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A person that alleges product liability must have suffered an injury from the product. There are three times that injury could occur during the life of a product: before, during, or after the manufacturing process.
If an injury occurs before the manufacturing process, the injury is caused by a design defect—a flaw in the product's design, making the product dangerous. If an injury occurs during the manufacturing process, the injury is caused by a manufacturing defect—a problem with the manufacturing process causes the product to be defective. If an injury occurs after the manufacturing process, the injury is caused by a marketing defect—an injury occurs because of the lack of instructions or warnings.
Document review attorneys provided by legal staffing agencies help attorneys with large product liability cases. The document review attorneys save the lead attorneys the time and costs involved in extensive document review involved with discovery requests for product liability cases.
Product liability claims are subject to product liability acts. Claims can only be filed if a person was injured by a product, or if the product caused a death, in which case, the decedent's family may file a product liability claim.
Product liability claims involve extensive documentation. Much of the documentation is in the form of electronic documents, such as faxes and emails. During a product liability claim litigation matter, discovery is required to be produced by the plaintiff and the defendant.
Document review attorneys that are provided by legal staffing agencies work with attorneys who take product liability claims. During the discovery process of litigation, discovery requests come in via requests for production, interrogatories, depositions, and requests for admissions. Documents that are provided to opposing counsel pursuant to these requests must be reviewed for content matter. A document review attorney reviews the documents (electronic or hard copies) for confidentiality issues and privileged information.
The Products Liability Act protects consumers against product liability issues. There are three types of product liability cases: negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability. To allege a negligence claim, the injured must show that the maker of the product had a duty to its customers. Anyone who sells a product or provides services to the public has a duty not to injure his consumer.
Additionally, for negligence claims, the injured has to prove that the manufacturer of the product failed to provide the duty, such as showing that the manufacturer knew that the product was defective before it was sold. The third item needed in a products liability negligence case is that the person making the allegations must have suffered an injury because of the breach of duty.
Proving strict liability is a bit easier, in that the injured only needs to show that the product was defective and he suffered an injury because of the defective product. In a breach of warranty matter, the injured must show that the product caused his injury because something that was warranted failed.
Products liability and torts cases often use legal staffing agencies for attorneys needed for legal staff jobs. The agencies hire attorneys experienced in various fields, including products liability and tort cases. The attorneys are also experienced in document review. The document review attorneys are then retained by small and large firms alike to expedite the document review process.
Staffing agencies that hire attorneys for legal staff jobs provide a service to law firms of all sizes, allowing those firms to take on cases they otherwise would not be able to handle, because of staffing. A small firm could take a large products liability or torts case, as a legal staffing agency would provide a document review management team, freeing up the attorneys to work on other aspects of the case or to work with other clients.
Document review attorneys review documents for confidentiality and privileged information that is not discoverable during the discovery process.
A forensic document examiner reviews documents for inconsistencies that show a document was tampered with. Inconsistencies may include different inks used, different printer/typewriters used or pages not matching properly. A falsified or altered document can mean the difference in winning or losing a products liability case or a tort case.
Forensic document examiners are trained to look for certain inconsistencies within a document. If you notice a possible inconsistency, you should retain a forensic document examiner to review all documents involved in the case—both documents received in a discovery request or provided in a discovery request. If you inadvertently provide an altered document, your whole can be blown out of the water. Forensic document examiners also prove useful for reviewing documents provided in interrogatories, requests for admissions and documents provided pursuant to any other type of request in a products liability case and/or tort case.
Products liability and tort cases often involve extensive documentation. Extensive documentation is exchanged between the plaintiff and the defendant. If an attorney's client believes that some of the documents may have been falsified or tampered with, in the best interest of the case at hand, those and all other documents should be reviewed for inaccuracies.
Because of the number of documents, document review management must be put into place to ensure that each document is reviewed and there are no missed documents. A legal staffing agency provides additional staff members to review and manage documentation. Documents may also be digitized for easier access during settlement negotiations, hearings and trial.
A document review specialist looks for pages or sections of documents that have been removed or added to by checking whether the entire document was created with one instrument, checks for different inks used in the same document and other incidences that may show that a document was tampered with.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|