Have you been injured or diagnosed with cancer after using a defective product? You may have a product liability claim for your damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, or a loved one’s wrongful death.
Table of Contents
How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Product Liability Case
Product designers, manufacturers, sellers, and distributors may all be responsible for products that pose a danger to users or consumers.
However, recovering compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering may be difficult.
Our team at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers doesn’t back down when it comes to fighting against big corporations.
We have a national reputation for verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases. Our case results and client reviews are a testament to our dedication and commitment. That’s why you shouldn’t waste a moment before calling a personal injury lawyer for help. We’ll stand up to corporations and insurance companies on your behalf, fighting to give you a voice and get you the money you deserve.
We offer a free consultation, so reach out to our team to schedule yours today.
Overview of Product Liability Claims
Product liability claims are not always immediately linked to a dangerous product. In many situations, catastrophic events like car accidents, construction accidents, and house fires occur because a product was negligently designed, manufactured, or marketed.
Examples of products that may be the basis of a product liability claim include:
- Asbestos used in insulation or flooring later causes mesothelioma
- Textured breast implants cause Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
- A small space heater causes fatal carbon monoxide poisoning
- Talc-based powder causes ovarian or uterine cancer
- A vehicle airbag spontaneously deploys, causing major injury
- An amusement park ride causes a rider to hit their head and suffer a traumatic brain injury
- A sport utility vehicle overturns, causing a driver or passenger to experience a roof crush injury.
WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is one of Baltimore’s oldest and most experienced personal injury law firms, representing people in Baltimore, Maryland since 1977. Over the years, we have handled claims involving a wide range of consumer products and automobile parts. Our lawyers have more than 80 years of experience fighting for justice against big corporations and insurance companies.
If you were injured by a defective household product, defective automobile part, defective medical device, or any other dangerous product, we are here to help you understand your legal rights and options.
What is a Defective Product?
A defective product can be something you bought, something you used, or a component part of something that caused an accident. Examples of scenarios involving component or non-purchased parts leading to product liability claims include:
- You were a passenger on a bus that crashed, and the accident was caused by a defect in the bus tire. You may have a basis for a product liability claim, even though you did not purchase or use the tire personally.
- You bought a BMW a few years ago, and were recently injured with the airbag spontaneously deployed while you were sitting at a stoplight. You may not be aware that the airbag inflator was manufactured by major automotive parts supplier Takata.
- You were in the military and issued 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs. You did not choose the standard-issue 3M earplugs, which caused hearing loss; however, you still may have a valid claim for your injuries.
A knowledgeable Baltimore product liability lawyer can help you determine if you have a claim for your injuries from a defective product. Preserve the product to the best of your ability and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Product Liability Claims Based On Negligence, Breach Of Warranty, Misrepresentation Of Facts, Or Strict Liability
Product liability claims can be based on negligence, breach of warranty, misrepresentation of facts, or strict liability. Strict liability is the most common basis for product liability claims. In a strict liability claim, a plaintiff is not required to prove that the defendant acted negligently in order to recover damages.
In other words, strict liability claims are not based on negligence. For example, claims against Samsung related to the exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones were based on strict liability.
A lawsuit for injuries in a product liability claim can be brought against any party in the product’s chain of distribution, including:
- The manufacturer of the product
- The manufacturer of component parts of the product (such as the airbag example)
- The party that assembles or installs a product
- The wholesaler or distributor
- The retailer that sells a product to a consumer.
If you have been injured by a defective product, contact an experienced Baltimore product liability attorney at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers. We are here to answer your questions and provide guidance and resources.
Evaluating Products for Defects and Determining Product Liability
Product liability cases are notoriously complex and aggressively defended by corporate counsels and insurance companies. Maryland courts will use one of two tests to evaluate the existence of a product defect:
- Consumer expectation test: This assessment evaluates a product based on whether the product performed its function as a typical consumer would anticipate it to perform.
- Risk/utility test: This test evaluates whether an alternative design could have diminished foreseeable risks associated with the product. This test often requires expert testimony.
Huge companies like drug companies, car manufacturers, food producers have millions of dollars to spend on defending lawsuits. For the plaintiffs, establishing liability can require product testing and analysis, and the testimony of expert witnesses. It is important to hire a product liability lawyer who has the financial resources to invest in your case and prepare it for trial.
At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we handle product liability claims involving design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. These claim types are discussed below, in detail.
Design Defect Claims
A design defect claim traces the danger of a product to the design and plans. In Maryland, the court will consider whether a manufacturer knew the risks inherent in the product and unreasonably put the product on the market despite the risk. Design defect claims can also include design of a product without safety devices, such as finger guards in power tools.
Design Defect Case Example
Ford Pintos designed and manufactured in the 1970s had a defective fuel tank and rear structure would explode in a 20 to 30 mile-per-hour rear-end collision, exposing consumers to serious burn injury or death. Evidence presented in product liability lawsuits showed that Ford could have corrected the hazardous design defects at minimal cost, but instead decided to defer correction based on a cost-benefit analysis, where they decided the cost of fixing the design wasn’t worth it compared to paying out on the occasional lawsuits they would face.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
A manufacturing defect claim traces the danger of a product to the way it was manufactured. The installation would be a departure of the design and plans of the product.
Manufacturing Defect Case Example
Food contamination cases are common examples of manufacturing defects. A manufacturing defect could also arise from an issue with the manufacturing process, such as using the wrong size screw or missing a screw altogether. Carelessly installing the electrical component of a product incorrectly could lead to electrocution of users.
Marketing Defect Claims
A product liability claim can be based on a marketing defect when a seller or manufacturer does not warn a consumer about a dangerous characteristic of a particular product. Even if a product does not have a manufacturing or design defect, it can still be defective. Elements of a marketing defect claim:
- The seller had knowledge of a danger in the product
- The seller failed to notify consumers of a potential danger
- A link is established between the failure to notify the consumer and the consumer’s injury.
Marketing defects claims are sometimes called a “Failure to Warn” claim. These types of lawsuits are based on the manner in which a product is sold. Marketing defect claims are not as common as defective design and manufacturing defect claims.
Marketing Defect Case Example
One of the most famous examples of a marketing defect product liability claim is the Betty Bullock vs. Philip Morris case. Betty smoked Philip Morris’s Marlboro cigarettes from 1956 to 1966, and then switched to Benson and Hedges from 1966 until being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in 2001.
She sued Philip Morris for negligence, strict product liability, and fraud. At trial, her attorneys included evidence that the tobacco company’s executives knew since the 1950s that nicotine was highly addictive, and cigarette smoke caused lung cancer. On October 4, 2002, a Los Angeles jury awarded $28 billion to Betty Bullock. Philip Morris appealed, and a reviewing court ultimately reduced the award to one-tenth of a percent.
The court concluded that the defendant’s behavior was “extremely reprehensible.”
Opioid Product Liability Claims in Maryland
A number of product liability cases have centered around opioid injuries and fatal overdoses. The National Institute On Drug Abuse reports that more than 125 people die each day from opioid overdoses.
Opioids like OxyContin, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl were originally prescribed for short term use following surgery or for people with terminal conditions. In the mid to late 1990’s, drug companies began marketing opioids for chronic pain, emphasizing their safety and efficacy. Healthcare providers prescribed them at greater rates, which led to misuse and addiction.
Recently, numerous lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers, alleging the companies encouraged illegal opioid prescriptions. Proving liability in an opioid overdose case can be challenging. However, numerous parties may be liable for opioid injuries, including drug manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists, and hospitalists.
If a member of your family has been harmed by opioids, contact the legal team at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers for a consultation of your legal rights.
How Long Do I Have To File A Product Liability Lawsuit in Maryland?
Every state has a Statute of Limitations which restricts the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim (including product liability claims). Maryland’s statute can be found in Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101 (2020), which states: “A civil action at law shall be filed within three years from the date it accrues.” This statute covers product liability claims, personal injury claims (for example, arising from bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and motorcycle accidents), and wrongful death claims.
Arrange a Free Consultation With an Experienced Baltimore Product Liability Lawyer
If you are injured by a defective product, a skilled Baltimore product liability attorney can level the playing field. Our team at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. If we accept your case, there are no fees unless we recover money for you. Contact our Baltimore law office to schedule a time to discuss your legal rights and options today.
Our Baltimore, MD personal injury law firm also offers:
- Car Accident Lawyers in Baltimore, MD
- Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers in Baltimore, MD
- Baltimore, MD Dog Bite Lawyers
- Bicycle Accident Lawyers in Baltimore, MD
- Baltimore, MD Aviation Accident Attorneys
- Baltimore, MD Medical Malpractice Lawyer
- Maritime Accident Lawyers in Baltimore, MD
- Baltimore, MD Wrongful Death Lawyers