Dangerous Consumer Products
We use dangerous products all the time. Most of the time, we don't realize just how difficult certain types of consumer products can be. It isn't until we sustain serious injuries using a product that we consider whether it should be on the market.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 50,000 people die every year due to dangerous products. More than 28 million others are seriously hurt while using hazardous or defective products.
There are different types of dangerous products. Some suffer from a manufacturing or design defect. Others are inherently dangerous. This article will discuss some of the more common hazardous consumer products. We'll also briefly explain what to do if you or your loved one suffer an injury while using one of these products.
Types of Dangerous Products
Certain types of household products and consumer products are more dangerous than others. Most of the time, it's evident that a product can cause harm. For example, if you're using a chainsaw, you know to be extremely careful. With other products, its ability to cause injuries is a lot less obvious.
Some products that are more dangerous than others include:
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Toxic chemicals
- Contaminated food
- Pesticides and Bug Sprays
- Cleaning products
This list is in no way exhaustive. Things we use every day can end up causing severe injury. While it's easy to assume the product manufacturer is the only party liable for these injuries, your personal injury lawyer may need to pursue multiple parties.
Who Is Responsible for Dangerous Products?
When you meet with your product liability lawyer, they must determine if your case is worth pursuing. This will depend on several factors, including the following:
- Whether there's evidence that the product was dangerous or defective
- Which parties they'll need to name in your product liability lawsuit
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- Whether the manufacturer violated any consumer protection regulations
- If there was a product recall that you failed to respond to
- If the product contained dangerous chemicals or hazardous parts
- What the risk of injury was
- Your damages
In most cases, your attorney will file a claim against the manufacturer of the hazardous product. However, other parties may also be partially responsible. These include the following:
Once you file your lawsuit, your attorney will try to negotiate a settlement with the responsible parties. If this isn't possible, they'll take your case to trial before a judge and let them decide if the defendant is liable.
What Is the Legal Basis for a Product Liability Claim?
It's not enough that you hurt yourself while using what you believe is a dangerous product. To prevail in your product liability lawsuit, your attorney must demonstrate that the defendant is responsible for your injury.
With ordinary consumer goods, plaintiffs must prove that the manufacturer, retailer, or other party was negligent. Negligence is the foundation for most personal injury cases. To prove negligence, your personal injury lawyer must demonstrate the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty somehow
- You injured yourself
- Your injuries are the direct result of the defendant's breach of duty
For example, imagine that you become sick after using a prescription medication. When you first took the drug, there were no safety warnings or special instructions. However, you later learn that the manufacturer knew the drug potentially caused kidney damage. They would be negligent if they failed to warn you of this risk. A reasonable drug manufacturer would have given patients and healthcare providers the requisite warnings.
Some products are inherently dangerous. No matter what the manufacturer, wholesale, or retailer did, there was no way to make the product safe. In these cases, the judge will apply a strict liability standard. Under strict liability, the plaintiff must only prove that an inherently dangerous product hurt them. They don't need to show the court that the defendant did anything wrong.
The courts handle product liability lawsuits on a case-by-case basis. There's no way to know for sure which type of case you have until your attorney has a chance to review it.
What Types of Damages Can You Demand in Your Product Liability Lawsuit?
You hire a personal injury attorney because you want compensation for your injuries. In most product liability cases, plaintiffs demand both economic and non-economic damages.
When you first meet with your attorney, they'll review your documentation, including your medical records. This will help them determine the damages you can demand in your lawsuit. This may include some or all of the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
You will only recover damages if you prove the defendant's behavior caused your injuries. With respect to punitive damages, they are rare. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant as well as deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
How a Products Liability Attorney Can Help
Every year, thousands of Americans file product liability, wrongful death, and personal injury lawsuits against companies that manufacture dangerous consumer products. If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or injury that a hazardous product might cause, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.
Once you've spoken with your doctor, you may also want to consult with a product liability lawyer. They can help determine whether you deserve compensation for your injuries.
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