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Virginia Injury Blog
Virginia Injury Lawyer Describes Product Liability

As your lawyer, I do everything in my power to get you results.- Jim Hurley

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Virginia Injury Lawyer Describes Product Liability

By Bill O'Mara, Virginia Defective Products Attorney

The law of product liability is vital to for the welfare of consumers. If a manufacturer is making products that can harm, maim or even kill, it’s important to have legal resource to sue that manufacturer and possibly a seller or a marketer who has made false claims. It’s also important to have a regulator to issue recalls and fines.

We are surrounded by products that could harm us if they are shoddily manufactured be it household appliances, our cars or medicines that we take. In March, we will be looking more closely at product liability.

Here are some of the products that are most likely to cause injuries and deaths.

1 Drugs with dangerous side effects;

2 Dangerous medical devices;

3 Faulty cars and parts;

4 Hazardous children’s toys;

5 Defective children’s equipment such as strollers and car seats;

6 Devices that pose a burn risk such as e-cigarettes;

7 Contamination that leads to food poisoning.

Types of Product Liability Lawsuits

1 – Defectively Manufactured Products

Poorly manufactured devices are the most obvious form of product liability. A claim can be made when an improperly made product causes injury or death. An example is the recent warning to manufacturers of self-balancing scooters, or hoverboards from the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Some of the batteries on these devices have failed voluntary safety tests, constituting a fire hazard.

On occasions, large numbers of products may be recalled because they are defective. In 2014, General Motors recalled millions of cars over a faulty ignition switch that, under certain conditions, could move out of the “run” or “on” position, causing a partial loss of electrical power and the engine turning off. The defect was linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

Another example of products that deviate from the norm is when food is contaminated such as during the salmonella in peanut butter scandal seven years ago that killed nine people and sickened more than 700.

2 Defectively Designed Products

A defectively designed product is one that’s designed as the manufacturer intended it to be but has a dangerous design fault.

Last year Chrysler recalled about 1.5 million vehicles over a gas tank issue. Regulators were concerned that the location of gas tanks on 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Liberties, low under the rear bumper, posed a fire risk if they were hit in a rear-ender.

Other examples of a defectively designed product include

  • A type of car that has a tendency to flip over while rounding a corner;
  • Heaters that can short circuit causing fires;
  • Children’s car seats with buckles that are too tight to open easily in an emergency.

Failure to Provide Adequate Instructions or Warnings

Many of the mass torts over defective drugs are based on a failure of the drug company to warn of serious side effects or an inadequate warning about the side-effects. A drug like Actos may not be defective in that it successfully works in treating diabetes. However, thousands of lawsuits were filed, based on the drug manufacturer’s alleged failure to adequately warn of a serious side effect, namely bladder cancer.

The failure of the drug company may have been to omit to mention a dangerous reaction. A cough medicine may have been correctly manufactured and is generally safe for use, but if you were injured because you combined it with another drug and the label failed to warn of the interaction, your claim would be based on a failure to warn.

Defective products liability takes many forms. If you have been hurt by a drug or a device, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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