There’s a lot of money at stake in product liability cases and winning isn’t always easy for a plaintiff. Defective product defendants are typically companies well-versed in courtroom strategy and familiar with this particular legal battleground.
But if you know the product in question suffered from any one of the 3 defects that make for a liability case, you can still win. The key will be sharp attention to detail and proper definitions of important legal terms.
The preparation prior to trial is also of paramount importance.
Each side will have expert witnesses deposed. Documentation and other materials will be exchanged. During this discovery process, the plaintiff’s lawyer (and the defense) need to have closely scrutinized all the details.
A subtle nuance of law or a seemingly minor element of expert witness testimony may hold the key to not only winning or losing the case, but in determining how much the settlement should be.
Presuming the case goes to court, an important part of the battle will be around the term “state-of-the-art.” Expect the defense to emphasize that their product was made according to state-of-the-art specifications.
This defense will seek to define this by industry standards and governmental regulations. Both are low bars to meet and a plaintiff that accepts this definition will find themselves back on their heels throughout the trial.
There’s another definition of state-of-the-art that the plaintiff should emphasize and it’s based on technological feasibility. A product can be made according to bare-minimum industry norms or government regulation, but the company might still have neglected to incorporate technology that was available at the time of production and could have made the product safer.
Emphasizing the defendant’s neglect of what was “technically feasible” shifts the terms of the debate in a way that’s subtle, yet has a dramatic impact.
It makes the task of a plaintiff winning product liability cases much more likely.