While the coronavirus pandemic will likely mean that everyone’s holiday season is at least a little bit different this year as compared to years past, there are some things that remain the same. Gifts will be exchanged. Special meals will be planned. Accidents, injuries, and illnesses will happen, possibly triggering a Cape Cod product liability lawsuit.
While not every product mishap will result in an injury or illness significant enough to trigger litigation, some, unfortunately, will. Fortunately, the law provides some protection against unreasonably safe products, provided that the consumer does his or her part to assert a claim in a timely fashion.
As in other types of personal injury litigation, the burden of proof in product injury cases is on the injured individual, so it is important that any evidence concerning the bad product be saved and preserved as possible evidence. Contacting an experienced product liability attorney is also a critical step in the process of receiving fair compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by a defective product.
Consumer Product Recalls
The federal government maintains a website that lists consumer product recalls. It is updated frequently and provides information about who to contact if you have been hurt by the subject product or if you wish to return a recalled item for repairs or a refund. Some of the items recently added to the website include bunk beds that can come apart and cause children to fall, electric blankets that can overheat and burn users, essential oil that was not packaged according to child resistance regulations, snorkels that can release excess material in a way that poses a choking hazard, doorbells that can pose a fire hazard, and chests of drawers that can tip over and entrap small children.
The “what to do” is different for each of these products, but, generally, users are directed to stop using the product and contact the manufacturer or seller via their website, email, or telephone for information concerning a refund, repair, or replacement. For example, a consumer who has purchased one of the potentially dangerous chests of drawers is advised to immediately cease using the chest because of the risk of death or injury. The company will provide pre-paid shipping labels so that consumers may return the items for a full refund or a replacement item. If you have purchased an item that has been recalled, this may be the best course of action, provided that no one in your household has yet been hurt by the bad product.
What If Someone Has Been Hurt?
If there has already been a serious personal injury or wrongful death because of a product that has been recalled, it is best to contact an attorney rather than the maker or seller of the product. There are several reasons for this. First, the product itself should be preserved rather than returned for a refund. As the case develops, it is likely that at least one (and possibly several) experts will need to inspect the product. These individuals may later testify at trial, informing the jury of the details of the product defects. Secondly, the maker of the product may ask the consumer to give a statement concerning the accident or injury. It is advisable that legal counsel be present to represent the consumer and his or her family during any such questioning. Finally, it may be necessary to file a formal complaint in court as soon as possible in order to preserve the statute of limitations. An attorney can advise the injured individual of any upcoming deadlines regarding the filing of necessary paperwork.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Massachusetts About a Defective Product
The Law Offices of John C. Manoog III handles defective product cases in and around the Cape Cod area, including Hyannis and Plymouth. To schedule a free consultation, use the contact form on this website or phone us at 888-262-6664.