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Calculating Damages in Product Liability Personal Injury

Every day, consumers are at risk of buying items that not only fail to meet customer expectations but worse, harm health and safety. Below are examples of products that often reported as defective:

  • Vape – Devices that ignite or explode, causing severe burns and wounds.
  • Infant car seats – Faulty straps or mechanical locks that entrap children
  • Children’s toys – Toys that are too tiny or have detachable, tiny parts that can be accidentally swallowed by toddlers.
  • Energy drinks
  • Car airbags – Airbags that deploy late or deploy at the slightest impact that it causes injury instead of preventing it.
  • Grooming products – Topical products that contain harmful chemicals.

If you encountered a defective product that has harmed you, you might have a case for a personal injury product liability claim.

What Is Personal Injury Product Liability?

Personal injury and product liability have different governing laws, but both sets can apply when in cases when a defective product results in a personal injury.

Personal injury occurs when a victim sustains physical, mental, and emotional trauma because of another person or entity’s negligence. Product liability, on the other hand, occurs when a product defect results in physical injuries and damages. Both protect the victims’ rights to demand compensation from the guilty party.

How Are Personal Injury and Product Liability Claims Calculated?

Product liability claims that are negotiated outside of court are settled between the plaintiff and defendant, as well as their respective insurance companies and personal injury attorneys. If the case goes to trial, the jury or a judge will decide how much the guilty party should pay in damages to the victim.

There is no mathematical formula for calculating the compensation for personal injury (and if ever there is, insurance adjusters are unlikely to reveal it during negotiation). Rather, the parties or judge decide the amount based on the following factors:

  1. Medical expenses and post-treatment rehabilitation costs
  2. Loss of income during recovery
  3. Loss of future income due to a resulting disability or disfigurement
  4. Emotional trauma
  5. Pain and suffering
  6. Wrongful death

The known costs such as the bills from the hospital, specialists’ fees, and payslips are typically added and then inflated to account for the non-quantifiable factors like emotional trauma and pain and suffering. Lost wages are also included in the calculation. The sum becomes the starting point for the negotiations of both parties.

Plaintiffs can negotiate for a higher settlement if:

  • They sustained serious injuries (e.g., head injuries, spinal injuries)
  • Their injuries require rehabilitation or lifelong medical treatment.
  • They have to undergo invasive procedures to recover from their injuries.
  • The consequences of their injuries are permanently visible (e.g., scars, deformities).
  • They became disabled as a result of the injury.

Qualified Liability Claims

Since the cause of the injury is a defective product, the victim is also burdened with proving product liability. These claims can fall in any of the three recognized categories in the U.S.:

  1. Manufacturing Defect – A flaw in the manufacturing process meant the product was defective before it left the manufacturing or distribution chain.
  2. Design Defect – The design itself is flawed.
  3. Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings – There are no warnings about the possible risks when using the product.

Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Specializing in Product Liability

Product liability victims cannot rely on the charity of product manufacturers. They also need fierce personal injury attorneys who have experience in proving product liability. More importantly, they need attorneys who will negotiate for the compensation they deserve.

You’ll find such attorneys here at Haffner Law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our personal injury and product liability attorneys. Call 213-514-5681 or fill out the contact form on our website.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

 

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