What should you do first if you are seriously hurt by a dangerous product?
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective product, then an experienced product liability lawyer – such as those employed at Coffey Trial Law – can make the difference between winning and losing your case.
If you know that you have been injured by a dangerous product, it is important to get medical attention as soon as you can and contact an experienced product liability lawyer in order for them to investigate and preserve valuable evidence that could make or break your case.
One of the most important aspects of a product liability case is to preserve the product in the condition that it existed at the time of or immediately after the accident. We document the scene of an accident extensively with professional quality cameras and video equipment, and take all of the necessary steps to establish a chain of custody of evidence. This is important in product liability cases in order to provide our client’s the upper hand. If this painstaking task is not done properly, then the evidence will likely be attacked by the defense lawyer or their expert witness at trial. This information is imperative to your case.
After a product injures a person, the victim often times does not know exactly what happened due to the extent of their injuries. They can lose consciousness and have a head injury that prevents them from remembering the incident. Many times, these accidents are not witnessed by anyone other than the product user, and, thus, are rarely captured on video tape. Sometimes, events happen so quickly that it is impossible to know what truly happened. Occasionally, after an accident, it is unknown whether the cause of the accident was a product defect or improper maintenance of the product, which makes it dangerous. In an effort to correct a danger after an accident occurs, rental companies and employers that own equipment often make repairs to a product to make it safer, rather than preserving the product in the condition that it existed at the time of the accident. These repairs can ruin a victim’s ability to prove a product liability case.
One of the most important things that an experienced product liability lawyer can do for you after an accident, is to either take possession of the dangerous product or contact the owner of the product to make sure they do not change it before it can be inspected by expert witnesses. Once the owner of the product is put on notice that they possess valuable evidence in a product liability case, if they changed or destroyed the product then they are more likely to be responsible for the injuries caused by the dangerous product. They are considered liable to the extent that they prejudiced the victim’s ability to prove a claim against the product manufacturer. This concept is called spoliation of evidence.
In other cases, especially cases involving products that catch on fire, the evidence may be destroyed in the aftermath of the accident. In such cases, the victim may be unable to test the product to prove their case. Fortunately, the victim may be able to enjoy a legal inference. This means that if the product was being used in its normal and intended manner and failed during its use, there may be an inference of product defect. However, the defense will often argue that the product was tampered with or that it was misused to avoid liability. This may become a “swearing contest” at trial and will likely involve a “battle of the expert witnesses.” In these cases, it is extremely important to document the scene of the accident through photography and video tape, as well as take detailed statements of witnesses to show the destruction caused by the product and the aftermath of that use the product. For instance, think of a clothes dryer that is being used to dry the family’s laundry. The unit catches fire and burns down the family home. Visualizing the scene of a fire like this is essential to proving the product liability case.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a serious personal injury as a result of a dangerous or defective product, we encourage you to contact Coffey Trial Law for a confidential, free initial interview. If we are able to accept your case, then you will not pay us a penny unless we recover for you. Call us today!