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  • The Miley Legal Group
  • 229 West Main Street
    Clarksburg, WV 26301
  • Phone: 304.931.4088
  • Fax: (304) 326-1801
  • Toll Free: 888.436.0859
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Filing a Claim for Wrongful Death Because of Defective Products

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

If a manufacturer produces a product that causes injury, the victim can hold the manufacturer responsible for damages the incident caused. If a defective product causes death, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer. Even if the manufacturer did not act negligently, claimants can still hold the manufacturer liable under strict liability

What is strict liability?

Strict liability is a principle under which the claimant can hold a manufacturer liable for its products even if negligence isn’t evident. The manufacturer is simply responsible for its products and any injuries that its products cause to consumers. The consumer must have been using the product appropriately (in its intended use) and there must be a connection between the product and the victim’s injuries.

If the victim establishes these factors, he or she can hold the manufacturer liable even without evidence of negligence. Similarly, families of victims fatally injured by a defective product may rely on strict product liability to recover compensation in a wrongful death claim.

What defects could cause consumer injury or death?

Products that cause injury have some inherent flaw or defect somewhere in the manufacturing or marketing process. The following issues may exist that cause injury:

  • Manufacturing defects. A flaw in the manufacturing process could make the product defective and dangerous. Oversights on the manufacturing floor or using inferior products are examples of defects that can make the product dangerous to consumers.
  • Design defects. An inherently flawed design can cause an entire line of products to turn out defective. For instance, a motorcycle with a flawed design may have a tendency to skid or topple over when negotiating turns.
  • Lack of appropriate instructions and warnings. A product liability claim may arise if a manufacturer fails to provide adequate usage guidelines and/or warnings about a potentially dangerous feature of the product that is not readily apparent.

For instance, victims may hold a pharmaceutical manufacturer responsible for failing to include warnings regarding the potentially dangerous side effects of the drug if taken in conjunction with an over-the-counter medicine. For example, K-V Pharmaceutical was sued in 2010 over a child’s death from ingesting a recalled Ethex product.

Family members who wish to prove wrongful death from the use of a defective product must prove that the product in question was defective on any one or more of the above-mentioned counts and that its usage caused the deceased’s fatal injury.

West Virginia’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

As per the laws in West Virginia, plaintiffs must file a product liability claim within two years from the date of the death of the product user. The executor or administrator of the victim's estate must file the claim.

The compensation recovered is then distributed amongst the family members of the deceased person, which often includes the surviving:

  • spouse;
  • children;  
  • parents; and
  • others that may be eligible to recover compensation (please check with your attorney on this point).
Get Legal Help from The Miley Legal Group

Plaintiffs may hold a number of entities involved in the manufacturing, supplying, and marketing chain liable in a claim for wrongful death from the defective product. However, the plaintiffs will need to gather appropriate evidence to prove their cases.

An attorney can help:

  • collect;
  • organize; and
  • present evidence to establish the product was defective and caused the victim’s fatal injuries.

Call The Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 to set up a consultation with a lawyer to start reviewing your claim and to begin the legal process of holding the manufacturer or other parties responsible for your loved one’s death.

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