Product Liability Law: Upholding Your Rights
All too often, defective products cause serious harm to consumers. Under Virginia's complex products liability law, designers, manufacturers and sellers of defective products may be held liable for the damages caused by a product's defective condition. Examples of products liability cases Joshua Silverman has handled include defective medical devices, defective motorcycles, defective airbags, infant bottle warmers, and contaminated food products.
Under Virginia law, a product must be reasonably safe for its intended purposes and for its reasonably foreseeable uses. However, products are not required to be designed or produced with features representing the ultimate in safety. They simply must be reasonably safe.
If a product is inherently dangerous and the danger is not obvious, the seller must adequately warn of the foreseeable risks of using the product. If the supplier fails to warn of the foreseeable risks, a claim can be brought against the seller for the failure to warn. However, there is no duty to warn of an obvious danger.
Many products come with express warranties. In some circumstances, statements made about the quality or characteristics of a product in advertising literature, websites or sales negotiations will be deemed to be an express warranty. If you are harmed by a product because of a feature that did not live up to its warranty, you may have a valid products liability claim. In addition in most situations, a warranty implies the product is reasonably safe for its intended use and other reasonably foreseeable purposes. If a product is sold in an unreasonably dangerous condition, then there is a breach of this implied warranty and you may have a valid products liability claim against the seller.
Virginia law requires a buyer to notify the seller of any product defect within a reasonable time after the buyer discovers, or should have discovered, the defect. Therefore, you should not delay in hiring a lawyer if you believe you were injured by a defective product. This requirement does not apply to non-purchasers of the product who are injured by the product.
In Virginia, a person injured by a defective product usually has two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed after that time it may be dismissed by the Court for being filed too late. There are several exceptions to this two year statute of limitations. For example, if the injured person is a child or is mentally incompetent, the period for bringing suit may be extended. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury to determine the length of time available to file a lawsuit.
Lawsuits brought against companies who have designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold products are extraordinarily complex. Products liability cases involve complex scientific and technical matters requiring a thorough understanding of the law which applies and the science and technology involved in the design and manufacturing processes.
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Frequent Questions for Products Liability:
- Can I file a lawsuit if the product was regulated by federal law?
- Are These Types of Cases Simple?
- What If The Product Was Not Bought New, But Rather Was Bought Used?
- What If I Didn't Buy the Product?
- How Long Can I Wait To Bring a Lawsuit?
- Is a Product "Defective" Because It Harmed Me?
- What If I Am Injured By The Product While I Was Misusing It?
- Do I Have to Give Notice of Breach of Warranty?
- What About Warranties?
- Must Products Have Warnings?
- How Safe Must Products Be?
- Who Can Be Sued?
Web Resources for Products Liability:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Description: The FDA's website provides valuable information about product recalls, investigations, and safety information.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Product Recalls
Description: Features safety recall information for automobiles, school buses, child safety seats, and defect investigations.
- National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Description: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provides valuable safety information for consumers ranging from recommendations on child safety seats to traffic safety to aviation accident investigations.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Description: Every year thousands of people are injured or killed due to defective products. The CPSC's website provides useful information including searchable lists of recalled products.