When you purchase or use a product, you have a reasonable expectation that you will be able to do so safely, and that the product will be free from defects and will live up to any claims made by the manufacturer. If a defective product causes you injury or damages your property, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, supplier, or retailer of the defective product. Product liability law protects the consumer and upholds the responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to make sure the products in the marketplace are safe and free from defects.
If you are injured by an unsafe product, the defect may come from its design, manufacture, or even marketing. You may have a claim on the basis of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. The product liability attorneys at Lawter & Associates, PLLC will evaluate your claim, determine the parties responsible for the defective product and your injuries, and hold those parties accountable.
Q: In terms of product liability cases, what is a “defective product?”
A: A product that does damage or injures someone as a result of a flaw or defect in the product, its labeling, or its use is a defective product. The designer, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of a defective product may be sued in a product liability case.
Q: What kinds of defects can result in products liability claim?
A: Consumers can bring product liability suits for defects in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of a product.
A defective product design means that the design product is inherently unsafe and unreasonably dangerous. Defective design can apply to the product as well as the packaging; for example, medication which should be sold in a childproof container, but is not, is considered to have defective design. If a child is injured or killed as a result of taking the medication, and this could have been reasonably avoided with proper packaging, the parents would have a valid product liability case.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a well-designed product becomes unsafe as a result of the way it was made. For example, using unsafe materials to make the product could result in product liability.
A marketing defect occurs when a product is well-designed and has no manufacturing flaws, but does not include proper warnings and instructions for safe use of the product.
Q: Who is responsible if I am injured by a defective product?
A: Many people or entities may share the responsibility in a products liability case. The manufacturer, retailer, distributor, and others may be liable. An experienced product liability attorney can help you determine all parties responsible for your injury. In a defective products case, only strict liability, rather than negligence, must be proven. Strict liability means you need only prove that the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury, not that the responsible party was negligent or at fault. However, you may also be able to prove negligence.
Q: What if I was injured using a product in a way that it was not intended?
A: A manufacturer is obligated to anticipate foreseeable misuse of its products and to warn consumers against possible dangers when using a product in a way not intended. If the misuse is foreseeable and the manufacturer failed to warn consumers, you may still have a valid products liability case. However, if the manner in which you used the product was not reasonably foreseeable, the manufacturer may not be liable for your injury.
Q: What do I do if I feel I have a product liability case because of a defective product?
A: Document everything that happened with the use of the product and the resulting damage or injuries. Record the details of what occurred, statements by any witnesses, a description of your injuries and pain, time off work, and mileage for appointments resulting from the accident. Keep copies of your medical records and receipts for any property damage. Contact an attorney familiar with products liability law. In addition to the documentation already listed, your attorney may also ask you for the product and any manuals or instructional materials that came with it. If you were injured or your property was damaged by a defective product, contact the product liability lawyers at Lawter & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.