Defective Product Attorneys Serving Dothan & All Alabama
The Alabama product liability lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC have a proud history of helping people injured by defective and dangerous products get justice. Our firm has a proven track record of success in all types of personal injury claims and has been instrumental in securing some of the largest verdicts in state history. We are here to listen to your story, help you understand your rights and options, and assist you in determining how to move forward with your case.
When you purchase a product – whether it’s a home appliance, a toy for your child, an automobile, or equipment for use on the job – you place your trust in the manufacturer. You assume that the company took reasonable precautions to ensure the product was safe and would not cause harm during the normal course of use. Tragically, when this trust is violated, serious injury is often the consequence.
With over 130 years of collective legal experience, our Alabama product liability lawyers know how to investigate these claims, properly assess damages, and help victims get justice. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed by a defective product in Dothan, Mobile, or elsewhere in Alabama, call Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers at (334) 316-0930 to schedule a FREE consultation and learn more about your rights and options today.
Notable Verdicts & Settlements
What Is Product Liability?
Cornell Law School defines product liability as “[T]he liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.” In other words, when you purchase a product, it should be designed carefully, manufactured appropriately, labeled properly, and sold with sufficient instructions to ensure it is safe to use as intended. When a product is poorly designed, mislabeled, or otherwise made dangerous, the company that manufactured it can be held liable for any damages that result.
Of course, the “chain of manufacture” does not stop at the manufacturer itself. In Alabama, product liability claims can be made against anyone involved in “[T]he manufacture, construction, design, formula, preparation, assembly, installation, testing, warnings, instructions, marketing, packaging, or labeling of a manufactured product.” (See Alabama Code § 6-5-521) This is almost everyone who comes into contact with a product from conception to sales. And each of them may share a portion of the blame.
The more parties involved, the more complex a product liability case will become. Our attorneys are equipped to deal with these complexities. We take every step necessary to identify all contributing parties in our pursuit of fair and full compensation.
Three Types of Produce Defects
To succeed in a product liability claim, it must be shown that an injury was not only caused by a product, but was a direct result of a defect specific to the product. This may include:
- Design Defects. Poorly designed products are defective before they are manufactured, making them inherently dangerous.
- Manufacturing Defects. Perhaps the most common type of defect, these occur during the manufacturing process.
- Marketing Defects. A failure to warn of dangers can make even a properly designed and manufactured product dangerous.
Some products are sent to market even before they undergo adequate testing. This is common in the pharmaceutical industry where medications and devices that are similar to existing products can be fast-tracked for FDA approval without clinical trials, even if they are materially different from existing formulas or products. Time and again this has proven dangerous, yet dozens, if not hundreds of products bypass regulation and safety testing through the exploitation of loopholes every year.
In addition to seeking compensation for victims of serious injury, many product liability claims seek to set precedents, change policies, and improve safety measures. In this way, product liability lawsuits are also for the common good.
What Are the Most Common Defective Products?
While any product can be dangerous, product liability lawsuits often involve:
- Medications. Lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are fairly common. In recent years, dangerous medications, including Risperdal, Lyrica, Paxil, and Depakote, have resulted in numerous individual and class action lawsuits.
- Medical Devices. Defective medical devices injure and kill hundreds of people yearly. Medical devices such as hip replacements, CPAP machines, and transvaginal mesh have resulted in several successful suits against Stryker, Phillips, Johnson & Johnson, and other medical device manufacturers.
- Personal Products. Common products like lotion and sunscreen may pose serious threats when tainted or carelessly formulated. So too can personal care products, such as talcum powder, when applied to the body.
- Household Appliances and Electronics. Defective appliances can cause fires, electrocution injuries, and more. Manufacturers and retailers alike may share liability when a household appliance malfunctions.
- Children’s Products. Poorly designed or manufactured cribs, chairs, swings, bouncers, car seats, toys, and other children’s products pose a serious threat to the most vulnerable members of our homes.
- Motor Vehicles. Automotive defects have become shockingly common. Faulty ignition switches, defective airbags, pedal entrapment, rollover risks, poor wiring, and so much more have impacted every automobile manufacturer in the U.S. and beyond. Claims against parts manufacturers like Takata as well as automotive companies including Volkswagen, Toyota, GM, and Ford, have resulted in millions of dollars for victims.
- Industrial and Agricultural Chemicals and Tools. Poorly designed, carelessly manufactured, or improperly labeled tools, supplies, and equipment are common causes of construction site accidents. While industrial and agricultural tools and supplies, including herbicides like Paraquat and RoundUp, are known to cause serious and fatal complications.
The bottom line is, many products that have been poorly designed, produced, or marketed can cause serious or fatal harm. When a product harms you or someone you love, you may be entitled to seek compensation for any related damages.
Our Alabama product liability lawyers have more than a century of combined experience. If you have been injured and you suspect a defective product played a role, get in touch with us today to schedule your obligation-free case review and learn more about your rights.
Serious Injuries and Defective Products
Common defective product injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Internal Organ Damage
- Burn Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Soft Tissue/Muscle Damage
- Bone/Cartlidge Damage
When you suffer a serious, life-altering injury from a defective product, you may be surprised by how quickly insurance companies step in to offer a settlement. Remember though, if you accept an offer from an insurance company, you will not be able to file a lawsuit.
Even if an insurance offer seems sufficient, it is always a good idea to discuss your claim with a qualified product liability attorney to make sure you are not taking less than your claim is actually worth.
How Much Is My Product Liability Claim Worth?
Every product liability claim is different. Factors that are unique to each situation determine how much a claim is worth. However, while the amount of damages can vary substantially, there are commonalities in the types of damages typically sought in these claims.
The three types of damages that may be pursued in a product liability claim are:
- Economic Damages. Also known as special damages, these include anything injury-related that has a provable cost or economic impact. Medical expenses, home modifications, lost wages, and other establishable damages fall under this category.
- Non-Economic Damages. Also known as general damages, these include anything injury-related that does not have a provable economic impact. Physical and emotional pain, increased anxiety, and decreased enjoyment of life will fall under this category.
- Punitive Damages. Also known as exemplary damages, these seek to impose a financial burden on companies whose gross negligence, recklessness, or reprehensible behavior resulted in injury. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury claims, but can be pursued when appropriate.
Alabama Product Liability Damage Caps
The state of Alabama does not cap the amount of compensation you can receive for general and special damages. Our product liability lawyers have secured hundreds of thousands for victims of defective products. We are here to review your claim free of cost to help you determine what it may be worth.
Alabama does cap punitive damages in personal injury claims. Per Alabama Code § 6-11-21, ‘[I]in all civil actions where an entitlement to punitive damages shall have been established under applicable laws, no award of punitive damages shall exceed three times the compensatory damages of the party claiming punitive damages or five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), whichever is greater.” This amount is further diminished when the claim is against a small business.
When you suffer an injury from a defective product, you have a right to seek compensation. When that injury is the result of malicious or wanton behavior, you have the right to hold the responsible party to full account and to seek punitive damages up to the state maximum.
Testimonials From Former Clients
Cory and his staff are very professional and make you feel at ease whether it is by phone or in person. My case was solved quickly and very efficiently. Thanks for everything!!
Hired Joseph Morris to handle my car accident and he did a great job at handling the case and explained the process as the case went. I would highly recommend him.
The staff handled my case in a prompt and professional manner. They returned my calls in a timely fashion and was always prepared to answer any questions. Furthermore, Attorney Driggers is a Christian man and first class professional. I am certainly happy that i was represented by this Law Firm.
“Never in a million years did I believe that these attorneys would do everything possible to seek justice.”
“Our family is so thankful for Mark, Dan and their entire team. Every step of the way they made sure we were comfortable and understood every aspect of our case. It was apparent that our interest was …”
Cory was absolutely fantastic. He settled my case beyond what I could even imagine. Not only was he very knowledgeable concerning the law, he was available whenever we needed him, Cory was also so kind and courteous to us at all times. During the time since my case ended I have called on Cory several times to ask questions related to situations I have had going on and he has always been available to help me. I would recommend Cory without a second thought to any friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance.
Attorney Driggers and his team did a wonderful job with my case. They were professional and pleasant. They were patient with me and answered all my questions. They addressed all my concerns from the first conversation to the last. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing an attorney.
Joey (and his team) was extremely helpful in a time when we did not know what to do. His professional approach gave us assurance while he settled our case.
Mr.Driggers is a wonderful Lawyer that knows the law, he helped me when I had no idea in my situation where to start and what to do, he worked with me hands on and got the best results for me in my case. It was a privilege to get to know him as my lawyer and a friend. If you need legal representation call him you will be satisfied.
Cory Driggers represented my daughter following an car accident. He showed real genuine care for her and the case. He and his staff worked to get all of the medical bills gathered and also to get them decreased. Cory kept us updated and contacted my daughter when decisions needed to be made. Ultimately, Cory got what my daughter deserved for her injuries and my daughter was completely satisfied. I would recommend Cory to anyone that is looking for a good Christian attorney. Thanks Cory for your help!
I would highly recommend Cory Driggers. He kept me informed all during my case. I never felt left in the dark. He was always straightforward with me. I can’t express how impressed I was with him.
“I was pleased with their work and the outcome of my case.”
Love, love, love these people! When no one out there seems to care, let me tell you that this group right here will fight tooth and nail for you.
I would highly recommend Cory Driggers. He kept me informed all during my case. I never felt left in the dark. He was always straightforward with me . I can’t express how impressed I was with him.
I would recommend Mr. Driggers to anybody needing legal help him and his staff first of all are very nice to you and act like they are very understanding to your needs. He talked to me on the phone like he knew me all my life and that really mattered to me. When we had our hearing he treated me like he had already met me and he hadn’t, I just really loved him and have already been telling people about him and his office.
“I’ve had Joey take care of three separate cases and two for other family members. The service was always great and he was always there to answer my questions no matter how many times I called. Great m …”
How Is Liability Determined In Defective Product Claims?
It is not enough to prove that a product was dangerous by design, poorly manufactured, or improperly sold to establish liability in a defective product claim. It must also be shown that you suffered a serious injury as a direct result.
Determining if an injury was the result of a defective product may require a team of legal, medical, and industrial experts working together to explore possible causes. The product liability lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers have the experience and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate these claims. We are here to carefully examine the cause of your injury, identify all liable parties, and help you determine if you have cause to file suit.
Some product liability cases are one-offs involving products that have not caused mass harm. Others, like defective airbags, dangerous medications, and faulty medical equipment have resulted in well-known class action claims. Some of these have even led to changes in policy that help to improve safety standards and consumer protections.
Our attorneys have experience building cases to address both individual and public concerns. We can discuss your claim’s potential to impact change during your complimentary case review.
What If a Recall Has Been Issued?
A recall is an attempt to prevent further damage from a product that has already been identified as dangerous. It is not a shield against liability for damages already done – or even against those that have yet to occur.
It does not matter if the product that caused your injury has been recalled by the manufacturer. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. The best way to find out is through a one-on-one consultation at our Dothan or Mobile office.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Product Liability Claim in Alabama?
You have two years from the date of your injury to file a product liability claim in Alabama. (See Alabama Code § 6-2-38).
Are there exceptions to Alabama’s statute of limitations? Yes, but they are rare. Under almost all circumstances, your right to seek compensation through legal action expires after two years.
When you are dealing with the extreme consequences of a serious injury, two years can pass in the blink of an eye. It is always a good idea to speak with an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident to help protect your right to seek compensation through legal action.
Can I File a Product Liability Claim For a Used Item in Alabama?
Victims of defective products in Alabama may be entitled to seek compensation through a product liability claim even if they were not the item’s original owner. Whereas warranties are not always transferrable, a company’s legal responsibility to ensure their products are safe does not expire when an item changes hands.
We are here to review your claim and provide you with information about all of your options. Call us to schedule a risk-free consultation and learn more.
Will My Product Liability Case Go To Trial?
Very few personal injury claims go to trial. This is largely true for product liability claims as well, though some of these are class action or mass tort cases, which do require a trial. However, if your claim involves you alone, there is only a three to four percent chance it will go to trial.
Negotiations are faster, sometimes shaving years off of the process, and can result in significant compensation. They may not, however, always result in as much compensation as a jury trial. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average compensation for a product liability claim that goes to trial is just over $7 million, with a median of $3,908,111. This represents the largest average and median jury awards for personal injury claims across the board, though it includes mass tort and class action verdicts as well, which are much larger than individual settlement amounts.
Our product liability lawyers take time to craft each case, ensuring they are ready for any outcome. Several of our attorneys have been recognized by Super Lawyers and awarded a spot on the National Trial Lawyers Association’s list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the country. Experienced, dedicated, and effective, we will stand by your side and fight tirelessly for your rights no matter the course your claim requires.
How Much Does a Product Liability Lawyer Cost?
Product liability attorneys are typically paid a percentage of the final settlement, but it is important to understand a firm’s fee schedule and payment expectations before you hire their attorneys to represent you. Your initial consultation should always be FREE of cost and commitment, enabling you to meet with as many lawyers as needed until you find one that instills confidence.
The lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers work on a contingency basis. Simply put, this means we don’t get paid if we don’t win. However, court fees and legal costs unrelated to representation may still be your responsibility, even if you do not secure compensation.
We are committed to being honest and upfront with our clients at all times. We will outline our fees during your initial consultation to make sure you fully understand what our contingency structure does and does not cover.
Our Alabama Product Liability Lawyers Are Here to Help
When you suffer harm from a product, no matter if it’s a medication, electronic device, household appliance, or something else entirely, you have every right to speak to an attorney for more information about your options. Our award-winning defective product lawyers welcome the opportunity to meet with you, listen to your story, and help you determine if filing a product liability claim is the best choice for your needs.
Please contact Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers online or by calling (334) 316-0930 to schedule your FREE case review at our Mobile or Dothan office today. Based in Alabama, many of our attorneys are also licensed to practice law in Florida and Georgia, and welcome clients from those states as well.
How to Determine if I Have a Product Liability Claim
If you sustained injuries or suffered losses because you bought and used a product in the manner that it was intended, you have the right to file a product liability claim in Alabama. In filing, you would need to demonstrate that the product was defective in one of three critical areas:
- Had a design defect — The product’s defective design led to a flaw in the manufacturing process and subsequent final product. A good product with a flawed design can be dangerous and harmful to the user.
- Had a manufacturing defect — There was an error in the product during the manufacturing, thus making it hazardous even when used correctly. An example is the CPAP lawsuit filed against the parent company for manufacturing errors that caused users to inhale or swallow foam and other gases when using their CPAP machine.
- Advertising or marketing defect — The manufacturer failed to warn the user of certain dangers associated with the use of the product. This is usually done through the use of warning labels and disclaimers on products. For example, there’s an active lawsuit against Ozempic’s manufacturers on the grounds that the manufacturer failed to warn users that the drug had the potential to cause stomach paralysis.
Under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (AEMLD) –see Ala. Code §§ 6-5-521, claimants can pursue a claim if they can show that:
- They received the product in a reasonably good state and without any significant alterations.
- The product caused personal injury or property damage while being used as intended, thus essentially rendering it hazardous for use.
Once a plaintiff can establish that those occurred, they may be able to bring legal action against the liable parties.
How to Preserve Evidence in a Product Liability Case
To preserve crucial evidence that you can use to justify your claim, you should:
- Keep all receipts or invoices issued during product purchase.
- Keep and pack up the damaged product in its present state.
- Avoid repairing or throwing out the defective product.
- Take pictures or videos of the product in its current state, as well as, the damage caused by the product’s malfunction.
- Keep all the product packaging information, leaflets, manuals, and other relevant documents.
- Keep medical records, bills, and receipts of expenses brought on by the product’s malfunction.
- Look on the internet to see if your product was part of a product recall process by the manufacturer.
- Have an experienced product liability lawyer send a letter of preservation of evidence if you do not have direct control over the product. For instance, if you were harmed by office equipment that’s under your employer’s purview, an evidence preservation letter can mandate the employer to leave the equipment as is, instead of repairing or discarding it.
How to Choose a Product Liability Attorney
Although some product liability cases are straightforward, many can be particularly complex because there may be multiple parties involved.
Also, the severity of injuries sustained by the plaintiff, the type of products involved, and the chain of product custody issues mean you need only experienced product liability attorneys to represent and fight for your interests. Therefore, here’s what you need to look for:
- In-depth knowledge of both local and federal product liability laws
- Expertise and specialization in the particular area of product liability law — see if they have the requisite credentials
- Experience in this specific area of the law
- No history of disciplinary issues — Check the Alabama State Bar Association website and conduct a member search there
- Good and solid positive reputation both among their colleagues and past clients
When choosing the right product liability attorney, you should apply the same due diligence that you would when choosing a specialist medical professional. This can make a difference in your monetary compensation.
How to Identify the Responsible Parties in a Product Liability Lawsuit
There are primarily six groups of entities that can be held liable in a product liability claim. These include:
- Component part supplier where applicable
- Wholesaler, bulk supplier, or retailer
- Third parties like employers
These entities are duty-bound to ensure that users, passengers, bystanders, and anyone who has some sort of contact with their products are reasonably safe. In many instances, it’s often difficult to find the right responsible party.
For instance, if a plaintiff is harmed by a private label product they bought from a supplier overseas who in turn, bought the product from a wholesale or generic product manufacturer, it can be difficult to find the right person to hold responsible.
This is where your lawyer and their investigative resources come in. With their help, they can identify the “chain of liability” and find the best person or entity to hold responsible for your injuries or losses.
How to File a Product Liability Lawsuit
Because product liability claims are usually complicated, it’s best to have an experienced attorney handle the entire process. To show you how complex these cases can be, product liability lawsuits are typically filed under one of the following categories (otherwise referred to as theories of liability):
- Negligence — The liable party refused or failed to ensure that the product was reasonably safe for use.
- Breach of Warranty — The product failed to meet the terms and promises included in the liable party’s warranty documents.
- Strict Liability — The product was already defective when it was shipped out of the manufacturing facility and the defect caused it to malfunction, leading to injuries and property damage.
As you can see, only an experienced attorney will know under which category to file your claim.
However, there’s something you can do:
- File an incident or police report – depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident
- Seek medical help where possible
- Collect medical records, bills, invoices, and other evidence of expenses
- Collect a lot of evidence
Once you have all these, give them to your attorney, who will identify the liable parties, gather more evidence, and file your injury claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
How to Calculate Damages in a Product Liability Claim
Although there’s no precise formula for calculating product liability claim damages, most lawyers take the following into consideration:
- Present and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
How much monetary compensation you’ll receive depends on the severity of your injuries, whether there are temporary or permanent disabilities, whether there are lifelong trauma, and many more. Of course, all cases are unique, but the Insurance Information Institute estimates that the average payout in product liability claims is just over $3.9 million.
How to Determine if a Product Was Recalled
The easiest way to do this is to do a quick Google search for the product name followed by the word “recall”. For example, “CPAP machine recall”. Then, click the “News” tab on the search engine to get all the information. Also, visit the manufacturer’s website and look for information on the product’s recall.
How to Establish Causation in a Product Liability Case
Establishing causation is basically proving that using the product in the designated manner directly caused the claimant’s injuries and losses. To establish causation, your lawyer will seek to prove three things:
- The product was defective when it was sold to the user or plaintiff.
- The product’s defect caused the plaintiff injury.
- The plaintiff received the product with little or no known modification between when it left the manufacturer’s custody and when he/she took delivery of the item.
The “but for” element plays a vital role in establishing causation; i.e. the lawyer must show that “but for’ the use of the product, you wouldn’t have sustained the injuries or suffered the losses you did.