Defective products can cause fires and explosions, lacerations, head injuries, eye injuries, and damage to the skin and internal organs from toxic substances. The list of catastrophic injuries or the ways in which dangerous products can kill is endless. As consumers, we have no way of knowing that a product is defective until we use it and something goes wrong. It’s up to the people in charge of making and selling the products to ensure they are safe through quality control, testing and other reasonable safety methods. When the product makers refuse to show conscientious regard for the safety of consumers, they can and should be held liable for the damage they cause.
Products liability is the area of law that deals with holding manufacturers, distributors and retailers accountable for making or selling defective products that kill, maim or otherwise injure innocent users. Products liability cases are handled differently from other personal injury matters. Defective products cases are more complex, they use a different legal theory to prove liability, and the defendants are most often large, well-funded corporations with teams of lawyers and seemingly unlimited resources to fight an injury lawsuit.
Ward Law is an experienced Baton Rouge products liability law firm ready to take on the most difficult cases and recover full compensation for people injured by defective products in Louisiana.
What Does “Strict Liability” Mean?
While most personal injury cases, such as auto or trucking accidents, hold bad actors accountable for their negligence, most product liability cases follow a different legal theory known as strict products liability or simply strict liability. When strict liability applies, the plaintiff does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in the way it designed, built or handled the product. Likewise, it does not matter how much care the manufacturer claims to have exercised. If the product was dangerously defective when it left the manufacturer’s control, and that defect caused the victim’s injury, then the product maker is strictly liable for the damages caused.
Strict liability might not apply if the victim misused the product, but so long as the product was used for its intended purpose or reasonably foreseeable purpose, then strict liability should apply. Strict products liability is only one way to hold product makers accountable for injuries caused by defective products. Other applicable legal theories might include negligence or breach of warranty actions, for instance. At Ward Law, we carefully analyze the facts and the applicable law to build a case we know we can prove and prevail on in court.
What Kinds of Product Defects Can Manufacturers Be Held Liable for?
Defective products generally fall into one of three different categories: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. Some examples of these defects are described below.
Manufacturing Defects – A mistake on the assembly line, a malfunction at the manufacturing facility, or the use of substandard materials can create a manufacturing defect. A power tool, lawnmower or other machine with moving parts could seize up, fail, or burst apart violently, sending shrapnel into the user’s face or vital arteries. Occupants of automobiles could lose their lives in a rollover crash if the roof caves in, or they could suffer spinal injuries when the seatback fails. Defective airbags have caused serious injuries and death. When a product is defectively manufactured, it can be hard to know whether the defect lies in one unit or thousands.
Design Defects – A product’s design can be dangerously defective. A household appliance designed without an automatic shut-off if it is left on too long or tips over could start a fire. A table saw designed without a safety guard could cause an amputation. Automobiles designed with a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase can too easily roll over. Cars designed with their fuel lines too close to electrical wiring can ignite an explosion on impact. Products that are defectively designed are usually defective across the board – every unit manufactured will share the same defect and potential for injury.
Failure to Warn – Products that are designed and manufactured safely can still be dangerous if they are used improperly. For example, household cleaners and industrial solvents might require the use of gloves, eye protection or adequate ventilation, and some products cannot be safely mixed with others. Some toys may contain small parts that present choking hazards to children under a certain age. Consumers need to be given appropriate safety warnings and instructions for a product’s safe use. Warnings should be easy to understand and clearly visible on the product packaging, instruction sheet and maybe even the product itself. Products with inadequate safety warnings can be considered defective for the purpose of Louisiana products liability law.
Ward Law in Baton Rouge Helps Consumers in Louisiana Products Liability Claims
Some product manufacturers would rather settle claims or fight them in court than make simple changes to their products that might only cost a few pennies per unit. Products liability litigation, including class actions where appropriate, may be the only way to force them to change their behavior. At Ward Law, our twin goals in products liability cases are to recover a full amount of compensation to help our clients deal with their injuries and to improve public safety wherever possible.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous product, call Ward Law in Baton Rouge at 225-330-6677 or 866-928-3047 for a free consultation with an experienced, dedicated and successful Louisiana products liability injury attorney.