Frequently Asked Product Liability Questions
What type of experience does your firm have handling product defect cases?
The Gilbert Law Group® has handled a large variety of product defect cases from coast-to-coast. We are respected by our current and former clients and attorneys around the country who ask us to co-counsel product defect cases due to our reputation for unparalleled experience.
Jim Gilbert is a member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, a select community of the 100 best trial lawyers in the country due, in part, to his record of success litigating product defect cases. We have secured record product defect jury verdicts in multiple states and litigated almost every type of automobile product defect imaginable. We have also represented victims of unsafe toys, medical devices, and other consumer goods.
How much will it cost me to pursue a case?
Nothing. We offer free initial consultations. After that, if we agree to go forward with your case, we operate on a contingency fee agreement, which means that we don’t get paid unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf.
For what types of harms and losses can I receive money?
You are entitled to be made whole. We will spend significant time with your family and you to identify all of your potential damages. Some of the damages may include economic losses such as medical bills, lost wages, physical therapy, in-home care and other expenses associated with ongoing care. You may also be eligible to receive fair compensation for physical or emotional impairment, loss of quality of life, and emotional distress.
Family members may also be eligible for loss of consortium damages due to the diminished ability of the victim to contribute to the household and provide love and affection. In rare cases where we can establish that a defendant acted with reckless disregard for your safety, a jury may award punitive damages if the judge approves the jury’s consideration of these types of damages in advance.
What is a product defect?
While the definition may vary by state, a product defect is generally a condition that prevents a product from operating or being used by a consumer for its originally intended purpose. A product defect claim may exist when product defects present dangerous or unsafe conditions that cause injury or death to a consumer if those who designed, made, maintained, or sold the product knew or should have known about the defect.
- Defectively manufactured: These claims are applicable when the product was manufactured incorrectly, either at the factory or at some point between the factory and when it was purchased, such as in-store assembly.
- Defectively designed: The product’s design is dangerous, even though it was manufactured correctly according to the design. Typically, these cases occur when an entire line of faulty products is produced and unreasonably dangerous.
- Inadequate warnings or instructions: The product does not come with appropriate directions for safe use or warning labels, and as a result, a user was injured. These are also known as “defective” marketing claims.
Product liability litigation is the area of law focused on identifying and holding responsible negligent manufacturers, designers, retailers, maintenance companies or others who knew or should have known that their products presented a dangerous condition that could injure or kill a person.
What does litigation look like?
There are typically five steps in the litigation process, including:
- The complaint provides notice to the defendants of the lawsuit and identifies and details the claims against the defendants for their negligent or intentional behavior.
- The discovery process enables all parties to seek information and evidence from one another and allows parties to take depositions or sworn testimony from witnesses and the parties to the lawsuit;
- Expert reports help to establish the technical positions each party takes in the case. In product liability litigation, each party typically retains multiple experts to explain different technical aspects of the party’s theory of the case. For our clients, experts routinely include treating doctors and independent medical experts who explain the nature and severity of your injuries and the lasting effects of your serious condition. The expert report and deposition process usually takes place near the end of the discovery process.
- Mediation can take place early or late in the case depending on the parties and the nature of the claims. Mediation usually involves the parties’ voluntary participation in a formal meeting to attempt to resolve the case without further litigation. We make every effort to gain a clear sense of our client’s needs and expectations regarding the resolution of their lawsuit so that we can aggressively represent their interests at mediation. There is no guarantee the case will resolve at mediation.
- A trial is held when the parties are unable to resolve the legal dispute out of court. It is our opportunity to formally present your case to a jury made up of members of the community and ask that they find the defendants liable for their conduct and award fair compensation to you for your harms and losses. Trials can last from days to months depending on the complexity of the case and the discretion of the Court.
How will you prove my product liability case?
From the day we begin investigating your case, we prepare the case as if it is going to trial. Our experienced trial attorneys are some of the best in the business at trial strategy and building evidence which strengthen your claims. We partner with some of the best product defect experts in the world who can testify to the nature and severity of the defect. Finally, we test our presentation of the case by sharing our case with mock jury panels that critique and evaluate the case. Through this process, we fully assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case to ensure we are prepared for every potential opportunity and pitfall at trial.
What will you do to evaluate my case?
For each serious product defect case we receive, we spend many hours evaluating a case prior to agreeing to represent a client. We meet with you to learn about the incident and the nature of your injuries or other loses and you complete a comprehensive client questionnaire. Then, an attorney closely examines the facts of the case and our engineering department and legal team meet to discuss the nature of the case.
Following the initial meetings, our team requests and later reviews important investigative materials, such as accident reports, medical records, scene photographs, as well as other similar incidents and we meet again to reach a final determination on the merits of the product defect case.
Will I have direct access to attorneys working on the case?
Yes. Each attorney at The Gilbert Law Group® takes pride in ensuring that we respond to client inquiries with timely and helpful answers. Our team of litigation paralegals assists us in helping to make sure each and every client question is fully answered to the satisfaction of our clients.
Will members of my family and I have to testify?
Oftentimes, yes. While most cases do not proceed to trial, many victims and other family members are required to tell their story through sworn testimony at a deposition. A deposition enables the parties to the lawsuit to ask questions of witnesses regarding the incident, the type and severity of injuries, economic losses, etc. Many witnesses find the process of giving testimony to be therapeutic and a way to reach closure with the tragedy in their lives. Our attorneys devote significant time to ensure you are comfortable with the experience of testifying.
What happens if we don’t win?
There are no guarantees in litigation. There is always a possibility that your case will not be successful. The Gilbert Law Group®’s decades of experience working on some of the most challenging and complex product defect cases in the country qualifies us to investigate, prepare, and litigate your case to a just resolution for you and your family. In the event that we do not win your case, only in very rare situations are you or your family exposed to any financial responsibility. We are happy to explain these circumstances to you.