IfI suffered injury due to a pair of defectively designed sneakers, canI sue the store thatI bought them from?

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IfI suffered injury due to a pair of defectively designed sneakers, canI sue the store thatI bought them from?

I purchased tennis shoes from a national retail chain. The heel collapsed on me. I returned this pair for an exchange figuring they were a defective pair but the same thing happened to the second pair. I’ve been having pain in my left leg from the hip to my ankle and it has gotten to a point to were I cannot work on various days. I also had very sharp pains in my right knee but this pain has ceased since I stopped wearing these shoes. I examined the shoes and they look to me like they are poorly designed.

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could sue both the store where the shoes were purchased and the manufacturer of the shoes for negligence.  This area of law is called products liability.  You would file one lawsuit in which both the store and the manufacturer would be named as defendants.  In addition to your claim of negligence in your lawsuit, you could also include a separate cause of action (claim) for breach of implied warranty of merchantability.  The implied warranty of merchantability means that the shoes are of a quality acceptable in the trade.  Since the heel collapsed, the shoes would not be of a quality acceptable in the trade.  If the sneakers are marketed for a specific purpose such as hiking, running, basketball, etc., you would also have another cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit of breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.

It would be advisable to obtain a medical report from a doctor which would document the nature and extent of your injury.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) should include the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, wage loss, and the cost of the shoes.  Compensation for the medical bills, wage loss, and the cost of the shoes would be straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount beyond your medical bills and will be determined by the nature and extent of your injury as documented in the medical report.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, it would be advisable to contact the insurance carriers for the store and manufacturer.  If a settlement can be reached, it won't be necessary to file a lawsuit.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the store and/or manufacturer, file your lawsuit.  If the case is not settled with both defendants (store and manufacturer), you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  If the case is settled with one of the defendants, you would only name the remaining defendant in your lawsuit.


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