Who is Liable For Injuries Caused By Defective Products?
The products that are sold to consumers are supposed to be safe to use, but many products contain dangerous defects. A product liability case arises when someone is injured by a product with one of these defects. Many product liability cases involve products that consumers use on a regular basis, including cars, medications, and small appliances. Even though these are some of the products that are frequently mentioned in product liability cases, any type of product could be defective.
If you have been injured by a defective product, it’s important to understand who is responsible for the defect and who is liable for your injuries.
Types of Product Defects
There are three types of defects that could make a product dangerous to use. The first is a design defect, which means the actual design of the product contains a defect. For example, the design of a child’s toy may be defective if it is designed to have small, removable parts that the child could easily choke on.
However, a victim’s injuries cannot be blamed on a design defect if the product that caused the injury had a reasonably dangerous design. A perfect example of a product with a reasonably dangerous design is a kitchen knife. Knives need to be designed with sharp blades, otherwise they will not be of much use in the kitchen. They should also be designed with a grip so you can safely hold onto the knife when using it. This is considered a reasonably dangerous design. Yes, there is some element of danger involved in using a knife, but as long as it is used properly, no one should get hurt. If there was no grip on a knife, meaning the consumer would have to hold onto the blade in order to use it, this would be a design defect, not a reasonably dangerous design.
The second type of product defect is a manufacturing defect. This type of defect occurs when there an error is made during the production process. Take another look at the example of the child’s toy. Let’s say the toy is designed with small parts, but the parts are not removable so the child cannot take them off of the toy and choke on them. But, the manufacturer produces the toy with removable parts anyways, even though this is not part of the design. This would be considered a manufacturing defect.
Finally, the third type of product defect is referred to as either a failure to warn or marking defect. A product has this type of defect when its packaging does not have the appropriate warning labels or instructions for use. Without this information, consumers do not know how the product should be used and whether or not there are any risks associated with its use. Using the same example, a child’s toy would have this type of defect if there are no warning labels that inform parents that the small parts of the toy could be a choking hazard.
Liability For Defective Products
Liability in this type of case can vary depending on the type of defect that caused the victim’s injuries. Victims who were injured due to a defect in the design of a product can hold the product’s designers or engineers liable. However, designers and engineers are not liable if the defect had nothing to do with the design of the product. If the product had a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer would be held liable for the victim’s injuries. Many different parties, including retailers, manufacturers, and distributors, can be held liable for injuries caused by a marketing or failure to warn defect.
However, it’s important to note that none of these parties will be held liable if the injury occurred while you were using the product in a way that it was not intended to be used. For instance, let’s say the packaging on the child’s toy stated that the toy should not be used by children under the age of three. If a child under the age of three is injured when using this product, the victim’s family cannot take legal action.
Proving liability in a case involving defective products can be difficult. Each of these parties will be represented by teams of high-powered attorneys that will be fighting to clear their client’s name. Some of the parties may start to point the finger at each other in an attempt to avoid having to compensate the victim. Because of this, it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience representing clients in product liability cases.
Statute of Limitations For Product Liability Cases
The statute of limitations for product liability cases varies by state. In California, people who have been injured by defective products have two years from the date the injury occurred to file a product liability lawsuit. If the victim did not immediately discover the injury, the two-year time period may not begin until the date the victim first realized they were injured.
Two years may seem like a lot of time to file a lawsuit, but it can fly by in the blink of an eye. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the two-year period is almost up before contacting an attorney. It’s strongly recommended that defective product victims get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as the injury occurs.
Have you been injured by a defective product? If so, contact Carpenter & Zuckerman as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our team of personal injury attorneys has the legal knowledge and resources to handle complex product liability cases. With our help, victims of defective products may be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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