Any time you purchase a product, you should be able to use it as instructed without encountering any problems. While this is ideal, the reality is that some goods are simply defective and dangerous.
When you are injured by a defective product, you have grounds for a product liability lawsuit. Better yet, defective products entail strict liability for any resulting injuries and this means establishing fault and receiving compensation is far more straightforward than cases involving negligence.
To determine if your injury from something you purchased is a product liability case, you’ll need to know what situations are most commonly involved. We’ve got the most relevant product liability cases outlined below to get you started.
Some products are defective as a result of a flawed design.
When something is conceptualized before creation, there are many factors to consider. Ensuring the product is useful is typically the most important. Any product must also be safe to use, but this does not always happen if a design flaw is not identified before manufacturing.
Where this pops up most often is usually in vehicles. Cars are designed with several points in mind, safety being one of them. That said, it can be difficult to adequately prepare for all potential failure points and a subtle yet dangerous problem can get overlooked.
In turn, this means that the defective car has natural weaknesses that make an accident or malfunction far more likely. A good example of this is hazardous airbags that are excessively pressurized or liable to explode and expel shrapnel during deployment.
Flawed product designs mean the item is inherently doomed for failure eventually. As a consumer, this can mean serious injuries and hassle for you.
Should a product be designed safely, the next step is to mass produce it. This is where another problem can occur in the form of manufacturing errors.
Because manufacturing companies are producing for a profit, they will focus on minimizing costs as much as possible. This can lead to situations where corners are cut that directly affect the quality of the final product. Alternatively, a product may be manufactured according to standard but machinery errors result in a serious flaw.
These types of defects are also incredibly common in vehicles. Cars have thousands of different parts and pieces that all must work properly together to provide a smooth and safe ride for you.
Because car parts come from various places around the world to be assembled into one unit, it is easy to see how quality assurance becomes much more difficult and the chance of at least one part being defective is high.
With this in mind, a product that is safe by design but winds up hazardous during production is likely a manufacturing error.
Another source of product liability cases is the inadequate warning of the risks involved with using a product.
While all consumer goods are intended to be fully safe, many items must be used correctly to avoid any complications or injuries. To account for this, many companies create instruction manuals to illustrate how a product should be properly used.
Problems arise when the instructions are unclear, unsafe, or missing entirely. When you purchase something, you expect that you can use it without issue if you follow the instructions. When this expectation of safety is violated, you are not to blame for any resulting injuries.
Inadequate warning issues are prevalent concerning car and booster seats. These are seating devices designed to increase child safety when riding in the car, but they can be complex to set up and get your kid strapped in.
This is incredibly dangerous because car and booster seats only work when used correctly. Improper use can result in your child not being fully restrained and not being safe during an accident.
While a product must list its risks and indicate how to safely use it, there’s a possibility that you misunderstand the instructions and misuse the product. These situations are less clear, but they typically are not product liability cases because you aren’t using the product as instructed.
On the other hand, dangerous products without warnings or instructions that result in injuries will result in product liability claims.
A final area where product liability is involved is with warranty issues.
When you buy some products, you are offered the option to purchase a warranty for a simple fix or replacement should anything go wrong. Some products inherently have warranties attached to them by the manufacturer.
If this warranty is not upheld by the manufacturer, this is where product liability comes into play. A warranty serves as added protection that what you are buying will serve the purpose you need it for. When this is not respected by the manufacturer, your product is effectively defective and not being addressed.
Furthermore, a breach of warranty can happen in verbal communication as well. A clear example of this is being oversold on the performance and features of a car when in reality the vehicle has noticeable problems and cannot drive as described.
If you purchase a product with an implied warranty or outright buy one, you are meant to have a guarantee that what you need matches what you are purchasing and that any issues will be quickly resolved in your favor. When this is not upheld, you have grounds for a product liability case.
Consumer goods are often mass-produced to meet high levels of demand. Because of the focus on profits and production, sometimes significant mistakes are made that make the product dangerous to use.
In turn, this poses a risk to you as a consumer and may fulfill the criteria of a product liability lawsuit. The most common situations regarding product liability involve a flawed design, manufacturing errors, inadequate warnings or instructions, and breach of warranty.
Because product liability has far more relaxed requirements to accuse and legally recover damages from another party, you should never let a defective product affect your life unanswered. If you’ve been injured as a result of a faulty good, consider reaching out to a lawyer to see how much your case might be worth!