When businesses put profits before the safety and well-being of people, serious injury can occur. Faulty infant equipment and toys, poorly engineered electric appliances and other potentially dangerous products can cause thousands of disabling injuries each year.
Companies have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that the products they make will not harm the people who use or purchase them. When an accident or injury occurs due to rushing a product to market, cutting corners or ignoring safety concerns, the company who makes, sells or offers the product has a responsibility to provide recovery to the innocent victim or their family.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our team of product litigation attorneys is familiar with the physical, emotional and financial damage that a defective product can cause. Every year, thousands of consumers sustain serious injuries from defective products. Many of these injuries could be avoided if the manufacturers or distributors of these products took additional steps to ensure consumer safety.
Recently, Evenflo recalled nearly a half million infant car seats/carriers because of faulty handles. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that more than 150 infants had been hurt falling out of the seats because the handles would release without warning. Our law firm handles product liability cases against manufacturers in circumstances just like these. If you have a question about this particular product recall or other similar cases please do not hesitate to contact us.
When manufacturers know that they face the risk of being sued in a products liability lawsuit, it encourages them to make safer products. An injured consumer who prevails in a products liability claim may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain, suffering and mental anguish. A consumer may also seek punitive damages, which seeks to punish and deter those who demonstrate a reckless or wanton disregard for the safety of others.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we frequently hear of product recalls because of safety and design issues in:
- Car parts
- Juul / Vaping Devices
- Medical devices
- Defective Toys
- Food Contamination
- Recalled Products
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports over 22,000 deaths and 29 million injuries related to consumer products each year. Annually, consumer products cause more than $500 billion in deaths, injuries and property.
Victims injured by faulty products have the right to seek compensation, including economic damages (lost wages or medical expenses), non-economic damages (pain and suffering) and punitive damages (to punish reckless behavior). In addition to the monetary considerations of a favorable verdict, if you win your case you may find solace in the fact that those responsible for your situation will be brought to justice. Moreover, you will contribute to the public safety by making manufacturers accountable for safer and more dependable products.
Illinois Product Liability Laws
You may name several different parties in a product liability lawsuit. In addition to the manufacturer of the dangerous product, you may also name the wholesaler and retailer. This is because all companies in the supply chain owe a duty to consumers to provide a product that is reasonably safe when consumers use it as intended.
According to Illinois product liability laws, for a product liability case, you must establish that:
- The product had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that caused your injury, and that the defect occurred in the product’s design, during its manufacture, or during shipping or handling.
- The defect caused your injury even though you were using the product in the way the manufacturer said that it was intended to be used.
- The product that caused damage had not changed “substantially” from its original sales condition.
Contact a Chicago Product Liability Lawyer
A products liability lawsuit may allege several other bases for liability such as negligence or breach of the warranty of fitness. In many cases, a lawsuit may assert numerous different grounds for liability. Our law firm will closely study the facts of your defective products case and explore all legal options available to you.
Should you or a loved one need legal assistance due to injuries from a defective product, contact us for a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation. We handle cases nationally with offices located in Illinois and Wisconsin.
To learn more about potential dangerous child products please see our Child Safety & Products Liability page.
Product Liability FAQs
What are my rights as a consumer, and what obligations do product manufacturers have to me?
Product manufacturers have an obligation to ensure any product they produce is reasonably safe. Consumers have a right to file a lawsuit if a product turns out to be dangerous.
Manufacturers must design and manufacture their products to be safe and should test their products to identify any risks consumers need to be warned about.
Under Illinois law, manufacturers are held strictly liable for injuries resulting from defective products when the product is used as intended.
When you pursue a product liability claim, you have the right to be fully compensated for all harm the defective product caused. This includes economic and non-economic damages experienced due to injuries caused by the defective product. If the product defects resulted in a death, you have the legal right to wrongful death compensation for the loss of your family member.
To learn more, visit our page on Product Liability.
What if I get hurt because of a dangerous product?
If you get hurt because of a dangerous product, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for all of your losses. You have a limited period of time in which to file your claim and must prove the elements of a defective product case.
Under Illinois law, you generally have two years to make a claim for compensation based on injuries caused by a defective product. There are some exceptions. For instance, when a dangerous product exposes you to harmful substances but does not cause immediate injury, you are allowed to bring a claim within two years of the time you become aware of the damage. However, in no case can you bring a claim more than eight years from the time the injury occurred.
You have a number of potential legal grounds under which you can make a claim for injuries caused by product defects. You can allege:
- The manufacturer was negligent
- There were design defects
- The manufacturer failed to warn you of side effects.
You can also use strict liability rules to hold the manufacturer accountable even if there was no negligence involved. See our page on Product Liability for more information.
What if a defective drug makes me sick or causes side effects?
If a defective drug makes you sick or causes unexpected side effects, you can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation from the pharmaceutical company that manufactured and sold the drug. You must be able to prove that the drug was the cause of harm.
Because there are multiple causes for many health problems, it can be challenging to prove a link between a medication and specific side effects/ health complications. Medical studies, FDA warnings or recalls and expert testimony can prove invaluable in proving that a defective drug made you sick.
Does it matter if a manufacturer warned (or didn’t warn) me about the risks of a product?
If a manufacturer alerted you to a product’s side effects or risks, you generally cannot take legal action if you suffered the harm you were warned about. If a manufacturer fails to warn you, however, you may be able to obtain compensation for resulting injuries and losses.
A failure to warn is one potential legal argument you can make in order to bring a product liability lawsuit. You will need to demonstrate that the manufacturer was aware of some danger or risk, had an obligation to alert you to the potential for problems and was negligent in not doing so.
What do I need to prove to hold a manufacturer responsible for a dangerous product?
There are different legal arguments you can make to hold a manufacturer accountable for injuries caused by a dangerous product. In many cases, you may make a claim based on multiple legal theories, including strict liability and negligence.
Strict liability holds a manufacturer accountable for any unexpected harm that results from the use of a product according to manufacturer instructions.
If a drug, medical device or other product is used the way it is marketed and intended, the manufacturer is held responsible under strict liability rules for any resulting injuries regardless of negligence.
You simply must show the injuries sustained were caused by the product. You may also prove that:
- The manufacturer was negligent (unreasonably careless)
- There were defects in the design
- The manufacturer failed to warn you about risks
- The manufacturer breached an implied warranty on the product.
Because there are many different legal arguments to make in product liability cases, it is advisable to get advice from an attorney with experience in defective product cases in the Chicago area. Our page on Product Liability also provides additional information on cases against manufacturers for dangerous products.
What can I expect if I make a product liability claim?
If you make a product liability claim, the case may be resolved through litigation or through settlement. You may have the opportunity for your case to become a part of a class action or multi-district litigation, which can have a significant impact on how your case progresses.
Because products are used by hundreds or thousands of people, many people experience similar injuries when a product turns out to be defective. As a result, hundreds or even thousands of cases are typically filed against the manufacturer. These cases can be consolidated into multi-district litigation, which means all cases remain separate but are assigned to one federal court judge who can then make decisions that impact all the claims.
Cases can also be resolved through a class action. This means all of the plaintiff’s claims are joined together in one big case.
If you become part of a class action, you will lose a great deal of control over your case, while a multi-district litigation allows more autonomy for plaintiffs while still ensuring the cases are resolved as expediently as possible.
Both a class action and multi-district litigation can lead to a manufacturer making a settlement offer, which would mean you could obtain compensation without going to court.
If your case does not settle, your claim can proceed to trial. You and the defendant will both present evidence, and a jury will determine if you are entitled to damages.
What kinds of compensation will I receive in a product liability case?
Compensation in a product liability case should cover all financial and non-economic losses. You may be pressured by the manufacturer or insurance company to settle your case for less than you deserve, so it is important to understand the full extent of your losses.
The money you receive in a product liability case should pay for past and future medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or the wrongful death of a family member. If your injuries prevent you from working in the future or reduce your ability to earn a living, you should receive ongoing compensation for these lost earnings.
The amount of compensation provided for the injuries caused by the product defect will be determined either in settlement negotiations or by the jury who hears your case.
You can get more information by visiting our page on How Much Is My Case Worth?
Should my product liability case be settled?
Settling allows you to avoid the stress and the uncertainty of a courtroom trial. However, you should settle a case only if the settlement is believed to provide you with an appropriate amount of compensation for your losses.
If your case went to trial, and the jury ruled in your favor, the jury would provide compensation for past and future medical costs, income loss, pain and suffering and emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages would also be paid.
You should ensure your settlement covers all of these losses before accepting it. If the manufacturer is unwilling to pay a sufficient sum, you may consider going to court.
An attorney who focuses on product liability cases in Chicago can assist you in negotiating a settlement and can advise you as to whether a settlement offer is reasonable compensation for injuries you sustained.
It is important to have an attorney review any settlement offer. Once you accept a settlement, you may not change your mind. For the same reason, you should also be fully aware of the extent of your injuries before settling a case.
Other factors can affect settlement as well, such as the strength of the evidence available to you and any insurance policy limits that may apply.
Our article What is a Settlement? provides more information on what you can expect during the settlement process.
How can a lawyer help me in a product liability case?
Product liability claims are often very technical. The success of your case can rely on expert witnesses and your ability to obtain information from the defendant. An attorney can provide invaluable advice and assistance in building your case.
Your attorney can file a motion with the court to obtain necessary information from the defendant about the product’s design and manufacture. Your lawyer can also assist in finding expert witnesses who will testify to demonstrate the flaws and problems with the product and who can help you to show how the defects were linked to your injury.
From the start of your case to the end, your attorney will assist in building the strongest case possible to maximize compensation. A product liability lawyer can also negotiate a settlement agreement and ensure that you comply with all Illinois rules for making a defective product claim.
Standing up for yourself after you have been injured is fundamentally important. You don’t want to face financial disaster. You want to make sure you have the money you need to cope with the costs and consequences of your injury. That is why seeking help from an attorney who will dedicate the full extent of its resources to your case is crucial.
Please contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., to receive a free review of your case. If we take on your case, we will charge no fees unless you recover compensation.