Defective and unreasonably dangerous products can cause serious injuries to adults and children alike. No one uses a product expecting it to break or fail; when a product's defect becomes apparent, it can take the user by surprise.
Luckily, products liability is a well-established area of the law. If you have been injured, consult with an experienced products liability attorney from Newman Bronson & Wallis in St. Louis, Missouri, to discuss your options.
The federal government regulates some aspects of consumer product safety, but the laws affecting products liability litigation exist at the state level. Although the intricacies of these laws vary from state to state, the states share some overarching principles.
Defects in Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing
Product defects come in a variety of forms.
A design defect occurs when the manufacturer or producer fails to design the product so that it is safe for its intended use. Typically, the manufacturer could have used a safer alternative design to avoid foreseeable risk. This occurs when, for instance, a hammer is designed with a weak handle or a swing set is designed with an unstable base.
A manufacturing defect occurs during the manufacturing process and has nothing to do with the design. Even if the design was perfect, poor manufacturing can undo proper safety measures. This can occur when a manufacturer uses the wrong materials or fails to use appropriate quality controls.
A marketing defect — the failure to warn of danger or instruct on proper use — is a different kind of defect. A product that is safe when the consumer knows how to use it can turn dangerous without the proper warnings. The manufacturer has a duty to warn users of non-obvious aspects that can make the product dangerous. A marketing defect can occur when the manufacturer fails to provide instructions to use a household cleaner only in well-ventilated areas or to wear gloves while using the cleaner.
When a Product is Unreasonably Dangerous
Some products, like knives, are naturally dangerous. This does not make them unreasonably dangerous, because we know that when we use them they can cut. A product that is unreasonably dangerous, on the other hand, is one whose danger the consumer does not expect or whose risks outweigh its benefits. The property that makes the product unreasonably dangerous must have existed when the product left the control of the manufacturer.
What to Do
If you have been hurt by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, seek the help of a products liability lawyer. After you get medical attention for your injuries, it is important to keep the product that caused the injuries; if you keep the product, it will be easier to prove what kind of defect caused the problem. An experienced attorney will advise you on how to proceed. Contact Newman Bronson & Wallis in St. Louis, Missouri, today to schedule a consultation with a products liability lawyer.