Most of us use a wide range of products as we go about our everyday activities. Some are manual (self-powered), while others are powered by electricity, gas, or some other energy source. While many of us don’t encounter any issues when using different items in our daily lives, injuries and fatalities do happen. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), over 12.5 million U.S. consumers were injured by products in 2022 alone. Below, we’ll share more about common causes of defective product injuries and legal recourses available if you get hurt or unexpectedly lose a loved one.
Why Products Injure Individuals
There are primary reasons consumers get hurt by products, including:
- Design defects: These occur, as the name suggests when the product’s designer is essentially putting pen to paper and documenting how they anticipate it looking and functioning. Incorrect measurements, failures to anticipate weight distribution placed upon the item, how continued use might impact how well it holds up, and other factors are all examples of design-related issues that cause consumers to get hurt.
- Manufacturing defects: These concerns center around production. Situations where machinery isn’t properly calibrated and adequate quality control measures aren’t in place to address such concerns may lead to the unsafe manufacturing of a product that deviates from design blueprints.
- Advertising defects: These primarily center around failures to warn. For example, if a product is unsafe for children under the age of three due to it having small parts they may choke on and a youngster gets hurt, you might meet the requirements to sue because it contained inadequate warnings or instructions that could have prevented potential danger.
In addition to the three most common defects described above, our attorneys often see injuries resulting from breaches of warranties. These are situations where certain representations or claims are made about a specific product when it’s sold that are later deemed to be incorrect or false.
There are three primary types of warranties that may be violated, including:
- Implied warranty of merchantability: This legal construct is the most common. It refers to what users reasonably expect from a specific product. An example of this is that if you buy a dryer, the expectation is that it will remove all the wetness or dampness from your clothing.
- Implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose: This legal construct refers to the expectation that a product will perform in a way that ordinary buyers would expect it to. An example of this is a situation whereby a customer asks to purchase an oven that can accommodate glass dishes up to 500 degrees. If they’re sold one that they cannot place these dishes into or certainly not up to that high of a temperature without it breaking, then this could be a breach of implied warranty of fitness.
- Express warranty: This refers to a retailer forwarding the idea that the product will perform as their customer expects it to. An example of this is when you purchase a car, and a manufacturer guarantees that its components will last for a certain amount of time or miles.
Types of Consumer Goods That Cause Injuries or Deaths
According to the previously referenced NSC website, the following are the top three causes of consumer-related injuries and the respective average annual rates:
- Stairs, landings, ramps, and floors: 2.9 million yearly injuries
- Beds, pillows, and mattresses: 906,000 annual injuries
- Chairs, sofas, and sofa beds: 597,000 people hurt each year
While statistics may show that the above-referenced products often maim or kill users, others our product liability lawyers regularly handle include:
- Baby or kids’ products: Baby cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, and children’s toys are examples of these
- Power tools: Some of the dangerous product cases we’ve handled at Tobias & Comer Law, LLC involve saws, nail guns, angle grinders, and power drills
- Hair care items: In our experience, hair straighteners, curling irons, and blow dryers are just some examples of products that have harmed clients we’ve represented
- Potentially flammable materials: Lighters, fireworks, oven ranges, space heaters, and gas cans are examples of these
- Motor vehicles: Within this category are all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), passenger cars, including sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), trucks, motorcycles, and bikes
- Kitchen appliances: Oven ranges, air fryers, and microwaves are examples of dangerous
We could certainly list off many more products that harm or kill, so if a consumer item you or a close family member used caused an adverse outcome, consider speaking with an attorney to assess whether you have a potential claim.
Legal Remedies Available to Victims Harmed Using Dangerous Products
Most states have adopted statutes that outline what constitutes a product liability action – for example, the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (AEMLD). The AEMLD requires manufacturers to produce products that are free from defects in manufacturing, to eliminate dangerous designs, and to properly warn the end users of products of the dangers the company knows or should know.
Victims who can successfully demonstrate that they used the product as instructed, and despite that, its apparent defects caused them to suffer harm, likely have a viable product liability claim whereby they can request financial compensation for their incident-related losses.
While the actual person injured would generally qualify to file a civil suit against those responsible for injuring them, additional parties that may qualify as claimants per our state’s laws, including:
- The estate of a deceased
- A guardian or guardian ad litem for a minor or incompetent individual
If you’re unsure as to whether your injury incident qualifies you to file a claim or who qualifies as a claimant, reach out to an experienced legal representative to make such determinations.
How Tobias Comer Advocates for Defective Product Victims
In many cases, defects that cause someone to get hurt are clear. However, situations like these can also be quite complex to sort out, which is when law offices like ours typically bring in skilled professionals, like engineers, to assess where along the supply chain a product didn’t perform as intended and maimed or killed our clients or their family members.
The situation above is just one example of how you can count on our team at Tobias & Comer Law, LLC to leave no stone unturned when identifying the cause of injuries and the parties liable for them. And, while our hope is that we can resolve claims or lawsuits we file out of court, we’re more than ready to litigate them in a courtroom at trial if that’s what’s necessary to ensure you receive the fairest possible settlement offer in your case.
So, if you’ve been unexpectedly hurt due to another party’s negligence, reach out to us to discuss your case. Your initial consultation with a defective products lawyer is completely free and your first step in the right direction toward seeking help for what you’ve endured.