Seattle Product Liability Lawyers
Dangerous Products Causing Serious Injuries
Many people can’t imagine bringing a new product home and finding that it’s defective - and that the defect could cause them harm. But injuries from product defects happen more often than you think. And in the case of items such as children’s toys, pharmaceuticals, household items, and automobiles, defects can cause severe injuries.
There is no federal law regarding product liability, the area of law that regulates the manufacturing and production of products for consumer use. Fortunately, Washington has instated the Washington Products Liability Act, an act that leans in the favor of consumers when they are injured by defective products.
Who’s Responsible When Injuries Occur?
It’s not always the first thought to cross an accident victim’s mind, but in some cases, especially when a product has unexpectedly caused harm, you might think: Who’s responsible for this injury?
It really depends on the exact cause of the injury. If it was a defect in the design or manufacturing of the product, the manufacturer will be at fault. This means that if the defect originated from the planning stages of the product (such as not including rails on a child’s staircase in a playground), the manufacturer can be held responsible. If the defect was created in the manufacturing stage, or in the actual making of the product, the manufacturer could still be held responsible.
If the product was planned and manufactured properly, but had a defect by the time it reached the consumer, the wholesaler or retailer could be held responsible. For instance, if the playground parts were delivered to the wholesaler but staff didn’t store them properly and the railings were crushed, the wholesaler could be held responsible.
According to Washington’s Products Liability Act, if injured parties would like to file a personal injury claim, they must first be able to prove that the product did not meet reasonable expectations. This is often proven once injury has occurred and the defect has been found.
The injured party must also be able to prove that there was not adequate warning on the product to indicate that an injury could occur. This is why it is so important to read all pamphlets, instructions, precautions, and other documents that might come with a product.
Lastly, the injured party must also be able to prove that injury occurred, and that the injury was fairly severe. Without injury there can be no compensation, and compensation likely will not be granted for minor cuts and scrapes.
What About Recalled Items?
A product safety recall occurs when a manufacturer or the government determines that a specific product poses a health or safety risk to the public. In some cases, the manufacturer discovers that there is an issue or flaw in the product. In other instances, the issue is discovered by consumers and brought to the attention of the manufacturer. As a result, the manufacturer issues a recall to remove all of the dangerous products that have been purchased by consumers and any products that are in stores but have not been sold.
If you are unsure about a product’s safety and want to know if it has been recalled, there are several websites which compile lists of recalled products.
- Recalls.gov provides information about government-issued recalls.
- FSIS.USDA.gov includes recalls of meat, poultry, sausage and processed egg products.
- Safercar.gov covers safety information regarding vehicles and equipment, such as child safety seats.
- FDA.gov includes recalls of food (other than meat products, vegetables, fruit, seafood, eggs and baby formula), medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, pet foods, and pet medications.
Any time you discover that a product you own has been recalled, discontinue using it immediately. If you have been injured or become ill as a result of a recalled product, immediately seek medical attention. Even if you believe that the injury or illness is not serious, consult a medical professional to document your illness or injury, and be sure to request a full copy of all medical records related to the product, because the manufacturer or distributor may be liable for all your damages.
Common Injuries Associated with Defective Products
Of course, just about any type of injury could occur from a defective product, depending on the type of product and area of injury. But there are some injuries that are more commonly seen in product liability cases than others. Those include:
- Choking and burning injuries, from children’s toys
- Organ failure, from defective pharmaceuticals
- Broken bones, from products such as ladders or high chairs
- Head injuries, from motorcycles or bicycles
- Wrongful death, mainly due to vehicles, seat belts, and airbags
Injuries from product liability can be severe. There may be compensation available that can help accident victims with expenses associated with medical bills, loss of income when they’re unable to work while recovering, and more.
If you have been injured by a defective product, you may have a viable case to claim compensation. Call one of the Seattle personal injury lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., today at (888) 228-3860. Having one of our experienced attorneys review your case is your best chance for success!