Product liability lawyers will evaluate cases involving defective consumer goods that cause physical injuries such as burns, fractures, head injuries and blindness. Lawsuits can be brought against manufacturers for design defects, improper safety devices and manufacturing defects, and marketing defects (failure to warn of possible hazards). Injuries, deaths and property damage from defective and recalled products cost the public more than $500 billion each year. There are four legal means for establishing liability in personal injury cases where a defective product has caused injury.
- Negligence occurs when expected, reasonable care is not taken and a legal responsibility exists to do so. The lack of care can be the result of carelessness or even malice. Negligence can occur when defective parts or improper assembly results in a dangerous or malfunctioning product.
- Breach of warranty takes place when a seller fails to uphold a claim or promise about a product.
- False advertising that leads consumers to believe a product is safer than it really is, or distracts them from potential risks inherent in the use of a product, can be argued as misrepresentations under breach of warranty or under strict liability.
- “Strict liability” makes the manufacturer or seller of a defective product responsible for all injuries occurring from the use of the product. The victim must show that the product was defective, and that the defect was the cause of the personal injury. If so proven, then strict liability holds the manufacturer or seller responsible, regardless of fault or intent. “Strict liability” means everyone involved in the making of a consumer product is potentially liable for any personal injury that results from using the product.
There are three main types of product defects that can result in a personal injury. These occur before the product is created, in the initial design and planning stage.These flaws result from mistakes that take place during the actual manufacturing stage. Advertising misrepresentations occur when sellers do not provide adequate warnings or instructions, or define the potential risks of using the product. More than one party may be legally responsible for a personal injury, i.e. the designer, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, advertiser, etc.
You may need to know how old the product is that injured you. Most states have laws limiting how long the manufacturer or seller can be held liable for personal injuries. The limits are usually from six to 12 years after the product was first sold on the market.
Product liability cases usually involve products such as toys, automobile design, household products, industrial machinery and equipment, farm machinery, products causing explosions and burns, aviation products, medical devices or drugs and any other defective or unreasonably dangerous product.
A “defective product” is one that causes some injury or damage to person because of some defect in the product or its labeling or the way the product was used. The manufacturer, and others involved in the chain of commerce involving the products that caused the injury, are often liable for injuries defective products cause.