Also known as product liability, defective products cases are under a specialized branch of law that strives to ensure that products getting into the market are safe for use and consumption.
If a manufacturer failed to include warnings or instructions on a product or the product caused harm to the end-user, then a claim for damages can be filed. You can hire a product liability attorney in Reno, Nevada to help you launch a defective products lawsuit.
An overview of defective products law
There are various instances when people purchase products and the product fails to function properly. Maybe it was a toy car you bought for your child or a microwave you bought for your home.
If the microwave explodes unexpectedly or your child swallows a small part of the toy car, you have a right to sue for damages through a product liability attorney in Reno, NV.
The manufacturer can be held accountable for causing injury due to negligence. If the negligence was tied to the design of the product or failure to provide adequate warning by the manufacturer, then the type of law to be applied is known as defective products, strict product liability, or product liability.
Types of defective products cases
In order to determine the type of defective product case to apply, the manufacturer’s state of mind at the time of producing the product may be relevant. The court will also review the supply chain management and where exactly in the chain things went wrong.
Could it be the mistake of the original manufacturer? Was it during transportation or was the product altered in the distribution chain?
- Design defects
It doesn’t matter how perfect a product has been designed, it has the potential of harming the user as long as the defect was part of its design. Any product can pose a great danger when it doesn’t function as expected by a user.
Here are some examples of design defects:
- A small toy that can easily be swallowed by a child
- A car accelerating on its own
- A gun safety that still allows it to fire
If you get injured or your child is affected by any other above scenarios, you have a right to hire a personal injury attorney in Reno, NV and launch a lawsuit against the toy or car manufacturer.
- Failure to warn
Failure to warn is also called marketing defects. It mainly focuses on what might have gone wrong within the supply chain. It is a situation where the product was designed correctly, but the manufacturer failed to include proper, adequate instructions or warnings.
Examples of failure to warn include the following:
- A medication that is intended to be taken with water and the manufacturer fails to provide such instruction
- A child’s chair that falls due to lack of clear installation instructions
- If a saw cause injury even if it is handled correctly
If any of these happens to you, then you can launch a claim for damages by filing a lawsuit with the help of an accident lawyer in Reno, Nevada.
- Manufacturer defect
This is a situation where the product was designed correctly, but did not prove to be so when used by the end consumer. A good example is a faulty lock on the door of a car.
A manufacturing defect can arise from the use of substandard materials, contamination, a mistake on the assembly line, improper quality control, or some other manufacturing error that causes a product to deviate from the intended design. Manufacturing defects usually affect one or a few batches of products, whereas design defects affect an entire line of products.
For example, a cough syrup with an ingredient that causes people to suffer adverse effects would be considered a manufacturing defect. However, if the particular cough syrup bottle you bought contained a toxic contaminant that accidentally fell into it during production, then your claim would be due to a manufacturing defect.
Common Defenses and How a lawyer can help
Defective product cases can be very costly to manufacturers. As such, they will do everything possible to defend themselves.
As the victim, you will need to work closely with a personal injury law firm in Reno, Nevada to increase your chances of being compensated.
A manufacturer can claim that the plaintiff tampered with the product which caused him or her the injury. But with an experienced Reno personal injury attorney from the Law Office of Stephen Osborne, you can provide strong evidence and win the case.
A common defense related to an item being tampered with is product misuse. The manufacturer may claim that you misused the product in a way that wasn’t reasonably foreseeable. Misuse is a valid defense only if the manufacturer couldn’t reasonably foresee it. Manufacturers are required to anticipate the potential uses of their products. Consequently, they’re liable for foreseeable misuse.
You can file a product liability claim even if you misused a product and it caused injuries. A product liability attorney can thoroughly analyze your situation in relation to defective product laws to determine if you have grounds for a personal injury claim and guide you on which party you can hold responsible for your damages.
Another defense is that you were aware of the product’s defect or dangers and used it anyway. The manufacturer may argue that the item was inherently dangerous and you were assumed to take reasonable precautions in its use. Power tools and petroleum products are examples of inherently dangerous products. A defective product lawyer can still find ways to hold the manufacturer liable, for example, for not providing adequate warnings of the danger or instructing you on how to use the product safely.
The plaintiff not having correctly identified the party responsible for the defect that caused the injury is a defense that’s often raised in defective product cases. You’ll have to connect the product to the right company or companies to receive damages. That would require some supply chain knowledge.
A product liability attorney will work closely with other professionals to carry out thorough investigations to determine the defect the product had and how it affected you. The attorney will use the findings to counter and disprove the manufacturer’s defenses.
Legal Basis for Defective Products Cases
You may be eligible for compensation if one or more of the three types of defective products cases fits the cause of the injuries or property damage you’ve suffered. You can file your claim individually or join others who have experienced similar injuries or symptoms from the same product and bring a class action lawsuit.
You can base your argument for recovering compensation in your product liability case on one or more of the following legal theories:
Nevada recognizes the strict liability doctrine. Most product liability claims are brought under this legal doctrine. The doctrine imposes liability on the party that manufactured or distributed the defective product, regardless of whether the party took the necessary safety precautions. As a result, you don’t have to prove that the seller, distributor, or manufacturer was negligent when distributing or manufacturing the product.
To get compensation in strict liability claims, you need to prove that:
- The item was defective
- The defect was present when the item was leaving the defendant’s control
- You used the product in a way that the defendant could reasonably foresee
- The defect caused your injuries or losses
If strict liability doesn’t apply to your case, you can bring a claim based on negligence. You can show that the at-fault party was negligent in designing, manufacturing, or selling the defective product.
To recover compensation under the theory of negligence, you need to prove that the designer, manufacturer, or seller owed you a duty of care, the party breached that duty, the breach caused your injury, and the injury led to actual damages. Some examples of negligent acts include using poor-quality materials, using unqualified or unskilled employees, improper transportation that leads to product damage, and failure to perform adequate safety testing.
Breach of Warranty
You can file a defective product lawsuit as a breach of warranty claim. You can hold the manufacturer or seller responsible if a product fails to work as promised or doesn’t meet your expectations.
Products usually come with express or implied warranties. An express warranty is a guarantee stated in writing or orally, such as during advertisements. Implied warranties aren’t stated or written outright, but are inherent in the item’s intended purpose. A breach of either warranty can allow you to hold the manufacturer or retailer responsible for injuries sustained.
Fraud or Misrepresentation
You can base your product liability lawsuit on misrepresentation and fraud. You’ll need to show that the defendant knew about the defect and chose to ignore or conceal it or used false or misleading advertisements to misrepresent it.
Your defective product lawyer will advise you on the best way to bring your product liability claim.