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Danger of Using Defective Products to Be Aware Of

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A personal injury attorney should be consulted if a person suffers an injury because of a product defect. A defect can result from poor manufacturing practices, an improper product design, or irregular maintenance. For example, an employee might be injured if he or she operates machinery that has not been frequently inspected or checked.

While people easily sue over an injury that happens because of a fall or when they get struck by an object, they often do not consider suing a party for a product flaw. According to Denmon Pearlman, a Tampa personal injury lawyer, “products are one of the many causes of personal injuries, but one people often overlook when it comes to lawsuits.”

You may have purchased a product and used it, only to find it did not work, and worse yet, it caused you to suffer an injury. At this point, you don’t want to destroy the item even if feel like throwing it away. You need it for evidence if you feel that the product was not made with the required due diligence.

Reasons for Defects

Besides poor manufacturing practices, a bad design, or a lack of maintenance, a product defect may result from the following:

  • A lack of testing or a failure to test the item before delivering it for sale
  • Insufficient danger warnings
  • Poor instructions for assembly
  • A mistake made during construction
  • Damage during delivery
  • The use of hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead

Common Items that May Have Defects

Most people don’t realize that a large number of common everyday items can cause them harm when they are not designed or manufactured properly. These items may include:

  • Outdoor equipment
  • Grills
  • Vehicles
  • Tires
  • Toys
  • Building materials
  • Food products
  • Appliances
  • Furniture

Strict Liability: What You Must Prove

When you file a personal injury lawsuit related to a product defect, the claim is called a strict liability case. As the plaintiff in the case, you must show that the following elements existed with respect to the product that injured you:

  • The product was unreasonably hazardous after it was designed, manufactured, or sold.
  • The seller anticipated and intended to sell the defective product without any changes being made beforehand.
  • You, as the plaintiff in the case, was injured as a result.

How a Strict Liability Case Can Fall Apart

Just because you show the above proof does not mean this form of liability is automatic. A lawsuit claiming strict liability may fail if the defendant in the case can prove the following:

  • The plaintiff used the product even though they knew it was defective or used it in a manner they knew or should have known would cause them injury
  • The plaintiff acted carelessly, including using the product other than for the purpose it was made.
  • Something or someone intervened which was the real cause for the injury.

That is why you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who handles product defect cases to ensure your rights are not violated or no confusion exists about any aspect of the lawsuit.

The Three Common Causes of Defects

1. Usually, if a manufacturing defect is the cause of a person’s injury, the error is restricted to the product the plaintiff bought. Something went wrong during the manufacturing process, and that error only affected that item or several of the items subject to recall.

2. Product design defects occur when something intrinsic in a product’s composition is contrary to the regular pattern or design, making the item sold hazardous for use.

3. If a defendant does not warn consumers about certain risks related to the product that are not immediately apparent, he or she can be held liable as well.

 

Who You Can Sue for Damages

Parties who can be sued for product defects under strict liability law include retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. While a manufacturer may be an obvious defendant in a defective product lawsuit, the legal system also accounts for the behavior of those parties who sold a defective product or distributed it.

Examples of Defective Products and Their Dangers

When a defective product danger exists, it can take the form of the following:

  • A person may receive a concussion, fracture, or get killed if a ladder or scaffolding is not assembled properly and collapses underneath them.
  • An electrical burn or electrocution can result if an electric appliance is not wired correctly or warning labels are not added alerting the user of possible hazards.
  • A patient may be injured from an artificial limb that was improperly manufactured and/or fitted.
  • A child may choke on the part of a toy that was loosely assembled and fell off.
  • A heavy machine operator may suffer lacerations or get struck by machinery that has a defective part.
  • A defective spring in a garage door may crush or kill the user.
  • Spinal cord injuries may result from a defective part in a treadmill.
  • A defective earplug design may result in hearing loss.

The above examples are only a sampling of what may happen if you are injured from a poorly designed or manufactured product that you bought and used, or which was used at work or prescribed for a treatment or therapy. Product safety should never be overlooked. If you or a family member has been injured from a product error, you should contact a legal expert without delay.

How Long You Have to File a Legal Claim

If you file your lawsuit in Florida, the statute of limitation remains in effect for four years from the date of your injury. In wrongful death product defect claims, the time is reduced to two years. After these deadlines, you cannot sue for compensation.