Dangerous products are far more common than most of us would ever guess. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency that tracks defective products, estimates that almost 30 million people are injured as a result of dangerous products every year.
- Home products: heaters, light bulbs, smoke alarms, ovens, etc.
- Automobile products: steering mechanisms, brakes, tires, etc.
- Medical devices: metal hip replacements, heart products, blood products, etc.
- Industrial products
- Toys and children’s products
The type of product and the date it was designed or manufactured will determine how a case against the manufacturer will need to be pursued. Some products liability cases may be based on a breach of warranty, while other product liability cases may be pursued under a theory of strict liability.
Breach of warranty
There are three kinds of breach of warranty that are generally pursued in product liability cases: express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability and implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. These warranties are codified in the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) that was designed to give suggestions for laws related to commercial transactions.
- Express warranty. This refers to the promise by a seller that a product or service is guaranteed to have certain performance or quality standards. This can be spoken or written.
- Implied warranty of merchantability. Safety and quality concerns that are created and upheld by law are often under implied warranty of merchantability.
- Implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. A warranty, verbal or written, where the buyer is assured a product is suitable for a specific purpose. Sellers can be liable for breach of warranty under this type when a product or service does not meet the promised warranty of fitness.
In personal injury cases involving product liability often will use strict product liability to recover damages versus breach of warranty or negligence. In strict liability, it is not necessary to prove negligence but instead relies on showing that a product was defective before the seller or manufacturer released the product and that the defect caused the victim harm. There are three main types of defects that can be investigated:
- Design defects. This involves defective design in a product, meaning all products have the same issue. For example, a power tool that was designed without a safety guard that caused injury would be considered a design defect.
- Manufacturing defects. These are products that have safety issues that are due to manufacturing errors, not because of their initial design. McDonalds had such an error on 6 million Olympic commemorative cups that were manufactured with sharp edges, even though another 6 million cups were produced without the defect. In this case, it was a particular manufacturing site that caused the defect.
- Failure to warn. Products that can be unsafe when operated in a certain manner need have adequate warnings from the manufacturer or seller. This may be the case with a medication that may have dangerous side effects when combined with other medications or foods and there are no warnings to these effects.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents adults and children who have suffered injuries due to defective products in Illinois. We are committed to securing the most favorable recovery for them from all responsible parties.