Product Liability

Each year, thousands of people are hurt by dangerous products that reach the market despite consumer protection laws and advanced manufacturing techniques. Put simply, some companies are not as careful as they should be when bringing products (like medical devices, home appliances, automobiles, and beauty products) to the market.

Each year, thousands of people are hurt by dangerous products that reach the market despite consumer protection laws and advanced manufacturing techniques.  Put simply, some companies are not as careful as they should be when bringing products (like medical devices, home appliances, automobiles, and beauty products) to the market.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC ) is the government agency tasked with protecting consumers from bad merchandise.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission is constantly conducting research on potential product hazards to reduce injuries and deaths caused by defective goods.  The following Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics give a glimpse into just how big of a problem faulty product can be.

  1. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer products cause more than $1 trillion in damage yearly.  
  1. Over the last 5 years, the CPSC has been involved in recalling 473 products, involving 116 million recalled items.  
  2. The CPSC estimates that between 2009-2011, fires caused by faulty products resulted in 2,260 deaths and $6.68 billion in property loss.  Cooking equipment was the greatest cause of these fires.
  1. In 2013, there were more than 5 million consumer product-related injuries that sent adults between 25 and 64 years of age to the emergency room. There were nearly 2 million injuries to people age 65 and older.
  1. The most common hazards associated with children’s products include high quantities of lead in toys, high levels of phosphates in products, and toys that pose a choking hazard. 

There are three main types of product liability claims.

  1. Design Defect.
  2. Manufacturing Defect
  3. Marketing or Advertising Defect. 

A design defect occurs before a product is manufactured.  For example, a company may design a washing machine that has a defect in the latch mechanism of its door.  The problem is in the way the engineer originally designed the latch mechanism.  If the latch mechanism injures consumers, the company may be found liable for the defect in the washing machine.

A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is being assembled and before it is sold.  If a company manufacturers 10,000 riding lawnmowers, a certain number of the lawnmowers might have a manufacturing defect that causes the seat to eject its operator during use.  In the event of a manufacturing defect, not all of the products that a manufacturer produces will be defective.  Just a few might have a defect that hurts consumers.  If the manufacturing techniques of a company cause defects in products that harm consumers, the manufacturer might be held liable for the consumers’ injuries and other losses.

In the event of a manufacturing defect or advertising defect, a company may be found liable for (1) advertising a product for a purpose for which it was unsuitable, or (2) failing to include proper instructions or warnings with the product. 

When a defective product causes an accident, many different parties in the distribution chain could be held liable. Defendants who could potentially be liable include, the designer and manufacturer of the product, parties that install or assemble all or part of the product, the product distributor, or the retailer. 

If you’ve been hurt by a product and a personal injury claim is appropriate, you can trust in our years of experience with these difficult cases to help you navigate through this difficult process to a fantastic result.

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