When you purchase products, you trust that they are safe for use and won't cause harm. However, some items on the market are defective and pose serious health risks to consumers. Defective products can range from faulty car parts to dangerous baby products and even contaminated food.
This blog post aims to educate and inform readers about the legal implications of defective products, the types of defects that can cause injury, and the steps you can take to protect your rights if you're ever injured due to a defective product.
Defective Product Categories
A product is defective if it fails to meet consumer expectations when used as intended.
Defects can be categorized into three main types, which include the following:
- Design defects: Design defects refer to flaws or inadequacies in a product's initial design, making it inherently unsafe for its intended purpose. These defects are present even before the product is manufactured. Design defects can affect various products, including vehicles, household appliances, and medical devices.
- Manufacturing defects: Manufacturing defects occur during production and can affect only a portion of the products rather than the entire line. These defects can result from errors, deviations, or substandard practices during assembly or fabrication.
- Marketing defects: Marketing defects occur when a product's marketing, such as labeling or instructions, fails to provide adequate warnings about potential risks. Insufficient or misleading information can prevent consumers from being aware of the dangers associated with using the product.
How Defects Can Cause Injury
Faulty merchandise can cause injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. How this harm can arise depends on the product and type of defect.
Below are examples of how flawed products could hurt consumers:
- Examples of design defects
- Insufficient safety features in automobiles could fail to adequately protect occupants during accidents.
- Defective medical implants could have a high risk of failure or complications due to their design.
- Children's toys with small detachable parts can pose a choking hazard.
- Examples of manufacturing defects
- A batch of pharmaceutical drugs could be contaminated during manufacturing, causing adverse reactions.
- Faulty wiring in electrical appliances can pose a fire hazard.
- Misaligned or missing components in machinery can lead to malfunctions and accidents.
- Examples of marketing defects
- Prescription medications could come without proper warning labels disclosing potential side effects or drug interactions.
- Household cleaning products may lack clear instructions for safe usage and handling.
- Food products could fail to disclose allergens, posing a risk to consumers with specific dietary restrictions.
The Legal Implications of Defective Products
Product liability laws exist to protect consumers and hold manufacturers, distributors, and sellers accountable for the harm caused by their defective products.
Generally, those bringing defective product claims do so under the theory of strict liability or negligence. Under strict liability, the injured party does not have to prove negligence on the manufacturer's part. Instead, they must demonstrate that the product was defective and caused their injuries.
Negligence claims require establishing that the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care in the product's design, manufacturing, or marketing. It involves demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty of care, directly resulting in the consumer's injuries.
If a defective product has injured you, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Steps to Take If Injured
Your health and well-being should be your top priority. If you sustain an injury from a defective product, it's crucial to seek prompt medical attention, even if the injury initially appears minor.
Preserving evidence is crucial in establishing your claim and proving the product's defectiveness.
Take the following steps to preserve evidence:
- Keep the product: Safely store the defective product in a secure location. Do not attempt to fix or modify it; altering the product could compromise its integrity and harm your case.
- Document packaging and instructions: Keep the original packaging, labels, and instructions with the product. These can indicate the product's origin, manufacturer, and intended use.
- Save receipts and proof of purchase: Retain any receipts or proof of purchase to establish your ownership of the product and the date of purchase.
- Take photos: Photograph the product, your injuries, and any property damage caused by the defect. Visual evidence can significantly strengthen your case.
- Gather witness information: If there were any witnesses to the incident or people who can attest to the product's defectiveness, obtain their contact information. Witness testimonies can provide valuable support for your claim.
Navigating a defective product case requires legal insight and knowledge of product liability laws. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to understanding your rights, assessing the strength of your case, and pursuing the appropriate legal action.
A lawyer who handles product liability can guide you through the legal process, communicate with the responsible parties and insurance companies, and advocate for your rights and interests.
During your consultation with an attorney, discuss your situation in detail. Provide them with all relevant information, including documentation of your injuries, medical records, and preserved evidence. Based on the facts of your case, your attorney can evaluate the potential legal options available, such as pursuing a product liability claim, negotiating a settlement, or filing a lawsuit.
If your attorney determines that you have a valid claim, they can guide you through the process of filing a complaint or lawsuit against the responsible parties. They can handle the necessary paperwork, gather additional evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.
Your attorney can also communicate and negotiate with the opposing parties to seek a fair settlement. They can prepare to litigate your case in court if the matter can’t be resolved outside of the courtroom.
Contact Our Team Today
Defective products can have severe consequences, but by staying informed and taking the necessary steps, you can protect your rights.
At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., we are dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients in Norman. If you have been a victim of a defective product, please contact us at (866) 590-8173.