Manufacturers and distributors of consumer products have an obligation to the consumer and to the general public to design, to manufacture, and to market a safe product. This is true whether the product is a machine, a drug, a medical device, a defective part of an automobile, or any other item used by a consumer.
Generally speaking the law is designed to hold the designer, the manufacturer, the distributor, and the seller of a defective product to a standard of safety. The basic intent of the law is to protect consumers from defects and from defective products which can cause serious injury and illness.
All product liability cases are founded in the law of warranty. The designer, the manufacturer, and distributor of the defective product often make an express warranty. That means that it was expressly represented that the product was fit and proper for its intended use, was reasonably safe, and was of marketable quality. The breach of such an express warranty, by itself, makes the defendant liable.
Products are accompanied by implied warranties. The warranty does not have to be expressed. It does not have to be written. It does not even have to be spoken. The law implies a warranty or attaches a warranty to the product. There is an implied warranty that the product is fit and proper for the use and usage for which it is intended; that it is reasonably safe, and that it is of marketable quality. Breach of implied warranty happens when the product is unsafe, dangerous, defective in design, in manufacture, in warning, or in instructions for use, or if the product is unfit for the use and purpose for which it is intended. Any of these will make a defendant in a product liability case liable for breach of an implied warranty.
The third way that a defendant in a defective product case can be liable is based on the doctrine of strict liability in tort. This means that if the product is dangerous, unsafe, defective in anyway, the defendant manufacturer, distributor, or seller is liable strictly without having to prove fault.
A lawsuit for a defective product usually makes a claim based on negligence or carelessness in the design, manufacture, warning, instructions for use, sale, and distribution of the product. The cause of action for negligence requires a showing of negligence or fault.
Defects making a defendant in an unsafe product case liable can be a defect that occurs during the manufacturing of the product that causes the product to be unsafe or to fail during its use. For example, if automobile brakes are faulty as a result of a manufacturing defect, and there is a brake failure causing serious injury, the manufacturer of the car can be held liable.
A design defect exists when the product is made as it is designed to be made, but still has an inherent danger to the user. It may be that the manufacturer is responsible for failing to adopt a safe design, or an alternative design in common use.
If a tire tread separates from the tire and causes a car to overturn causing serious injury or even death, which is not uncommon in tire separation cases, the tire manufacture may be liable for a defective and poor design. For example, a tire tread may be placed at an improper angle due to the poor design of the tire. When a car is manufactured as it is supposed to be, but it is defective because of the poor design of the gas tank which is placed in a dangerous location susceptible to explosions and fires if the car is hit in the rear, the manufacturer may be liable.
Products have to have proper instructions for their use and proper warnings. The failure of a manufacture or distributor of a product to provide proper and adequate warning of the dangers of the product may render the manufacturer or distributor liable for injuries that happen during the use of the product.
Cases involving defective drugs, defectively designed or manufactured consumer products are cases that involve complex litigation. Our firm is there to help you and your family in these matters.