The consumer products you buy and use should be safe and suitable, and you should be able to enjoy those products free from the risk of injury. If you are injured by a defective consumer item in Utah, discuss your right to take legal action with a Salt Lake City product liability attorney.
Every year, dangerous and defective consumer items – including everyday products like electronics, appliances, tools, vehicles, and even toys for children – injure scores of people in Utah. If you are injured by a consumer item in this state, what is your legal recourse?
Will you have to file a lawsuit? What will you have to prove? Can you be compensated by the product’s manufacturer for your medical expenses? What will an attorney do on your behalf? Keep reading this brief introduction to product liability in Utah for the answers you may need.
What Makes a Consumer Product Dangerous or Defective?
In Utah, the manufacturers of dangerous or defective consumer items may be held liable and ordered to pay for injuries and other damages those products cause.
These are the three types of product defects that cause injuries to consumers and trigger product liability lawsuits:
- A design defect is a flaw in a product’s original design that makes the product itself inherently dangerous.
- A manufacturing defect is a mistake that happens while an item is being produced or assembled.
- A marketing defect could mean inadequate warnings or instructions or inaccurate labeling.
Why is Keeping Your Receipts So Important?
Always keep your sales receipts and any related documents whenever you buy appliances, tools, electronics, toys, and similar items. Otherwise, if you are injured while you’re using an item that you’ve had for several years, you might not remember where you purchased the item.
Labels on frequently-used items typically fade over time, so it may sometimes be difficult to identify or remember an item’s manufacturer. You can’t be compensated for an injury if you’re not sure who is liable for the injury. When you keep your receipts, you can be sure.
If You File a Product Liability Claim, What Will You Have to Prove?
In Utah, when someone seeks compensation after being injured while using a dangerous or a defective consumer item, it is not always necessary for the injury victim and his or her attorney to prove that there was a particular act of negligence on the part of the item’s manufacturer.
In 1979, the Utah Supreme Court determined (in Hahn vs. Armco Steel Company) that the legal doctrine of “strict liability” applies in Utah product liability cases.
Strict liability means that a product’s manufacturer may be held liable for an accident and for the injuries caused by the product without proof of negligence if the item was sold, in the words of the court, “in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer.”
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
When payout amounts are decided for injury claims, the legal doctrine of “modified comparative negligence” also applies in Utah product liability cases.
If you are partly at fault for an accident, and you’re injured, you may still be compensated under the modified comparative negligence system, provided that another party was more at fault.
However, if you are partly at fault, you will not receive full compensation for your damages, and if your share of fault for the accident that injured you is fifty percent or higher, the law in Utah will not allow you to seek compensation for damages.
How Does Modified Comparative Negligence Work?
Let’s say that you are injured using a power tool or heavy equipment while doing repair work around the house. If the tool or equipment that injured you was defective, and if the defect was a direct cause of your injury, the manufacturer will have liability.
If your medical expenses, lost wages, and related losses after such an accident total $50,000, for example, but you are deemed to have thirty percent of the responsibility for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by thirty percent to $35,000.
How Will the Right Attorney Help You?
Product liability claims are sometimes difficult to prove. In Utah, if you are injured while using a dangerous or defective consumer product as the item was intended to be used, discuss your rights and your options for compensation with a Salt Lake City product liability lawyer.
If an accident happens with a defective consumer item, and you are injured, seek medical attention at once. Take photographs of the accident scene, the product, and your visible injuries. Gather any labels, sales receipts, and related documents you may have.
What Will It Cost You to Seek Justice?
Then – after you’ve been treated for your injury – schedule a first legal consultation with a Salt Lake City product liability attorney. It’s your opportunity to learn how the law applies in your own case and to receive sound, personalized legal advice at no cost and with no obligation.
If you proceed with a product liability lawsuit, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict on your behalf. Product liability lawyers work on a contingent fee basis and are paid only when a client recovers compensation.
When Should You Speak to a Product Liability Lawyer?
The Utah Product Liability Act sets the statute of limitations for product liability claims at two years from the date of the injury. However, if you sustain a latent or hard-to-detect injury, the two-year “clock” may begin on the date of the injury’s discovery.
But you shouldn’t wait two years or even two weeks to schedule a legal consultation. A product liability attorney needs to see evidence while it’s fresh and speak to witnesses before their memories fade.
Can You Keep Your Family Safe?
There is no way to guarantee the safety of many consumer items. Approximately four hundred defective consumer items are recalled every year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency that oversees many of the items we use routinely around the house.
Nevertheless, defective tires, tools, toys, electronic devices, and appliances injure consumers every day. The best safety strategy is reading and adhering to the instructions for every product you buy, keeping your vehicles maintained, and keeping up with the recalls of consumer items.
If you are injured using a defective consumer product, you have the right to be compensated by the product’s manufacturer, you have the right to a good lawyer’s help, and you have the right to justice. If it happens to you or someone you love, make the call to the right attorney promptly.