A product liability lawyer may be able to help when you are injured by a product due to a defect or malfunction while using the product exactly as the instructions tell you to. If this happened to you, you may have a product liability case. Call us for a free consultation with a Houston product liability lawyer case to learn more at (713) 932-0777.
Common Classes of Product Liability Cases
While any consumer product can be defective, some of the most common classes of product liability cases include:
- Defective Pharmaceutical Cases;
- Defective Vehicle Cases;
- Defective Medical Devices;
- Defective Consumer Goods;
- Defective Tools or Equipment.
Unfortunately, corporate greed sometimes results in a rush to get products to market before they are fully tested and ready. As a result, there are always new types of product liability cases arising.
Types of Product Defects
There are causes of action for three basic types of product defects: manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects (a/k/a failure to warn). Each type of claim has unique aspects or ‘elements’ that must be proven by the injured party in order to prevail on a product liability claim.
What is a Manufacturing Defect?
A manufacturing defect is an error in the way a product was made. It is, essentially, a mistake in the product construction process, not a flaw in the original design. A product that ‘fails to conform to specs’ is a manufacturing defect. To prove a manufacturing defect case, the injured party must prove that there was a safe design, but that the product that was placed into the stream of commerce failed to conform to that design.
Some examples of manufacturing defect claims are:
- EpiPens that fail to inject;
- A tire whose tread does not seal properly and causes a car accident;
- Talcum powder linked to cancer.
What is a Design Defect?
A design defect is a defect in the way the product is designed. The defect is not a glitch or one-time error, it is an inherent danger in the way the product was designed. A design defect exists when there is an economically feasible safer alternative design that could have been used but was not.
Some examples of design defect claims are:
- Stryker Rejuvinate hip implants – a medical implant that can corrode and release metal shards into the body;
- Hernia Mesh – a medical device that can erode or migrate and perforate organs or reattach incorrectly;
- 3M dual-ended earplugs – military earplugs that were been too short to provide the needed level of noise protection;
- Peloton Tread Plus+ – a treadmill that may pull small children and pets under the machine causing serious injury or death;
- Boppy Newborn Loungers – A baby lounger designed for newborns that poses a risk of suffocation when a newborn falls asleep;
- Firefighter foam with PFAs that may potentially cause cancer.
What is a Marketing Defect?
A marketing defect is when a product has a danger that is not readily apparent to the user and the manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions to reduce the risk inherently involved in using the product. The injury must occur while the product is being used for its intended purpose or, at least for a purpose of which the manufacturer is aware it is likely to be used. Often medicines fall under this category because they contain risks that are not adequately disclosed to the patient.
Some examples of a marketing defect are:
- Toxic Baby Formula – Baby formulas and foods that increase an infant’s risks or contain dangerous levels of metals or other toxic substances;
- Hair Straighteners – hair care products that may increase a user’s risk of developing uterine cancer;
- Juul Vapes – An e-cigarette that once had no warning that the product contained nicotine;
- IVC Filters – A surgical device for preventing blood clots that failed to warn patients of the risk that it may move and pierce the duodenum;
- Paraquat – An herbicide and crop desiccant banned in 32 countries due to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease linked to Paraquat exposure;
- Cardiac Heater/Cooler Devices that have a higher risk of infection than other similar devices.
Other Defective Products
In addition to the products specifically listed here, there can be many other types of defective products that can result in injury. When any object causes damage to its user those responsible for the injuring flaw can be engaged in a strict liability case. Any product liability lawsuit claim can become an involved and complex process, which is why it’s critical to have a Houston product liability attorney ready to stand by your side.
If you suspect that your injury was the result of a defective product but you do not see it listed on our site, give us a call to find out if you have a case. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with a product liability lawyer in Houston, TX today! Call us: (713) 932-0777.
Mass Torts and Defective Products
Mass torts are injuries that occur on a large scale to a large number of people. Often, product liability cases are also mass torts because they involve a product that was sold all over the country. When a product is the subject of a mass tort, many times the claims are consolidated together into a class-action lawsuit. The product may or may not be the subject of a voluntary or forced recall depending upon a number of factors.
Steps to Take After a Defective Product Injury
First and foremost, seek appropriate medical care and get your injuries taken care of.
If you suspect you have been injured as a result of a defective product, what you should do next depends upon what type of product injured you, and what type of injury you have suffered. Select the category on the list below that applies to you.
Defective Drugs and Medical Devices
If you are injured due to a defective drug or a medical device, you should do some research first to see if there is already litigation pending for this particular product. Our defective pharmaceutical page is a good place to start for drugs. The product liability drop-down menu lists several devices we can assist you with. If you do not see your medical device, then you should call us to explore whether your situation is a new one. Also, contact us if it is listed as a medical device we handle.
How to proceed will depend largely on the drug or device. However, some information that will be helpful includes:
- The name of the drug or device;
- And the product numbers you have;
- Who prescribed and/or implanted it;
- Any warnings or other papers you were given with it;
- Dates you first received the drug or device;
- If a drug, the period you were on it;
- If a device, the date, and place of removal, if any.
Defective Vehicles, Machines, Consumer Goods (Non-food), and Tools
Defective products can range from tools of the trade to consumer goods like sunscreen that causes cancer. Anytime you are dealing with vehicle defects or drivable machine defects, there is a rule of thumb to keep in mind: It is really difficult to make a product liability case without a product. If it is your vehicle or machine, then do not allow it to be totaled and disposed of. Preserving the product is often of absolute importance.
Hire a Houston product defect lawyer and get a restraining order issued if someone else has it in their control. Document the defect so that if the product disappears you have something. A picture is worth 1000 words. This is very true when the product that caused your injury disappears.
Document the information you need to identify and research the defective product. These may include:
- Serial numbers;
- Make and model numbers;
- Date of manufacture;
- Date of purchase;
- Any documentation that came with it when you purchased it;
- Vehicle VIN and license plate numbers;
- Any receipts, bills of sale, or other purchase documentation;
- Place of purchase.
You can check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls online if you want to do your homework, or call an attorney first and let them look into this for you. After you have gathered what you can, call a Houston product liability attorney to discuss your case.
Lastly, report the product defect. The Consumer Product Safety Commission investigates and keeps records of complaints about products from consumers. If the product is defective, the more complaints they get, the faster they will investigate it and determine whether a product recall is necessary.
At Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., we possess the necessary legal resources to guide you if you have been a victim of a dangerous or defective product and/or medication. We are here to answer your questions and give you sound legal advice on how to pursue your product liability claim. Contact our Houston office to speak to someone from our legal team of personal injury lawyers. Schedule your free case evaluation with us today: (713) 932-0777
Defective Foods and Consumables
Everyone is familiar with food poisoning. But what does this mean? But did you know it is contagious? When contaminants get into food, either during the preparation process at a restaurant or during the packaging process for products packed and sold, this can cause a range of illnesses. One of the most common ways food gets contaminated is Salmonella. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that Salmonella is the culprit behind 1.2 million illnesses a year in the United States, leading to 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths.
A person with Salmonella is contagious and can spread the disease. If you suspect you have suffered from salmonella poisoning, the first thing you should do (aside from getting appropriate medical care) is to report it to the Centers for Disease Control so that a serious outbreak can be prevented if necessary. You have a legal obligation to report this.
Next, if you have the product or some of the products and you can seal it in a sealable container, this is a good way to preserve it. Do not continue to consume it nor even handle it more than necessary. Let the CDC have it and conduct testing if they wish.
Lastly, call our Houston product liability lawyers to discuss your specific options if you have suffered an injury that requires:
- A hospitalization;
- Substantial medical care;
- A long period of illness.
Proving a Salmonella contamination case can be very difficult if you do not report it to the CDC or they choose not to investigate. Their investigations may prove your case for you.
If you have any receipts or documentation of where and when you purchased the product, you should save this evidence as well.
Liability in Houston Defective Product Claims
Defective product cases can come in many forms. To determine who should be named defendants in your personal injury lawsuit, your Houston defective product lawyer must conduct an in-depth investigation into the cause of your accident.
One of the unique features of related product liability claims is that nearly anyone involved in the manufacturing process and chain of distribution of these items could share the blame. Some of these parties may include:
- Product designers;
- Product manufacturers;
- Product suppliers;
- Product distributors;
- Company executives;
- Other third parties;
These are just a few examples of individuals and entities that could be partially at fault for your traumatic injuries. Your product liability attorney’s investigation will uncover the identities of anyone and everyone who may share blame for the injuries you and your family members sustained.
The Value of Your Product Liability Lawsuit in Houston
You may be wondering how much compensation you are entitled to when you suffer devastating injuries caused by a malfunctioning or defective product. Under Texas tort laws, you have the right to be made whole. This means you should receive reimbursement for every financial and non-financial loss you experience when someone else’s negligent actions are the cause of your injuries.
Damages can be categorized as economic or non-economic, with economic damages accounting for financial losses and non-economic damages describing the ways your life has been impacted by the accident and your resulting injuries. Here are some of the most common types of recoverable damages in Houston product liability lawsuits.
If you or a family member has experienced a traumatic event involving a faulty product which resulted in hospitalization, it is crucial to get your medical expenses covered by the liable party. You do not want to be stuck dealing with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs. Examples of medical expenses you can seek compensation for include:
- Prescription medications;
- Over-the-counter medications;
- Diagnostic imaging;
- Ambulance bills;
- The cost of your hospital stay;
- Ongoing medical treatment;
- Physical and occupational therapies;
- Reconstructive surgery;
- Mental health counseling.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages describe a wide variety of non-economic losses. Not only can you receive compensation for your physical pain and emotional trauma, but there are a variety of other non-financial damages you can be compensated for, such as;
- Reputational damage;
- Loss of consortium;
- Diminished quality of life;
- Skin scarring;
- Embarrassment and shame;
- Fear and shock;
- Anticipation and apprehension.
Lost Wages and Employee Benefits
Unless you have significant savings, you may find yourself struggling financially soon after your injuries. This is particularly true if your injuries keep you out of work and unable to earn a living. You should be reimbursed for your lost income and any employee benefits you are missing out on, such as:
- Sick time off;
- Paid time off;
- Vacation pay;
- Salary increases;
- lost profits of a business;
- Retirement savings contributions.
If there are any other out-of-pocket expenses you took care of while healing from your injuries, these costs should be reimbursed through the insurance company or your product liability lawsuit. Examples of out-of-pocket expenses could include:
- Vehicle repairs;
- The cost of a rental car;
- Over-the-counter medications;
- Replacing electronic devices;
- Making home accommodations;
- Hiring household maintenance workers;
- Paying for daycare;
Time is Running Out to Pursue Your Product Liability Case
Although dealing with complex legal matters is likely the furthest thing from your mind, it is crucial that you get started on your product liability claims as soon as possible. Whether you are filing a claim with the insurance company or bringing your case to trial, there are deadlines you need to be prepared to meet.
If you are filing a civil lawsuit for your defective product injuries, you must get your claim filed before the Texas personal injury statute of limitations expires according to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 16.003. The law allows a maximum of two years from the accident or injury date to file your claim. However, if you wait too long and your claim is not filed before this deadline, the Texas civil court system will have no other choice but to deny you the opportunity to have your case heard before a judge and jury.
Talk to a Houston Product Liability Lawyer
Product liability cases can be very complex. Therefore, it is crucial that you have a Houston products liability attorney on your side who has the experience and resources necessary to strongly advocate for you and to advance your very real interests. Towards this vital objective, the attorneys at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., are your ally in such circumstances. Having diligently served our clients for years in varying practice areas including motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, car accidents, birth injuries due to medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, our law firm has worked hard to fight for their rights and to get them financial recovery for their losses. Call (713) 932-0777 today to speak to one of our skilled personal injury attorneys for your free case review.
The Houston product liability lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., approach every case they undertake with a keen sense of integrity that many times is lacking in the justice system today. Because mass torts and large-scale product cases are complex and expensive to handle individually, some product liability cases are likely to be referred to another attorney for handling with the client’s permission in order to best serve the client. Let us serve you today.