Unfortunately, there is no 100% assurance that this will always be the case. There are some famous occurrences throughout the world where a product is not only defective, it has injured—or even killed-the person that was using it. How does this happen? Here are some of the most common reasons that products become defective and injure the user.
This is probably the most serious type of defect since it means that every product released is potentially a risk. A design defect means that the product has the danger “built-in.” Some flaw in the design was overlooked. As the product enters the general market, it is only now that the true extent of the problem becomes known.
The infamous Ford Pinto case of the 1970s is one of the most well-known examples of a design defect. Here, the fuel tank placement too close to the rear put the entire vehicle at risk of fire and explosion in the event of a rear collision. Tragically, this happened multiple times. Ford was aware of the problem but did nothing until public outcry forced their hand. They had concluded that settling out of court with a few aggrieved accident victims was cheaper than recalling, redesigning, and rereleasing the vehicle.
Some instances of a product defect have nothing to do with the design and come only later, as the product is manufactured. A manufacturing defect means something during the creation and assembly process introduces a flaw that can potentially injure users of the product.
In Texas, one accident victim was awarded 15 million dollars in a product liability lawsuit with Remington rifles. He had accidentally shot himself in the foot while using the gun, but he hadn’t done anything wrong. The flaw, it was discovered, was a faulty firing mechanism that had been installed in the rifle. When the gun was being assembled, the fire control system was incorrectly built, so pulling the trigger wasn’t required to discharge the rifle. Simply releasing the safety latch was enough to cause the weapon to fire.
There are also situations where the issue lies not with a problematic function or defect but a failure to educate the market on best practices for usage. This may sometimes entail failing to account for proper maintenance or avoiding certain situations the product is known to react badly to. However, there is a risk or danger inherent to the product in other cases, and the manufacturer fails to disclose this.
The most famous example of a marketing defect comes from the tobacco industry. As hard as it may be to believe now, it was not until the 1990s that the various cigarette manufacturers finally admitted smoking carried an inherent risk of lung cancer and that nicotine itself caused a physical addiction in smokers.
If you or someone you know has been injured through the use of a defective product, there are steps you can take to rectify this. An injury resulting from a defective product is not a criminal act, but it is illegal. Lawsuits sometimes individually, and sometimes collectively in class action litigation, are the most effective and visible way to hold businesses accountable for what they’ve done.
Talk to an experienced defective product attorney and explain your situation with a free case review. If your situation meets the requirements, you should consider moving forward with a defective product lawsuit..