Atlanta Product Liability Lawyer

Have you been injured? Let the team at Shane Smith Law help.

Atlanta Product Liability Attorneys

When a manufacturer develops and markets a consumer product, they have a responsibility to ensure that the product is designed and manufactured in a way that makes it safe to use as intended. In addition, they have a duty to warn consumers about any nonobvious dangers that may be mitigated by such a warning. Unfortunately, this does not always occur, and every year thousands of people are injured by negligently designed, manufactured, or marketed consumer products.

The best way to make sure that you receive the full value of your injuries after a consumer product injury is to consult with one of the experienced attorneys of Shane Smith Law as soon as possible.


Call (980) 246-2656 or contact us online to learn more about your options if you've been injured by a dangerous or defective product.


What is Product Liability?

When you hear the phrase “product liability” you probably think of being liable for your product. The concept of product liability primarily concerns the maker of a product. It can also involve the marketer, wholesaler and retailer involved in the supply chain on its way to you.

Product liability involves anything that is considered “personal property.” Personal property is defined as everything besides real property which is defined as “land and everything that is attached to it and its improvements.”

Defective products can injure, maim or kill its innocent user or third-party residents. Since defective products are so pervasive, it is essential to determine how a product liability case can be established.

Understanding the Four Types of Product Liability

Under Georgia law, the four types of product liability are:

  • Strict liability
  • Fraud
  • Breach of Express or Implied Warranty
  • Negligence

Understanding how each theory applies to your situation is essential to see if your accident entitles you to a personal injury claim.

Strict Liability

Injured plaintiffs can file a claim based on this theory if they can prove there was a defect in the product and that defect caused injuries or death. There is no need to prove negligence or other breach of duty of care with this claim.

Fraud

If you can prove the seller or manufacturer of the product knew about the product’s defect and chose to not fix it and/or hide the defect, you may prevail on a personal injury claim.

Breach of Express of Implied Warranty

Applying to different products, one type of warranty requires notification, the other type is automatic. An implied warranty says the product is appropriate for the purpose it’s being sold. An express warranty pertains to warranties covering damaged products. If the product does not meet its respective warranty, a breach of warranty may exist prompting a product liability claim.

Negligence

The legal person responsible for the defect in the product, through a thorough inspection process would have discovered the issue. If additional inspection and care was put into the quality control of the item in question, the defect would have been discovered and the severe injuries or death caused by the defect would have been prevented. If this is proven in a product liability claim, the manufacturer and/or seller may be held liable for the victim’s damages. Both parties have a legal duty to ensure the product is not defective when used as intended.

Types of Product Defects

Almost any consumer product has the potential to cause injuries. Some are obvious, such as a car with defectively designed brake, while others, like a cell phone battery that overheats, may not be as readily apparent. There are several different ways negligence may result in an injury-causing product. These include:

  • Defective design – These flaws indicate an inherent risk with the product’s design. In addition, products with design flaws are dangerous regardless of how well they are manufactured.
  • Defective manufacture – Manufacturing defects exist when a product was designed properly, but an error in manufacture makes the product dangerous.
  • Defective marketing (also known as “failure to warn”) – These issues arise when a manufacturer knows or should have known about an inherent danger with the product that could have been easily mitigated by warning the consumer. These claims can also exist in regard to indicating that a product may be safe to use for a certain age group (i.e. young children) when it is in fact not safe for that age group.

What are Some Examples of Defective Products?

Defective products come from virtually all industries including:

  • Recreational vehicles – defective brakes, engines, etc.
  • Baby and children’s good – collapsing cribs, toys that break or contain toxic materials, etc.
  • Firearms – faulty safeties, trigger locks and defective functioning parts
  • Household appliances – have faulty wiring causing smoke damage, wiring, or parts that cause physical and emotional damages

These are just some of the types of products from some of the industries that hurt and kill people on a daily basis.


Do not wait to get advice if you were harmed by a defective product and are considering taking legal action. Call (980) 246-2656 or contact us online to get started.


Proving Liability in Defective Product Lawsuits

There are four standards that must be met to have a solid product liability claim:

  1. The injury is directly attributable to the product being defective
  2. The product was defective at the time of the accident
  3. The product was in essentially the same condition at the time of the accident when it was obtained from the defendant(s)
  4. The product was used in the intended or generally acceptable type of use

The first two elements that must be proved are the most important. For example, in order for a product to be defective, it must be “unreasonably dangerous.” Unreasonably dangerous means that along with being potentially dangerous, the product must also be “unreasonably dangerous.”

For example, when it comes to a blender, it can be unreasonably dangerous because the blade might not be professionally secured to the pitcher or the internal wiring may have been negligently done causing smoke damage or a house fire.

The other element hinges on the ability of the product to be seen as defective because it’s unreasonably dangerous through its intended use. 

In order to have a reasonable claim in Georgia civil courts, your attorney will have to see that the product you used according to manufacturer’s directions, or generally accepted principles, was inherently dangerous and caused you injury.

For example, you pick up a bottle of aspirin at the store and it says to take 2 pills every 6 hours and you develop a life-threatening liver condition after following the box’s instructions, you may have a claim. If you take 6 pills in the same time-frame, going against the box’s instructions, you will have extremely slim chances of having a product liability claim.




Who Can Bring a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Georgia State law O.C.G.A § 51-1-11 provides a victim, or someone on a deceased victim’s behalf, the ability to bring a product liability suit if they have been injured or killed from a defective product. Before 1968, Georgia courts had limited the ability to pursue a product liability claim to someone who actually bought the defective product in question. Anyone else could not file a product liability claim because they lacked the direct relationship to the defective product.

With the Georgia Product Liability Statute in effect since 1968, Georgia injured and the families of killed victims of defective products can now commence a civil claim regardless of if they bought the defective product or not. O.C.G.A.   § 51-1-11(b) sets forth the specific guidelines to hold a manufacture responsible for injuries or deaths from a defective product:

  • The manufacturer can be held responsible for any personal property sold as new directly or through a third party regardless of the relationship to the end user.
  • Injured people or family members of fatally injured victims have up to 10 years to file a lawsuit for Georgia product liability claims.