A defective product can cause an immense amount of devastation. Unsuspecting consumers may suffer serious injuries, from lacerations to traumatic brain injuries, due to products that contain defects. You might know your injuries are from a defective product, but unfortunately, this will not be enough to obtain financial compensation from the item’s manufacturer. You must prove that the defective product caused your injury before a court will rule in your favor.
What Are the Four Elements Needed for a Product Liability Claim in Texas?
Obtaining compensation for a defective product in Texas involves what is known as a product liability claim. Product liability claims arise when an item that contains a manufacturing, marketing or design defect injures a consumer. If you have a strict product liability claim, you will need to prove four elements to obtain a recovery.
- You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.
- The product contained a defect.
- The product is what caused your injury or property damage.
- You suffered compensable losses.
Most product liability claims have different burdens of proof than other types of injury claims in Texas. In a standard personal injury claim, you or your lawyer must prove the defendant’s negligence to hold him or her accountable. In a strict product liability claim, however, you do not need to show that the manufacturer failed to uphold a standard of care in designing or creating the product. It will be enough to show that the item contained a defect and caused your injury.
How to Prove a Connection Between the Defective Product and Your Injury
Even if you do not have to prove a manufacturing company’s negligence, it can be difficult to recover compensation with a product liability claim in Texas. You still have the burden to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the defective product is more than likely what caused your injury or illness. Meeting this burden of proof will first require evidence of your injury.
Proving an injury generally relies on medical documentation. An insurance company, judge or jury will need to see medical evidence that the injury you are claiming exists. Evidence may take the form of medical records, a letter from your doctor or x-rays. If you have a soft-tissue injury, such as a muscle sprain, it can be more difficult to prove that your injury exists, as it will not show up on scans and x-rays. You may need additional proof, such as medical expert testimony, to support your claim in this case.
Once you prove your injury exists, the next step will be establishing actual cause. You will need to prove through a preponderance of the evidence that your injury was directly related to the use of the defective product. If you suffered your injury from another cause, unrelated to the item’s defect, you will not be able to hold the manufacturer responsible.
Common evidence used to prove a causal link between a defective product and an injury includes eyewitness accounts, your injury documentation and expert testimony. Witnesses can testify as to what they saw the day your injury occurred, such as you using the item correctly, the item malfunctioning and it injuring you. Your medical documentation and testimony from medical experts can help prove that your injury would not have occurred but for the product’s defect.
Consult With a Product Liability Attorney for Assistance
Obtaining compensation for an injury from a defective product in Texas takes certain evidence and proof. It is your responsibility as the injured victim to meet your burden of proof if you wish to make the manufacturer or distributor pay for your losses. While the laws of strict product liability make for a lesser burden of proof, eliminating the need to establish negligence, you will still need to show that the defect caused your injury. Hire a product liability attorney for assistance. A lawyer can help you gather and present strong evidence proving your case.