October 30, 2012
When you buy something, you have certain expectations of how the product will work. The last thing most consumers expect is to be harmed by a product. Unfortunately, however, sometimes products are defective and can cause significant harm to unsuspecting consumers. What constitutes a defective product will often turn on very specific facts. This blog post provides consumers with a basic understanding of products liability law.
The idea of a defective product encompasses a broad range of issues including being unreasonably dangerous, insufficient warning, and incomplete instructions for use. These issues, in and of themselves, are not adequate enough to necessarily bring a claim for a defective product. This is because there must also be sufficient harm by the use of the product through the producing company’s negligence in the manufacturing of the product. This negligence can be through a design defect, manufacturing defect, or a failure to properly warn.
The plaintiff has the burden of proof in showing that the company was negligent in the manufacture of a product. To prove that an injury was the result of a design defect, the plaintiff must show that the design of the product was inherently dangerous in and of itself. The plaintiff must demonstrate that all products manufactured from this same design are all inherently dangerous and defective if used in the way they were supposed to be.
A manufacturing defect, on the other hand, is based upon the idea that as a product is manufactured over and over again, the manufacturing process can sometimes produce a single product with a defect from the others that leads to it being inherently dangerous. To prove this type of defect, a plaintiff would need to show that a mistake happened during the manufacturing of the product that led to it being defective. As such, this type of defect would only affect a small percentage of all manufactured products.
A “failure to warn” type of products liability case takes a different form than the previous two. In a failure to warn, you are usually dealing with inherently dangerous materials that cannot be made 100% safe no matter how much a company tries. These usually take the form of dangerous compounds and chemicals, for example, dynamite, cleaning materials, or some forms of construction equipment. These are all inherently dangerous but are essential for the purposes for which they are created. For a manufacturer to not be held liable through the use of these sorts of products they must provide adequate warnings on the dangers of using the product. If, however, the manufacturer does not provide an adequate warning then they may be held liable for consumers injuries through the use of the product.
The plaintiff must show that the manufacturer was negligent with their product. This would entail proving that there was a duty of the manufacturer, designer, supplier, or retailer; that a breach of the duty occurred; that the breach led to actual and proximate causation of the injury, and that the injury led to damages for the plaintiff. To prevail, a plaintiff must further show that the manufacturer deviated from that of a “reasonably prudent person” under the same circumstances.
If you believe that you have been harmed by some sort of defective product, you will want to keep all information relating to the product as it could be useful in proving your case. This information can take the form of receipts, transcripts, medical records, photos, videos, and other witnesses to the injury from the product.
A personal injury attorney can advise you on the merits of a claim for a defective product if you believed you have been injured. If your case results on the negligence of the defendant in regards to the product, then you may be able to claim damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been injured by a defective product, “don’t get mad, get legal!”