We trust manufacturers to design and produce products that are safe for us to use. These products—whether they be cars, toys, food, medicine, or something else—play a major role in our lives and, as such, we expect them to function as intended.
When manufacturers fail in their duty to send safe products to market, consumers may be seriously injured or even killed as a result. One such injury that may occur is a catastrophic burn injury.
Catastrophic burn injuries can leave victims in physical, emotional, and financial turmoil and, when their cause is a defective product, can be entirely prevented.
Below, our Los Angeles product liability attorneys explain what makes a product “defective,” and what you can do if you or someone you love has been seriously injured by one.
What Makes a Product “Defective”?
There are three key elements to any safe product: its design, its manufacture, and its marketing. When a manufacturer fails to uphold the required standards in one or more of the aforementioned elements, the product may be considered defective and poses a risk to consumers.
Therefore, the basic elements of a product liability lawsuit involve proving one or more of the following failures existed in the product’s production:
A defectively manufactured product is flawed due to an error during its production, such as a problem at the factory that created it. In this case, one or a few units of the product may be different from all the other units in the chain.
Examples of a manufacturing defect include:
A tainted batch of medicine with a poisonous substance
A swing set with a cracked chain
A car missing its brake pads
A defectively designed product is different from a defectively manufactured product because while a defectively manufactured product may only affect a small portion of the total product line, a defectively designed product implies that there is an inherent flaw in the entire suite of products. Often, in this case, the entire product must be recalled and redesigned until it meets the required safety standards.
Examples of a design defect include:
A particular model of car that has a tendency to flip over while turning
A type of sunscreen that fails to protect users from sunburn
A line of hair dryers that can spontaneously combust when turned on high heat
Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions
Products that can pose a danger to the consumer in some way must be labeled with appropriate warnings and instructions to ensure safe use.
Examples of failure to warn include:
A medication that does not include a warning label explaining the dangers of drug interactions with other commonly taken medicines
A motorcycle that is sold without instructions detailing its unusually placed brake handle
A hazardous material that is sold without instructions about safe handling
Product manufacturers that fail in one or more of the aforementioned responsibilities may be held liable for any resulting injuries through a product liability lawsuit.
How Do Defective Products Cause Burn Injuries?
Severe burn injuries can affect the rest of a victim’s life. While some burn injuries may heal over time, others are so serious that they render a victim dependent on others for the remainder of their life.
Examples that illustrate how defective products may cause catastrophic burn injuries include:
An electric blanket catching fire when the setting is turned to high
A piece of clothing made with highly flammable materials catching fire
A stove that was not properly fire-proofed by the manufacturer catching fire
Such instances may leave a consumer with devastating, life-threatening burn injuries. The victims of catastrophic burn injuries may struggle for the rest of their lives with:
Loss of mobility
In cases such as these, victims may be unable to return to work for decades, or even for the rest of their lives. These lost wages, in addition to the medical bills the victim often faces, can cost victims hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars, all because of a product flaw that never should have existed in the first place.
What You Need to Prove in a Product Liability Lawsuit
Those who have been injured by a defective product may be able to recover compensation from any and all liable parties through a product liability lawsuit.
In order for product liability to arise, the product in question must have been sold in the marketplace at some point in time. Additionally, in order for strict liability to apply, the product’s sale must have been made in the course of the supplier’s business. So, a product sold at a garage sale may not be included in a product liability lawsuit.
Once that fact has been established, the prosecution may seek to recover damages from any of the following parties that may have played a role in the product’s flawed manufacture, design, or labeling:
The product manufacturer;
A manufacturer of parts;
A party that assembles the product;
The wholesaler; and/or
The retail store that sold the product to the consumer.
The burden of proof in a product liability lawsuit is typically in favor of the plaintiff. Known as “res ipsa loquitur,” the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. As such, the plaintiff is no longer required to prove how the defendant was negligent. Instead, the defendant must prove they were not negligent.
Recovering Compensation in a Product Liability Lawsuit
There is no doubt that a defective product can devastate a victim’s life just as much as a motor vehicle accident can. As such, it’s only right for those who have been injured by defective products to be able to recover the compensation they deserve to get the medical treatment they need.
Through a product liability lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:
Punitive damages: Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant acted in gross negligence. An example of gross negligence in a product liability case would be a manufacturer not fire testing their product at all before sending it to market, even if they knew their product may be exposed to flame.
Pain and suffering: Burn injuries are devastating physically and emotionally. As such, these individuals may recover compensation from the defendant for any physical or emotional pain they have suffered and will suffer in the future.
Other damages that victims may be able to recover include the following:
Past and future medical bills
Past and future lost wages
Suffered a Catastrophic Burn Injury Caused by a Defective Product? Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love has been severely burned by a defective product, our Los Angeles product liability attorneys are prepared to protect your rights.
Our team is well-equipped to handle cases involving defective products and catastrophic burn injuries, and we have been handling similar cases in California and throughout the United States for over a decade.
Our attorneys have a level of experience that few other law firms can match, and we are ready to put this experience to work for you.
There is no downside to contacting us and learning about your rights. Call Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation today at (866) 884-1717 to schedule a free consultation.