Dallas Product Liability Lawyer
In Texas, as is the case across the United States, we place our trust in the safety and efficacy of the products we bring into our homes, use for our health, or rely upon in our daily lives. Yet, sometimes that trust is betrayed. Products can fail, and when they do, they can bring about injuries, financial burdens, and emotional distress.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed by a dangerous, faulty, or defective product, it’s important that you understand your legal rights and potential avenues of recovery.
- Types of Product Liability Claims
- Common Injuries Resulting from Defective Products
- Elements of a Product Liability Claim
- Unique Issues in Product Liability Cases
- Product Liability Class Action Lawsuits
- Product Liability Class Action Settlements
- Noteworthy Product Liability Class Actions
- Manufacturing Defects vs. Design Defects in Product Liability Cases
- Product Liability Claims: Frequently Asked Questions
- What constitutes a defective product?
- Can I file a claim if I wasn’t the one using the product?
- How long do I have to file a claim?
- Bottom Line
Types of Product Liability Claims
When a product fails and causes harm, it may give rise to a product liability claim. The following categories represent common sources of such claims:
- Drugs and Supplements: Adverse effects from prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, or nutritional supplements.
- Failed Medical Devices: Ineffective implants, pacemakers, or surgical devices.
- Defective Products: Everyday items that malfunction, like toys, electronics, or tools.
- Toxic Torts: Exposure to harmful chemicals or materials, such as in the workplace.
- Environmental Hazards: Pollution, contamination, or other harmful environmental factors.
- Construction Products and Plumbing: Materials or tools that fail and cause injuries.
- Appliances: Household devices that malfunction or cause harm.
- Automotive Industry: Car parts, tires, or vehicles that are faulty.
- Other: Including food products, cosmetics, clothing, and more.
Common Injuries Resulting from Defective Products
- Drugs and Supplements: Side effects, overdoses, allergic reactions, heart conditions, cancer, other potentially life-threatening illnesses.
- Failed Medical Devices: Infections, malfunctioning implants, or further medical complications.
- Auto Manufacturing Defects: Injuries from crashes due to faulty brakes, airbags, or other components.
- Defective Household Products: Burns, electrocutions, or other injuries.
- Toxic Torts: Respiratory issues, cancers, or chemical burns.
Elements of a Product Liability Claim
Under a strict product liability theory, a plaintiff must prove that the:
- defendant placed a defective product into the stream of commerce
- that was unreasonably dangerous, and
- the defective and unreasonably dangerous condition of the product caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
Unique Issues in Product Liability Cases
Plaintiffs face a variety of challenges when bringing a product liability claim. These challenges may include:
- identifying, locating, and notifying potential class members of their claims;
- identifying, locating, and serving multiple potential defendants (manufacturers, distributors, retailers); and
- hiring expert witnesses to test and investigate the product in question, prepare written reports describing their findings, and then give expert testimony on the matter.
Product liability class actions are often costly because of the broad scope and relative complexity of such cases. In certain product liability class actions, different law firms will represent different segments of the class of injured plaintiffs.
Product Liability Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits asserting product-liability claims allow a group of people with similar claims to sue collectively. To file a new class action, a representative plaintiff must convince the court that, among other things, there are many others with the same or similar claims.
In most cases, class members may choose to opt-out of an existing class action to pursue an individual claim in a separate lawsuit.
Product Liability Class Action Settlements
Settlements involve compensating affected individuals from a common fund. The specifics, including who gets what, are decided by the court.
Noteworthy Product Liability Class Actions
Product liability class actions have resulted in monumental settlements and verdicts, attracting significant media attention and deterring corporations from placing profits over people. Product liability class actions that have resulted in record-setting settlements and verdicts include:
- tobacco cancer lawsuits,
- talcum powder cancer lawsuits,
- defective automobile parts lawsuits,
- dangerous medication lawsuits,
- defective medical device lawsuits, and
- asbestos cancer lawsuits.
Manufacturing Defects vs. Design Defects in Product Liability Cases
A manufacturing defect pertains to errors during the product’s creation, causing it to deviate from its intended design. Conversely, a design defect is inherent, implying the entire product line is fundamentally flawed by design.
For instance, consider a situation where a car’s brake system, due to a manufacturing flaw, fails to operate as intended, resulting in a tragic accident. This is an example of a manufacturing defect where the product deviates from its intended design because of an error during its production. Alternatively, think of an entire line of chairs designed in a manner that makes them inherently unstable, causing users to topple over when seated. Such an inherent flaw, consistent across all products of that line, represents a design defect.
Product Liability Claims: Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a defective product?
A product that doesn’t work as intended, causing potential harm or actual injury.
Can I file a claim if I wasn’t the one using the product?
Yes, if you were harmed by the product, even if you weren’t the direct user.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Typically, there are statutes of limitations that vary by state. A Texas personal injury lawyer can help you determine the amount of time that you have to file your product liability lawsuit or join an existing product liability class action lawsuit.
Product liability claims can be intricate, but are pivotal in ensuring consumer safety and holding companies accountable for placing defective, harmful products on the market. If you believe you or a loved one may have a product liability claim, contact a product liability lawyer in your area today.