Potential profits through the sale of a defective or dangerous product should never be put before the health and safety of the general public in Arkansas or anywhere in the nation and world. When we purchase a product over the internet, from a retail store, or through a catalog, we expect the product to be safe for its intended uses and those other uses which are foreseeable. Unfortunately, as of July 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled approximately 120 dangerous and defective products. However, this is not the full extent of product recalls in the United States. The CPSC also identified imported products that were defective for reasons ranging from lead in a children’s product to exceeding the phthalate permanent ban limit.
Defective products result in serious injuries. Many people who are hurt by a defective product mistakenly believe they were to blame; perhaps they did something wrong or failed to understand the instructions. These unfortunate individuals incur the full brunt of their medical bills and lost income when they could potentially hold the manufacturer, distributor, or seller liable. Our Rogers, AR product injury lawyers are committed to fighting for the rights of injured consumers.
Determining who is responsible in a product liability claim is not always easy. You need a law firm with the expertise and resources to thoroughly investigate your injury. Call (479) 316-0438 to talk to an experienced attorney about your next steps.
Under What Circumstances Can a Product Liability Claim Arise?
The circumstances where a products liability lawsuit can arise are extremely numerous and can affect any product that is sold or imported into the United States. A selection of consumer products where defects are not uncommon include:
- Dangerous children’s toys– Products that increase the likelihood of a baby or infant suffocating in a crib or a bassinet that the child can fall from would likely be considered to be defective products.
- Foreign substances contaminating food or drink– Foreign objects like metal, insects or chemicals can result in serious physical and psychological injuries.
- Defective motor vehicle– As a complex machine, the potential defects of an automobile and extremely numerous. GM has recently been handling a major ignition switch recall, but problems with the vehicle can exist in any of its systems including the engine, brakes, safety systems, fuel systems, and others.
- Defective household appliance– Household appliances like a washing machine, clothes dryer, or kitchen appliances can be defectively designed or manufactured.
- Contaminated cosmetics — Foreign substances like lead in lipsticks, toothpaste, hair gel and other personal products can result in exposure to hazardous chemicals or carcinogens.
As the preceding list makes clear, no product type is exempt from defects that can make the product unreasonably dangerous.
Sometimes a product liability case will arise out of another type of personal injury claim. A common example of this is a car accident claim. In some situations, another driver was clearly at fault, making them and their insurance company liable for any damages or injuries. However, it is possible that your injuries were aggravated because of a failure of a safety feature in your vehicle. If your airbag did not deploy at the time of impact, you could have an additional claim against the vehicle manufacturer. It is crucial to determine if a defective product contributed to your injuries.
Three Types of Product Liability Claims in Rogers, Arkansas
In general, when there is something physically wrong with a product or good it is due to one of two types of defects: manufacturing defects and design defects. A manufacturing defect occurs when the finished product does not comply with the blueprints or the manufacturing specifications. Another way to think about it is, if the product was manufactured properly, it would be safe for its intended purpose – it’s the actual manufacture of the item that introduces the problem. In contrast, a design defect occurs when there is a problem with the product’s design. That is, the product is manufactured exactly to specifications, but the mistake was in the design. This defect in the design makes the product unreasonably dangerous. There is also a third type of defect that could occur. While it does not have anything to do with the product itself, it is still grounds for a personal injury claim if the product has an insufficient warning label or safety instructions.
A product liability based on a design defect will allege that the product is inherently dangerous. This danger is based on the product’s design – not a mistake in production or the manufacturing process. For example, an SUV could be designed with an unsafe center of gravity, making it prone to overturning in most accidents.
A product is considered “unreasonable dangerous” if the product is likely to cause an injury when it is being used as intended. This includes any use that is reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer. The risk is not limited to the user of the product. It is possible that someone in the vicinity who was injured could also recover damages. In many cases, the product liability claim will be based on strict liability. This means that the plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant was negligent or foresaw the potential harm.
The most common grounds for a product liability claim is a manufacturing defect. In a manufacturing defects case, the plaintiff alleges that the product’s design is safe, but a mistake or error in the production process resulted in the product being unreasonably dangerous. A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is not able to safely perform as intended.
Manufacturing defects will typically only affect a small percentage of the total products made. Our Rogers product liability lawyers will have to thoroughly examine the product to determine if there was an error in the manufacturing process. Often, we will have to employ an engineering expert to investigate the product.
For example, work boots are designed to protect an individual’s feet while supplying support. If an inferior adhesive is used in securing the sole of the boot, an unexpected consumer could be injured if the sole separates. This unreasonably unsafe condition is the direct result of a production defect.
Warning or Labeling Defects
When a product liability lawsuit arises from a warning or labeling defect, the injured plaintiff will allege that the manufacturer failed to warn of an inherent danger. Under the law, a manufacturer has a legal obligation to warn a consumer of a known danger. This often occurs with prescription medications when a pharmaceutical company fails to disclose known side effects.
Cases involving insufficient warning labels and instructions depend on the present facts. As a rule, warning labels should be written clearly and visible. However, it is important to remember that manufacturers are not required to warn a consumer of every potential risk. The legal responsibility only exists if the danger is generally recognized given the prevailing industry knowledge.
Damages Available in a Rogers, AR Product Liability Lawsuit
The primary reason people file personal injury lawsuits is to recoup the money they lost because of medical expenses and missed time at work. A claim arising from a defective product is no different. An injured victim is entitled to recover their economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages consist of all your out-of-pocket expenses and financial losses associated with the injury. Most of these are easy to understand and prove. For instance, you should recover any money spent for medical treatment, medication, hospitalization, or physical therapy. It is important to remember that these expenses also include things such as parking fees and babysitting costs. If you lost time at work, you should also be compensated for any lost income. Our Rogers, AR personal injury attorneys will also include any income you will have lost in the future due to your injury.
People are familiar with the phrase “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering damages are included in your non-economic damages. Unlike economic damages, there are no receipts or statements to establish your losses. However, you are still entitled to be compensated for harm such as anxiety, physical pain, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Our firm will work closely with you and your healthcare providers to calculate your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for their grossly negligent conduct. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not related to your injury. Rather, they are a direct reflection of the defendant’s behavior. While not awarded in every personal injury lawsuit, they are more common in product liability cases if a manufacturer was aware of a dangerous defect but purposefully failed to address the problem.
Contact Our Rogers, AR Product Liability Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Other types of product liability actions include failure to warn and over warning claims. Failure to warn claims are sometimes called marketing defect claims. Claims of this type occur when a foreseeable use of the product that was not warned against causes injury. However, if the risk is obvious, such that a lighter can start fires, a warning may not be required. The opposite legal concern is over-warning. Over warning occurs when warning against extremely remote risks confuses or dilutes the impact of legitimate warnings to a point where they are disregarded. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury due to a defective product, contact our law offices by calling (479) 316-0438.