Every day we trust the safety and reliability of thousands of products, from our cars to prescription medications, yet sometimes harmful defects can cause severe injuries or even death. Product liability cases are lawsuits filed by injured consumers to hold negligent manufacturers, distributors, or retailers responsible. Understanding these standard classes of product liability cases may help us make more informed decisions as consumers and shed light on what to expect when faced with such situations. In this blog post, we will delve into five common scenarios:
- Defective pharmaceutical cases
- Defective vehicle cases
- Defective medical devices
- Defective consumer goods
- Defective tools or equipment
Defective Pharmaceutical Cases:
When we become sick or injured, medications are often our saving grace. However, pharmaceuticals can cause devastating side effects if incorrectly designed or manufactured. Defective drug cases typically involve medications approved by the FDA but later prove hazardous, either due to undisclosed side effects, insufficient warnings, or manufacturing defects. For instance, in recent years, many legal actions have been raised against drugs such as Zantac (potentially causing cancer) and opioids (for addictive qualities and overdoses).
Defective Vehicle Cases:
In our fast-paced society, a reliable vehicle is a necessity for most. But what happens when the car you’re driving becomes a danger to you and others on the road? Defective vehicle cases range from faulty airbags to ignition switch defects and tire blowouts. A well-known example is the global Takata airbag recall, which affected tens of millions of vehicles and resulted in numerous lawsuits due to airbags rupturing and causing severe injuries or deaths. Manufacturers can be held liable in these situations, and consumers deserve compensation for their losses or injuries.
Defective Medical Devices:
Medical devices can improve the quality of life for patients, but when they fail, the consequences may be dire. Defective medical devices can include hip replacements and pacemakers to surgical mesh and IUDs. Sometimes, these devices fail due to poor design, while others’ manufacturing processes may be flawed. A well-publicized example is the DePuy ASR hip replacement recall, which resulted in thousands of patients undergoing expensive and risky revision surgeries due to the increased risk of device failure, pain, and metal poisoning.
Defective Consumer Goods:
We rely on countless consumer products, from household appliances to children’s toys, to ease our daily routines. Yet, negligence in design or manufacturing can lead to dangerous flaws in these products, causing injuries or even fatalities. Examples of defective consumer goods include exploding e-cigarettes and lithium-ion batteries, hoverboards catching fire, and toys containing hazardous materials such as lead. Additionally, consumers often need to be made aware of recall notices, leaving them vulnerable to harm.
Defective Tools or Equipment:
Whether at home or the workplace, using defective tools or equipment can result in catastrophic injuries. These cases often involve industrial equipment used in construction, manufacturing, or agriculture but can also include everyday items like power tools and ladders. If a tool or piece of equipment fails because of poor design, manufacturing defects, or inadequate instructions, the responsible party can be held accountable. For example, power saw accidents caused by defective safety features have led to countless product liability lawsuits.
Product liability cases can be complex and involve a wide variety of situations. Defective pharmaceuticals, vehicles, medical devices, consumer goods, and tools or equipment all share one thing in common: the potential to cause serious harm to consumers. While holding manufacturers and distributors accountable for their negligence in making and distributing these dangerous products is vital, it is equally important to empower ourselves as consumers to make informed decisions and understand our rights. By staying vigilant and knowing when to seek legal support, we can help create a safer world for all.