Common Industrial Product Liability Questions

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Product liability law protects consumers harmed by unsafe products. Industrial manufacturers may be held liable for the harm unsafe products cause.

Becker Law Office pursues compensation for individuals and families who have been injured or lost family members due to unsafe or defective products, whether the accident was caused by unsafe industrial machinery and equipment, an automobile with a defective part or power tools.

Below we answer some frequently asked questions about industrial product liability lawsuits. If you believe you have a legal claim for injuries you have suffered because of a defective product in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, or Tennessee, our product liability lawyers would be happy to discuss it with you in a free, no-obligation legal consultation.

Product Liability

What is an industrial product liability case?

An industrial product liability claim alleges that the manufacturer, designer or marketer of a product is responsible for harm that was suffered by someone who used a piece of industrial machinery or equipment as intended. Such a lawsuit seeks compensation for the injury victim’s medical expenses and other losses.

Industrial product liability cases may revolve around any kind of machinery, equipment or power tool that has allegedly caused someone to be injured or killed. The machinery may have had a defective design that contributed to an injury or lacked safety devices such as an emergency shut off switch or guards to prevent injury. The law is similar to that applying to consumer products that have a design or manufacturing defect. We’ve all heard of GM’s recalls of millions of automobiles because of design defects linked to accidents that caused injuries and deaths. Less well-known are the hundreds of Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls announced almost daily.

An industrial product liability case alleges that the manufacturer knew or should have known that the equipment, power tool or machinery in question:

  • was designed or manufactured in a defective manner, such as without a safety device,
  • posed a risk of injury that was not adequately explained in warnings or instructions in marketing material or package labeling,
  • did not perform as advertised or described by the manufacturer.

Product liability lawsuits may also be filed against product assemblers, retailers, repairers and/or parts suppliers, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Such a lawsuit may seek to obtain compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, pain and suffering and other losses.

Industrial product liability cases are usually complex. If you think you have a claim, you should contact an experienced product liability attorney, like ours at the Becker Law Office.

How would a claim be based on inadequate warning or the way an industrial product was labeled?

If using an industrial product or power tool as intended could cause the user to be harmed, the manufacturer has a legal duty to say so. There must be adequate warning of the potential harm in packaging and/or labeling of the industrial product.

Generally, the manufacturer has a duty to warn the user if the manufacturer knows or should have known of the product’s potential danger, the danger arises out of normal use, and the danger is not obvious.

An industrial product liability case may hinge on failure to warn of the danger the product ultimately posed, or on an insufficient warning. The legal question that arises if there was a warning is whether it was adequate. Another closely related question is whether the instructions for safe use of the product were adequate. A manufacturer must provide adequate instructions for use of the machinery, equipment or tool and adequate warning of any foreseeable dangers.

If you have been injured by a product in an unexpected manner, you should discuss the matter with an experienced product liability attorney. A Becker Law Office attorney can provide you a free initial consultation about a potential claim in Kentucky, Indiana or Illinois.

What kind of industrial products may be involved in a product liability lawsuit?

Any industrial product that has caused someone to be injured though it was operated / used properly by the injury victim might be the subject of a product liability lawsuit. Unfortunately, there are certain products that have been repeatedly cited as unsafe or defective in lawsuits.

They include:

  • Industrial Machinery — Boilers, compacters, die-casting machines, die presses, elevators, furnaces, ovens, packaging machinery,machine presses, power presses, textile machinery, valves.
  • Equipment — Aerial lifts, backhoes, cranes, dozers, earth graders, forklift trucks, loaders, utility vehicles.
  • Power Tools — circular saws, drilling machines, planers.
  • Building products – Asbestos-containing products, ceiling tiles, flooring, insulation, stairways, decks, etc.

In some cases, the product has been recalled from the market. Unfortunately, recalls almost always occur only after there is strong evidence that the product has caused many injuries or deaths.

You don’t have to wait for a recall. A product’s manufacturer, designer, marketer and/or distributor may be held liable for the injury that a defective product has caused you or your loved one. Your lawsuit may even help to prompt a recall and save others from suffering the injuries you have endured.

What should I do if I have been injured by what I believe was a defective industrial product?

As in any liability claim, having evidence of the accident, your injury, and its cost to you is key to developing a successful lawsuit. You should preserve anything connected to your accident.

Your injury may have been caused by the unsafe design of machinery or equipment, lack of adequate warning about the hazards of the product, or a lack of adequate training to operate the machinery or power tool safely. If possible, document the actual accident. Write down exactly what happened and take photos of the accident scene if possible. You may have a legal right to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the industrial machinery or equipment, in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits for your injury.

See a doctor for your injuries and save all medical reports and receipts. Keep copies of anything that documents the losses caused by your injuries, including receipts for medical care and medications, work absences, having to hire someone to assist you, rental cars or other travel expenses, etc.

You should also contact a product liability attorney as soon as possible. A Becker Law Office product liability lawyer can not only assist and advise you about steps you can take to help a potential claim, we can begin the investigative work that will be necessary to prove liability for your injuries.

It seems like a lawsuit against a manufacturer would be a complicated case. How does a big industrial product liability case work?

It’s true that product liability cases are usually complex. A single product liability lawsuit could become part of a large case involving many plaintiffs. This makes sense, considering that a faulty consumer product may potentially have exposed many people to injury.

An industrial product liability lawsuit requires an investigation that may involve dozens or hundreds of interviews, and researching the product’s background, including its development history, and marketing materials. The testimony of recognized outside experts with specific knowledge of a manufacturing process or the industrial product in question is often sought to develop a product liability case. A product liability case may also involve deposing multiple defendants, some of whom may be uncooperative. It may require obtaining court orders to access manufacturers’ or others’ documents pertaining to the product’s design, manufacturing and marketing.

If numerous plaintiffs file similar product liability lawsuits, the court may combine them for expediency. A “multi-district litigation” (MDL) may be declared to group claims geographically and have them heard together in a single court. A “class action” lawsuit may be declared to combine claims that contain similar allegations.

One advantage of a class action or MDL is that it brings the work and expertise of several attorneys together.

Another advantage of a large case is that the defendant, particularly a manufacturer, may begin to see the writing on the wall. Some will begin to seriously negotiate a settlement and set aside large amounts of money for potential claim payments.

It all starts with one injured consumer speaking to an attorney about the harm they have suffered and why they believe a faulty product caused it. At the Becker Law Office, our product liability lawyers are ready to talk to you about your case.

How can I afford to hire a Becker Law Office attorney to pursue a product liability claim for me?

You can afford the Becker Law Office’s assistance because you won’t pay us anything until you receive a settlement or court award in your case. There is no up-front cost to you for our legal services.

The Becker Law Office accepts industrial product liability cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means our legal fee depends on the outcome of your case. Our agreement to represent you will state a specific percentage of any settlement or court award that we will retain as our fee.

In addition to legal fees, there are various charges that may come with preparing and filing your case, such as for travel and copies of documents. Court reporters, expert witnesses and other professionals who help us develop cases must be paid for their time and effort. These costs also come out of the settlement or court award, but we pay them up front. You bear no out-of-pocket costs to pursue a claim.

Since we are only paid if we are successful, we only take cases that we expect to result in compensation that makes the time and effort worthwhile to you and us. We don’t waste our clients’ time or fill them with false hopes. We take cases we expect to win.

We’ll investigate your case thoroughly and, if we can pursue a claim for you, work as hard as we can to develop a strong case that shows you deserve to be compensated. We’re ready to start by providing a free review of your accident and injuries, and explaining the legal options available to you.