Product Liability FAQ’S
Is a store that sells a defective product liable in Alabama?
Only if it failed to take reasonable steps to inspect the product.
When is a manufacturer liable for an injury caused by a product in Alabama?
If the product’s design or manufacture presents an unreasonable degree of danger to the consumer. If, for example, a chain saw was designed without an automatic brake, the manufacturer could be held liable for an injury caused by the saw. Likewise, if the manufacture or assembly of a product is improper – say a bolt in a table saw was not tightened, the manufacturer can be held responsible.
If I hurt myself with a chain saw, shouldn’t I be compensated?
Not necessarily. Remember that the manufacturer has to expose the consumer to an “unreasonable degree of risk” for the product’s intended use. For example, if the chain saw has the latest safety features and it was properly manufactured, the manufacturer is probably not liable.
What steps do I take if I’m injured by a product in Alabama?
Immediately contact a good products liability lawyer. Time is of the essence because important evidence must be gathered and or secured. If you wait, evidence can disappear, or be altered. If you dispose of the evidence or it disappears, it may be very difficult to pursue your case.
How is evidence “secured?”
Say, for example, you were in an automobile accident you believe was caused by a defective car part. Make sure that you get custody of the wreckage and store it under lock and key. You must establish a “chain of custody” to prove that the vehicle wasn’t tampered with after the accident.
How can I tell if the product was defective in Alabama?
Naturally, your lawyer will make inquiries. Often we will have to retain experts who can determine if the product was defective. The government is also a great source of product safety information, especially if the product in question was cited for safety violations. On the federal level, try:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
www.NHTSA.gov (for auto accidents)
- The Center for Auto Safety
www.autosafety.org (for auto accidents)
- The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA)