Have you ever purchased a product, only to find out it’s faulty or even dangerous? Most of us expect items we buy to be safe and of a certain quality, especially when it concerns products that we use daily or ones that can impact our health.

This trust is underpinned by laws that hold manufacturers accountable for their products. In Spokane, defective product laws ensure consumer safety.

Understanding Defective Product Laws

Product liability refers to the legal responsibility shouldered by sellers or manufacturers when their products cause harm. Whether it’s a malfunctioning electronic device, a tainted food product, or a flawed medical implant, these cases fall under the purview of product liability. The premise is simple: if you buy a product, it should be safe for its intended use. If not, someone needs to be accountable.

Types of Defects

The safety and utility of a product are non-negotiable. When these expectations aren’t met, understanding the nature of the defect is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the three main types of product defects:

  1. Design Defects

These pertain to inherent flaws in the product’s design, meaning that even if the product is manufactured flawlessly, its very design is the problem.

Consider the Ford Pinto case from the 1970s. The design of the car’s fuel tank was such that it could rupture in a rear-end collision, leading to a risk of fire. Even though the car was manufactured as designed, the design itself was inherently dangerous.

  1. Manufacturing Defects

These occur when there’s an unintentional deviation from the intended design during the manufacturing process.

In 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. had to recall millions of tires because they were prone to tread separation, a manufacturing flaw. The design of the tire was not the issue, but a flaw in the manufacturing process made these specific tires dangerous.

  1. Marketing Defects

These defects stem from a failure in adequately instructing the consumer about the product’s proper use or not warning about its potential risks.

In the early 1980s, there were cases against Johnson & Johnson regarding their pain-reliever, Tylenol. While the product itself was safe if taken as recommended, the company had to address the marketing aspect after several poisoning cases. Although this was due to tampering and not a direct marketing defect of the company, the company took steps to improve its packaging and provide clearer warnings, showcasing the importance of clear consumer communication.

Elements of a Product Liability Claim

To succeed in a product liability claim, you must prove the following four elements of defective product laws:

  • The product was defective. To prove that a product was defective, you must show that it was unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. You can do this by presenting evidence of the design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn defect.
  • The defect was the cause of your injury. To prove that the defect in the product caused your injury, you must show that there is a more likely than not chance that the injury would not have occurred if the product had not been defective. This is often done through expert testimony.
  • You were using the product as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner. To prove that you were using the product as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, you must show that you were using the product in a way that the manufacturer could have anticipated. For example, if you are injured while using a power tool in a way that is specifically prohibited in the owner’s manual, you may not be able to recover compensation.
  • You suffered damages as a result of your injury. To prove that you suffered damages as a result of your injury, you must present evidence of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other economic or non-economic losses that you incurred as a result of your injury.

If you are successful in a product liability claim, you may be able to recover the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

How can Craig Swapp & Associates help?

In a world where products are constantly introduced to the market, consumer protection is paramount. The laws in Spokane and Craig Swapp & Associates serve as bulwarks against negligent manufacturers. Remember, when harmed by a product, you’re not alone. The right product liability attorney can be your ally, ensuring justice is served.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by a defective product, take a proactive step. Reach out to Craig Swapp & Associates, and let their team of dedicated product liability lawyers assist you. Your safety and well-being should never be compromised by a defective product. Act now.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp