Product Liability Laws: A Manufacturer's Duty to the Consumer
Any time you purchase a product from a public market or retain a service from a public source, an umbrella of product liability laws – mainly established through federal-level legislation – will open to protect you from damages in case you are unduly injured by that product or service. Indeed, every product manufacturer that sells products in the United States has an unshakable duty to only provide consumers safe products that are free of defects. It is this duty that forms the basis of those product liability laws and that becomes crucial in the event a consumer is hurt by a defective product.
What Makes a Product “Defective”?
Not every dangerous product is “defective” but most defective products are dangerous. For example, consider a kitchen knife that is inherently dangerous due to its purpose. It is not defective. Yet something like a helmet, which is supposed to promote safety, can become defective and therefore dangerous if it fails in its purpose.
Products can become dangerously defective typically through one of three ways:
- By design: Failures during the design process that render the product dangerous even before it is made. Consider a helmet designed to be made with a brittle material that will shatter in an impact.
- During manufacturing: Failures that occur while a product is being manufactured, like a bolt not being screwed all the way into place on an assembly line and making the entire bicycle prone to collapse.
- Through lack of instruction: The failure to provide the consumer with enough instruction to safely use the product. Imagine buying a power tool with no instruction booklet. No matter how careful you are when using it, you may be placing yourself in danger unknowingly.
When a Product Manufacturer Might Not Be Liable
Someone injured by a product does not automatically have a viable product liability claim. If there is evidence of the consumer intentionally misusing the product, then the product manufacturer might not be liable for any damages. In an extreme example, imagine someone using an electronic in the shower after being warned of the dangers and suffering an electrocution injury. The product manufacturer could easily argue they were not to blame for the harm.
However, it is important not to dismiss claims of injury as misuse of the product. In many instances, consumers use a product in a way similar to its purpose but still get injured. This is not an egregious misuse nor is it a reckless behavior. The consumer may still have a claim for some or all of the resulting damages.
Hurt by a Defective Product? Call Us Right Away!
If you get injured by a product and believe a defect was to blame, let Habbas & Associates know. Our San Jose defective product attorneys have more than 175 years of combined personal injury case experience and work for contingency fees – you do not pay us anything unless we win you a verdict or settlement. Let us start reviewing your claim and determining if the product manufacturer should be held liable for your damages today. Contact us at your first opportunity.