We all buy and use a variety of products in the course of our daily lives, including cleaning products, clothing, household goods, appliances, and vehicles, just to name a few. Most of us don’t even think about the safety of the products we purchase; we just assume that if they are available for sale, some authority has made sure that they are safe.

Most of the time, that is true. Manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of consumer products have a duty not to expose the public to products that are dangerous. Unfortunately, consumers are regularly injured by defective products that never should have made it to market. In fact, it happens so often that there is a whole area of law devoted to these injuries: product liability law.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a product that should have been safe for your use, you may be entitled to payment for your injuries and the damages you suffered as a result. The companies that make and market consumer goods should not be allowed to profit from cutting corners in a way that makes their products less safe. By making a product liability claim, you may not only get the compensation you deserve, but discourage companies from selling unsafe products to others.

The Basics of Product Liability Law

Product liability claims fall into three main categories:

  • Design flaw: There is a problem in the way the product is designed, such as a baby toy designed with sharp edges or detachable pieces that could become choking hazards. Design flaws are the most common type of product liability case.
  • Manufacturing defect: The design of the product is fine, but it is manufactured in a dangerous way. An example of a manufacturing defect would be a car whose airbags were improperly installed, so that they did not deploy in an accident.
  • Inadequate warning: Some products are inherently dangerous; that is, there is no way to make the product safe without making it ineffective for its intended use. However, adequate warning labels can enable consumers to use the product safely. An example is a cleaning product that contains caustic chemicals, but does not contain a warning label explaining that protective gloves and gear should be worn when using the product.

Defective Products and Strict Liability

In most types of injury cases, the victim of the injury needs to show that another party was negligent and that their negligence caused the victim’s injuries and damages. Product liability cases are different. In Alaska and other states, these cases involve “strict liability.”

Strict liability means that an injury victim does not need to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a product. It is only necessary to show that the victim used the product as intended; that the product was defective; and that the defective product caused the victim’s injury and damages. Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Strict liability sounds straightforward, but it can be difficult to prove in practice. These cases depend heavily on the facts that can be proven at trial—an area in which product liability attorney Eric Derleth excels. Eric is known as “the Trial Guy” because of his in-depth investigation of each case, his meticulous preparation for trial, and his ability to “connect the dots” for juries in a way that leads them to make an award in his clients’ favor.

In addition to the theory of strict liability, a manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a defective product may be liable under the rules of ordinary negligence or breach of warranty. Cases that have a product liability aspect may also involve other areas of the law. For instance, a claim for a defective artificial joint could fall under the areas of both product liability and medical malpractice; a gun that misfires could involve both product liability and firearms law. Eric explores every legal theory under which a claim can reasonably be made, ensuring that you have the best possible opportunity to recover for your injuries.

Work with an Experienced Alaska Product Liability Attorney

Attorney Eric Derleth is an Alaska native with over 25 years’ experience representing injury victims, including product liability injury victims, in Alaska’s courtrooms. Eric is so well-known and respected for his in-depth trial preparation that opponents often offer his clients a favorable settlement rather than risk losing to Eric at trial.

There is no risk to you in consulting a product liability attorney; our office offers no-obligation consultations and only receives an attorney fee if your case is successful. To learn more about Alaska law regarding defective products, and how an attorney can help you, call Eric Derleth at 907-262-9164 or contact our law office. From his office in Soldotna, Eric Derleth serves clients in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, and throughout Alaska. Call today for a free, confidential consultation.