You may not hear them every day, but injuries due to defective products can be very serious. Burns, electrocution, deep cuts, and other injuries can require hospitalization, time off of work, and other losses. Products designed for children can present additional dangers such as choking hazards. If you’ve been injured as a result of a defective product, this post will outline what you will need to prove in order to prevail on your personal injury claim.
The Four Elements of a Products Liability Claim
Georgia law lays out the structure you have to work with if you’ve been injured by a defective product. In order to prevail on your claim, you will need to prove each of the following elements (or components) of your claim:
- The product was defective.
- Your injury was caused by the defect.
- The item was in essentially the same condition when it caused the injury as when it was manufactured.
- You were using the product as intended when you were injured.
When you think about it, these elements make sense and may seem quite simple. However, they may not be so easy to prove, especially when you consider how the corporate entities behind the product are likely to deny that the product was defective in the first place.
Georgia Law Does Not Require Privity
The good news is that Georgia product liability law does not require “privity.” This means that you do not need to be the one who purchased the product from the manufacturer or original retailer in order to recover for your injury. In other words, you can still file a lawsuit if you borrowed the product, received it as a gift, or bought it used.
Georgia law imposes a “strict liability” standard in product liability cases. This means that you do not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, as you would in most personal injury cases. Instead, you only need to prove that the product was defective.
Three Types of Product Defects
Every product defect case is the result of one or more of the following types of defects:
- Design defects. This is when the design of the product is inherently unsafe. For example, an electric saw that does not have an automatic shut-off could be deemed to be a defective design.
- Manufacturing defects. Manufacturing defects occur when there was a mistake in the way the product was built. To use the example above, the saw may have been designed with an automatic shut-off, but poor manufacturing resulted in faulty wiring that caused the shut-off to fail.
- Warning defects. A product is also considered defective when the manufacturer fails to include adequate warnings concerning the hazards associated with the product. This is why many products typically come with so many warnings, sometimes to the point of absurdity. However, failure to warn of specific dangers continues to cause a significant number of injuries.
Statute of Limitations
Under Georgia law, you have two years to bring a personal injury claim that resulted from a defective product. However, there are a couple of important caveats here:
- The statute of limitations does not start running until you have discovered your injury, BUT
- There is a 10 year maximum period of time to file any claim, UNLESS
- The manufacturer failed to warn of the risk of injury, then there is no limitation.
In other words, you may not be able to file suit if you discover your injury 12 years after you purchased the product unless the manufacturer failed to warn that the product may cause your injury.
Contact a Georgia Products Liability Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Product liability cases are extremely difficult for non-lawyers to handle on their own. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective product, the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd can help. If you’d like a free consultation, call at 888-474-9616 or send us an email.