Did you know that product liability and defective or dangerous products are part of personal injury law? Personal injury lawyers handle many different types of cases, including car accidents, slip and fall cases, construction and work accidents, medical malpractice, as well as product liability.
When a vehicle, drug, piece of furniture, food, or any other consumer product is manufactured with a defect or is considered unreasonably unsafe, then anyone injured by its use may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer. This is what massive product recalls try to avoid, and why they are so widely announced and advertised, to prevent injuries and remove defective products from people’s homes, as these products can cause severe injuries to the consumers. If you’ve been hurt by a defective or unsafe product, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York City!
This part of personal injury law is called Product Liability. According to FindLaw, “Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer. Responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain. In general terms, the law requires that a product meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. When a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer.”
How Do I Know If My Injury is Due to a Defective Product?
Every time you purchase a product, from medication to a truck, you have the right to expect that it is reasonably safe to use in the manner it was intended. Products that come with some risks, such as a hot iron or a toy with pieces that could be a choking hazard, are required to warn customers of any dangers, so that customers can make an informed purchasing decision.
Sometimes defective or dangerous products make it into the marketplace and whether it is a cell phone that spontaneously ignites or a stroller that has bad brakes, the manufacturer is responsible. These defects can and do cause serious injury to innocent citizens who paid money in good faith for these products.
Here are the top 10 examples of mass recalls on defective products from TIME Magazine:
- Infantino’s Baby Slings: Almost 1 million Infantino SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo baby slings were recalled on March 24, 2010, after they were linked to three infant deaths.
- Toyota’s Faulty Pedals: On Jan. 21, 2010, the world’s largest automaker issued a recall on 4.1 million vehicles sold in the U.S. and Europe to fix faulty gas pedals that have a tendency to get stuck, causing unintended acceleration. This followed a November 2009 recall of 5.3 million cars believed to have ill-fitting floor mats that have a tendency to trap pedals.
- Cribs Recalled: More than 400,000 drop-side cribs made by Simplicity were recalled on July 2, 2009, after an eight-month-old child in Houston suffocated. In September 2008, the company recalled 600,000 cribs of the same type, and in 2007 a million older-model cribs were recalled after two children became trapped and suffocated.
- China’s Melamine-Related Recalls: In 2008, China’s largest provider of milk powder recalled 700 tons of baby formula after one child died and more than 50 others developed kidney problems. Melamine, a chemical used in the making of plastic, was found in the baby formula. Melamine was also a problem in March 2007, when the FDA recalled more than 60 million cans of cat and dog food made in China after the death of 14 pets.
- Ford Pinto: After several lawsuits and criminal charges, Ford recalled 1.5 million Pintos in 1978, retrofitting the fuel-tank assembly with additional protections to prevent the Pinto from going up in flames.
- Tire Treads Peel Off: In 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recalled 6.5 million Firestone tires involved in one of the most dangerous product faults in automobile history — a tendency for tire failure that caused nearly 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries.
- Largest Meat Recall in History: In February 2008, the Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef after a California slaughterhouse was accused of improperly butchering downer cattle.
- Peanut Corp. of America Tries to Kill Everyone: After a 2008 salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people and may have killed eight, federal investigators traced the strain to peanuts processed at Peanut Corp.’s Blakely, Georgia, plant. The FDA found evidence that the company allowed products to ship even after internal testing discovered salmonella contamination. The result was a massive recall of the processed peanuts contained in everything from peanut butter to ice cream. The company, which denied the allegations, declared bankruptcy in the wake of the investigation.
- Tylenol Tampering: In the fall of 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. Over the ensuing month, authorities tallied 270 different incidents of product-tampering. Johnson & Johnson spent millions of dollars recalling Tylenol from stores nationwide. To prevent a recurrence, the FDA mandated new tamper-proof seals for over-the-counter drugs.
- Merck Recalls Vioxx: On Sept. 30, 2004, pharmaceutical giant Merck announced that it would voluntarily recall its worldwide stock of Vioxx, an arthritis drug that had brought in $2.5 billion in sales the previous year. In 2007, Merck paid $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits from people affected by injuries or death associated with the drug.
Causes of action for defective product lawsuits:
- Breach of Warranty
- Strict Liability
- Failure to Warn
The best personal injury attorneys will understand your fears, help you navigate the justice system, and know how to get you the compensation for the pain and suffering caused by dangerous and defective products.
If you or someone you know has been injured in any way by defective products or injured by an unsafe consumer product, speak to a top NYC personal injury attorney at The Ashley Law Firm. Our personal injury experts will help you in every step of the legal process, and will provide compassionate guidance and expert legal representation, and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.