If and when you or someone in Bozeman that you care about is injured by a defective product, you may immediately assume that a large judgment is coming your way from the product's manufacturer. Many of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with in the past who have suffered similar injuries share the same assumption. They quickly learned, however, that such cases are not always so cut-and-dry.
When you think of expiration dates on products, you most likely associate them with foods and beverages. You might not think twice about using a battery that has passed its expiration date, but drinking from a carton of month-old milk is another matter. The main reason why you avoid foods whose dates say that they have expired is to avoid them making you sick. Yet does product dating actually describe when foods go bad, and is it required by law?
Like all consumers in Bozeman, you buy a product believing that it will do that which it is intended to do. Sometimes you might have to suffer through the annoyance of it not working as well as you would like, yet your dissatisfaction typically is not enough to support a liability claim against the manufacturer. However, as many of the clients that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with have discovered, products can often go beyond annoying you to even causing harm to you and/or your loved ones. In order to assign liability, the harm caused in your case often has to be traced back to a defect with the product.
Your willingness to use manufactured products is likely because of the assumption that their makers put a great deal of thought into their design and safe usage. Unfortunately, as many in Bozeman may have sadly learned, that is not always the case. Product recalls are constantly issued after defects in their design have proven to be harmful to consumers. Yet can you make a claim that a product has a design defect if it is already considered to present inherent risks?
The general assumption amongst most in Bozeman may be that if a company makes a product that, further down the line of the product's life cycle, injures someone, then the manufacturer is ultimately responsible. That is what many of those who come to us here ay Cok Kinzler PLLP believe. If you or a family member have been injured due to a product defect, then you will likely want to know how far manufacturer liability goes in compensating cases such as yours.
Most in Bozeman may assume that product liability cases generally play out as follows: One is injured by a product, then sues that product’s manufacturer. Yet what if one cannot identify a dangerous product’s exact manufacturer? Is he or she then left without any legal recourse?
Like many of those in Bozeman that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with, you may believe that you are protected from any harm or damage that a product you own may cause through its warranty. Many products do indeed come with an express warranty, or promises written into a sales contract. However, not every aspect of a product’s performance may be covered under an express warranty. Does that mean you are not protected in circumstances not specifically addressed a warranty?
Many in Bozeman may wonder how it is that the manufacturers of products that have been shown to present the potential for harm to consumers (such as products containing tobacco or alcohol) are able to avoid liability for their use. The reason why is that such companies meet the standard of warning consumers about the possible dangers their products pose. Including warnings on cigarette packs or marketing alcohol with phrases encouraging people to drink responsibly serves to inform consumers, who then may be viewed as accepting a product’s risks. However, manufacturers may not be immune from blame for other factors which may cause these products to harm users.
Injuries caused by defective products in Bozeman can be life-altering, causing drastic changes to a victim’s as well as his or her family’s lifestyle and even potentially prohibiting him or her from ever being able to secure sufficient employment. When this is the case, accident victims may look to the possibility of earning compensation through legal action against the manufacturers of the dangerous products involved in their cases as a way to offset their financial losses. Indeed, data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute shows the average jury award for product liability cases to have been $5.27 million in 2014, more than twice the average of the next most-cited form of negligence.
If you and your family are forced to suffer through the death of a loved one in an aviation accident in Bozeman, your first thought may be to assign the fault for the incident to the pilot. What if, however, it is proven that a defect in the aircraft itself contributed to the crash? Does liability now shift from the pilot to the company that owned the craft, or the one that manufactured it?