Every year, thousands of people are injured by defective products. In the field of law, this area is known as product liability. The defective product may result from an inherent design flaw, a manufacturing defect, or a failure to provide an adequate written warning about a product’s potential hazards. The list of potentially defective products and their related injuries is long, ranging from harmful pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, and dangerous toys to motor vehicle defects. The connection between all of these different products is that someone was seriously injured or died from their use, exposing the item’s problems.
Well-known Product Liability Cases and Their Injuries
Virtually any item may cause injury or death if it is defective. Many product liability cases and the terrible injuries they inflicted are well-known in American culture. These famous cases include:
· General Motors – The auto giant discovered in 2014 that several of its models were made with bad ignition switches, which would cut the engine while the vehicle was in use. The result was at least 13 people dead and 31 injured. GM issued a recall of the affected cars.
· Dow Corning – In 1998, Dow Corning reached a $2 billion settlement with women who used the company’s silicone breast implants. They claimed the implants were rupturing, resulting in injury and death.
· McDonald’s – People who do not know the particulars of the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case often think the lawsuit and $3 million award was frivolous. It was not. The woman who spilled the coffee on herself received third-degree burns over 16 percent of her body and was disabled for over two years from the injury. McDonald’s initially refused to settle for a relatively small sum. A jury awarded the woman $200k in compensatory damages for her injury, and $2.7 million in punitive – meaning to punish, in this case, McDonald’s callousness – damages.
· Merck Pharmaceuticals – In 2006, Merck was found to mislead the FDA regarding the safety of their painkiller, Vioxx. The plaintiff, who had suffered side effects for several years while taking the drug and eventually had a Vioxx-related heart attack, received $4.5 million.
Used as Directed
There’s a major caveat when dealing with injuries caused by a defective product. The injured person must have been using the product in a way in which it was intended. For example, someone who knowingly drinks gasoline and dies or is permanently injured does not have a defective product case.
Statute of Limitations
In Texas, a person injured by a defective product must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury or two years from the date the injury was discovered. The latter circumstance often refers to implanted medical devices. Wait too long, and you’re out of luck.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of a defective product, you need the services of an experienced product liability lawyer. Contact the Dashner Law Firm today for a free consultation. You may be owed compensation for your injuries.