We expect any products we use to have been tested extensively to ensure that they are safe. Unfortunately, these high standards are not always met and can result in serious injury if proper safety procedures are not followed. Injuries caused by a faulty or defective product can be very serious. For example, taking defective medicines or driving a defective vehicle can have devastating consequences if something goes wrong.
Our dedicated legal team will help you to understand the legal complexities of product liability and advise you on making a claim for compensation.
Products that are intended for public consumption should be subject to rigorous testing and risk assessments before they are released for sale. Furthermore, if there are any risks associated with using a particular product then this should be made clear to the user. For example, if a particular hair product is not suitable for an individual with a skin condition then the company are legally obliged to make this clear to the consumer. This is usually done by placing a warning on the bottle of the product.
How We Can Help
Failure to discharge this duty can give rise to a claim in negligence against the at fault company. The claims process can vary but will generally take the format outlined below:
1. Free Initial Consultation – Our solicitors will meet the client and take instructions about the circumstances of the accident and will ask you to provide as many details as possible. It is advisable for clients to retain the product that caused the injury and also to take current photographs of the injury in question.
2. Letter of Claim – Your solicitor will then send a letter to the at fault supplier setting out detailed allegations of negligence. The supplier will then be obligated to pass this on to their insurers, who will investigate the incident.
3. Medical Evidence – If you have attended the GP or hospital, we will obtain those notes and arrange for you to be examined by a specialist medical Consultant who will provide a report on the cause and extent of your injuries. This will later be forwarded to the third-party insurance company for their consideration.
4. Decision on liability – The insurance company have three months from the date the letter of claim was sent to complete their investigations and provide a decision on liability. If liability is accepted, we will provide our medical evidence and enter in to settlement negotiations.
5. Court Proceedings – If liability is denied our personal injury solicitor will consult with you and make a decision on whether to proceed to the Courts to try and recover compensation. At this stage we will instruct a Barrister who specialises in personal injury claims and we will work together to build a case prior to your Court hearing. Court proceedings can also be issued in a case where liability has been admitted if we feel the compensation being offered by the insurance company is not sufficient. Our expert solicitors will advise clients on their options, but the final decision will always be made by the client and we will ensure that their wishes are carried out.
The legal jargon can be a bit confusing and we aim to help our clients to understand the claims process as fully as possible. Below we have devised a hypothetical scenario where a product liability is dealt with by our personal injury solicitors at P.A.Duffy and Company:
Frank is a 48-year-old construction worker.
He bought a motorbike from a local supplier and was informed that all necessary checks were carried out and the vehicle was properly maintained and in good condition. On Frank’s first journey he attempted to slow down at a junction close to his house by applying the brakes. He realised that the brakes were not working and had to divert the motorbike off the road to avoid oncoming traffic, causing him to subsequently collide with a wall at the side of the road.
Frank was badly injured. An ambulance was called by a passer by and he received treatment at hospital for a broken arm, broken ribs and concussion. A couple of weeks later Frank came to P.A.Duffy for advice on claiming against the supplier of the motorbike. His solicitor sent a letter to the supplier alleging negligence and breach of contract. An engineer was then instructed to examine the motorbike and his report identified that the brakes were faulty on the vehicle. This report was sent to the supplier’s insurance company and after 3 months they admitted that their client was liable.
Frank then attended with a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who confirmed his injuries and stated that his recovery would take at least a year. He was also badly shaken up and anxious after the accident, so his solicitor decided to obtain a report from a Consultant Psychiatrist to report on the impact that the accident has had on Frank mentally. That report confirmed that he had sustained mild psychological damage but that it should also subside with time.
Once the medical evidence was complete it was sent to the supplier’s insurance company along with evidence of Frank’s loss of earnings as he was off work for a period of 2 months after the accident. Following negotiations with the insurance company Frank’s solicitor managed to settle his claim for £25,000, concluding that this took into account his physical injuries, psychological injury and loss of earnings.