After a day of shopping for a lawn mower, you selected one and brought it home to cut your lawn. You take the mower out of the package ready to start it up and begin your day. Unbeknownst to you, the motor or some other part is defective and explodes upon starting and seriously causes an injury.
You went to a car dealer and selected a vehicle of your liking. You sign the papers and drive off the lot. You have been enjoying your vehicle for awhile when you are rear ended from another motorist of no fault of your own. Your seat belt or your seat back fails and you are seriously injured – or in the worst situation – are paralyzed or killed.
If you have been injured or suffered damages because of a product you used, you may have a defective product liability claim. Though the range of defective product cases is broad, the claims typically fall into three categories of product liability: (1) defective manufacture; (2) defective design; or (3) failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions concerning the proper use of the product.
When it comes to the basic types of defective product claims, state and federal laws are in place and need to be reviewed for claims against the manufacturer and salesperson. Keep in mind that for each of these claims, you must show not only that the product was defective, but that the defect caused you injury.
Defectively Manufactured Products
Perhaps the most obvious type of product liability claim is when the injury causing product was defectively manufactured. A defectively manufactured product is flawed because of some error in making it such as a problem at the factory where it was fabricated or where it was assembled. As a result, the injury-causing product is somehow different from all the other ones on the shelf.
Defectively Designed Products
In the second type of product liability category, a products design is inherently dangerous or defective. Defective design claims do not arise from some error or mishap in the manufacturing process, but rather involve the claim that an entire line of products is inherently dangerous, regardless of the fact that the injury-causing product was perfectly made according to the manufacture’s specifications.
Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions
The third type of product liability claim involves a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions about the product’s proper use. Failure-to-warn claims typically involve a product that is dangerous in some way that’s not obvious to the user or that requires the user to exercise special precautions or diligence when using it.
Reviewing a Defective Product Liability Claim
Although the particulars are different in the types of defective product cases, products liability law requires that you prove all of the following things in order to win your case:
- You were injured or suffered injury or losses
- The product is defective
- The defect caused your injury
- You were using the product as it was intended
Keep the Defective Equipment
In the unfortunate event you were hurt or a family member was injured or seriously harmed, it is critically important that you retain the product for inspection by experts and the manufacturer. If the defective product is a vehicle which may have been involved in a crash and the injuries were due to a defect in the manufacturing or design of the vehicle, it is very important that the car and the defective parts be secured from being lost or tampered with. Do not let an insurance company or any other person take possession of the vehicle. Without the car or truck, your claim will be denied.
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