Though many types of defective products can attract lawsuits, there are a handful of industries that are targeted most often. They include automobiles, children’s toys, agricultural and industrial equipment, and pharmaceuticals. While it’s possible for nearly any consumer item to cause harm to the user, these industries have to be extra careful because they have a great capacity to do harm. Many companies, though, don’t make the extra effort to keep their goods safe, leading to serious, even fatal injuries in some cases.
WHY DO SOME DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS ATTRACT MORE LAWSUITS THAN OTHERS?
Perhaps no industry comes under fire more often than the pharmaceutical industry, from a legal standpoint. Drug companies are required to thoroughly test their medications before releasing them to the public and are held to strict standards in terms of marketing. And if side effects are discovered, the drug’s manufacturer is expected to respond immediately and thoroughly. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies often fail to meet these standards by suppressing unfavorable research, paying off researchers and doctors to speak on their behalf, and marketing the drug to people who have no business taking it. For example, GlaxoSmithKline’s Zofran is intended for chemotherapy patients dealing with severe nausea, but the company marketed it to pregnant women as well, though it was never approved for this use. GlaxoSmithKline eventually had to pay billions when it was discovered that Zofran could result in birth defects.
Automobiles are often the subject of claims, either because they are poorly built at a manufacturing facility, or because they are inherently dangerous by their design. For example, the Takata airbag recall, which included hundreds of thousands of Honda and Toyota vehicles, was instituted after many of the manufacturer’s airbags exploded during ignition, maiming and killing occupants. This is a manufacturing issue. Several SUV models are considered unsafe by their design because they feature a higher center of gravity and are prone to roll overs.
Children’s toys can be dangerous because they may pose a choking hazard or include dangerous materials. Young children will put anything in their mouths, so it is essential that any toy they play with does not come apart. Lead-based paint and additive substances like asbestos should also be absent from the toy, though there are still some manufacturers that use these hazardous materials.
Heavy-duty agricultural and industrial equipment can cause severe harm if it is not designed and built properly. A piece of equipment may carry several hundred pounds of material, shape metal, or use deadly amounts of heat or pressure. Any mistake during the design and building process can result in a machine that poses an immediate risk to life and limb.
In general, it can be tough going up against the makers of defective products. Injury lawsuits may involve millions, so the defendant will do everything possible to avoid liability. A personal injury attorney can deflect these measures and ensure the victim is heard in the courtroom.