Consumers deserve to trust that the products they purchase are safe to use. However, millions of products are recalled each year because of potentially dangerous defects. In 2015 alone, 4,217 product recalls were issued by federal agencies, impacting millions of consumers and products. While product manufacturers are required to sell safe products, defective and dangerous products still end up being offered on the market – and people who suffer injuries from dangerous products may have valid grounds to file product liability claims. To determine whether your claim has merit, it’s important that you understand product liability cases. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can evaluate your potential claim and explain your rights.
Understanding Product Liability Cases
There are numerous ways that a defective or dangerous product can injure someone. In general, product liability cases are divided into three primary categories of product liability: manufacturing defects, design defects, and inadequate warnings or failures to warn.
Manufacturing defect claims are the most common types of product liability cases. These claims involve injuries and damages that happen because of an error in the manufacturing process. Millions of products are manufactured every year, and occasionally a problem happens during the manufacturing process, resulting in a defective product (such as medications tainted during manufacturing, defective medical products, or swing-sets with cracked chains) being sold to a consumer.
A recent example of a product containing a manufacturing defect is Roundup Weed and Grass Killer, a pesticide manufactured by Monsanto that is widely used in residential and farming applications. This popular product, which has been around since 1974, has been linked to cancer, leading to a large number of lawsuits. Since 2018, three juries have found Monsanto guilty, forcing the company to pay millions of dollars in damages. For more information, check out our blog post Is Roundup Linked to Cancer?
Some products are dangerous because of problems that occur during the design phase of production. Manufacturing defects might affect only a few products out of millions, but design defects affect every product that a manufacturer produces of a specific type. A familiar and timely example of a design defect is the Takata airbag, which contains a faulty inflator that can cause the airbag to violently explode. As of December 2019, more than 41 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled in the United States.
Inadequate Warnings or Failures to Warn
Even when a product’s design and manufacturing process are safe, defects can still occur when the manufacturers fail to include adequate warnings or instructions for their products. When people are injured because of inadequate warnings or failures to warn about the dangers, the manufacturers may be liable to pay damages. These claims commonly involve products that are dangerous in ways that are not immediately obvious. Some examples of inadequate warnings could include medications that fail to list drug interactions or electronics that contain lithium-ion batteries that fail to warn that they could overheat and explode.
Proving a Product Liability Case
To prove a product liability case, you will need to demonstrate that (1) the product was defective or did not include adequate warnings, (2) you purchased the product, (3) you used the product in the manner in which it was intended, and (4) you were injured because of the defect. You cannot recover damages in a product liability claim if you were not injured or harmed. If a product breaks but does not injure you, you will not have a claim. In that scenario, you should instead contact the manufacturer to obtain a replacement or repair under the warranty.
Liable Parties in a Product Liability Claim
Several parties can be liable in a product liability claim. Generally, all of the parties that were involved in bringing the product to the market may be liable, including the following:
- Designer of a defective component
- Product manufacturer
Your attorney can advise you of the parties that might be liable in your case. It is important to note that while retailers can be liable for selling defective products, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against someone who sold a dangerous product at a garage or yard sale.
Get Help from an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
If you have suffered injuries and harm because of a defective product, you should contact an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. We are experienced in handling claims involving product liability and can explain the rights that you might have. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 or sending a message online.