“Airlines Ground Plane Model After Crashes.” “Weed Killer Determined Cause of Couple’s Cancer.”
These are just two headlines resulting lately from normal consumer products that yielded catastrophe. As consumers, we assume the products we purchase are reasonably safe and as advertised. However, sometimes the products we buy don’t live up to our expectations. Physical injury is unfortunately the most common injury associated with defective products. In some cases, products have caused consumers grave harm. Otherwise, some experiences are simply annoying and costly, yet consumers still suffer financially from defective products. Manufacturers that are falsely advertising or producing defective products should be held accountable.
What is a Defective Product?
A defective product is defined as any product that is unreasonably dangerous when it is being used for its intended purpose without any modifications or interference. More specifically, a defective product is one that causes injury to a person due to a design defect, a manufacturer defect, or a marketing defect. It is a consumable, commercially produced and distributed good that is (1) unfit for its intended use, (2) dangerous or harmful for normal use, (3) does not carry adequate instructions for its use, or (4) is inherently dangerous due to defective design, assembly, or manufacture.
Defective products can include anything from foods, to medical devices, to skateboards. Defects in the design or manufacture of automobiles, medicinal drugs, sporting equipment, furniture, electrical appliances, nursery products and children’s toys, tools, industrial and farm machinery, and an array of other products injure or even kill unwary consumers.
Legal Remedies for Defective Products
The law provides many remedies for the effects of perilous consumer products, depending on the situation. The two main legal theories for product defect cases are strict liability and negligence :
- Strict Liability: Manufacturers are “strictly” liable for product defects occurring during the manufacturing process, regardless of the manufacturer’s level of care. In other words, the plaintiff is not compelled to prove negligence in order to prevail in a lawsuit against a manufacturer for injuries caused by a dangerous product, as long as the defect resulted from a manufacturing error.
- Negligence: Plaintiffs may collect damages from a liable defendant (i.e. the manufacturer and/or retailer) if it can be proven that the manufacturer breached a duty owed to a plaintiff, that this breach caused an injury, and that the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result. For example, an automobile’s new driver assist feature that wasn’t tested properly, causing a serious traffic accident, would most likely result in the plaintiff receiving a monetary award for damages.
What To Do If You Suspect A Product Is Defective
Defective products can be reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC. The CPSC is a federal watchdog agency that investigates and reports when products are unsafe. Reporting a product defect can help get dangerous products out of the hands of consumers. If you have been injured by a defective product, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn about the possibility of legal remedies. Certain defective products may also be part of a class action lawsuit.