What is a defective product?

In the legal context, and very generally, a defect product is one that is not reasonably safe. As a result, a defect product can injure people and even kill. Many defects involve error in either the design or manufacturing of a product. However, some situations involve inadequate warnings to consumers about the dangers of a product, or an inherently dangerous product.

Anything that is manufactured and sold can be the object of a defective product lawsuit. We see a very wide range of type of products: motor vehicles or their parts (including those on ATVs and RVs), tires, household furniture and appliances, clothing, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, food products, children’s furniture, toys and safety car seats, playground equipment, medical devices, industrial equipment, landscaping equipment (lawn mowers, small tractors, etc.), and power tools.

If I am injured or a loved one is killed by a defective product, who do I sue?

You can pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the product, and often, companies in the supply chain of the product; such as wholesalers, distributors, importers, and retailers.

How is product liability established?

It is usually based on a proven design or manufacturing defect, or a “failure to warn” (i.e., a failure by the manufacturer or designer to properly advise the public of the dangers that might be associated with the product). Many product liability claims are judged under a theory of strict liability.

What is a manufacturing defect?

It is an unintended defect in a product that occurs when a product does not conform to its intended design, thereby making it more dangerous than consumers expect the product to be. Manufacturing defects can be the result of improper assembly, unqualified employees operating the machinery, or quality control not catching defective or poorly made products before they make their way into consumer channels.

What is a design defect?

It is a problem or condition in a product that injures one who uses a product, traceable to a faulty design that makes the product dangerous or useless, even if it is manufactured properly and made of the best-quality materials.

What is strict liability in this context?

Strict liability generally boils down to this question: “Is the product so dangerous that it was just not a good idea to manufacture or sell it?”  No matter how careful a company has been designing or manufacturing its product, it can still be liable if in its normal use the product is inherently unsafe or dangerous when used as intended.

What is “failure to warn?”

A failure to warn claim alleges that a product manufacturer failed to provide adequate instructions for the product’s use or warnings about any dangers associated with the normal use of their product.

Isn’t it hard to take on a product manufacturer in a legal case?

Yes. Product manufacturers often spend unbelievable amounts of money to defend their products from injury claims. If they lose a case, it can have very negative consequences for them as others who are similarly injured are often emboldened to sue them.

Many times they’ll attempt to settle for much less than they might be made to pay in court. Often, injured defendants will accept a manufacturer’s low offer because their short-term financial needs are more important to them than the best possible outcome – especially if they do not understand what they are walking away from. To win full and fair compensation for the harm inflicted by a defective product, injured victims are well-advised to consult with and consider hiring an attorney who has the resources to take on a large manufacturer and the experience to counter their aggressive defense strategies.

What damages can I recover in a defective product case?

If the injured plaintiff’s attorney can prove a product is defective – either at trial or beforehand by convincing the manufacturer to offer a reasonable settlement – the victim should be able to collect money for past and future medical treatment, past and future wage loss and any company-paid benefits, and damages for pain and suffering. In some situations, punitive damages may be awarded, which can serve to further punish the manufacturer.

If the plaintiff dies, certain surviving family members may be entitled to recover for losses such as pecuniary loss, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, and loss of inheritance. If the survivors can prove that the plaintiff lived for a period of time between the time of injury and death, the following are also typically recoverable: pain and suffering by their deceased family member, medical expenses, and funeral and burial expenses.

What is the statute of limitations in Texas for product liability?

In Texas, the general Statute of Limitations, which is the time limit you have to file a civil lawsuit for a personal injury, is two years from the date of the injury. ***There are several exceptions to this. The only way to know the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims is by speaking directly with an experienced attorney licensed here in Texas.***

What is a class action lawsuit?

It is a civil action where a group of people with the same or similar injuries, caused by the same product or negligent act, sue the defendant – in this case the product manufacturer – as a group. If successful, the victorious plaintiffs divide the damage award equally, regardless of the circumstances of their specific case. Often, defective product lawsuits where a single manufacturer’s product injured many people end up as class action lawsuits.

How quickly should I retain a product liability attorney?

You should contact one as soon as you suspect that you or a family member has been harmed.

Product manufacturers and their insurers have deep pockets and plenty of people to immediately rally their defenses against your claim. It is in your best interest as an injured victim, or as a member of a family who lost a loved one to a defective product, to retain a seasoned product liability attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, you will have the device that hurt you or your family member, but gathering additional evidence as soon as possible after an injury occurs is key.  As time passes, even in as little as a few days, key pieces of evidence begin to disappear and memories fade.

If you or a family member has been injured by a defective product, contact the experienced injury attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by telephone or this web page’s contact form to arrange a no-cost case evaluation. If we don’t win, you never pay a dime.