What Are Some Examples of Product Liability Cases?
Personal injury cases vary depending on the type of injury. For example, if you've been injured by a defective product, you might be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible for your injury. But even before we discuss some examples of product liability cases, let's first define product liability.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability refers to the process of holding a manufacturer or seller responsible for placing defective products into the hands of a consumer. The consumer can either be a direct buyer, user, or even a third-party, such as a bystander.
Examples of Product Liability Cases
Product liability cases come in different forms, and it's impossible to list down all of them. However, here are a few good examples of various scenarios that would warrant a product liability lawsuit.
Defective Product Design Example
A product that's been properly manufactured by poorly designed could pose a threat to its consumers. The injured consumer may be eligible for compensation by filing a defective product design lawsuit when that happens.
Let's take an example of a pressure cooker with a user manual that says the product can be opened before it's depressurized. If you open this product and the blistering heat burns your face, you may be able to seek legal action against the manufacturer. This is because such an injury could have been avoided had the manufacturer warned you against opening the pressure cooker before depressurizing its contents.
Hidden Defect Example
Some products may not seem defective right away but may still be dangerous to your health weeks, months, or years down the line. In that case, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the party responsible for such defects.
For example, let's say you've decided to install a certain device on your vehicle to protect it from theft. Unfortunately, the device explodes when exposed to certain temperatures or conditions, causing serious injury to you while driving. Such a defect could warrant a product liability lawsuit.
Another example is the recent Phillips CPAP recall. The device was recently recalled following health-related concerns, including the risk of cancer, respiratory inflammation, and other toxic side effects. So if you or your loved one has been harmed while using this machine, you may be eligible for compensation when you speak to a Morgan & Morgan product liability lawyer.
The hidden defects category also falls into many other subcategories such as:
When consumers eat certain foods processed at a contaminated plant, the effects may not be visible right away. However, hours, days, or months down the line, they may suffer serious health problems worthy of a product liability suit.
While medicine manufacturers are required by law to clearly state the potential risks and side effects of taking that particular medication, some usually have unknown side effects. For example, DES, a synthetic estrogen, caused numerous birth defects in women and increased their risk of developing cancer. Depending on the circumstances of the case, victims of dangerous medication are usually eligible for compensation.
Chemicals in Products
Most cases of chemicals and other toxic ingredients in products usually take months or even years to become visible. For example, the effects of lead in paint and asbestos in insulation could be visible many years later but still qualify for this kind of lawsuit.
Failure to Warn
Product manufacturers are required by law to provide sufficient information about their products, including side effects, user manuals, or any other detail users need to know about before deciding to purchase that particular product. However, this doesn't include obvious warnings, such as a lighter's potential risk of starting a fire.
However, if a particular product should be kept out of children's reach but the manufacturer fails to provide this information, the plaintiff might be able to sue if the unfortunate happens.
Here's another example.
If a particular hair dryer shouldn't be used near water, the product manufacturer must warn the user about this. If the product bears no such warning and instead electrocutes the user, this incident could attract a product liability lawsuit.
Such a lawsuit could target different parties involved in manufacturing, selling, and distributing the hairdryer. This includes but is not limited to:
- The manufacturer of the product.
- Parts manufacturer.
- Product distributor.
- Product seller (retailer).
- Product wholesaler.
- Product installer (if the product requires installation by a third party).
Failure to warn is considered a strict liability lawsuit. Here's all you need to know about it.
What Is a Strict Liability Lawsuit?
A strict liability lawsuit is the kind of lawsuit that holds an individual or entity responsible for their products or actions without the consumer needing to prove fault or negligence. Using the hairdryer as an example, you don't need to prove that it can lead to electrocution if used with water. In that case, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to know or foresee such circumstances, effectively warning consumers against them.
When filing a failure to warn lawsuit, Morgan & Morgan attorneys will have to prove that:
- the manufacturer knew about the potential risks associated with that particular product.
- the manufacturer had a duty to warn consumers of that particular risk associated with the product.
- the manufacturer neglected their duty to warn the consumer;
- the manufacturer's negligence led to the consumer's injury.
If you have a reason to believe that you've been injured by a product that should have had clear warnings about the potential risks of using it, talk to a Morgan & Morgan product liability attorney right away!
For any product to be approved for sale, it must meet certain standards, including safety. But, unfortunately, the market is saturated with products that shouldn't even be allowed to leave the manufacturer's warehouse in the first place.
When consumers get injured by such products, they may be eligible for compensation. Let's take a lawnmower as an example.
You've finally bought that one lawn mower that cuts your grass perfectly, without much hassle. However, if the mower has limited or missing safeguards, you could lose a finger or two in the process of mowing your grass. In that case, you may be eligible for compensation because the manufacturer didn't set up proper safety features on the product, leading to your injury.
Certain injuries caused by an All-Terrain Vehicle can also attract product liability lawsuits. Studies show that in 2017 alone, there were more than 93,800 ATV-related injuries in the United States. The sad reality of these injuries is that 26% involved children younger than the age of 16.
Additionally, some of these injuries are not usually caused by the driver's mistakes; the manufacturers may be responsible. For example, in 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled approximately 2,800 units of the Polaris Scrambler ATV due to throttle release switch issues. In the previous year, the CPC had recalled approximately 7,000 Yamaha ATVs due to the same issue. So even if you're the greatest ATV driver on the face of the planet, it's virtually impossible to avoid such injuries.
Elements of a Successful Product Liability Claim
A product liability lawsuit must meet the following requirements to prove the defendant's negligence.
Injury to the Plaintiff
There should be evidence showing that the plaintiff got injured while or after using the product. For example, if the ATV injury paralyzed the consumer, the defendant will request proof that their client's product (ATV) actually caused the paralysis.
The Defective Product
Suffering an injury while using a particular product doesn't necessarily mean that you can sue the manufacturer for that particular injury. However, you may be able to seek legal action against them if you can prove that their product was defective at the time of use. The defect could be in the form of bad design, failure to warn, or any of the circumstances mentioned earlier.
The Defect Caused the Injury
Besides proving that the defect was the actual cause of the injury, the plaintiff must also prove that it was the proximate cause. This means that the defect must be the direct cause of the injury; if another incident or act supersedes the defective product, the defendant may not be liable for the injury.
For example, if you were driving an ATV while drunk and suffered injuries in the process, the defendant might argue that the injury occurred due to impaired judgment.
The Product Was Used as Intended
The plaintiff must also prove that they were using the product as intended when the injury occurred. For instance, if you used a particular medication for something that's beyond its intended use, the defense might argue that you didn't follow the manufacturer's instructions, thus distancing themselves from legal responsibility for your injury.
What Damages Are Available in Product Liability Lawsuits?
Damages covered in a product liability lawsuit vary depending on the nature of the injury. Here are a few examples of damages that may be covered after winning a product liability claim.
Medical expenses include hospital bills, surgery costs, rehabilitation, counseling, therapy, among others. To prove that you incurred such costs, you'll be required to provide evidence in the form of receipts, witness statements, or any other qualifying documents as per your attorney's instructions.
You may be compensated for the time you can no longer work due to the injury. To receive this compensation, you'll be required to provide evidence of your earnings in the form of pay stubs, bank statements if you're self-employed, a letter from your employer confirming that you missed work due to the injuries, and any other qualifying document.
Morgan & Morgan attorneys can help you prove the loss of wages in a product liability case, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
Pain and Suffering
Product liability cases usually involve a lot of pain and suffering. But how do you prove to the jury or defendant that you actually endured such pain? Remember, pain manifests itself in various forms, such as physical, emotional, mental, and so forth. Speaking to a Morgan & Morgan attorney can help establish the extent of pain and suffering you've endured due to the injury. The attorney will then include this in the list of damages you deserve compensation for.
If you're filing a product liability lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who died after interacting with that particular product, you may still be eligible for compensation. The damages covered by this lawsuit include medical expenses incurred before death, funeral expenses, loss of the deceased person's expected income, including loss of care and guidance.
How a Morgan & Morgan Product Liability Attorney Can Help
At Morgan & Morgan, we understand the pain and suffering caused by defective products. Some of these products are unfit to leave the production house, but that doesn't stop some manufacturers and distributors from selling them.
If you or your loved one has suffered injury from a defective product, a Morgan & Morgan product liability lawyer can help create the best legal strategy to fight for your rights in and out of court. Our attorneys will evaluate your case, gather the required evidence to prove your injury, and then initiate the litigation process with the other party.
If they don't claim responsibility for your injury, we'll take the matter to court and put up a fierce fight to ensure you get compensated. And, the best part of it all is you don't need to pay us anything unless we win the case.
Contact Morgan & Morgan at 877-969-3183 or fill out our contact form today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to begin your journey to recovery and total compensation!