Category: Filing A Claim

A Corpus Christi Personal Injury Lawyer Tells Us About 3 Types Of Defective Product Liability Claims

Different Types Of Defective Product Liability Claims

If you have sustained injuries or suffered any other damages as a result of using a product, you might be able to file a defective product liability claim. If so, you may need assistance from a Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer. There is a broad range of different kinds of defective product cases, but typically the claims fall into one of three major product liability categories:

1. Defective Design
2. Defective Manufacture
3. Failing to provide proper warnings or instructions regarding how to use the product properly

Understanding those categories can help you with determining whether or not you have a valid claim, in addition to the strategy you should use when presenting your case.

In terms of the basic kinds of defective product claims, each state has the same basic laws, which we have detailed below. Remeber that for each of the claims, you are required to show the product was defective as well as that your injury was caused by the defect.

Defectively Manufactured Products

The most obvious kind of product liability claim comes from a defectively manufactured product that causes an injury. There are flaws in a defectively manufactured product due to errors made when making it, like there is a problem at the factory where the product was built. This results in the injury-causing product being different from all of the other same products.

The following are some examples of manufacturing defects:

  • A moped that has missing brake pads
  • A tainted cough syrup bath that contains poisonous substances
  • A swing set that has a cracked chain

In all of these cases, the manufacturing defect must have caused the injury. so if you were riding the moped and misjudged a curve which resulted in your driving off of the road and injuring yourself, while having missing brake pads, you would not have a manufacturing defect claim unless you could demonstrate that having missing brake pads caused your accident – and not any poor steering from you.

Products That Are Defectively Designed

With this type of product liability, the design of the product is inherently defective or dangerous. Defective design claims don’t come from some mishap or error occurring during the manufacturing process, but instead, the claim is that the entire product line is inherently dangerous, whether or not the product that caused the injury was made exactly according to the specifications set by the manufacturer.

Design defect examples include the following:

  • An electric blanket lines that when they are turned on high might electrocute the user
  • Sunglasses that do not protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
  • A specific model of car that tends to flip over when turning a corner

The defective design must have caused the injury. If you crash into another car by accident while you are driving one of the previously mentioned flip-prone cars, then you would only have a valid design defect claim if it could be shown that you crashed due to the car flipping over as you were turning.

Failing To Provide Adequate Instructions or Warnings

This kind of product liability claim is when adequate instructions or warnings are not given about how to properly use a product. Typically, failure-to-warn claims involve a dangerous product where it isn’t obvious to users or it requires special precautions o be exercised by the user while the product is being used.

Failure-to-warn claim examples include the following:

  • A paint-removing corrosive chemical sold that does not come with adequate instructions for safe use and handling
  • A cough syrup that doesn’t have a warning on its label that dangerous side effects might be caused if it is taken along with another common drug like aspirin
  • An electric tea kettle packed without a sufficient warning regarding the odd position of its steam valve

The injury, once again, must be caused by the failure to properly instruct or warn. If you get burned when using your new tea kettle that was previously mentioned, you would have a valid failure-to-warn claim only if your burn was caused by steam coming out unexpectedly from the strangely positions steam valve on the kettle.

Three Kinds of Product Liability Claims Compared

Claims that involve pharmaceutical drugs offer a useful way to compare the three kinds of product liability claims. If your injury is the result of a specific cough syrup bottle that you purchased having several drops worth of arsenic that fell accidentally into the bottle at the factory where the cough syrup was made, then the basis of your claim would be a manufacturing defect.

However, if that same untampered-with cough syrup brand caused you to have a heart attack based on its regular ingredients, your claim would be a design defect one.

If the cough syrup was made properly and safe for use, but you took it with aspirin and were injured and the label did not warn that this was a dangerous combination, then you would have a failure-to-warn claim.

When you understand the difference, it will allow you to better identify what your specific product liability claim is and you will be able to present your case in court properly. Contact a Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices Of Jerry J. Trevino.

Call or contact us today for more information regarding your case. Visit our blog for more on what you should look for in your hire for representation!

How To Address Your Auto Insurance Claim In Corpus Christi

What to Do When Your Car is a Total Loss – Contact An Auto Accident Attorney in Corpus Christi

Few things are more frustrating than going through an auto accident, filing a claim, and then finding out that your car is a total loss. Sometimes, it is fairly obvious that the car isn’t going to be repairable. Other times, news of a total loss can come as something of a shock. Here’s what you need to know to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Understand What Total Loss Means

A total loss doesn’t necessarily refer to the severity of damage to your vehicle. Rather, it occurs when the cost to repair the damage is excessive compared to the value of the vehicle. Every insurance company is different, but most will consider a total loss when the repair estimate reaches 70-75% of the car’s value.

This can be confusing for damages that do not seem all that severe. For example, an older vehicle that simply needs a replaced fender and headlight may be a total loss if the value of that vehicle is only $1,500. Conversely, a newer vehicle with a value of $15,000 may remain perfectly repairable even with extensive damage.

It is all about what makes financial sense. Paying out more to repair than a vehicle is worth is not prudent for an insurance company. In this case, the company will offer a settlement for the actual value of the vehicle and dispose of the vehicle.

Understand What Your Options Are

When your insurance adjuster informs you of their intent to total your car and offers you a settlement amount, you have a few options. You may:

Accept the settlement.

This is the quickest option for getting your money to obtain a new vehicle. Your settlement will include the value of the vehicle minus any deductible on your policy. If you are the claimant in a liability claim, there usually won’t be a deductible since you were not at fault. If your vehicle has a lienholder, the lienholder will be paid first and you will receive the remaining balance if there is any. Sometimes, the settlement may not cover the total balance of your loan, and so you will still need to continue payments to protect your credit.

Dispute the settlement offer.

If you feel that your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company offers you, you have the right to request an independent appraisal to determine the actual cash value. This appraisal will take any aftermarket improvements or specialty options into consideration, as well as the overall condition of the vehicle. Keep in mind, however, that it could result in a lower settlement amount if the vehicle is worth less than the insurance company thought.

Settle with a buyback.

Some insurance companies are willing to sell your totaled vehicle back to you if you want to keep it. This can be a long and complex process, and you should be aware that you will receive a salvage title for the vehicle. This means that you will not be able to tag and insure the vehicle again until proper repairs have been completed and authorized law enforcement personnel has certified that these repairs are proper and complete.

Cancel the claim.

If you really don’t want to total your vehicle and you don’t mind paying for repairs out of pocket, you can cancel your claim altogether. This will allow you to continue driving the vehicle without the hassle of a salvage title. However, it also means that you will not receive any compensation from the insurance company for the accident. It usually also means that you waive the right to make further claims from the same accident in the future.

Understand How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Settlement

Most people choose to either accept the settlement offer right away or after an appraisal for actual cash value has been completed. When an insurance company pays you a settlement, it is literally purchasing your totaled vehicle from you. Your car becomes company property to dispose of as the company sees fit.

As such, it is important that you remove any personal belongings from your vehicle before the transfer of ownership takes place, including any papers containing your sensitive personal information. An insurance company may, at their discretion, allow you to do this after it issues your check, but it is not required to. When gathering your personal belongings, be sure to collect your license plate as well. It will transfer to your new vehicle when you register it.

Certain items should not be removed from your vehicle before settlement. While it is acceptable to remove an aftermarket radio if you installed said radio, it is not acceptable to remove the wheels and tires in most cases–even if the tires are brand new. If you installed aftermarket wheels, your adjuster may allow you to remove them provided that you replace them with the vehicle’s original wheels.

If there is something you wish to remove but you are not sure if you should, ask your adjuster for guidance. If you have had certain improvements factored into the value of your vehicle during an appraisal, and the settlement offer includes that added value, you should absolutely not remove those items under any circumstances

Understand What Happens After the Settlement

Usually, once you accept the settlement, there is nothing left for you to do except cash the check and go car shopping. However, you should realize that accepting a settlement generally requires that you sign a statement acknowledging that all damages from the accident have been adequately compensated and that you waive the right to pursue further damages. Therefore, be sure that you are satisfied with the settlement before making any decisions.

If you are in doubt or confused about whether or not the settlement offer is fair, consider obtaining legal counsel. This usually isn’t necessary if the only damages are for the personal property. However, if there are injuries and medical expenses related to the accident, determining the actual loss amount isn’t quite so straightforward. Remember, once you sign, you lose the right to seek additional damages, so speaking with an attorney about any concerns may be in your best interest. Do not allow an adjuster to pressure you into a settlement with which you are not comfortable.

Navigating the total loss process after an auto accident doesn’t have to be intimidating. Once you understand how the process works and what your rights are, you are in a good position to negotiate your claim for a favorable result. Don’t hesitate to call your adjuster with any questions. Just keep in mind that the process can take a little time, so try to be patient while you wait for your settlement.

For more information, call The Law Offices of Jerry J. Trevino today!

Our Corpus Christi Personal Injury Lawyer Is Here To Explain Why Not To Take The First Offer

Why You Shouldn’t Accept An Insurance Company’s First Offer

The bodily injury claims process after a car accident can be a major headache. It’s often the intent of the opposing insurer to wear you down and then exhaust you. That’s when you can expect it to come to you with a settlement offer to make you go away. Once you take a good look at that offer, it’s likely that it’s woefully insufficient and doesn’t contemplate all of your damages. Signing off on a release of claims too soon that’s too low can come back to haunt you in the future. If you’re like just about everybody else, and you’re uncertain about handling the claims process, a respected and competent auto accident lawyer in Corpus Christi will probably be your best advocate. If you insist on representing yourself in the claim process, here are five reasons why you shouldn’t agree to settle for an insurance company’s first settlement offer.

The Adjuster Assigned to Your Case Is Your Opponent

Once you make a bodily injury claim, it is assigned to one of the insurance company’s adjusters, who will investigate it, review all medical bills and reports, and set both a high and low value on your claim. You’re neither in good hands nor with a good neighbor. Your adjuster has the best interests of their employer in mind.

It’s Going To Be A Low Offer

Insurance companies make money by receiving a premium check and paying out as little as possible on claims. Expect your adjuster to do whatever is legally permissible to decrease the claim’s value. You’re highly likely to be lulled into making mistakes during the claim process, which the agency will use against you in the future. Experienced personal injury lawyers in Corpus Christi don’t make those mistakes.

You Don’t Know Your Damages – Yet

Don’t rely on the opposing insurer’s calculations on what your reasonable medical bills should be or how long you should have been off of work due to your injuries. It could take months for doctors to diagnose the exact nature and extent of your injuries, and it could take even longer to undergo medical procedures and rehab before you reach maximum medical improvement.

Don’t Forget About Pain and Suffering

Many adjusters will try to slide by with an initial offer of disputed medical bills and lost earnings. You wouldn’t be making a bodily injury claim if you didn’t experience some degree of pain and suffering. A jury is allowed to take compensation for pain and suffering into account, so an insurer should take that into account too before you’re even forced to file a lawsuit.

There’s More There Than You’re Being Told

The adjuster on your claim knows how much authority he or she has. Even if a settlement comes in toward the higher end, that adjuster has done their job, and he or she is not going to get criticized by their claims supervisor for settling within the authority that they have.

Documentation of the personal injury claim with lost earning records along with medical bills, records and reports are crucial for a fair and just settlement. Remember that you’re likely to make mistakes along the way that will decrease the value of your case. It’s unlikely that a judge will let you cure them. Quality personal injury lawyers don’t make those mistakes.

Call or contact The Law Offices of Jerry J. Trevino to represent you!