All U.S. product manufacturers must ensure their products do not injure consumers as long as they are used as intended. Unfortunately, however, thousands of Americans are injured yearly by defective products. Forbes reports there were 6,000 injuries and illnesses related to defective products in 2021, 23 deaths, and 219 product recalls.
If you or a loved one in Surprise, Arizona, or the Maricopa County region suffers an injury because of a defective product, you have the right to damages in a product liability lawsuit. With the help of a Surprise personal injury attorney, you can hold manufacturing and distributing companies accountable if you suffered damages from a defective product.
Three Types of Product Liability Claims
A product liability lawsuit in Arizona focuses on whether the product had a defect or not. A ‘defect’ means there was something wrong with it to make the product unreasonably dangerous for someone to use. Your product liability case could involve one of these three types:
The clearest type of product liability claim is one involving defective manufacturing. A defectively manufactured product is flawed because errors were made to produce it. For instance, there could be defective machinery where the product was made, so the product that caused the injury differed from others.
Some examples of a manufacturing defect in a product liability claim are:
- A swing set that has a defective chain that breaks when a child swings.
- A defective batch of cold medicine contains bacteria that make people sick.
- A motorcycle with faulty brake pads leads to accidents and injuries during braking.
In each of these examples, the injury must be related to the manufacturing defect for a valid claim. So, if you only got in a motorcycle accident because you were speeding, making a product liability claim would be more difficult. You would need to show the accident was contributed to by not being able to stop because of defective brakes.
In this product liability claim type, the design is dangerous and inherently flawed. A defective design claim is not because of a manufacturing mistake or error. Instead, the claim rests on the idea that the entire product line contains design defects and is dangerous to the public. Some examples of a product liability design case are:
- A type of SUV that is more likely to roll over than others when turning a corner.
- A kind of sunglasses that is too easy to break during an impact, leading to possible eye injuries.
- A type of electric appliance that can shock the user when put on a high setting.
In this type of product liability claim, the injury must be due to a design defect. So, for example, if you get in an accident in your SUV and are hurt, you only would have a possible claim if the vehicle flipped over when another similar vehicle would not have.
Inadequate Instructions or Warnings
This type of product liability claim has to do with product marketing, including not offering adequate instructions and warnings about how to use the item. A failure-to-warn claim usually involves something dangerous but is not always obvious. Some potential failure-to-warn claims might be:
- An electric hot water boiler does not have enough warnings about its tendency to emit steam, leading some users to burn their hands.
- Cold medicine without sufficient warnings about side effects causing consumers to take it in combination with other drugs that cause severe allergies.
- A cleaning solvent is sold without enough warnings about toxic fumes that damage the lungs.
The injury in a failure-to-warn case must be because of a lack of warnings or instructions. For example, if you were burned from a tea kettle with several stickers warning of a burn risk, you would be less likely to have a valid claim.
Why Do You Need a Product Liability Lawyer in Surprise
When you hire a product liability attorney at Gerber Injury Law, you have many advantages:
- Our attorneys are located in Surprise, but we also have other convenient locations near you in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and Avondale.
- Our product liability law firm offers a complimentary consultation with lead attorney Ken Gerber, who will quickly ascertain if you have a potential claim.
- Our product liability attorneys have more than 20 years of experience and have recovered millions for personal injury clients.
- We treat our clients as family and always protect their best interests. Whether we settle a product liability case or go to court, we will always fight for the most compensation for you and your family.
Common Products Involved in Product Liability Claims
There are many kinds of products involved in product liability claims, but the ones listed below are among the most common:
- Medical devices save lives, but improper design and manufacturing can cause severe injury or death. Common examples are joint replacements, walkers, heart stents, and walkers.
- Lawn equipment: Weed whackers, lawnmowers, and tractors are complicated machines that can injure users because of improper labeling, design, or manufacturing processes.
- Toys: Everyone wants to keep their children safe, but many toys are recalled annually because of defects.
- Auto parts: Defective vehicles and parts are frequent reasons for product liability cases, such as airbags, brakes, seat belts, and tires.
- Drugs: Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are often recalled because of failure to warn or contamination in manufacturing.
- Home improvement tools: Electric saws, power drills, belt sanders, and others must have clear labels to ensure consumers safely use them.
If you or someone you love was injured by one of these or other defective products, you should immediately speak to a Gerber Injury Law attorney to find out if you have a case. The manufacturer must ensure that products are safe before they’re released; if not, dangerous products can injure or kill consumers.
Why Is Strict Liability Important in Arizona?
Strict liability applies to the majority of Arizona product liability claims. Under state law, strict liability means the defendant is financially liable for your injuries even if they were not negligent. So, in most cases, your attorney is not required to prove negligence for a product liability claim to succeed. In this state, the burden of proof is to show that the product had a defect and the company was responsible for it.
However, strict liability may not apply in all cases, but our attorneys can advise if you can pursue a personal injury or breach of warranty claim. For example, if the manufacturer was negligent, they breached their duty of care and may owe you damages.
Or, a breach of warranty case proves that the company did not adhere to a guarantee or promise. You must make strict liability and negligence claims in Arizona within two years of the injury.
What To Do After a Product Injury
If you suspect you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, there are several actions you should take:
- Stop using the product, but save it and any parts that broke.
- See a doctor immediately if you’re injured and tell them how the product may have injured you.
- Keep all materials that came with the product, including packaging, manuals, and parts.
- If there were any witnesses to your injury, get their contact information and statements.
- Talk to a product liability attorney in Surprise, Arizona as soon as possible.
Do You Need a Product Liability Attorney?
Most product liability defendants are large companies with attorneys and insurance companies. If you have been injured and need compensation for your losses, it’s almost always best to have a personal injury attorney fighting for you. Attempting to settle a claim with an insurance company is challenging for someone unfamiliar with product liability law.
You also may severely underestimate what your claim is worth, so it’s always wise to have your case reviewed by a Gerber Injury Law attorney. Our attorneys will know if a legal claim for your product-related injuries is possible.
Also, the company’s attorneys may try to argue that your injuries are because you misused the product or made a ‘substantial modification.’ For example, if you used your shampoo on your child’s hair and they injured their scalp, the company may argue that you misused the product by using it on a child.
In this situation, your attorney may argue that while it was not the intended use, it was foreseeable, so the injury should not have happened. Unfortunately, this type of complex situation arises in product liability claims, so an attorney’s help is vital.
Call a Surprise Product Liability Attorney Now
Defective products cause many severe injuries, and even deaths, annually, including burns, cuts and lacerations, eye injuries, broken bones, and more. You may be entitled to compensation if a defective product injured you or someone you love. Our Surprise, Arizona, product liability attorneys have obtained over $100 million in compensation for our clients over the past 20 years.
Please call our Surprise personal injury attorneys today at 623-486-8300 to discuss your potential product liability case. You also may fill out our Gerber Injury Law contact form, and one of our lawyers will contact you. Our founding personal injury attorney, Ken Gerber, has negotiated many product liability settlements over the years and can take the liable party to court and win a verdict if needed.