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Mistakes to Avoid in a Product Liability Claim

A product liability claim is a type of civil lawsuit that can be filed by a consumer for an injury caused by a defective or dangerous product. If you get hurt by a defective item and wish to seek financial compensation from the manufacturing company, it is important to know what mistakes to avoid. One misstep could make you ineligible for financial recovery.

Waiting Too Long to File

Do not wait too long to file your claim. Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations on all personal injury cases, including product liability claims. This is a legal time limit to file a civil cause of action. Claimants in Pennsylvania have no more than two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. In most cases, if you fail to bring a product liability claim within the two-year window, it will be dismissed, meaning you will lose the opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries.

Overlooking Liable Parties 

Many claimants make the mistake of assuming they can only hold the manufacturer of the defective product responsible for an accident or injury. In reality, multiple parties may be held liable in a product liability claim. Overlooking liable parties could reduce the amount of insurance coverage available to pay for your medical bills and other losses. Investigate the possibility of holding multiple parties accountable, such as the item’s designer, manufacturer, distributor, retailer, seller, marketer and/or advertiser.

Disposing of the Item

If you get injured by a defective or malfunctioning product, do not dispose of the item. Keep the product and all of its packaging and marketing materials. This can be used as evidence during your product liability claim. Do your best to gather other available evidence, as well. This may include an accident report, photographs or video footage, witness statements, medical records, and bills and receipts related to the accident.

Admitting Fault or Liability

It is important not to risk your monetary recovery by admitting fault for your injury. If you do not know what caused your injury, say that you don’t know when asked by the insurance claims adjuster. Do not speculate about fault or apologize for the incident. This could lead to the insurance company trying to avoid liability for your injury by blaming it on you. The claims adjuster may sound friendly, but his or her job is to convince you to settle your claim for as little as possible. Keep this in mind when dealing with the claims adjuster.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

Many injured consumers jump at the chance to accept a fast settlement without attempting to negotiate for a higher amount. This is a mistake that could be detrimental to your financial future, especially if a defective product gave you a catastrophic injury. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot reopen your case. It is critical to make sure the amount is fair and reasonable before signing away your rights. Consult with a personal injury lawyer about the value of your claim first.

Failing to Hire an Attorney for a Complicated Case

Most product liability claims use the legal theory of strict liability. Under this rule, a manufacturer can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective product without requiring proof of negligence or fault. This law makes it easier for injured consumers to go up against powerful manufacturing companies. However, not all product liability claims are simple – especially with an insurance company attempting to save money on a payout.

Do not risk your financial future by choosing not to hire a Pittsburgh product liability attorney. An attorney can improve your chances of recovering fair financial compensation for a serious injury. Your lawyer can go up against a product manufacturer and its legal team on your behalf. If your case needs to go to trial, your Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer can litigate for you. To learn more about product liability cases in Pittsburgh, contact Dallas W. Hartman P.C. for a free consultation.

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