A defective product can cause serious injury or even death to the people who use it. For example, back in 2010, it was revealed that a defective part in certain Toyota cars caused the vehicles to suddenly accelerate, and this defect was linked to the deaths of 12 people and 31 other accidents, as reported by the Washington Post.

With such serious consequences on the line, it’s important to know what to do if you or your loved one has been harmed by a defective product. Here are six things you need to know about faulty product cases.

What to do if you’ve been injured

Your safety and health are first and foremost. If your product still poses a danger, such as an appliance that can cause a shock or fire, call emergency services. If you’re seriously harmed, don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital. Call 911 immediately.

Once you’ve received medical attention, you can start thinking about evidence collection. Don’t just toss out the product that harmed you. Take photos of it, your injuries, and any damage it caused to your property. Keep the product’s packaging and the receipt you got when you bought it.

Start an accident journal, writing down the details of the incident and witnesses. Include a list of symptoms and how they’ve improved or gotten worse over time. List all doctor’s appointments and days you missed at work because of the accident.

A product liability claim explained

In a product liability case, the injured person is suing the manufacturer, supplier, or seller of a defective product that caused injury. Generally, the three product problems that allow for the filing of these claims are: the product is dangerous due to a defect; the product is dangerous because of its design; or the product doesn’t have proper instructions for safe operation and/or warning labels.

You can still file a claim even if you didn’t purchase the product

Even if you’re not the person who purchased the defective product, you may be able to file a defective product claim. Many product liability cases, for example, involve compensation for children who were hurt by defective toys. State laws place responsibility for injuries on manufacturers who make defective products whether the item hurts the owner, a family member or friend or a bystander.

Some common defective product damages

While exact damages vary by case, you can usually receive compensation for medical treatment, wages lost and damage to your property. You may receive money for pain and suffering. In some causes, the court awards what is known as “punitive damages,” which aren’t based on your losses but meant to punish the company and deter others from acting the same way.

The product won’t automatically be recalled

A defective product claim can lead to a recall, but remember it’s not a guarantee even if you win. Often, these cases bring the product to the attention of a government agency, who then will look into whether it needs to be pulled. A judge can order a recall if the product is proven in court to be dangerous enough to warrant it. Sometimes, the company will recall the product itself or work to improve safety as a result of a product liability case.

You can still file if your loved one’s death was caused by a defective product

If you’re a dependent or family member of a person who was killed by a defective product, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases can be very complex, so seek the help of an experienced attorney.

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