You have the fair and relatively basic expectation that the products you use are not going to put you and your family at serious risk. In the United States—including in Alabama—there are laws in place to ensure manufacturers and other corporations do not put dangerous and defective products on the market. Big companies should never put profits before public safety.
Unfortunately, defective products remain a hazard. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we have experience handling defective product claims. Our team wants to ensure that you know what to do after a bad incident to protect your health, well-being, and legal rights. Here, our Birmingham product liability lawyer provides a step-by-step guide to taking legal action for a defective product in Alabama.
Step #1: Seek Immediate Medical Attention for Any Injuries
One of the most crucial steps in dealing with a defective product is seeking immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained. Medical needs are always a top priority. Your health matters. It should never take a backseat to other considerations. Getting care from a licensed physician is vital not only to ensure your well-being, but also because medical records are evidence. When you visit a healthcare professional, make sure to provide a detailed account of the incident, including the product involved, how it malfunctioned, and the resulting injuries. Be prepared to request copies of all medical records, including diagnostic tests and treatment plans.
Step #2: Gather the Information (Preserve the Product, Write Down What Happened, etc.)
After ensuring your safety and health, it is essential to gather and preserve as much information as possible. First, do not discard the defective product; instead, store it in a safe and secure location, as it may serve as crucial evidence. Take photographs of the product, any visible damage, and your injuries. Obviously, it is not always possible to save dangerous products—but do it when safe.
Write down everything you remember about the incident, including the date, time, location, and sequence of events leading to the injury. Collect any manuals, receipts, warranties, or packaging that came with the product. If there are any witnesses, obtain their contact information and written statements. The more details you have, the better positioned you will be to bring a claim.
Step #3: Know the Product Liability Laws in Alabama
In Alabama, product liability claims generally fall under Ala. Code § 6-5-521. It is useful to have a general understanding of product liability law if you or your loved one was harmed by a dangerous and defective product. Of course, you do not have to figure everything out on your own. Here are three things to know:
- A Two-Year Statute of Limitations: In Alabama, product liability claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. You should be proactive after an incident with a dangerous and defective product. Failure to initiate legal action within this timeframe may result in losing the right to seek compensation. The deadline can only be extended in very limited circumstances. Consult with a Birmingham product liability lawyer right away.
- Three Theories of Liability (Negligence, Breach of Warranty, Strict): Alabama recognizes three primary theories of liability in defective product cases: negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability. Negligence involves proving the manufacturer or seller’s failure to exercise reasonable care in designing, producing, or selling the product. Breach of warranty refers to a failure to uphold an express or implied warranty about the product’s safety or performance. Strict liability holds manufacturers or sellers responsible for damages without requiring proof of negligence.
- Contributory Negligence May Be Used as a Defense: Alabama follows the contributory negligence rule, which may be used as a defense in defective product cases. If a plaintiff is found to have contributed to their injury in any way, they may be barred from recovering damages. The standard is harsh and unfriendly to victims. It is essential to work with an experienced attorney who can demonstrate that the defendant is solely responsible for the harm caused by the dangerous and defective product.
Step #4: Avoid Giving a Statement to the Manufacturer or its Insurance (Without a Lawyer)
In the aftermath of a defective product incident, you may be contacted by the manufacturer or its insurance company—particularly if they are made aware of the accident. While it may seem like they are offering help, their primary goal is often to protect their own interests. Avoid giving any statements or signing documents without first consulting an experienced defective product lawyer.
These companies may attempt to use your words against you or settle for an amount much lower than you deserve. Politely decline any requests for a statement, and direct them to your attorney, who will handle all communications on your behalf and ensure your rights are protected. You have the right to be represented by a lawyer.
Step #5: See Professional Representation From an Alabama Defective Product Lawyer
Dangerous and defective product claims are complex. Alabama has specialized rules and regulations in place for product liability claims. You do not have to navigate these laws all by yourself. Hiring a skilled Alabama defective product lawyer is essential in ensuring your rights are protected and securing fair compensation for your injuries. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham, AL, product liability attorney has experience dealing with manufacturers, insurance companies, and other parties involved in the claims process. It is our mission to protect your rights, fight for justice, and help you and your family secure the maximum available financial compensation.
Set Up a Free Case Review With Product Liability Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we fight hard to protect the rights and interests of victims and families. If you or someone close to you was seriously hurt by a dangerous and defective product, we can help. Call us now at 205-896-6410 or connect with us online for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. From our law office in Birmingham, we handle defective product claims throughout Alabama.