The Minneapolis product liability attorneys at Hall Law P.A. have a long history of holding corporate manufacturers, accountable for making, selling, and distributing unsafe products. Most of us, when we purchase a product in the United States, assume that the product has been vetted and is reasonably safe for its intended purpose. Unfortunately, many products are put on the market without first going through proper safety testing and screening. As a result, products we often assume are safe may actually hold hidden dangers for unsuspecting users. When, for example, a vehicle component fails and the steering goes out on the driver, lives are put at risk.
Our Minneapolis product liability attorneys focus on the following product categories:
- Auto defects
- Hip Implant Defects & Recalls
- Elevator defects
- Recreational products
- Workplace equipment
- Agricultural/farming equipment
Minneapolis Products Liability Resources
How Can a Minneapolis Product Liability Lawyer Help?
Succeeding in a product liability lawsuit can be challenging and complicated. In most cases, you must be able to demonstrate that the product was used as intended but was defectively designed, manufactured, or inadequately labeled. It will not be enough to show that a product you used resulted in injury. Our Minneapolis product liability lawyer will has extensive experience and knowledge of the state’s product liability laws. We know how to build a solid claim to ensure the at-fault party is held accountable and have the resources to complete a thorough investigation and collect evidence to support your claim. In addition, we will:
- File and conduct the necessary correspondence within the mandated time limits.
- Craft the demand letters.
- Help you recover higher damages compared to not hiring a product liability attorney.
- Help you navigate the legal landscape and understand how to hold liable parties responsible and accountable for defective products.
By holding corporate manufacturers accountable when they put dangerous products in the marketplace, product liability lawyers help deter unsafe practices. Seat belts, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and bike helmets are just a few examples of the safety upgrades put in place as a result of product liability lawsuits pressuring companies to make safer products. Contact our product liability lawyers in Minneapolis, MN for a free case evaluation.
What is The Statute of Limitations To File a Product Liability Case in Minnesota?
Each state has a law known as the statute of limitations that sets a deadline on how long a victim has to file a product liability claim. In Minnesota, the amount of time depends on whether the case is based on strict liability, negligence, or breach of implied warranty.
- Strict Liability Cases — 4 years: Under the legal theory of strict liability, a victim can hold a manufacturer liable for an injury caused by a defective product regardless of whether the manufacturer knew or should have known the product was unsafe.
- Negligence-Based Claims — 2 years for personal injury, 6 years for property damage: A product liability claim based on negligence requires establishing that a manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care and created a product that put consumers in unreasonable danger.
- Breach of Warranty — 4 years: Claims can also be brought based on a breach of warranty, which means the manufacturer or distributor failed to provide adequate warning labels or comply with a written or implied warranty that the product is safe for use as intended and free from defects.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Product Liability Lawsuit?
A successful product liability lawsuit will result in a damages award. Damages is a legal term that refers to the different types of compensation that a victim can potentially recover. The following two types of damages are commonly awarded:
Compensation for subjective or personal losses, which makes them much more challenging to prove. For instance:
- Pain & Suffering: Compensation for the physical trauma you have endured.
- Emotional Damages: Any psychological symptoms caused by the accident (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, etc.)
- Loss of Reputation: For any damage to your reputation caused by the defective product.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If you are unable to participate in activities you used to enjoy before the accident.
- Loss of Consortium: A spouse can recover this type of damages if your injury causes a loss of love, companionship, comfort, society, sexual relations, etc.
Compensation that reimburses actual financial losses. Some examples include:
- Past and Current Medical Bills: Any costs related to treating your injury immediately after the accident and up until your case is resolved.
- Future Medical Expenses: Any anticipated medical costs while you continue to recover.
- Surgery: If your injury requires surgical procedures.
- Medication: Any prescription medications prescribed in relation to your defective product injury.
- Rehabilitation Costs: If your injury requires physical therapy.
- Medical Equipment: If you require any medical equipment to help you adapt to daily living (e.g., crutches, wheelchair, stair lifts, entry ramps, handrails, etc.)
- Loss of Earning Potential: If your injury forces you into a different line of work or leaves you unable to earn the same level of income as before the accident.
- Lost Wages: Any income lost while you recover.
- Property Damage: The repair or replacement of any property damaged by the defective product.
What are Common Examples of Product Liability Cases?
When a defective or unreasonably dangerous product severely injures someone, the victim has the right to file a product liability lawsuit. Common examples of the types of product liability cases pursued include:
Design Defect Claims
A design defect claim can be filed when a product is inherently dangerous due to a problem with its conception or initial design. An example of a design defect is a piece of machinery with a built-in safety guard that fails to actually prevent injuries.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
With a manufacturing defect, a product essentially becomes defective due to a problem during manufacturing. For example, a product manufactured with a missing component, poor-quality components, or contaminated. It is typically a batch or a limited number of products that have a defect rather than the product as a whole.
Failure to Warn Claims
This type of defect is caused by inadequate instructions or marketing materials that come with a product. An example of a failure to warn claim is a medication that does not contain a label that warns consumers against known dangerous drug interactions or a food product that does not list known allergens.
Failure to Properly Test Product Claim
The duty to test a product properly is a subpart to the other three types of responsibilities a manufacturer owes consumers. In other words, if the manufacturer failed to test the product properly, then they also either failed in its design, manufacturing, or warning of inherent dangers.
What Injuries Can Occur From a Defective Product?
Defective products can cause many injuries that range in severity from mild to catastrophic. Some of the most common ones used as grounds for a product liability claim include:
When a product unexpectedly breaks or explodes, it can cause bone fractures—for example, a faulty ladder breaking, a poorly designed piece of furniture falling, a defective high chair collapsing, etc. Severe bone fractures often require surgery and can take months to heal, and rehabilitation.
Internal organ damage is a commonly reported injury caused by defective prescription drugs or medical devices, such as surgical mesh, pacemakers, hip implants, etc. When a drug is contaminated or a medical device malfunctions, victims can suffer debilitating injuries to major organs (e.g., the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, etc.).
When a victim suffers a blow to the head due to a defective product, it can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even a minor TBI, such as a concussion, can have long-term consequences, and in extreme cases, victims can suffer permanent cognitive or physical impairment.
Choking injuries and deaths are more often seen in young children due to poorly designed toys with small parts that break off or toys without a label warning of a potential choking hazard.
Other common severe injuries caused by defective products include strangulation, coma, poisoning, neck injuries, loss of vision or hearing, and loss of limbs or digits.
Dangerous Drug Injury
Unlisted ingredients on medication warning labels, undisclosed dangerous side effects, or contaminated medications can lead to serious injuries or illnesses and, in some cases, death.
Back injuries of all kinds can occur, such as herniated or bulging discs, fractures, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and others. These injuries often result in lifelong complications and chronic pain.
Severe burns can be caused by defective household appliances, like hairdryers, curling irons, or toasters. If they have faulty wiring, it increases the risk of them bursting into flames, exploding, or electrocuting a consumer. Healing from a burn injury can be excruciating, and victims may suffer further complications, such as infection and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Who is Responsible For Product Liability Damages?
Multiple parties may be liable for product liability damages depending on the circumstances. Those parties commonly include the following:
- Product Designer: If there was a foreseeable risk posed by a product due to its design, even though it was manufactured correctly, the product’s designer might be liable.
- Manufacturer: Manufacturers are often liable in defective product lawsuits. In some cases, there may be multiple manufacturers that can be held responsible. For instance, if the defective product is a part of a larger product—such as a faulty battery within a children’s toy.
- Wholesaler or Distributor: Any other “middlemen” involved in a defective product’s distribution chain, such as the wholesalers, distributors, or suppliers, can be liable for damages. Even if defective product injuries were not necessarily their fault, any party involved in distributing a defective product can potentially be partially or entirely responsible.
- Retailer: You may also have a case against the retailer who sold the defective product. In some cases, a retailer can be liable for simply selling a dangerous product, even if you did not directly buy or use the faulty product.
Other examples of potential parties include marketers, outside consultants or contractors, engineers, and any other party involved in a defective product’s creation and distribution.
What are Common Defective Products?
Injuries from dangerous or defective products often include the following:
- Vehicles: Car and part defects, such as faulty airbags, brakes, tires, malfunctioning ignition switches, or a defective design, are common causes of accidents that result in severe injuries.
- Medical Products: Over-the-counter or prescription drugs that are contaminated or fail to warn of dangerous drug interactions or medical devices with defective designs that cause internal damage to patients.
- Appliances: Kitchen ranges, clothes dryers, hair dryers, microwaves, televisions, or power tools can malfunction if defective. For example, by catching fire, exploding, or simply being prone to tip over.
- Children’s Products: Many toys are recalled due to safety problems, for example, for having parts that come loose when they shouldn’t and creating choking hazards. Other examples are defective car seats with faulty buckles or sippy cups with a design that prevents them from being thoroughly cleaned and causes mold to grow.
When consumers report safety or quality concerns about a product, the manufacturer and retailers may recall the product. A product recall can be voluntary, or a regulatory body, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), can mandate it. It is a public announcement that customers should return or discard a product because it or a batch is dangerous.
What Do I Do if I Have Been Injured by a Defective Product?
The most important thing to do after a defective product injury is to immediately seek medical care. Your health is the top priority, and you also need medical documentation to link your injuries to the product. Keep track of your bills and any other accident-related expenses.
Secondly, it is vital to preserve the product as it is. Don’t try to repair it or discard it. The product must be evaluated as-is for you to have a product liability case. If the product is, for example, a car or motorcycle covered by insurance, speak to your insurer or attorney about how to preserve it. If it is another type of product, keep any of the original packaging material if you have it and the manual and operating instructions.
Lastly, consult a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. They can advise you on your legal options and what to do next, as well as help you gather and preserve evidence to ensure your claim is solid.
Defective Products and Wrongful Death
In the worst cases, a defective product can lead to a devastating accident that causes a fatality. When a product-related injury is responsible, surviving family members have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable. In these situations, Minnesota law requires the court to appoint a trustee to file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the next of kin. What normally occurs is that the surviving family will select a person to be the trustee, and the court will appoint them. The trustee then has the authority to do what is legally necessary to resolve the wrongful death claim. Ultimately, any settlement or award will be distributed to the deceased’s heirs or dependents.
A wrongful death claim can potentially result in an award or settlement that includes reimbursement for a family’s following types of losses:
- Medical bills related to the accident which led to the victim’s death;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Loss of the deceased’s expected income and benefits;
- Loss of services, care, assistance, and protection;
- Loss of companionship, advice, comfort, and guidance;
- And more.
Depending on the defendant’s degree of negligence, the court may also award punitive damages as a form of punishment.
What Damages Can I Recover For an Injury from a Faulty Product?
You can potentially recover damages for your losses by pursuing a product liability claim. Those types of compensation might include:
- Medical Bills and Expenses: Any costs for your current and future treatment related to your defective product injury. For example, emergency care, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, prescription medications, medical equipment, home modifications, etc.
- Lost Wages: Damages can be recovered for both past and future lost income and benefits because of your injuries. You may also be entitled to lost earning capacity if your injury leaves you unable to earn the same level of income as before the defective product incident.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain caused by your injuries, as well as any emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, or any other resulting psychological effects.
- Property Damage: When the accident causes property damage, victims are entitled to payment for the repair or replacement of their property. (e.g., vehicle, clothing, etc.)
- Loss of Consortium: If your spouse or family suffers a loss of love, companionship, comfort, society, etc., because of your injuries, they may be able to receive consortium damages.
- Wrongful Death: When a defective product causes a fatality, the victim’s surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for funeral/burial expenses, lost income and benefits, loss of services, and more.
If the defendant (at-fault party) was intentionally reckless or acted with an extreme disregard for the safety of consumers, the court may award punitive damages. This form of compensation is meant to punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct.
When the defendant is a large company (e.g., product manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, or retailer), they and their insurer may have teams of attorneys ready to intimidate and pressure you into accepting an unfairly low settlement offer. Our product liability attorneys will not back down. Instead, we will fight for your rights and ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve, even if that means representing you in court. Contact our firm to discuss the specifics of your case with our experienced product liability lawyers.