Scales of justice

Product Liability Law in North Carolina

Michael W. Patrick May 20, 2019

As consumers in today's society, we can buy just about anything in an instant and expect it to be delivered, or ready for pick-up, almost as quickly. Not only has this increased levels of convenience for consumers, but it has also created exciting profit opportunities for businesses as well. This may sound like a winning situation for all, but when a business cuts corners to keep up with rapid demand or to increase their bottom line, unfortunately, this can result in overlooking concerns for the quality and safety of the product.

Companies have a legal responsibility to make sure that the products they design, manufacture, and sell are both functional and safe for our use. When they fail to do that, they can, and should, be held accountable.

What Is Considered a Defective Product?

A defective product describes any product that malfunctions or causes injury due to inadequate warning labels, or flaws in the design or manufacturing process. Usually, those who have purchased a defective product don’t realize they’re dealing with a potentially dangerous product until it’s too late. The injuries sustained from a defective product can range from minor to extremely serious.

Examples of Defective Products

Some examples of defective products include:

  • A car that cannot properly deploy airbags

  • A chemical solution without adequate instructions for safe handling and use

  • A child’s swing set with a cracked chain

  • A malfunctioning medical device

  • Electronic devices with faulty wiring or batteries that lend to the ability to combust

  • Pharmaceuticals that don’t include proper warning labels to make dangerous side effects clear

Types of Product Liability Settlements

The products we buy to make our lives easier can sometimes cause serious personal injuries when they malfunction or otherwise fail. When a defective product causes physical harm, you may have grounds for legal recourse. Common liability settlements cover compensation for:

  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

Product Liability Claims & Litigation

When you have been injured by a defective product, a knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate the legal landscape of establishing grounds for a product liability claim. For example, does the fault lie with the design, manufacturing, or labeling of the product? Once a claim for compensation has been identified, your legal counsel should be able to effectively handle the product liability litigation (fighting your claim in court) so that you can stay focused on your recovery.

For more complex cases, the court processes necessary to fight for full compensation can be lengthy. If you have been injured by a defective product, you should reach out to an experienced attorney to understand the legal options that could be available to you.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations for Product Liability

Every day, there are defective products sold to consumers throughout our country. It’s important to understand the laws regarding consumers’ rights specific to our state. Here in North Carolina, a product liability case requires that the injured party proves negligence in order to establish liability.

There are also varying statutes of limitations (the time period you have to take legal action after an event) to consider. Product liability cases involving physical harm or injury have three years to be brought to court, but general product liability cases (i.e. malfunctioning machinery that perhaps don’t cause injury), have an additional time limit called a statute of repose that is twelve years from the date of the first sale of the product.

Chapel Hill Product Liability Lawyer

With many forms of product liability cases and the types of personal injuries sustained by defective products, it’s essential to seek legal counsel if you are questioning your rights to a claim for compensation. As an experienced product liability lawyer with over three decades of experience, I will be able to help you ask the right questions, work with professional resources to examine the product in question, thoroughly investigate your case, and guide you through your best legal options.

For more than 30 years, I have proudly served the legal communities of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, and other surrounding areas of central North Carolina. If you have questions about your consumer rights, I would love for you to reach out for a free consultation. Let me help you understand your options and fight for your best possible outcome.