BY: JOHN M. COOPER
The very first question when someone calls me about a products liability case is do you have the product in question in your possession.
The reason this is the first question is that the only way you can win such a case is to have an expert examine the product to confirm that it was defective. If you do not have the actual thing to be tested, then the expert is not in a good position to be able to make any comments or renders opinions about it. That is why it is critical to obtain all of the actual physical evidence immediately in an injury case caused by a dangerous product. For example, if the claim is that the air bags in a car did not work properly, then you need to secure the vehicle before it is junked or repaired. If the car is going to be repaired, the data from the blackbox, which shows if the air bag worked properly, may be lost or destroyed at the time of any repair. If the vehicle is a total loss, I (firstname.lastname@example.org), as the lawyer, will help the client to figure out how to buy the salvage from the insurance company, so that we can store the wrecked vehicle and thereby preserve the evidence.
All of this points to why it is so critical to hire an attorney as soon as possible after an injury. If you hire me quickly enough, I can get all of the evidence together with you. If you wait until after the car has already been disposed of or the defective product has been changed, then I may not be able to prove what is necessary to hold the manufacturer or seller of the defective product responsible.
Products liability cases require that you show that the product was defective at the time it left the hands of the manufacturer or seller. This cannot normally be done without expert testimony. In this regard, products liability injury or death cases are very different from an automobile accident case where everyone knows what the rules of the road are and whether they have been violated. Products liability cases tend to be very expensive and hard fought by the responsible parties and their insurance companies. For that reason, we are typically looking for a permanent and catastrophic injury in order to be able to pursue one of these cases. The first battle of preserving the tangible evidence for testing must be won in order to have any real chance of prevailing.