Product manufacturers must ensure their products are safe from defects that can cause injuries or fatalities. When companies fail in this duty, customers are exposed to the risk of injury or death while using the product. When death occurs because of a defective product, survivors of the deceased can filed a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages.
Consumers don't expect to suffer injuries while using a product. Unfortunately, some consumers are injured while using home appliances, sporting gear, automobiles, medical devices and other products that they believed were safe for use. In some cases, customers remain in danger of injuries while using the product even if using the product in accordance with manufacturer's specifications or instructions.
A wrongful death because of a defective product can occur because of any of the following.
• defective auto parts including malfunctioning tires, brakes, and other auto components. • consumer products like electronic appliances, kitchen appliances, and other gadgets. • sporting gear. • medical devices like cardiac pumps and defibrillators. • industrial machinery. • and, children’s products like highchairs, cribs, clothing and toys.
Any of these products can malfunction seriously enough to cause an injury. For instance, a car with malfunctioning airbags can place an occupant at serious risk of injuries or fatalities in an accident.
Filing Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When a person suffers fatal injuries because of a defective product, survivors may have legal grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against a number of parties responsible for the death. A survivor must file a wrongful death lawsuit within a period of two years after the death has occurred.
A wrongful death claim can help survivors of the deceased recover compensation for damages including the following.
• medical expenses that the deceased incurred before death. • lost wages. • lost income. • loss of consortium. • and, other damages.
In extreme cases in which the defect is very serious or the negligence by the company is extreme, the court may also decide to award punitive damages. These are typically awarded to punish the defendant.
Can you sue the company if the product was recalled?
Very often, defective products are recalled from the market. In most cases, however, the recall only comes after the product has already caused injuries or fatalities. By the time the company identifies a defect, several consumers could have suffered injuries.
However, even when companies recall a product because it is defective, survivors of those who have died as a result of using the product may still file a wrongful death lawsuit. Just because the company has recalled the product may not absolve it of liability for any injuries or deaths linked to the product.
Parties You Can Include in a Defective Product Claim
There are a number of parties that might be liable when a defective product causes a wrongful death. Besides the manufacturer of the product, a wrongful death claim can also include parties that were responsible for distributing the product. If for instance, the wrongful death occurred in a car accident involving a brake defect, the lawsuit can include the manufacturer of the brakes and the auto manufacturer.
Proving that a person's death was the result of a company's negligence in selling a defective product is not as easy as it seems. A wrongful death claim based on product liability laws may require investigations of the product and input and expert analysis from doctors, engineers, and other professionals who can confirm that the product caused the person's death.
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