Product Liability – Defective Products
Unfortunately, companies often design and/or manufacture dangerous and defective products that have life-altering and lethal consequences. These dangerous products may be cars, tires, consumer products and drugs. At Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, our League City product liability lawyers focus on providing representation for individuals who have suffered significant injuries as a result of defective products.
Our team in League City offers you over 93 years of combined legal experience and local leadership in both trial and negotiations. Our goal is to maximize the compensation you rightly deserve and to help you make informed decisions throughout the legal process.
Please call us today at (281) 645-5000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our talented and resourceful product liability attorneys.
What is a Defective Product in Texas?
A defective product (A.KA. Product liability) refers to the legal liability of a manufacturer or seller for the products they make and sell to consumers. In general, consumer product manufacturers are responsible for designing and manufacturing products that are safe and meet the reasonable expectations of consumers and users. Manufacturers and retailers may also be responsible for providing warnings as to the non-obvious dangers inherent to the product and instructions for safe use.
Texas is a strict liability state, which means that the person may not need to show that the manufacturer was careless or negligent to be awarded compensation for damages. In general, to recover compensation from a manufacturer for damages caused by an unsafe product, a person must prove that:
- The product was defective in design, manufacture, or warning;
- The defective product was unreasonably dangerous;
- The defective product was used according to its instructions and design; and
- The defective and dangerous product caused the damage or injury.
As with any civil suit, the remedies and compensation available for damages in a product liability case vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, future earning capacity, and property damage, as well as for intangible losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
For Texas product liability claims, the statute of limitations is generally 15 years from the date the product was purchased. Depending on your injuries or damages, Texas law may further limit the time you have to file a claim. If you’ve been injured by a defective product in Texas, it is critical to consult with an experienced defective product lawyer right away.
What are the Three Types of Product Defects Recognized under Texas State Law?
Products can be defective because of faulty design, errors in the manufacturing process, or because a company failed to provide adequate warnings about the inherent dangers of a product. The legal remedies available for damages sustained from a defective product vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
A product can be flawlessly manufactured and used according to the instructions and still be unreasonably dangerous if there is a flaw in the product design that makes it unsafe. This is known as a design defect. A company may be liable for a design defect when a product has foreseeable risk despite being manufactured according to design and used as intended.
According to the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, a plaintiff claiming a design defect must prove that:
- The defect was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death;
- There was a safer alternative design that would have prevented or reduced the injury risk without severely impairing the product’s intended use or purpose; and
- The safer alternative design was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer.
Some examples of design defects include a baby toy with removable small parts that pose a choking risk to small children or a power tool that lacks an appropriate safety covering for a blade.
Even with an adequate product design, flaws in the manufacturing or quality control processes can result in a product—or many products—that do not match the intended design. A manufacturing defect is typically caused by an error in the production or quality control process and results in a product that does not adhere to the planned design.
Texas holds manufacturers strictly liable, which means that if you’ve been injured by a product due to a manufacturing defect, you do not need to prove additional facts, such as the manufacturer’s negligence or knowledge of the defect.
Failure to Warn
Even if safely designed and properly manufactured, some products still carry inherent risks or can be dangerous if used improperly. The failure to warn (also known as a marketing defect) occurs when a manufacturer knows or should know of a potential danger presented by the product but markets it without providing adequate warning of the danger or instructions for safe use.
A manufacturer, retailer, or distributor does not need to provide warnings about dangers that are “common knowledge,” such as that a knife is sharp.
An example of a warning defect is the failure to provide warnings about the dangers of airbags to a child riding in the front seat of a car or about the overheating danger or fire risk of a space heater left to run for more than a certain amount of time.
Who Handles Product Recalls?
Governmental recalls of defective products are primarily handled by six agencies:
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) handles most household items, including clothing, electronics and toys.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues safety recalls for automotive products, including child safety seats and vehicles.
- Boats are reviewed for recall by the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Food recalls typically originate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or, in rare cases, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics are monitored by the FDA.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has jurisdiction over pesticides and vehicle emissions.
These agencies typically issue safety recalls only when clear and compelling evidence exists of a threat to consumer health and safety. For some people, we understand that the damage has already been done by the time governmental recalls go into effect. Our product liability lawyers are here to help you gain access to the compensation you deserve, and we are on your side every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Sue a Company for a Dangerous Product?
Yes, but only if actual injury or loss occurred as a result of using the product as instructed or intended. If you’ve been injured by using a product, you may be able to recover damages if there was a defect in the product design or manufacturing process or if the manufacturer or retailer failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions for use.
Are Retailers Liable for Defective Products?
Retailers may be liable for selling defective products, but not under the strict liability laws that apply to manufacturers. Texas law places primary liability on the manufacturer of a defective product since the manufacturer is in the best position to recognize and prevent or fix defects. An experienced Texas product liability attorney can review your case, determine the appropriate defendants, and develop a strategy to maximize your compensation.
How Do You Prove a Product is Defective?
Product defects may originate in the product design, manufacturing process, and/or in the failure to provide appropriate warnings or instructions for use. Texas is a strict liability state, requiring only that a plaintiff show that the product was defective and caused injury, despite being used according to instructions, to recover compensation from a manufacturer. Other legal theories of recovery, such as negligence and the existence of other defendants, may require a plaintiff to prove additional elements.
Negligence Costs Lives
Our team of product liability lawyers has extensive experience representing numerous individuals and families who were injured by defective products.
Burwell Nebout has successfully handled injuries resulting from:
- Ford Explorer rollover and Firestone tire failure
- Auto defect cases, including crash-worthy claims against
- Tire malfunctions, including tread separation
- Split rim tires against domestic and foreign manufacturers
Contact Our League City Defective Product Attorneys Today
For individuals and families suffering in the aftermath of a serious injury or a wrongful death, finding the right attorney is critical to success and long-term financial stability. Our experienced team can help with assertive representation to get your claim heard in court and to secure the full and fair compensation you deserve from negligent parties.
We’re on your side. Contact our League City defective product lawyers today at (281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.