If a dangerous or defective product injures a consumer, the manufacturer, and sometimes the designer, distributor, wholesaler or retailer, is considered liable, as long as the consumer was using the product as it was meant to be used when he or she was injured. This area of law is referred to as product liability. Whether the product is a hairdryer, an automobile tire, or anything else, 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.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 33.1 million Americans are injured by consumer products each year. Many states give their citizens the right to sue a manufacturer over injuries they receive from a defective product. If you or a loved one was injured while using a defective product, consider working with a skilled personal injury lawyer from our firm. Our defective products lawyers have years of experience handling these complex cases.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
There are three types of product liability lawsuits. The first is a product liability suit based on a design defect. A design defect occurs when there was a flaw with the design of the product. Even though the product was created as it was intended, it is inherently unsafe.
The next kind of product liability lawsuit is based on a manufacturing defect. This occurs when the product is produced or in the assembly process. It can involve a single unit or a batch of the product. Here, the consumer is not claiming that the product is inherently dangerous, but instead the consumer is claiming that something went wrong or was flawed in the manufacturing process that caused his/her injury.
The last type of product liability lawsuit has to do with the failure to warn. A manufacturer of a product has a duty to tell consumers when using this product in an intended or foreseeable way can be dangerous. A failure to warn occurs when the manufacturer failed to include adequate instructions to use the product or instructions about the known or foreseeable hazards that come along with the usage of this product. Even after the product is made and sold, the manufacturer has a duty to continue to warn of any dangers to the consumers.
Here are several examples of what leads to a products liability lawsuit:
- Food or medicine contamination
- Failure to fully test a product for safety
- Use of poisonous or toxic materials
- Failure to label a product properly or mislabeling a product
- Unreasonably weak materials
- Conveyor belts without safeguards
- Defective airbags, seats, or seat belts
- Industrial equipment failures
What You Need to Prove a Product Liability Case
In order to bring a product liability lawsuit, you must prove that the product you were injured by was defective and that this was what caused your injuries. The basic elements include showing that: the product was defective at the time of the injury; the defective product proximately caused the injury or death; the product was in substantially the same condition as it was when it left the defendant; and the product was intended to be used or was being used in a manner that was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant.
Legal grounds to bring a product liability lawsuit:
- Strict liability
- Breach of warranty
- Misrepresentation or fraud
Call a Defective Products Attorney Right Away
A statute of limitations is the given time period during which a legal action can be brought. In some states the statute of limitations is only two years for products liability cases. This means it is crucial to seek legal help as soon as possible. Contact our defective products lawyers before it is too late for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and options.