When a dangerous or defective product has injured you or a loved one, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. However, in order to do this successfully, you must prove that the product was defective, that you suffered injuries as a result of using the product as it was intended to be used, and that the defective product caused you to suffer injuries and monetary damages as a result.
In a product liability case, as with any personal injury case, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff – the person who makes the product defect allegations. When the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, it becomes important to collect and compile evidence to prove the case.
Tips to Preserve Evidence
There are several pitfalls to avoid and steps to take if you intend to file a product liability claim. Here are a few tips that can help protect your rights:
- Do not contact the product manufacturer. If you or a family member has been seriously injured as the result of a product defect, your first response might be to contact the manufacturer. However, this is not a good idea for a number of reasons. First, the manufacturer will not be prepared to compensate you fairly and fully for your injuries. The manufacturer will very likely ask you to return the product. This will deprive you of the most important piece of evidence in a product liability claim – the defective product. The manufacturer might offer you a refund of the product’s purchase price, but that does nothing to compensate you for larger expenses such as medical expenses and lost wages.
- Preserve the defective product in its current condition (even if it is damaged or half-used). Do not have the product repaired or do not discard what is remaining the product as that would destroy the evidence.
- Be sure to save the product packaging and instructions. When manufacturers fail to warn consumers about the product’s inherent danger, they could be held accountable for failure to warn as well.
- Keep receipts from the purchase of the product in question. Also, preserve your medical records for any treatment you received for injuries caused by the defective product.
- Check online to see whether the product that caused your injuries is part of a product defect recall.
- Be sure to take pictures of the product and the injuries it caused.
- If the product that caused your injuries is not under your control, your attorney can help send a spoliation letter to the owner of the product so it is preserved intact. For example, if you were injured by a piece of equipment on the job, your attorney may be able to send a letter to your employer asking that the equipment is preserved intact.
Protecting Your Rights
Evidence preserved in this manner can be later examined by an independent expert for evidence of defects, malfunctions and other problems. This can help bolster your case and help you receive the compensation and support you rightfully deserve. Contact the Demas Law Group P.C., at (916) 444-0100 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.