Defective Products

When personal injury, death, or property damage results from a defective product, a product liability claim may be filed. Some areas of product manufacturing to be considered are: construction, design, formula, preparation, assembling, testing, service, warnings, instructions, marketing, packaging, or labeling. Claims may be based upon strict liability in tort, negligence, concealment, non-disclosure, misrepresentation, breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranties, failure to warn or instruct, or under other legal theories based in tort and contract.

An individual or company can be held liable for a product if it is determined to be defective or dangerous at the time that it left the manufacturer or seller's control. A defective product is one whose condition renders it unsafe for normal or anticipatable handling and consumption. An unreasonably dangerous product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond the contemplation of an ordinary consumer who purchases it, or because a reasonably prudent manufacturer with knowledge of its dangerous condition would not place it on the market.

The early investigation of product liability claims is vital. Preserving physical evidence, investigating relevant scenes, and taking witness statements are all essential to a case's success. Physical evidence must be evaluated by a qualified expert as soon as possible. The product or scene must be documented with photographs and videotape if possible. Witness statements must be taken promptly in order to preserve critical evidence.

Here is a list of just a few of the items over which suits have been filed:

  • Automobiles
    • Airbags
    • Car Seats
    • Rollovers
    • Tire Separation

    • Electrical equipment and appliances
    • Medical instruments
    • Medications
    • Firearms and accessories
    • Airplanes and helicopters
    • Buildings and building equipment
    • Materials and substances (clothing, insulation, etc)
    • Childcare products (car seat, toys, etc)

      Click on the items below to learn more

      Although airbags have been instrumental in saving the lives of those involved in moderate to high speed crashes, they have been known to cause injuries and even fatalities in low speed crashes. As of 2001, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has a total of 195 confirmed fatalities caused by airbag deployment. Of that total, 119 were children, 68 were drivers, and 8 were adult passengers.

      Faced with product liability lawsuits, the industry responded by issuing warnings to parents to ensure that their children were always put in the back seat. As the NHTSA pushed the use of advanced airbag technology, airbags were depowered in 1998. This new generation of airbags has reduced the number of fatalities, but inflation-induced injuries continue.

      The primary causes are airbag thresholds, late deployment, aggressive airbags, and non-deployment. An airbag's threshold is what determines its deployment, and an unnecessary deployment can cause serious harm. For the same reason, late deployments are dangerous, and can actually be proven by a small "black box" in the system much like an airplane's flight recorder. Finally, aggressive airbags are those that are contained within "first generation" vehicles manufactured prior to the NHTSA-mandated depowerment in 1998.

      If you believe you may have an airbag injury case, contact us today for more information.

      Hundred of vehicle rollovers occur every day in the United States, the majority of them involving SUVs, passenger vans and light trucks. Rollovers are second only to frontal crashes in their level of severity, and more deaths result from rollovers than from side and rear crashes combined. Some of the causes for rollovers include tire failures, tire tread defects (detreading or delamination), poor design stability, poor suspension system design and inadequate brakes. Once a rollover occurs, the occupants face further danger from a variety of potential sources; the following is a list of vehicle components whose poor manufacture or design can cause serious injury during a rollover:

      • Aggressive Airbags
      • Car Seats
      • Roof Supports
      • Headrests
      • Head Restraints
      • Seatbelts
      • Lap-Only Belts
      • Seatbelt Buckles
      • Window Glass
      • Windshields
      • Fuel Tanks
      • Fuel Systems
      • SUV Rollovers

      The greatest number of rollovers occurs in sport utility vehicles. SUVs have a rollover rate that is 2-3 times higher than the average passenger car. In 2000, SUVs had the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes: 36 percent, as compared with 24 percent for pickups, 19 percent for vans and 15 percent for traffic cars. SUVs also had the highest rollover rate for passenger vehicles in injury crashes -- 12 percent, as compared to 7 percent for pickups, 4 percent for vans and 3 percent for passenger cars.

      If you believe you may have a vehicle rollover injury case, contact us today for more information.

      Tire manufacturers have long known that a major cause of tire tread or belt separation is the design and placements of the belts and overlying tread. Common manufacturing errors are: poor adhesion of the components, improper curing temperatures, unclean manufacturing facilities, and the introduction of foreign objects into the tire's constructions such as rust, moisture, oxidation, grease, sawdust, and other particles.

      Poor adhesion is the leading cause of belt separation. Bonding metal to rubber is a difficult process; the method most often used involves plating the metal with brass and applying a rubber compound containing sulfur. If the sulfur and other compounds are not combined in the correct mixture or at the right temperature, incomplete adhesion occurs.

      Another well known design defect is failure to include an extra nylon cap belt or nylon overlay to encapsulate the underlying belts and bond them to the outer core. This nylon cap belt is positioned between the top belt and the outside tire tread, thus capping the inner belts to the outer core to prevent the spread or movement to the belt edge. This extra tire safety strip or belt is a missing component in the Firestone ATX, Firestone ATX II and most of the Wilderness AT tires subject to the Firestone recall. Many other tire manufactures are also guilty of not including this safety strip in their tires.

      If you believe you may have a tire separation case, contact us today for more information.

      According to the National Transportation Safety Board, over 17,000 children under the age of 10 were killed in traffic accidents in the last decade. Poor design quality and minimal federal standards for child restraints and car seats have contributed to these fatalities. The primary standard for car seat design is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213, issued in 1970. It outlines the minimum performance of child safety restraints. FMVSS 213 is not a design standard, it is a performance standard, so the manufacturers can design car seats any way they like, as long as their designs meet the minimum performance standard. Manufacturers also perform their own testing, and so the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) does not verify the test results nor do they conduct independent evaluations. This lack of regulation allows manufacturers to implement designs based on factors such as manufacturing costs, as opposed to safety. Millions of car child safety seats have been recalled due to a variety of defects.

      If you have been involved in an accident wherein you believe your child safety restraint or car seat functioned improperly, here are some considerations for your child restraints and car seats:

      • Is your seat ramp properly designed? A car's seat ramp (the part of the seat that you sit on) should be slanted upward such that you have a better chance of staying in your seat in the event of an accident.
      • Are your seats made and attached according to government regulations? Or, were they torn from the car during the accident's impact?
      • Were the seats too weak to sustain an impact? Manufacturer may claim that the seat should yield with the impact and then pop back up, but "yield" is often a manufacturer's code word for "fail". When a passenger is behind the front seat, however, a head-to-head collision can cause brain trauma for both.

      If you believe you may have a car seat injury case, contact us today for more information.

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      Waterbury Law, P.C.


      Waterbury Law, P.C. provides top-notch representation for Dallas, Texas
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