If you have been injured or suffered other damages because of a product you used, you may have a defective product liability claim. Though the range of defective product cases are broad, the claims typically fall into three categories of product liability:
- Defective manufacture
- Defective design
- Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.
Understanding these categories will help you to determine whether you have a valid claim, as well as the strategy to use in presenting your case.
Defectively Manufactured Products are inherently flawed because of the way it was made. Examples of defectively manufactured products include:
- a playground set with a damaged slide
- a tainted batch of soda containing poisonous ingredients
- a bicycle with brakes that don’t work
Defectively Designed Products may not have manufacturing flaws, but their inherently built in a dangerous manner. Examples include:
- a particular model of car that has a tendency to flip over while turning a corner
- a type of sunglasses that fail to protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays, or
- a toaster and tends to electrocute the owner when it turns on
Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions Liability relates to wrong or missing instructions that are crucial to its use. Examples of a failure-to-warn claim include:
- an tea kettle that is packaged without sufficient warning about an extra opening that could cause second degree burns
- any medicine taken orally that does not include on its label a warning that it may cause dangerous side effects when taken with alcohol or another drug
In our daily lives, we tend to use hundreds of products by various companies, often multinational corporations, to meet our various living demands. Motor vehicles, medical devices, machinery, apparel, etc. product liability cases run the gamut. One of the key components of such cases is the suffering of some loss, usually substantial that affects one’s ability to properly function, earn wages, feel whole – physically and/or mentally – etc. Over the years, there have been a number of famous product liability cases.
Perhaps one of the most famous cases of which many people are aware was the so-called McDonald’s Coffee Case in which an elderly woman successfully sued McDonald’s when she accidentally spilled the coffee she had ordered on her pelvic region and suffered third degree burns that required an extended (more than a week) hospitalization. On the one hand, one may wonder why this woman was able to win her case if she spilled her own coffee, but the case did not focus on her accidental spilling because, after all, people are infallible and spill drinks on occasion but rather because McDonald’s had served her coffee at nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit, much higher than similar establishments. The argument against McDonald’s, with which the awarding jury agreed, was that it was foreseeable that serving such a hot drink to customers could be dangerous if a customer spilled the drink or just drank it. Arguably, the plaintiff would have been in worse medical shape, so to speak, if she had first, tried to immediately drink the beverage. So, while the plaintiff may have partially been at fault just because she spilled her coffee, McDonald’s had no business knowingly putting its customers in danger by serving coffee at such high temperatures that it required customers, by some accounts, at least 30 minutes before they can drink it.
Other product liability cases often focus on more hot button issues such as defects with firearms. For those familiar with certain popular television shows, defective firearms cases have been extensively discussed. Previously litigated defects include those that allow for individuals to easily change firearms to have semi-automatic or automatic shooting capabilities, therefore increasing the danger it poses to civilians. This has especially been the case as it concerns instances in which convicted criminals or maliciously intended people (who have not been adjudicated) have used products provided by companies or easily changed firearms by manufacturers to implement mass shootings. In those cases, the argument that “people kill people, not guns” is not so simple because juries have found that companies can be held liable if it was foreseeable that great harm could occur because of their products, either by commission or omission of safety features, etc.
How We Can Help
There are various other cases, including those that may stem from products that result in burns, cancer, e.g. products that have cancer-causing agents, etc. The bottom line in these cases is that a company, often a multinational corporation, which is overwhelmingly concerned with its bottom line – maximizing profit – turns a blind eye toward potential dangers at your expense. When this happens, you need competent, savvy, experienced, and ethically inclined legal counsel to act on your behalf to do what is necessary to ensure the likelihood that a Court will award you compensation to move beyond whatever injuries you or your loved one sustained.
So, please contact us and allow us to apprise you of how we can best assist you and your cases. In product injury cases, this primarily means proving that you suffered an injury or loss because of a product you properly used as opposed to improperly used that was, in fact, defective.