Product liability is the liability of a seller, retailer, or manufacturer of a product when a defect product is permitted to reach consumers, regardless of the negligence of the consumer. It is important to note that any party in the distribution chain may be found liable under the product liability theory.
Product liability claims and the laws which govern those claims vary by state. Each state has its own commercial statutes which model the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The Uniform Commercial Code is a body of laws that contain warranty rules which affect product liability.
What is a Defective Product?
Defective products are products which are unreasonably dangerous when they are used for their intended purposes without any interference or alterations. Defective products may cause injuries to individuals due to:
- Design defects;
- Manufacturing defects; or
- Marketing defects.
Design defects are defects which are present in the product from the beginning of its creation. Manufacturer defects are unintentional mistakes which are made during the manufacturing process.
Marketing defects are flaws in the way the products are marketed. This may include improper labeling of the products.
Examples of products which are often labeled as defective products include:
- Food items;
- Medical devices; and
- Children’s toys.
What is a Defective Product Injury?
An individual who is injured by a product that is defective may sue the manufacturer or that product and they may also be able to sue the party that was responsible for repairing the product.
In addition, the individual who was injured may be able to sue the seller of the product, which may include a distributor or wholesaler that was responsible for getting the product from the manufacturer to the retailer, even if that seller did not cause the product defect. There are some jurisdictions which allow injured parties to sue a seller of used goods, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
What Are Defective Children’s Products?
Defective children’s products are products which are intended for use by children but are defective in one way or another. These products are products which are dangerous and present risks to babies or small children.
Defects in children’s products are typically categorized into the same three categories of defects as other defective products, including:
- A defect which is due to the dangerous design of a product;
- A defect which is due to the negligent assembly or construction of the product; and
- A defect which is associated with a lack of an appropriate warning.
Although certain defective children’s products may be subject to recalls once they are determined to be dangerous, injuries often can and do occur between the time of the product purchase and the time when a recall is issued. These injuries are typically what causes the product to be recalled.
What Are Some Common Examples of Defective Children’s Products?
Whether or not a product was actually made defectively, the design and purpose of a children’s product may be dangerous for the child. In many instances, a manufacturer may have failed to consider the dangers of a product prior to it being put out for sale.
This is especially true with instances of latent defects. Latent defects are problems which are hidden within products and are not discovered upon a routine inspection.
These types of defects are typically not discovered until a product is on the market or has already been sold. Common examples of children’s products which may be dangerous and defective include:
- Faulty child car seats and strollers;
- Dangerous or flammable children’s clothing;
- Unsafe toys, including:
- toys with sharp edges;
- toys with small parts which may present as a choking hazard; or
- toys with long strings or ropes which may cause strangulation;
- Defective cribs, bassinets, baby beds, and toddler beds;
- Toys that can be used as a weapon; and
- Water absorbing toys that expand when wet, thereby creating a potential choking hazard.
The majority of the products in these categories are defective because of the fact that the children utilizing them do not take notice of the dangers associated with the product or their warning labels and they see the item as a toy. Not every children’s item should be used as a toy.
In addition, parents often miss the dangers which are associated with a children’s item or toy until an injury actually occurs. A defective children’s product is one of the most common types of defective products.
Children are at higher risk for defective items and toys because they are not able to recognize the defects or potential serious injuries which may result from the toys they are using or playing with.
What Are Some Common Examples of Defects Associated with Children’s Products?
The main concern with a defective children’s product is that the child or children may not be old enough or mature enough to recognize the risks which are associated with potentially dangerous products. Therefore, if the child cannot recognize the risk, they are unable to take the steps necessary to minimize the risk or to reduce their potential damage.
Common examples of defects which have been found in connection with children’s products and toys include:
- Sharp edges or some other sharp aspect;
- Products which contain a toxic material, which may include paint or other substances;
- Toys or other products which are make with small parts that may be easily swallowed;
- Toys or other products which use:
- electricity; or
- other mechanical dangers; and
- Products with items that may cause strangulation, including:
- ropes; or
When one product causes many injuries or there are several children which have been injured by one product, a class action lawsuit may be filed against the product’s:
- Designer; or
Are There Any Legal Remedies for Injuries Caused by Defective Children’s Products?
Yes, there are legal remedies which may be available for injuries that are caused by a defective children’s product. The most common remedy given for injuries which are caused by a defective children’s product is a damages award.
A damages award is intended to reimburse the victim for the costs which are associated with the injury, which may include:
- Hospital bills;
- Therapy and rehab costs; and
- Medication costs.
To be able to recover these damages, a plaintiff will be required to prove that a party was negligent and, therefore, was responsible for the injury or injuries. Typically, this will be the manufacturer of the product, especially in cases where the danger was caused by:
- A defective design;
- The manufacturing process; or
- A lack of warning.
Other parties, however, may be held liable, including a retailer that failed to remove the product from their stock after a recall for the item was issued. There are many children’s products and toys which include a suggested age range for using the product which is determined by the manufacturer.
These products may also include various disclaimers which provide that the manufacturer cannot be held legally liable for injuries which result from an improper usage of the toy or product. These types of claims may influence how the product liability claim is resolved.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Defective Children’s Product Lawsuit?
If you think you may have a legal claim which involves a children’s toy or product, you should consult with a defective products attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you of the laws in your state and the laws that apply to your potential claim.
It may also be possible that a court claim can be included in a class action lawsuit. Your attorney can also file a lawsuit on your behalf, represent you in court, and help ensure that you receive the largest amount of damages possible.