In today’s bustling consumer-centric world, a Product Liability Attorney becomes indispensable when manufacturers flood the market with products ranging from cars to appliances. Manufacturers, producing everything from vehicle parts to personal care products, must ensure their products’ safety for consumers. Federal legislation requires these producers to inform the public about any perilous or flawed products they release. Yet, many manufacturers often delay the recall of these products, putting end-users’ well-being at risk.
At TorkLaw, our dedicated team of product liability attorneys knows how to hold manufacturers accountable. We’ve witnessed the devastating injuries defective products can cause, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to cars.
Common Types of Defective Products
Consumers frequently rely on several products to function correctly. Here’s a list of the most common defective products that can cause severe injury or harm:
Automobiles and Auto Parts
Each year in the United States, defective vehicles and vehicle parts claim thousands of lives and cause countless injuries. Some catastrophic automotive defects include:
- Airbag Defects
- Brake Malfunction
- Engine and Fuel Tank Defects
- Seat Back Defects
- Seat Belt Failure
- Software Glitches
- Tire Defects
- Transmission Problems
See more information on our Automotive Defects page.
Defective Drugs and Medical Devices
We trust prescription and over-the-counter drugs and medical devices to aid our recovery from illnesses and health conditions. But when these products fail, they can do more harm than good. While we anticipate some drug side effects, fatal or severely damaging side effects mean we must hold the drug manufacturer accountable.
Similarly, if a medical device injures a patient, the patient often undergoes surgery to remove or replace the malfunctioning device. This not only incurs additional medical expenses but also inflicts significant physical pain and mental anguish on patients and their families.
Faulty Children’s Products
The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that from 2019-2021, toy-related injuries led to the deaths of 30 children below the age of 14. Causes ranged from asphyxia and strangulation to drowning. In 2021, U.S. hospital emergency departments treated an estimated 206,400 toy-related injuries.
Several household products we use daily may pose risks. Here are just a few examples of the dangers that may be lurking in your own home:
Kitchen and Home Appliances
Defective appliances like stoves or refrigerators can cause fires or electrocutions. Others, like blenders, can lead to severe injuries from hot liquids or sharp blades.
Tools that are routinely used at home, such as saws or drills, may lead to laceration and other severe injuries. This is true of lawnmowers and other yard equipment, such as weed whackers.
Fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, when they fail to work as intended, may lead to devastating injuries and losses.
Understanding Product Liability Law
In the United States, “product liability law” dictates who bears responsibility for injuries and damages from dangerous and defective products. The civil justice system handles product liability lawsuits, often serving as the last line of defense for consumers trying to hold corporations accountable for producing unsafe products.
Notably, if a product defect causes harm, everyone in that product’s distribution chain bears liability.
Potentially liable parties for a hazardous or defective product include:
- The product’s manufacturer
- The parts-making company
- The assembly team
- Retailers, both physical and online
If a product poses unexpected hazards, it indicates the product did not meet consumers’ ordinary expectations. Unfortunately, no single federal product liability law applies to everyone, so state laws usually govern claims based on negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability.
Who Can File a Claim?
If a product defect harms someone, the injured party can file a claim, even if they didn’t buy the product. This applies whether someone purchased the product online or in-store. Interestingly, if a garage sale product injures you, you can potentially file a claim against its manufacturer, but not the individual seller.
Types of Product Defects
- Design Defects: These pertain to flaws inherent in the design of the product before it is even produced. No matter how well the product is manufactured, if there’s a design defect, it could pose a risk to the consumer.
- Manufacturing Defect: These are flaws that occur during the actual production or assembly process of the product. Even if the product’s design is perfect, errors during the manufacturing phase can result in a faulty product.
- Marketing Defects: These relate to the way a product is promoted and sold. This can include issues like inadequate safety warnings, incorrect labeling, or misleading instructions. The product itself might be safe if used correctly, but if consumers aren’t provided with the right information, it can become dangerous.
Building a Successful Product Liability Claim
As the plaintiff, you have the “burden of proof,” or the responsibility to show evidence that the product manufacturer was negligent in manufacturing, designing or marketing the product.
There are four elements to successfully proving a product liability claim:
You Were Injured and Suffered Losses
You must show through evidence and testimony that you have suffered injuries and damages, such as medical expenses and lost income as the result of the injuries you sustained.
The Product is Defective
You must show that the product was faulty, by being able to prove that the product was defectively manufactured; that it had a design issue that caused the incident and your injuries; and/or that you did not receive sufficient warning about the dangers posed by the product.
The Product Defect Caused Your Injuries and Damages
You must also show that the defective product directly caused your injuries and monetary damages.
You Were Using the Product as Intended
One of the most common defenses product manufacturers use is that the consumer was not using the product as intended or that they were using it in an inappropriate or dangerous manner. It is up to the plaintiff in a product liability case to show the judge or jury that they were using the product correctly and as intended when it malfunctioned.
Damages in a Product Liability Case
The value or worth of a product liability case depends on the nature and extent of injuries and damages caused, and the degree of negligence exhibited by the product manufacturer. Here are some of the damages that are commonly awarded in product liability cases:
- Medical costs: Refers to the expenses incurred for medical care due to injuries caused by the defective product. This can include bills for hospital visits, surgeries, medications, and any other related healthcare costs.
- Lost wages: Represents the money a victim loses out on because they were unable to work due to their injuries. This can be wages lost during recovery, or if the injury leads to permanent disability, it could also include future earnings.
- Pain and suffering: Compensates the victim for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced as a result of the injury. This covers both the immediate physical discomfort and any longer-term emotional or psychological impacts.
- Punitive damages: These are awarded to penalize the negligent manufacturer rather than compensate the victim. The goal here is to deter the manufacturer and others from committing similar oversights or deliberate wrongdoings in the future.
Why Choose a TorkLaw Product Liability Attorney?
If a harmful product has injured you or a loved one, our experienced team of product liability lawyers at TorkLaw is here to support you. With our extensive resources, we dedicate ourselves to ensuring you receive the maximum compensation. Call us now at 888.845.9696 for a comprehensive, free consultation.
Q&A: Product Liability
Q: What should I do if I believe a product has caused me harm?
A: Seek medical attention immediately. Preserve the product and any related materials (like packaging or instructions). Then contact a product liability attorney at TorkLaw for a consultation.
Q: How long do I have to file a product liability claim?
A: The statute of limitations varies by state, but it’s essential to act quickly. Reach out to our team to understand the timeline specific to your case.
Q: Will my product liability case go to trial?
A: While many product liability cases are settled out of court, our attorneys prepare each case as if it’s going to trial to ensure the best representation possible.
Q: What kind of compensation can I expect?
A: Compensation depends on the specifics of the case but can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Q: What does a product liability attorney do?
A: A product liability attorney represents victims who’ve been harmed by defective or dangerous products. They aim to hold the negligent manufacturers accountable.
Q: How do I know if I have a product liability case?
A: If a product has injured you and you believe the product was defective or lacked proper warnings, you may have a case. Consulting with a product liability attorney can help determine the merits of your claim.
Q: Can I file a claim if I wasn’t the original buyer of the product?
A: Yes. As long as someone purchased the product and it caused injury, you may be eligible to file a claim, even if you weren’t the original buyer.
For more questions or to discuss your case, reach out to us at TorkLaw. Your safety and rights are our top priorities.