Posted in Defective Products on December 20, 2016
Defective products cause thousands of injuries and deaths in the United States every year. The U.S. legal system has created special rules for cases involving defective and dangerous products, as manufacturers and distributors have high standards of care they must abide by to ensure the safety of consumers. Product liability laws make a manufacturer liable for injuries, damages, and wrongful deaths that occur due to a defective product – whether the manufacturer was negligent or not. Learn about the types of defective product claims below to fully understand your rights as an injured consumer.
A. Manufacturing Error
Essentially, a defective product from a manufacturing error is one that has a problem that makes it different from other, identical products the company sells. Manufacturing errors are any type of mistake, negligence, or carelessness that occurs during a product’s manufacture and/or distribution. These errors can take many shapes and forms, from an assembly line worker accidentally mixing a toxic chemical in with a batch of children’s cough syrup to a company producing a swing with a cracked chain. Manufacturing errors are anything the company did not mean to happen during production. Examples of manufacturing errors include:
A plaintiff doesn’t bear the same burden of proof of negligence as in other personal injury claims. One does not have to prove that a manufacturing company was negligent, only that the product caused an injury. Defective product claims in Baltimore rely on four elements: 1) a product has a defect, 2) you sustained damages, 3) the defect caused your injury, and 4) you used the product as the manufacturer intended at the time of injury.
B. Flawed Product Design
A product that is defectively designed is inherently dangerous to use. Rather than a manufacturing error, which makes an otherwise safe product dangerous, defective design means a product is dangerous even if the consumer uses it as the manufacturer intended. To have grounds for this type of product liability claim, a plaintiff must prove the item caused the injury. For example, a parent would have to prove that a metal slide’s defective design caused a child’s lacerations, not the child falling off the slide and cutting him or herself.
Browse the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of product recalls for real-world examples of poorly designed products. Recent additions on this list include a crossbow with a sensor that can cause the weapon to fire unexpectedly, a glass Yankee candle that may crack when lit, and a gas smoker with a hose that can disconnect and cause a fire hazard. In each of these cases, the manufacturer created the object with an inherently flawed and dangerous design.
C. Lack of Proper Warning Labels
The third type of defective product claim is a lack of proper warning labels or safety instructions. If a manufacturer is aware of potential hazards or dangers of using a product, it has a legal responsibility to warn consumers of known risks. If a product did not come with adequate safety warnings or instructions on how to operate it safely and it causes an injury, the victim may have a case against the manufacturer.
Manufacturers must place clear warning labels for small parts (child choking hazard), strangulation hazards, electric shock potential, and other such dangers that may not be obvious to the consumer. One common type of product liability claim in this category is an improper warning label on an over-the-counter drug. If a manufacturer fails to list the potential side effects of using a medication and a person unknowingly takes the drugs and suffers a major health consequence, the manufacturer may be liable for injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured from a defective or dangerous product, our team can help you seek compensation for your pain & suffering. Contact our Baltimore personal injury attorney team today to schedule a free consultation. 410.288.2900