In the United States, we have access to hundreds of thousands of products, some produced here, others abroad. Unfortunately, many of these products fail to perform as advertised, and can even be outright dangerous – including the products you and your loved ones use on a daily basis.
At the personal injury firm of Hasbrook & Hasbrook, we believe that consumers have a right to expect that the goods they spend their hard-earned money on are properly manufactured and safe for use. If you, your spouse, or one of your family members was injured by a malfunctioning product in the Oklahoma City area, our highly experienced legal team will be there to advise you of your options and fight for the greatest compensation possible on your behalf.
To set up a free legal consultation with Hasbrook & Hasbrook, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 right away. We will keep your information confidential.
Auto Recalls and Other Common Types of Defective Products
Product liability is the area of law which deals with injuries resulting from defective, malfunctioning, or inadequately-designed consumer items. Virtually any product or good you can imagine has the potential to suffer from serious defects, ranging from clothing to appliances to furniture to food and beverages.
If you think that it is relatively rare for defective products to cause injuries to consumers, think about this: emergency rooms in the United States treat millions of Americans each year for injuries resulting from the use of dangerous products. Some of the most common examples include:
- Automotive accessories. In recent years, the news has been filled with reports of litigation surrounding defective Takata airbags, which are installed in various Fords, Hondas, Subarus, Mazdas, Toyotas, Mitsubishis, and other foreign and domestic vehicles. The airbags, which were made with improperly stored propellant, can explode and spray shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Floor mats, baby seats, seat belts, and other vehicle accessories can also malfunction with disastrous consequences.
- Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and vans. In past decades, cars like the Pinto and Corvair gained notoriety for their incredibly dangerous design defects. However, even cars which are widely regarded as safe and reliable can conceal significant flaws. Today, vehicles with the highest rates of driver fatalities include the Nissan Versa sedan, the four-door Kia Rio, and the Hyundai Accent.
- Prescription drugs and medications. There have been too many cases of pharmaceutical companies rushing products to the market, only for patients to later die or suffer serious medical complications, as occurred with Merck’s now-discontinued anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx during the mid-2000s. Other medications with potentially dangerous side effects include Propecia, Accutane, Lexapro, OxyContin, Seroquel, Actos, AndroGel, and Yaz/Yasmin birth control.
- Toys and children’s products. Small toys, plastic packaging, and the cords attached to window blinds can all be choking hazards for toddlers and infants, and should be prominently labeled as such.
Liability for Manufacturing Defects, Flawed Designs, and Inaccurate Labels
Product defects generally fall into one of the following categories:
- Manufacturing defects. Defects can occur during any stage of any product’s manufacturing process, even before a single material hits the assembly line. Issues like improper storage, rough handling, substandard maintenance of production equipment, and worker inattention can all contribute to manufacturing defects. Some examples include jagged edges, locks and latches that don’t catch, loose bolts, choking hazards, and contamination by chemicals.
- Flawed product designs. Even if a product is manufactured with the utmost care and precision, no amount of craftsmanship is capable of salvaging an inherently flawed design. A well-known example of problematic product design is the 15-passenger van, a popular choice for transportation to and from proms, weddings, parties, church events, and other social occasions. Due to issues with weight distribution, their centers of gravity, and difficult-to-maintain tire pressure, 15-passenger vans are extremely susceptible to rollover accidents.
- Failures to warn. When products carry a risk of death or injury to consumers, they must be prominently marked with clear, easy-to-read warning label indicating the risks and intended method of use.
These and other defects have the potential to cause debilitating and disabling injuries, which can burden the victim with tremendous medical debt in addition to great pain and suffering. It is estimated that the costs associated with emergency treatment for defective product injuries amounts to billions of dollars a year. Worse, many of these injuries require ongoing care, well beyond the costs associated with initial treatment in an emergency room.
However, under the right circumstances, these and other costs can be compensated. Damages available to victims may include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of physical capacity, and mental anguish. If the defendant company demonstrated a reckless or wanton disregard for safety, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are typically awarded to punish the defendant for his or her negligent actions, in addition to any monetary award for the injuries caused.
If you or someone you love was hurt while using a consumer product, call Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 as soon as possible for a free consultation. You will pay us nothing whatsoever unless we obtain compensation on your behalf.