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As buyers and users of products, we trust that they will operate as designed and that any potential risk of use will be made clear. Unfortunately, this is always the case. Sometimes, a product causes an injury that has life-changing impacts, or even death.

Consumers who are the victims of unsafe products may be eligible for compensation for their losses, but fighting against big manufacturers and retailers is no easy feat. To protect their reputations, these companies often use their vast resources to mount comprehensive defenses against any claims of product liability.

In light of this, you may need the help of an experienced Chapel Hill product liability lawyer to go up against the big guys and pursue compensation. A seasoned attorney who specializes in product liability law could frame your case effectively so you achieve an optimal outcome in your case.

Understanding Negligence in Product Liability Law

Victims of a product accident often do not know whether they have a case. In North Carolina, to have a product liability claim, there must be negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or seller of the product, meaning, that the business failed to act with the care a reasonable person would have taken to protect others from injury.

There are four elements courts in Chapel Hill used to determine negligence. In a personal injury case, such as a product liability claim, the court will first look to determine whether the defendant had a duty of care to act in a certain way towards the plaintiff.

The next step is to identify if the defendant breached that duty by failing to exercise the care a reasonable person would have taken in fulfilling that duty. In order to prove negligence, the break of the duty of care must have caused the injury. To have a claim of negligence, the plaintiff must have suffered damages.

It is important to understand that North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that still adheres to the principle of contributory negligence. This means that if a court determines a claimant is at all at fault due to their own negligence, then they are not allowed to recover any compensation whatsoever.

Determining the Basis for a Claim

According to North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 99B, in order to establish fault—or in legal terms, negligence—the plaintiff and their Chapel Hill product liability lawyer need to prove that the manufacturer or seller of the dangerous or defective product was unreasonable in failing to provide an adequate warning or instruction, and that this failure was a cause of the damages suffered. An exception to this is if the product’s risk was open and obvious, in which case the plaintiff’s case may be unsuccessful on the grounds that they should have reasonably known of the risk.

Alternatively, the plaintiff can argue that the manufacturer was unreasonable in designing or formulating the product, which caused the injury suffered. Like with the first type of product liability case, however, the manufacturer is not liable if the injury results from an inherent characteristic of the product that could not be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness and would be recognized by an ordinary person.

How a Chapel Hill Product Liability Attorney Could Help

Many factors can impact the outcome of a product liability case, but proving negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or seller is central to any claim. The help of a Chapel Hill product liability lawyer could be crucial to your understanding of whether you have a cause of action and how to best present it.

Contact an attorney today for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.