Product liability law establishes manufacturer liability for producing a defective product that harms a consumer. In such cases, any distributor of the product may be held responsible for a victim’s injury. The law requires that a product meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. However, when a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer.
Like the nature of other litigation types, numerous factors will determine whether a product liability case will settle or continue to trial. For instance, an automobile personal injury case is prone to settle early in the litigation process—usually without the necessity of going to trial. On the contrary, product liability, medical malpractice and premises liability cases are often not expected to settle early, and often require a trial to arrive at a decision and determine damages.
Each product liability case is unique. As such, they can require more time than other cases. However, due to the nature of litigation and its distinctiveness, there are no generalities or standard case formats that can help to determine whether a specific case will settle or enter trial. Defective product claims can reach settlement in as little to one to three months, or two to three years. It is important to speak with your attorney to gain a better understanding of what your expectations for your case should be.
When a product liability case includes complex factors, it may take a significant length of time to complete the following:
- Conduct depositions.
- Review expert witnesses.
- Evaluate exchanged written materials and documents.
These stages of the process must be thoroughly executed with attention to detail for a plaintiff’s attorney to have a total understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a case. Without having a comprehensive understanding of the legal issues involved and possible outcomes, the litigation parties lack adequate material to appropriately evaluate the likelihood of success at trial.
It’s important to note that manufacturing, wholesale and/or retail companies may have an insurance policy that has “consent to settle” clauses. If that is the case, the insurer is not allowed to settle a litigation case without the insured policyholder’s consent.
Product liability matters are quite complex, and establishing legal fault often requires the assistance of those with adequate experience. Moreover, each state has specific laws and unique statutes that will affect a product liability case. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury caused by a potentially defective product, contact an experienced accident and injury attorney at Azrael Franz Schwab & Lipowitz today.