Defective products can prove dangerous, often causing injuries to consumers. When a personal injury results from using a product, you are protected by the law and have the right to file a personal injury claim.
Some product defect lawsuits earn a high-profile status, e.g., Liebeck v. MacDonald’s hot coffee case, but of the tens of thousands of lawsuits that get filed annually. Most don’t get any media attention. Here are nine essential things you should know about defective product claims:
1. What forms the basis of a product liability claim?
Any dangerous or defective product or batch causing an injury or illness can lead to a viable product liability claim. Sometimes these claims include several plaintiffs and are known as“mass tort” cases in legal terms. Examples include Zantac or Roundup.
Product liability claims include tangible products like toys, cars, and pharmaceuticals and include intangibles like gas, pets, written works, and real estate.
2. Who has liability for the defective product?
Liability for the defective product can be placed at the door of any party in its distribution chain:
- Product designer
- Those assembling or installing the product
- Component manufacturer
- Any of the distributors of the product, including the wholesaler or retailer
3. When can you claim defective product liability?
If a product on the general marketplace injures you or a loved one, you must prove that the product was defective or failed to provide instructions or warnings sufficiently.
Furthermore, you must prove that the defective product caused the injury to have a successful lawsuit and seek compensation.
4. Defectively manufactured products claim
This is the most common product liability claim and stems from an injury caused to you by a flaw in the product’s manufacture. Usually, the defect is caused by a problem in the manufacturing process. This causes the product to differ from the others produced by the manufacturer, and the problem was not caught during the quality control checks.
Some examples include:
- Defective tires on a car
- Harmful substance in a batch of analgesics for babies
- A bicycle with a cracked frame
You must prove that the injury was caused by the manufacturing defect and not by negligence.
5. Proving defects in design
Here you must prove that the design was flawed, causing the whole range of products to be dangerous. The product is made to the manufacturer’s specifications, but the design renders it unsafe. Some examples:
- Poorly designed airbags that don’t absorb the impact of a collision
- Any electrical product whose design can cause electrocution when turned to a specific setting
- Lenses for sunglasses that don’t offer protection from ultraviolet rays
Here you must prove that the design defect caused your injury.
6. Inadequate warnings and instructions
All products must come with instructions or warnings on how to use them. Any injury resulting from the failure to warn of any dangers can lead to a defective product claim. Some examples:
- No warning that the outer surface of an electric oven heats up when in use
- Medication or energy drinks that don’t mention their harmful side-effects
- Safe handling instructions on products like glue, spray paints, and dilutants
7. Proving a breach of warranty violation
The adequacy of the products is usually provided by manufacturers through warranties in advertising, by their salespeople, pamphlets, or on their products. However, if the manufacturer doesn’t keep to the warranty terms as far as the product’s adequacy and performance go, the warranty is considered breached.
In some cases, an implied warranty arises even without a written promise.
8. Proving Negligence
If anyone in the product’s supply chain fails to ensure the product is safe reasonably, then a negligence claim is filed. You must prove the manufacturer was bound to produce a safe product but failed that duty.
9. Proving strict liability
All injuries and damages caused by a defective product can fall under this theory. In a strict liability claim, you are just required to show the product was defective and that the defect existed before it left the facility. Therefore, you had property damage or an injury from the defective product.
Ensure to collect all the evidence you need to prove any of the above elements for your defective product claim. These include the actual product, evidence of the manufacturer’s knowledge, photos, medical bills, labels and marketing materials, and witness accounts. Then get yourself a lawyer experience in defective product claims.