Accidents are a regular feature of daily life, and sometimes those accidents are the result of defective products. From automobiles to household appliances to commonplace items like toiletries or cleaners, a defect in the design, manufacture, or instructions can lead to serious injury.

It is important to get a Staunton defective products lawyer on your side as soon as possible if this happens to you or a loved one. A skilled attorney might be able to preserve evidence and investigate liability to put you in the best position to recover damages from the party responsible for your injury.

The Time to Seek Damages is Limited

An injured person has a short time to bring a lawsuit seeking damages. This period, called the Statute of Limitations, begins at the time of the accident that caused the harm.  Note that the Statute of Limitations just requires that the plaintiff file a lawsuit within the statutory timeframe—once filed, a lawsuit may go on for years before resolution.

Virginia Code §8.01-243 says that a party seeking damages for personal injuries must file its lawsuit within two years of the incident. If a person is seeking compensation for property damage, not personal injury, that person has five years to bring suit.

Sometimes the basis of a lawsuit centers around the product’s warranty. A consumer can bring a products liability claim alleging breach of warranty if:

  • The product did not perform as advertised, causing harm to the claimant or the claimant’s property
  • The instructions were unclear, and an injury resulted
  • There were dangers associated with the product that were not obvious, and the manufacturer failed to warn of those dangers

Breach of warranty is, in essence, a breach of contract, and Virginia law offers consumers five years to bring a breach of contract claim. However, when the claim involves product liability for physical harm, the statute of limitations regarding personal injury applies, so a claimant has only two years to file suit (Virginia Code §8.01-246.4).

Claimant Must Show Negligence to Recover Compensation

There are four elements a plaintiff must prove to win a negligence case. First, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care.” In the products liability context, the law requires a manufacturer to produce a product that is reasonably safe when used as directed. If the plaintiff was a foreseeable user of the product, the plaintiff has shown that the defendant has a duty to him or her.

Next, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached that duty—the product was not reasonably safe, there were hidden dangers or the instructions were insufficient to allow a consumer to use the product without risk of injury. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered an injury and that the product’s defect was the cause of injury.

Proving all of the elements of negligence can be tricky. Manufacturers and their insurance companies will often try to point the finger at the injured consumer and assert that the plaintiff is responsible for their own injuries. An experienced attorney who represents people who have been injured while using defective products in Staunton could compile evidence to persuade a manufacturer to offer compensation for a client’s injuries.

Defective Products Injury Cases Require Skilled Advocacy

A product liability lawsuit is never easy—especially with the resources that manufacturers have at their disposal. If you want a manufacturer to pay for injuries you suffered because of their negligence, you need a passionate advocate by your side. Otherwise, it will not be a fair fight.

If you have been injured by an unreasonably dangerous or defective product, get a skilled Staunton defective products lawyer working for you right away. Contact The Warren Firm office for an analysis of your legal options.