Have You Been Injured by a Defective Product?
Sometimes products do not work exactly the way we hope they will. In some situations, this simply leads to disappointment. However, in extreme situations, that malfunction of a product can result in injuries or even death to the person using it. If you or your loved one has suffered injuries due to a defective product, you may be entitled to file a product liability claim. To evaluate whether you can file a product liability claim against a manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or another party, contact our experienced attorneys. Georgia defective product lawyers are familiar with the necessary laws and can help you prove your case to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations
Georgia laws impose a strict time frame in which a product liability lawsuit may be filed. To ensure you meet these deadlines, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. In most situations an injured person has two years from the date of injury to file a defective product lawsuit. If the claim is filed after the statute of limitations passes, it will likely be dismissed.
There are, however, a few exceptions to the statute of limitations in Georgia. For example, if the injured person is found legally incompetent due to a mental disability or mental illness, the statute of limitations may be extended to allow the person time to recover from the disability that was caused by the defective product.
The statute of repose in Georgia may also limit how long the injured person has to file a claim. Product liability claims can typically only be filed within the first years after a product began being sold. There are a few exceptions to the statute of repose:
- Claims of negligence against a manufacturer for products that resulted in birth defects or caused a disease.
- Injuries that resulted from the manufacturer’s willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for property or life.
- The failure of a product manufacturer to warn of potential harm or injury that a product could cause.
Despite the possible exceptions that may be available to extend the time limit for filing a case, it is still best to file a defective product liability claim as soon as possible after an injury occurs. The more time passes, the harder it will be to gather evidence in your case.
What Kind of Damages can be Awarded in a Defective Product Claim?
If a person is able to successfully prove that a seller or manufacturer’s product was defective and that it caused his or her injuries, Georgia laws allow for several types of damages to be awarded. Compensatory damages are designed to compensate the injured party for his or her losses. There are two different categories of compensatory damages:
- Special Damages: These damages compensate the injured person for losses that can be assigned a specific dollar amount. These include medical expenses and loss of income. These damages will include both past and future expenses.
- General Damages: These damages are awarded for losses to which a dollar figure cannot be so easily designated. General damages include things such as pain and suffering, anxiety, fear, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and reduced quality of life. To determine these damages, the jury and judge will typically take into consideration how severe the person’s injury is, how long and how severely the person suffered, whether the injury interfered or interferes with the person’s ability to work, and whether the injury impacts the person’s normal day-to-day activities and enjoyment of life.
In contrast to compensatory damages, punitive damages are not meant to restore a victim to the condition that he or she was in before the injury. Instead, this special category of damages is awarded in extreme cases and are designed to punish the responsible party for the damages that they caused and deter them from committing similar acts in the future. Punitive damages can only be awarded if there is convincing and clear evidence that the defendant’s actions were a result of willful malice, misconduct, fraud, oppression, or wantonness that indicates they were indifferent to the consequences of their behavior.
Limitations to Damages in a Georgia Product Liability Lawsuits
In the state of Georgia, there is no cap on the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded in a product liability claim. While there may not be a cap, the injured party will typically only be able to recover the same amount of money that they have already lost and are expected to lose in the future due to their injuries. Damages such as pain and suffering do not have a cap because it is hard to assign a specific dollar figure to those losses.
However, Georgia is a comparative negligence state. Because of this, damages in product liability claims may be reduced or limited. Under Georgia comparative negligence laws, if the injured person contributed to his or her own injuries, the amount of damages that the injured victim could be awarded may be reduced by his or her own percentage of fault.
For example, a man claims he was injured by a defective tire. However, if he was speeding excessively at the time of his accident, he could be considered partially at fault for the accident. If the court awards him $1 million in damages, but decided that he was 40% responsible for his injuries, his award would be reduced to $600,000.
Georgia law also does not limit the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in a product liability case. Because these damages are meant to be a punishment for the defendant, 75% of punitive damages in a product liability claim in Georgia goes to the state of Georgia and the other 25% is given to the injured party.
Contact an Experienced Defective Product Liability Attorney Today
If you or your loved one has been injured or died as a result of a defective product, you may be entitled to file a defective product claim. The Georgia personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.