Legal Guide

How to Tell When You Have a Product Liability Case

One of the things Americans take for granted is the efficacy and safety of the products we purchase. This has come about after decades of government laws and regulations enacted to insure that the products Americans purchase meet minimum standards and instill a sense of security in consumers. And it has worked well. The average American has no doubt that when something is for sale through normal sales channels in the US, you can bank on it being worth its purchase price and safe to use in the way it is intended.

Unfortunately time and time again it is revealed that America’s trust is often misplaced. Whether it’s a car part, a home appliance, a cosmetic or skin care product, a mobile phone, or any other product you come in contact with, there is the potential for it to be defective and cause you harm. Companies, because of efforts to save money or increase profits, cut corners on the development of their products and put those products in the marketplace in an inferior condition. This can often lead to consumers who use these products, to be injured slightly, seriously, or even killed.

When this happens consumers or their relatives have the right to seek financial compensation from the company by filing a personal injury claim that cites product the company’s defective product as the cause. These product liability lawsuits are handled by a Personal Injury Attorney who works with the consumer to determine if there is in fact a case and if so, how best to proceed with it.

There are numerous examples of impactful product liability cases that have been in the news recently. Perhaps the most famous is the Takata airbag recall case. Vehicles made by 19 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called "the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history." Eleven fatalities and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the Takata airbags, and in some cases the incidents were horrific, with metal shards penetrating a driver’s face and neck. The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were mostly installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2015. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively. There are a number of product liability lawsuits related to this recall making their way through the US courts currently and the eventual settlements might be the biggest of any product liability case in US history.

The Tanaka case appears to revolve around a defective design which is one area of focus for product liability. There are several others that include: defect in the product’s manufacturing or product marketing and promotion.

If you are injured when using a product, there are some criteria that can be followed to determine if you likely have a product liability case. These are:

  • You we injured when using the product.
  • You were using the product as intended or instructed by the manufacturer.
  • The product was defective or lacked proper instructions for its use.
  • The defect or absence of instruction caused your injuries.

When thinking about a potential product liability claim it is important to note that the liability may extend beyond the product’s manufacturer and include the products creators, designers, marketers and even retailers who sell the product.

Proving product liability is tough and consumers need to engage a reputable and experienced product liability attorney who understands how to navigate the intricacies of a case and is prepared for the potentially large amount of work and resources required to take it to completion.

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