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Defective Products: Who is Liable & What You Need to Know

Consumers trust manufacturers and retailers enough to assume that every product they sell is safe for consumer use. But unfortunately, sometimes a product that is on store shelves is defective and dangerous, which consumers don’t realize until they’ve already been injured by it. What types of defects can make a product dangerous? Who is liable if you’ve been injured by one of these defective products? Here’s what you need to know about product liability cases:

Types of Product Defects

There are three main categories of product defects that you should know about. The first category is design defects, which as the name suggests, are defects within the design of the product. An example of a design defect is a ladder that is not designed to withstand a significant amount of weight. If the structure is designed so poorly that the ladder will cave in whenever someone steps onto one of the rungs, this is a dangerous design defect that could lead to serious injuries.

nBut, an injury cannot be blamed on a design defect if the product’s design was reasonably dangerous. For instance, knives need to have sharp blades in order to cut through food. If you accidentally cut your finger while chopping vegetables, this cannot be blamed on the product’s designer. In this case, the knife is reasonably dangerous because the blade needed to be sharp in order to make the product effective.

The second type of product defects is a manufacturing defect, which means the defect did not occur in the design phase of the product, but rather during its production. In this case, the product would have been safe for consumer use if it had been manufactured correctly since there is nothing wrong with the design.

Take another look at the ladder example from above. An example of a manufacturing defect would be a rung that is not properly attached to the rest of the ladder due to an error in production.

The final category of product defects is marketing defects. A product has this type of defect if it does not contain adequate warning labels or instructions that explain how to use the product and any associated risks of using it. For example, let’s say a ladder is only designed to hold 200 lbs. before it becomes unstable. A man who weighs over 200 lbs. should be warned that using the ladder is dangerous since it is not designed to hold his weight. But if there is no warning label on the product, the man has no way of knowing this, so he could seriously injure himself as a result of this defect.

Who is Liable For Defective Products?

There are several parties that can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit. To determine who is liable, a products liability attorney must first determine what type of defect was to blame for your injuries. If it was a design defect, the designers and engineers of the product would be held liable for any injuries that occurred. However, if it was a manufacturing defect, these parties would not be responsible. Instead, the manufacturer of the product would be held liable for the injuries since the defect was a production error. Multiple parties, including manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can be held liable in the event that a marketing defect caused someone harm. This is because these parties all have a responsibility to make sure the products that they produce and sell are labeled appropriately.

All of these parties will try to point the finger at one another in order to escape liability. For this reason, it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who knows how to gather evidence that can be used to prove what type of defect it was and who is responsible for it. The defendants in product liability cases will have experienced attorneys representing them, so you will need an attorney who knows how to go up against these high-powered legal teams.

What Victims Should Know

There are a few other things that victims should know before filing a product liability claim. First, it’s important to note that no one can be held liable for a product’s defects if you were injured while using the product in a way that it was not intended to be used. For instance, a ladder is supposed to be placed on a flat surface so someone can climb on it in order to reach something. If you are injured while using a ladder in any other way, the manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and designers cannot be held liable since you were not using the product correctly.

Defective product victims should also keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations on product liability lawsuits that limits the amount of time they have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for product liability lawsuits varies by state. In Iowa, it is two years, which means victims have two years from the date of the injury to take legal action. Two years may seem like a lot of time, but it can fly by quickly if you are trying to recover from your injuries. For this reason, it’s best not to wait until the two-year time limit is almost up. Act quickly so you can give your personal injury attorney as much time as possible to gather evidence and build a strong case against the defendant.

Have you been injured by a defective product? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice as soon as possible to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Product liability cases can be extremely complex, so you will need our team of skilled personal injury attorneys to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

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