Proving a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of a dangerous product is not always as easy as explaining how a product caused an injury. For example, depending on the type of claim being asserted, a plaintiff may need to present actual evidence that the product was defective, was poorly designed, or presented an unreasonable risk of injury. In fact, all personal injury cases have certain elements that must be proven. If a party fails to provide evidence tending to prove each of the elements of their claim, the judge must dismiss the case upon the defendant’s motion. This is exactly what happened to one family’s product liability case against a smoke detector manufacturer.
Hosford v. BRK Brands, Inc.
The plaintiffs were the surviving family members of a young girl who died when her family’s mobile home caught fire. According to the court’s written opinion, the girl’s parents had installed two of the defendant’s smoke detectors in the mobile home. On the night of the tragedy, an electrical malfunction started a slow smoldering fire in the mobile home. The girl’s parents awoke to one of the smoke detectors, but the fire had already overtaken the home, and it was too late for them to save their daughter.
The family filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the smoke detectors. The plaintiffs made several claims, the most relevant of which claimed that the smoke alarms were defective at detecting the slow smoldering fire and did not go off with enough time to allow them to safely evacuate their home. After a trial, the jury determined that the manufacturer was not liable, and the plaintiff appealed.
The appellate court began by explaining that one of the required elements the plaintiffs needed to prove was that there was a “safer, practical, alternative design” that the defendant could have used when manufacturing the smoke detectors. The plaintiff tried to meet this burden by showing that there was another technology available for use in smoke detectors that was better at detecting slow smoldering fires. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that there were some models that used both technologies to better detect all types of fires. However, the court determined that these other models were actually totally separate and distinct products that were not “alternatives” to the ones used by the plaintiffs. As a result, the plaintiffs’ appeal was dismissed, and they will not be able to recover compensation for the loss of their daughter’s life.
Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is very important to your case that a skilled attorney is involved early in the process to gather all necessary evidence. A failure to present certain types of evidence may result in the dismissal of an otherwise viable case. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Charles B. Roberts & Associates have decades of experience helping clients across Virginia seek the compensation they deserve. With their help, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Call 703-491-7070 today to set up a free consultation today.
See More Blog Posts:
Good Samaritan Laws and How They Can Affect a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, September 20, 2016.
Battery Claims Based on Lack of Informed Consent May Be Subject to Procedural Requirements of Medical Malpractice Claims, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, September 6, 2016.