When you purchase a product, you expect that it will work properly and not injure you or a loved one. However, almost any product has the potential to cause significant injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 200-300 product recalls are issued each year. Additionally, dangerous and defective products are responsible for thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year.
Product defects occur across the board, in products ranging from children’s toys to automobile parts to medications. Products must be designed and manufactured properly and safely. Products must have labels to warn consumers of potential hazards. Products must be inspected and tested to ensure that they live up to the warranties promised. Each state has laws designed to protect consumers from manufacturers of defective products.
If you have been injured because of a default or a flaw in a product, it’s important to contact a Louisiana product liability attorney at Lambert, Zainey, Smith & Soso. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages you’ve suffered.
What Is the Difference Between Product Liability and Personal Injury Lawsuits?
If your car is hit by another vehicle or your neighbor’s dog attacked your child, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. These claims are governed by a state’s personal injury laws. In order to recover compensation, you would need to prove that negligence by the other party caused your injuries.
On the other hand, if a bedroom dresser tips over by itself on your child due to a defect in the design, you may be entitled to compensation under product liability laws. In a product liability claim, the principle of strict liability applies. That means you do not need to prove that someone was negligent. You only need to prove:
- The product had a defect of some kind.
- You were using the product for the purpose it was intended.
- You were injured.
- The product defect caused your injury.
Defective Product Recalls: What You Should Do If You Are Hurt By a Recalled Product
When a manufacturer releases a product, it must undergo testing and certifications procedures by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The essence of these tests is to determine if there are any defects with a particular product before it gets released into the market. If there is a malfunction, the manufacturer cannot be allowed to sell that specific product. Notably, the CPSC is not the only body that oversees this procedure. For instance, where cosmetics are involved, that responsibility falls to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Unfortunately, while many tests can be conducted, a manufacturing error may not be found until the product in question is circulated far and wide. As more and more people start to use the product, the error will become noticeable. If it reaches a point when it potentially causes harm to a number of people, the CPSC or FDA may issue a recall for a defective and dangerous product.
If you have been hurt by a defective product and a recall is issued, you will either receive a notification from the manufacturer or see on the news about the issue. Depending on the recall, you may be requested to return the product where you purchased it for a refund, or you could get a replacement part that can be installed to address the issue. If you do not fix a problem when the recall is issued, and you later get injured because of that issue, it may be more difficult to recover compensation through a product liability claim.
Types of Products That May be Recalled
Most products can be found with malfunctions caused by either a design or manufacturing error, but the following are the standard products that are recalled:
- Kids toys
- Protective tools
- Power tools
- Food and drugs
Three Types of Product Liability Cases
Product liability cases are classified into three categories, and they include:
1. Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings
Plaintiffs in product liability cases often claim that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions about the product’s proper use. Failure-to-warn claims show a product is dangerous in a way unobvious to the user.
Sometimes a product can be manufactured with some flaws. Still, the manufacturer fails to warn the public about its potential damages, which is referred to as a marketing defect. Failure to provide sufficient information about a product to warn the consumer falls under this category. For example, if a seller sells a cooking pot without a protective handle and the consumer cooks with it, and the handle scalds them, it may be a marketing defect. The manufacturer should have at least included a warning that the handle heats up when used.
2. Manufacturing Defects
This type of defect claim alleges that the injury-causing product was flawed because of an error in its creation that caused the product to deviate from all other similarly produced items.
The most common product liability cases involve products that were manufactured with a particular defect. Some examples of defects in manufacturing include:
- A swing set with a cracked chain
- A moped without brake pads
- A batch of contaminated cough syrup
In all of these cases, any injury from the product results from a manufacturing defect, and the person who suffered the injury should be compensated. They are grounds for a legal claim with the assistance of a Louisiana product liability attorney.
3. Defects in the Design
This claim alleges that an entire line of products is inherently dangerous, even if the injury-causing product was made according to the manufacturer’s design specifications.
Design defects are not too common. They are errors in the actual product design that fails to get fixed before being released to the public. These are built-in flaws that the manufacturer is responsible for fixing.
Who is Potentially Liable for the Injuries From a Defective Product?
Who can be held responsible in a product liability claim depends on several factors, but in most cases, the liability falls to one of the following:
- The product designer
- The product manufacturer
- The product seller
At Lambert, Zainey, Smith & Soso, our defective product lawyers can advise you on the right parties to hold accountable. We understand the tactics companies use against defective product claims and know how to build a solid case.
How to File a Product Liability Claim
If you or your loved one was injured due to a defective or malfunctioning product, that injury should be first documented. You can do that by consulting with your physician. In situations where an injury requires an urgent response, call 9-1-1 and have an ambulance take you to the emergency room. All of the information about your injury should be documented in the doctor’s medical report. During the process, try to take videos or photos of whatever happened immediately to better support your claim.
Once you have documented everything and the defect has been established, contact an attorney who can help you present the burden of proof to the manufacturer.
Contact A Louisiana Product Liability Attorney
For over 35 years, Lambert, Zainey, Smith & Soso has prosecuted claims on behalf of individuals who were injured by defective products, including defective tires that caused accidents, electrical outlets that caused fires, drywall that contaminated entire homes, and furnaces that poisoned families.
If a product has harmed you or your family, call an experienced product liability attorney in Louisiana at Lambert, Zainey, Smith & Soso. In addition to preserving your own rights, you may be preventing the same injury from happening to another consumer using that product.