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Defective Household Appliance

Product manufacturers have a legal obligation to sell products that are safe for their ordinary, intended uses. But every year, consumers are injured and killed by unsafe household products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that at least 4,200 deaths in the United States were caused by consumer products between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015. Electrocutions, burns, drownings, traumatic brain injuries, and many other types of injuries can also occur as the result of a household product that is supposed to be safe for consumer use. Some of these injuries will paralyze or permanently disable their victims. The victim can incur a lifetime of medical and care expenses as the result of a product manufacturer’s negligence.

When you buy a lamp or a toaster, you trust that it is safe to use. The law requires that it be safe to use. But too often, manufacturers fail to meet their legal obligations. When they do, it is important that they be held accountable for their mistakes. This is the only way to promote product safety in the future and prevent other innocent victims from being injured - or killed. The experienced Atlanta products liability lawyers at Slappey & Sadd can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to, and hold product manufacturers accountable for their negligence.

What Should I do After Being Injured by a Defective Product?

The first (and most important) step to take after sustaining an injury from a household appliance is determining whether you need immediate medical attention. If you do not immediately call an ambulance, or go to an urgent care center or emergency department, be sure to follow up with your primary care provider. Injuries which are not treated immediately can become worse. They also tend to have a worse prognosis than injuries that are immediately treated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Your primary care provider might recommend other consultations or therapies. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations. Again, these recommendations can prevent your injury from being aggravated, or healing improperly. A negligent manufacturer has a legal obligation to compensate all your reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Furthermore, an injury victim who does not properly treat his or injuries can incur even more medical expenses as a result of delayed treatment. In such a case, a negligent defendant can argue that the victim contributed to his her own medical expenses, and the defendant is not obligated to pay for that portion. Seeking timely treatment prevents this legal complication altogether. It also gives an injury victim the best possible prognosis for recovering from his or her injuries.

Once you have attended to your medical needs, it is important to take certain steps to protect your legal right to compensation. First, obtain any documentation you have about the product that caused the injury. Original packaging, receipts, and warranties can help an attorney identify the manufacturer. These documents can also help an attorney prove when the product was manufactured, whether it came from a defective batch, and other important questions. If you do not have original documentation, you can still pursue a claim against the manufacturer. It may be more difficult to prove certain details or cause other complications with your claim. But if it can be proved that the manufacturer sold a product that injured you, it is still possible to pursue a products liability claim.

How do I File a Claim Against the Manufacturer? What Happens Next?

An attorney can help you file a claim against the manufacturer of a defective product. In cases of a widespread recall, the manufacturer may have a claims process already in place. This may be a website where you can file the claim or a toll-free number to call in your claim information. When there is no such process, a claim must still be filed the manufacturer. This might be filed with the company’s risk management, claims, or legal department. An attorney can help you determine where the claim must go and what information it should contain.

Once you have filed a claim with the manufacturer, the company must decide whether it will accept liability. If the manufacturer claims it is not liable for injuries caused by its product, the victim must file a lawsuit in order to let a jury decide who is at fault. If the manufacturer accepts liability, it will proceed to value your claim. This is a combination of medical expenses you have paid, medical expenses that are likely to be incurred in the future, any lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other financial loss you have suffered as a result of the defective product. (For example, if a defective curling iron starts a house fire, the manufacturer might be held liable for the property damage caused by the fire.)

Insurance adjusters are trained to value a claim as low as possible. They may challenge the necessity of your medical treatment. They may downplay your pain and suffering. They may claim that it was not necessary to miss as much work as you did or challenge the validity of a disability that permanently impairs the victim’s earning capacity. These and many other tricks are designed to let the insurance company get away with paying injury victims as little as possible. This is why it is so important to have an experienced personal injury attorney representing you in a products liability claim. An attorney knows the insurance company tricks and is prepared to stop them effectively. An attorney can also litigate your claim in court and effectively present it to a jury, should the insurance company refuse to make a fair settlement offer.

The Right Personal Injury Attorney for Your Products Liability Claim

If you have been injured by a defective household appliance, you have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries. The experienced Georgia product liability lawyers at Slappey & Sadd can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. They have decades of experience in protecting the legal rights of personal injury victims across Georgia. Call 404.255.6677 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.

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