What If a Family Member Dies as a Result of a Defective Product?
If someone dies as a result of a product defect or a dangerous product incident, South Carolina law allows certain surviving family members to pursue financial compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. With a successful case, survivors can receive compensation for losses such as funeral and burial expenses, medical costs, loss of the deceased’s expected income, and loss of inheritance. Survivors can also seek compensation for subjective losses like pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.
In South Carolina, only the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased dies without a will or has no designated executor or administrator, the court can appoint one. Typically, executors and administrators are close family members such as spouses or adult children.
It’s worth noting that wrongful death claims are highly complex, and having an experienced product liability attorney on your side is essential.
What Compensation Can I Recover for Defective Product Injuries?
If you get hurt by a defective product, the law allows you to hire a lawyer and seek compensation for a variety of losses you might incur as a result. These losses include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
How Long Do I Have to File a Defective Product Liability Claim in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of a defective product injury to file most product liability lawsuits. If you fail to meet this deadline, the court could refuse to hear your case, effectively eliminating your right to pursue compensation regardless of how strong your case might be.
However, some exceptions could affect the filing window for your case. For instance, there are certain situations in which a defective product injury might not be immediately apparent. In such cases, a provision called the “discovery rule” could come into play. This rule states that the three-year filing window does not begin until the date when the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
Given these nuances, consulting and working with an experienced Charleston product liability attorney is essential. A skilled lawyer can help you identify and understand the deadlines that apply to your case, gather necessary supporting evidence, and ensure your claim gets filed on time.
What You Should Do If a Defective Product Hurts You
If you or someone close to you got hurt due to a defective product, taking certain steps to protect your rights and strengthen your potential product liability claim is important. Here’s what to do:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Follow your doctor’s advice carefully.
- Keep a journal of your physical and emotional health.
- Keep the product and any packaging.
- Don’t repair or alter the product in any way.
- Locate receipts or other proof of purchase.
- Document the incident with photographs and video.
- Identify any witnesses who saw what happened.
- Report the incident to the retailer or manufacturer.
- Keep a log of interactions with the manufacturer or retailer.
- Record your injuries and medical treatments.
- Document any lost income from missed days at work.
- Avoid giving statements without legal advice.
- Contact a product liability lawyer as soon as possible.
- Avoid discussing the incident on social media.
- Compile a list of all expenses related to the accident.
- Obtain a copy of the police or incident report if applicable.
- Stay organized and keep all documentation in a safe place.
Benefits of Hiring a Charleston, SC, Product Liability Law Firm
Retaining a knowledgeable product liability lawyer in Charleston, SC, is the best way to maximize your compensation in a product liability case. An attorney can make a significant difference in your case by:
- Working with independent experts to analyze the defect
- Investigating the accident scene and the product itself
- Interviewing eyewitnesses who saw you use the product or get hurt
- Collecting product maintenance and safety records
- Requesting design specifications from manufacturers
- Studying industry standards for the product
- Identifying and researching all potentially liable parties
- Reconstructing a timeline of the product’s design, production, and sale
- Gathering testimony from managers, designers, and testers
- Calculating the full value of your losses, including future losses
- Sending spoliation letters prohibiting evidence destruction
- Requesting production of internal documents and communications
- Checking for prior complaints, claims, or regulatory violations
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Filing a lawsuit if the other side doesn’t offer a reasonable sum
- Presenting convincing arguments on liability and damages
- Appealing any verdict that fails to sufficiently compensate you