When you buy a product, you probably take safety for granted. Most of us assume that the products we buy have been thoroughly tested and have passed safety inspection. Unfortunately, the fact that a product is on the market is not a guarantee that it is safe.
Things are far better than they used to be, but millions of Americans are harmed (or worse) each year by dangerous and defective products. When this happens, victims have the right to seek compensation in a product liability lawsuit. In today’s post, we’ll give an overview of the three basic types of product liability claims.
Some products are dangerous before they are ever manufactured due to flaws and oversights in the design process. And when design defects occur, they lead to problems with every copy of the product that gets made.
One example would be a laptop that comes with its own power cord (as most do). Product engineers miscalculate the amount of current that the battery requires to recharge, resulting in a power cord that causes the computer and battery to dangerously overheat. Fires and burns to users are widely reported and the company is sued by injured customers.
These occur when the design of a product is sound but there were issues in how it was built or manufactured. There may also be critical manufacturing defects with one of its component parts. Examples include:
- Over-the-counter pain medicine that is tainted with poisonous cleaning supplies at the factory
- A motor vehicle with defective air bag inflators that can explode (like the Takata air bag recall)
- Bicycle frames that were welded poorly, increasing the risk that they will crack or fall apart during use
Because manufacturing defects are not as universal as design problems, they are sometimes harder to detect. A product may only fail or cause injury under certain conditions. Nonetheless, anyone injured by a manufacturing defect has the right to seek full and fair compensation.
Failure to Warn
Some products are inherently dangerous and cannot be made completely safe. Consumers understand this, and most are willing to take the time to read safety warnings and adjust their behavior appropriately. But there are times when product manufacturers fail to include adequate safety warnings about known dangers, which is especially problematic if the dangers are not obvious. Examples could include:
- Failure to list risks and side effects of a prescription drug
- Failure to warn users that a certain household chemical should only be used in a well-ventilated area
If you have been seriously injured by a product defect (design or manufacturing) or because the product lacked adequate safety warnings, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.