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What can I do if I'm harmed by a dangerous product?

When you or a loved one gets hurt while using any product, medical care might be necessary. This medical care doesn't come without costs. Trying to recoup some of the money spent on those bills might be necessary, but you might have questions when trying to decide if you should seek compensation.

How long do I have to file a claim?

In Washington, District of Columbia, you have three years to file a claim for compensation in a product liability case, according to FindLaw. The date that you are injured or the date that you should reasonably know about the injury is when that time starts. Generally, filing your claim as quickly as possible allows you to ensure that the evidence pertaining to your case is preserved. It is also helpful to take action quickly since your memory about the incident will be fresh.

What if the product had a disclaimer?

The actual disclaimer on the product might play a part in the suitability of filing a claim for product liability. A general disclaimer is usually not a valid disclaimer that would stop the manufacturer from being liable for damages. More specific disclaimers are more likely to be enforceable; however, a specific disclaimer doesn't necessarily mean that claims can't be made.

What about implied warranties?

Implied warranties mean that the seller and the manufacturer of the product are essentially representing that the product they sell is safe and suitable for use that is within the realm of the intended manner. Obviously, this means that they aren't implying that you can use a lawnmower to shave your legs, but it does mean that you can use the lawnmower to keep your grass looking neat. When products don't meet the implied warranty, filing a claim is possible.

Knowing the answers to these basic questions is important. It might also be necessary to get answers that are specific to your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Are Product Liability Disclaimers Effective?" Sep. 01, 2014

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