Everything You Need to Know About Product Liability

From cancer-causing tobacco products to vehicular gas tank explosions, faulty products have the potential to cause severe damage.

In fact, in 2019, the median settlement amount for product liability cases was nearly $7.5 million.

If you’ve recently suffered an injury due to a defective product, you’re probably wondering what kind of compensation you may be entitled to. Your first step should be to ensure your physical health is taken care of, so be sure to see a medical professional to properly assess, care for, and document your injuries. You’ll then want to contact a product liability lawyer to be sure your case is settled fairly.

Erie Injury has a team of lawyers ready to help you take on your product liability case. In this post, we’ll define product liability, look at the various kinds of claims, and highlight what you can expect throughout the process.

What is Product Liability?

Product liability is the legal liability a manufacturer, distributor, or anyone else in the product supply chain incurs for producing and/or selling a faulty product. Possible actors include designers, suppliers and manufacturers of parts, individuals and businesses involved in product assembly, wholesalers, and retail owners.

The consequences of delivering unsafe products can be severe, putting consumers at risk of undue harm. Though damages vary on a case-by-case basis, there are a few common injuries that are often the result of a defective product, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Poisoning
  • Lacerations

If you’ve suffered any of these or other injuries and believe it resulted from a damaged or unsafe product, contact a product liability lawyer immediately. You may have been using a product that was designed, manufactured, or labeled incorrectly and could be eligible for compensation.

Design Defect Claim

A design defect claim alleges that a product was designed in a way that made it unsafe for use or otherwise ineffective. Typically, a design defect means that the product is considered dangerous when it cannot be used as intended without causing harm.

Common examples of design defects include:

  • Toys made for children with small parts that could easily be detached and swallowed
  • Vehicles with faulty airbags, brakes, or gas tanks
  • Electrical products that electrocute the user

Of course, not all faulty products are subject to product liability laws. User errors can occur, which is why product liability law demands the plaintiff—the party filing the lawsuit—prove the product malfunctioned as a result of a design flaw. For this reason, you’ll want to work with a lawyer to be sure your case is handled appropriately. 

Manufacturing Defect Claim

Unlike design defects, manufacturing defect claims assert that improper manufacturing of a product caused harm. These types of lawsuits usually happen when there are errors in production or quality control.

Manufacturing defects may occur when:

  • The wrong material was used during the product construction phase
  • Broken pieces and parts were built into the product
  • Components and parts were unintentionally left out of the manufacturing process

A manufacturing defect claim is typically a straightforward case. Reason being, the cause of the harm can generally be traced or seen. However, if the product comes to further damage due to the initial flaw, it may be harder to prove. Contact a lawyer to help you properly document the issue and resulting damages.

Warning or Labeling Defect Claim

Products that are designed and manufactured correctly but do not adequately warn users about the potential dangers of use could be subject to labeling defect claims. In fact, in 2002, a major tobacco company was sued for $28 billion after a woman who used their products was diagnosed with lung cancer. Because the company didn’t label its products with a carcinogens warning, the suit was settled in favor of the claimant.

Keep in mind, manufacturers should be doing the necessary research to ensure their products are not unsafe for consumers to use. That said, they cannot claim that they “didn’t know” their product might cause harm and therefore didn’t label it as such. Before reporting a labeling defect, be sure to contact a lawyer so the manufacturer can’t talk you out of your claim.

File a Defective Product Report

When you contact a manufacturer or seller about a defective product, they’ll likely ask you to immediately return the product to them so they may further investigate. Though it sounds like a reasonable ask, it’s probably a tactic to get the evidence out of your hands and into theirs.

If you’ve suffered an injury or other damages due to a defective product, contact a lawyer immediately. They’ll liaise between you and the manufacturer or retailer to settle your case fairly.

Ensure Your Product Liability Case is Settled with You in Mind

Product liability cases can be challenging to navigate. Depending on the type of product and claim, you might be responsible for showing evidence of the defect. Contact a product liability lawyer today to ensure your case is handled correctly, and your damages are covered in full.

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