The holidays have come and gone, and most of us have gotten back to life as usual. However, if you were injured by a holiday gift, you may be left with painful and debilitating injuries – not to mention hefty medical bills. You may even be unable to return to work, compromising your family’s financial future.
Seeking damages for your injuries can help to address these concerns.
Many times, product-related injuries are due to defects in product design or manufacturing, or to inadequacies in the product’s warnings and instructions. A successful product liability claim generally requires a thorough investigation of the product by experts, and documentation of your injuries and their financial and emotional ramifications.
Save the Product as Evidence
If we could give one piece of advice in product liability law, it would be to keep the product and everything related to it. That means not only keeping the product itself, but also all packaging, manuals, safety warnings, and warranty information. If the person who gave you the product can provide a receipt of its purchase, this may also be helpful.
Product liability suits typically focus on design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate product instructions or warnings. For all three types of suits, the product itself and any instructions or warnings are crucial evidence.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
For your own safety, seek medical attention right away for your injury. If your injury is life-threatening or requires immediate treatment, proceed to the nearest emergency room. Less pressing injuries may be treatable at an urgent care center, but you should know that urgent care centers frequently refer serious injuries to the emergency room.
Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is also important in establishing the grievous nature of your injury. Be sure to keep all discharge instructions and summaries of emergency room or doctor’s office visits. This will establish the time and date of any medical attention sought, and document the severity and nature of your injuries.
Document Your Injury
In order to successfully seek damages in a product liability claim, you must provide proof that your injury was serious and debilitating. Ask your health care providers for a copy of all medical records related to the injury. This includes emergency room and office visits, and the results of any diagnostic tests run. For example, x-rays or MRIs.
If possible, you may also want to take pictures and/or videos of your injury. Although medical records provide technical information, pictures and videos can demonstrate the true nature of your injury and how it affects your life. Pictures and videos may also be more relatable to a jury.
Keep Medical Bills
Damages for defective products focus primarily on financial ramifications of the injury. It is therefore important to keep a copy of all medical bills related to the injury. If you pay your medical bills prior to the settlement, be sure to also keep the payment receipt.
Document What Happened
It is important to thoroughly document the event that led to your injury. Write down an account of the accident, and electronically time and date stamp it. Be as detailed as is possible in describing your use of the defective product, how it led to your injury, and the nature of your injury.
It is also helpful to obtain witness statements if possible. Ask anyone who was present during the accident to independently write up a summary of what happened, including as much detail as is possible. You may also need these witnesses to testify in court later.
Keep Pay Stubs and Tax Returns
A major financial burden of serious injuries is lost wages. If your injury prevents you from being able to work, keep your pay stubs, time sheets, and tax returns to document your lost income and/or sick leave that was taken while injured.
The Investigation Process
Product liability cases are often complex, and significant skill and knowledge is required to prove that the manufacturer is liable for product-related injuries. This is why it’s vital to retain the best possible personal injury attorney as early on in the process as possible.
Many people are reluctant to seek damages for their injuries, as there is often a negative (and unfair) stigma associated with doing so. However, getting the compensation that you deserve can help secure your family’s financial future, and provide closure for a painful and traumatic injury.
Do not wait. Get started by reaching out to our office today.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.