Wrongful Death may Involve Breach of Implied Warranty in Product Lawsuits
Atlanta, GA (Law Firm Newswire) September 1, 2011 - Some cases involving a death may involve a breach of implied warranty. No two cases are ever alike, making the outcome unpredictable.
“In this reported case, a driller was killed after the drill he was operating, a 380,000 pound Pit Viper 351, toppled over, throwing him from the cab,” said Stephen Ozcomert, an Atlanta injury lawyer who practices personal injury, accident and malpractice law. “The worker was dead on impact. It turned out that one of the drill’s leveling jacks gave way and caused the drill to fall sideways.”
The man’s wife realized that she could not possibly move forward with her life with any degree of financial certainty as her husband had been the sole provider for their family. She chose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company her husband worked for and the company that supplied the bolts for the leveling jack.
“This is where the case got a bit complicated,” Ozcomert indicated. “The drill was made by Atlas Copco. The bolts were supplied by Standard Hardware. The company the man worked for was United Taconite. When the wrongful death lawsuit was filed, Atlas brought third-party claims for contribution and indemnity against United Taconite. They filed a counterclaim against Atlas for negligence, fraud, breach of warranty and several other issues dealing with the lease and sale of the Pit Viper.”
This turned into a jury trial and the jury found that United Taconite should be awarded $2.9 million in damages from Atlas. It was also discovered that Atlas breached its implied warranty to United on the Pit Viper drill, and that they were 100 percent liable for the driller operator’s death. The drill was defective, dangerous, and the proximate cause of the man’s injuries and death.
An implied warranty of merchantability is not written in stone. In fact, it is not written at all. It is an unwritten and unspoken guarantee to a buyer that goods they are purchasing are up to ordinary standards, and of the same average grade, quality and value as other similar items sold in similar circumstances. “In English, that just means that goods people buy are fit to be used as they are supposed to be used,” added Ozcomert, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.
And what about the wife’s lawsuit? “She settled out of court with United Taconite,” said Ozcomert. “The rest of the case went to court for the various issues we discussed. It just shows you that even when death is center stage and someone wants justice for a loved one, commerce still moves forward to complete another business day. It also shows that wrongful death actions can come about in a variety of different ways and have different outcomes. If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, please don’t hesitate to call my office for assistance. That’s my job to help you get justice when you lose someone you love because of the negligence of another.”
Stephen M. Ozcomert, PC
215 North McDonough Street
Decatur, Georgia 30030
Atlanta office is by appointment only.
Stephen M. Ozcomert, PC
3575 Piedmont Road NE
Atlanta GA 30305
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