Many of you may have heard of the recent recall of Yamaha Rhino’s by the CPSC. Why did it take over 40 deaths and hundred’s of serious injuries for this to take place? I do not know, but I can guess that it was intense lobbying by Yamaha to prevent this action. The manufacturer of products want to keep selling their goods. A recall costs them sales and profits, even when the product is unreasonably dangerous or defective. Often it the Plaintiffs’ lawyers that spend their money and time on behalf of the injured parties and their families that bring these situations to light forcing a recall and saving lives.
This type of case is called a product liability case. The cause of action or claim is based on strict liability rather than negligence. Tennessee Code Section 29-28-105 states that one who manufactures or sells a defective or unreasonably dangerous product is responsible to the ultimate consumer of the product for physical harm to the consumer caused by the product. Tennessee is different than most states laws in this regard. For most states a product must be BOTH defective and unreasonably dangerous. In Tennessee only one standard must be present. Either "defective" or "unreasonably dangerous." The law of Tennessee is also different than a lot of other states in that in many cases the injured party, or their heirs in the case of death, have only ONE year from the date of injury to bring the claim. Other states are much longer. However, if a year has passed still contact a qualified attorney, the one year limitation sometimes can be gotten around by filing in another jurisdiction. (I have been successful in this regard in the past.)
I have handled products liability cases in the past. From those experiences I have learned a number of lessons. First and foremost PRESERVE the product in its unaltered form. DO NOT under any circumstances allow the manufacturer or dealer access to the product. Do not attempt to repair or fix it. Second hire a qualified attorney as soon as possible. He can assist you in preserving the product. Remember the rolled over Rhino is "evidence." Rest assured Yamaha has attorneys on staff and on retainer that will respond immediately. You need that protection as well. Third be patient once you hire your attorney. He has to retain an expert familiar with the product to preserve and examine it so that he can testify in the future about the defect. This takes time. The attorneys who handle products liability cases know the experts who can help you.
As always call with any questions. I am here to assist in any way. The call is free.