Thousands of defective products with the potential to injure or kill consumers are sold each year. There was a time when consumers had no remedy when they were injured by a dangerous or defective product; the law made it the responsibility of consumers to make sure the products they purchased were safe. Today, however, when a defective product causes injury or death, the affected consumer or his loved ones may have a defective products liability claim against any of the parties in manufacturing chain, including the component parts manufacturer, the assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner.
Types of Product Liability Claims
The three most common defects which give rise to product liability claims are:
- Manufacturing Defects – When a product is defective as a result of how it was manufactured, a plaintiff may have a manufacturing defects claim;
- Design Defects – Liability may arise under this theory if a product is harmful or dangerous as a result of a mistake in how it was designed. This ground may be raised when the product is used as intended or when it is used in a reasonably foreseeable manner; and
- Marketing Defects – A plaintiff may advance a marketing defect theory where there is evidence that the product's instructions failed to adequately instruct him on the proper and safe use of the product, where the product's safety warnings don't adequately inform the consumer of the dangers and risks associated with using the product, where advertisements for the product misled the plaintiff about the safety and effectiveness of the product.
A plaintiff may bring a product liabilities case on any of these grounds. State law may also allow a plaintiff to bring suit based on other grounds. Whatever the basis for the lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate a nexis between the dangerous product and liability of the manufacturer based on at least one of the following theories:
- Breach of Warranty
- Strict Product Liability
Protection of Consumers
Products must generally meet the reasonable or ordinary expectations of consumers. Moreover, manufacturers and sellers have a legal duty to inform consumers of the risks and dangers associated with using products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal regulatory agency charged with the protection of consumer from dangerous and defective products and reducing the risk of injuries to and death of consumers as a result of defective products.
In recent months, the CPSC has issued warnings on products ranging from snowmobiles to backpack leaf blowers to strollers to cheese and sauce dispensers. However, the bounds of product of liability law has been stretched in recent years and applied to gas, pets, real estate, and writings such as navigational charts.
Getting Legal Help
A product liability lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid defective products liability claim. If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of a defective or dangerous product, you must seek legal advice immediately because state and federal statute of limitations laws limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.