Companies are responsible for designing and manufacturing safe products for their customers. When they fail in this obligation, a defective product can put you at significant risk of catastrophic personal injury.
At the Garcia Law Group our attorneys are experienced in defending consumers when they have been unjustly injured because of shoddy product design or a defect. Our legal team will pursue the parties that can be held liable because of their negligence in manufacturing and providing a defective product.
Defects in Design and Manufacturing
When a consumer sustains an injury as a direct result of a defective product, there may be grounds to file a lawsuits against a number of parties including the manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, depending on the type of defect. The liability of parties involved in the chain of commerce is determined by the jurisdiction in which the case was filed.
The two main defect categories are manufacturing defects and design defects.
A manufacturing defect is caused by an error during assembly and is a problem as it becomes a part of the product. The most common causes of manufacturing defects are poor-quality materials and careless workmanship.
Manufacturing defects are usually found in only a small percentage of the product and are analyzed under the strict liability rule, which states that a manufacturer is liable for defects that take place because of faulty assembly, even if the manufacturer was careful during production. In this scenario, the plaintiff must prove that the defect existed at the time of departure from the factory.
A design defect is an issue in the product’s design that makes it inherently dangerous and creates a hazard for potential users, even if it was manufactured correctly and made with high-quality materials.
In contrast to a manufacturing issue, a design defect with typically be found in all of the product’s supply. While the rules related to design defect claims vary by state, there are usually several standard questions asked to determine whether a design defect exists:
- Was the design defective prior to production?
- Was it possible to anticipate the potential harm to users because of the design?
- Could a better design have been created without altering the purpose of the product?
Depending on how these questions are answered, the injured party may have grounds to file a claim.
Failure to Warn and Lack of Warning Labels
If a manufacturer is aware of potential risk, but fails to warn the general public about the dangers of their product, a product liability lawsuit can be brought against them. Any party in the chain of distribution can be held liable if warnings could have prevent foreseeable injuries.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the organization responsible for developing rules and regulation for safety symbols, product safety signs, and labels.
According to ANSI, warning labels should:
- Inform consumers of hazards
- Inform consumers of the severity of risk involved with the product
- Inform consumers on the effects of the risks
- Inform consumers how to avoid the hazards
- Highly visible and positioned close to the hazardous area
ANSI has developed three color-coded key words to help consumers identify the level of severity of a hazard:
- Danger (red)—a foreseeable hazardous event that will end in critical injury or death
- Warning (orange)—a potentially hazardous circumstance that can end in serious injury or death
- Caution (yellow)—a potentially hazardous condition that can end in moderate or slight injury
It is vital to understand the consumer’s also have the responsibility to abide by the warnings. A failure to do so can result in a product liability suit failing.
Who is Liable for a Defective Project Injury?
The product must have been sold in the marketplace in order for a product liability lawsuit to occur. Depending on the specifics of the case, liability may rest on a number of parties in the product’s chain of distribution, such as:
- The product manufacturer
- A manufacturer of component parts
- The retail store that sold the product
- The wholesaler
- The party that assembles or installs the product
Strict liability assist plaintiffs by moving the focus from proving that the manufacturer negligently produced the product, to only having to prove that the product was defective. Strict liability allows the injured party to recover monies that they otherwise might not have been able too.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
There are essentially three types of product liability cases:
- Negligence—The injured party must demonstrate that the defendant was responsible for selling a safe product. A negligence in doing so can be considered a breach of duty if there is proof the defendant was careless in their design or manufacturing of the defective product. There must also be proof that the product caused injuries.
- Strict Liability—In this sort of lawsuit, the injured party is only required to prove that the product is defective and that their injuries are a result of said product. In order for strict liability to apply, the product must be purchased in the chain of distribution. Second-hand purchase (i.e. a garage sale) do not qualify for this type of lawsuit.
- Breach of Warranty—A company will usually warrant its product’s characteristics, and if the product fails in one of those areas and causes bodily injury, there is a breach of warranty. There are two types of warranties:
- Expressed—is written or verbalized
- Implied—implied promise by manufacturer and the law
The Garcia Law Group can help you recover damages in a product liability lawsuits.
The Garcia Law Group can help to lead a successful liability lawsuit. Our attorneys are not afraid of powerful corporations, and are more than willing to fight for the peace you deserve. The people and families we serve may be eligible for damages that cover:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Our team of experienced lawyers will investigate your case, gather medical records, and work with experts to get you the results you deserve. We work extra hard to hold negligent individuals and companies accountable for their actions.
Contact us today at (956) 661-8000 to schedule a free consultation!