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Product liability lawsuits require extra planning

Consumers can face long-term consequences such as medical expenses or lost wages when a defective or malfunctioning product injures them. These have been publicized in personal injury or product liability lawsuits involving Takata airbag failures and GM's defective ignition lawsuit.

However, filing a lawsuit for compensation in these cases requires extra consideration. Product liability cases generally have two goals. First, the victim should receive compensation for injuries and other losses resulting from the defective product. Next, the manufacturer, seller or other responsible must be held accountable for making the harmful product.

Similar products such as drugs, medical devices and consumer products have repeatedly failed. However, the harm suffered and the product defect may be different for each case.

A lawsuit filed in Illinois may follow different procedures and require different elements of proof than an action filed in other states. Each victim may suffer different harm or injuries. This may also lead to different levels of compensation for medical expenses or fixing or replacing the defective product.

Significant evidence and proof is needed once a lawsuit is filed which may differ in each case. These generally include receipts or other proof of purchase for the defective item, original warrantees or guarantees that accompanied the product and the defective item that was purchased.

Plaintiffs should attempt to locate the product's technical details such design documents and plans. Witnesses and other experts may also provide interviews, statements or testimony under oath in depositions.

Medical records and a doctor's medical diagnosis are also important. For compensation, bills and receipts for medical expenses and other expenditures should be located.

An experienced lawyer can help victims of a defective product locate evidence and present a case proving that the product malfunctioned and the losses that were incurred. A properly prepared lawsuit can help assure that the verdict provides compensation covering these losses and holds the manufacturer and other responsible liable for the product's defects.

Source: Product Safety News, "A look inside product liability lawsuits: Consultation," By Curtis Weyant, June 30, 2017

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