Product Liability

Abramson Labor Group – Product Liability

You never purchase a product expecting it to be faulty or harm you in some manner. Most companies don’t want to harm their consumers with faulty or defective products. Despite the best of intentions, things happen. It can happen at any stage in product design and manufacturing. If a product does fail, it will fall under the Model Uniform Products Liability Act that defines the types of product liability.

The Model Uniform Products Liability Act of 1981

The Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA) is a federal rule published by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It created regulations that define what constitutes a defective product. Per the MUPLA, defects fall into four categories: design, manufacturing, marketing, or warranty.

Design

While designing a product, safety must be one of the considerations. If the design overlooks key safety features, there’s a problem. The people who manufacture the product may have no idea that the design is flawed or dangerous. The liability is due to the engineers or department that developed the design and blueprints or schematics for the manufacturing line to follow.

It can be the to cut costs, designers or engineers shifted focus from safety to cost. It can also be a case of the designers felt the truly safe design was less attractive than the design they went with that cut some corners in terms of safety.

An example of this comes from a piece of medical equipment that was designed in such a way that completely sterilizing it between patients was hard. A woman ended up with a serious bacterial infection and is suing for the defective product.

Manufacturing

Some product defects occur during manufacturing. They’re often unintentional even if the product was defective. Several car manufacturers are dealing with product liability cases involving manufacturing. The airbags placed in the cars and trucks during assembly were faulty.

Marketing

With some product defects or liability claims, the marketing team failed to make the risks of using a product clear. It can also be a case of the product instructions failed to clearly state how an item was to be used.

An example of marketing failures involves the weed killer known as Roundup. They were ordered to pay more than $280 million to a man who was diagnosed with cancer. This and other cases all revolve around the company’s failure to tell consumers about the dangers of the glyphosate used in the product.

Warranty

Some products are found to be unsafe because the seller’s sales talk made promises that couldn’t be delivered. If a salesperson promises that the winter hiking boots a consumer is looking at are waterproof and they’re not and the hiker’s feet get wet and frozen, the salesperson made promises that couldn’t be delivered.

There are state laws that can change how the MUPLA plays out. For example, in California, the defendant (company) must prove the design defect didn’t exist. Other states require the plaintiff (you) to prove that the product’s design was defective.

Most product liability cases are considered strict liability offenses. If there is a defect in a product that leads to harm of the user, the company is liable. There are some exceptions. If the benefits of a product outweigh the risks, the company may not be held liable. You’ll often see prescription medications falling into this category. The benefits the medication offer are greater than the harmful side effects. The other way companies may avoid liability involves cases where the consumer was not using the product in a reasonable manner.

Proving the Company is Liable

In many product liability cases, you’ll need the experience of an attorney to help you prove negligence. It’s your responsibility to show that the injury you received resulted from the defective product. You expect the products you use to be in proper working order and not have defects. If they do, the company can be held liable.

The other reason you need an attorney is that most product liability claims lead to the defense (company) finding fault with the way you used the product. They could try to blame you for causing the defect. It’s frustrating and stressful, but with a knowledgable product liability attorney, you’ll have guidance and support. You can’t let this keep you from filing your claim.

You don’t have to take on a manufacturer all on your own. If you’ve been injured by a faulty product, call Abramson, Levin & Gindi for a free consultation. They have the expertise you need on your side.