Every year, thousands of people across the country and Tennessee are injured by defective or dangerous products. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the companies that manufacture these products are extremely reluctant to admit liability. Armed with lawyers and deep pockets, they typically force victims to fight them before they will accept responsibility.
If you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product, the Barnes Law Firm can help. We work with people who have been injured in the Knoxville area to help them get the compensation they deserve. Call us at 865-805-5703 or visit us online to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you.
The Basics of Products Liability
Under Tennessee law, anyone who is injured by a consumer product has a potential claim against the product’s manufacturer. In order to prevail on your claim, you will need to prove each of the following elements (or components):
- The product was defective or unreasonably dangerous.
- The product caused your injury by virtue of its being unreasonably dangerous or defective.
- The product 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.
These elements may sound straightforward but can be quite difficult to prove. Corporate entities that designed, manufactured, and sold the product are likely to deny that the product was defective or dangerous and argue that they should not be held liable for your injuries.
Defective Does Not Mean Broken
“Defective” has a specific meaning in the context of a product liability case. A product can be defective in one of three ways:
- Design defects – a flaw in how the product was designed, rendering it inherently unsafe.
- Manufacturing defects – a flaw in how the product was built that caused it to become unsafe.
- Warning defects – the product was unsafe because it came with inadequate warnings or instructions on how to use the product safely.
It can be difficult to sort out exactly what causes a particular product to be unsafe. In some cases, there may be more than one defect.
Unreasonably Dangerous Products
Tennessee law defines an unreasonably dangerous product as one that is essentially more dangerous than the average consumer would expect or that a reasonably prudent manufacturer would not have put the product on the market had they known of its dangerous condition. You do not need to prove that the manufacturer actually knew the product was dangerous.
Most Common Products that Cause Injuries
When discussing product liability cases, it’s always alarming to consider how common, everyday items can cause serious injuries. Here are some of the most common products that can cause injuries to consumers:
- Motor vehicles
- Medical devices
- Pharmaceutical products and medications
- Over-the-counter medications
- Baby and children’s toys
- Workplace materials and substances such as chemicals
- Power tools
- Firearms, knives, and other weapons
Almost any consumer product can cause an injury, but again, you have to prove that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous.
Modern cars are sophisticated machines that combine mechanical, electrical, and computer systems to get us to where we need to go. As they have become more sophisticated, however, the number of potentially defective components has increased. The number of recalls in effect at any given time bears testimony to the high number of defective components that can be discovered in ordinary vehicles.
Everyone knows that power tools can be very dangerous. However, we rely upon manufacturers to design them with adequate safety features and construct them carefully to guard against defects. A faulty design or manufacturing defect can lead to a failure that can result in serious injuries or even death.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are part of many peoples’ daily lives. Unfortunately, these drugs and medications can sometimes cause serious health problems – diseases or sudden health problems caused by unexpected side effects. These are often due to a lack of careful study by the pharmaceutical company, but can also be caused by manufacturing defects that allow impurities into the final product. In other cases, injuries result from the pharmaceutical company’s failure to provide adequate warnings concerning the use of their product and the potential side effects.
Tobacco and Vaping Products
People are well-aware of the litigation that resulted in massive liability for the tobacco industry. The basis of the litigation was that the tobacco companies failed to disclose just how dangerous their products actually were. Tobacco companies continue to face lawsuits from smokers, resulting in billions of dollars in judgment awards.
Meanwhile, vaping products seem to be following a similar trajectory. As states crackdown on sales and marketing efforts, it’s beginning to appear that vaping products are not nearly as safe as the manufacturers led people to believe. In fact, vaping appears to cause serious lung disease and perhaps even result in death.
Time is Of the Essence in Product Liability Cases
In most cases, the statute of limitations in Tennessee is one year. This means that you have only one year to file a lawsuit based on a product liability claim. If you do not file within that time frame, you lose all of your rights, no matter how strong your case might otherwise be. There are exceptions to this rule, but don’t assume they apply in your case. Instead, contact a product liability attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Knoxville Product Liability Attorney
If you’ve been injured by an unsafe product, understand that you do not have to pursue a claim on your own. The product liability lawyers at the Barnes Law Firm can level the playing field and help you get the compensation you deserve. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, call us at 865-805-5703 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.