What to Do When a Product Malfunction Causes an Injury
Most of the products you use each day work just as they’re supposed to. A chair is sturdy when you sit down, your car stops when you tap the brakes, and your golden-brown bread pops out of the toaster when it’s done. But sometimes, a product doesn’t function properly…and when that happens, people can suffer injuries.
All kinds of common items can hurt you or your family. Toys with small parts can cause a child to choke. Household appliances with faulty wiring can start fires. New tires can suddenly pop. TV sets on living room stands can topple over. Weed killers could cause cancer and popular medications may have dangerous side effects.
The most common injuries from product malfunctions are broken bones, blunt force trauma, burns, internal bleeding, and obstructed breathing. Joint replacements could flake metal fragments into the blood system. Products that work improperly may have defects in the basic design, unexpected defects in the manufacturing process, and inadequate warnings about possible dangers.
So, what should you do if you or someone you love becomes a victim of a product malfunction? The first step is always to seek immediate medical treatment for any injury. Call an ambulance, go to the emergency room, or visit your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and proper medical care. Be sure to keep careful records of all medical and prescription expenses because insurance doesn’t automatically cover all the costs you’ll encounter.
Do your best to preserve the faulty product that caused the injury. Whether it’s a collapsed ladder, a broken bike helmet, or a fried hair dryer, you’ll probably need to prove the item malfunctioned. Save or store the product exactly as it was when it failed. Collecting legal damages will be difficult if you don’t preserve the evidence.
Also, take photos or videos to help document the incident. If a pressure cooker exploded, record the damage it did to people and property. You should photograph airbags that didn’t deploy—or caused great bodily harm when they did—from every possible angle. As well as keep the vehicle in your possession until it can be evaluated by an expert. And if a clothes dryer caught fire, you’ll need proof of burn injuries and destruction to your home. An itemization of valuable property items with serial and model numbers can be tedious on the front end but rewarding in recouping value if unknown issues happen down the road, ie fire, theft, or malfunction.
Last but not least, make sure to seek legal help from a qualified and experienced attorney. Trammell & Mills has extensive experience in product malfunction cases. Ernie Trammell has represented a quadriplegic client in a product liability claim against a major international company. Not only did the company issue a recall to all who purchased the defective product but they also redesigned the product to adopt changes advocated by Ernie’s experts to make the product safe for consumers.
Also, be sure to keep quiet on social media. Resist the temptation to share your story because the wrong public information could hurt your case. South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations on product liability claims, so don’t hesitate to act. If you’re injured by a product malfunction, call the local attorneys of Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC at (864) 485-8585 to get the medical and financial payments you deserve.