Imagine you’ve just bought your kid a shiny new toy, full of promises for hours of play and creativity. But your joy turns to shock when that toy causes injury, perhaps due to a design flaw or faulty manufacturing. This is where product liability claims come into play. In this post, we will delve deep into common types of product liability claims and guide you through the dense legal maze of how to file them. With our experience navigating these complex waters, we aim to illuminate these legal pathways for you, making it easier to reclaim what you lost due to defective products. So prepare yourself because knowledge can be the most powerful defense and weapon in any situation, especially when product liability claims are concerned.
Understanding Product Liability
Product liability is a legal concept that holds manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and other entities involved in the chain of distribution of a product accountable for any harm it may cause to consumers. A product liability claim can arise when a product is defective or inherently dangerous, causing serious injury or death to a person who uses it as intended.
The concept of product liability has been around for decades and continues to evolve with fast-paced advancements in technology and innovation. Therefore, it’s more important than ever before to understand your rights as a consumer if you’ve been injured by a defective product. Anecdotal evidence shows that many people hesitate to pursue legal action due to a lack of knowledge about their options or fear of retaliation from big corporations.
For instance, imagine buying a new smartwatch that you were excited to wear during your daily jog. You followed all the instructions properly but discovered that the watch’s battery exploded while you were using it, seriously injuring your wrist. In this case, you might be wondering if you have grounds to sue the manufacturer, seller, or bin retailer for damages related to the watch’s defect. This example demonstrates just how critical it is for consumers to comprehend what product liability entails.
If you’re unsure whether your situation merits pursuing a product liability claim against a manufacturer, seller, or bin retailer, reaching out to an experienced attorney can help you figure out what your options are within the bounds of the law.
There are several reasons why understanding product liability is crucial: firstly, it helps protect consumers’ rights and hold manufacturers accountable for safety standards; secondly, it incentivizes companies to prioritize quality control and ensure that their products are safe and reliable.
Now let’s take a closer look at different types of product liability claims.
Types of Product Liability Claims
There are three primary types of product liability claims: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing negligence. In some cases, a product may have multiple defects that contribute to its dangerousness. Before filing a claim, it’s important to understand the differences between these types of claims and which one might apply to your situation.
Design defect claims arise when the product’s entire series or model is inherently dangerous due to a flaw. These products’ risks outweigh any benefits they offer to consumers; one example could be a gas can made without an automatic shut-off mechanism that can lead to explosions.
Manufacturing defect claims arise when there is a problem in the process of making an individual item that makes it different from other products in the same line. For example, imagine you purchased a new vacuum cleaner that exploded while you were using it due to a defective motor.
Marketing negligence claims occur when the manufacturer fails to provide appropriate warnings or instructions about how to use their product safely or does not fully disclose all risks associated with its use; for example, if a medication’s packaging lacks warnings about possibly fatal side effects.
Analogously, if you’re driving your car on the highway at high speed and suddenly discover that your brakes are not working as intended, resulting in an accident, you may file a product liability claim based on a manufacturing defect since this problem occurred due to a flaw in the assembly or components while producing the car.
Now that you know more about different types of product liability claims, let’s explore whether or not you’re eligible to file such a claim and what steps you need to take.
Design Defect Claims
When it comes to design defect claims, the product’s design is inherently unsafe and dangerous, making all products in that line unreasonably dangerous. For example, if a car manufacturer were to make a car with an unstable center of gravity that tips over easily when turning a corner at a moderate speed, it would be considered a design defect.
A famous case involving a design defect is the Ford Pinto, in which the car was found to have a faulty gas tank design, leading to severe risks of explosion upon impact. The company had weighed the cost-benefit of recalling cars versus paying settlement fees for wrongful death lawsuits and decided that recalling the cars would cost more than paying damages. This ultimately resulted in major reputational damage for Ford as well as substantial lawsuits against the company.
To prove a design defect claim, you will need qualified experts who can evaluate the product’s design and assess its defects. Your legal team will also need to show that there is no way to fix the problem without redesigning the entire line of products.
Moving on from design defect claims, the next common type of product liability claim pertains to manufacturing defects.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
Manufacturing defects develop during the production of individual units when an error is made in building or assembly. It means that some units are flawed while others might not be, depending on whether they have been affected by this specific mistake in production. For example, if a kitchen knife was produced with poor-quality metal or cut poorly during the manufacturing process, this would be considered a manufacturing defect.
In 1982, Tylenol recalled one hundred twenty-five thousand bottles of pills after seven people died from cyanide poisoning linked to taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide. This case made Johnson & Johnson begin tamper-proof packaging, which sets the industry standard today.
To prove a manufacturing defect claim, your legal team will need to show that the product was built inadequately and that this mistake led directly to the user’s injury, not some other use-related factor.
As these kinds of defects can be hard to detect from the beginning and can affect any type of product, manufacturing defect claims are often less litigated compared to design defect claims. Companies are not always required to test every single unit for reliability and safety purposes. The legal team needs further evidence to establish the nature of a manufacturing defect. They may seek assistance from technical experts to establish existing circumstances in production near the time of purchase and determine whether such circumstances caused harm.
Marketing Negligence Claims
Marketing negligence claims, also known as failure to warn claims, arise when a manufacturer fails to adequately label or warn consumers about a product’s inherent danger. For instance, if a medication has dangerous side effects but the manufacturer fails to warn patients about them, the manufacturer could be held liable for any injuries that result from the use of the drug.
An example of a marketing negligence claim is the widely known McDonald’s hot coffee case that took place in 1994. In this case, the consumer suffered third-degree burns from the hot coffee she purchased from McDonald’s. The plaintiff argued that McDonald’s failed to adequately warn her about the hot temperature of the coffee which led to her injuries. This case brought up an important point: adequate warning labels and instructions can make otherwise dangerous products safer for consumers.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide clear warnings and instructions on their products so customers can use them safely. Such warnings must be visible and clearly readable by users who may encounter dangers while using the product in question.
Legal Rights and Remedies
As a consumer, when you purchase a product, you have the right to expect it to be safe for use. However, sometimes products are defective or dangerous, and in such cases, the law provides remedies for consumers who have been injured or suffered property damage due to the product.
For instance, if you were involved in an accident due to faulty brakes on your car, you could hold the manufacturer liable for damages suffered in the accident. Similarly, if you experienced adverse effects from a medication that was prescribed to you, causing severe health complications and hospitalization as a result, you may file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company.
There are different types of legal claims available for a person who is injured by a defective product. Generally, these claims fall into three broad categories: strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.
Strict liability means that a manufacturer is liable for injuries caused by its product without the need to show any fault on their part. An example of a strict liability claim is when a product’s design is inherently dangerous.
Negligence occurs when the manufacturer fails to exercise reasonable care in ensuring that their product is safe for use. This type of claim requires proof of fault on the part of the manufacturer, which can sometimes be difficult to establish.
Breach of warranty involves misrepresentations made by manufacturers, either by way of express warranty or implied warranty. For instance, if you purchased an item with specific quality or functionality guarantees but it fails to deliver on those promises then you may have cause for legal action.
Some people argue that bringing product liability lawsuits forces companies out of business and causes prices to rise significantly for everyone else as companies will pass along their legal costs.
Others argue that holding companies accountable encourages them to produce safer products and discourages cutting corners with regard to quality control measures.
Think of it this way: When you purchase a product, you’re placing a significant amount of trust in the company that manufactured it. You trust that they have done everything possible to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their product before putting it on the market. If they fail to keep that trust, then you’re entitled to hold them accountable for any damages caused as a result.
In conclusion, filing a defective product claim requires legal guidance and patience. It is essential to hire an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and help navigate the complex legal system. With the help of a skilled attorney, you will be able to better understand your rights and available remedies. Ultimately, by holding manufacturers liable for their negligence or breach of warranties, we can encourage them to produce safer products and protect ourselves from harm.
Related Article: Product Liability Laws: Understanding Your Legal Protections
Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Your Claim
Filing a product liability claim can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, it’s important to know that there are specific steps you can take to make the process smoother and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
The first step is to gather all the necessary information about the product and your injuries. This includes the date and location of purchase, any receipts or documentation related to the product, medical records documenting your injuries, and any communication you may have had with the manufacturer or seller.
The next step is to consult with an experienced product liability attorney. They will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on whether you have a valid claim. If so, they will guide you through the legal process and help you collect any additional evidence needed to support your claim.
Think of your attorney as a navigator who helps steer you through this unfamiliar terrain. Just as a navigator would need specific maps and guides to get from one point to another, so too does an attorney rely on their experience and knowledge of the law to successfully guide their clients through the legal system.
It’s important to note that filing a product liability claim can be a lengthy process. It can take months or even years to reach a settlement or receive a judgment in court.
However, pursuing legal action after being injured by a defective product can help hold manufacturers accountable for their negligence and improve safety standards for future products. It can also provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from your injuries.
By following these steps and seeking the guidance of an experienced product liability attorney, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome in your claim. Remember, it’s important to act quickly; there are strict deadlines for filing a product liability claim, so don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Get the Compensation You Deserve: Contact Us for Product Liability Claims
If you have been harmed or injured by a defective product, it’s crucial to take action and seek the compensation you deserve. At Michael Alan Siddons, we specialize in product liability claims and are dedicated to helping victims like you assert their rights.
By reaching out to us, you can benefit from the expertise of our experienced product liability attorneys. We will listen to your story, assess the details of your case, and guide you through the process of pursuing a product liability claim. Our goal is to help you secure the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damages resulting from the defective product.
Don’t bear the burden of a defective product on your own. Contact us at (610) 255-7500 today to schedule a consultation and discuss your product liability claim. We will provide you with the support, guidance, and legal representation you need to seek the compensation you deserve. Remember, we are here to protect your rights and fight for justice on your behalf.