What's The Harm? What To Know About Product Liability
When a defective or dangerous product harms you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount of money that might be under consideration depends on the number of ways that you were harmed. To find out about some common forms of money damages, read on.
1. Compensatory Damages
When a product causes you harm, there are at least three main categories of compensation to consider. The first, compensatory damages, covers the actual dollar amount that is owed to you as a result of the bad product. You are, in other words, compensated or "made whole" using financial means. While no amount of money can take away the harm done, seeking compensatory damages might bring about a greater good by alerting others to a problem with a product. Here are a few examples of common compensatory damages that you can expect to be paid:
Medical Expenses – You must seek medical treatment to be paid this form of damage, so seek treatment by visiting an emergency room, urgent care or see your doctor immediately after a product harms you. You are entitled to be paid all expenses resulting from the medical treatment provided by a medical doctor. This includes visits, hospitalizations, physical therapy, and more.
Personal Property Losses – This category includes anything that was ruined or damaged as a result of a bad product. It might include your kitchen counter-tops, for example, if an appliance malfunctioned. It can include clothing items, household items, and anything else damaged as a result of a bad product.
Lost Wages – When seeking medical attention, you may have missed work. You are entitled to be reimbursed for any paid time-off or missed salary for defective product-related needs.
2. Non-economic Damages
This category is where mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium comes into play. Just because the dollar amount of damage is not obvious doesn't mean it is not a legitimate form of damage. Usually, this particular category of product liability cases is calculated using the dollar amount of your medical expenses. More serious injuries that involve higher medical expenses will also garner higher non-economic damage payments.
3. Punitive Damages
This final category of compensation is not always appropriate or provided. You cannot actually "ask" the courts to award punitive damages – it is up to the judge to add it on. In some cases, the courts decide to punish the bad product manufacturer by awarding victims large monetary awards, sometimes higher than the compensatory and non-economic damages put together. This form of damage payment is meant to send a message to product-makers that they need to do a better job.
Speak to personal injury attorneys to learn more about defective product liability and compensation.