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Can I sue over a faulty product if I suffered no physical damage?

Lead Hill, AR |

I bought a shiatsu massage pillow last week from a drug store to help work out some knots in my neck. I used it twice as directed and the third time I used it, I was laying in bed falling asleep with it on (it has an auto shut off after so many minutes) and I started smelling burnt electrical smells. I woke up enough to find my massage pillow was smoking, I unplugged it and took it out side where it soldered and caught fire... I'm traumatized, if I wouldn't have woke up enough to catch it before it caught fire I could have died...

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Anyone can sue for anything, but it does not appear your situation is appropriate for a lawsuit because there does not appear to be sufficient damages. If you had suffered injuries sufficient to warrant medical treatment a lawsuit could have been warranted. Without sufficient special damages (such as medical expenses and loss of earnings), the court or jury is unlikely to award much general damages (such as pain and suffering).

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. Without an injury, a lawsuit would be pointless. Return it for a full refund, and report this defective product.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com


  3. Lawsuit recoveries are based on actual damages. I would report this to the FTC and or your state attorney general consumer affairs division. Thank God you caught the defect when you did and you and your property and loved ones were not damaged.

    The law compensates for actual damages, not what "could have" happened. Also, I do not doubt that you were traumatized. However, this most likely does not rise to the level of emotional distress that the law will recognize. The article linked in blue below explains the basis for my opinion:

    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


  4. There are several theories under which a consumer or user can recover for product defects - the more dominant theories being (1) Strict Products Liability, (2) Negligence, (3) Breach of Express Warranty, and (4) Breach of Implied Warranty. For all of these theories, the consumer/user needs to have suffered actual damages - not damages that would have likely occurred. In this case, although it seems that you did purchase a "defective" product - Thank God - it does not seem as though you suffered the requisite "damages" under the law. You may, however, be able to recover the purchase price and expenses related to getting a replacement.

    This answer should not be used as a final ruling on your case as more facts are needed to fully understand and expound upon your legal inquiry. This answer should be used a short introduction to the legal theories that may apply.

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