We've all purchased a product that just didn't work quite the way it should, but when that product causes an accident that results in injury or death, someone needs to be held responsible, especially since that's probably not the only defective product.
This area of personal injury is called product liability. There are three types of product liability claims. Fortunately, every state has pretty much the same laws, so it's easy to understand the basics, even if it's not easy to try the case.
Before we jump into the basic types, you should know that in order to actually have a claim, you have to prove more than that the product was defective, but that the defect actually caused you injury. For example, if a bike is manufactured with faulty breaks, that has to have been the cause of your accident. If your accident was caused because you hit a pothole and flipped over, you may not have a claim unless somehow working breaks would've allowed you to prevent the accident.
Type 1: Manufacturing Defects
A manufacturing defect is one that occurs at the facility where it was made. In this scenario, there's nothing inherently defective about the product, but a corner was cut, a safety measure not adhered to or any other error on the part of the manufacturer or its employees that causes the product to malfunction.
Examples of a manufacturing defects include:
- A child safety seat shipped with an incompletely assembled latching mechanism.
- A vehicle shipped with a faulty brake line.
- Aspirin shipped with the wrong label indicating a lower dosage than the bottle contains.
What causes a manufacturing defect is dependent on the type of product in question.
Type 2: Design Defects
In this case, the manufacturer has done everything to the company's specifications, but the design of the product is inherently defective, meaning that every single product manufactured would be defective through no fault of the manufacturer.
Examples of design defects include:
- The use of highly flammable fabrics in children's clothing.
- A fan designed with guard gaps that too easily allow fingers to touch the blades.
- A vehicle that tends to flip during turns or evasive maneuvers at normal speeds.
In order to have a claim, the defective design itself must be responsible for your injury. Just because you have a car that tends to flip doesn't mean the company that designed it is responsible if you flip your car after failing to break and hitting a vehicle in front of you.
Type 3: Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions
A company can also be held liable if they fail to provide adequate warnings on a product or give proper instructions. For example, if it's known that a fan's blades are far enough apart to allow fingers through, but all other fans on the market have the same issue, if one brand fails to warn you that sticking your fingers through the guard can cause injury, they may be liable for your injury.
Examples of failing to warn include:
- An allergy medication that fails to warn consumers that it can have dangerous side effects when taken with another drug, like aspirin or acetaminophen, or with certain heart medications.
- A hairdryer than fails to warn consumers that it can overheat and cause injury if left on for longer than a certain amount of time.
- A corrosive home improvement product that fails to instruct consumers to wear gloves, despite the fact that it can cause serious injury if it touches the skin.
A company isn't required to warn you of every eventuality or possible danger, so if you cut yourself with a knife because you were cutting a pumpkin (which is notoriously difficult to cut and can be dangerous), the knife manufacturer isn't required to have told you how difficult cutting a pumpkin is or that you can cut yourself with a knife.
Which Type of Claim Do I Have?
It depends on the circumstances and frequently that has to be researched. If you're injured because a medicine you take has something dangerous in it, it must be determined whether or not that dangerous product was there because the creator of the product included it, whether it was added by accident at the factory, or whether it was simply the result of a known interaction with another medication you take or a condition you have.
If you've been the victim of a defective product, contact or call the Orlando wrongful death lawyers at Draper Law Office at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We'll go over the details of your case to help you determine what type of product liability claim you have and what the next steps should be.