When a product has an inherent problem that injures someone who uses it, that someone (or even someone they gave it to) can sue the people who made or sold the product. If you have been harmed by a defective product in Maryland, you would file a product liability lawsuit for your case.
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In a product liability lawsuit, a plaintiff can sue a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer. The specific reason for taking legal action will vary from case to case, but overall, the plaintiff claims that a product is defective and caused injuries or harm. There are three types of defects:
Product liability law falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. Personal injury law, in turn, applies to all cases in which someone is injured or harmed due to another person or entity’s negligence. This is also sometimes referred to as “tort law.”
In understanding how product liability lawsuits work, it’s necessary to understand the difference between criminal and civil court cases. Criminal cases allege a violation of a local or federal criminal law. State officials prosecute criminal cases, and generally, the victim has no choice about whether or not the state pursues legal action. For example, if someone robs a bank, the bank has no say in whether or not charges are pressed and what those charges are. State officials will make this decision.
Alternatively, civil court cases do not involve breaking a criminal law. Civil cases are typically brought to the court by the plaintiff to settle a dispute between them and another entity. In these cases, the plaintiff is either looking for the court to resolve an issue — for instance, enforcing a contract — or to order the defendant to compensate the plaintiff. The latter would be the case in something like a car accident claim. A plaintiff injured in a car accident may be overwhelmed by medical bills and property damage and would file a civil suit asking that the person at fault in the accident compensate them monetarily for these losses.
Product liability claims are generally civil cases, but they can also be criminal in some cases. If one person files a suit against a company stating that a defective product harmed them, and they would like to be compensated for their suffering, this would be a civil suit. However, if a company knows they injured people, lies in court about their research or hides relevant evidence, it could turn into a criminal case because a criminal law is being broken.
Another distinction between civil and criminal cases is the role of the burden of proof. In criminal proceedings, the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is not the case for Maryland product liability lawsuits. The plaintiff does not even need to prove that the designer or manufacturer of the product was actively negligent. Instead, they must prove that the product was, in fact, defective, that the defect caused the product to be unreasonably dangerous, and that the defect caused an injury. This means that even if the product’s designer, manufacturer, or marketer was not knowingly negligent, they can still be held accountable.
Other types of personal injury cases do require the plaintiff to prove negligence. But product liability cases demand a fairly low burden of proof compared to other cases, giving injured parties an extremely fair chance at securing the justice and compensation they deserve.
It is possible to file a Maryland product liability lawsuit on your own. Still, as with all personal injury cases, you have the best chance of securing justice and compensation when working with an personal injury lawyer experienced in product liability lawsuits.
When you work with a Maryland product liability lawyer, you allow a dedicated professional to handle all the legal intricacies so that you can focus on rest and recovery. Your lawyer will ensure you follow all state and local rules and regulations, handling conversations with the defendant, advocating for you to reach a fair settlement, and more.
If you don’t have much experience with these kinds of cases, it can be challenging to know precisely how much your case is worth, and it’s almost sure that the other side will try to lowball you. A skilled personal injury lawyer will never accept a low settlement offer and will continue negotiating until a satisfactory answer is reached. They can also defend you in a courtroom if a settlement cannot be reached.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for taking action after injury from a defective product is two years. It’s best to act as quickly as possible to avoid losing vital evidence and working against the clock.
Call the expert Maryland product liability lawyers at Regan Zambri Long to understand more the legal dimensions of your product liability lawsuit and how to protect your interests.