Shopping is a favorite activity for most of us. The excitement of buying a new product and putting it to use for the very first time is indescribable. It’s even more fun for DIY enthusiasts if there is assembly involved.
However, there are times when we are disappointed in the product. It may be because it does not work as intended, is damaged in transit, or is DOA (Dead On Arrival). It’s a minor annoyance, because either we have to initiate the warranty claim and file a replacement or ask for a refund.
But what happens when you suffer a personal injury because of a defect in the product itself?
Defects in products?
That’s right! Imagine you bought a power saw from somewhere. A complex product like that has a lot of different parts working in tandem. There’s a motor, there are wires, circuits, gears, and even razor-sharp blades which rotate on a metal harness. With so many parts working together, it is imperative to have the product free of any defects whatsoever, as far as consumer safety is concerned.
And there are three distinct kinds of defects which are considered when lawsuits and claims are presented in courts.
The first is the defect in design. Taking the example of the power saw before, if the motor is housed in an airtight casing, it may overhead and cause a fire hazard. If the handles to hold the power saw are placed near the blades, the consumer’s hands might get shredded!
The second defect is of the manufacturing kind. Again, taking the example of the power saw, if the harness which holds the pulleys is made of a flimsy material, the circulating blades might come off when it breaks. A ‘bloody’ experience is what the consumer might face when it comes to that.
This is even worse when more complex products come into the picture. What if the accelerator or brake pedals of a car are prone to getting stuck, right out of the factory? It has the potential to cause horrible accidents.
The third defect is where instruction manuals and warnings are not sufficient or are not provided at all. Now, it is common sense for someone to order a power saw and keep it away from kids because it has sharp objects. But it does not mean that the company which produces the power saw to not provide warnings for sharp objects and electrical hazards. Besides, the object might have special storage needs which helps keep it away from unsuspecting people who do not know what a power saw is and what it can do, in terms of bodily harm.
My product has a defect.So what?
If you do not care about injuries, you should be just fine. If you are of the sensible kind and think about ten steps ahead in the future, you should be concerned. There are ways in which you can inform the company which manufactured the product you bought and bring it to the attention of the concerned authorities, consumer forums and courts.
But god forbid, if you have suffered an injury while handling the product because there is a defect in it of the kind mentioned above, then you can claim legal remedies and monetary compensation.
There are defective products law and statutes in place which can help you in such cases. You may seek assistance from a defective products attorney to make the process easier. They know the tangled web of law and are experts at navigation in these murky waters.
You need to prove that:
- Either there was negligence in part of the manufacturer or retailer, which resulted in the sordid situation responsible for the injury. In this case, the manufacturer or the retailer had a duty of safety owed to you, as the consumer. However, there was a breach in this duty and you can put up a claim against it for monetary award. This negligence can cover the design and lack of warning defects mentioned above.
- Or, you can claim against strict liability. This may happen when a manufacturing defect exists in the product, which needs to be proved as the cause for injury. In these cases, the negligence does not need to be proved.
Claiming monetary losses for defective products is the least you can do for yourself if you cannot be bothered to hold the manufacturer accountable in public.