According to the Insurance Information Institute, recent findings provide that the average personal injury jury award for product liability cases is just over $7 million. This number shows that juries are often not very forgiving when it comes to holding defendants accountable for product liability injuries.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident and injuries sustained, there are several different claims that plaintiffs may make against defendants in order to seek compensation for product liability injuries including strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and misrepresentation. See below for a brief description of each claim.
Under Texas Law, defective product claims are often based on a strict product liability action. These claims are advantageous to plaintiffs because it is not necessary to prove that the defendant was negligent in order to prove liability for injuries and damages. In general, strict product liability cases require plaintiffs to prove that the product was defective, the product was manufactured or sold in the defective condition, and the plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the product’s defects.
Not requiring proof of negligence makes it easier for plaintiffs to prove their claims against larger companies that have many resources to defend claims made against them. Types of product defects include the following:
- Design defects – When a product’s design leads to the production of a dangerous product, it is considered a design defect. For example, when a baby toy is designed to contain small parts that are easily detached, resulting in a choking hazard, the product has a defective design.
- Marketing defects – Marketing defects involve products that do not contain necessary instructions for safe use or products that do not come with necessary and appropriate warnings of product dangers.
- Deviations from design – When the construction of a product fails to conform to the product’s intended design and results in a product that presents dangers to consumers, the product contains manufacturing defects.
In some cases where elements of negligence are rather clear and easy to prove, plaintiffs will bring a negligence claim against the manufacturers and/or sellers of dangerous or defective products. In proving negligence, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant breached its duty of care, and the plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the plaintiff’s breach of duty.
Breach Of Warranty
When it comes to warranties, there are express warranties and implied warranties. Express warranties are direct written or verbal claims made about the product. Implied warranties are unwritten or unspoken warranties that are presumed. For example, if you purchase food from a grocery store, you presume that the food is safe to eat and is not contaminated with listeria, salmonella, or other types of dangerous bacteria. If the food is contaminated, the defendant has breached the implied warranty of being safe for consumption. In breach of warranty cases, plaintiffs will demonstrate that an express or implied warranty was made, that warranty was breached, and the plaintiff was injured as a result of that breach.
Misrepresentation claims are brought when a false representation is made about a particular product that the consumer relied upon when using the product. In misrepresentation actions, plaintiffs will show that a false representation was made, the plaintiff relied on that representation, and because of that reliance, he or she sustained injuries and damages.
Product Liability Defenses
There are several defenses that defendants commonly raise in product liability cases, including the following:
- The product was altered or modified after the purchase and those changes are what led to the consumer’s injuries.
- There was no feasible design alternative to make the product safer.
- The consumer did not use the product as instructed, and his or her use was not reasonably foreseeable by the defendant.
- The consumer’s injuries were caused by something other than the product.
- The consumer assumed the risk of danger. This defense is typically raised when the product is inherently dangerous such as fireworks or firearms.
- The plaintiff’s negligence was the cause of the injuries he or she sustained.
Product Liability Attorneys
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to a dangerous or defective product, contact Texas product liability attorney, Aaron Perry, at 713-393-7788 or submit a form on our website and someone from our office will contact you. Consumers deserve protection from dangerous products, and manufacturers and sellers of these products should be held accountable. Follow us on our Facebook page for up to date legal news and law firm information.