Liability Claims: The Defective Product

torn damaged power cableEveryone has had it happen to them at one time or another: you come home after a long day of shopping, open up your packages, attempt to use your new product…and utter disappointment—the product is defective. While you may be dissatisfied with your purchase, and more than a little annoyed, defective products can actually pose a danger to our health and wellbeing.

Defective Product Liability Law

The definition of a defective product is any product deemed unsafe for use. These types of products have some sort of characteristic which increases the chance of illness, injury or even death to the user.

What causes defects?

  • Mistakes made during manufacturing of the product
  • Dangerous product designs
  • Not having proper instructions
  • Not having necessary product warnings.

Mistakes by the Manufacturer

In the past few years, we’ve heard more and more about defective manufacturing and product recalls. At times the defect has resulted in serious injury or death.

What contributes to the defect? Sometimes it’s because the manufacturer used the wrong materials to fabricate the product. At other times, ingredients not listed on the product label have been added to foods and even medicines.

This can get the manufacturer into serious legal trouble. A products liability attorney will attempt to prove that the manufacturer was negligent.

There are times when the manufacturer doesn’t have to get into trouble, though, and that’s when a defect doesn’t pose any harm to the consumer. For example, an article of clothing that wasn’t sewn very well, or that has a zipper that doesn’t work. In cases like these, the products can still be sold, albeit at a reduced price in acknowledgement of the defect.

Warnings Not Provided

Many products can cause physical harm, even when properly used. Everything from cars to vacuums, kitchen knives to household cleaning products, and medications to cigarettes have potential to cause harm. That’s why it’s essential that these products come with warnings.

Warnings need to be given to show what could go wrong if the product is used improperly. And, in some instances, problems can arise even when a product is used properly, as in the case of cigarettes.

A number of years ago, a woman spilled scalding coffee on her lap and received serious burns. According to the woman, prior to this incident, she had repeatedly asked the restaurant to reduce the temperature of their coffee or warn people that it was scalding. No changes were made. And we all know what happened—the courts sided with the woman and McDonalds had to pay a hefty amount. We now see warning labels on coffee everywhere.

Next week we will discuss dangerous product designs and what you can do to argue your liability case. Defective product liability cases are important to not only get justice for the victims but to prevent further accident and injury from occurring.

If you think you have a defective product liability case, contact an attorney at the law office of John C. Fitzpatrick. We’ll be happy to review your case and see what we can do for you.