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What Types of Damages Do Product Liability Cases Recover?

by Matthew Hennesy on Oct. 13, 2017

Accident & Injury Products Liability 

Summary: Serious medical issues and debilitating complications can result from product malfunctions and faulty equipment.

Serious medical issues and debilitating complications can result from product malfunctions and faulty equipment. These circumstances can put individuals immediately out of work and drain their financial assets. They can also cause immense pain and suffering and loss of consortium with their spouse.

As a result, if a victim of a product malfunction takes their case to court, there are numerous types of damages they may be able to recover if they win their case. When evaluating a product liability case, you will work alongside your lawyer to determine exactly which of these damages you have suffered. You’ll want to do this ahead of time so that you can, first, decide whether or not you truly have a winnable case, and second, so that you can know exactly what it is you’ll be fighting for during litigation.

Before we get into the types of damages you may be able to recover from a defective product case, let’s explain exactly what damages are.

Damages refer to specific amounts of money that are rewarded to plaintiffs in lawsuits in order to compensate them for injuries, financial losses, and other hardships. Damages are rewarded to the plaintiff only after it has been found that the defendant(s) were guilty of negligence or other wrongdoing.

This article is pertinent to liability cases because there are numerous types of damages that can be rewarded. As a plaintiff, it is your and your lawyer’s job to specifically name the damages that you feel you are deserved and to prove to the judge or jury the defendant’s wrongdoing so that you may be rewarded these damages.

In a way, damages are meant to rectify a product malfunction and the ensuing destruction. The defendant may have been negligent, which causes lifelong injury, pain and suffering for the plaintiff. Because of this, the defendant will “pay the plaintiff back.”

However, it’s obvious that not all situations can be righted completely. Permanent injuries and disabilities cannot be undone. Therefore, a dollar amount is attached to all of the negative results in a case. These dollar amounts add up to the total damages, which are ultimately an attempt for the at-fault party to do as much as possible to rectify the unfortunate results of their actions.

Types of Damages Awarded in Product Liability Cases

There are two main types of compensatory damages awarded in product liability cases: damages paid for economic losses and damages paid for non-economic losses.

Economic loss damages are paid to the plaintiff in product liability cases to compensate them for the loss of finances caused by the product malfunction or defective product. On the other hand, non-economic loss damages are paid to the plaintiff in product liability cases to compensate them for non-financial losses. That is, non-economic loss damages will compensate for emotional suffering, physical suffering, and other losses that are difficult to quantify.

Economic Loss Damages

  • Medical Bills and Expenses: After a serious accident involving a faulty or malfunctioning product, serious injuries will require expensive medical bills to be paid. These expenses may go to pharmacies, hospitals, doctors, physical therapists, and other institutions and parties. Ongoing medical care such as long hospital stays or prescription medications will require ongoing medical expenses as well.
  • Loss of Wages: When someone is seriously injured and incapacitated, they will not be able to fulfill their full duties at work. In some cases, they won’t be able to go to work at all. This will naturally result in a loss of wages. For those who own their own business, this means lowered profits too. In addition to the cost of medical bills and other medical expenses, many people who have been seriously injured because of a faulty or malfunctioning product will demand loss of wages damages.
  • Cost of Disability: In some circumstances, the individual is injured in a way that causes a lifelong disability. This will result in ongoing medical expenses and ongoing loss of wages for the rest of this person’s life. In many cases, the individual cannot go back to work at all and will call for compensation for this loss as well.
  • Property Loss: In some cases, injuries are less of the issue. Instead, a product malfunction or defective product may have caused physical damage to your property or land. In this case, the plaintiff may be entitled to money that will go toward replacing or repairing their lost property.

Non-Economic Loss Damages

Both pain and suffering and loss of consortium are considered nonmonetary losses or general damages. These damages will compensate the plaintiff for losses that have nothing to do with money.

  • Pain and Suffering: The first type of noneconomic loss damages refers to compensation for pain and suffering caused by a faulty or malfunctioning product. Naturally, it can be difficult to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering, but this is what the courts will attempt to do if you are awarded these damages in a product liability case.
  • To attempt to put a dollar amount on pain and suffering, attorneys will often reference dollar amounts that were awarded to other plaintiffs in past cases who had similar injuries. This is a situation where you want to have a great lawyer who will fight for the money that you are owed because of the pain and suffering you endured.
  • Loss of Consortium: In some situations, personal injuries caused by malfunctioning products or defective products will result in issues between spouses. In a situation where the injuries you endured had a negative impact on your marriage and the relationship you have with your wife or husband, you may receive compensation for this with what is called loss of consortium or loss of society. Loss of consortium can includes issues involving loss of emotional support, loss of affection, and sexual relations problems.

Hiring a Product Liability Attorney

When suing for damages in a product liability case, it is essential to hire an attorney beforehand. Only a reputable attorney can help you organize what damages you deserve and want to sue for and then file the proper paperwork to bring your case to court.

There are so many complicated legal matters involved in a product liability case that it can be overwhelming to attempt to settle these matters on your own — when you are no doubt dealing with personal injuries, medical bills, and other complications of your accident. Talk with an attorney who specializes in product liability cases today to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and pain and suffering.

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