Product liability refers to the manufacturer, retailer, or seller of a product being held liable for allowing a defective product to reach the consumer, regardless of the consumer’s own negligence. Product liability laws determine who is responsible for defective or dangerous products.
An example of this would be a product manufacturer being held liable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. However, all parties involved in the distribution chain may be liable for product liability.
State laws associated with product liability claims vary. There is a set of commercial statutes in each state that are modeled after the Uniform Commercial Code which contains warranty rules affecting product liability.
A defective product is any product that is unreasonably dangerous when being used for its intended purpose, without any alterations or interference. More specifically, a defective product is a product that causes injury to a person because of a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a marketing defect. Some of the most common examples of defective products include food items, medical devices, and children’s toys.
In order to prove product liability, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The product was defective upon being manufactured;
- The product’s manufacturer, seller, and/or distributor intended for the product to reach the plaintiff without any changes being made through the process; and
- The plaintiff and/or their property was injured in some way by the product.
What Makes A Product Defective?
Design defects are present from the beginning, even before the product is actually manufactured. A company can become liable for a design defect when a foreseeable risk was present during manufacturing, and the company chose to continue creating the unsafe product, as in the case of defective 3M earplugs. An example of this would be a coffee cup designed in such a way that the bottom of the cup melts whenever it contains hot fluid.
Many states require that the plaintiff show that the risk could have been reasonably reduced or avoided by an alternative design. Meaning, the manufacturer could have made the changes at an economically feasible cost with the product being virtually the same as the unsafe product. Products that have design defects are inherently unsafe, and as such are only fixed by altering the original design.
Manufacturer defects occur over the course of the manufacturing or assembly process. This could result from an unintentional mistake that causes the product to be more dangerous than what the company and the consumer expected. The biggest difference between design defects and manufacturer defects is that design defects are intentional, while manufacturer defects are unintentional flaws that occur when the product is made.
Manufacturer defects are generally easier to fix, as the defect may be remedied by simply changing a material or the assembly process. The most common examples of manufacturing defects would be faulty screws, contaminated medications and food products, and faulty mechanisms.
Marketing defects result from a lack of sufficient instructions or warnings about the product’s use. These are flaws in the way that the product is marketed to the consumer, such as improper labeling and inadequate safety warnings. Marketing defects are most commonly associated with a company’s failure to warn consumers about the proper way to use a product, or a hazard associated with the use of the product. This type of defect most commonly results from injuries sustained from a product.
In order to prove to the court that the product was defective, the plaintiff must prove one of the above legal theories, in addition to proving that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous to use.
What Are Electronic Skateboard Injuries?
An electronic skateboard is a motorized skateboard, which looks very similar to a standard skateboard and is commonly powered by a lithium battery. It works by the rider leaning in to move the skateboard forward and balancing. Some electronic skateboards can reach higher speeds, and may be modified to allow for different speeds and maneuvers.
Electronic skateboards have been known to cause serious injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported numerous emergency room visits caused by these skateboards, generally due to the fact that operating an electronic skateboard may require an advanced degree of skill.
Those who do not have this degree of skill may face difficulties adjusting to the automatic nature of the board. Because of the speeds involved, injuries may be more severe than with a standard skateboard. Additionally, a sudden failure of the board may also cause injuries.
The most common injuries associated with electronic skateboards include:
Can I Sue For Injuries Caused By An Electronic Skateboard?
A plaintiff can recover damages in a defective product lawsuit if they can prove that:
- The skateboard had an unreasonably dangerous defect;
- The defect caused the injury while the skateboard was being used in the way it was intended by the manufacturer; and
- The skateboard had not been changed, or altered, from the way in which it was originally sold.
Damages in an electronic skateboard lawsuit generally include compensation for:
- Medical costs;
- Hospital bills;
- Lost wages; and
- Any property damage, such as when a skateboard fire caused additional property damage.
Whether a person can sue for injuries caused by an electronic skateboard largely depends on the circumstances. The injured person may sue the manufacturer of the electronic skateboard if it was defective, or if another individual operating an electronic skateboard injured them while negligently using the skateboard. Collisions with an automobile can also result in legal claims.
In order to successfully recover for injuries caused by a defective product, the injured party must meet the following three conditions:
- The product had an unreasonably dangerous defect;
- This defect caused an injury while the product was being used in its intended way; and
- The product was not changed in any substantial way from how it was originally sold.
Some of what may limit the amount of recovery can include:
- Knowing about the defect before using the product, which means if you decided to use the product despite being aware of its defect, the court may limit your recovery;
- Your state’s statute of limitations, meaning that you did not bring your claim during the allowed time; or
- Mishandling the product and ignoring warnings and/or instructions, which ultimately lead to the product breaking or being defective.
Some defects are created from mishandling or tampering with an item. You should admit or deny any tampering that could have rendered the product dangerous and defective, as this is an important factor when determining liability.
Any party to the product’s distribution chain may be held liable for product defect; meaning, any reasonably foreseeable person who could be injured by a defective product may recover for their injuries. Some examples of who could be held liable include:
- The product’s manufacturer;
- The party responsible for assembling or installing the product;
- The manufacturer of the component parts;
- The wholesaler; and/or
- The retailer that sold the particular product to the consumer.
Compensatory damages are generally awarded for the purpose of restoring the plaintiff to the position that they were in before the harm or loss occurred. As such, compensatory damages are awarded in cases where damages, injury, or loss has occurred. State laws may vary in terms of compensatory damages. Additionally, some states may place limits on compensatory damages, especially general damages.
Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With An Electronic Skateboard Injury?
You should contact a class action lawyer in your area about your legal rights to sue for damages related to an electronic skateboard injury.
An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific laws, and will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, should you pursue a lawsuit.