Each year, tens of thousands of Americans are injured by defective products. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure that their products are free from any defects that may place consumers in danger. If they fail to perform this duty, companies can be held liable for damages related to any injuries caused by the defective products.
In a product liability suit, plaintiffs must show that the product that injured them had a dangerous defect. There are three types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and defective warnings.
Types of Product Defects
A design defect is a flaw in a product’s design that creates an unexpected danger for consumers. For example, plaintiffs have sued hip manufacturers, like DePuy, claiming their metal replacement hips are defective due to their metal-on-metal design. Friction between the metal components of the hips can release metallic particles into the body, causing a number of health problems. Plaintiffs contend that the design of the metal hips is defective, since the manufacturers could have used safer materials, like ceramic.
A second category of product defects is manufacturing defects. These occur when an error during the manufacturing process causes the product to be released with a dangerous flaw. For example, a hip implant may have a manufacturing defect if it fails to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, causing injury to the patient as a result.
The final category of product defects is defective warnings. These occur when manufacturers fail to provide adequate warnings about the dangers associated with their products. For example, in hip replacements lawsuits, many plaintiffs have alleged that manufacturers provided defective warnings about the complications involved with metal-on-metal replacement hips. These plaintiffs claim that had they known about the dangers associated with all-metal hips, they would’ve chosen a different model and avoided injury.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
If their suits are successful, injured consumers may receive damages for any medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from a defective product. Product liability lawsuits are often very complex. Individuals who have been injured by a defective product should consult with an attorney to learn more about their legal options. However, it’s important to note that a law called a statute of limitations generally restricts the timeframe for filing a product liability lawsuit.