Companies that manufacture and sell products to consumers are supposed to take reasonable steps to ensure their products are safe for people to use as intended. However, for a variety of reasons, some products turn out to be unsafe, and people get hurt as a result. This is known as a product liability case, of which there are three primary varieties:
- Manufacturing Defects
- The first kind of product liability suit is the result of so-called manufacturing defects, which is the result of something going wrong when the product is made, causing it to malfunction and injure its user or the people around them. For example, a drill might have a defect that makes it unable to hold onto the drill bit when used, causing it to fly off and hit someone. Another example would be if hamburger meat became tainted by rat poison, sickening whoever consumed it, or if a chair were sold with a damaged leg that collapsed when someone attempted to sit on it. These sorts of defects are supposed to be caught before they are sold to the public, but unfortunately some do get through, and people can get hurt as a result.
- Design Defects
- The second kind of product liability suit is from what are known as design defects. Unlike manufacturing defects, where the problem is found in individual units, a design defect is a flaw that is built into the design of the product itself, making every single product of its kind defective. For example, an airbag might be designed with a trigger that causes it to deploy when it is not supposed to, or a toy might have exposed mechanical parts that a child might get their hair or fingers trapped in. A laptop computer might have a battery that is prone to overheating, which can damage the computer or even burn its user, or a crib might have bars that can be jostled out of place by a baby. It is these cases that often result in the largest lawsuits, given that there can be hundreds or thousands of potential plaintiffs, depending on how popular the product is and how severe the defects are.
- False or Misleading Advertising
- In the third kind of product liability suit, known as a false or misleading advertising suit, nothing is necessarily wrong with the product itself. Instead, the problem is with how the product is advertised, causing people to believe a product can or should be used in a way it is not intended. One of the classic examples is an advertisement showing someone using an electronic device in or around water, when the device is not waterproof. This can cause people to mistakenly believe the product is intended to be used in the bath or pool, causing them to potentially ruin the device or electrocute themselves. Another example would be a medication that is labeled as being able to treat a disease that it has not been approved to treat, causing people to misuse the medication, and potentially resulting in additional medical problems. Suffice it to say that manufacturers are supposed to advertise their products as only doing what they are supposed to do, and when they fail, it can result in significant injury to anyone who tries to use the product.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a defective or mislabeled product, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in product liability cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City product liability lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island product liability lawyers call (516) 294-8282.