Product Liability

Summary: Learn about product liability lawsuits including the possible causes, examples of defective products, elements of a product liability case and the importance of hiring an experienced product defect lawyer.

Product liability refers to the responsibility held by the manufacturer, designer, distributor, and/or retailer of any consumer product to ensure that it does not cause harm. This means that the manufacturer of a product must ensure that proper warnings are included on labels and that defects do not occur during manufacturing.

Because of these rigid guidelines, when a consumer purchases a product, the last thing they tend to worry about is an injury resulting from a defect in the product. However serious injuries and death occur every day due to defects in products like automobiles, children’s toys, machinery and medications. If you or a loved one were injured due to a product defect you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a defective product lawyer to learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit.

Causes of Product Defects

There are essentially three causes of product defects; negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability. If a defective product does cause an injury, a consumer may choose to file a product liability lawsuit on any one of the following:

  • Negligence – occurs if improper assembly or defective parts result in injury. A manufacturer can be held liable for negligence if there was lack of reasonable care in the production, design, or assembly of the product.
  • Breach of warranty – occurs if the seller of a product fails to uphold a claim, promise, or representation made concerning the quality or type of product.
  • Strict liability – occurs if the victim can show that the product is defective and that the defect caused the injury. Injured victims or others with no direct relationship to the product may sue for damages caused by the product.

To learn more about filing a defective product lawsuit contact an experienced product liability attorney who can best advise you of your legal rights.

Types of Defective Products

All manufacturers, retailers and store owners have a responsibility to provide safe products to consumers. If defective product injures a consumer, the manufacturer and on occasion the designer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer, may be held liable, as long as the consumer was using the product as it was meant to be used when they were injured. Any product that causes injury to a person due to faulty labeling, a design defect, or manufacturing flaw is considered defective. All types of products have the potential to be defective – including children’s toys, breast implants, pharmaceutical drugs, and automobiles. Some examples of product defects include:

  • Tires
  • Seat Belts
  • Airbags
  • Tools
  • Construction & Building Defects
  • Defective Child Restraint Seats
  • Child Products
  • Electric Blankets
  • Household Products
  • Medical Products & Device Defect
  • Clothing
  • Food & Agriculture Products
  • Recreation Product Liability (e.g amusement parks)
  • Road & Highway Designs

Injuries Sustained from Defective Products

Unfortunately, many product defects cause personal injury to unsuspecting consumers. Some common injuries caused by defective products include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Paralysis
  • Broken Bones
  • Hearing or vision Loss
  • Burns
  • Diseases or cancers
  • Wrongful Death

Elements of a Product Liability Case

From children’s toys to prescription drugs, consumers make purchases every day with an almost unconscious trust in the safety of the products they buy. The law considers any product which is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use to be defective. In considering this definition, it is important to understand that the term “unreasonably” dangerous is vital to the meaning of the term “defective”. Thus, a product may inherently be a danger but have such utility that the danger is one which would not be considered “unreasonable”. For example, gasoline is an inherently dangerous product, but its utility far outweighs any danger. Therefore, the law does not consider gasoline unreasonably dangerous for its intended use.

Defective product lawsuits can be extremely complicated because there are often multiple parties potentially involved in bearing responsibility for the product defect. There are four primary elements that can play roles in product liability lawsuits: marketing, testing, manufacturing, and design.

  • Marketing and Testing

If a product is improperly marketed to the consumer, and injury occurs as a result, then those responsible for product marketing can be held accountable. A common example is prescription drug cases in which warning labels are poorly or insufficiently written. Product testing is also a key component of liability cases. The idea behind testing a product before selling it is to protect the consumer. However, sometimes products are allowed to pass inspection without being adequately tested.

  • Manufacturing and Design

The final two elements of product liability cases are manufacturing and design. These tend to be the most important aspects of defective product claims. Sometimes a product with a perfectly good design is not built correctly. A car’s braking system that is well designed but becomes flawed when wires are crossed during the manufacturing process is a good example of this. Likewise, there are products whose flaws exist from their very creation: these flaws are known as design defects. And when they go unnoticed – or worse, are noticed and not corrected – serious problems result for the consumer.

Filing a Lawsuit

Whether the product is a hairdryer or an automobile tire, manufacturers must make sure that products are designed and made safely, that quality control systems prevent defective products from entering the market, and that adequate directions and warning labels are available to protect consumers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit.

Contact a Lawyer

If you are considering on filing a defective product lawsuit, it is important to seek an experienced product liability attorney that is familiar with your states laws. Contact lawyer today to learn more about your legal rights.

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