When everyone else said there wasn't precedence for my case, Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys jumped right in and got the job done. Their commitment to ensuring justice was served was unparalleled. I am grateful for the professionalism and care that Attorney Chris Stewart and Senior Paralegal Keisha Owens displayed. I highly recommend this firm.
Miss Cheryl Henderson was very professional when I contacted the law firm about the accident that I was involved in. She did such a great job that the next accident I was involved in, I had no doubt who I was going to call.
Each year, government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Department of Agriculture find themselves recalling thousands of products. These products are considered unfit or unsafe for human use, and should, therefore, be removed from the shelves.
However, not all unsafe or unfit products are removed soon enough, leading to many consumers sustaining injuries or falling ill. What’s more, many injuries resulting from a product defect do not trigger a recall as it is a fluke defected that caused a single injury or accident.
According to a report by the CPSC, defective products lead to about 22,000 deaths and 30 million injuries in the United States each year. Another 2019 report by the legal analytics firm Lex Machina revealed that over 56,000 general product liability cases were filed that year, an increase of 7000 cases from 2018. The number of these cases continues to increase, with medical and pharmaceutical products taking the lead.
Whether a product has been recalled or not, if you or a loved one falls ill or sustains an injury from a product that was designed, manufactured, or marketed in a dangerous or defective manner, you have the right to claim compensation from the party responsible.
As a knowledgeable and experienced law firm, a Georgia product liability lawyer at Stewart Miller Simmons can help determine if you have a valid case against a product seller or manufacturer, and help you recover the damages you deserve. We can help you recover the full compensation you may be owed for lost wages, medical expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress as well as rehabilitation. Reach out by calling our offices in Atlanta, GA 1-800-788-3311!
Zantac (ranitidine hydrochloride) is an over the counter medication that is most commonly used to treat heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and stomach ulcers. In September of 2019 the FDA issued it’s first warning regarding Zantac because of the discovery of carcinogenic properties in the medication. The carcinogenic compound that was found in over 100 Zantac tablets that were tested is known as NDMA (nitrosodimethylamine) and the levels found were startling, over 2,000 times the FDA’s maximum daily limit! As a result of these findings, the FDA issued a voluntary recall for Zantac in January 2020.
Evidence has shown that NDMA is linked to a variety of different cancers, including stomach, liver, intestine, bladder & esophagus cancer. Evidence has shown that manufacturers Boehringer Ingelheim & Sanofi were aware of the carcinogenic properties of Zantac, but failed to inform customers or modify the drug. These two companies earned over $1 billion dollars from the sale of Zantac, to the immense detriment of consumers. If you have been taking Zantac to relieve heartburns, only to later develop cancer, Stweart Miller Simmons can help you file a lawsuit to bring the manufacturers to justice.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Hernia Mesh is used to repair approximately 90% of hernia mesh injuries that require surgery, totaling over 1 million usages annually. The mesh is implanted into the damaged area, with surgeons attaching it with glue, staples, or stitches. The construction of the product facilitates the growth of damaged tissue into the mesh, allowing patients to fully heal. While all of this sounds great, the product is made of plastic, which can break apart or tear, causing numerous complications that are highly detrimental to patients. These side effects include, but are not limited to:
- Injury Recurrence
- Bowel Obstruction
- Tearing of Internal Organs
- Mesh Migration
- Mesh Shrinkage (Contraction)
The largest manufacturers of hernia mesh products, Bard, Johnson & Johnson, & Atrium Medical, have all managed to keep the majority of their hernia mesh products on the market despite the obvious issues that are affecting patients. However, Bard has had to settle over 3,000 cases, totaling $184 million dollars, and there are currently over 8,000 active hernia mesh lawsuits against all three manufacturers. If you received a hernia mesh implant, but are experiencing complications like constipation, chronic, pain, indigestion, bulging, and diarrhea, our team of legal experts are here to help you recover damages for the flawed medical device.
Talcum Powder, also known as Talc, and marketed as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, is a commonly used household item for hygiene purposes, used to keep skin in sensitive areas dry and prevent rashes. Talc is a mineral, made up mainly of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, and when it is in powder form, it is great at absorbing moisture. But, in its natural state, some talc can contain asbestos, making the mining of talc a very risky task. When women use the product around their vagina, it often makes its way into their body, causing inflammation. Studies have shown a clear link between talc and the development of ovarian cancer, with women who have been exposed being 30% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who have not.
In 2019, during a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson, the primary manufacturer of talcum powder products, records came out showing that as far back as 1971, extending into the early 2000’s, internal test results showed their product was often contaminated with asbestos, sometimes in high amounts. Despite this internal knowledge, the company failed to ever alert regulators or the public, continuing to describe talc as a safe product for all to use. With this information, J&J has now been forced to pay out $4.7 billion to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using their products, and there are still cases ongoing. If you have used talcum powder and were later diagnosed with ovarian cancer, contact our law firm today as you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Roundup is an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto that is commonly used in both residential and commerical settings to kill weeds. A primary component of Round Up, glyphosate, is potentially a carcinogen, having been linked to cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and leukemia. Despite numerous studies dating back nearly 30 years that indicated the risk, Monsanto continued to push back on these assertions, stating that their product was as safe as a grain of table salt. Despite these assertions, it is alleged that internally, Monsanto knew for more than 30 years that their product was dangerous, even going so far as to conspire with government regulators at the EPA to hide the connection from the public.
While anyone who has used Round Up in the past may be at risk, the parties most at risk are farmworkers, landscapers, and nursery or garden center employees. Glyphosate can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled in tiny particles as you breath while spraying. It is estimated that there are currently over 100,000 active cases against Bayer (which acquired Monsanto), and while the exact number is not known, it is only expected to grow. If you have developed leukemia or non-Hodgkins lymphoma after prolonged use of Roundup weed killer, contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys today. We can help you seek compensation by suing the party responsible.
What is ConsideredProduct Liability?
Product Liability is simply the legal responsibility of a business that makes or supplies products (manufacturer, supplier, wholesaler, retailer, etc.) has in case an individual falls ill or sustains injuries while using their products. These can be anything from capital goods like heavy machinery to consumer goods like automobiles and home appliances.
It’s imperative to know that there’s no federal general product liability common law, and this will vary from state to state. Claims pertaining to product liability are based on the state laws, in this case, Georgia Code Section 51-1-11.
In Atlanta Georgia, victims of defective products can recover damages through three common avenues as discussed below:
Common Causes for Legal Action Regarding Product Liability
In a potential product liability case, there are several reasons why legal action may be needed to make sure the appropriate party is held to account for their negligence. The 3 main issues are:
Each product undergoes a design process before manufacture. The final product needs to function in accordance with the standards set during the design process. As such, a design defect claim does not fault the manufacturing process. The item may have been manufactured according to the design specs, but the design had an issue. Such issues endanger the end-user, making it unreasonably dangerous.
To deem a product unreasonably dangerous, the design risks have to outweigh the benefits. The jury often looks at safer design options that the designers could have utilized to get the same results. For example, a blender may have been designed with a starting flaw, but when the consumer checks it, it works properly. However, given it has moving parts, the user risks losing a finger. Such an issue could be because of a flaw with the circuit. In such a situation, the injury could have been avoided if the appliance started without fail.
Manufacturing defects happen during the assembly process. The design might be ideal, but errors during the fabrication stage can make a product unfit for use by the consumer. Every manufacturer has a quality control department tasked with uncovering any defects. Examples of manufacturing defects include missing parts, structural weaknesses, contamination during packaging, etc.
These types of defects rarely affect the whole product line as companies have stringent quality control oversight regulations and guidelines. Once in a while, however, a defective batch slips through the cracks. When a product in this lot causes a consumer to fall ill or get injured for its intended use, it’s culpable and does not matter whether the right procedures were taken to avoid defects.
In these situations, the manufacturer is held liable for the property damage or injury sustained. An example of a manufacturing defect is when you fall and sustain an injury because the chair has a shorter leg compared to the rest.
Marketing or Labeling Defects
Using some products like knives come with risks. However, if the dangers aren’t obvious, the average person may not anticipate them. As such, it’s the role of the manufacturer or seller to warn the consumers. That’s why almost every electronic device has a caution sticker. It’s also the reason pharmaceuticals include a list of side effects on the products. For a product liability claim to be valid, the injury should have resulted from failure to warn consumers properly.
If you use medicine that has drowsiness as a side effect, but it wasn’t indicated and ended up hurting yourself, you have legal grounds to file a claim.
How to Prove General Product Liability in Atlanta, GA
To file a successful product liability claim in Georgia, you need to prove that the product was defective and resulting in injuries or illness. Your lawyer should also prove certain criteria for you to recover damages. No matter the defect type, the evidentiary foundations required to prevail in court apply in all product liability claims. The primary elements to litigating include:
- The product was defective when the injury occurred
- The product proximately resulted in harm
- The item was in the same condition as it waqs when it left the seller or manufacturer
- The item was supposed to be used or was being utilized in a way that was reasonably expected
To bring a product liability lawsuit, there should be the following legal grounds:
Under strict liability, you can seek compensation from the other party if you can prove the product was defective and caused harm. This applies even if the defendant took reasonable care to make sure the item was safe to use. As long as the product is determined to be defective or unreasonably dangerous when it reached the consumer, the defendant is responsible for the damages.
While the above legal ground is primarily based on the fact that the item is defective, the negligence element focuses on the defendant’s actions. If your claim is based on negligence, any party can be held responsible for damages if their carelessness or negligence made the product defective and unreasonably dangerous.
Any party involved in the chain of commerce can be held responsible if their failure to put reasonable care led to the defectiveness of the product. This is contrary to strict liability, where the party can be held responsible even if they were not negligent.
For a party to be held responsible for damages based on negligence, you need to prove the following:
- They owed you a duty of care
- They breached the duty of care
- You sustained actual recoverable damages as a result of using the product
- Their negligence influenced your injuries
Failure to Warn
When products do not provide adequate warning of the risks or dangers or associated with their use, this is referred to as failure to warn. The owner’s manual included in the package and the warning labels on the product are expected to be clear and concise. In addition, they should explain all the potential risks and dangers associated with the use of the product.
Georgia’s law requires suppliers and manufacturers to put easy to understand warning labels on their products, revealing any dangers that may not be instantly apparent to the end-user.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Damages?
With a few exceptions, the product liability laws are mostly the same in all states. In Georgia, you will want to look at everyone involved in the product’s chain of distribution. This includes:
It goes without saying that product manufacturers are the first link in a product’s distribution chain. These are the factories that make the products you use on a daily basis, or at the very least, essential components of the items. Many firms rely on middlemen in this stage of the process, including sourcing agents, overseas trading companies, as well as wholesalers. However, these figures are hard to pin down for damages as they seem to conveniently disappear when there is a hint of defect issues.
In a general product liability claim, you may have to sue multiple product manufacturers depending on how the product was designed, manufactured and which parts were responsible for the injury. For example, if a stroller breaks after the wheels falling off, the baby’s parent can sue both the stroller company (brand) and the wheel manufacturer.
In between the manufacturers and retailers, there can be an array of wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, and other parties. They are all part of the distribution chain and thus potentially responsible for your defective product claim.
Although the brick and mortar or online store where you purchased the harm-inducing product probably did not manufacture it, the retailer can also be held liable for the damages as they sold you the item. Bear in mind that it is not a matter of picking one defendant over the other, despite the protests from the retailer who sold you the defective product. Any entity or individual involved in the chain of distribution can be named as a defendant in your case.
When figuring out if you should sue the retailer, it’s good to note the following:
- You do not have to be the buyer. Even if you were not the original buyer of the faulty item that caused you harm, you’re still eligible for a product liability claim.
- You do not have to be the user. Even if you sustained injury from a faulty product that was used by someone else, you can still be able to sue and recover damages.
- You can seek compensation for faulty used products. If you bought a used item that turns out to be defective and harms you, it’s still possible to seek compensation from the supplier depending on the item, nature of the defect, and the state law applicable to your claim.
In the case of medical products, you may also be able to sue the following parties:
Practitioners who recommended a medical product can be held responsible for their failure to warn you regarding the risks and dangers or to provide sufficient instructions about the proper use of the product.
Hospital or Clinic
Any facility, including a clinic or hospital that was part of the product’s distribution chain, between the medical product’s manufacturer and you can be held responsible for your injuries or illness.
Contact the Product Liability Lawyers at Stewart Miller Simmons?
In the past several years, there has been a surge of consumer products with defects. Unfortunately, the claims process is not as easy as locating the manufacturer and serving them with legal papers. You require an experienced and skilled attorney with experience in product liability laws in Georgia. This is the only way to increase your chances of recovering damages.
Our attorneys at Stewart Miller Simmons have vast experience in this field and will help fight for your rights. You don’t have to worry about the cost as we work on a contingency basis. Get in touch by calling 1-800-788-3311 and get your free initial consultation today!
Stewart Miller Simmons have partnered with the nationally recognized law firm Dalimonte Rueb Stoller to support our product liability clients.