Product consumers have the right to expect the items they buy to perform as advertised. They also have the right to expect that these products pose no risks. If you or a loved one sustain injuries from a defective product, you can seek financial compensation for damages through a product liability lawsuit.
At Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis, P.C., our team of attorneys has extensive experience representing clients in complicated cases involving defective products in South Carolina. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you seek justice.
What Is a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Product liability lawsuits are civil claims that seek to hold a designer, manufacturer, or retailer liable for injuries sustained when using a product as intended. However, there are some limits to your ability to make a claim.
You may lose your right to compensation if it can be proved that you were making improper or unintended use of the product. Since South Carolina is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, the courts may reduce damage awards based on your level of responsibility for the injuries.
Types of Product Liability Claims
All product liability lawsuits involve an item that was defective and caused injuries to a consumer. Product liability claims are often broken down into three broad categories.
The term “manufacturing defect” refers to a product problem arising during the manufacturing process. It often involves some or many products from the same manufacturer.
Manufacturers can be held responsible for product defects, such as when vehicle airbags are not correctly installed.
A design flaw can damage a whole product line, while a manufacturing flaw often only affects a single unit or batch. In design defect cases, every item produced will be flawed similarly.
Products are usually made strictly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, it can be flawed due to intrinsic defects or excessive dangers built into the design. If a vehicle lacks proper weight balancing, it may be prone to rollover accidents, putting the occupants at risk of injury.
Mislabeling or Other Marketing Errors
Inadequate product instructions and erroneous or misleading product descriptions are examples of marketing errors.
Mislabeling happens when a producer does not issue sufficient cautions about non-obvious risks. The manufacturer has an obligation to provide a warning if the product poses any risks to the user that are not immediately apparent.
Manufacturers are also responsible for warning consumers about possible adverse drug reactions, such as what happens when two different medications are combined or who should not take a prescription because of a preexisting medical condition.
Establishing a Product Liability Claim in South Carolina
South Carolina product liability claims are often based on negligence or strict liability.
To establish negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendants breached their duty to provide a reasonably safe product for its intended purpose. They must prove the defendants knew or should have known about the defect and failed to take reasonable precautions in designing, producing, or inspecting the product.
Breach of Implied and Express Warranties
The plaintiff can also demonstrate that the defendant’s actions directly contradicted the product’s warranty. Assuming there is no express warranty or the defect in question is not covered by the express warranty, the plaintiff should establish that the product was unfit for use because of the fault under the breach of implied warranty doctrine.
Under a strict liability standard, the plaintiffs only need to prove that the products were defective. They do not need to establish the negligence of any intermediaries in the distribution process.
Damages in South Carolina Product Liability Cases
Most clients wonder how much their cases are worth. However, the value of a claim differs from case to case depending on the specifics of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Consult a seasoned product liability attorney to help you determine how much you deserve as damages. Below are some of the most important types of damages that South Carolina courts may award.
Expenses you’ve already incurred and debts you’ve incurred are examples of economic damages. These include:
- The cost of the defective product
- Expenses related to fixing or replacing damaged property
- Lost wages caused by missing work because of the injuries sustained
- Loss of future income
- Reduced earning potential
- Medical expenses
When calculating your compensation, we will also include any other losses you incurred because of your injuries or defective goods.
Due to the subjective nature of losses like bodily or mental distress, non-economic damages are challenging to quantify. Below are examples of non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Permanent disability
- Physiological trauma
Our legal team will consider other significant adjustments to your daily life that were caused by your injuries.
Damages for Wrongful Death in Product Liability Cases
We understand it can be challenging to move on with life after losing a loved one injured or killed by a faulty product. While we know that a product liability suit may be the last thing on your mind during this challenging time, we can handle the legal matters for you so you can focus on recovery from grief.
Our wrongful death attorneys can offer legal counsel and guide you through the process of seeking compensation for losses such as:
- Costs for funeral arrangements
- Loss of society
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of inheritance
- Burial costs
- Cost of cremation services
Call Our Greenwood, SC Law Firm Today!
The statute of limitations for product liability cases in South Carolina is usually three years. Failure to file a lawsuit within three years can lead to dismissal. Our attorneys are familiar with product liability laws in South Carolina.
Call Ayers, Smithdeal, and Bettis, PC today at 855-213-4405 for a free case evaluation.