What Can Be Recovered in A Product Defect Case?

Product liability laws in Kansas City enable consumers to recover financial compensation for damages when a product is defective. The law holds manufacturers to high standards for producing safe products. Manufacturing companies must test their products extensively before releasing them to the public. When a company is negligent in this duty and a defective or dangerous product causes injury, it must issue a recall of the item and answer product liability claims. In such claims, the plaintiff has the right to recover several types of damages.

Compensatory Damages

Damages in a product liability case fall under two main categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages, sometimes referred to as actual damages, are the tangible losses the plaintiff suffered from the defective product. These include economic and non-economic losses. The court will decide the compensatory damages amount based on the dollar value of each thing the plaintiff suffered as a result of the injury.

Compensatory damages strive to return the plaintiff to the state he or she was in before the accident. While this isn’t always possible, such as when there is permanent injury, compensatory damages give the plaintiff an award that’s equivalent to the value of the injury. Compensatory damages for a Kansas City product liability case include:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses related to the injury. This includes hospital visits, any tests or scans, treatment plans, therapies, and medical equipment. If the victim requires in-home care or has to modify a home or vehicle, the defendant also will pay for these expenses under the rules of cost of disability.
  • Lost wages. Often, a personal injury severe enough to require a lawsuit takes the plaintiff out of work, temporarily or permanently. Compensatory damages make up for the lost wages the plaintiff suffered due to his or her injuries as well as future wages if the injury prevents the plaintiff from returning to work. If the plaintiff owns a business, the defendant will pay for lost profits instead of lost wages.
  • Property damage or loss. If the plaintiff sustained property damage, such as a totaled vehicle in a Kansas City car accident due to a defective vehicle part, he or she also will receive compensation to repair or replace the property.

Non-economic damages, also called general damages, compensate for non-tangible losses (such as a plaintiff’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of consortium). Loss of consortium is the loss of support, society, and care that a spouse suffers because of a plaintiff’s injuries.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are the second category of damages in a product liability case. Punitive damages are uncommon in these cases, but the court will award them if the defendant was grossly negligent, reckless, or malicious in the distribution of a product. For example, if a company knew about the potential life-threatening side effects of a drug but kept them hidden from consumers to make a profit, this would be grounds for punitive damages. Punitive damages are an additional award meant to punish the defendant for particularly bad conduct.

Amount of Damages

There’s no way to estimate the amount of compensation you’ll receive from a product liability case without speaking to an attorney about your particular situation. In general, more severe damages will receive higher compensation amounts. In some product liability cases, the compensation you’re likely to receive may not be enough to make a lawsuit worth the time and expense. In other cases, a settlement can cover your hefty medical bills, property damage, and other losses. Speak with a Kansas City personal injury lawyer about your case before you decide to sue. Our attorneys offer complimentary initial legal consultations and we can be contacted at (816) 268-1960 or via our free online form.