About Defective Product Claims And The Law Regarding These Cases

When a person is hurt by a defective product, the law provides an avenue for victims to recover compensation for their medical costs and other damages. These claims are common, though no two are exactly alike. Vehicle accidents, flawed machinery, poorly designed appliances or consumer items, and just about anything else that can be handled by someone may be the subject of a suit. Even something such as inadequate warning labels can prompt a claim. The famous McDonalds coffee case is just one example of how a lack of warning labels can elicit a claim from an injured person.

HOW DO ATTORNEYS MANAGE THESE CLAIMS?

In general, there are only three ways in which an item may be considered a defective product. Law experts and attorneys organize their cases around this categorization, so it is pertinent to the suit. An item may be regarded as dangerous if it is poorly manufactured, dangerously designed, or if documentation packaged with the item is unclear or misleading.

Manufacturing mishaps are common in every industry. It’s only a matter of whether the mistakes are capable of harming someone. A poorly sewn pillow is likely not going to hurt someone, but a vehicle with faulty tires or a poorly built airbag can potentially cause injury. In fact, vehicle manufacturers regularly have to recall their automobiles once issues are found. For instance, Honda is currently facing major issues with its airbags because its primary airbag manufacturer, Takata, allowed its quality controls to become lax. Examples of malfunctioning Takata airbags have been found with debris inside the airbag container, including chewing gum. This is a clear example of poor manufacturing.

Design mistakes are less common but can be even deadlier because they tend to affect more items. Flawed designs are usually cited during drug injury cases, as pharmaceutical companies often fail to thoroughly research their own medications for side effects and interactions with other drugs. Vehicles, again, are often the subject of a flawed design case. An example of this would be the side-saddle gas tanks that GM produced in trucks in the 60s and 70s. These vehicles were designed with gas tanks along the edges of the truck, which made them extremely vulnerable in the event of a crash. GM has spent nearly $1 billion in settlements from claims made by victims of these accidents.

Sometimes, a claim may not be focused on a defective product. The law also recognizes claims made against items that are packaged with unclear or missing documentation or warnings. For example, if corrosive cleaning chemicals are not packaged with a warning of the danger, a person may handle them without safety equipment and expose themselves to severe injury.

Once an attorney knows what kind of case they are dealing with, they will be able to organize expert witnesses and argumentation that demonstrates the inherent danger of the item in question. This will be essential during negotiation, as a solid claim will be able to recover a greater settlement.