Examples of the types of Products Liability cases that we have handled in the past:
- Tires & Wheels
- Automotive Defects
- SUV Rollovers
ATTENTION: If you think you may be been injured by a defective product, please preserve the allegedly defective product. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! If the item is lost and the necessary testing cannot be performed, you may be left with no proof of the product's defect and the possibility of a successful lawsuit could be wiped out.
- Ford Motor Company no longer produces cars that explode into a ball of flames when struck from behind.
- Work places keep the proper guards on their punch presses so that these machines aren’t capable of maiming and disfiguring.
- Life-threatening prescription drugs and medical devices have been removed from the market and the industry exercises more caution before introducing new devices.
- Asbestos is no longer used as an insulator, infants' toys are safer and, in general, manufacturers are simply producing safer products.
What has motivated manufacturers? Various factors, including federal and state agencies and regulations; but, perhaps the greatest incentive has been products liability lawsuits. Because of the consumer's right to personally enforce the law through his or her decision to bring a products liability lawsuit, manufacturers know that if they create a product that is unreasonably dangerous, they subject themselves to serious liability.
Starting a Product Liability Suit
When instituting a products liability action, the plaintiff should charge not only the manufacturer but all other entities responsible for placing the unreasonably dangerous article into the marketplace. Other responsible parties may include distributors, retailers, repairers, assemblers, component suppliers and testing laboratories.
An injury from a product is not a justification for suing the manufacturer. Rather, the consumer must be able to legitimately allege that the product was "defective", a legal term meaning essentially, that the product was unreasonably dangerous.
It should be noted that a product can also be unreasonably dangerous if it is absent appropriate warnings. If a product could reasonably have been designed with a higher degree of safety, a proper warning will not necessarily convert the unreasonably dangerous product into a safe, non-defective one. An appropriate warning can transform certain dangerous products into reasonably safe ones. To be effective, the warning must be thorough and conspicuous and it must warn the consumer of the magnitude of the risk involved in failing to abide by the product's warning instructions.
Products liability lawsuits include negligence theories, strict liability theories and breach of warranty theories. Each of these theories can be applied to all of the above categories of products liability actions.
A negligence theory requires the plaintiff to prove four elements.
1. It must be shown that the defendant owed a duty to the consumer.
2. The manufacturer also has a duty in making its product, to guard against injuries likely to result from reasonably foreseeable misuse of the product.
3. The plaintiff must also show that the manufacturer breached its duty, (by applying design defect, manufacturing defect or failure to warn theories).
4. The plaintiff need also prove he or she was injured and that the defendant's breach caused the injury.
The injured plaintiff need not show knowledge or fault on the manufacturer's part. The plaintiff must show only that the product was sold or distributed by a defendant, and that the product was unreasonably dangerous at the time it left the defendant's hands. "Strict liability", however, does not mean "absolute liability". Simply because a person is injured, he or she cannot assert strict liability and automatically recover. The injured consumer still must prove his or her right to compensation by showing that the unreasonably dangerous condition of the product was what actually caused the injuries sustained.
Breach of Warranty
Every product comes with an implied warranty that it is safe for its intended use. A defective product that causes injury was not safe for its intended use which can constitute a breach of warranty. A seller or manufacturer cannot simply disclaim such a warranty but will be held responsible if its product is deemed defective.
We have experience handling complex product liability actions against product designers, manufacturers and distributors.