The use of a defective industrial product can result in serious injury or even death. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are safe and include adequate instructions and warnings. If you have experienced injury or other loss due to a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation.
Product liability laws can vary from state to state, but in general, a valid claim requires that you prove you were injured or experienced other losses. A near miss does not satisfy this condition. For example, if the battery in your laptop catches on fire, but you put it out with no injury or property damage, you don’t have a legitimate claim. You will need to provide evidence the product is defective, and the defect caused your injury. If you were mishandling the product or using it in a manner other than intended, your claim will be invalid. These stipulations are discussed in further detail below.
The Injury Resulted from the Product Defect
When making an industrial product defects claim, you must substantiate that the defective product directly caused your injury. In the previous example of the laptop battery, if the fire had spread and you were burned, you may have a claim. However, if the battery was designed to power only specific laptops and you installed it in another type, the manufacturer of the battery will dispute your claim, stating you used the product in a manner not recommended by their specifications.
You Used the Product as Expected
The above laptop example demonstrates a situation where the product was not used as expected. This, however, may depend on the wording of the manufacturer’s specifications. For example, if they grouped all laptops by manufacturer but did not identify models or if they used wording such as “and others” or “all”, you may still have a valid claim. In contrast, if you removed the battery and adapted it to power another device, it has been used in a manner not intended. In this case, there is no ambiguity; your claim is unfounded.
The Industrial Product Defects Are Proven
Always retain a defective product which has caused injury as it will be needed as evidence. You are required to prove that the product is defective. One of the most common sources of defects is the manufacturing process. If a product has malfunctioned due to an assembly error, it is relatively simple to prove.
A design flaw, however, is much more difficult to demonstrate. Here, you claim the product was manufactured properly, but industrial product defects are inherent in its design. One example might be a cooking utensil formed from a flammable material, which ignites when heated. Products which may present a hazard do not necessarily pose a liability for the manufacturer. For instance, a lawnmower has sharp blades moving under high force which may be dangerous. If you run over your foot with it and become seriously injured, it is highly unlikely that your claim stating the lawnmower’s design presents an unreasonable danger will be successful.
No Manufacturer Warning
Manufacturers are required to provide warning labels on potentially hazardous products. For example, paint remover and nail polish remover contain acetone, which is flammable. Therefore, these products must have a warning label. Lithium ion batteries used for laptops and cellphones contain lithium which presents a fire hazard under certain conditions. If you decide to charge the battery on your phone at temperatures below 40 degrees and you become injured when the battery ignites, the manufacturer may be liable if they failed to provide proper warnings with the battery. In the presence of a warning, it may also be arguable they are insufficient to prevent injury.
Seek Professional Counsel
Industrial product defects laws can be complex. An attorney who is experienced in product defect liability claims can help you prepare the evidence needed to support you claim. To get the compensation you deserve, call our office for a free consultation.