deep pockets to defend against lawsuits filed because of injuries caused by their poorly designed, shoddily manufactured, or improperly labeled products. Our Chicago defective product injury attorneys have the resources, experience, and expertise to take on the largest corporations and their national insurance carriers.

Basic Legal Theories in a Product Liability Claim

“Product liability” refers to that area of law designed to compensate those injured by unsafe or defective products. When a product injures a consumer because it is defective, any entity in the production and distribution chain may be liable, including the business that designs, manufactures, distributes or sells the hazardous product. Product liability law shifts the cost of injuries to the companies that profit from the sale of unsafe products. Our experienced Chicago product liability lawyers typically base a product liability claim on multiple legal theories, such as negligence, strict liability, and/or breach of warranty.

  • Negligence: A product liability lawsuit may be based on a failure of any entity in the production or distribution chain to exercise reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable injury to consumers – referred to as “negligence”. The company that designs, manufactures, inspects/tests, or sells the product might be shown to be negligent for a design or manufacturing defect. Any business in the production and distribution chain also might be liable for failing to provide warnings regarding potential hazards or adequate instructions regarding safe use of the product. If defects exist because an entity in the production and distribution chain failed to exercise reasonable care, then a consumer who is injured by the unsafe product may be successful in pursuing a product liability lawsuit.

  • Strict Liability: Product liability claims can sometimes be easier to prove than a motor vehicle accident lawsuit because the consumer might not have to prove negligent conduct by any particular entity. Proving liability where no showing of fault is required is referred to as “strict liability”. Where strict liability is applicable, a consumer who is injured by a defective product need not establish any lack of reasonable care by anyone in the production and distribution chain.

  • Breach of Implied or Express Warranties: Many products come with express warranties. Other warranties such as the warranty of merchantability and warranty of fitness for particular purpose are implied by law in many jurisdictions. The warranty of merchantability basically means that a product will generally meet a consumer’s normal expectations, which usually means that the product will not injure a consumer when used as intended. When the product does not comply with the terms of these express and implied warranties, the injury victim may be able to recover based on breach of warranty. Breach of warranty cases can be complicated because the product may carry disclaimers that preclude asserting a warranty claim or that limit the type and amount of damages.

Types of Product Defects Forming Basis of Product Liability Lawsuit

There are also a number of types of defects that may form the basis for a product liability lawsuit. The basic types of defects which might result in a product injuring a consumer and form the basis of a product defect lawsuit include the following:

  • Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect is one that occurs during the fabrication process. While a product line may be safe as designed, problems might exist with particular units or lots of the item. Flaws or defects can arise during the manufacturing process. If inspection and quality control procedures are insufficient to reveal the problem before the unit leaves the manufacturer’s control, then the consumer who is injured might be able to assert a claim based on the manufacturing defect. An example of a manufacturing defect would be problems in the bonding of the steel belts and the rubber of a tire result in the tire suddenly losing its tread.

  • Design Defects: These differ from manufacturing defects in that every unit of that model type is typically defective. This kind of defect is inherent in the design of the product and exists even if the product is manufactured precisely according to specifications. A product may be found to have a design defect when there is a feasibly safe alternate design that could have been used that would have prevented or reduced the risk of injury to the product user. For example, the design of a vehicle that positions the gas tank too close to the rear of the vehicle might create a risk that the vehicle is prone to explode when involved in a rear-end collision.

  • Failure to Warn: A product may be safe when utilized one way but unsafe if used another foreseeable way or under certain conditions. If the manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding the hazard, this failure may form the basis for a product liability claim. An example of this type of defect might include a toy that poses a choking hazard for children if the packaging contains no warning to keep the toy out of the reach of small children.

A Product Liability Law Firm You Can Count On

If a defective product injures you, it is important that you keep all parts of the product including any debris, packaging, labels, or instructions. These items might prove essential in pursuing your product liability claim. Because product liability lawsuits are extremely expensive and complex, it is essential to seek the advice of an experienced product liability law firm. Our Chicago defective product injury attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC can provide the perfect balance of experience, expertise, empathy, diligence, and tenacity to help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you or your loved one has suffered injury caused by an unsafe product, contact us today at (312) 422-0500 or email us to schedule your no obligation free consultation.

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