Product Liability Claims in a Work Injury
Work injuries that occur because of defective products may be eligible for third-party product liability litigation. The manufacturer of products that cause injury when being used as intended can be held responsible for the medical bills and pain and suffering of injured workers. Product liability litigation is often extremely complex, but can be pursued at the same time as a workers’ compensation claim.
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What is Product Liability?
Product liability law sets the rules under which manufacturers, retailers, installers, and advertisers are held responsible for any injuries a defective product may cause. Product defects typically fall into three categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and false advertising. Design defects occur before a product is made, manufacturing defects occur while a product is being made, and false advertising, or marketing defects, occur after a product has been made. Product liability law allows for recourse should a flaw at any stage of the product life cycle result in the injury of a consumer.
Defective Products and Work Injuries
Product liability law does not distinguish whether or not an injury caused by a defective product is a work injury. If the defective product causes an injury, the manufacturer and other responsible parties can be held responsible. Workers’ compensation will treat any on the job injury the same, regardless of how it occurred. Workers’ compensation attorneys will examine your case closely to help you determine if your injury was caused by a defective product. Examples of faulty products causing injuries can vary widely. Some examples could include:
- A new saw snapping in half, injuring the operator
- A ladder leg breaking, causing someone standing on it to fall
- A work laptop’s battery catching fire while in use
- An office chair collapsing, sending its occupant to the ground
- Any injury caused by a ‘thing’ not performing as expected
Pursuing Simultaneous Claims
When a work injury is potentially caused by a faulty product, pursuing a workers’ compensation claim and product liability claim simultaneously is certainly possible. The workers’ compensation claim can provide immediate medical treatment and the temporary disability benefits needed while recovering from the injury. On the other hand, product liability cases are very complex, can take a very long time to resolve, and do not result in immediate compensation.
It must be noted that if the third-party case ultimately concludes successfully, the workers’ compensation insurance company will need to be reimbursed through a process called subrogation. Because the insurance company was not actually liable for your injuries, any benefits they paid out, such as medical treatment and temporary disability benefits, will need to be repaid. As product liability claims can result in much higher levels of compensation for an injured worker, it’s recommended to pursue both claims.
Work Injury Lawyers in California
Since 1984, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has helped its clients pursue compensation from those responsible for their work injuries. Our experienced team of injury attorneys can help workers pursue third-party liability claims. If you have been hurt while working, we can help you determine if you have a viable third-party product liability claim.