When is a dangerous product defective?

As society has modernized, in many ways it has become safer. The threats of injury from wildlife and illness or sickness from disease have both decreased substantially. However, at the same time that these risks have decreased, we have been surrounded by man made products that have become more and more sophisticated and technologically advanced. With these products come certain risks, some of the risks are inherent in the product and others are due to a defect in the product.

Some products are inherently dangerous, even deadly, but we accept their existence and the right of the manufacturer to make a profit because of the utility or usefulness of the product. Such products include things like knives, guns and cars. Imagine preparing meals without a knife, yet the same incredibly useful kitchen tool is equally capable of killing or maiming another human. Imagine modern commutes without a motor vehicle, yet automobiles are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 44.

Some products are dangerous in certain circumstances or certain people. Prescription medications all come with a long list of side effects and contra-indications. Some even come with “Black Box” warning labels that warn of severe adverse effects that have been proven to occur in either pre-marketing testing or post-marketing studies. Medical implants, such as knees, hips, pacemakers and defibrillators can and do fail, or can be rejected by the body like any transplant. Nevertheless, the failure of such a device is not just expected but is anticipated.

But some products are defective, either in manufacture or design. Such defective products can fail and lead to severe injury or death. Consider the recalled Takeda/Honda airbags. Designed to save lives and reduce injuries, for still unknown reasons, some of the bags exploded in minor collisions sending metal shrapnel into the faces and necks of the drivers. Some suffered severe injuries requiring reconstructive surgery and some died.

In cases involving personal injury caused by a defectively designed or manufactured product, product liability law requires that the plaintiff must prove the product was unreasonably dangerous and not fit for its intended purpose. In most cases, the manufacturer has spent a great deal of money developing, producing and advertising the product, and will fight with all of their financial might to defend their product. In pharmaceutical and medical device cases one can expect defenses of governmental approval of the product, with the defendants often seeking to have the case thrown out. In device cases, it is not unusual for the manufacturer to blame the consumer and assert a defense of comparative negligence or product misuse.

Regardless of the reason for the failure, a successful case requires a competent, experienced lawyer with a firm that has a track record of success. Pennekamp Law has specialized in defective product liability cases for decades and has recovered millions of dollars for its clients to compensate them for their injuries. If you have been injured by a defective product, call us for a free consultation.

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