Product-related injury cases are often the least likely to be recognized by consumers, primarily because injured parties tends to blame themselves for their injury rather than the product, and thus do not have any thought that a product’s manufacturer or marketer could be at fault, and thus liable for their injury(s) due to a product’s defects. Thus, they are often not aware that an injury caused by a child’s toy, a lawnmower, household cleaners, and other everyday household products, could lead to compensation for their injuries from the product manufacturer or marketer.
This blog focuses primarily on consumer products, but its principles apply to motor vehicles, industrial equipment, medical products, and other products as well.
Who Can Sue
The person injured by the defective product may sue the product’s manufacturer and/or marketer. Bystanders can also sue for their injuries, including bystanders who are not injured, if they witness a close family member sustaining an injury. The spouse or children of an injured party may also bring a claim for the loss suffered by a love one.
Who Can be Liable for Consumer’s Injuries
A product’s manufacturer(s), seller(s), and all other parties in the supply chain between the manufacturer and the consumer can be sued and held liable for defective product-related injuries. This includes sellers of the defective product (the store from where the product was purchased) and any middlemen (distributors and wholesalers).
Determining Liability – Proximate Cause of Injury
In Texas product liability cases, both negligence and strict liability apply to determine defendant’s liability (see blogs on Negligence and Strict Liability).
A manufacturer is liable for its failure to exercise due care to any person who sustained an injury which was proximately caused by the manufacturer’s negligence in the defective product’s design, manufacture, and/or marketing.
Types of Product Defects
A “defect” is a condition of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous. Texas products liability cases involve products with defects in their design, manufacturing, and/or marketing.
1. Design Defects
A “design defect” is a design of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous. To prove a design defect an injured consumer must prove there was a safer alternative design available that the manufacturer could have used which, in reasonable probability: 1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the occurrence or injury without substantially impairing the product’s utility; and 2) was economically and technologically feasible when the product left the manufacturer’s control by applying existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.
2. Manufacturing Defects
Manufacturing defects are product defects that result from the manufacturing process, not the product design.
3. Marketing Defects
A “marketing defect” typically involves failure to give adequate warning of the product’s dangers that were known or should have been known by the manufacturer, or failure to give adequate instructions to avoid such dangers, which rendered the product unreasonably dangerous as marketed. The warnings and instructions must be comprehensible to the average user and convey to a ‘reasonable person’ the nature and extent of the danger and how to avoid it.
Injured individuals in product liability cases may recover the costs of their medical expenses due to physical injuries, lost wages, and other direct expenses, as well as emotional pain and suffering. Damages may be recovered for injuries suffered as a result of the defective product-related accident including both present, and future costs.
If you have suffered a consumer product-related injury, contact an experienced product liability attorney at the Burleson law firm of Lovelace Law. You may learn that you have a case that you never expected against a product manufacturer or marketer to receive full compensation and damages you deserve and are entitled to for your injuries. Knowledgeable product liability attorneys are available and ready to answer your further questions and represent you in your product liability case.
If you have any additional questions regarding a personal injury claim, please call our office at 817-953-9656 to make an appointment with W. Cade Lovelace.