What Can You Do About Defective Products?

Mar 22, 2010

There’s a dad in Oregon suing the manufacturer of a baby hammock, claiming its faulty product killed his infant son last summer. In his suit, the dad claims the hammock manufacturer’s product suffocated his 4-month-old son. The accidental death led to the recall of more than 20,000 motion beds.

Unfortunately, this tragic story is not uncommon. Recalls for defective products, whether voluntary or government-mandated, have been made for things ranging from vehicles to toys. Most recently, there was a string of recalls from lead paint-covered toys from China.

As a consumer, you have rights. You have the right to buy a product that will not harm you or your loved ones, and manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure their products are safe for consumers. This article discusses your rights as a consumer and what you can do if the product you’ve been using shows up on a recall list.

What constitutes a defective product?

The product is labeled defective if it doesn’t carry a strong enough warning, if the manufacturer doesn’t include adequate instructions, or if it’s unreasonably dangerous.

Is failure to work sufficient grounds for a defective product lawsuit?

The key in winning this kind of lawsuit is being able to prove that the product caused you harm through negligence. If your product doesn’t work, simply return it or ask for a replacement.

What should I do if I think a defective product harmed me?

First thing’s first. Keep any and all documentation. That includes receipts and make sure you have the name of the store and the store’s address where you bought the product. Take down statements from anyone who witnessed the injury, and don’t forget to take pictures and/or video. Personal injury attorneys also recommend you save the product and its packaging and not to discuss the case with anyone and don’t give any written or recorded statements about the injury.

If I win my case, can I get my money right away? 

Sometimes you will get a lump sum when your case is settled by a judge or by an agreement of the two parties. Sometimes you won’t. It depends on a number of factors, including how deep the pockets are of the company you sued.

There are options should the offending party be a smaller company that can’t afford a major settlement payout. You can apply to a lawsuit funding firm that advances against your future recovery.

There are lawsuit-funding firms, such as Lawsuit Hotline, that offers advances, which are also called “lawsuit advances,” for pending and settled lawsuits for a low monthly rate. The company has a pool made up of venture capitalists, hedge funds, private investors, and banks that are willing to front plaintiffs their settlement money.

Anyone who filed a lawsuit can apply for funding. Lawsuit Hotline takes the application and sends it to its investors’ underwriters, who will review the application, the lawsuit itself and any other necessary documents to determine whether they can provide the advance. These underwriters determine the strength of the case and its chances of winning to make the decision.

You can get the money you need to pay bills stemming from the harm caused by the defective product within 24 hours of a signed funding agreement. It’s a handy option for people whose mounting debt is compounding damage caused by a product they trusted was in good working order.