Consumer products should not only be useful, they should also be safe to use. Manufacturers, therefore, have the responsibility to make sure that the products they put on the market is made of raw materials that do not bring harm to end-users and that the essential moving components of such products do not cause injury or physical harm. Nearly half of consumer products on the market today has safety implications. And while the Consumer Products Safety Commission actively monitors consumer complaints against defective products, more often than not, the damage has already been done. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact our New Orleans product liability lawyer.
A Look at Product Liability Cases
Consumers expect the products that they purchase are safe to use. The Consumer Products Safety Commission continue to require manufacturers to issue recalls because of safety issues such as fall hazards, choking hazards, crash and injury hazards, head injury hazards, fire hazards, burn hazards, and strangulation hazards, as well as a handful of other hazards. The list goes on to show that even products from reputable brands or companies can have serious safety issues. According to the US-CPSC, more than 9 percent of all personal injury cases in 2014 were attributed to product liability. These cases accounted for the second-highest median damage awards, next only to medical malpractice cases, in all personal injury cases.
Defective Automobile Parts
In April 2016, Fiat Chrysler issued a recall of more than 1.1 million cars and midsize SUVs all over the world for a faulty design in its park mechanism which has already resulted in 41 injuries. In February 2016, Mercedes Benz recalled more than 800,000 vehicles for defective Takata airbags which was initially discovered by Ferrari leading to a recall of 2,600 prancing horse cars in 2015. In 2014, Toyota settled for $1.2 billion in a lawsuit for its 4 million recalled cars due to problems of unintended acceleration. These are just examples of a long list of automobile manufacturers rolling out unsafe vehicles. Even automobile giants are not immune to make mistakes.
Some of the more common reasons for automobile recalls include:
- Airbag failures leading to serious head and neck and whiplash injuries
- Defective tires leading to vehicular accidents and physical injuries
- Door failures leading to occupant getting thrown out of the vehicle
- Fuel system failures leading to post-collision fuel-fed fires
- Inadequate side-impact protection leading to more fatal injuries in the event of lateral collisions
- Rollover failure or roof crush resulting in cervical spine injuries and paralysis
- Seatbelt failures leading to failure of adequate passenger restraint
Automobile manufacturers are always at the cutting edge of technology. Formula 1 racecars are built with technological precision. Even when traveling at exceptionally high speeds and figuring into high impact collisions, F1 drivers of today often walk away unfazed by the incident. Unfortunately, some of these cutting-edge automobile safety technologies are simply not designed for production consumer cars. Production costs can limit an automobile manufacturer's use of the best safety features as these can significantly increase the overall price of the car which must be shouldered by consumers. Putting F1 race safety features on a family wagon, for example, will simply drive the price of the vehicle to levels which the average American family surely will not be able to afford. Lowering production costs by using minimally safe technologies can mean a more affordable car for the average consumer. Unfortunately, this is where many accidents happen.
Defective Children's Products
Toy-related injuries account for a great number of product liability cases in the United States. In 2014, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that 251,800 children were brought and treated at emergency departments all over the United States due to toy-related injuries. More than 40 percent of all the documented cases of toy-related injury emergency room visits were attributed to abrasions, contusions, and lacerations, almost 45 percent of which were on the head and face. Five percent required extensive hospitalization while 11 innocent lives were lost due to motorized toy vehicle accidents. Almost 75 percent of all the injuries happened to children below the age of 15 while 34 percent of all injuries were from children not older than 5 years of age. Non-motorized scooters continue to pose a significant threat to children younger than 12 years of age.
Defective Household Items
Almost every item in the home can have potential safety issues. Faulty or defective home appliances can result in electrical fires which can lead to burn injuries and significant damage to property. Some household products can contain chemicals that are toxic when released into the air. Here are some of the most common household products that have been implicated in many product liability cases in the past:
- Defective electric blankets and heaters
- Defective fire alarms
- Defective furniture such as baby cribs, beds, bookshelves, and dressers
- Defective garden and yard equipment such as lawnmowers, chain saws, and weed whackers
- Defective kitchen and home appliances such as televisions, stoves, washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators
- Defective personal use items such as curling irons, shavers, and hair dryers
- Defective power tools
- Household cleaning products that contain harmful or toxic chemicals
- Personal use products that contain asbestos and asbestos-like substances
Defective Medical Devices and Products
Medications and pharmaceutical products that have life-threatening side effects should not be used. Medical devices such as pacemakers, heart valve implants, sterilizers, implant devices, and other products used in the management of certain health conditions should not result in more harm for the patient. Unfortunately, there have been many product recalls in the past that suggest pharmaceutical and medical device companies are not necessarily putting the best interest of the patient to heart.
Seeking Legal Help for Defective Products? Contact Our New Orleans Product Liability Lawyer
There are other products that can be defective and which can all lead to physical injuries and damage to property. The most important thing to do now is to seek help from personal injury lawyers who have extensive knowledge and experience fighting for the rights of consumers to use safe products. Our team of expert product liability lawyers at the Martzell, Bickford, & Centola Law Firm can help you find redress for any injury you may have sustained as well as any economic losses you have suffered because of hospitalization or loss of employment secondary to the effects of these defective products. You can be sure that a New Orleans product liability lawyer from our firm will do everything they can to help you find the justice you deserve.