Defective products can cause serious injury and even death. Defects can be traced to three main stages: when the product is designed, when the product is manufactured, and when the consumer should receive instructions or warnings. If you have questions about a dangerous product, an injury, or a product liability claim, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.
A design defect occurs in the product’s infancy. A fundamental flaw makes the product unsafe. If a consumer uses the product in the intended manner, and he or she is injured, then he or she may be able to recover compensation.
To prove a product liability claim, the plaintiff’s attorney must show that the product was defectively designed. Depending on the state in which the legal action takes place, this will mean proving that the design was unreasonably dangerous or negligent. The plaintiff may need to show that a safer design was available and feasible.
Products with design defects can include a bicycle with brakes that fail, a teakettle with a handle that breaks when the kettle heats up, or a ladder that cannot handle the weight of a person.
A manufacturing defect can occur despite careful design and quality control. The manufacturer may still be held liable if, for instance, the product has a weak spot, a crack, or another flaw.
A manufacturer that produces a product with a defect faces the strict liability standard. This means that no matter what safety steps the manufacturer took during the production process, it is at fault if the product causes injury. This standard encourages manufacturers to be vigilant during the manufacturing process.
Products that are prone to manufacturing defect products liability lawsuits include tires that blow out.
Inadequate Instructions or Warnings
Even when a product has been properly designed and manufactured, it still may not be safe for all uses. Manufacturers and sellers must take adequate steps to avoid unreasonable risk to consumers. This means that when a product could be dangerous, manufacturers must warn the consumer of dangers that are not obvious. Manufacturers have failed to do so in situations involving smoke detectors, power tools, and electrical equipment.
If a satisfactory warning is in a prominent or proper location and the consumer fails to read it, then the consumer typically may not pursue damages. If, however, the warning is absent, hard to see, or unclear, the consumer may have a viable case. The manufacturer’s failure to warn must have caused the consumer’s injuries, however.
Our Defective Product Lawsuit Settlements
In 1999, attorney Chris Mellino and his former partner settled a defective product claim for $2.5 million after a 76-year-old nursing home resident’s lips had to be removed. “[H]e was receiving supplemental liquid oxygen through a facemask, which was covering his mouth,” Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics reported. “The tank and the valve used to supply the oxygen malfunctioned, causing John Doe to suffer frostbite to his face and mouth.”
As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported July 10, 2011, Ford Motor Co., Starcraft Automotive Group, Shrock Manufacturing, and Marshall Ford settled a claim for $4 million after “a three-year-old boy … was found crushed by a motorized seat in a conversion van.”