Stein & Shulman’s experienced team of attorneys has helped numerous families in the Chicago area hold manufacturers, distributors, and those who sell defective and dangerous products accountable for the harm their products have caused. We take advantage of Illinois’ strong product liability laws to get our clients the compensation they need to move forward after being injured by a product that was poorly designed or manufactured.
Holding Manufacturers, Distributors & Retailers Accountable For Their Dangerous Products
It is the responsibility of manufacturers to produce products that are free of defects and safe for users. Distributors and retailers must ensure that the products they offer for sale are of good quality, and will not injure consumers. When these obligations are not met, the businesses involved can and should be held legally responsible for their actions.
Under Illinois law, there are two legal theories that apply in most cases, negligence and strict liability.
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may be held responsible for the injuries caused by a defective product if there is evidence proving:
- Duty — the defendant manufacturer or seller owed a duty of care to the injured person;
- Breach — the defendant breached that duty by making, selling, or marketing a defective product, or failing to warn about the dangers of a product;
- Causation — the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the injury was foreseeable; and
- Damages — the plaintiff suffered a compensable injury.
The manufacturer and every business in a product’s distribution chain may owe some sort of duty of care to the buyer. Other people may also be owed a duty of care too. The buyer’s family, bystanders, and people the buyer loans the product to may all expect that a product is reasonably safe to use or be around. When a product-related injury occurs, figuring out who can file a lawsuit, and who it should be filed against, is a task for an experienced product liability attorney like those at Stein & Shulman.
If the product that caused an injury is considered unreasonably dangerous, a strict liability lawsuit may be appropriate. These cases are much more straightforward because the risk of injury is higher. The plaintiff must prove:
- The product was defective.
- The defect made the product unreasonably dangerous.
- The defect existed at the time the product left the defendant’s control.
- The plaintiff was injured.
- The injury was caused because the product was defective.
There is no need to show that a duty of care existed or was breached because the product was so dangerous.
Whether the case is a negligence case, or strict liability applies, you will need to prove that the product was defective. There are three different types of defects recognized under Illinois law:
- Design Defects
- Manufacturing Defects
- Informational Defects
A design defect is a dangerous flaw that will exist no matter how carefully the product is manufactured or used. The best way for a plaintiff to prove that such a defect exists is to prove that an alternative design would be safer without being prohibitively expensive.
Even if a product’s design is sound, a defect may be introduced when the product is manufactured. Mistakes in the creation, building, or assembly of a product before it reaches the consumer are manufacturing defects.
An informational defect is one that appears once the product is out in the real world being used by reasonable people. Sometimes using a product improperly or imprudently, but in a way the manufacturer or seller could have foreseen, creates a risk of harm that the manufacturers and sellers should have warned against.
It is important to note that product liability law only protects consumers who were injured when using a product for its intended purpose — if the injury resulted from misuse of the product, manufacturers and retailers are not liable.
If You Are Injured By A Product, You May Be Eligible For Compensation
Illinois’ product liability laws are designed to compensate people who have been injured by a defective product, or who have suffered harm because they weren’t warned of the risk of buying and using a dangerous product, by awarding them enough money to put them in the position they would have been in if their injury had never occurred. The Stein & Shulman team has helped Chicagoland residents recover millions of dollars they have then used to pay medical bills and support themselves and their families.
In order to get our clients the most money possible, we begin by gathering evidence that details their economic damages. This includes:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost income;
- Decreased future earnings; and if applicable,
- Property damage.
Our team also works with experts who can estimate what it would be fair to pay a victim to compensate them for non-economic losses like:
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional anguish;
- Permanent disfigurement or disability;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
The damages above compensate victims for their losses. Paying these costs is a reminder to businesses that their actions have consequences. They have a responsibility to provide safe products to the public. This money awarded is supposed to fix the problem, not punish the wrongdoer.
However, if we can prove that the business whose product caused the injury (the defendant) acted with disregard for human safety or engaged in criminal behavior, Illinois law also allows us to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and send a message to others that similar actions will not be tolerated. Punitive damages can greatly increase the amount of money a victim receives.
Estimating how much money you may be able to recover by filing a product liability lawsuit in a Chicago area court is not something that should, or really can, be done on the internet because each case is unique. To get a realistic figure, and learn more about what it is going to take to actually hold the responsible parties accountable, victims and their family members should contact an experienced personal injury attorney like those on our staff at Stein & Shulman. Our firm has the experience and resources needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
We Do Not Get Paid Unless Our Clients Do
Stein & Shulman represents Chicago area residents who have been injured by dangerous or defective products on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not get paid unless you do, and our fee is always just a portion of whatever compensation we are able to get for you from the defendant.
Time Is Of the Essence
If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you should contact the Stein & Shulman team as soon as possible. Illinois law limits the amount of time you have to bring a product liability lawsuit, and in most cases, the clock begins ticking as soon as the product is purchased. Our experienced attorneys can determine if you have a viable claim, and if so, file a lawsuit on your behalf before it is too late.
Contact Our Chicago Area Product Liability Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one in the Chicago area has suffered a serious injury related to your use of a dangerous or defective product, the Stein & Shulman team is here to help. Whether you are ready to take legal action right away or are simply curious about what options are available to you, let’s talk. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.