Portland Personal Injury Lawyer
Law Offices of Timothy Grabe Helping the Injured Get Compensation

How Do I Prove that a Product is Faulty or Defective?

If a defective product causes injuries, property damage or death, then the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product may be held liable for the damages caused by the dangerous product. In product liability cases, the person suing for damages is called the plaintiff, and the party being sued for damages is called the defendant. If you have been injured by a defective product, it will be necessary to prove that the product was "unreasonably dangerous" when it left the control of the defendant.

This can be shown by proving a flaw in the materials used, faulty manufacturing, an unsafe design, or poor instructions or warnings. Sometimes it can also be shown that the product was defective because it did not perform within the user's reasonable expectations. This is very important – you will need to show that after you used the product, it wasn't altered in any way materially as to increase the risk of product failure or accident.

Unless of course the altercation was made by the defendant's instructions, then the altercation may be the defect. In Oregon product liability cases, the total money damages may be reduced due to "contributory" fault on behalf of the plaintiff. But under Oregon law, a plaintiff cannot be any more than 50% at fault to be awarded damages. Furthermore, the defendant doesn't have a case if misuse of the product caused the injuries.

If you believe that you have a claim, it's important to follow these tips:

  • Protect and preserve the product as much as you can (even if it is a large item)
  • Prevent any avoidable deterioration of the product
  • Don't change the product
  • Gather all receipts, sales contracts, and warranty papers
  • Collect any deliver, repair, maintenance, or service records

An examination for defects may be required. Keep in mind that even if the product was inherently dangerous, the defects may not appear immediately and they may not cause accidents until later in the product's life. In Oregon, you usually have to file your lawsuit within two years of damage, injury, or death. While most product liability lawsuits cannot be filed if the product is over eight years old, there are exceptions for asbestos products, breast implants containing silicone, and side-saddle gas tanks.

If you were injured by a defective product, contact a Portland personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Timothy Grabe by calling (503) 825-2115. I offer free case evaluations and take cases on a contingency fee basis.