Imagine a pharmaceutical company developing a next-generation drug to treat migraines. Even though human trials show promise, patients start reporting severe side effects as soon as the medication hits the market. After an internal investigation, the company discovers that their new manufacturer created an incorrect formulation of the drug.
Who is responsible for this defective product? If you suffer a serious injury because of the drug’s side effects, you might not even care who’s responsible – as long as someone is held accountable to compensate you for the consequences of their mistakes.
The law agrees that victims of defective products do not have to spend their time or money trying to figure out who exactly is responsible for their injuries. If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you could potentially sue anyone who contributed to the defective product being on the market – from the manufacturer or shipping company to the retailer.
Is the Seller Responsible for a Defective Product?
In some cases, the seller – not the manufacturer – can be responsible for a product defect:
- The seller handled the product in a way that caused the defect, for example, by not storing a product properly when it needs to be refrigerated
- The retailer knew the item was defective but continued selling it anyway
- The seller failed to give buyers the necessary warnings about the product
While the seller can certainly cause a defect or make a defect worse, in many cases the person who is actually responsible is the product designer or manufacturer.
Can a Retailer Be Held Liable for Selling Defective Products?
Even if a seller or retailer isn’t responsible for causing the defect, you can still file a lawsuit against them because they were involved in selling a dangerous product to customers.
If you file a lawsuit against a retailer but they didn’t actually cause the defect, they will probably file legal claims against the manufacturer or even the shipping company responsible for transporting the products. The upside is that you don’t have to worry about figuring out this blame game. You can get the financial compensation you deserve and move forward with your life, while the parties involved can fight over culpability amongst themselves.
A product liability lawsuit can get complicated and overwhelming, especially if you’re facing a major corporation that would rather avoid having to admit a mistake or recall a product. You should speak to a product liability lawyer as soon as possible after suffering an injury. A good attorney will level the power imbalance and watch out for your best interests in the case.
Who Is Legally Responsible for a Defective Product?
Whoever caused a product to become defective is ultimately responsible for the consequences. Product liability cases work on a strict liability model.
In strict liability cases, it doesn’t matter if the company was negligent or not when it produced a defective product. It doesn’t matter even if the company took every possible precaution to make sure that their product was safe. As long as they produced a defective product they injured someone, they are liable.
To file a successful product liability lawsuit, you must prove that you were using the product as intended when a defect caused you to suffer injuries. While retailers can be the cause of the defect, most defects happen in the design or manufacturing process of production.
If a product is defective because of poor design, faulty production, lack of quality control, or a failure to include adequate warnings, the manufacturer can be held liable for injuries.
Types of Product Liability Claims
Defective products fall into one of three categories:
- A design defect creates an unreasonable danger to users even when manufactured correctly. You can prove that a design is defective by demonstrating a pattern of users getting injured while using the product as intended. You can also compare the defective product to similar non-defective products that aren’t dangerous.
- In contrast, a manufacturing defect is an unintentional error in production. To prove this type of defect, you can simply show that the defective product is different than non-defective models in a way that makes it dangerous.
- Even if a product is designed and manufactured as intended, it may still be considered legally “defective” if there are no proper warnings about the dangers of using the product, especially if they’re hazards that a regular person might not notice.
Product liability cases are a type of personal injury case. However, they can get quite complicated because product design and manufacturing can get complicated. A lawyer with the proper expertise can help you prove your case and get the compensation you deserve.
Examples of Defective Product Cases
Defects can affect a wide range of products, from electronics, vehicles, and medications to toys. Even the most unremarkable item could be dangerous when defective.
- The company Zuru has recalled 7.5 million Baby Shark and Mini Baby Shark bath toys because the hard plastic fins are a design flaw that creates a risk of impalements, cuts, and puncture injuries to children who climb on the toys or fall on top of them.
- Over half a billion dollars in settlements have been paid out to buyers of cars affected by the Takata airbag manufacturing defect, which caused airbags to explode and splinter in accidents, severely injuring and killing multiple individuals.
- A number of parents sued the manufacturers of a baby formula brand because the product was marketed as safe and even beneficial for premature infants when it actually carried the risk of gastrointestinal disease, sepsis, and other dangers.
Can You Sue for a Defective Product?
Absolutely. If you’ve been injured because of a defective product, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your losses, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
An experienced attorney can help you determine the cause of your injury and get you the financial settlement you deserve, whether the person responsible is the manufacturer, the retailer, or another company involved in bringing the product to consumers. If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you don’t have to face the aftermath alone.
Your safety matters. Holding manufacturers accountable for defects can help ensure a safer marketplace not just for you but for everyone else. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we can help. Click here now to get started with your free case consultation.