Every year, millions of people suffer serious injury and even death as a result of consuming or using defectively designed or manufactured products. In some cases, makers or distributors fail consumers by not issuing adequate warning of certain risks – with devastating consequences.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates at least 3,500 deaths annually are attributable to the use of consumer products. Approximately 700 of those are children under the age of 5. In most cases, problems stem from the fact that companies placed profits before people.
Consumer product injury attorneys at Freeman Injury Law believe in accountability for these firms, and just compensation for those injured as a result of such negligence. Dangerous products at issue in product liability lawsuits run the gamut, and may include:
- Vehicles and vehicle parts
- Prescription drugs
- Medical devices
- Nursery equipment
- Sports equipment
- Amusement attractions
- Home fixtures and furnishings
- Cleaning products
- Food items
For every product made available to U.S. consumers, manufacturers guarantee the product is not defective and won’t cause serious harm so long as the consumer doesn’t misuse it.
When this guarantee isn’t expressly stated, it is implied under law (referred to as an “implied warranty”). Failure to adhere to this guarantee is called a “breach of implied warranty.”
Florida Statute 672.314 deals with implied warranty, merchantability and usage of trade. The law holds with few exceptions, the merchantability of goods is implied and manufacturers/distributors must comply. In order to be merchantable, goods must be of fair average quality, fit for the ordinary purposes for which they are used, be consistent, be adequately contained, packaged and labeled and conform to any promises or affirmations of fact listed on the label.
Entities that might be held responsible for defective products could include:
In addition to a breach of implied warranty, a product maker might also be sued for general negligence or strict liability. In a claim of general negligence, plaintiff will have to show defendant was careless in the design of manufacture of a product and it led to injury. In order to prove defendant’s breach of duty, plaintiff will need to prove defendant knew or should have known the product was defective. Alternatively, strict liability requires only proof the product was defective and injury resulted.
When products do cause injury, a product liability lawsuit may fall into one of three categories:
- Defectively Manufactured Product
- Defectively Designed Product
- Failure to Provide Adequate Warning or Instruction
In order to succeed in a product liability lawsuit, one must prove not only that the product was defective or the warning was inadequate, but also that this error or omission proximately caused the underlying injury or death. In some cases, more than one category may be applicable.
A defectively-manufactured product is one in which there was some error in making it. This could mean the product is flawed, even while all others on the shelf are fine. For example, if you purchase a swing set with a cracked chain, this might be a manufacturing defect.
A defectively-designed product means the product is inherently dangerous or defective as it was designed. The danger does not arise from a problem in the manufacturing process, but rather the entire line of products is defective. One example would be surgically-implanted vaginal mesh devices, rushed to market before adequate safety testing was completed. Now, we know many of those devices contain material unsafe for long-term use inside the human body.
Finally, a failure to warn claim would arise if the manufacturer or distributor failed to provide adequate warning or instruction about the product’s correct use or possible dangers. These perils typically are not obvious to the user or require the user to use extra diligence or special precaution in use. An example might be a medication that fails to warn of a dangerous interaction with another commonly-used drug or for users with certain pre-existing conditions.
It should be noted recalls do not negate company liability for product safety. Firms may still be liable for injury-causing products used or sold after a recall is initiated.
As experienced product liability attorneys, we recognize injuries resulting from defective products can cause significant physical and emotional pain, as well as financial distress. We are committed to fighting for you.
Contact Freeman Injury Law at 1-800-561-7777 for a free consultation and review of your claim. You may also email attorney Dean Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.