When you purchase a consumer product, it’s reasonable for you to expect that it will be safe to use it for its intended purpose. The United States has extensive regulations on consumer goods for that very reason. Still, for any number of reasons, sometimes unsafe goods slip through their safety checks and end up injuring someone.
What can you do if you have been injured by a defective product?
The answer lies in an area of the law known as product liability.
Who is responsible?
Under Missouri law, consumers may have the right to recover compensation after they have been injured by a defective product. They can do this by filing a personal injury lawsuit based on the theory of product liability.
One unusual aspect of product liability law is that it allows liability to attach to almost any party that was involved in getting the product into the consumer’s hands. This means the injured can file suit against the manufacturer, the designer, the company that marketed the product, the retailer that sold the product, and possibly others.
This is important because defects can occur at many stages. Design defects begin with a design that makes the product inherently unsafe. Manufacturing defects start with a safe design, but some problem in the manufacturing process renders them unsafe. Marketing defects can come about when a product is sold with dangerously improper instructions, or when it is marketed for an unsafe purpose.
Strict liability and damages
The parties responsible for the selling of a defective product can be held strictly liable, meaning that the injured party doesn’t have to prove that the defendants knew the product was defective. They just have to prove that the product was defective and that it caused their damages.
Damages can include everything from the costs of replacing a product to medical expenses, lost wages and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Individual and class-action suits
An individual consumer who was injured by a product defect may file a product liability lawsuit on their own, but in some cases it makes sense to join forces with other injured consumers.
For instance, a defectively designed medical device could easily lead to hundreds or even thousands of serious injuries all over the country. In some circumstances, a large number of these injured patients could join together in one big lawsuit. The injured parties in these cases are grouped together as a class, and they file suit on behalf of all members of the class.
Whether taking action individually or as part of a class, these cases are complex. Experienced attorneys can help the injured and their families to understand how the process works.