What is a defective product, and how do I file a product liability claim?
A defective product is one that is flawed and can cause injury or death. An injury claim filed in conjunction with a defective product is known as a product liability claim. Victims may bring action against the manufacturer of the product, the marketer, distributor, vendor or anyone else whose negligence contributed to the injury.
Understanding Product Liability – A Quick Overview of Claims
Companies and corporations are legally and ethically required to create, manufacture and sell products that will not cause harm to consumers. Failure to do so can result in liability in an injury case or lawsuit.
Manufacturers may be strictly liable for their defective products that cause injuries, meaning a manufacturer doesn’t have to be negligent to be liable for injuries caused by the product. A product liability claim must prove the product in question had a direct connection with the injury. The claim also must prove the victim suffered serious injuries as a result of the product.
Examples of Defective Products and Injuries
A product defect can occur at any point from inception of the product to its delivery to the consumer. Some of the most common types of product defects and cause for legal action include:
- Poor design – This type of defect occurs before the product even comes to fruition and signals an inherent problem with the product. An example might be a stepladder that isn’t designed to support an average adult’s weight (resulting in broken bones or spinal cord injury) or a teakettle that releases scalding vapor from a spout located directly under the handle (resulting in serious burns and permanent scarring).
- Manufacturing error – A manufacturing defect occurs when there is an error in the manufacture or assembly of the product. An example could include using old materials when making tires (resulting in defective tires prone to slow leaks and blowouts) or installing the wrong fixtures on a riding lawn mower (resulting in a structurally unsound vehicle prone to overturning).
- Marketing error – A serious accident or injury can occur as the result of the way a product is marketed or labeled. This includes errors in labeling, insufficient warning labels and lack of safety instructions. An example may include an over-the-counter pain reliever that doesn’t include mention of harmful drug interactions (resulting in illness or liver or heart failure) or a power tool that doesn’t include sufficient safety instructions (resulting in an amputation or fatal injury).
- Mistake in distribution or sales – Product defects also can occur during shipping, receiving or sales. For instance, the materials used to make a tire can degrade over time. Therefore, a tire store that keeps old, unsafe stock on the sales floor (even past the date of sale recommended by the manufacturer) may be liable for a related car accident caused by the faulty tires.
Product defects can occur in everything from household cleaning products and children’s’ toys to heavy-duty construction equipment and automobiles.
Filing a Defective Product Claim
Florida laws typically provide four years in which to file a product liability claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you collect the evidence necessary to prove negligence and liability and file the claim on your behalf. Learn about your options by contacting the South Florida-based team at Chalik & Chalik. Call 1-(855) 529-0269.