Defective Products are those that have flaws making them dangerous to use as they were designed. These happen when the manufacturer fails to do proper testing for quality control and fails to meet its own standards.
Defective Products cases are based on negligence by the manufacturer and breach of the implied warranty of the product. Negligence by the manufacturer comes from the failure to meet standards and to do proper quality control testing. The breach of the implied warranty comes from the belief by a consumer that the product will not cause them harm when they use the product as it was intended to be used.
The manufacturer has a duty to use ordinary care to make sure that the product is reasonably safe for the use that it is intended. The manufacturer does not have a duty to make a completely safe product, but to make the product safe for the intended purpose and to warn consumers of potentially hazardous components of the product. The manufacturer is not responsible for injuries that come from consumers using the product in a way that is outside the ordinary purpose of the product because the injury is unforeseeable to the manufacturer.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to test the products they produce for defects that could cause injuries. Not doing so is negligent and creates a products liability cause of action. Manufacturers should not allow consumers to be the test subjects to see if anything will happen.
Product Liability Law
Millions of people are injured each year in accidents caused by defective products. Sellers, manufacturers and designers of products that cause injuries and deaths may be held liable and forced to compensate victims and their families. The complex nature of state and federal laws pertaining to product defect claims require the services of personal injury lawyers knowledgeable and skilled in product liability law. The attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., have more than 70 years of collective experience representing victims of defective products, tainted or contaminated foods, and other types of product liability claims.
What Is a Defective Product?
Products sold in Virginia Beach and other communities throughout Virginia must be reasonably safe when used as they were intended. For example, a toaster might emit smoke if a slice of bread is left in it for too long, but it should not burst into flames as soon as it is turned on.
Types of Product Defects
There are three types of product defects:
- Failure to warn
The type of lawsuit an injured person may bring and the parties who can be held responsible depend up the type of defect.
Design defects are flaws in a product originating before the manufacturing process. The danger associated with a product’s use originates from a flaw in its design that will exist regardless of what takes place during the manufacturing process. Lawsuits for damages caused by design defects are based upon the following:
- The design flaw made the product unreasonably dangerous.
- It was foreseeable that the flaw could cause harm to the user.
- A better design option was available and economically feasible.
Manufacturer defects originate at the production stage and exist at the time the product leaves for distribution to consumers. The flaw could be the result of errors in the assembly of the product, in the materials used to produce it or in any process occurring during the production stage.
Defects related to a failure to warn consumers of potential hazards and risks are usually related to one of the following:
- Instructions accompanying the product
- Warning labels
- Advertising and marketing
Some products are inherently dangerous. For example, a lawnmower has the potential to cause serious injuries if used incorrectly. Manufacturers are responsible for warning consumers of the risks and instructing them on how to safely use the product. The instructions accompanying a lawnmower and the labels affixed to it warning against placing hands or feet under it while the blade is turning is an example of a manufacturer fulfilling its duty to warn consumers of known risks.
Product Liability Lawsuits in Virginia
Some states permit an injured person to sue the designer, manufacturer or seller of a defective product on the legal theory of strict liability. Injured parties need only prove the existence of a defect and an injury resulting from the product’s use. Even if the utmost care and caution was used at every stage in the design, production and marketing of the product, the manufacturer could still be held liable under a strict liability theory.
Virginia law does not recognize strict liability in defective products cases. Instead, it relies upon negligence law and requires that parties injured by manufacturer defects, design defects or a failure to warn prove negligence or fault.
The attorneys for someone seeking compensation against the designer, producer or distributor of a...
Product Liability Lawsuits in Virginia (cont.)
...defective product must produce evidence of the following to prove negligence:
- A duty of care owed by the party being sued to the victim.
- Breach of the duty of care by the party being sued.
- The harm caused by the breach was foreseeable.
- The user of the product was injured and suffered damages.
Negligent conduct might take the form of a failure of a manufacturer to inspect a product for defects before releasing it for distribution. Another form of negligent conduct might be failing to include a warning label or notice about a known hazard.
Suing for breach of warranty is another option for a person injured by a defective product and can be combined with a product liability lawsuit. Unlike product liability claims that are based on negligence law in Virginia, a warranty is based upon the law of contracts.
Implied warranties accompany a product and represent it as being suitable for use for its intended purpose. For example, a consumer purchasing a ladder may rely upon it functioning as is normally expected of ladders. It is not necessary for there to be a statement from the manufacturer that the ladder will not collapse under the weight of someone using it.
An express warranty, in contrast, might be a statement on the ladder that it is strong enough to support the weight of two people. If it were to collapse under the weight of two people, this would be a breach of warranty.
Representation by a Hampton personal injury lawyer is essential in product liability or breach of warranty cases because of a legal requirement that defects be reported to a product’s seller within a reasonable time after it is discovered. Failure to comply with the notice requirements of Virginia law could jeopardize an injured person’s right to recover compensation.
The Parties and Damages in a Virginia Beach Product Liability Claim
Depending upon the type of defect and other factors, personal injury lawyers could file a lawsuit against one or more of the following parties associated with the defective product:
The damages recoverable by the injured party may include the following:
- Costs of medical care
- Lost earnings
- Reduction of future earnings due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
Each case is different, so other damages may be recoverable depending upon the facts and circumstances discovered by the personal injury lawyers handling the claim.
A product liability claim can be brought as a class action lawsuit. Anyone who has suffered a serious injury because of a defective product should get advice from an experienced Hampton personal injury attorney before making a decision about joining a class action lawsuit to determine the best course of action.
Speak to a Defective Product Liability Claims Lawyer Today
The Hampton Roads personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., have more than 70 years of combined experience representing people with all types of product liability claims. They fight aggressively to obtain the compensation individuals need and deserve when tragedy strikes due to the careless and negligent conduct of others.
Contact them today at (757) 896-0868 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.