Companies that manufacture, distribute and sell products to the public have a responsibility to ensure that those products are safe to use and free from defects which could cause harm.
However, even with today's tightened consumer protection and safety laws, thousands of people are injured each year due to defective or poorly designed products. Product liability holds the manufacturer or vendor of goods responsible for injuries caused by the defective merchandise they have sold, distributed or manufactured.
Product liability can typically be based on 1 or more of 4 different theories:
- Negligence – this is the absence of or failure to exercise reasonable, ordinary care. If a manufacturer fails to take reasonable care in the production, design or assembly of a product that causes harm, they can be held liable for that negligence.
- Breach of warranty – this is the failure of a seller of a product to fulfill the terms of a promise, claim or representation made regarding the quality or type of product they are selling.
- Misrepresentation – advertising or promotion that gives consumers false security about the safety of a product or that intentionally draws away from its hazards of use. This also means the intentional concealment of the potential hazards of a product.
- Strict liability – this is not dependent on the degree of carefulness by the manufacturer, distributor or seller. They are liable when a product is shown to be defective. The degree of care that was exercised by the manufacturer or seller is irrelevant. If the product caused harm, they will be liable for it.
Injuries suffered as a result of a defective product can be mild or they can be catastrophic. In certain cases, such as with drugs or medical devices, the injuries are not always present right away. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to receive compensation for those injuries. You need an aggressive, skilled attorney to steer you through the complexities of product liability litigation.
At the office of Brad Bradshaw, MD, JD, LC, we have been helping injury victims for over 20 years get the medical care and compensation they deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
What You Should Do If You Have Been Injured by a Defective Product
The most important aspect of any product liability claim is the ability to prove the product was defective and dangerous. This can be hard to do without the original product that caused the harm or injury. DO NOT throw away or destroy the product. DO NOT alter the product in any way, and DO NOT return or exchange the product.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a list of all manufacturer recalls of products. This list is available online at www.cpsc.gov. You should check to see if the manufacturer has issued a recall of the product.
You should contact the manufacturer and seller of the product and alert them to the defect or dangerous condition. DO NOT return the defective product to the manufacturer or seller.
There are strict time limits in which a claim for damages and personal injury can be brought against a negligent party. These time limits are often called "Statute of Limitations". This means that after the incident you only have a certain amount of time in which to file a lawsuit. After that time, your right to file a claim is waived. These statutes vary from state to state, and can vary depending on the circumstances of the claim. If you believe you may have a potential claim, you should seek the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.