Not every product on a store shelf is as safe as we might expect it to be. Some products can be affected by design or manufacturing flaws that may cause injury or death, even when they are being used exactly as intended. In those cases, the manufacturer could be liable for the damage caused by the defective product. If a product was sold by someone who misrepresented its purpose or failed to follow other important guidelines, the seller or other parties may also be held responsible in court.
Some of the most common products implicated in products liability lawsuits are medications, medical devices, vehicles, toys or other children’s items, household cleaners, and appliances. Children are the victims in a significant proportion of these claims, with many cases involving choking, strangulation, or falls. When there is no federal law that specifically applies to the circumstances of the case, products liability claims are addressed at the state level.
Products Liability in Texas
About 800 product liability lawsuits are filed in the state of Texas each year for injuries or death associated with product use. In order to receive compensation, however, Texas residents must provide evidence to support the following claims:
- They experienced an injury or loss, and can supply information to document the details.
- This injury or loss occurred while using a product for its intended purpose, and according to the product’s instructions.
- The product was defective in some way, either because of flaws in manufacturing, design, or labeling/instructions.
- The injury or loss was a direct result of this defect.
According to Texas law, you can file a liability claim for up to 15 years from the original purchase date of the product.
There are three general types of defects that can be considered within the scope of a products liability claim: design flaws, manufacturing defects, and inaccurate marketing or labeling.
- If you can prove that certain fundamental elements of a product make it unsafe to use, these would be categorized as design defects.
- If something goes wrong during manufacturing, assembly, or packaging that affects the way a product functions, these would likely be categorized as manufacturing defects.
- If a product does not come with adequate instructions or warnings, or if it is sold without proper disclosure of risks, these could be categorized as marketing defects.
Damages awarded may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other forms of compensation specific to the circumstances of the case.
Depending on the case, a claim may be filed against one party or multiple parties. These individuals or groups may include:
- The person or corporation responsible for the product’s design
- The manufacturer of the product or any of its parts
- The facility where the product was assembled or packaged
- Suppliers or distributors of the product
- Retailers, vendors, or resellers
In Texas, product manufacturers can be held liable for damages, regardless of whether or not they were aware of the defect. Victims may also be awarded compensation from someone other than the manufacturer, such as the ones listed above. However, the court must determine that those additional parties were negligent in their role with respect to the product.
Why You Need An Experienced Attorney
Products liability cases are naturally complex, which means they can present legal challenges no matter how simple they might appear on the surface. This is especially true when considering how much products liability laws can vary from state to state. In order to ensure the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve, you should always consult with an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to determine the right plan of action for your case.
If you live in Texas and believe that your loss or injury was due to a defective product, Bivona Law may be able to help with your products liability claim. Call or visit our downtown Houston location for a free consultation.