Products Liability

Everyday, defective products cause serious harm to consumers, workers and other persons affected by the products’ use. In many instances, designers, manufacturers and sellers of defective products are liable for the damages caused by a product’s defective condition. Examples of defective products in which our Firm’s lawyers have represented injured persons include drugs and medical devices, industrial equipment, toys and motor vehicles.

Depending on the specific facts which apply to your situation, in Virginia it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the designer of the product, the manufacturer, the distributor, the wholesaler, or the seller of the product.

Under Virginia law, a product must be reasonably safe for the purposes for which it is intended and for its reasonably foreseeable uses. Products are not required, however, to be designed or produced with features representing the ultimate in safety.

If a product is inherently dangerous and the danger is not obvious, the supplier must adequately warn of the foreseeable risks of using the product. If the supplier fails to warn of such risks, a claim can be brought for the failure to warn. If the danger is obvious, there is no duty to warn.

Many products come with express warranties. In some circumstances, statements made about the quality or characteristics of a product in advertising literature or sales negotiations will be deemed to be an express warranty. If you are harmed by a product because of a feature that did not live up to its warranty you may have a valid claim. In addition in most sales and leasing situations, a warranty is implied that the product is reasonably safe for its intended use and other reasonably foreseeable purposes. If a product is sold or leased in an unreasonably dangerous condition then there is a breach of this implied warranty and you may have a valid claim against the seller.

Virginia law requires a buyer to notify the seller of a product of any product defect within a reasonable time after the buyer discovers or should have discovered the defect. This requirement does not apply to non-purchasers of the product who are injured by the product.

Manufacturers must warn you of dangers associated with a misuse of the product only if the misuse is foreseeable. If the misuse was not foreseeable, there is no duty to warn of the danger of misusing the product. For example, a Court has ruled that a manufacturer should have foreseen that an infant would ingest furniture polish.

Just because you have been injured does not mean the product is defective. There must also be negligence or breach of warranty by the defendant(s) in order for you to have a pursuable claim.

In Virginia, a person injured by a defective product usually has two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed after that time it may be dismissed by the Court for being filed too late. There are several exceptions to this two year statute of limitations which apply in various situations. For example, if the injured person is a minor or is mentally incompetent, the period for bringing suit may be extended. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury to determine the length of time available to file a lawsuit.

In the past, if the injured person was not also the purchaser of the product, the injured person was not permitted to bring a lawsuit. However, the law has been changed. Now, you are not prevented from bringing a lawsuit simply because you did not buy the defective product yourself. Likewise, if you leased the product rather than bought it, you are not prevented from bringing a lawsuit.

Lawsuits brought against companies who have designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold products are often difficult. These types of cases often involve complex scientific and technical matters requiring a thorough understanding of not only the law which applies, but also the science and technology involved in the design and manufacturing processes. Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with such complex scientific and technological issues and enjoy the challenge of becoming knowledgeable in these areas in order to best represent our clients.

Please click here to contact us if you would like the attorneys at Williamson Law LC to review your specific legal matter.