Product Liability is defined by USLegal as referring to “the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner.”
Product liability cases are often filed against high-profile brands and can be quite lucrative. However, in order to assess whether or not your client has a viable case, it’s important to obtain the proper information from them.
Attorneys should ask clients to provide the following collateral:
Related to the Product Itself– Have your client provide you with the product for examination when possible. They should provide detailed information about exactly how they were damaged by the product. Your client should also include any instruction manuals or other supplementary material that came with the product. This is extremely important because many product liability cases are based on negligent instruction manuals or failure to provide important warnings. Be sure to learn when and where the product was purchased and, if possible, obtain a receipt of purchase.
Medical Records-If your client was physically harmed by a product, it is integral that they provide you with medical records following their exam.
Work lost: Make sure your client provides you with detailed records of any and all time they missed at their work due to their injury. Have them report any wages that were lost due to the accident.
Damaged Property– It’s possible that your client’s property was damaged by the product instead of—or in addition to—their person. If so, have them provide a summary of the property damage and an estimate for repair (this can include cleaning bills, or receipt for damaged clothing.)
A Journal–Lawyers.com recommends that clients keep a journal following a product liability incident in order to document details of what occurred; what was said by witnesses; symptoms of injuries; distances traveled appointments related to the case; time spent talking to insurance or lawyers and any effects that the injury or property damage had on their family.
Even after collecting this information from a client, it can be difficult to decide whether or not a client has a viable product liability case. Expert witnesses with product liability experience can help litigators decide whether or not a case is winnable or roughly how difficult it might be to win. Lawyers considering taking on product liability cases should consider retaining an expert witness with product liability experience.