When we buy an item, we expect it to work for a certain amount of time. Whether it’s a car, a home, a kitchen appliance or even just a new toy, we have particular expectations of these products. Although we may think they’ll fail at some point, we might not expect this to be shortly after we buy them or when performing basic tasks.
There are times when products are defective, which could range from a minor quality control issue to something with far more serious consequences. If you think you have a defective item, there are three types of liability claims you may be able to use:
Failure to warn or instruct
Failure to either provide adequate instructions or warn about proper use of the product can be an issue. The written owner instructions, plus the labeling on the item, should be concise and clear and should also describe any dangers linked to the product. Warnings will be on most units and failing to warn is a strict liability lawsuit. An effective warning could be:
- Showing how to avoid danger (for example, avoid open flame in an area, or turn off the power)
- Using a signal word (for example, caution, danger, notice, warning)
- Recognize the nature of a hazard (for example, electrical or drowning)
- Show consequences of not following warnings (for example, electrical shock, death by drowning)
- Using pictures or alert warning symbols, combined with a signal word, to clearly indicate the hazard level
A fault during the process of making a particular product is what makes a defective manufactured item, and can be the most apparent in a product liability claim. It may be that the factory had an error while producing the unit, which could cause injury to the user because the user may have been changed. Example claims may include:
- A bottle of soda explodes in someone’s hand, causing cuts and nerve damage
- Cough syrup contaminated with a poisonous substance
- An agriculture product that’s been tainted with pesticides or unsanitary standards, which has then caused illness
If you’ve been hurt by a defective product, then you may wish to speak to personal injury experts such as Brown & Crouppen. You can see if you have a claim, then they can help you as they deal with your case.
Design defects occur when a product is inadequately planned and then poses unreasonable hazards to its users. The theory of this type of defect is that the product manufacturer should have used a design that would reduce the risk of accidental injuries.
Design defect cases may be brought under breach of warranty, negligence, or strict liability. With contract theories, a court will evaluate if a manufacturer breached a warranty on the suitability or fitness of a product to the user. Usually, a court will look at whether a manufacturer used reasonable care in adopting a safe product design or plan under a negligence theory. For strict liability, they will see if a product was in an ‘unreasonably dangerous condition’ regardless of the manufacturer’s conduct.