What is a product liability lawsuit?
A product liability lawsuit centers on a person’s injuries caused by a defective product. The product could be a drug, a toy, an electronic device or anything else. The key is that it’s a product that’s defective or that malfunctions in some way, and the defect or malfunction injures someone. Defective and dangerous products cause thousands of injuries every year in the United States, so there are laws in place to provide people with legal recourse.
Product Liability Lawsuits: The Basics
A product liability lawsuit is a formal court proceeding that occurs when a person decides to sue a manufacturer over injuries sustained because of a defective or dangerous product. People file these types of lawsuits to hold manufacturers accountable for putting a defective or dangerous product into a consumer’s hands.
Related: Punitive damages vs. compensatory damages
Examples of Grounds for a Product Liability Lawsuit
Check out these examples. In each, the victim of the injury may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit because of strict liability, negligence on the manufacturer’s part or a breach of warranty.
Example #1: Bad Drugs
Your doctor prescribes you a heart medication, which you take. Later, it’s shown that the heart medication can cause a significant risk of cancer – and you develop that cancer. You may have a product liability case. Likewise, if the medication causes things like birth defects, severe illness, death or severe injury, you could have a case.
Example #2: Failure to Warn or Inadequate Instructions
You buy a walker to help you get from place to place. The manufacturer’s instructions fail to mention that if you don’t take an extra step to lock the walker’s legs in place, the walker will be unstable and could come apart. If the walker comes apart and you sustain injuries from a fall as a result, you could have a product liability lawsuit on your hands.
Example #3: Toxic Food
You buy processed lunch meat from your local supermarket. You eat the meat and become sickened because it’s been contaminated by a toxin at the plant where it was processed. You may be able to sue and hold the processor or manufacturer responsible for your illness.
Related: How to find a personal injury attorney in California
Example #4: Hidden Defects and Toxic Chemicals in Products
You purchase a children’s toy, which your child plays with normally. Your child begins to show symptoms of lead poisoning because the toy was coated in lead paint, which is toxic. If you can show that the toy is coated in lead paint that resulted in your child’s poisoning, you may have a product liability case.
Example #5: Malfunctions and Missing Safeguards
You purchase a pressure cooker that’s supposed to turn off when you open the lid. The machine doesn’t do what it’s supposed to and the pressurized contents spray out when you open the lid, causing you injury. You may be able to file a product liability lawsuit.
Example #6: Defective Design in Medical Devices
Your doctor recommends that you get a medical device implanted in your body, such as a hip replacement device. If the device malfunctions or causes you significant injury, illness, a need for another surgery or death, the device’s manufacturer could be sued.
These are just a handful of issues that can lead to a successful product liability lawsuit. The bottom line is that if you used a product – whether it’s a drug, a medical device, a toy, a kitchen item or anything else – and it caused you an injury or illness, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit.
Related: Catastrophic injury lawsuits
How Do Product Liability Lawsuits Work?
Usually, people who have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit try to negotiate with the manufacturer (or the manufacturer’s insurance company) before filing a formal suit in court. In most cases, the victim’s attorney tries to reach a settlement.
If that fails – which means the responsible party refuses to pay a reasonable amount for the victim’s injuries – the attorney often recommends filing a formal lawsuit in court. In court, the judge will decide how much money the victim deserves to receive in damages.
Do You Think You May Have Grounds to File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
If you’ve been injured by any product, we may be able to help you. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to get a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. We’ll visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office – whatever works best for you – and if you’re entitled to financial compensation, we’ll help you get it.