What is Product Liability?
Product liability cases are filed when an inherently defective product causes harm to a consumer. Although products are generally thought of as tangible personal property, some cases have defined houses, pets and even human blood as products. In many product liability cases, any party who contributed to the distribution of a defective product can be considered liable. For example, the manufacturer of a product’s parts, the store owner who sells the product or the wholesaler may all be held liable in a product liability case.
When consumers bring a product liability case against a manufacturer, they are usually required to prove at least one of three theories. First, they can claim that design defects affected the way a product was manufactured, therefore impacting its safety. Second, they can claim that a product is unreasonably dangerous because it was designed with a flaw, even if it serve its intended purpose. Or third, they can claim that a manufacturer failed to give proper warning about the dangers of a product.
In product liability cases, there are three types of defects that can be used to hold a supplier or manufacturer liable. These include:
- Manufacturing defects—These defects can occur when a product is being assembled or manufactured.
- Design defects—Product liability cases can develop on the basis that the design of a product was inherently unsafe.
- Marketing defects—Insufficient instructions, improper labeling or inadequate safety warnings can all be considered marketing defects.
A Product Recall
From bicycles and tires to talcum powder and airbags, many different types of products can be considered defective in terms of the way they were designed, manufactured or marketed. For example, in 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled drop-side cribs and banned them from being manufactured, distributed or sold in the U.S., according to WebMD. The organization issued the ban after the use of these cribs was tied back to the deaths of at least 32 young children due to hazards that could cause either suffocation or strangulation.
However, when a product is recalled, it does not necessarily mean that it will be pulled from the market altogether. During some product recalls, the sale of an item is banned, while in others, consumers are asked to return the item they purchased to have it repaired or replaced. In other cases, the manufacturer of a product may provide consumers with a part that reduces the risk associated with using it. Additionally, when a product is recalled due to safety problems or health concerns, the manufacturer of the product can either move the recall process forward or the government can take on this responsibility.
South Carolina Product Liability Lawsuits
A South Carolina product liability attorney can help you to determine who is responsible for the design, manufacturing or marketing of the product. The supplier of the product or the retailers that sold the item may also be liable and named as defendants in product liability lawsuits. Defective products most often found in the workplace and home include drugs, cribs, machinery, lights, appliances, high chairs, child and infant safety seats, vehicles, airplanes and boats.
If a company knows that its product is unsafe or if using the product in a certain manner could cause injury, it is legally obligated to provide a warning to the consumer. In many cases when a consumer was adversely affected, his or her injury could have been avoided if he or she had known about the risks or dangers prior to using the product.
How a South Carolina Product Liability Attorney Can Help
Product makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a product maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by the fault of others may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.