As consumers, we purchase products with the implied expectation that those products will not injure us in an unpredictable way. Most products meet our safety expectations, but some defective products prove to be unfit and unsafe for their intended use. Unfortunately, countless people may be injured by a defective product before it is forced off the shelves by an overseeing governmental agency.
A defective product can be anything a consumer purchases that is not safe for its intended use. Some common defective products include unsafe automobile parts, medications, children's toys, and child safety seats.
The types of injuries resulting from defective products are varied. For example, if an automobile part does not work properly, the car may become involved in a traffic accident through no fault of the driver. If a medication is defective, then the person ingesting the defective medication may face severe and previously unknown health related side effects. Thus, injuries range from the relatively minor to the very severe, including child injury, brain injury, and spinal injury.
Courts have a special and somewhat distinct way of apportioning liability for injuries arising from defective products. In most cases not involving defective products, courts require a plaintiff to show that a defendant was, at the very least, careless, and that the defendant's carelessness caused the plaintiff's injury. In legal terms, a defendant's behavior must be at least negligent in order for a defendant to be financially responsible for a plaintiff's injury.
Products liability law does not require negligence on the part of the product manufacturer. While a plaintiff may still allege that a defendant's negligent behavior caused the plaintiff's injury, a plaintiff can also allege that a defendant is “strictly liable” for the plaintiff's injury. The strict liability legal doctrine allows a consumer to hold a product manufacturer liable for injuries caused by the product, regardless of how careful the manufacturer was in making the product.
A consumer must show three things in order to assert a successful strict liability claim against a product manufacturer. First, the consumer must show that the product had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused an injury. Second, the defect must have caused the consumer's injury while he or she was using the product in the way it was intended to be used. Third, the consumer must show that the product was not substantially changed from the condition in which it was originally sold.
If you were injured by a defective product, an experienced products liability attorney is crucial to the success of you claim. Because defective products cases are quite different from ordinary negligence cases, any person pursuing a products liability cause of action should be sure that their attorney knows how to handle this legally distinct type of case.
The experienced defective products attorneys at Anidjar & Levine stand ready to help those injured by unsafe products. If you or somebody you love was recently injured by an unsafe product, call Anidjar & Levine's Fort Lauderdale offices at (800) 747–3733 offices for a free consultation.