Product liability lawsuits are a key aspect of consumer protection law. They arise when a consumer is injured or harmed due to a defective product.

In the U.S., such cases can be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. The unique aspect of strict liability in product liability cases means that a manufacturer can be held liable regardless of their intent or knowledge about the defect.

Craig Swapp & Associates, experienced in handling product liability cases, offers valuable insights into understanding these lawsuits, their origins, how to prove product defects, and the role of a product liability attorney.

Proving a Defective Product

Proving a defective product is central to a product liability lawsuit. The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff, who must demonstrate several key elements:

  1. Existence of a Defect – The plaintiff must prove that the product had a defect. This defect could be a manufacturing flaw, a design defect, or a failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions (marketing defects).
  2. Defect Present at Time of Manufacture – It must be shown that the defect existed at the time the product left the manufacturer’s control. This aspect underlines the manufacturer’s responsibility for the product’s condition when it enters the market.
  3. Causation – There needs to be a direct causal link between the defect and the plaintiff’s injury. This means that the injury was a direct result of the defect in the product. The process of establishing a defect in a product liability lawsuit often involves technical and expert analyses. It might include examining the manufacturing process, analyzing the design for inherent flaws, or evaluating the adequacy of warnings and instructions. Additionally, courts use 2 main standards to assess whether a product is defective:
  4. Consumer Expectation Standard – Under this standard, a product is considered defective if it is more dangerous than an ordinary consumer would expect. The assessment is based on the product’s presentation, intended use, and the expectations it sets for an average user.

Risk-Utility Standard

This standard weighs the product’s risks against its utility and benefits. It involves a broader analysis, considering factors like the feasibility of a safer design, the product’s utility to the user and public, the likelihood and severity of potential injuries, and the manufacturer’s ability to eliminate the unsafe character of the product without impairing its usefulness or making it unduly expensive.

In both standards, the focus is on balancing consumer safety with practical aspects of product design and manufacturing.

Common Product Liability Lawsuits

Common types of product liability cases typically involve claims related to defects in products that cause harm to consumers. These types of lawsuits can be broadly categorized into several areas:

  1. Children’s Toys  –Toys with design or manufacturing defects can be particularly distressing, as they can harm children. Recalls of children’s toys due to safety concerns are not uncommon.
  2. Home Improvement Tools – Tools used for home improvement, such as power drills, saws, and electrical equipment, require clear and accurate labeling to ensure safe use by consumers.
  3. Defective Products Leading to Specific Lawsuits – Some specific types of lawsuits include those related to dangerous drugs, mesothelioma and asbestos, medical device defects, auto defects, welding rod defects, toxic torts, toxic mold, tobacco, hernia mesh defects, food poisoning, and prescription drug defects. – These demonstrate the wide range of products that can be involved in product liability lawsuits. It is important to understand that these claims can be quite complex, often requiring detailed investigation and expert testimony. Consulting with a qualified product liability lawyer is crucial.

How a Product Liability Lawyer Can Help

Product liability cases serve as a vital check on the quality and safety of products in the market. Understanding these lawsuits, the common instances when lawsuits are taken into consideration, and the process of proving a defect is essential for anyone impacted by a defective product.

At Craig Swapp & Associates, our product liability attorney is ready to help you identify responsible parties, gather evidence, negotiate settlements, and represent in court. We help in understanding the nuances of the case, the applicable laws, and the best course of action to ensure that victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve.

For further details or legal assistance, contact us today for a free consultation.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp