For those who have been injured or suffered other damages because of a product, whether it is a mechanical device, household item or pharmaceutical, a product liability case may be in order. Product liability claims are an option when someone:
● is injured;
● suffered losses;
● the product is defective;
● the defect may have been responsible for the injury or loss
● the product was being used as intended.
When these things occur, the manufacturer may be liable for damages arising from the use of the defective products.
Product liability cases are not the same as premises cases. If someone is injured on an amusement park ride because the brakes failed, that would be considered a product liability case. However, if the person is injured due to a slip and fall while getting into the ride, that is a premises case with different requirements. You may learn more about premises cases on our Premises Liability page.
Anyone who is injured due to a product defect may be eligible for a product liability claim, even if they did not purchase the item themselves, and often, the person injured does not have to prove negligence. In most cases, if the product is found to be defective and the defect caused the injury, the person who was injured may sue for damages as long as they were not using the product in a way that it was not intended to be used.
Funk & Associates has handled consumer liability claims for many different products, including:
● Garage door openers
● Contaminated food products
● Power tools and saws
● Exploding batteries
● Firework malfunctions
● Auto defects
● Faulty airbags
● Amusement park rides
● Electronics resulting in fire
● Many more products that have caused injuries
In some cases, negligence or breach of warranty can be used as a claim for damages under product liability. When it can be proven that a company did not test their product adequately, or directions for using the product were not clear, the person who was injured may have a claim against the company for negligence. In addition, if a manufacturer implies a warranty that a product is fit for use and free from defect, and the product later proves to be defective, a product liability claim may be in order. However, in order to succeed with a negligence or breach of warranty lawsuit, the plaintiff must show that the product was defective when it left control of the defendant. In other words, a person may not sue a manufacturer for a defect that occurred in the retail store where the person who was injured purchased the item.
Manufacturers and sellers are expected to provide adequate warning about possible dangers and to provide clear instructions for use. This is especially true for pharmaceuticals. Failure to provide such information can cause a normally harmless product to become deadly. For example, household laundry detergent is relatively harmless, yet there are warnings on the bottle regarding injuries to eyes and other possible health hazards, including poisoning. If a manufacturer fails to include those warnings and an injury occurs, a product liability claim may be in order.
There are occasions when a product may be incorrectly designed. An improperly designed automobile gas tank could rupture on impact causing an explosion. A ladder may have faulty connections that could result in a person falling if the ladder should fail. These are examples of a product that is incorrectly designed or poorly constructed.
Whenever items are purchased that could lead to injury, such as automobile parts, household repair items and other items which commonly cause injury, it is critical to retain the receipt and any paperwork that comes with the product that indicates how the product is meant to be used. This documentation can be important to the success of a product liability case. One of the things our Austin personal injury law firm does when we accept a case is to secure the product that caused the injury in a climate controlled warehouse, and establish a chain-of-custody for the product so movement from one location to another can be documented.
For a list of some of the most recent auto recalls, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration page. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury because of a product or pharmaceutical, contact Funk & Associates today.
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