Chicago Product Liability Lawyer
If you have been injured or suffered damages due to a defective or dangerous product, you have rights. The Chicago product liability lawyers at Ankin Law help individuals like you seek justice when a negligent manufacturer causes you to suffer. We are committed to holding manufacturers, distributors, and other responsible parties accountable for their negligence or wrongful actions. Our goal is to ensure that you receive fair compensation for the true costs of your injuries. We understand the impact that a defective product can have on your life, and we are dedicated to fighting for your rights.
Product liability cases can be challenging to navigate alone. Filing a product liability claim likely puts you up against a cooperation with deep pockets and an extensive legal team whose goal is to minimize and dispute your case. With years of experience and a thorough understanding of product liability laws, we are here to guide you through every step of the legal process.
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Table of Contents
Illinois Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability lawsuits in Illinois allow individuals who have been harmed by defective or dangerous products to seek compensation for the costs associated with their injuries. Product liability laws provide legal remedies for those injured due to design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings or instructions. Understanding the basics of product liability lawsuits in Illinois can help you prepare as you consider pursuing a claim.
Laws Establishing Liability
In Illinois, product liability lawsuits are primarily based on the theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.
- Negligence: To establish a negligence in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach caused their injuries. In product liability cases, negligence may be attributed to a design flaw, manufacturing error, or failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions.
- Strict Liability: Under strict liability laws, the focus shifts from proving negligence to demonstrating that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous. The plaintiff must establish that the defect existed at the time the product left the defendant’s control and caused his or her injuries, regardless of whether the defendant was negligent.
- Breach of Warranty: In a breach of warranty claim, the plaintiff demonstrates that the product failed to meet the implied or express warranties made by the manufacturer or seller. Implied warranties include the warranty of merchantability (the product is fit for its ordinary purpose) and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (the product is suitable for a specific use).
Joint and Several Liability
Multiple defendants in a product liability lawsuit may be held jointly and severally liable. This means each defendant may be responsible for the full amount of damages awarded, regardless of his or her individual degree of fault. However, in some cases, a defendant’s liability may be limited if their percentage of fault is below a certain threshold. This law allows the plaintiff to seek compensation from any or all defendants involved in the case, rather than a sole entity or party.
Defenses Against Your Product Liability Claim
The defendant in a product liability case has a lot to lose if you prove your claim. If your product liability claim is found to be valid, other cases may come out, causing the defendants to face product recalls and expensive payouts. As such, the liable party will go to great lengths to reduce their degree of fault and dismiss your claim. Defendants in product liability lawsuits may assert various defenses to challenge your case. These defenses can include arguing that the product was modified after leaving their control, stating that you failed to use the product as intended, or that you assumed the risk associated with using the product.
Navigating product liability lawsuits in Illinois can be challenging for injured victims. Consulting with an experienced product liability attorney is crucial to understand the legal requirements, assess the strength of your case, gather evidence, and advocate for your rights to seek fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
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Who Is Liable in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Product liability lawsuits aim to hold responsible parties accountable for injuries or damages caused by defective or dangerous products. Determining liability in a product liability lawsuit can be complex, as multiple parties involved in the design, manufacturing, distribution, or sale of the product may be held responsible for defects or hazards. The parties that may be held liable depend on the type of product defect and the circumstances of the injury.
Typically, defendants in a product liability lawsuit are:
- Manufacturers: Manufacturers play a significant role in product liability cases. This includes both the manufacturers of the final product and the manufacturers of component parts. If a defect in the design or manufacturing process is the cause of a victim’s injuries, the manufacturer may be held liable.
- Designers: Designers are responsible for creating the blueprint and specifications for a product. If a design defect is present, it means the product is inherently dangerous or unfit for its intended use. This can occur even if the product was manufactured according to the design specifications.
- Distributors: Distributors are parties involved in the product distribution chain, such as wholesalers, retailers, or suppliers. They may be held liable if they were aware of a defect in the product and failed to take appropriate action, such as issuing a product recall or providing adequate warnings to consumers.
- Retailers: Retailers who sell a dangerous product directly to consumers can also be held liable. They have a duty to ensure that the products they sell are safe for use and free from defects. If a retailer sells a product with a known defect or fails to provide sufficient warnings or instructions, they may hold partial liability.
- Sellers or Resellers: In cases where a used or refurbished product is involved, sellers or resellers of the product may be held liable if they were aware of a defect and failed to disclose it or take appropriate action.
The liability of each party is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the circumstances of the product defect and resulting injuries. Liability may be shared among multiple parties, or one party may be primarily responsible. Comparative negligence laws in some jurisdictions may also allocate liability based on the percentage of fault attributed to each party.
To establish liability in a product liability lawsuit, victims can gather evidence, such as product testing records, expert opinions, design specifications, and documentation of any defects or warnings. Consulting with an experienced product liability attorney is crucial in identifying the responsible parties and building a strong case against heavily-defended offenders.
Steps to Take if You Were Injured by a Dangerous or Defective Product
Taking the right steps after an injury caused by a defective product helps protect your rights and secure the value of your claim. If you’ve been hurt, the following steps can help you prepare for a successful case:
- Seek Medical Attention: If you have been injured, seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Even if the injuries seem minor, it is important to have a professional evaluation to document your condition and establish a causal connection between the product and your injuries.
- Preserve the Product and Evidence: Preserve the product in its current state, along with any packaging, instructions, or receipts. This can serve as crucial evidence in your case. Take photographs of the product, your injuries, and the accident scene. Collect any other relevant evidence, such as witness contact information or surveillance footage.
- Document Your Injuries and Damages: Keep detailed records of your injuries, medical treatment, and associated expenses. This includes medical bills, receipts for medications, rehabilitation costs, and any other expenses incurred as a result of your injuries. Additionally, keep track of the impact the injuries have had on your daily life, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
- Report the Incident: Report the incident to the appropriate authorities or regulatory agencies. Depending on the nature of the product, this may include contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or other relevant agencies.
- Consult With an Attorney: Consult with an experienced product liability attorney who specializes in handling cases involving dangerous or defective products. He or she can evaluate the merit of your case, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for your rights.
Every case is unique, and the specific steps you need to take may vary depending on the circumstances. Consulting with an attorney early on is crucial to ensure that your case stays on track throughout the claims process.
How Long Do You Have to File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing a product liability lawsuit is governed by the Illinois Personal Injury Statute of Limitations. According to this statute, a person injured by a dangerous or defective product has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This two-year time limit applies to most product liability claims.
There are exceptions to the statute of limitations, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, if the product defect is discovered at a later date, the two-year clock may start ticking from the date the defect was discovered, as long as it falls within a reasonable time frame.
If you were hurt by a defective product in Illinois, you are not alone. Call a Chicago product liability lawyer at Ankin Law to discuss your case.
Dangerous Household Products
Dangerous household products are frequent culprits in product liability lawsuits. In some cases, injuries caused by these products are common enough to warrant product recalls. Although a defective product can take many forms, commonly litigated dangerous household products include:
Appliances: Defective design or manufacturing flaws in appliances can lead to fires, electric shock, gas leaks, or other hazards. For instance, faulty wiring or flammable components may increase the risk of fires, while inadequate safety mechanisms can lead to burns or other injuries.
Cleaning Products: Household cleaning products, including bleach, drain cleaners, and detergents, can be hazardous if not properly labeled or if their packaging is inadequate. Improper use or accidental ingestion can cause chemical burns, respiratory issues, or poisoning. These products pose an increased risk to unsuspecting children, who may not understand the dangers associated with ingesting the product.
Children’s Products: Children’s products are subject to stringent safety regulations due to the vulnerability of their users. Defects in items such as cribs, car seats, toys, and high chairs can lead to serious injuries or even death. Examples of defective children’s products include faulty crib designs that pose suffocation risks, car seats with defective harnesses, or toys with small parts that can be choking hazards.
Power Tools and Equipment: Power tools, such as drills, saws, and lawnmowers, can cause severe injuries if they are defective or lack proper safety features. Malfunctioning switches, blade guards, or faulty electrical systems can result in amputations, lacerations, or electrocution.
Electronics: Household electronics, such as smartphones, laptops, and chargers, can pose risks if they are poorly designed, manufactured, or labeled. Defective batteries may overheat or explode, causing burns or property damage. Inadequate warnings or instructions can result in improper usage, leading to electric shocks or fires.
Home Improvement Products: Products used in home improvement, such as paints, adhesives, or insulation, may contain harmful chemicals or have inadequate labeling. Exposure to toxic substances or lack of proper safety precautions can lead to respiratory issues, skin reactions, or other health problems.
Medications and Medical Devices: Pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices are frequently the subject of product liability lawsuits when they cause harm due to defects, inadequate warnings, or improper manufacturing. For instance, unsafe side effects, improper dosages, or faulty medical implants can result in severe injuries or even death.
If you have suffered injuries or damages due to a defective household product, a product liability attorney with Ankin Law can help you financially recover.
Types of Product Defects
Product defects can pose significant risks to consumers, leading to injuries, property damage, or even wrongful death. Understanding the types of product defects is crucial when it comes to determining liability in product liability cases. There are generally three main types of product defects:
- Design Defects: Design defects occur when there is an inherent flaw or defect in the product’s design that makes it unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. The defect exists before the product is manufactured and affects every unit produced according to that design. To establish a design defect, plaintiffs must demonstrate that there was a feasible alternative design available that would have reduced the risk of harm without significantly impacting the product’s functionality.
- Manufacturing Defects: Manufacturing defects occur during the production or assembly process, resulting in a product that deviates from the intended design. Unlike design defects, manufacturing defects typically impact only a portion of the products within a specific batch or time period. Manufacturing defects can range from minor flaws to significant safety hazards, and they can be caused by human error, machinery malfunctions, or inadequate quality control measures.
- Marketing Defects: Marketing defects, also known as failure to warn or inadequate warnings, refer to situations where the product is accompanied by insufficient instructions or warnings regarding risks or dangers associated with its use. Manufacturers and distributors have a duty to provide adequate warnings and instructions to ensure that consumers are aware of the product’s potential risks and know how to use it safely. If a product poses unexpected dangers, the manufacturer has a responsibility to warn consumers of those risks.
Schedule a FREE consultation with the product liability lawyers at Ankin Law.
Common Injuries from Defective and Dangerous Products
Defective or dangerous products can cause a wide range of injuries, varying from minor to severe and even life-threatening. Common injuries associated with defective or dangerous products include:
- Burns: Products that are flammable, have faulty wiring, or lack proper insulation can cause burns. Whether from household appliances, electronics, or chemical substances, burns can range from minor first-degree burns to severe third-degree burns that require extensive medical treatment. These burns can result in amputation, infection, disfigurement, or scarring.
- Lacerations and Amputations: Defective or improperly designed machinery, power tools, or sharp objects can cause lacerations and amputations. Faulty safety mechanisms, inadequate guards, or malfunctioning equipment may result in severe injuries, including deep cuts, loss of fingers or limbs, and permanent disability.
- Bone Fractures and breaks: Defective sporting equipment, furniture, or household items can lead to bone fractures, sprains, strains, and other orthopedic injuries. Inadequate structural integrity, weak materials, or poor design may contribute to accidents and falls, causing harm to the musculoskeletal system.
- Head and Brain Injuries: The use of defective products can result in head injuries, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Examples include defective helmets, faulty car seats, or inadequate safety restraints. These injuries can have long-term effects on the victim’s cognitive function, memory, and quality of life.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Defective safety harnesses, faulty car seats, or inadequate fall protection equipment can cause spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and a lifetime of medical needs and rehabilitation.
- Poisoning and Toxic Exposure: Defective food products, pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics, or household chemicals can lead to poisoning or toxic exposure. Contamination, incorrect labeling, or lack of proper warnings can result in severe health complications, organ damage, or even death.
- Electric Shock: Electrical appliances, faulty wiring, or defective electronics can cause electric shock. These injuries can range from mild to severe, potentially leading to cardiac arrest, burns, neurological damage, or other serious injuries.
- Respiratory Issues: Products with toxic substances, such as contaminated air filters, defective respiratory equipment, or chemicals without proper warnings, can cause respiratory problems. Inhalation of harmful substances may result in lung damage, respiratory distress, or long-term health issues.
If you have suffered injuries due to a defective or dangerous product, a Chicago product liability attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable. He or she can assess your case, determine liability, and help you pursue a claim to seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages caused by the defective or dangerous product.
How Much Is a Product Liability Lawsuit Worth?
The value of a product liability lawsuit varies greatly, depending on several factors. These influencing factors include the severity of injuries, the impact on the victim’s life, the extent of damages incurred, and the strength of the evidence presented. These factors directly impact the amount of damages suffered by the victim, which correlates to the victim’s settlement offer.
A product liability settlement is often influenced by:
- Severity of Injuries: The extent and severity of the injuries caused by the defective product directly impact the value of your lawsuit. More severe injuries that result in long-term disability, chronic pain, or permanent disfigurement generate higher treatment costs, which play into the value of your economic damages.
- Medical Expenses: The costs associated with medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, therapy, and ongoing medical care, are a factor in determining the worth of your product liability lawsuit. The greater the medical expenses incurred, the higher the compensation.
- Lost Wages and Future Earnings: If the injuries from the defective product reduce your ability to work temporarily or permanently, your compensation may include the lost wages and future earnings that would have been earned had the injury not occurred.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by your injuries and their impact on your daily life is a component of a product liability lawsuit. The value of pain and suffering damages depends on the severity and duration of the suffering experienced.
- Loss of Consortium: In some cases, the spouse or family members of the victim may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship, affection, and support resulting from the injuries caused by the defective product.
- Punitive Damages: Though rare in most personal injury cases, punitive damages may be awarded in product liability lawsuits. Punitive damages aim to punish the defendant for his or her egregious conduct and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. The availability and amount of punitive damages vary by jurisdiction and depend on factors such as the defendant’s level of misconduct or knowledge of the product’s defects.
There is no fixed formula for determining the exact value of a product liability lawsuit. Each case is unique, and the circumstances, jurisdiction, and applicable laws play a role in determining the potential worth.
Product liability lawsuits can result in significant settlements or jury awards, ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. However, the outcome of a product liability lawsuit is influenced by many variables. The ultimate worth of the lawsuit depends on the strength of the evidence, the persuasive arguments presented, and the specific circumstances of the case. An experienced product liability attorney in Chicago is a crucial asset in evaluating your case to determine what your settlement may be worth.
The Chicago Product Liability Attorneys at Ankin Law Can Help
A product liability lawyer with Ankin Law can provide invaluable assistance if you are considering filing a lawsuit for injuries caused by a defective or dangerous product.
When you retain Ankin Law, you get:
A FREE Consultation: A product liability lawyer will evaluate the details of your case, including the nature of the product defect, the extent of your injuries, and the potential liability of the responsible parties. He or she will assess the viability of your claim and determine the legal options available to seek compensation. At the end of your consultation, you’ll know what to expect going forward.
Committed Legal Guidance: Your legal team will guide you through the legal process and explain your rights and options. They will ensure that you understand the applicable laws, empowering you to make informed decisions about your lawsuit.
A Thorough Investigation: Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence to support your claim. This includes reviewing product documentation, analyzing the defect, identifying potential witnesses, and consulting with experts to strengthen your case.
A Skilled Negotiator on Your Side: An attorney with Ankin Law will represent your interests in negotiations with the opposing party and the insurance representatives. He or she will strive to achieve a fair settlement that represents the true costs of your injuries, damages, medical expenses, and other losses.
Trial Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a product liability lawyer will be prepared to take your case to trial. He or she will provide representation in court, presenting evidence, arguing your case, and advocating for your rights to maximize your chances of a favorable verdict.
A product liability lawsuit can be daunting, but with the help of a knowledgeable product liability lawyer from Ankin Law, you can navigate the legal process effectively and increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Call Ankin Law for a FREE consultation.
Product Liability Resources & Links
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Provides information on consumer product safety.
National Toxicology Program
Provides fact sheets, testing information, and study results regarding hazardous and toxic substances.
Violence Policy Center Product Liability
Features studies, fact sheets and press releases on firearms product liability
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