A lawsuit can be filed for any personal injury caused due to a defect in a product. However, there should be clear evidence such as medical records to show the nature of the injury, records to show what happened, how the injury occurred and how it impacts your work and life.Proper evidence is critical to prove that a product was defective in nature. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on preserving evidence and following any applicable state laws as it may relate to your product liability claim. Medical record review services are helpful for attorneys handling product liability cases.
In a product liability case, the defective product itself is typically key to proving the plaintiff’s case. This product that injures a potential plaintiff must be secured immediately to ensure its availability later, which will be necessary in proving a product liability claim, and to guarantee that its condition will not be changed, which can adversely affect one’s case.
Nolo’s legal encyclopedia generally groups defective product liability lawsuits into three categories. The first category lawsuit involves products that have been defectively manufactured by mistake either at the factory or at some point between the factory and wherever the product was purchased. In the second category claims, products that have been defectively designed are involved. In such cases, it is not just a single faulty product, an entire line of products are included that are claimed to be unreasonably dangerous. And the third category includes a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding the proper use of the injury-causing product. This kind of lawsuit is called a defective product liability claim.
In a plaintiff’s case, the attorney will help to –
- obtain the complete history of the product
- determine the date of the original sale
- identify the dealer and distributor
- locate the instruction booklet and warranties
The personal injury attorney and plaintiff should work together towards the basic elements of a product liability claim-to prove that you have been injured or suffered some other kind of damage, prove that the product involved in your case was somehow defective or lacked proper warnings or instructions, prove that the defect was the specific cause of your injuries or damage and last prove that you were using the injury-causing product more or less in the manner in which it was intended to be used.
Consequences of spoliation of evidence for plaintiffs & defendants
For the plaintiff, the loss or spoliation of evidence could prove fatal to the case and claims. So, it is important that the product that injured the plaintiff must be secured immediately, as it is important in proving a product liability claim.
Certain types of evidence that can help support a product liability claim include:
- Medical records- Medical records are key evidence that you were hurt by the concerned product. It also provides many details – the way that you were hurt, what functions you have lost (either permanently or temporarily), and the treatments you have undergone or will undergo in the future. Consider securing reports including – emergency room records, records from physical therapists, psychological records, and so on.
- Bills and other expenses – Medical as well as other bills are evidences to show how much this injury cost you financially. Receipts for payments of medical bills must be preserved for the case. These bills also help a jury or insurance company assign the value that you will be able to be compensated for.
- Images and videos – Any photographs or videos of the accident scene, your injuries and your damages are solid evidences that show the reality of the injuries you have suffered and how it affects your life. After the accident, try taking as many photos or videos as possible of the accident scene, damage to your property and other damages you sustained.
- Accident reports – Any reports about your accident that demonstrates the sequence of events that led to your injury would serve as a great proof. Such reports are typically filed when law enforcement respond to an accident scene or when an accident resulted in serious injury or death. Such reports will be the official record that often names which party the responding law enforcement officer believes is at fault for the accident.
- Tax returns and pay stubs – Your economic losses can also be proved through pay stubs and tax returns, as these papers can document what you’ve lost or will lose in the future because of the injury caused by the defective product. For those who have sustained injuries that prevent you from working, long-term or short-term, these documents should be preserved.
- Statements from witness – Testimony or statements from any witnesses who saw what happened to you can possibly lead to the success of your claim; as such statements provide an objective perspective about how the accident occurred from people who are not invested in the claim. This witness can be your medical provider, spouse, co-workers or your friends.
Preparing a product liability case can be quite complex, and will require an attorney’s expertise from the beginning, in order to ensure all relevant evidence and potential claims are preserved. In such cases, attorneys may have to review large volume medical records. Product liability medical record review services provided by experienced medical review companies can help these attorneys meet their evidence documentation tasks.