As a Texas personal injury lawyer, I know that defective and dangerous products injure or wrongfully kill thousands of people each year. Unfortunately, many of these injuries could have been avoided if the manufacturers or distributors of these products used precautions to ensure consumer safety.
A products liability case is different from other personal injury cases and can arise from any type of consumer product. In Texas, product liability claims can be established if you are able to prove one of the following:
- The product was defective in design
- The product was defectively made
- There was a failure to warn of dangers associated with the product's normal use
- There was failure to provide instructions on how to properly use the product
What's a Defective or Dangerous Product?
Dangerous and defective products can be big or small and can be considered defective even if there is not product recall.
Injuries are often caused by defective and dangerous products in the following categories:
- Playground equipment
- Swimming pool products
- Medical devices
- Recreational vehicles
- Lawn equipment
- Kitchen equipment
Specifically, defects can be broken into these categories.
- Marketing Defect: A marketing defect would mean that the product lacked proper instructions or warnings about pieces or parts that could be hazardous. A marketing defect is usually related to something written on the packaging or in the instructions for the product.
- Manufacturing Defect: A manufacturing defect is just that, one that happens during the manufacturing process and has nothing to do with the actual design of the product. This is not an intended defect, and happens because something went wrong during the manufacturing process.
- Design Defect: A design defect is inherent to the design of the product. The injury happens based on the way the product was intended to be produced. In an unsafe product case based on design defect, alternative designs will probably be discussed as a way the injury could have been avoided.
Your Rights as a Defective Product Victim
In Texas, if you were hurt by a defective product you have a right to compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. In order to win the money you deserve, you'll make a product liability claim.
When you make a claim, you're fighting the insurance company of the product's manufacturer/designer/producer/etc. You'll need to prove that the product was indeed defective, and you'll also need to prove that that defect caused your injuries. This is done by keeping record of your medical bills, taking pictures to be used as evidence, and more.
Physical pain is only half of the equation, however. The other half is "pain and suffering." In Texas, you have a right to compensation for the mental anguish a defective product caused you to suffer.
Read more about Pain and Suffering Damages in Texas here.
How to Win a Product Liability Claim in Texas
Under Texas law, there are three main types of claims that you and your attorney can make.
A Claim of Negligence
This means that your lawyer must prove that some aspect of the product was defective – and that this defect was directly responsible for your injuries. In some cases, it might be a design defect that affects every unit of the same product; for example, the positioning of the gas tank in an automobile in such a way that it creates a higher risk of fire.
When it comes to a manufacturing defect, it might be that only a small batch of units are defective, or that the product that injured you was a unique case. Whatever the situation, you have a right to pursue a claim.
A Claim of Strict Liability
It is possible to pursue a claim of "strict liability" against the manufacturer of a dangerous product when your lawyer is able to demonstrate that your injuries were undoubtedly caused by the defective product in question. It is not necessary to establish the nature of the defect – only to establish that the product was indeed defective. Similarly, your use of the product is not of relevance here – if the product is obviously and clearly defective, that is sufficient to pursue a strict liability claim.
A Claim Involving Warranty of Fitness
As with a strict liability claim, a warranty of fitness claim does not require you or your lawyer to prove any negligence or other fault. A warranty of fitness is an assertion or guarantee made by the product’s manufacturer that the product in question is safe and fit for use. Under Texas Law, warranties are enforceable against the party that made them.
An express warranty can involve a promise, affirmation of fact, or description of the product which is made either in the advertising material, sales contract, or words spoken by the salesperson prior to you purchasing the product. Most products will come with some form of written warranty along with the instructions for use.
An implied warranty will fall into one of two categories: an implied warranty of merchantability, or an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. An implied warranty means that there is an assumption that the product is free of defects and is safe and fit for purpose. For example, if a salesperson recommends a particular product after learning of the buyer’s needs, then an implied warranty is established that the product in question is indeed fit and safe to meet that purpose.
The Importance of Preserving Evidence
To win your case, you're going to need evidence. It's vital that you begin gathering it now. If you have an attorney, they will be able to help you through this process. The more severe your injuries, the more important it is that you consult with a lawyer before you attempt to resolve your claim on your own. Many times, injury victims will contact the manufacturer of the malfunctioning product to seek a refund. The manufacturer will then request that you send them the defective product.
1. Any refund they give you will probably not cover your necessary medical care caused by the fact their merchandise was defective
2. If you send them the defective product, you have no evidence that it was their defective product was what caused your injuries
If you want to win your product liability case, you and your attorney must be able to prove that the product in question was defective. This means that you must retain the item in question so that it can be properly examined and determined to indeed be what caused your injuries to occur. Do not get it repaired or return it for a refund. Set it aside and turn it over to your lawyer as proof that the manufacturer was liable.
You should also try to gather evidence of the accident and your injuries yourself. Good evidence includes photographs of the defective product, where and how the accident occurred, as well as photos of your injuries. If there were any witnesses to your accident, ask if you could get their contact details as it may be necessary for your attorney to collect a statement from them in support of your claim later on.
Call an Experienced Dangerous Product Attorney in Fort Worth
Texas law provides that people injured by unreasonably dangerous products are entitled to be compensated for their injuries. If you are injured from a dangerous product, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, future loss of earning capacity and your pain and suffering.
At the Anderson Law Firm in Fort Worth, our dangerous product attorneys are committed to seeking justice for clients that have been injured by defective products. If you are in need of a dangerous product attorney, call us at 817-294-1900 to set up a free, no obligation case review.
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