Product Liability for Dangerous Products
Product liability cases involved a product that suffers from some sort of defect. That defect makes it dangerous and causes injury or death to the user or a third person. From a general perspective, product liability cases are the result of a manufacturing defect or a design defect. If you have been injured by a dangerous product, you should contact a Lakeland product liability attorney for a free consultation of the merits of your case.
Problems With Manufacturing Process
A manufacturing defect is a defect that is unique to the particular product in question. As such, a product with a manufacturing defect may be the only one of its kind or may be part of a bad batch of products to come off the assembly line. That manufacturing defect exists at the time the product is sent out for distribution and sale.
Problems with Product Design or “Design Defects”
On the other hand, a design defect is a problem with the way the product is designed. In other words, a product with a design defect is made to the manufacturing specifications without a problem. With a design defect, the theory of the case is essentially that a part of the product was inadequately designed for its intended use or that warnings or information provided by the manufacturer were inadequate. For example, if the blade of a lawnmower is made out of steel that is too brittle, then it is a design defect (rather than a manufacturing defect) as the wrong type of steel was used and it can break apart causing serious injury or death from flying shrapnel.
By analogy, if that same steel lawnmower blade were part of a bad batch where the steel was allowed to cool to quickly and a microscopic crack formed in the surface, that defect would be considered a manufacturing defect as opposed to a design defect. Likewise, another design defect might be that the lawnmower blade needs to be installed with a lock nut as opposed to a standard nut. For purposes of the discussion, if a lock nut is not used to secure the blade, then a possibility exists that the blade could come off during the vibration of operation and caused significant injury or death.
That is the type of situation where an adequate warning needs to be placed on the product itself to prevent people from misusing the product. In that situation, the manufacturer is able to reasonably foresee that someone will get in a pinch and misuse the product. The purpose of the warning is discourage people from doing something dangerous where the danger might not be obvious.
Strict Liability and Stream Of Commerce For Retailers
Product liability cases are frequently decided on a strict liability theory. The retailer is also usually named as a defendant in such cases due to legal authority subjecting liability to those who place dangerous products into the “stream of commerce.” There is a long, complicated legal history behind the stream of commerce theory and is sometimes referred as a “chain of distribution” liability.
Restatement (Second) of Torts, 402A:
One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property, if (a) the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product, and (b) it is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold.
What makes this “strict” liability is that it applies “even if the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product, and the user or consumer has not bought the product from or entered into any contractual relation with the seller.” This was meant to prevent businesses from avoiding liability just because the products were manufactured overseas and beyond the jurisdiction of American courts.
Tire Blowout Accidents
A tire blowout may involve a defect in the design of a vehicle or a manufacturing defect in the tire itself. Further, as mentioned above with the “stream of commerce,” a retailer who sells tires that have been sitting on a shelf for too long may be responsible for a tire blowout accident. You should not use tires that are more than 6 years old.
Hire a Knowledgeable Product Liability Attorney Today
If you or a loved one in the Lakeland or greater Central Florida area has suffered an injury due to a dangerous or defective produce, please contact a Lakeland product liability attorney for free advice regarding the case. Product liability attorneys operate from a contingency fee agreement which means that there are no attorney fees or costs unless money is recovered on your case.
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For recent legal topics, please see our personal injury blog or read our answers to frequently asked questions. We help clients located in Polk County, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and Haines City, Florida sue the manufacturers and retailers of dangerous or defective products.