Key Challenges in Winning Product Liability Cases

by | Last updated on March 18, 2024 | Published on Dec 14, 2020 | Medical Record Review

Defective products such as defective drugs, machinery or medical devices can cause injuries, leading to product liability cases. Such cases come with their own set of challenges. To gather medical evidence to prove the injury caused by the defective product, lawyers require medical record review services to review the medical documentation of the plaintiff. Product liability lawsuits are filed by plaintiffs against manufacturers, product sellers and distributors, and other entities involved in selling or distributing the product. Winning product liability cases can be complex and challenging due to various factors.

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Critical Challenges in Winning Product Liability Cases

Here are some key challenges that lawyers and plaintiffs often face in these cases:

  • Proving defects: One of the primary challenges is establishing that the product was defective. There are three main types of defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects (failure to warn or provide adequate instructions). Each type requires different types of evidence and legal arguments.
  • Causation: It’s not enough to show that a product was defective; plaintiffs must also prove that the defect caused their injury or damages. This can be particularly challenging in cases where there are other potential causes of the injury or where the injury occurred sometime after the use of the product.
  • Evidence preservation: Preserving evidence is crucial in product liability cases. However, evidence can be lost or destroyed, especially if the incident occurred some time ago or if the product was disposed of or altered. Proving the condition of the product at the time of the incident can be difficult without proper documentation.
  • Expert witnesses: Expert testimony is often necessary to establish both the defect and causation. Finding qualified experts who are willing to testify can be challenging, and defense attorneys often vigorously challenge the credibility and qualifications of plaintiffs’ experts.
  • Statute of limitations: Product liability claims are subject to statutes of limitations, which vary by jurisdiction. Plaintiffs must file their claims within the prescribed time limit, which can be as short as one or two years in some cases. Failure to file within the statute of limitations can result in the case being dismissed.
  • Deep-pocket defendants: Many product liability cases involve large corporations with substantial resources to devote to legal defense. These defendants often have teams of experienced attorneys who will vigorously defend against the claims, making it challenging for plaintiffs to prevail.
  • Contributory negligence/assumption of risk: Defendants in product liability cases may argue that the plaintiff’s own actions contributed to their injuries or that they assumed the risks associated with using the product. Proving that the plaintiff’s conduct did not contribute to the injury can be challenging.
  • Class certification: In cases where multiple individuals have been injured by the same product, plaintiffs may seek class certification to streamline the litigation process. However, obtaining class certification can be difficult and requires meeting specific legal criteria.
  • Public perception and jury bias: Some products, particularly those that are widely used or well-known, may have a positive public perception that can influence jurors’ attitudes. Defense attorneys may attempt to exploit this bias to sway the jury in favor of the defendant.
  • Complexity of evidence and law – Such cases often involve complex scientific and technical evidence, as well as intricate legal arguments. Simplifying these concepts for a jury to understand can be challenging, particularly when the defense seeks to obfuscate or confuse the issues.

Successfully navigating these challenges requires thorough preparation, strategic litigation tactics, and skilled advocacy on the part of plaintiffs’ attorneys. In certain cases, plaintiffs may file a No-injury lawsuit, which helps them claim economic losses related to reduced value of the product. Product liability attorneys utilize medical review solutions to extract key medical evidence from the medical records to support the case. They strive to prove that the product that injured the client was defectively designed or defectively manufactured.

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