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Category Archives: Product Liability

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More Than a Party: The Low Down on Social Host Liability Laws

Are you planning to throw a party?

Hosting friends and family can be a ton of fun. But, it comes with some pretty big responsibilities, especially if you’re serving alcohol.

Social host liability is a legal term that defines the criminal and civil responsibility of a host who provides alcohol to their guests.

Simply put, if something goes wrong while you’re hosting a get-together, you could be held liable. So, what are you doing to protect your guests and yourself?

Keep reading to learn about the laws behind social hosting, and what you can do to help partygoers and hosts stay safe.

What Is Social Host Liability?

Social host liability, often confused with Dram Shop Laws, is enforced in 43 US states.

The primary difference between the two laws is that one refers to businesses and the other to private hosts. But, in either case, the liability is the same.

If you provide alcoholic beverages to guests or visitors of your home or business, you could be held responsible if they go on to injure someone while intoxicated. And, depending on the circumstances, your liability could be both criminal and civil.

This means that you could potentially face a lawsuit as well as criminal charges depending on the circumstances.

In most cases, social hosts are not liable for injuries sustained by intoxicated guests, as they have also demonstrated negligence. This may not apply if you are providing alcohol to anyone who is already visibly intoxicated, or under the legal drinking age.

Are You Protected?

Your homeowner’s insurance probably includes some liquor liability coverage. But, most policies are limited to cover between $100,000 and $300,000 in damages. And, they typically come loaded with exclusions, conditions, and limitations.

Depending on your personal finances and the severity of an incident, that level of protection might not be enough. If you aren’t sure how much coverage your policy includes, you find out before hosting a party where alcohol is served.

If you make the serving of alcohol a habit at your parties and events, consider purchasing additional host liquor liability coverage. This type of insurance also covers special occasions like weddings and large parties.

Reduce Your Risks

If you are serving alcohol at a party, promoting safe consumption is your responsibility.

Guests who are overly intoxicated are more likely to get into trouble. Drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and medical emergencies like alcohol poisoning are all potential consequences.

You can reduce your liability further by hiring a professional bartender for your event, or hosting it somewhere other than your home. It’s also a good idea to serve plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and snacks to help partygoers stay sober.

Stop serving alcohol early in the night and encourage all of your guests to use a designated driver or transportation service. And, don’t get drunk yourself! Drinking responsibly goes hand in hand with serving responsibly.

Your Next Event

Now that you know the basics of social host liability, you can plan future events to minimize risk.

Before your next party or mixer, take the time to research local and state social hosting laws. They aren’t the same nationwide!

Remember, as a host; it’s your job to serve alcohol responsibly. This means never providing alcohol to minors or serving already intoxicated guests. It also includes keeping an eye on your guests and making sure everyone has a safe and fun time.

Check out our other blog posts for tons of helpful articles covering all kinds of legal subjects and advice.

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It’s Not Your Fault: Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit

The average jury award for a product liability lawsuit is about $7 million. This is to compensate an unsuspecting member of the public when they get injured using a product.

Have you experienced an injury while using a product and want to make a claim against the seller or manufacturer? Well, there are a few things you need to know.

Read this guide to help you get started with your product liability claim.

What Is Product Liability Law?

This is a subsection of personal injury law. This set of laws hold manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of products liable for injuries their products cause to the general public.

Any defect or dangerous product that injures a member of the product falls into this area of the law. This includes amusement rides, carbon monoxide, chemicals, electronics, furniture, appliances, and any other product sold to the general public.

What Makes a Product Defective?

There are three basic categories that defective product claims fall into. They could have a design, manufacture, or marketing defect. If you aren’t sure which defect your injury falls under, the best thing you can do is learn about this law firm or any other firm that specializes in product liability claims.

Design Defect

To make a claim under this theory of product liability, you base your claim on the fact that there was an inherent flaw in the design of the product. Design defects affect an entire batch of products, not just one.

Manufacturers must take responsibility if the product has the design initially intended, is used as expected, and then injures someone. Manufacturers must also take responsibility for injuries from a foreseeable misuse of their product.

An example of a design defect is when a manufacturer produces a toy with choking hazards for the age the toy is intended for. Another example is any product that is structurally unstable at its core.

A third example is an item that becomes unexpected flammable. This is especially dangerous for a product that regularly comes into contact with heat or flame. Cookware is an item that the public would not expect to be flammable and comes into contact with heat.

Manufacturer Defect

If a product’s design is fine, but an error occurs during the production or manufacturing process, this is a manufacturing defect. These kinds of defects may cause both injury or financial loss, and manufacturers are liable for both.

Some examples of a manufacturing defect are pieces of the item not getting secured correctly, using the wrong or outdated components, or using faulty wiring. Another major problem would be using the wrong color for the product or elements when the color indicates a safety precaution.

Marketing Defect

A marketing defect isn’t necessarily a problem with a company’s advertising. It more has to do with the manufacturer’s failure to warn about any potential hazards.

Both manufacturers and the sellers of products have a duty to warn buyers about the potential dangers of a product. This can be a grey area, so the court looks at the foreseeability of the harm, the likely severity of the harm, and the ease of being able to provide an adequate warning to consumers.

There is no duty imposed when the risk of injury for a product is obvious and in the open. For example, it is well known that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Manufacturers and sellers do not need to warn you before you buy one.

Another defect is when a company misleads buyers into the safety of a product. This means leading buyers to think a product is safer than it actually is. For example, if they label a bicycle helmet as “indestructible” even though it could get crushed in an accident.

Inherently Dangerous Products

If you buy a dangerous product, then the court puts the assumption of the risk on you. You should know already before buying that guns, knives, or explosives are all dangerous.

Product liability provides protection for the products that you don’t expect to be dangerous.

How to Prove Product Liability

The legal theory that you use to prove there is product liability will vary from state to state. Here are the three most common theories.

Negligence

Under this theory, you need to prove that the defendant owed you a duty and breached that duty. Because of that breach, you experienced an injury.

In some states, it doesn’t matter if you contributed to your injury; the defendant is 100% liable. In other states, the defendant’s liability is offset by your own negligence in causing the injury.

Strict Liability

Under this theory, the defendant’s negligence or fault doesn’t matter. There is no need to show that the defendant owed a duty.

All you need to prove is that the defendant is the one responsible for the product. They are then entirely liable for the injuries caused.

Liability by Statute

Some states created and enacted laws to define the nature of the proof required for your claim. If you live in one of these states, you need a product liability lawyer to interpret and explain the laws to you.

They can also explain any cap that may apply to your claim’s recovery.

File Your Product Liability Lawsuit

If you experienced an injury while using a product, you might have a products liability claim. The best thing you can do is seek the advice of a knowledgeable and qualified legal team.

They can evaluate your injuries and your entire claim to determine if you have a viable product liability lawsuit. If you have a claim, they will work with you to prepare your claim and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Check out our blog to learn more about the law and how to protect your rights.

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Attorney Scott Sandler on Defective Product Injuries: 5 Reasons to Hire a Product Liability Lawyer

When you buy things from a local business (or online retailer), you expect to receive something that works properly and is safe to use. However, this doesn’t always happen, and there are many ways you could become injured from a product defect. Some injuries are minor, but some can be catastrophic and result in permanent disability. When this happens to you or your family, you should consult with an experienced product liability lawyer. In fact, here are five good reasons to contact a personal injury attorney before you think about accepting a settlement or taking a business to court.

  1. You Pay Nothing for the Consultation

When you call and set up an appointment with a trusted personal injury lawyer, it doesn’t cost you anything for the initial consultation. Why wouldn’t you want to learn more about your legal rights and receive important advice about the appropriate actions to take? You risk nothing so there is a great deal to gain and nothing to lose by consulting with a product liability attorney.

  1. You Pay Nothing if You Lose Your Case

Not everyone receives compensation for personal injuries. However, when you use an experienced lawyer, there is no charge for the legal services unless you win your case or receive a settlement. Your lawyer assumes all the risks and may spend a great deal of time with you on this matter. He or she will be there for you during the legal process and help you decide the best course of action.

  1. The Value of an Experienced Negotiator

Many times, insurance companies offer people settlements, and they accept them right away. However, this is not always the best thing to do and here are some reasons why:

  •    Your settlement could be woefully insufficient.
  •    You may not realize how much you are entitled.
  •    Insurance companies want to offer the least amount of money. It’s in their best financial interests.

Your lawyer sits down with you and figures out how much you will need for fair compensation. He or she deals with insurance companies regularly and knows how to negotiate the best possible deal.

  1. Helping Others

Besides helping yourself, you may help many other people too. If a company is manufacturing and distributing dangerous or defective products, they need to be held accountable. The action of one person can be enough to bring on major changes that save lives and make things better for everyone.

  1. Peace of Mind

Defective product injuries can be serious, and you could be off work for a long time. You may have medical bills to pay, a mortgage and other expenses due even though you are not earning a paycheck.  This can be devastating to you and your family, and you could be facing foreclosure or other stressful issues. If your problem is the result of a defective product design or manufacturing process, your product liability lawyer is there for you. You’ll receive expert advice and greatly increases your chances of getting the kind of settlement you deserve.

Things to Remember

Anyone can become injured or ill from using a product that was not manufactured or designed properly. If you go it alone when you pursue a case like this you could be at the mercy of the court system, big business, and insurance companies. To increase your odds of success, you should consider the benefits of a product liability attorney.

The initial consultation is free, and you only pay if you win your case or get your settlement. Your lawyer has years of experience with settlement negotiations, and you’ll receive valuable peace of mind, knowing you are in capable hands. You and many other people may benefit from your settlement.

With over three decades of experience as a personal injury Attorney, I’ve seen hundreds of product liability cases. If you have been the victim of a defective product, I urge you to contact me. If you’d like to learn more about this issue, please visit the following website at http://www.scottsandlerlawoffice.com/firm-profile.

About the author: Scott Sandler has been litigating personal injury cases in Florida for more than 32 years. As the founder of The Law Office of Scott M. Sandler, he has successfully litigated hundreds of cases achieving several multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements throughout his career. Sandler’s focus on client issues is the key to his effectiveness and productivity as a legal entrepreneur.

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