About Georgia Product Liability Claims
We spend our lives surrounded by manufactured items. That makes it easy for us to take for granted the thousands of machines and tools that we own or encounter from one day to the next, all of which were designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold by others. Our Atlanta product liability lawyer has the experience to know that the safety of these products is not guaranteed; they can have dangerous flaws.
One reason it’s so easy to take our modern conveniences — including cars, power equipment, chemicals, medicines, and even prepared foods — for granted is that in most cases they simply do what they’re meant to do. We use them and go on with our lives. Sometimes, however, a product we normally take for granted turns out to have serious flaws that can cause grave harm.
Maybe the manufacturer tried to save money and maximize profits, so it didn’t do enough safety testing. Or perhaps the product wasn’t assembled correctly at the factory. Sometimes manufacturers cut corners to keep costs down, or rush products to market and make poor decisions along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have provided the following answers to frequently asked questions about products liability law in Georgia. To discuss the specific facts of your case, please contact us today by phone or through our online form. We would be glad to provide you with a free consultation about your case.
What compensation is available for someone injured by a defective product?
Under Georgia law, personal injury compensation may include:
- Property damage
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
If the case involves the wrongful death of a loved, eligible family members may be able to pursue different types of damages that are available under Georgia law.
An attorney can review all records in a case to determine the losses suffered to date and can consult with medical, vocational and life care-planning experts to project future losses that merit compensation in a products liability claim.
Is there a time limit to file a products liability lawsuit in Georgia?
In most cases, a product liability suit must be filed no later than two years after a victim’s injury. This is called the Georgia statute of limitations on personal injury claims.
The period might be even shorter in some cases. This is because Georgia’s statute of ultimate repose bars the filing of strict products liability suits more than 10 years after a product first goes on sale, even if the injury only occurred in the last year. That means investigation must be prompt in case the 10-year statute of repose is quickly approaching.
As you contemplate contacting an attorney, you should consider the fact that products liability cases can require extensive investigation, research and consultation with experts before a legal claim is filed. It is important to make sure you leave the attorney ample time to investigate and build your case before the filing deadline.
Who can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective product?
In Georgia, a product’s manufacturer can be held strictly liable by statute for injuries resulting from the use of its defective products. The seller of a product can also be held liable for negligence and breach of warranty. It is possible that others who are further up the supply chain, including suppliers of raw materials or component part manufacturers, may be held accountable as well. In some cases, an out-of-state or foreign company may be named as a defendant in a products liability case.
It will be important to work with an attorney who has experience with cases involving multiple parties and other complex aspects of personal injury and wrongful death litigation.
What makes a product “defective” or “dangerous?”
These defects are:
- Design defects – A product can dangerous simply because its design has made it unsafe for its foreseeable intended use. In other words, even if the product is manufactured exactly as designed, using all the proper materials, components, packaging and labels, the product can cause harm. An example would be a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a top-heavy design that makes it prone to rollovers.
- Manufacturing defects – If improperly assembled, a normally safe product can be dangerous if the problem is not caught before it leaves the factory. The error might arise from any number of causes, including the breakdown or malfunction in the manufacturer’s equipment or the inclusion of defective raw materials or sub-components. For instance, a major motorcycle manufacturer recently recalled a line of motorcycles because, when assembled, the front brake line was positioned in a way that it caused the front wheel to lock up.
- Defective marketing / failure to warn – A product can be dangerously defective if a party involved in its marketing such as the manufacturer or seller fails to properly educate consumers about the safe use or operation of that product. Manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers of any known or foreseeable dangers arising from the normal use of their products if the danger is one that consumers would not be aware of and one that is not obvious, generally known or readily discoverable by a user exercising ordinary care for his or her safety. An example would be a drug that presents risks of strokes or heart attacks. The pharmaceutical company would owe consumers a duty to warn about these risks.
If you or a loved one is injured by a product, an attorney will carefully review all facts in the case to determine whether the defect that caused the injury falls into one or more of the above categories.
Does it matter if a product was recalled by the manufacturer?
A product recall provides evidence that even the manufacturer has recognized that a product contains a potentially dangerous defect or fails to meet state or federal safety standards.
Safety recalls are issued for a wide range of products, including automobiles, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, child care products (car seats, strollers, cribs and toys), industrial equipment, power tools and everyday household appliances. The recalls may cover an entire line of products, models that were manufactured within particular time periods or products that were sold in specific regions of the country.
Typically, the manufacturer issues a voluntary recall. However, the manufacturer still must provide notice of the recall to the proper agency such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The notice must explain why the recall is being used as well as what consumers should do. In some instances – for example, if you purchased a car that was new from a dealer – you should personally receive a recall letter from the manufacturer.
How can you hold a product manufacturer accountable for my injuries?
These theories include:
- Strict products liability – Georgia’s products liability statute allows the manufacturer of personal property – sold as new – to be held liable for injuries that a person suffers if the product was defective when it left the manufacturer. Strict products liability law focuses on the product itself, such as its design and how it is intended to work.
- Negligence – In some cases, manufacturers can also be liable to injured victims under a traditional theory of negligence. This theory focuses on whether the manufacturer took reasonable steps and acted with necessary diligence to ensure that its product was safe when used as intended. Negligence law emphasizes both the product and the conduct of those who could be liable for an unsafe product reaching the market, including the product’s manufacturer, distributor and retailer.
- Breach of warranty – To a lesser extent, a defective product case may involve claims of breach of warranty. For example, a manufacturer may breach an express warranty or an implied warranty, which is a claim that a product was not fit for the ordinary purpose for which it was intended.
An attorney who reviews your case can determine which theories apply and explain why those theories should be explored as part of the lawyer’s effort to obtain relief for you and your family in your products liability case.
If I was injured when a tool I was using splintered and cut deeply into my arm, would this be a potential personal injury claim?
Generally speaking, product manufacturers and others in the distribution chain may be held liable if a product contains a defect that causes a person to suffer an injury even though the product was used as intended. This is known as a product liability case.
A product may be dangerous due to its defective design, a defect in the manufacturing process or because of faulty marketing or instructional materials that fail to adequately warn of risks inherent in use of the product.
A product liability case may also involve a product that has been recalled due to safety flaws. Unfortunately, recalls usually occur only after several people have already been injured or killed while using the product.
Product liability claims require extensive and often technical research. Some product liability cases become class-action lawsuits or multi-district litigation (MDL) cases.
If you have suffered harm due to a defective product, it is important to work with a product liability lawyer with the experience and resources necessary to properly analyze such claims.
Atlanta Product Liability Attorney
Whatever the reason, when a product injures or kills, it is crucial that you or your loved one talks with a Georgia products liability attorney like those at The Poe Law Firm Trial attorneys Jim and Matt Poe understand that dangerous products can have devastating consequences, permanently injuring or even killing users and innocent bystanders.
An Atlanta product liability lawyer at The Poe Law Firm, helps victims who’ve suffered serious personal injuries because of defective products. We handle products injury claims related to defective designs, defective manufacture, or defective marketing or failure to warn. We’re proud to have the experience and resources necessary to handle even the most complex products liability cases, along with the passion to get maximum results for every one of our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns. We can be reached by telephone or by using our convenient online contact form.