Product liability holds the manufacturers of a product responsible for any injury caused by the product. The product could be anything including common household items, medication, electronic items and appliances, baby products, motor vehicles, medical devices, toys, or computers.
If you suffer an injury due to a product that you have used, you may have a defective product liability claim. Although rules and regulations for a product liability claim vary from state to state, here are a few common mandates:
I. Injury (caused by a defective product) needs to be proven
II. The product you used was defective
III. The defect caused you injury/loss
IV. You were using the product as intended
I. Injured? Can You Prove Liability?
You need to prove that the product caused you injury. You might have narrowly avoided injury while using a product that had a defect. But you will not have a claim unless you are able to actually prove it.
II. The Product You Used Was Defective
You will have to prove that the product that caused you injury was defective under what is known as product liability.
There are 3 categories of defective products ( product liability)
1. Manufacturing Error
This includes any fault in production that had escaped scrutiny and tests inside the factory. For example, a hairline crack in an electric pressure cooker.
This is comparatively harder to demonstrate as proving that a design is unreasonably dangerous could be difficult and expensive.
If a product itself poses a risk when used for its designed purpose, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the manufacturer or supplier is liable for injuries. Often there is no alternate way to design a much-needed product without making it a bit hazardous.
For example, airbags used in cars can cause serious injury but also offer a comparatively low cost and effective way of saving lives in case of some collisions.
Some other examples of design-fault could be…
• A vehicle with a tendency to flip over while taking a turn.
• Sunglasses designed to shut off UV rays fail to do so.
3.Warning / Alert Failure
When a product does not include necessary warnings and precautions, a customer has may have a failure to adequately warn claim.
A few warning failure examples are:
• A medicine that doesn’t include a warning that it may cause grave side effects if taken alongside another specific medicine.
• A corrosive chemical that doesn’t come with adequate instructions for safe handling and use.
These types of claims involve proving that instructions and/or warnings from the manufacturer were insufficient or inappropriate.
III. The Defect Caused You Injury / Loss
A defective product claim cannot exist unless we can actually prove harm or injury to the user while trying to use the product. Any ‘possibility of danger or injury’ while using a defective product will not be considered unless you as a plaintiff are able to prove it. Depending on the situation this may or may not be easy.
For example, you could be severely injured while driving a quad bike or a utility vehicle that is prone to flipping while turning around a corner. But, if there’s evidence that you were exceeding the speed limit mentioned on the car-sticker and also not wearing a helmet, the claim may fail.
IV. You Were Using The Product As Intended
A consumer needs to use a product the way it was intended in order to claim any damages. In the above example of the quad bike or utility vehicle, a user surely didn’t use the product as per instructions and therefore may not be able to claim any product damages.
When in doubt about whether you can claim a defective product or not, consult a defective products attorney to discuss your case. Experienced counsel can help you recover all your medical expenses, lost income, reduced earning capability and even other losses like mental trauma, pain, suffering, emotional distress.
Plaintiffs recover millions of dollars of compensation each year. Of course, the recovery amount of your claim will depend on the extent of your injuries/losses and the liability of the defendants.