Regrettably, there are instances when companies release dangerous and flawed products into the market, leading to severe and sometimes fatal outcomes. Such hazardous items include vehicles, tires, consumer goods, and pharmaceuticals. At Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, our product liability attorneys in Houston are dedicated to representing individuals who have endured serious harm due to these defective products.
With a collective legal experience exceeding 93 years, our Houston team is a leader in both litigation and negotiation. Our objective is to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve and to guide you with knowledgeable advice at every stage of your legal journey.
Please contact us at (281) 645-5000 for a no-cost consultation with our skilled and insightful product liability lawyers.
What Constitutes a Defective Product in Texas?
A defective product, or product liability, pertains to a manufacturer or seller’s legal responsibility for the items they produce and distribute to consumers. Generally, manufacturers of consumer goods are expected to create and distribute products that are safe and live up to the reasonable expectations of users and consumers. They may also be held accountable for providing necessary warnings about non-obvious dangers and instructions for the product’s safe usage.
In Texas, a strict liability jurisdiction, individuals may not need to demonstrate manufacturer negligence to receive damages compensation. Typically, to secure compensation from a manufacturer for harm caused by an unsafe product, one must show that:
- The product had defects in design and manufacturing or lacked proper warnings;
- The defective product posed an unreasonable danger;
- The product was used as intended and according to instructions and
- The defective and hazardous product was the cause of the damage or injury.
The specific remedies and compensation for damages in a product liability suit vary greatly based on the case details. Possible recoveries include medical costs, lost earnings, diminished future earning capacity, property damage, and intangible losses like pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
In Texas, product liability claims generally have a statute of limitations 15 years from the purchase date. Depending on the injuries or damages, state law may further restrict the filing period for a claim. Consulting an experienced defective product attorney promptly is crucial if you’ve been harmed by a defective product in Texas.
Three Recognized Types of Product Defects under Texas Law
Products can be deemed defective due to poor design, manufacturing errors, or inadequate warnings about inherent risks. Legal remedies for damages from a defective product vary with the case specifics.
A product might be perfectly manufactured and used correctly but poses unreasonable dangers due to an inherent design flaw. This scenario constitutes a design defect. Liability for a design defect arises when a product, despite being made and used as intended, carries foreseeable risks.
Under Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, to claim a design defect, a plaintiff must show:
- The defect was a contributing factor to personal injury, property damage, or death;
- There was a safer alternative design that could have mitigated or prevented the risk of injury without significantly impairing the product’s intended use or purpose, and
- The safer alternative design was economically and technologically feasible when the product left the manufacturer’s control.
Examples of design defects include toys with small, detachable parts posing choking hazards for children or power tools lacking necessary safety guards.
Even a well-designed product can become dangerous if errors occur during manufacturing or quality control, leading to a product or batch of products that deviates from the intended design. A manufacturing defect typically stems from production or quality control errors, resulting in a product that doesn’t conform to the design specifications.
Texas imposes strict liability on manufacturers, meaning that if you’ve suffered an injury due to a manufacturing defect, you needn’t prove additional facts like the manufacturer’s negligence or awareness of the defect.
Failure to Warn
Some products, even when designed and made safely, carry inherent risks or can be hazardous if misused. Failure to warn, also known as a marketing defect, happens when a manufacturer is aware or should be aware of potential product dangers but fails to warn consumers or provide safe usage instructions adequately.
Manufacturers, retailers, or distributors aren’t required to warn about risks that are common knowledge, like the sharpness of a knife.
An example of a warning defect includes not providing caution about the risks to children from airbags when seated in the front of a car or not warning about the fire hazard of a space heater if left on for extended periods.
Product Recalls Management
Defective product recalls are primarily managed by six agencies:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – Oversees most household items, including clothing, electronics, and toys.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Manages safety recalls for automotive products, child safety seats, and vehicles.
- U.S. Coast Guard – Responsible for boat recalls.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Handle food recalls.
- FDA – Monitors drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Jurisdiction over pesticides and vehicle emissions.
These agencies usually issue recalls when clear evidence indicates a consumer health and safety threat. However, for some, the damage might occur before the recall. Our product liability lawyers are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve and supporting you every step.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Sue for a Dangerous Product?
Yes, but only if actual harm or loss resulted from using the product as directed or intended. If injured by a product, you may seek damages if there was a defect in its design or manufacturing or if the manufacturer or retailer failed to provide adequate warnings or usage instructions.
Are Retailers Liable for Defective Products?
Retailers might be liable for selling defective products, but not under the same strict liability laws that apply to manufacturers. Texas law primarily holds manufacturers accountable for defective products as they are best positioned to identify and address defects. An experienced Texas product liability attorney can evaluate your case, identify appropriate defendants, and strategize to maximize your compensation.
Proving a Product is Defective
Defects in a product may stem from its design, manufacturing, or the lack of proper warnings or usage instructions. As a strict liability state, Texas requires plaintiffs to demonstrate that the product was defective and caused injury, despite being used as directed, to seek compensation from a manufacturer. Other legal theories like negligence and additional defendants might require proving more elements.
Negligence and Its Consequences
Our team of product liability attorneys has vast experience representing various individuals and families harmed by defective products.
Burwell Nebout has successfully tackled injuries from:
- Ford Explorer rollovers and Firestone tire failures
- Auto defect cases, including crash-worthiness claims
- Tire malfunctions, including tread separation
- Split-rim tires from both domestic and international manufacturers
Seeking Houston Defective Product Legal Assistance
For individuals and families grappling with the aftermath of a serious injury or wrongful death, finding the right attorney is essential for success and long-term financial stability. Our assertive team is ready to make your claim heard in court and secure the comprehensive compensation you deserve from negligent parties.
We’re by your side. Contact our Houston defective product attorneys today at (281) 645-5000 or email our team for a no-cost consultation with one of our experts.