Chicago Product Liability Lawyers

Product Liability Attorneys Serving Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and All Illinois

The product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane have built a reputation for excellence in Chicago and across Illinois. We represent people who have suffered a serious personal injury due to the negligence of others. This is especially true for cases against companies, manufacturers, and distributors of dangerous and defective products.

Product liability is a complex area of law. You need a law firm with the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to handle these claims effectively. Coplan + Crane has been serving clients across Illinois for years. We understand the complexities of these difficult cases and we know how to win for our clients.

Contact the defective product lawyers at Coplan + Crane today online or at  (708) 358-8080 for a FREE case evaluation. Our attorneys serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and more.


What Are Common Examples of Defective Products in the Home?

Defective products can range across various industries and product categories. Here are some common examples:

  • Automotive Defects: These can include issues with airbags, seat belts, brakes, ignition switches, or tires. Such defects can lead to serious accidents or exacerbate injuries during a crash.
  • Children’s Toys and Products: Defects in children’s products like toys, cribs, or car seats can pose choking hazards, lead to falls, or cause other injuries. For example, toys with small parts can be a choking hazard for young children.
  • Electronics and Appliances: Electrical defects can cause products to overheat, catch fire, or explode. Common examples include smartphones, laptops, kitchen appliances (like blenders or microwaves), and heating units.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices: Defects in drugs or medical devices can have severe health implications. This could be due to contamination, incorrect labeling, faulty design (like in hip replacements or pacemakers), or adverse side effects.
  • Household Products and Furniture: Products like cleaning agents, furniture, or fixtures might have harmful chemicals, be prone to breaking or collapsing, or pose fire hazards.
  • Food Products: Contamination with pathogens like E. coli or Salmonella, foreign objects in food, or mislabeling (especially with allergens) are common issues.
  • Construction Materials: Defective building materials can lead to structural failures or health hazards (like asbestos in insulation).
  • Sports and Recreational Equipment: Faulty design or manufacturing in items like helmets, bicycles, or gym equipment can lead to injuries.
  • Clothing and Accessories: Issues such as flammable materials or choking hazards (like small buttons) can be problematic, especially in children’s clothing.
  • Chemical Hair Straighteners: A recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute links frequent use of chemical hair straighteners or relaxers with a heightened risk of uterine cancer. These products, commonly used by Black and Hispanic women to manage wavy or curly hair, are now associated with an increased likelihood of developing uterine cancer, uterine tumors and fibroids, endometriosis, and breast cancer.

This is not an exhaustive list. Dangerous products can present numerous risks throughout the home. If you or someone you love was injured in a product-related accident at home, it is important to speak with one of the experienced Chicago product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane today. During your free initial consultation, an attorney will listen to your story, assess the merits of your claim, and explain your rights and legal options.

defective product faulty wiring| Coplan + Crane

What Types of Defects May Be Involved in a Product Liability Claim?

In the realm of product liability claims, defects are typically categorized into three main types. Each type represents a different aspect of how the product could be unsafe for consumers.

Design Defects

In product liability law, a design defect refers to an inherent flaw in the design of a product that makes it unreasonably dangerous when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable way. This means that the product’s design is fundamentally unsafe, and the defect is present in all instances of the product, not just in a few faulty items.

Key characteristics of design defects include:

  • Inherent Flaw: The defect is an integral part of the product’s design, making the entire line of products potentially dangerous, not just a single batch or item.
  • Unreasonable Danger: The product poses a risk of harm that exceeds what would be expected by the average consumer. This danger is present even when the product is used as intended or in a way that could reasonably be anticipated.
  • Feasible Alternative Design: Often, a critical aspect in proving a design defect is demonstrating that there was a safer, practical, and economically feasible alternative design that would have reduced or eliminated the risk of harm without significantly impairing the product’s utility or making it significantly more expensive.

Examples of design defects might include:

  • A car model designed with a top-heavy structure that makes it prone to rolling over.
  • A type of power tool that lacks necessary safety guards.
  • Children’s toys that are designed with small, detachable parts that pose a choking hazard for young children.

In cases involving design defects, the liability often falls on the manufacturer or the designer of the product. To succeed in a product liability claim based on a design defect, the plaintiff typically needs to show that the product’s design was inherently unsafe and that there was a reasonable alternative design that would have been safer. The specific requirements and standards for proving a design defect can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the applicable laws.

Manufacturing Defects

In product liability law, a manufacturing defect refers to a flaw that occurs during the process of making or assembling a product. This type of defect is not due to an inherent problem in the product’s design, but rather results from an error or issue in the manufacturing process. The defect typically affects only a portion of the products produced and not the entire line.

Key aspects of manufacturing defects include:

  • Deviation from Design or Specifications: The product deviates from its intended design or specifications. This means that while the design of the product is safe, something went wrong during the manufacturing process causing the product to be unsafe.
  • Error in Production: The defect arises during the fabrication, assembly, or any stage of the product’s creation. It could be due to faulty materials, poor workmanship, quality control failures, or equipment malfunctions.
  • Unintended Flaw: The defect is not intentional and represents an unintended departure from the product’s design.

Examples of manufacturing defects might include:

  • A batch of tires where some are made with a weak spot due to a problem in the production line.
  • A kitchen appliance with an electrical fault that occurs because of incorrect assembly in a small number of units.
  • Medication that becomes contaminated with a harmful substance during the manufacturing process.

To establish a product liability claim based on a manufacturing defect, the plaintiff must typically demonstrate that the product that caused injury was flawed due to an error in the manufacturing process and that this flaw directly led to their injury. Unlike design defects, manufacturing defects do not implicate the overall design of the product but rather point to issues in the production of specific items. The liability often falls on the manufacturer, but it can sometimes extend to other parties in the supply chain depending on the circumstances and applicable laws.

Marketing Defects (Failure to Warn)

These defects involve the way a product is marketed, including instructions for use, labeling, and safety warnings. If a product lacks necessary warnings or instructions, or if the warnings are insufficient or misleading, it can lead to accidents or injuries. For example, if a cleaning chemical is sold without adequate instructions for safe use or without a warning about its toxicity, it can lead to poisoning or chemical burns.

Who Can Be Potentially Liable in a Defective Product Claim?

In a product liability claim, the fault can potentially lie with any party involved in the production, distribution, or sale of the defective product. Responsibility often depends on the type of defect (design, manufacturing, or marketing) and the specific circumstances of the case. Here are the key parties who may be found at fault:

  • Manufacturers: This is often the first party considered in product liability cases. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for use. This includes companies that produce the final product, as well as suppliers of parts or materials used in the product.
  • Designers: In cases involving design defects, the designer of the product (if different from the manufacturer) can be held liable. This is especially relevant when the design itself is inherently unsafe.
  • Retailers: Retailers can be held liable for selling defective products, even if they did not manufacture them. Retailers are expected to ensure the products they sell are safe and to warn consumers about potential risks.
  • Distributors and Wholesalers: Any entity involved in the distribution chain can be held liable for distributing a defective product. This includes distributors and wholesalers who serve as intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers.
  • Marketing and Advertising Agencies: In cases of marketing defects (failure to warn), entities responsible for the marketing and labeling of the product can also be held liable, especially if they played a role in misrepresenting the product or failed to provide adequate safety warnings.

Product liability law is extremely complex. It’s important to choose a law firm that understands the intricacies of these cases and has the resources to handle them effectively. The Chicago product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane have helped the wrongfully injured in Illinois for years. We have the knowledge and experience you can count on. We thoroughly investigate each case and fight diligently to obtain the maximum compensation for our clients. If you were harmed by a defective product, call us now for a FREE case review.

How Long Do You Have To File a Defective Product Claim in Illinois?

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing a defective product claim is generally two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. However, there are some exceptions and nuances to this rule.

  • Discovery Rule: If the injury caused by the defective product was not immediately apparent, Illinois law allows for the statute of limitations to start from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.
  • Product’s Useful Life: Under Illinois law, a product liability action must be commenced within the statute of limitations or within the product’s useful life, whichever is shorter. The useful life of a product is presumed to be 10 years after the date of first sale, unless the plaintiff can prove otherwise.
  • Minors and Disabled Persons: If the person injured by the defective product is a minor or suffers from a legal disability, the statute of limitations may be extended.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and specific circumstances might affect the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe you have a defective product claim, it’s advisable to consult with the Chicago product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane. We will help you understand how these rules apply to your specific situation.

How Much Is My Defective Product Case Worth?

The value of a defective product case can vary widely depending on a number of factors. It’s important to understand that each case is unique, and the value is often determined by the specific details and circumstances of your situation. Here are some key factors that can influence the value of your defective product case:

  • Extent of Injuries: The severity and nature of your injuries play a significant role in determining the case’s value. More severe or long-lasting injuries typically result in higher compensation.
  • Medical Expenses: The cost of medical treatment, both past and future, related to the injury caused by the defective product is a significant component of the case value. This includes hospital bills, medication costs, rehabilitation expenses, and any future medical care needed.
  • Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If your injury has caused you to miss work or has diminished your ability to earn money in the future, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for pain and suffering reflects the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury. This is often a subjective assessment and can vary greatly from case to case.
  • Punitive Damages: When the defendant’s behavior is exceptionally harmful or reckless, punitive damages might be granted. These damages serve to penalize the offender and discourage similar actions in the future.
  • Product Defectiveness and Liability: The strength of the evidence showing that the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury is crucial. The clearer it is that the product’s defectiveness led to your injury, the stronger your case may be.
  • Comparative Negligence: Illinois employs a modified comparative negligence rule (735 ILCS 5/2-1116) for the allocation of damages. According to this rule, a person who has sustained injuries can only receive compensation if their responsibility for the injury or damages is less than 50%.
  • Insurance and Defendant’s Financial Resources: The defendant’s insurance coverage and financial resources can also influence the settlement amount, especially in cases where the damages are significant.

Determining the value of a product liability lawsuit can be complicated. A product liability attorney can review the facts in your case and help calculate the full and fair value of your claim.

How Can a Product Liability Lawyer Help?

A product liability lawyer can be immensely helpful in navigating the complexities of a defective product case. Their expertise and experience are crucial for effectively pursuing a claim and maximizing the potential compensation. Here’s how a product liability attorney can help you:

  • Case Evaluation: They can evaluate the specifics of your case, including reviewing the product, the injury sustained, and the circumstances of the incident, to determine the viability of your claim.
  • Identifying Responsible Parties: A lawyer can help identify all potentially liable parties, which may include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, or others involved in the product’s chain of commerce.
  • Expert Resources: Lawyers often have access to a network of experts, such as medical professionals and product engineers, who can provide crucial testimony and evidence regarding the defect and its impact on your health.
  • Navigating Laws and Regulations: They are knowledgeable about the relevant laws and regulations, including statutes of limitations, product liability laws, and safety standards that apply to your case.
  • Handling Documentation and Evidence: Collecting and managing the evidence required to support your claim is a critical task that your lawyer will handle. This includes medical records, expert testimonies, accident reports, and evidence of the defect.
  • Calculating Damages: An attorney can accurately calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other applicable damages.
  • Negotiation with Insurance Companies: Product liability lawyers are skilled in negotiating with insurance companies and defendants to reach a fair settlement. They understand the tactics that insurance companies may use and can counteract them effectively.
  • Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached, a product liability lawyer will be prepared to take your case to trial. They will represent you in court, presenting your case and arguing on your behalf.
  • Legal Advice and Support: Throughout the process, your lawyer will provide legal advice and emotional support, helping you understand your rights and the legal proceedings.

The Chicago product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane understand the hardships and challenges faced by those who have suffered as a result of negligence. If the designer, manufacturer, marketer, or seller of a defective product was negligent and caused you harm as a result, you deserve justice. At Coplan + Crane, our defective product attorneys will handle every aspect of your case so you can focus on healing.

Contact a Chicago Product Liability Lawyer Today

The Chicago product liability lawyers at Coplan + Crane are passionate about winning for those who have lost. We are committed to helping the wrongfully injured recover their physical, financial, and emotional losses.

Don’t face a serious injury on your own. Coplan + Crane has substantial experience with a range of claims involving dangerous products, and we can help you seek the justice you deserve.

Contact Coplan + Crane today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE case evaluation. Our product liability attorneys serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and more.