A Product Liability case is one where a defect in a product causes injury or death.
There are three basic types of defect: Design Defect, Manufacturing Defect, and Marketing Defect.
In addition, such a defect may be called a “breach of the implied warranty of merchantability” or breach of “express warranty”.
In order to have a good case in which a recovery of money damages will likely be had on account of death or serious injury caused by a defective product, it is necessary to be able to prove the following:
1. That the product in question was defective; and
2. That the defect caused the complained of injury or death; and
3. Damages; and
4. The company that designed, manufactured, or marketed the product has adequate insurance or assets to pay the damages.
In order to prove the elements necessary to win the case, opinion testimony of experts in the areas of product design, failure mechanics, metallurgy, and/or the adequacy of warnings will be required.
It is therefore important to retain one or more of such experts as soon as possible to begin gathering data.
A “design defect” is a condition of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous as designed, taking into consideration the utility of the product and the risk involved in its use.
For a design defect to exist there must have been a safer alternative design. “Safer alternative design” means a product design other than the one actually used that in reasonable probability—
(1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the [occurrence] [injury] [occurrence or injury] in question without substantially impairing the product’s utility; and
(2) was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of ABC Company by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.
A “manufacturing defect” means a condition of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous.
An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product, with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.
A “marketing defect” with respect to the product means the failure to give adequate warnings of the product’s dangers that were known or by the application of reasonably developed human skill and foresight should have been known or failure to give adequate instructions to avoid such dangers, which failure rendered the product unreasonably dangerous as marketed.
“Adequate” warnings and instructions mean warnings and instructions given in a form that could reasonably be expected to catch the attention of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances of the product’s use; and the content of the warnings and instructions must be comprehensible to the average user and must convey a fair indication of the nature and extent of the danger and how to avoid it to the mind of a reasonably prudent person.
An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.
breach of implied warranty
A “breach of implied warranty of merchantability defect” means a condition of the goods that renders them unfit for the ordinary purposes for which they are used because of a lack of something necessary for adequacy.
There are other varieties of product defect, but the above definitions cover most of the common types that lead to the recovery of damages.
We have experience with cases involving:
• Roof crush injuries
• Seat belt system failures
• Defective tires
• Fuel tank failures
• Medical devices