How to Handle Faulty Product Injuries

In 2020, over 11 million people went to the emergency room following an injury from a household item. This substantial amount of harm is problematic for products that should be safe. What should you do if a faulty product injures you? If you are injured, you should file a claim with a reputable group of civil lawyers, like Hickey & Hull Law Partners.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability is a company’s responsibility to ensure its product does not cause damage or injury to the user. If a person is hurt using a product, the company is liable for any damages unless the case falls outside their liable discretion. For cases involving product defects, the person must use the item for its intended use.

Types of Product Liability Claims

If you are injured while using a product, you may be entitled to compensation based on your injury. There are three defined causes of injuries connected to product liability laws in the United States: defective manufacture, flawed design, and lack of adequate warning.

Defective Manufacture

Manufacturing defects are a form of strict liability and focus on an issue with creating the product itself. This defect is not related to the design itself but rather the execution of the invention. For example, in August 1999, General Motors dealt with a product liability issue in their 1979 Chevy Malibu’s where faulty gas tanks exploded upon impact–burning six people.

GM’s poor manufacturing of the gas tank cost $4.9 billion in settlement payments.

Flawed Design

Before manufacturing begins, flawed design is an issue–it was a defective product from conception. Design defects are typically a result of negligence and oversight. For example, in 1998, Dow Corning Corp. paid $3.2 billion in restitution for faulty silicone breast implants. The implants ruptured, tore, and leaked once implanted in the patient. This design defect injured and damaged the patients’ bodies.

Lack of Adequate Warning

When a company does not provide adequate warnings to its consumers about the risks of using a product, it is liable for any damages. Why? The company is held responsible for anticipating all uses and must determine what acceptable and unacceptable use is. But warnings are for more than improper use–warnings keep consumers safe. For example, in 1992, McDonald’s famous “Caution: Hot” lawsuit made national news.

In short, a woman ordered coffee and spilled it on herself. However, McDonald’s acknowledged they keep their coffee so hot it can cause third-degree burns in three to seven seconds--it was unreasonably dangerous. Such negligence to consumer safety and failure to warn resulted in McDonald’s settling with Stella Liebeck.


It would be best to be careful when using a product, but history has shown us that personal injury is often outside our control. In moments of pain and suffering, it’s essential to know you have legal resources within reach. Hickey and Hull Law Partners is always ready to help you file your product liability claim and help you get the financial restitution you deserve.

What Is an Executor of Estate?

When the time comes for a loved one to pass away, it is essential to follow their final wishes. This person will have written their desires in a will. This vital document helps the family navigate life after the death of a loved one. With that said, it is wise to appoint one individual in charge of carrying out the will. This person is known as the executor of estate.


The estate executor is an individual listed in the will as the person who should carry out the will. The executor is responsible for handling all estate parts according to the deceased person's final testament.

How Is an Executor Chosen?

The most common way for Executor selection is through the will itself. When writing a will, the deceased person may work with a lawyer. An estate attorney will recommend that the individual select a family or friend they trust to carry out their final will during these meetings.

If the probate court finds the requested executor an inappropriate fit, they can change it. The court will reverse the Executor for reasons such as:

  • Not of legal age
  • Criminal history
  • Substance abuse history
  • Mental disability

If the will owner did not choose an executor, the probate court judge would appoint a personal representative to carry out the will. The person chosen is usually a family member of the deceased.

Being an Executor will take a lot of time. Smooth processes typically last several months. Complicated procedures can last years. Whoever accepts this role must be willing to see it through to the end.


What Can the Executor Do and Not Do?

Many responsibilities come with being the Executor of Estate. However, just as there are many things to do, there are several things a person should not or cannot do.

Can Do

An Executor can do several things, but the most crucial job of the Executor is to fulfill the wishes of the final testament. With that said, an executor's duties are to:

  • Get several death certificate copies
  • Notify creditors and loaners
  • Pay debts
  • Close bank accounts and cancel subscriptions
  • Open an estate bank account
  • Manage remaining assets
  • Appear in court
  • File the will

Each of these jobs is important, and the Executor cannot accomplish anything if one is missing.


Cannot Do

While Executors have many responsibilities, it’s equally important to know what you cannot do in this position. You are not allowed to:

  • Act in a way that goes against the best interest of the estate
  • Take money from the estate
  • Sell pieces of the estate for less than market value
  • Carry out the will before the individual passes
  • Sign an unsigned will
  • Change the beneficiaries



Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. It can be even more difficult when you are the Executor because you have so many more responsibilities. That’s where we can help. It is challenging to navigate the legal system when you are unfamiliar with it. When you work with Hickey and Hull Law Partners, we help you work through this difficult time. Visit us today to talk about all your estate planning needs.

What is Mens Rea?

Mens rea is Latin for “guilty mind.” It looks at the mental element of crimes committed by an individual. In other words, what was the perpetrator’s state of mind before and during the criminal act? Understanding the mental element of committed crimes is essential for accurate processing.

The Five Types of Mens Rea

Today, there are five types of mens rea. In the United States, the five types are general intent, specific intent, negligence, recklessness, and strict liability.

General Intent

General intent means the defendant had the intent to commit a criminal act from the very beginning. When the court uses this type, the prosecution must prove that the crime’s situation shows general intent. In other words, there must be evidence that clearly shows the defendant had the intent to commit a crime, whether or not he was successful. This category of mens rea is often associated with rape, battery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes.

Specific Intent

Specific intent means the defendant committed a crime with a particular end goal or result in mind. In other words, there was a desired result from the crime committed. For this criminal intent to stick, the prosecution must prove that the criminal acted in such a way that he knew something illegal would occur from his actions. For example, if an individual gets into an argument with another person and then pulls out a gun and shoots, this offender knows that he fired with the specific intent to kill or maim. Crimes involving specific intent include burglary, assault, and first-degree premeditated murder.


Negligence is a type of mental state in criminal law where premeditation nor forethought aren't necessary; instead, the individual acts without regard for the well-being of others. Such ignorance of the law can result in the death of innocent parties or the offender himself. For negligence to make sense, the court must show that the individual behaved in such a way that put others at risk of death or injury without critically thinking about the effect of his actions.


Recklessness is similar to negligence. However, there is one main difference. Whereas negligence can argue that the offender was unaware of the law regarding specific actions and behaviors, recklessness is the direct disobedience of laws. The offender knows not to commit such acts because it leads to a prohibited result or is of a forbidden nature.

Strict Liability

The court almost exclusively reserves strict liability for crimes committed against minors. Crimes with strict liability do not require mens rea since there are other laws protecting children. If an offender takes such actions, it will qualify as a criminal act. A strict liability crime includes statutory rape, selling alcohol to minors, and bigamy.


There are many ways to look at criminal intent. One of the most powerful ways to defend or prosecute is to consider the defendant's mental state. The mental element of a crime is just as important as the physical act. Knowing why someone committed a crime or whether there was an intent can answer many questions.

If you need court representation, look no further than Hickey & Hull Law Partners. With decades of experience, we are ready to represent you in all types of criminal cases.

What is a Will & Why is it Important?

When you are young, you do not expect to die anytime soon. Therefore, you probably don’t think about things like retirement, savings, and a will. Unfortunately, none of us know when we will die, so leaving these crucial responsibilities for later can hurt our loved ones if we die prematurely. Premature death is common and unfortunate. The US life expectancy is 75, so premature death is when someone dies before the age of 75. Additionally, 20-40% of premature deaths are preventable.

While some deaths are preventable, sometimes it is too late. One of the essential documents anyone can ever complete is a will. Hickey & Hull Law Partners can help you write your will and ensure your loved ones receive their gifts after you die.

What Is a Will?

A will is a document created, designed, and signed by an individual who specifies those who should receive a person's assets. It is essential to have a will. If you do not create one beforehand, the state is responsible for dividing your estate. Since the state is unaware of familial relations, they split the assets among living family members. The chances are that the way the state will divide your assets is not the way you would have wanted them split.

Therefore, creating a will is crucial to have authority over which family members will receive particular gifts. When making your will, you need to include four main parts:

  1. The names of the people or organizations to inherit your assets after your death.
  2. trusted person to carry out the wishes of your will.
  3. Name an authorized person(s) who will take care of minor children and pets.
  4. Your signature and the witnesses’ signature


Each of these pieces will expedite the transfer of assets and property after your death. You need to have at least two witnesses with you when signing your will. Neither of these witnesses can be beneficiaries in the will. Their signature and witnesses testify that you were of your right mind and signed your will on your own accord.

Why Is a Will Important for Estate Planning?

A will guarantees appropriate distribution of your assets (including property, heirlooms, and anything else) to your loved ones. The will for your estate planning is a binding legal document that necessitates probate court.

When you create one, your property and the will become public record. Therefore, contents in the will must go through a probate court. While a probate lawyer is expensive, it is the best way to ensure everyone receives what is due.

Understanding probate court is critical when considering guardianship for minors. If you do not appoint a family member as guardian, the state will appoint someone in court, like your surviving spouse.


Creating a will as soon as you turn 18 is not too early. You can adjust and change things over the years. It guarantees you can leave your loved ones with everything you want them to have when you die.

Hickey & Hull Law Partners has an estate planning attorney who can assist you in writing your will. We will help you make sure you’ve included everything you want to include. Likewise, we can assist your loved ones in the probate process when the time comes for them to receive their assets, personal property, valuables, and guardianship.

What is Criminal Law?

Violent crimes increased by over 30% in 2020 when compared to 2019. This increase is the most significant jump in recorded history. While most criminals are arrested and justly charged for their crimes, some suffer wrongful arrest. Every year, law enforcement wrongfully arrests men and women for crimes they did not commit.

What is Civil Litigation, and Do I Need a Civil Litigation Attorney?

Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a case against Arkansas because the state passed a law that allows insurance companies the liberty to refuse treatment of transgender individuals. A law like this, though not criminal, can still be taken to court and overruled. Civil litigation is a lawsuit against an action that has caused some injury to a person. At Hickey and Hull Law Partners, we handle civil cases and help you get the justice you deserve.

Who Needs a Will?

I believe that nearly everyone needs a will or at least some equivalent estate plan (Trusts, beneficiary deeds, etc.). If you are totally broke and have no children, then you probably do not need a will. But most other folks can benefit from having at least some basic estate planning (with the most basic generally being a will). There is a bit of a misconception out there that if you do not have a large estate then there is no benefit to having a will. That is simply not true. If you have any property that you want to pass down, then you should prepare the proper documents to make those transfers when you are gone. For most people, the property is going to need to go through the probate process in some manner. Preparing a will and establishing who you want to be the administrator of your estate is reason enough alone to do one.

If you want to ensure that your property passes to the people you want to receive it, then you will need to make a will. If you do not do so, then the laws of the state will govern who receives the property - which may not be what you’d prefer. For example, in Arkansas that might very well mean your children receive property that you wanted to go to your spouse. Or, vice versa, it could give property to your spouse that you wanted to go to your kids. The other benefit of preparing a will or doing basic estate planning is establishing what property you have to pass down. Often when an individual passes, it can take a substantial amount of time to track down all of his or her property/assets - and some surely go unclaimed.

Plan Ahead For Your Medical Care

The last thing most of us want to do is to think about what will happen if/when our health starts to deteriorate. Fortunately, for most of us that will be a slow process that takes place over decades. But nobody can really know how our body and mind will age. Lawyers know all too well that someone can lose mental capacity before anyone has time to even react. Accidents, diseases, etc. can hit fast forward on that process. The point of this is not to make everyone reading it feel depressed. It is to emphasize the importance of planning ahead.

If you lose the ability to make healthcare decisions for yourself, who do you want to have the authority to decide for you? That is of course a very big decision. And I think it is one that most people would like to make for themselves. The good news is that you can do just that and you can retain some control by establishing certain requirements for your treatment. This is typically done by executing power of attorney forms and/or by preparing a living will. If you have not already prepared these or similar documents then it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney to do so. Like most estate planning issues - the sooner, the better.

Implied Warranty of Good Work as Legal Protection from Shoddy Contractors

Whenever you need to hire someone to do construction work, you expect them to do the job right. Unfortunately, not all contractors meet that expectation. What can you do in that case? Often you will have a written contract with the contractor that provides you remedies for inadequate construction. In some situations, you may also have recourse under a specific statute. However, even when you do not have a written contract or a statute directly on point, you will be happy to know you may still have a cause of action.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has held that “the general rule is that a contractor or builder impliedly warrants that the work he undertakes will be done in a good and workmanlike manner and will be reasonably fit for the intended purpose.” Carroll-Boone Water Dist. v. M. & P. Equip. Co., 280 Ark. 560, 575, 661 S.W.2d 345, 353 (1983). In other words, the job should be completed up to reasonable standards. Whether the standards have been met can be unclear in some cases, which can lead to litigation. But knowing your rights can go a long way to protecting you from being ripped off by a bad contractor.

To Appeal or Not to Appeal: Key Considerations Before Filing an Appeal

Not all cases are successful. In civil litigation, the very nature of most cases will dictate that unless the parties reach a settlement there will be at least one winner and one loser. In most instances, a case is not necessarily closed with the ruling of the judge or jury. That ruling can typically be appealed to a higher court. The option of an appeal may sound like a life vest for your case, but oftentimes that simply is not the truth of the matter.

Before you decide to file an appeal you should take into account some of these key considerations. Appeals rarely allow you to have another bite at the apple. An appeal is not a chance to try the case again. The appellate court will most likely be limited to the evidence previously entered into the record in making its decision. The appellate court generally serves as a review of the legal issues; not a second-level factfinder. In most cases where the appellate court does consider factual issues, it will provide a substantial level of deference to the trial court’s determination. Ultimately, this manner of review leads to the appellate court affirming the trial court’s ruling the majority of the time. Studies have varied on reversal rates; however, as an example, a study of the U.S. Court of Appeals decisions in 2015 found that the lower court’s decision was reversed less than 9% of the time.

Despite these facts, there are still times where an appeal will clearly be in your best interests. This is primarily so where the lower court has made a ruling that is directly against established law. The only way to remedy that ruling will likely be through the appeals process. There are also situations where the law on an issue is not clear and/or may be reasonably interpreted in different manners. If you think your case may have a strong chance of appeal, you should get with an attorney immediately. The law requires that an appeal be timely filed and failure to file before the deadline will generally be fatal to your appeal; regardless of the strength of your claim.