Lafayette Product Liability Lawyer
When you purchase goods in the market place, you trust that certain safety standards have been met. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with many goods that go home with Louisiana consumers each year. These types of cases are known as “product liability” cases, and are among the hardest and most expensive to win. If you have been injured by a defective product you absolutely need an experienced lawyer. Miles Matt and Jason Matt with the Law Offices of Matt & Allen both have bachelor degrees in mechanical engineering, which is particularly useful in product liability cases. They each have an extensive education and experience in designing and manufacturing products.
If a defective product has caused you or a family member serious injury, you may not be sure who can help you. At the Law Offices of Matt & Allen in Lafayette, Louisiana, our experienced personal injury attorneys understand this frustration and can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined legal experience serving Acadiana. We have the tools, resources and education necessary to handle these very complex cases, and we will get to the bottom of the problem.
We handle defective product cases related to virtually any type of product, but a few examples are:
- Automobiles, Motorcycles, and ATVs
- Machinery and Equipment
- Hydraulic and pneumatic tools, including oilfield tools
- Home Appliances
- Power tools
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective product, contact the Law Offices of Matt & Allen in Lafayette today for the help and guidance you need. If you are unsure as to how to approach filing a claim, visit our ‘Filing a Claim’ page for some guidelines on the process.
What is Product Liability?
Louisiana law assumes that when you purchase an item it will be safe for its intended use. An injured person must show 1) the defendant is the manufacturer of the product; 2) the injury was proximately caused by a characteristic of the product; 3) that characteristic made the product unreasonably dangerous; and, 4) the injury arose from the reasonably anticipated use of the product. Considering the increasing number of products that are made overseas, just figuring out the proper defendant can be daunting. Consumers have the legal right to expect that items placed in commerce are not unreasonably dangerous. The Louisiana Products Liability Act provides remedies for consumers who suffer damages due to a defective product.
According to the Louisiana Products Liability Act, a manufacturer may be held liable if an item is unreasonably dangerous due to:
- Its composition (manufacturing defect);
- Its design (design defect);
- An insufficient warning (warning defect); or,
- Failure to conform to an express warranty offered by the manufacturer (warranty defect).
A manufacturing defect occurs when a product deviates from the manufacturer’s specifications or standards of otherwise identical products. That is, it was built incorrectly.
A design defect is a flaw in the design of the product that makes the item unreasonably dangerous. A design defect will affect all of the products with that same design. For this reason, a design defect case is of particular difficulty to prevail and manufacturers have a heightened interest in defeating a design defect case, since admitting their product was designed wrong could lead to having to remove all of those products from the market. In order to successfully prove a design defect, a plaintiff must show that 1) a safer, alternative design existed at the time; and, 2) the gravity of the damage outweighed the manufacturer’s burden to use the safer, alternative design.
Warning defects occur when a manufacturer fails to use an “adequate warning” that would lead an ordinary reasonable user to contemplate the danger in using the product, decline to use the product or use it in a manner such to avoid the damage for which was ultimately caused. These types of cases have received much media attention over the past several years, because obviously, not all dangers can be predicted (can’t foresee what should be warned against) and many dangers are obvious (shouldn’t have to warn people about obvious risks). A plaintiff must also prove that the danger the manufacturer failed to warn against arises out of the reasonably anticipated use of the product. And there is no duty to warn sophisticated users (users familiar with the product-more so than an ordinary user).
A warranty defect is the least common type of product liability case, but basically when a manufacturer warrants that a product will perform a certain way and that warranty induced the injured person to use the product and the injuries were caused because the warranty was untrue. An example would be if a chainsaw manufacturer guarantees that the chainsaw will not “kick back” and it actually does and injures its user, assuming the user would not have used the chainsaw if not for the warranty that it would not kick back.
Who Can be Held Liable for Your Injuries from a Defective Product?
The Louisiana Products Liability Act is the exclusive theory of liability for manufacturers for damages caused by their products. A manufacturer is a person or entity who is in the business of manufacturing a product for placement into commerce. Manufacturing means producing, making, constructing, remanufacturing or fabricating a product. A seller is not necessarily a manufacturer. Therefore, a non-manufacturing seller will not be liable absent a showing that he knew or should have known of the product defect and failed to declare it. However, if the seller is responsible for taking certain steps, such as assembling the product in store, he may be considered a manufacturer for the purposes of a products liability case. Every case is different and our attorneys have successfully argued that persons or entities who ordinarily do not appear to be manufacturers are manufacturers for the purpose of the Louisiana Products Liability Act.
What Damages Can I Recover In a Product Liability Lawsuit?
If you have been injured by a defective product, you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages. There are several types of damages that are typically available in most product liability cases.
You can recover special (aka economic or pecuniary) and general (aka noneconomic and nonpecuniary) damages, but typically, you cannot recover punitive damages in Louisiana. Special damages are those that are readily calculable, such as, lost wages and medical expenses. General damages are not easily calculable, such as, pain and suffering, emotional distress, scaring, disfigurement and loss of consortium.
A products liability case usually involves numerous manufacturers and defendants, often with joint responsibility for your injuries. Our office will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the liable parties. By including all parties responsible for your injuries, we can maximize the amount of compensation you receive for your damages. Miles Matt and Jason Matt both graduated college in mechanical engineering and have extensive experience designing and manufacturing products. This unique combination of being an engineer and a lawyer will give you a big advantage over your opponents. We also have an extensive network of professionals and experts that assist our attorneys in establishing liability, which is essential for you to recover highest amount of compensation possible.
Our Lafayette, LA defective product attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and skill required to ensure that your best interests are protected and you receive a fair and just settlement for your injuries.
Contact an Experienced Lafayette, LA Product Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, contact the Law Offices of Matt & Allen in Lafayette today. We can assist you with identifying the responsible parties and holding those parties accountable for their negligence.