Product Liability: Defective Products and Product Instructions
Each year, American consumers, both children and adults, are injured or killed by defective products that were purchased to make life more comfortable or productive. The companies behind these accidents failed to thoroughly test their products before putting them on the market, or deliberately hid known dangers from consumers for the sake of making a profit.
When confronted with a report of actual harm caused to a consumer, these same manufacturers may try to manipulate the facts or hold the victim responsible in an effort to avoid liability for their own defective product. This puts a tremendous burden on the victim or the victim's surviving family to prove the manufacturer's wrongdoing and responsibility for damages.
When someone is harmed by a defective product, it takes a Dallas personal injury attorney with persistence and extensive resources to prosecute the case all the way to a successful conclusion. Thankfully, you can find a team of such attorneys at The Lenahan Law Firm. We are ready to fight for what you deserve. Call our firm at (214) 295-1008 to tell us about your situation.
What Are Some Examples of Defective Products?
Sadly, new or "improved" products being put on the market each year lead to a number of new - product liability cases filed with the court. While some are inherently more dangerous than others, none can be considered harmless. Here are some categories that see defects often:
- Automotive components
- Motor vehicles
- Children's toys, strollers and furniture
- Heavy equipment
- Household appliances
- Lithium ion batteries
- Food products
- Airplanes and helicopters
When products cause injury or wrongful death and the manufacturers try to avoid liability, it becomes the responsibility of a defective product lawyer to hold these companies accountable. Each case is unique and requires a thorough understanding of the science involved, insight into the reason the product is defective, and the ability to communicate all of this in a courtroom and bring a jury to a complete understanding of the wrongs involved.
When Defective Products Become Dangerous
When you buy a product, you assume it will work as intended and not harm you. Sadly, when a product is defective, the opposite is true. Countless Americans experience serious injuries every year due to defective products. This is unacceptable. Companies have a responsibility to keep consumers as safe as possible, which includes making sure their products are made and labeled properly. When companies fail in this duty, it leaves consumers in incredibly vulnerable situations. There are many injuries that you could suffer through a defective product, such as:
- Thermal and chemical burns
- Broken bones
- Brain damage
- Organ damage and failure
- Spinal cord injuries
- Complete or partial loss of limb
- Deep lacerations
- Severe bruising
Infants, toddlers, and young children are much smaller, weaker, and more fragile than adults. This makes them particularly vulnerable to defective toys and products marketed toward them. For example, if a dining chair breaks, the adult sitting on it would likely be injured, but not fatally so. On the other hand, if a toddler was placed in a defective highchair, which broke, the fall could result in a fatality. If you or your child has been injured by a defective product, then you have a right to demand justice.
The Three Kinds of Defects
There are countless ways that a product can cause harm, because there are countless products. However, each defect can be sorted into one of three categories.
Design defects: When a product is first conceived, whether it be an auto part, an appliance, or a toy, it must go through a design process. During this process, a prototype of the product is tested and altered until the design suits the needs of consumers. However, if the proper tests are not run, then the product may have a glaring defect that is not fixed. If a product is defective at the design level, then every single one of the products produced will be defective, meaning that a recall should be issued.
Manufacturing defects: After a design is tested and approved, the product is made during the manufacturing stage, where pieces are produced and put together. Once a product is assembled, there should be quality checks in place to ensure that every product that makes it to the sales floor will be safe for use. If quality control misses a defect in a manufactured product, that would be considered a manufacturing defect. It is unlikely to affect all the products, but it may affect an entire product batch or run.
Marketing defects: A marketing team is often employed to make packaging for the product and put together advertisements. The packaging and ads should always include instructions for use, and safety warnings. If these are not included, or the warnings and instructions are incorrect, then it would be a marketing defect and affect every product with the same label.
These three categories can determine a lot for your defective product claim, such as who is liable, what damages should be compensated, and what evidence can be gathered on your behalf. Understanding each one and knowing where your claim falls is key when putting a claim together.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Companies have a legal and moral obligation to their clients. If a company fails in this obligation, their victims are legally allowed to ask for compensation. After all, a product defect is the fault of the company, not the consumer, so the company should pay for any injuries that the consumer suffered. When it comes to product liability, there are a few potential liable parties, including:
The design team: This party is liable if the injuries were caused by a design defect. The design team most often works under the company that produced the product, meaning the company itself would also be responsible for any injuries.
The factory: If your defective product was designed correctly but made defectively, then the factory responsible for making the product would likely be the liable party. If the factory is owned by the producing company, then the company would once again be legally responsible. However, some factories are considered third parties, and it may be the factory that is liable for your injuries.
The marketing team: When a marketing team is hired to create a label and advertise a product, and that team makes a serious mistake, then they could be considered liable. Similar to the factory, if this marketing team is employed by the producing company, then the company would be considered liable. However, if the team was a third-party organization, then they may be the only ones liable.
The seller: Before they can reach consumers, products must be brought to stores and sold. While store owners are not responsible for making sure products are designed and manufactured correctly, they are required to remove defective products from shelves the moment they find out that product is broken. If the store does not do so, and knowingly allows a dangerous product to be sold, then it could be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Determining who’s liable for your injuries is just the beginning of the battle, however. It is very likely that a corporation is responsible for your injuries, and corporations hate losing money. That means the party you are trying to hold liable will fight tooth and nail to give you as little in compensation as possible. With a skilled attorney by your side, however, you can still get the settlement that you deserve.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
In short, yes. If you have been injured by a defective product in Dallas, then you should demand compensation from all parties responsible. Getting that compensation can be difficult, as the responsible company may have an army of lawyers to protect their profits. The Lenahan Law Firm is not afraid of going up against powerful companies, however. We are prepared to fight for you and what you are legally entitled to. To work with one of our excellent attorneys, call our firm at (214) 295-1008 today.
If you prefer not to call, then fill out our online form for a consultation, especially if you or a loved one has been severely injured.
- Recalls - U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts - FDA