When consumers make purchases, we expect those products to be safe. We expect the manufacturer to instruct us on how to properly make use of the products. We expect the manufacturer to warn us of potential dangers while using the product. However, there are times when a manufacturer is producing an unreasonably unsafe product, and flaws in the product itself are causing injuries to consumers and these products hit the shelves without warning.
The phrase “products liability” is used to describe situations in which a person or property is injured or damaged due to a defective product or service. Sellers and manufacturers of defective products, which are so unreasonably dangerous that they cause injury, are responsible for those injuries.
Defective or unsafe products are a significant cause of severe injuries and wrongful deaths. In part because of product liability lawsuits, many manufacturers have made improvements in the safety of their products. In the last 2-3 decades, many unreasonably dangerous products have either been removed from the market, or their designs or warnings have been greatly improved. However, even today, many defective and unsafe products still reach the marketplace and result in a staggering number of injuries and deaths.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), defective products cause nearly 30 million injuries and over 22,000 fatalities each year. On average, the CPSC requires recall of approximately 400 products from the American marketplace every year. These recalls help lower the risk of injury or deaths to consumers, but they do not come close to eliminating the problem of dangerous products.
Engineers and designers have come up with three main types of defects that products may have.
- Design. The product causing your injury may have been defective if it was designed improperly.
- Guard. The product causing your injury may have been defective if the manufacturer should have put a guard on the product but didn’t.
- Warn. The product causing your injury may have been defective if the manufacturer should have warned you about the product’s dangers but didn’t.
Obviously the optimal scenario would be for the manufacturer to make a safe product in the first place. Calling this goal “design” may be a little misleading, because a manufacturer really has to do two things at the outset.
First, the manufacturer has to design a safe product. A product that is not designed safely has a design defect.
However, even the best design will be of no use if the manufacturer doesn’t actually use the design. Accordingly, the second thing the manufacturer must do is manufacture the product correctly, according to the design specifications. If a manufacturer does not follow the design plan, the product will have a manufacturing defect.
Clearly manufacturers should make products safe when possible. If it is impossible to make a safe product, the manufacturer should guard against the danger.
A warning is considered a last resort, used only if the manufacturer cannot make a safe product and cannot guard against its dangers. If used, the warning has to fairly explain the danger to the user.
How to find out if a product has been recalled.
All too often, manufacturers do not recall their defective products. But when a manufacturer does recall a product, you can get important information about what is wrong with the product.
http://www.recalls.gov/ is a website listing products recalled by the federal government.
You also can get specific recall information from the websites of the six agencies.
Consumer product recalls:
Consumer Product Safety Commission – CPSC
Cars, motor vehicles, tires, motor vehicle equipment, and child safety seat recalls:
National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA
Boats and boating equipment safety alerts:
Foods, drugs, medical devices, animal feed and drugs, cosmetics, radiation-emitting products, etc.…
Food & Drug Administration – FDA
Meat, poultry, and processed egg recalls:
United States Department of Agriculture – USDA
Emission related recalls:
Environmental Protection Agency
If you or a loved one has suffered injury from a defective product, we urge you to contact our office as soon as possible at 303.815.1587 or please click here for a free consultation with an experienced product liability attorney in Colorado. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until we recover money on your behalf.