When it comes to personal injury claims, understanding the legal standards and differences between product liability and negligence is crucial. This knowledge can help you determine the best course of action to take when seeking compensation for your injuries. In this blog post, we will discuss the five key differences between product liability and negligence claims, as well as how Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation can assist you in pursuing your case.
1. The Basis of the Claim
One of the primary differences between product liability and negligence claims is the basis for the claim itself. In a product liability case, the claim is based on a defect in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of a product that caused harm to the user. On the other hand, a negligence claim is based on the idea that someone's careless or reckless actions led to another person's injury.
2. The Legal Standard
In a product liability case, the legal standard is typically “strict liability.” This means that the injured party only needs to prove that the product was defective and that the defect caused their injury. There is no need to prove that the manufacturer or seller was negligent in their actions. In contrast, a negligence claim requires the injured party to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to them, and this breach directly caused their injury. This is a higher standard to meet, as it requires proving fault on the part of the defendant.
3. Types of Damages
Another key difference between product liability and negligence claims is the types of damages that can be recovered. In a product liability case, the injured party may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant's actions were particularly egregious. In a negligence case, damages are typically limited to compensatory damages, which are meant to make the injured party “whole” again. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but punitive damages are less common.
4. Time Limits for Filing a Claim
Both product liability and negligence claims have specific time limits within which a claim must be filed. These time limits, known as statutes of limitations, vary by state. In California, the statute of limitations for product liability claims is generally two years from the date of injury, while negligence claims have a two-year statute of limitations from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. It's important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate time frame.
5. Expert Testimony
In many product liability cases, expert testimony is required to prove that a product was defective and that the defect caused the plaintiff's injury. This may involve hiring engineers, medical professionals, or other experts to testify on your behalf. In negligence cases, expert testimony may also be required, but it is generally less common and depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Understanding the differences between product liability and negligence claims is essential when pursuing compensation for a personal injury. If you believe you have a case involving a defective product or negligence, the experienced attorneys at Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.