Though you may not have filed one yourself, products liability lawsuits are something we are all familiar with. Every year in the United States, thousands of people file product liability suits. These suits are generally directed at toy or automobile manufacturers or pharmaceutical companies. The vast majority of accusations that those who file product liability lawsuits cite have something to do with a defect – whether it be in the design, manufacturing, or marketing. If you are contemplating whether or not to file a product liability suit, it is, of course, necessary to find a skilled attorney. However, even before that, it is important to consider each of the following:
1. The Case Potential
How much potential do you feel your case has to win or to at least come to a settlement agreement? Ask yourself these questions:
- Has someone been injured due to some form of neglect?
- Has the injury caused some sort of loss (of health – mental or physical, time available to work, etc.)?
- In the eyes of the law, is the manufacturer of the product in question considered negligent? Examples of negligence could include: poor manufacturing efforts, failure to recall, or failure to warn consumers of potential danger associated with the product.
- If the product came with a warranty, has it expired?
Be prepared to, as the injured party (or someone representing the injured party, such as a parent), prove the injury, the cost of the injury, and the reason that the manufacturer or company was neglectful.
2. The Cost of an Attorney
Prior to any significant expense, you should always think about how much you will end up spending. In the case of a product liability lawsuit, consider how much getting an experienced attorney will cost. Not all attorneys charge the same amount or in the same way. One attorney may ask a client to pay a percentage of their fees up front, while some clients may qualify for no-win-no-fault coverage. No-win-no-fault representation means that an attorney provides services at no cost to the injured person until he or she wins the case. The idea is to provide the injured person with a stress-free period of rest while the attorney makes strong efforts to get compensation for the person. Many attorneys charge a flat rate of 25-40 percent of the settlement amount, and they do not collect it until the judge rules in favor of the injured person. Such attorneys do not receive anything if they do not win the case. Before choosing an attorney to represent you, conduct research to ensure that the firm you decide to work with is reliable and experienced.
3. The Length of the Process
Though it is hard to give an accurate estimate because every product liability case (every case, for that matter) is different, it may be a good idea to try to figure out approximately how long the lawsuit process will take. A product liability lawsuit can last anywhere from a few weeks to many years depending on the offender and that party’s willingness to accept fault. Some attorneys may negotiate out-of-court settlements. An out-of-court settlement is quite possible from an offender who does not want publicity. Again, everything depends on the details of each individual case – your individual attorney is the best person to be able to answer these questions.
4. The Survival Possibility
Depending on how severe your situation is (in other words, did the product you used cause serious injury? Did it require you to miss work?), cases that qualify for product liability lawsuits may cost a significant amount of money before the cost of an attorney is even taken into account. Your attorney will likely do everything they can to make the case proceed as quickly as possible, but there is really no guarantee how long it will be before you are compensated. It is important to evaluate your financial situation early on and make appropriate arrangements.
If you are thinking about filing a product liability suit, we encourage you to contact an attorney to schedule a consultation. They will help you understand more about your suit and its potential, ideally making it easier for you to decide how you want to proceed.
Here at Tate Law Group, we have extensive experience with product liability lawsuits and are committed to getting our clients everything they deserve when they have been wronged. Feel free to contact us today to discuss your case.