Each day, consumers use thousands of products that can cause serious harm if they are defective. Laws to protect consumers have been created to hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for selling, marketing, or designing products that they know, or should know, are not safe or reliable. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe for their intended purpose.
Personal Injury from Product Defects
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 28,000 Americans die, and 33,000 more are injured yearly as a result of faulty consumer products. In the past, it was the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure product safety. That is no longer the case. Today, manufacturers have to guarantee the safety of their products for the consumers who use them.
These days products are typically manufactured under tight safety regulations, but defects can be an unfortunate byproduct of any mass-produced and sold item. Two common types of product defects are design defects and manufacturing defects.
- Design defects are defects in which the product was designed poorly or tested poorly. An infamous example is the Ford Pinto in the 1970s. Ford designed the Pinto with rear gas tanks that could cause injuries, fires, and explosions in rear-end accidents, even at low speeds. The public should never have been subjected to such dangers.
A retailer or manufacturer that puts their bottom line above the safety of the consumer can cause immeasurable harm.
- Manufacturing defects are generally caused by an error during the production of the item. It can be caused by human error and/or poor-quality materials. One example of a manufacturing defect is prescription drugs that have been tainted by an outside source either through human error or company negligence. Millions of people around the world use prescription drugs every day, and if there is an error during the manufacture of the drugs, the potential safety hazard could be devastating.
It’s easy to forget how product design and manufacturing are of extreme importance to everyday consumers. The line between simply using a product for its intended purpose and potential tragedy is thin when the manufacturer doesn’t take the necessary steps to protect its customers.
If you or a loved one have been hurt due to a defective product, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. The attorneys at Timberlake & League can help.