Companies who place products into the stream of commerce in Arkansas and the United States can often be subject to liability if their product or products cause injury to the people who use them. However, liability may not be limited to the product’s manufacturer. When an injury occurs, the product’s distributor and the retail stores that sold the product are often also named in the lawsuit as well.
If you have been injured by a defective product sold in a retail store, online, in a catalog, or over the phone you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has fought for injured Arkansans for more than 20 years.
How Do Courts Handle Defective Products Suits?
Defective products suits proceed under a theory of strict liability. This means that unlike negligence, you do not have to prove carelessness or bad actions. Rather the inquiry is focused on the product itself. A successful products liability suit finds three elements present:
- The product is unreasonably dangerous containing a manufacturing, design or other defect.
- The product was used as is intended or was foreseeable and the injury was due to the defect.
- The product has not been substantially altered from its condition at the time of sale.
Determining these factors is a fact-intensive process that can be greatly aided and expedited through the use of an experienced product liability attorney.
What is a Manufacturing Defect?
One scenario where a products liability suit can arise is when a product is manufactured with a defect. What this means is that the manufacturing process has introduced an error, inconsistency, or other mistake that makes the product unsafe. For instance consider a machine that manufactures a children’s toys. The machine creates the toy as per the specifications, but it deviates from the plans in one way. It fails to smooth one plastic extrusion which results in an extremely sharp edge. This toy then causes severe lacerations to the hands, face, and mouths of children who play with it. This type of defect would be considered a manufacturing defect. Other examples of manufacturing defects could include:
- A drinking glass manufactured with a crack or chip in the rim that can cause severe cuts
- A children’s mattress that was manufactured with incorrect non-flame-retardant materials
What is a Design Defect?
Unlike a manufacturing defect, when there is a design defect the product may or may not have been manufactured correctly. That is, the defect was introduced in the design process and would be present even if the product was manufactured according to specifications. For a moment, let’s go back to the machine that makes children’s toys that we discussed in the context of manufacturing defects. This time let’s imagine that the toy’s specifications contained the requirement for the excessively sharp extrusion. When the toy was manufactured the machine created the toy exactly as specified in the plans– with the extremely sharp protrusion. This toy is then sold on the open market resulting in the same lacerations to the face, hands and mouth. However in this instance, these injuries would have been caused by a design defect rather than a manufacturing defect.
Other examples of manufacturing defect could include:
- An electric appliance that is not designed for the appropriate voltage.
- An office chair that fails to consider ergonomics and leads to injuries.
- A trampoline design that does not evenly distribute forces resulting in rollovers and severe injuries.
- A vehicle that is prone to exploding when involved in a minor fender bender.
Contact Bentonville, Arkansas Defective Products Injury Attorney Ken Kieklak
Other product liability claims that may arise include failure to warn claims when a product is sold to the public but it lacks adequate warnings, precautions, or instructions for use. Over-warning claims may arise when warnings are so numerous as to dilute the importance of essential warnings and confuse the consumer regarding the product’s risks and proper usage.
If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation. For your free and confidential defective product consultation, call Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.