Author Archives: hladmin

Types of Product Liability Claims

Product Recall Word Cloud on White Background

Learn the three types of defective product liability claims: manufacturer mistake, dangerous product design, and failure to provide adequate warning.

If you have been injured or suffered other damages because of a product you used, you may have a defective product liability claim. Though the range of defective product cases is broad, the claims typically fall into three categories of product liability: (1) defective manufacture; (2) defective design; or (3) failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.

Understanding these categories will help you to determine whether you have a valid claim, as well as the strategy to use in presenting your case.

When it comes to the basic types of defective product claims, every state has essentially the same basics laws, spelled out below. Keep in mind that for each of these claims, you must show not only that the product was defective, but that the defect caused your injury.

Defectively Manufactured Products
Perhaps the most obvious type of product liability claim is when the injury-causing product was defectively manufactured. A defectively manufactured product is flawed because of some error in making it, such as a problem at the factory where it was fabricated. As a result, the injury-causing product is somehow different from all the other ones on the shelf.

Examples of a manufacturing defect include:

  • a swing set with a cracked chain
  • a tainted batch of cough syrup containing a poisonous substance, or
  • a moped missing its brake pads.

In each case, the injury must have been caused by the manufacturing defect. So, if you misjudged a curve, drove off the road, and injured yourself while riding on the moped with the missing brake pads mentioned above, you would only have a manufacturing defect claim if you could show that the missing brake pads — not your poor steering — caused your accident.

Defectively Designed Products
In the second type of product liability category, a product’s design is inherently dangerous or defective. Defective design claims do not arise from some error or mishap in the manufacturing process, but rather involve the claim that an entire line of products is inherently dangerous, regardless of the fact that the injury-causing product was perfectly made according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Examples of a design defect include:

  • a particular model of car that has a tendency to flip over while turning a corner
  • a type of sunglasses that fail to protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays, or
  • a line of electric blankets that can electrocute the user when turned on high.

Here again, the injury must have been caused by the defective design. If you accidentally crash into another vehicle while driving one of the flip-prone cars mentioned above, you would only have a design defect claim if you could show that you crashed because the car was in the process of flipping over while turning.

Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions
The third type of product liability claim involves a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions about the product’s proper use. Failure-to-warn claims typically involve a product that is dangerous in some way that’s not obvious to the user or that requires the user to exercise special precautions or diligence when using it.

Examples of a failure-to-warn claim include:

  • an electric tea kettle that is packaged without sufficient warning concerning its oddly positioned steam valve
  • a cough syrup that does not include on its label a warning that it may cause dangerous side effects if taken in combination with another commonly taken drug such as aspirin, or
  • a corrosive paint-removing chemical that is sold without adequate instructions for safe handling and use.

Once again, the injury must result from the failure to warn or properly instruct. If you are burned while using the newfangled tea kettle mentioned above, you would only have a failure-to-warn claim if you were burned by steam unexpectedly coming out of the oddly positioned steam valve.

Comparing the Three Types of Product Liability Claims
Claims involving pharmaceutical drugs provide a useful way of comparing the three types of product liability claims. If you are injured because the particular bottle of cough syrup you bought happens to contain several drops of arsenic that fell into it by accident at the factory where it was made, your claim would be based on a manufacturing defect.

By comparison, if taking that same brand of untampered-with cough syrup caused you to suffer a heart attack because of its normal ingredients, your claim would be based on a design defect.

Finally, if the cough syrup was made correctly and is generally safe for use, but you were injured because you combined it with aspirin and the label failed to warn that such a combination is dangerous, your claim would be based on a failure to warn.
By understanding these differences, you will better be able to identify your product liability claim and correctly present your case in court.

Getting Help
Depending on your case, you may wish to retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in products liability.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice. Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information regarding this post, please visit Nolo.com.

Compensation for Illness and Injury in Medical Malpractice Cases

Malpractice, holding Magnifying Glass . Studio Shot.

When you go to the hospital or see your family physician, there is an assumption that your doctor will, at the very least, “do no harm.”

While medical professionals in America are among the best in the world, there are exceptions. Bad things can happen while receiving medical care, and medical errors can result in serious injury or death.

Malpractice insurance is considered one of the major expenses of running a medical practice, and there are several cases of doctors’ offices closing because of the high premiums.

This has called for caps on medical malpractice case awards, dating back to the Clinton administration.

While malpractice lawsuits are considered by some to be frivolous, in reality they help patients recover damages when something goes horribly wrong.

Whether or not an incident is considered “below the accepted standard of care in the medical community,” is often the point of contention. Medical malpractice lawsuits need to establish what the expected standard of care is for a procedure. In a trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant would hire physicians as expert witnesses to testify that the act in question was, in fact, negligent.

Physician malpractice is also evaluated by the state medical board. If the medical board censures a doctor for his actions, it will go a long way to substantiating a claim of malpractice.

There are statutes of limitations on how long after the incident a patient can file a malpractice claim. Check your state laws carefully to confirm the length of time you have to file a lawsuit.

Medical malpractice cases are time consuming and costly. They require expert witnesses, pretrial discovery, depositions, subpoenas, and more. All this can take months, and cost many thousands of dollars.

Most medical malpractice cases are taken on contingency. There may be instances where it’s difficult or impossible to find an attorney to take the case, even if it has merits. “Winability” is an important consideration in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Medical Malpractice Case Specifics

Health Insurance and Malpractice

Many people have questions about how health insurance and malpractice affect each other. Is your health insurance company liable if they refer you to a doctor who commits malpractice? Must you pay back your insurance company if you win a settlement or court award? We answer these and many other questions in this section.

Treatment Denial

If a doctor refuses to provide medical treatment, is that malpractice? There are some instances where treatment denial is legally actionable, but in many cases it’s not.

Hospital Malpractice

Thousands of patients are treated each day at hospitals across the nation. The vast majority receive top-level care, but there are a fair number of patients who suffer undue harm due to negligence of medical professionals working at hospitals.

Dental Malpractice

Dentists, orthodontists and endodontists are subject to the same malpractice laws as other doctors.

Defective Medical Products

Lastly, if your injury or illness was caused by a defective medical device, you may want to learn more about medical device product liability.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice.  Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information regarding this post, please visit InjuryClaimCoach.com.

Personal Injury Claims: When You Need a Lawyer

Injury claim

For certain personal injury claims — such as those for severe injuries, malpractice, or toxic exposure — you’ll want to consult a lawyer.

Sometimes, the skills of an experienced personal injury lawyer — or at least the threat to an insurance company that such a lawyer may present — are worth the money you must pay that lawyer to represent you. You may need a lawyer because of complex legal rules involved in your particular claim, or because the severity of your injuries might cause your compensation to vary greatly from the norm — or simply because an insurance company refuses to settle a matter in good faith. The following types of injuries and accidents almost certainly require a lawyer’s help.

Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries
Some accidents result in injuries that significantly affect your physical capabilities or appearance for a long time — over a year — or even permanently. Figuring out how much such a serious injury is worth can be a difficult business. You’ll probably require some assistance from an experienced lawyer to get the most out of your claim.

Severe Injuries
The amount of your accident compensation is mostly determined by how severe your injuries were. And the severity of your injuries is measured by the amount of your medical bills, the type of injuries you have, and the length of time it takes for you to recover. As the amount of your potential compensation increases, the range within which that compensation may fall becomes wider. In such cases, it may be worth the expense to have a lawyer handle your claim and make sure you receive compensation at the highest end of the range.

Medical Malpractice
If you have suffered an injury or illness due to careless, unprofessional, or incompetent treatment at the hands of a doctor, nurse, hospital, clinic, laboratory, or other medical provider, both the medical questions and the legal rules involved are complex. They almost certainly require that you hire a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases.

Toxic Exposure
In the increasingly chemical world, we sometimes become ill because of exposure to contaminants in the air, soil, or water, in products, or in food. Claims based on such exposure are difficult to prove, however, and often require complex scientific data. And because the chemical and other industries have erected a huge wall to protect themselves from legal exposure while they continue to expose us to potentially harmful chemicals, the required evidence is very hard to come by. Get expert help.

When an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay
In some instances, regardless of the nature of your injury or the amount of your medical bills and lost income, you will want to hire a lawyer because an insurance company or government agency simply refuses to make any fair settlement offer at all. In these cases, something — what the lawyer can get minus the fee charged to get it — is better than nothing.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice. Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information regarding this blog, please visit Nolo.com.

Keep It Sweet! A Personal Injury Lawyer’s Tips to Stay Safe on Halloween

Children In Fancy Costume Dress Going Trick Or Treating

Few days are exciting for children as Halloween. Yes, Christmas ranks up there, but Christmas doesn’t dictate elaborate costumes and massive amounts of candy. Kids LOVE Halloween – and to be honest, most adults love it as well. While the dangers that come with Halloween may seem to be mostly of the supernatural kind, our personal injury lawyers have yet to see a case in their nearly 50 years of experience involving ghosts or goblins. There are, however, plenty of REAL dangers that lead to real injuries and real cases. Claims can range from pedestrian accidents, to products liability, to premises liability. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe this Halloween.

1. CARRY A FLASHLIGHT WHEN OUTSIDE.
A flashlight when trick or treating can serve two purposes. The first is to warn motorist and drivers that you are on the road. The second is to illuminate your walking path so that if there are defects in the sidewalk or debris in the roadway, it will not be a tripping hazard. This is particularly important with kids whose costumes may restrict their sight line to the ground or which may give them some difficulty when walking. The more light to show others of your position and to show you where you are walking, the better.

2. PUT REFLECTIVE TAPE ON YOUR KID’S COSTUMES IF THEY ARE NOT EASILY SEEN AT NIGHT.
This goes to the spirit of number 1 – always make sure your kids are as visible as possible when out trick or treating. Although drivers should be alert and aware to look out for pedestrians, unfortunately, accidents happen when drivers cannot see children or when they are distracted or impaired by alcohol and strike pedestrians. The more lighting, the better.

3. HAVE KIDS REMOVE A MASK WHEN WALKING AND ONLY PUT IT ON TO APPROACH THE DOOR TO TRICK OR TREAT.
Kids need to be able to see where they are walking. This will help them prevent trip and falls on uneven surfaces and will allow them to be better able to see cars and traffic.

4. MAKE SURE YOU CHILD CAN WALK IN HIS OR HER COSTUME; TRIM THE BOTTOM IF NECESSARY.
Children will likely do a lot of walking on Halloween. It’s important that their costume not trip them to where they could fall and hurt themselves or potentially fall into traffic.

5. NEVER LET A CHILD GO OUT TRICK OR TREATING ALONE.
Safety in numbers here – make sure kids are in a group and escorted by a parent or guardian.

6. REMIND CHILDREN TO NEVER GO INTO A STRANGER’S HOUSE OR CAR.
Stranger danger – your kids cannot hear this message enough. Even if the stranger has candy – it’s a no, every time. Your kids cannot hear this message enough, especially with the excitement surrounding Halloween.

7. INSPECT CANDY PRIOR TO YOUR KIDS’ EATING IT.
Your kids should only eat candy that is sealed and will not present a choking hazard for them.

8. DO NOT LEAVE OPEN CANDLES ANYWHERE WHERE THEY MAY CONTACT A CHILD OR A COSTUME.
Many costumes are highly flammable. With candles in jack-o-lanterns and scattered on porches, it is extremely important to make sure open flames are no where near costumes. A child’s costume catching on fire can lead to severe burn injuries that can be extremely painful and lead to severe scarring. Fires and costumes don’t mix. Be careful as both a homeowner and as the parent of a trick or treater to make sure costumes and open flames do not come in contact.

9. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!!!
This one should be obvious, but Halloween is a big, big party night for many people. If you want to go out and celebrate, fine. But please, do not get behind the wheel of a car. The risks are far too many! If you are injured by a drunk driver, you can recover punitive damages intended solely to punish the drunk driver.

10. KEEP PETS INDOORS
Yes, even a nice dog can scare a child. Keep your pets indoors and away from children if they bark or jump. Dogs can get anxious with a lot of unusual activity and fear can lead a normally docile, sweet dog to get nervous and even sometimes aggressive leading to a dog bite or a dog jumping up on visitors knocking someone to the ground.

The attorneys at Womick Law Firm wish everyone a fun, safe, and happy Halloween! If you do sustain personal injuries on Halloween and need a personal injury lawyer, contact our attorneys to see if we can help.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice.  Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information regarding this blog, please click here.

Personal Injury Claims: When You Need a Lawyer

a lawyer in his office showing a document with the text lawsuit written in it

Personal Injury Claims: When You Need a Lawyer

For certain personal injury claims — such as those for severe injuries, malpractice, or toxic exposure — you’ll want to consult a lawyer.

Sometimes, the skills of an experienced personal injury lawyer — or at least the threat to an insurance company that such a lawyer may present — are worth the money you must pay that lawyer to represent you. You may need a lawyer because of complex legal rules involved in your particular claim, or because the severity of your injuries might cause your compensation to vary greatly from the norm — or simply because an insurance company refuses to settle a matter in good faith. The following types of injuries and accidents almost certainly require a lawyer’s help.

Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries
Some accidents result in injuries that significantly affect your physical capabilities or appearance for a long time — over a year — or even permanently. Figuring out how much such a serious injury is worth can be a difficult business. You’ll probably require some assistance from an experienced lawyer to get the most out of your claim.

Severe Injuries
The amount of your accident compensation is mostly determined by how severe your injuries were. And the severity of your injuries is measured by the amount of your medical bills, the type of injuries you have, and the length of time it takes for you to recover. As the amount of your potential compensation increases, the range within which that compensation may fall becomes wider. In such cases, it may be worth the expense to have a lawyer handle your claim and make sure you receive compensation at the highest end of the range.

Medical Malpractice
If you have suffered an injury or illness due to careless, unprofessional, or incompetent treatment at the hands of a doctor, nurse, hospital, clinic, laboratory, or other medical provider, both the medical questions and the legal rules involved are complex. They almost certainly require that you hire a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases.

Toxic Exposure
In the increasingly chemical world, we sometimes become ill because of exposure to contaminants in the air, soil, or water, in products, or in food. Claims based on such exposure are difficult to prove, however, and often require complex scientific data. And because the chemical and other industries have erected a huge wall to protect themselves from legal exposure while they continue to expose us to potentially harmful chemicals, the required evidence is very hard to come by. Get expert help.

When an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay
In some instances, regardless of the nature of your injury or the amount of your medical bills and lost income, you will want to hire a lawyer because an insurance company or government agency simply refuses to make any fair settlement offer at all. In these cases, something — what the lawyer can get minus the fee charged to get it — is better than nothing.

Finding a Good Personal Injury Lawyer
One good way to find a lawyer is to ask friends, acquaintances, or other lawyers for referrals — and then interview the candidates.

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for legal advice. Laws change from time to time, so if you are injured, protect your rights and call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm online.

For more information regarding this post, please visit Nolo.com.

Carbondale Office

1001 E. Main Street
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-529-2440
Fax: 618-457-2680
Directions

Herrin Office

501 Rushing Drive
Herrin, IL 62948
Phone: 618-993-0911
Fax: 618-998-9991
Directions

Do not delay!

Serious personal injury lawyers for serious cases! Call today at 1-800-598-2440 or contact the Womick Law Firm for immediate attention.

Top