Product Liability Law Firm Chicago, Illinois
Product liability law firm in Chicago and Illinois. If you were injured and your life was changed because of a dangerous product, call the Chicago-based Illinois product liability firm of Burger Law at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form for a free consultation.
Products are all around us. When we buy them, we not only assume they are effective at their stated purpose, but that they have been sufficiently tested and are safe for us to use. But too often, that is not the case. A defective car part can cause an accident, a household appliance may be prone to tipping over and injure a child and some products can even cause cancer. Every attorney at Burger Law's product liability law firm in Illinois has dedicated their life to helping the injured receive justice and full compensation for their injuries.
If you buy a product, that means that somebody designed it, somebody made it, manufactured it, distributed it and sold it. While you would like to think those people would take responsibility when their product injures you, the truth is they will often do everything they can to avoid doing the right thing. If they admit your injuries are their fault, they not only have to pay you, but they risk the chances of more people seeking compensation in a class action lawsuit once their negligence has been uncovered. But you have rights when it comes to defective products, and with the fierce and tenacious attorneys of Burger Law by your side, these negligent organizations will be held accountable and you can secure the great financial recovery you are owed.
Use our free personal injury calculator to see how much your product liability claim may be worth in Illinois.
Product Liability Statistics
In 2021, 11,738,091 people went to the emergency room because of injuries related to consumer goods. While that number alone is staggering, pre-pandemic levels were much, much higher. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, deaths, injuries and property damage from defective products costs the U.S. over $1 trillion annually, and defective products lead to over 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths each year.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, product liability claims have the highest average jury awards of all injury claims. The median jury award in 2020 was $7,058,106, while the mean average was $3,908,111. For claims that did not go to trial, compensation was typically between $20,000 and $505,000. The numbers speak to the amount of damage manufacturers, distributors and vendors can do when they break the rules and do not value consumers' safety.
Product Liability Claims in Illinois
In Illinois, you can bring a product liability claim based on one of three legal theories:
- Duty of Care — That the defendant owed you a duty of care, or had a duty to value your safety
- Breach of Duty — That they failed in that duty
- Cause in Fact — That the incident in question caused your injuries
- Proximate Cause —That the defective product caused the incident
- Damages — That you sustained financial loss because of the defective product, for example property damage, medical bills or lost wages
Examples of negligence in Illinois product liability claims may be that a manufacturer did not run enough tests before putting the product on the market, or that they were aware of a defect but did not issue a recall.
In Illinois, the theory of strict product liability stipulates that anybody involved in the chain of distribution can be held liable for your injuries regardless of their intent or whether or not they were negligent. The chain of distribution can include:
- Commercial lessors
In order to prove a strict liability claim, you must show that your injuries resulted from a condition or defect, that the defect was an unreasonably dangerous one and that the defect existed at the time it left the manufacturer's control. You do not have to show that the defendant breached a duty of care.
Breach of Warranty
Most products are covered by a warranty; we expect products to work in the ways they are intended to. When they do not, that constitutes a breach of warranty. There are two types of warranties:
- Express warranty — This is clearly stated, usually in writing. It is a guarantee that the product will be able to perform its function and last a certain amount of time. When it does not meet those expectations, the manufacturer should fix or replace the product or a component for no additional charge. An example of an express warranty could be a light bulb thats packaging states will work for 10,000 hours, or a car dealership saying they will fix anything that comes up in the first 30 days or 5,000 miles after it leaves the dealership.
- Implied warranty — This revolves around what is called "merchantability" as defined in U.S. Code §2-314. The product must be able to reliably perform the function intended. If it does not, a manufacturer may be liable for the harm it causes. In Illinois, marketing something with "sold as is" or a similar wording releases someone from a liability of implied warranty.
Do I Have a Product Liability Case in Illinois?
While you do not necessarily have to prove that a manufacturer, distributor or vendor was negligent, there are other factors to determine whether or not you have a claim. Illinois' product liability laws are laid out in 735 ILCS 5/2-621 and 735 ILCS 5/13-213. To make a product liability claim, you must ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I sustain an injury and/or financial loss? This usually comes in the form of an injury and subsequent consequences, such as hospital bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In the most tragic cases, you can make a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one. In some cases the losses may be largely financial, such as property damage or the devaluation of a vehicle you were hoping to sell at a later date.
- Was the product defective or marketing inadequate? Some products carry inherent risks that the user knowingly assumes. Others are safe as long as they are being used appropriately. You and your Illinois product liability attorneys must show that there was a problem with the design or manufacture of the defect that made it dangerous, or that the warning labels were insufficient.
- Can you show that you were injured while using the product? You need to show how the product caused your injuries. If you show up to court with a broken arm, but have no eyewitness testimony, mechanics records or other proof, the defense may be able to poke holes in your claim.
- Was I using the product as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner? Product designers and manufacturers cannot predict every possible way somebody could use a product. The reasonably anticipated use of an electric shaver may be using it in the shower. If the shaver was not safe to use near water, the warning label did not indicate that and you got electrocuted as a result, you likely have a product liability claim.
- Had I altered the product in any way? In Illinois, to make a successful product liability claim the product must not have been "substantially" changed from its original sales condition. If you made alterations to the product, the manufacturer may argue that they are not liable for the product being dangerous.
If you think you may have a claim, call the product liability law firm of Burger Law now at (314) 500-HURT. We know how to get to the bottom of injury cases, recover the evidence we need and hold negligent organizations responsible for the harm they cause.
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What Does Reasonable and Unreasonable Mean in Illinois Product Liability Claims?
Much of what your product liability claim will come down to is the idea of reasonableness: whether you were reasonable or unreasonable in how you used the product, and whether or not the product presented an unreasonable risk of harm. The term "reasonable" or the idea of a "reasonable person" is central to most tort and injury claims. Individuals and organizations need to act in an appropriate way, or as an ordinary, responsible person would when trying to avoid harming others. A drunk driver cannot be considered to have acted reasonably after they injured someone, as any responsible person would understand the risks of driving drunk.
In a product liability case, the "fact-finder," meaning a judge, jury, mediator or insurance company, will evaluate if you acted reasonably. If you were driving the speed limit, your vehicle's brakes stopped working and you became injured after you drove into a ditch, the fact-finder would likely find that you had acted reasonably. If you were riding on top of the car and were thrown off when the brakes stopped working, you likely would not have a successful claim as that was not a reasonable or reasonably anticipated use.
On the other hand, the product needs to be "unreasonably dangerous" to have a successful claim. Some products, such as drain cleaners or chainsaws, carry inherent risk. Others, we can expect to use in a reasonable manner and not be harmed. A car that's brakes go out while the driver is following the rules of the road, or potentially cancer-causing talcum powders, are examples of products that are unreasonably dangerous. A product can be unreasonably dangerous in one of three ways:
- Design Defect — An error was made in the design of a product, which in turn affects all models produced using that design. A common example could be a line of SUVs that are prone to rolling over, or a power tool where the guard rail does not offer sufficient protection.
- Manufacturing Defect — An error occurs in the manufacturing process, for example a screw becoming loose or a bug getting caught in a soda can.
- Marketing Defect — Failing to include potential safety hazards in the warnings, instructions or labeling. For example, labeling a toy safe for infants when in fact it is a choking hazard, or not conveying the seriousness of the side effects of certain medications. A manufacturer is not liable for inadequate warning if:
- The labeling provided adequate notice for all reasonably anticipated uses
- The instructions were in conformity with the generally recognized standards of the industry
- They failed to warn against a risk that should be obvious to a reasonably prudent person
- At the time the product left the control of the manufacturer, the knowledge of risks posed by the product were not reasonably available or obtainable given the existing scientific, technical or medical information
A common defense in product liability claims is that you did not use the product as intended or were unreasonable. The Illinois products liability law firm of Burger Law has been fighting back against these companies for over 30 years, and will not let them blame you for the harm they caused.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured by a Dangerous Product in Illinois?
The most important things to do after any injury is make sure everyone around you is safe, and promptly seek medical attention. If you do not believe your injuries are severe enough to merit an emergency room visit, it is still a good idea to make an appointment with your primary care physician to get checked out. Next, if you have been injured by a dangerous product, you should start taking important steps to preserve evidence and get the best results in your claim:
- Report the incident to the appropriate entities — If you were in an auto accident caused by defective product, 735 ILCS 5/11-406 requires you to report it to the police if it resulted in injury. In any type of product liability claim, you should make a report with the manufacturer or vendor.
- Make sure to preserve as much information as possible — This can include the proof of purchase, any packaging or labeling that came along with it, all of your medical bills and medical records and the serial number or model number of the product that injured you. Also, preserve the product in question.
- Contact Burger Law's Illinois product liability law firm immediately — Under 735 ILCS 5/12-812, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. While that may seem like a long time, product liability cases require a lot of investigation and preparation, especially as the company we are suing will likely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in their defense. Burger Law starts working on your case right away, and knows how to stand up to large corporations and get our clients the best possible results in their case.
What Is My Product Liability Claim in Illinois Worth?
Your financial recovery is meant to compensate you for every way a defective product has affected your life; no more, no less. While insurance companies and wealthy defense attorneys will try to devalue your claim, with the dedicated and aggressive Illinois product liability law firm of Burger Law, you can receive compensation for:
- The financial consequences of your injuries, including all of your medical expenses, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses such as a rental car or having to hire daycare to take care of your children
- Your pain and suffering, or the physical pain and hardship or disfigurement you have experienced as a result of your injuries
- The emotional harm your injuries caused you, including PTSD, loss of consortium and loss ability to enjoy life or certain activities as you used to
Certain factors, such as if your injuries lead to permanent disability or whether or not we can pursue punitive damages, can greatly increase your compensation.
When it comes to getting you damages in your case, we are never satisfied with 50 percent, 75 percent or even 95 percent. We fight until there is nothing left to fight and you receive the settlement or verdict that truly compensates you for your injuries.
The Illinois Product Liability Law Firm of Burger Law
Our Chicago-based Illinois product liability law firm has over 30 years of experience litigating and trying defective product claims. We're used to companies hiring an army of litigation defense lawyers to try to have the case thrown out, blame the injured for the harm their products caused or mislead a jury into thinking that the company does not bear responsibility. Through our experience, dedication and hard work, we have learned how to fight back against ridiculous defenses, hold negligent manufacturers, distributors and vendors accountable and bring the injured a sense of justice.
One thing we do when we take on a product liability claim is try to find out if there are others who have also been affected by the defective product. Currently, Burger Law is part of two class action claims aimed at getting compensation for people who have been injured or suffered financial loss because of a defective product.
Exactech Hip, Knee, and Ankle Replacement Lawsuit
Exactech is a medical device manufacturer that largely produces orthopeadic implants. Our Exactech recall lawsuit is centered on the damage done by three different implants:
The packaging for the joint replacements did not contain a necessary second barrier layer of Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol, which was intended in the design and would have protected the inserts from being exposed to too much oxygen. Too much oxygen leads to oxidation, which can degrade the inserts and cause them to fail much sooner than expected. For some patients, the joint replacements led to:
- Corrective surgery
- Bone loss
- Soft tissue damage
- Debilitating pain
- Limited range of motion
- Inability to bear weight
While Exactech has issued refunds for their product, Burger Law's product liability law firm is seeking justice for the physical and emotional harm that Exactech caused through their negligence.
Ferrari Brake Recall Lawsuit
Ferrari recently recalled over 23,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. between 2005 and 2022. In our Ferrari brake recall lawsuit, we allege that Ferrari and manufacturer Robert Bosch installed faulty brake fluid reservoir caps, may have known about the defect since as early as 2015 and should have known about the defect earlier through testing.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued two separate recalls for different Ferrari models in Oct. 2021 and Jul. 2022. While a manufacturer must fix any motor vehicle component recall for free, doing so does not compensate anyone for other damages they sustained. Burger Law is seeking compensation for Ferrari owners for:
- Repair, replacement, or refund of money paid to own or lease a recalled model
- Damages from the diminution of their car's value
- Treble damages, which would be three times the amount of their actual damages
- Punitive damages, as Ferrari and Bosch knew about the brake failures for years before the NHTSA forced them to act
- Attorneys' fees and court costs
- If someone was injured because of the defective brakes, then any damages commonly awarded in auto accident claims, such as medical bills, lost wages or lost earning capacity and pain and suffering
Learn more about the Ferrari brake recall lawsuit here, or by clicking the buttons below:
If you are an Exactech joint insert recipient or Ferrari owner who sustained losses because of the manufacturer's defective products, call Burger Law immediately at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.
Why Choose Burger Law
Burger Law's Illinois product liability law firm has the experience, legal knowledge and dedication to aggressively pursue justice in your case. While we always seek to get our clients the compensation they deserve in negotiations, you need an attorney team that is not afraid to go to trial if needed. We are experienced in advanced trial law and are constantly honing our skills to get our clients throughout Illinois the compensation they need to truly recover. Among the great recoveries we have secured includes a $113 million trial verdict in a class action case that made it all the way up to the Missouri Supreme Court.
When you hire us, we immediately get to work getting the evidence and expert testimony to prove your claim. Throughout your claim, whether we get a quick settlement or go all the way to a lengthy jury trial, we will be by your side. We are in constant communication with you about the status of your claim and are always available to answer any legal questions you may have.
As product liability claims often involve numerous plaintiffs and defendants who may be in different jurisdictions, the lawsuits often go to federal courts. In addition to Illinois and Missouri, Burger Law is admitted to practice in various federal courts, and has done so successfully for clients seeking compensation in product liability claims.
Chicago, Illinois Product Liability Law Firm | Burger Law
Burger Law knows the devastating consequences being injured from a dangerous product can have on your life. We have visited Illinois clients in the hospital and listened to families as they have recounted painful details of their loved one's passing. An injured person going against large manufacturers and multinational organizations is not a fair fight; that is why we have dedicated our careers to using the full force of our legal experience and knowledge to stand up to bullies and balance the scales of justice. If you or someone you know has been hurt by a defective product, call the Illinois product liability law firm of Burger Law now at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online.