A Beginner’s Guide to Product Liability Claims

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When companies manufacture unsafe products, the public is placed in danger. Every year these products result in preventable injuries or death. But for those who feel that a dangerous product has victimized them or a loved one, there is help available. This article will look at product liability and provide the next steps for those injured by defective consumer items.

Contact an Attorney

While a qualified and licensed attorney is the best possible resource to ensure the interest of anyone injured by an unsafe product, it’s a good idea to do some research about product liability claims to set appropriate expectations. And while no two cases are alike, the research will provide context for outcomes with similar circumstances. 

Defectively designed products have an error or defect in the actual plan or architecture of the item. Examples of defective design include things like a bicycle seat that does not fit the bike frame properly and results in a fall or a truck that is too top-heavy by design and can easily tip over when the driver turns a corner. In these examples, the products are unsafe for the designed purpose. 

With manufacturing defects, the problem is not with the product’s design but the actual making of the product. An example of this type of product liability would be a car tire made with inferior rubber that explodes when it comes into contact with hot asphalt. Another example of a manufacturing defect would be a cell phone battery that explodes when it gets too warm due to faulty components inside the battery. 

The third large category of product liability has to do with vague instructions and warnings regarding product use. When consumers are not provided the information needed for safe operation, this can lead to tragic results. Lack of information regarding side effects for medications is covered in this category. This area would also include not warning consumers of the dangers of placing a frozen turkey in the hot oil of a turkey fryer.

Possible Complications

Determining which area of product liability a particular case falls under can be complicated. For example, if a consumer goes to a coffee shop and buys a cup of coffee and is then burned by the coffee, this situation could involve more than one area of product liability. The design of the coffee cup lid could have been faulty and allowed the hot liquid to come into contact with the skin. The manufacturer of the coffee cup could have used substandard materials in the construction of the cup. Maybe the consumer was not adequately warned about the hot beverage and suffered burns.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with protecting consumers from unsafe products. This regulatory commission was established back in 1972 to reduce death and injuries for consumers from unsafe and dangerous products. The CPSC requires businesses to submit data regarding safety testing for new products before the products are available for retail sale.

The CPSC website maintains a list of all recalls for unsafe products searchable by both date and manufacturer. It is an excellent resource for consumers to check before purchasing an item, mainly if the article is intended to be used by a member of a vulnerable population. 

The importance of sound legal advice cannot be overstated. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to an unsafe product, consult an attorney.