Phoenix Product Liability Lawyers
Product liability claims have gained increasing prominence over the last several years with the emergence of the Takata airbag scandal, the Chinese baby food and dog food disasters, and recalls of products ranging from peanut butter to laptop batteries to children’s clothing.
At Breyer Law Office, we know how angry and frustrating it can feel to be let down by a manufacturer. We believe that you should seek compensation for your injuries - doing so sends an important message to the manufacturer who hurt you, and can deter others from behaving similarly. Are you considering product liability litigation? You're not alone. Contact The Husband and Wife Law Team today for more information and a free, no-obligation case consultation at (602) 267-1280.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability is the area of the law that holds companies with defective, improperly designed, or improperly manufactured items that cause harm responsible for their actions. To have a valid product liability case, you must be able to prove that there was some design or manufacturing defect that caused you actual injury with measurable harm. You must be prepared to present substantial evidence, and that usually includes expert witness testimony to prove the claim.
There are three main ways a product can be defective:
- Defective manufacturing of the product. Food recalls often fall under this umbrella. When a mistake is made during the manufacture of a product, such as E.coli contamination while lettuce is being packaged for distribution, the manufacturer is likely to blame for the defect and ensuing injuries.
- Defective design of the product. Poor design with unplanned or unexpected flaws usually hits hardest in the automotive or medical device industry because their products have a high risk factor; however, most types of product liability cases come from defective design.
- Lack of or improper warnings or instructions for use of the product. This is most apparent with pharmaceutical products, but can include any item for which the manufacturer or seller didn’t give enough instruction for consumers to use it as intended (or warn them how NOT to use it). The famous McDonald’s "hot coffee" case would fall under this defect.
Types of Product Defects
Recalls and product liability claims tend to involve the following categories of product defects:
- Auto product defects
- Medical device defects
- Pharmaceutical defects
- Defects in machinery, especially used on a construction site
- Appliance defects
- Toy defects
- Food contamination
- Clothing defects
Something like a "clothing defect" might not sound serious, but many children’s clothes have small pieces that can break off and present a choking hazard, which could kill a child. A ladder with a defective rung can send a worker plummeting to the ground. A laptop or cellphone battery that explodes can cause severe burns that require months, if not years, of intensive and painful medical treatment.
Injuries You Might Suffer in a Product Liability Case
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we’ve seen many victims injured by defective products. The injuries do vary depending on what the product was – a faulty airbag in an auto accident will create very different injuries compared to a tainted, prepackaged salad. Here are the most common injuries we see due to defective products:
- Lacerations are possibly the most common injury. An unexpected sharp edge or broken piece of a product can seriously slice an unsuspecting victim, and an auto accident can send sheared metal and glass into the victim’s body. Cuts may require stitches, antibiotics, and follow-up care to treat.
- Crush injuries are a danger with machinery defects, including vehicles. For example, if a power tool isn’t designed or made properly, it can easily pull workers in and create crush injuries.
- Broken bones can come from a vehicle accident caused by a defective part, a ladder or scaffolding that collapses at a worksite, a bicycle with a faulty brake pad, an improperly installed playground set, and much, much more.
- Burns are a danger from flammable clothes or materials, chemical exposure, and any explosion hazard.
- Illness is a huge danger arising from food poisoning. A severe gastrointestinal illness can even dehydrate a victim, forcing a hospital stay (and hospital bills for the victim and family), if not death in more vulnerable victims.
- Choking or suffocation is often a danger from small parts on children’s clothes or toys, as well as from loose cords from household items, like blinds or shades.
- Brain damage can occur in a variety of ways, from a bad reaction with a pharmaceutical drug to a penetrating head injury caused by a defective car crash. Once damage to the brain is done, it’s hard – or impossible – to fix.
If You Were Injured by a Product, How Can You Get Compensation?
You can ask for monies for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other distress from the liable party. In a product liability case, many different parties may be held responsible:
- Parts manufacturers
- Assemblers or installers
- Retail stores that sold the product
In cases where the jury decides that the defendant behaved in a particularly reckless fashion, you may even be able to collect punitive damages above and beyond the compensation that is legally due. This type of judgment is made in order to punish the offending party.
Product liability is a broad field and each case is different. However, one variable remains the same – you are most likely to have a successful claim when you’re represented by an experienced Arizona product liability attorney. Your attorney can assess your case, investigate and gather evidence, and handle your needs throughout this often frustrating process.
If Lots of People Were Injured, Do You Have to Join a Class Action Suit?
No, you are not obligated to join a class action claim, though there are advantages to doing so. It is best to join a class action claim when the company against which the suit is filed has been particularly egregious, or in instances when a large company with vast legal resources is involved. This is especially true in instances of high-profile cases that involve the media.
How Much Does It Cost to File a Product Liability Claim?
If you have a justifiable complaint against a corporation, manufacturer, or designer, you should find a lawyer who will take on your case on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any legal fees upfront, and only have to pay if and when your attorney gets a monetary settlement or a trial victory for you.
If you have questions about product liability, we invite you to seek answers from the experienced product liability attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. We have served Arizona residents for over twenty years in our capacity as personal injury lawyers, and have a long track record of successes in the courtroom as well as with out-of-court settlements. Mark Breyer has been certified by the state bar as a specialist in injury and wrongful death law, an honor bestowed on 2% of Arizona lawyers. For a free consultation, please call us at (602) 267-1280 today.
Recent Product Liability Case Results
- Confidential Settlement - Product Liability/Automobile Accident
- Confidential Settlement - Product Liability/Auto Accident
- Confidential Settlement - Wrongful Death/Product Liability
- $225,000.00 - Product Liability