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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