This past April, a Colorado jury awarded significant damages to a partially paralyzed high school football player who suffered a head injury in practice. The court held that Riddell, the country’s largest football helmet manufacturer, was responsible for $3.1 million of the total $11.5 million in damages because the company failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the danger of concussions.
Manufacturer’s liability for defective products
In Colorado, a manufacturer, distributor or merchant can be liable for your injuries if it markets or sells defective products. Colorado case law justifies awarding damages for harm caused by defective products on the basis that manufacturers have an obligation to protect consumers from products that are unreasonably dangerous.
This duty to protect consumers also extends to product warnings. Generally, to prevent a product from being considered unreasonably dangerous, a seller or manufacturer may be obligated to provide proper directions or warnings on the product packaging detailing the scope of proper use. One example is flammability instructions on children’s pajamas.
Who has the burden of proof?
One potential obstacle facing plaintiffs is that the injured party carries the burden of proof to show that the warning was inadequate. This means that if you want to win a products liability claim based on defective warning, you must be able to present the facts of your case in an organized and thoughtful manner. There is also a strong chance that you will be fighting against a well-organized defendant who has access to teams of lawyers and significant financial resources.
If you or a family member is injured by a defective sports product, your first step (after receiving medical treatment) should be to contact a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. Bell & Pollock, P.C. is a full-service personal injury firm. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience advising injured Coloradans of their rights and achieving creative solutions so that they can the compensation that they deserve.