As a consumer, you must have some degree of faith in manufacturers, trust that they know what they are doing and that they are doing their best to make their products right. We have this faith every day, when we hop into a motor vehicle, when we turn on our stovetops, or when we set baseball helmets on the heads of the new generation of players.
Unfortunately, trust isn’t always well-placed. In most situations, we find that the products we use serve as they were intended, but there are those instances when something wasn’t designed, built, or repaired quite right. Though it may only be one in a million that is defective, it only takes one to seriously harm a person or to take a life.
You will likely have a defective product liability claim if you were recently harmed as a result of a product malfunctioning, but it is important to understand that the product must have been used as intended, or as one would naturally assume it was meant to be used. There are warnings and directions on products to make them safer for the user. If you neglected to heed these warnings, then you may find that you receive far less or no damages at all for your claim.
Design flaws are generally seen across the board. That is to say that when the design engineer is to blame for the malfunction, others would be experiencing the same trouble. It is rare for a design to be used for a single run product. Generally, a design is used to produce many copies of a product, which are then dispersed to paying customers. Thus, when the design is bad, more than one product will malfunction.
A manufacturer is considered liable when the design was good, but the execution of the manufacturing process was at fault. When the parts that go into assembling a product are not made of the proper material, are not sized correctly, or are otherwise faulty, it can cause the whole product to fail.
Examples of Design Flaws:
- In the past, there were certain models of SUVs that had a tendency to roll over when a driver entered a tight turn. This, of course, led to many very serious injuries. Some of those vehicles were sold right here in Saint Petersburg.
- Many baby cribs have been recalled in the past because infants could roll and become pinned between the mattress and the sides of the crib. This led to several children suffocating.
A manufacturer may also be held accountable if the instructions and warnings provided are deemed inadequate. If the average person cannot make sense of the assembly directions, for instance, and improper assembly can lead to a fire hazard or something of a similarly serious nature, there is a problem. There should also be warnings alerting users of potential problems that could arise if the product is misused.
Examples of Manufacturing Flaws
- The “hot contents” warning on the McDonald’s coffee cup came after a woman suffered serious burns to her lap.
- In the past, the braking systems on cars have been improperly assembled, or have been missing necessary components. This, of course, meant that the brakes failed and people were harmed in serious accidents.
Product malfunctions, however, are not always the fault of the designers or manufacturers. At times, it is not the original product, but repairs made to it which cause it to fail. When this occurs, the liability, of course, falls on the shoulders of the St. Petersburg concern that performed the repairs.
Whether or not you know who is liable for your accident, you should consult a personal injury attorney for assistance in building a case.