What Should I Know About Products Liability?
While each person is different, and while there are thousands of different products on the market today, the motivation for buying or using a product is consistent and ubiquitous: a consumer buys a product because they believe that it will serve a need; be it comfort, security, convenience, status, or a practical or technical application.
The fact that products are purchased because consumers assume that they will add value to their lives is one of the reasons that being harmed by a product can be so appalling. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product in Alabama, it’s important that you start reviewing your rights and learning about the product liability process. Here’s an overview of what you should know:
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability refers to the liability of a manufacturer or seller/distributor of a product when the product causes harm to a consumer. There are many different types of products liability cases, including cases involving:
- Medical equipment;
- Children’s toys;
- Furniture; and
Any time a consumer is harmed by using a product in the way that the product was intended for use, a products liability claim may exist.
What Duty of Care Does a Product Manufacturer Owe a Consumer?
A product manufacturer can be held liable for harm caused to a consumer by a defective product when the manufacturer breaches the duty of care owed to the consumer. A manufacturer has a duty of care to reasonably prevent against consumer injury as a result of a product defect by manufacturing a product that is safe to use, and that contains warning of any inherent risks associated with the product’s use. When this duty of care is breached, a consumer can bring forth a claim for damages. There are three types of product liability claims:
- Defective manufacture. When a product is defectively manufactured, something goes wrong during the product manufacturing process that renders the product dangerous. For example, an assembly line error could result in a product missing a screw or a safety guard, making the equipment dangerous for use in spite of the fact that the product’s design was safe.
- Defective design. Unlike a manufacturing error, when a product is defectively designed, it is inherently unsafe and dangerous for use, regardless of what happens in the manufacturing process. Consider, for example, a vehicle that is designed to be top-heavy, or a dresser that can tip when slightly pulled on by a young toddler.
- Defective labeling. Finally, there are some products that have risks that are inherent with their use, but the benefits outweigh the risks. For example, a person could potentially be electrocuted when using a blowdryer should they drop the blowdryer in water, but the fact that the blowdryer provides convenience and is normally entirely safe for use outweighs this potential risk. However, the manufacturer of a hairdryer still has a duty to warn of risks, which is why there is a tag attached to it warning of risk of electrocution. Warning labels and use labels must be attached to products when there are risks associated with using the product. For example, a pharmaceutical drug must contain a list of side effects.
Is It Worth Bringing Forth a Product Liability Case?
If you have been harmed while using a product as intended, you may be wondering whether or not it’s worth bringing forth a case. This likely depends on the strength of your claim and the severity of your injuries.
If you have been severely harmed, you should absolutely explore the option of filing a products liability claim. By filing a claim, you may be able to recover compensation for the full value of your medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
However, before you start the process on your own, you should sit down with an experienced product liability attorney who has handled claims like yours in the past. During your free consultation, the attorney can advise you regarding the strength of your claim and steps to take.
Call Alsobrook Law Group Today
Product manufacturers have a duty to make sure that the products they make and distribute won’t cause consumers harm. When an injury does occur that is the result of a product defect, the product manufacturer should be held liable. At the office of the Alsobrook Law Group, we are passionate about representing injured parties like you. Call our office today at (334) 737-3718, visit our law office in person, or send us a message online for your free consultation.