"Damages" is one of those words that have several meanings. If you've been hurt through no fault of your own, damages might mean all the ways your life has been negatively impacted. When it comes to damages from a faulty product, it means being paid for everything from medical expenses to lost property. To get a better idea of what damages mean when dealing with a defective product, read on.

Who Is Responsible for Damages?

As a consumer, you are expected to follow the directions and observe the safety measures when dealing with products. Even if you've used a product dozens of times without incident, if you failed to follow the warnings and get hurt, you may have a tough time getting compensated. Warnings and special instructions are put there, often, in response to previous consumer injuries. For example, old-style pressure cookers were known to be extremely dangerous, and many cooks were seriously injured and burned as a result. Now, newly designed (and safer) pressure cookers have more safety checks in place to prevent injuries.

On the other hand, consumers who follow directions can be injured when a product malfunctions. Even the newly designed pressure cookers have had issues and have caused injuries. Product makers owe consumers a duty of care, meaning that they may be held liable when someone suffers damages.

What Are Product Damages?

When you're dealing with a defective and dangerous product, the damages encompass all forms of losses. In most cases, that covers:

  • Medical treatment expenses.
  • Lost wages from a job.
  • Lost and damaged personal property. That could mean anything from ruined clothing to a ruined kitchen.
  • Pain and suffering. This non-economic form of damage covers the inconvenience and discomfort of your physical injuries.

What Else to Know

If you were hurt by a product, there is a good chance that others were too. Check with a personal injury lawyer to find out whether or not a class-action lawsuit has already been filed. If you become part of the suit, you won't need to pursue the case on your own and you will agree to accept the settlement or judgment.

If the harm is egregious enough, you might also be eligible for punitive damages. That means the jury decided to add an additional award onto the compensatory damages already awarded. Punitive damages tend to be very high amounts and are intended to publicize and make an example out of manufacturers that failed the consumer on several fronts.

If you have been hurt by a faulty product, don't wait too long to speak to a personal injury attorney.