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An Introduction to Product Liability


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Understanding How Products Harm Consumers

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An Introduction to Product Liability

  1. 1. AN INTRODUCTION TO PRODUCT LIABILITY CALL US AT: 803-454-1200 Understanding How Products Harm Consumers
  2. 2. Consumer Spending is Vital to Our Economy The United States is very much a nation of consumers. In 2016, for example, the average American spent $57,311. Over a quarter of our spending goes toward goods, including food, clothing, vehicles, household appliances and other devices. As consumers, we play an essential part in our national and global economy. In return for our spending, we expect products that meet our expectations and, at the very least, pose no threat to our health. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  3. 3. What We Expect of Manufacturers Every exchange made between sellers and buyers is built on a certain degree of trust. Whether we realize it or not, we place a great deal of faith in the makers and sellers of the products we purchase. We trust that the new laptop we buy won’t explode when we start it, or that our newly-purchased automobile will come to a complete stop when we slam on the brakes. Unfortunately, consumers are often met by the reality that not all of our purchases are as safe as we assume. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  4. 4. When Manufacturers Fall Short of Our Expectations When a manufacturer makes a product that causes a consumer harm, they can be held accountable for the injuries suffered by that consumer. Consumer protection laws are vital to maintaining the trust that is a cornerstone of our economy. While we might be tempted to think that manufacturers wouldn’t dare sell dangerous products out of fear of legal action, the number of defective products points to the fact that we should remain vigilant as buyers of goods and make efforts to hold manufacturers accountable when they fail us. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  5. 5. Product Liability Product liability is a term used to describe the responsibility carried by the makers of consumer products. The makers of a product can be held liable for injuries caused by any defects inherent in the product. When a consumer takes legal action against a manufacturer to receive compensation for their injuries, the action is called a product liability claim. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  6. 6. Examples of Defective and Dangerous Products The list of products that might be considered defective is almost endless, so let’s focus on some of the most notorious in recent years: • Automobiles and automobile parts, such as airbags, tires, ignition switches and brakes • Products containing lithium-ion batteries, such as laptops, cell phones and e-cigarettes • Gas cans that don’t contain a device to prevent an explosion • Medical devices and drugs, such as pacemakers, hip implants, birth control devices and diabetes drugs • Talcum powder • Unsafe toys Let’s look at two examples of defective products to better understand how manufacturers can fail consumers. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  7. 7. In-Depth Example - Defective Gas Cans Explosions have always been a concern for gas can owners. For years, manufacturers have known that explosion risks can be greatly reduced by including a small device called a flame arrestor. However, many continued to sell gas containers that weren’t equipped with this potentially life- saving device. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  8. 8. In-Depth Example - Exploding Lithium-Ion Batteries In some cases, it is a specific component of a device that causes consumers harm. For example, exploding laptops, cell phones and e- cigarettes all share the inclusion of lithium-ion batteries. If poorly made or improperly handled, these batteries can explode after overheating. Manufacturers have the obligation to make sure lithium-ion batteries are safe and that consumers know how to safely use devices equipped with these batteries. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  9. 9. What’s the Bottom Line for Manufacturers? Consumers might wonder why manufacturers would sell products that carry the potential to cause harm. Carelessness is obviously part of the problem, but more specifically, manufacturers often include potentially defective parts because they are cheaper and, thus, improve profits on a sale. Marketplaces are competitive, and sellers are constantly looking for advantages. Unfortunately, too many manufacturers have cut corners that impact the safety of their products. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  10. 10. Aren’t Consumers Protected Against Dangerous Products? There are many laws designed to encourage manufacturers to make sure their products are safe. In some cases, products must be approved before they are sold. However, approval processes aren’t always as thorough as we might expect, and there simply aren’t enough resources available to screen every product sold to consumers. That’s why consumers play a vital role in taking a stand against negligent manufacturers. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  11. 11. Consumers Play a Role in Preventing More Injuries When consumers take legal action against a manufacturer, their actions can ensure that the maker of a product redesigns or rebuilds that product to avoid further lawsuits. Though it is the job of our regulators and lawmakers to protect consumers, the task of holding manufacturers accountable often falls to those who have suffered harm from faulty products. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  12. 12. Consumers Can Also Seek Compensation for Damages When consumers file product liability claims, they aren’t just helping future buyers of products -- they are also seeking compensation for the damages they’ve suffered. Product liability claims offer consumers a path toward compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering and any other damages experienced because of a manufacturer’s negligence. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  13. 13. Work with an Experienced Product Liability Attorney Consumers who wish to file a product liability claim should make sure the attorney they hire has experience with these types of cases. Not all attorneys handle injury cases, and those that do don’t always have a good track record when it comes to product liability. Research attorneys to find out which ones have experience with product liability, and take advantage of free consultations to see whether an attorney is the right fit for you. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200
  14. 14. Contact Bert Louthian to Learn More If you’re considering filing a product liability claim, we encourage you to reach out to Bert Louthian to schedule a free consultation. Bert has a successful track record of helping clients in product liability cases. Call us today at 803-454-1200 or fill out our contact form to learn more. CALL US AT: 803-454-1200