It is estimated that defective labeling, warnings, designs or manufacturing defects result in as many as 20 million injuries each year caused by consumer and industrial products, ranging from minor lacerations to death. The National Health Survey has estimated that some two million burns occur annually as a result of defective flammable fabrics, defective electrical devices, exploding batteries and bottles, and recreational products.
Product liability laws refer to the liability of anyone with a responsibility for a product, from the supplier or manufacturer to the seller, if that product causes damage due to a defect. Liability claims can be based upon negligence, strict liability or a breach of warranty of fitness. The U.S. Department of Commerce has promulgated a Model Uniform Products Liability Act for voluntary use by the states, since there is no federal product liability law.
A product is legally considered to be defective if it was made poorly or sold with flaws. Despite millions of annual injuries occurring as a result of defective products, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission typically issues only 200 - 300 product recalls each year. Lawsuits by the victims of defective products are the primary reason that dangerously defective products are redesigned or removed from the market, rather than the good will of manufacturers. In case after case, manufacturers and sellers of defective products have been held liable for putting poorly designed and tested products on the market to make big profits without paying the necessary attention to consumer safety and risks.
Product liability cases typically involve defective products such as:
- Space heaters, smoke detectors, alarms
- Non-safety glass in residential or commercial buildings
- Baby cribs and toys that can choke or suffocate
- Toxic household products
- Latex glove exposure
- Defective ladders and scaffolds
- Exploding batteries, tires and chemicals
- Construction equipment malfunction
- Defective aircraft and watercraft designs
- Poorly designed automotive seats, restraints and roofs
- Poorly designed or labeled swimming pools and diving boards
- Defective helmets and sporting goods
- Malfunctioning firearms
Even a carefully used product which is safe under normal circumstances may be considered defective if the manufacturer's warning or labeling on how to use it is unclear, incomplete or incorrect and, as a result, a misuse results in serious injury. These misrepresentations concerning the product, if they cause an injury, may entitle the plaintiff to damages.
Product liability laws are designed to primarily prevent harm and compensate a person for harm or injury. It may be a matter of physical injury, mental injury and/or financial injury. Among the types of recoverable damages are past and future loss of earnings capacity, pain and suffering, reasonable medical expenses and permanent disfigurement and disability. If you or a close friend has suffered an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, contact The Glassman Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your case with an experienced product liability attorney.
Please see our Product Liability Frequently Asked Questions.
Please see our Product Liability Resources / Links.
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