Product liability is a huge area of law. Some attorneys dedicate their life’s practice to product liability. All recalls that are covered in the media are in some stage of a product liability case. Recalls are a way to ensure public safety, and many come from reported injuries or parental complaints to the Consumer Safety Product Commission. If you’ve been injured due to a dangerous product, our Houston product liability lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Class Actions & Product Recalls
Large recalls will lead to class action suits. Class action lawsuits are claims made on behalf of a group of people or businesses that have been similarly affected by a product or action. Often, when a recall is first reported, a company will try to fight it, sometimes creating an illusion the product is safe. Product liability lawyers working for the company are charged with helping the company prove this.
The case brought against the company for the dangerous product has to prove misrepresentation, breach of warranty, negligence, or strict tort liability which is why it is imperative to hire a seasoned Houston product liability attorney. Misrepresentation could refer to false advertising or concealment of known dangers. Breach of warranty refers to the failure of the company to complete warranty terms. Negligence indicates that the company did not do something and should have or vice versa. Strict liability means that even if the company is not at fault, it is liable for all individuals who might be hurt by the product. Defects that give rise to product liability claims include design, marketing, and manufacturing defects.
The responsible party for a dangerous product could be the manufacturer of the product as a whole, a parts manufacturer, an assembling or installation company, a wholesaler, or a store. Historically, the person who was injured had to have a contractual connection to the supplier known as a “privity of contract” to be awarded damages. The person who bought the item could receive compensation, in other words, but someone else could not. Now, anyone who is injured by a product or who could have been injured and prove the dangerousness of a product may make a claim. The only stipulation is that the product has to be in the marketplace and sold to someone.
Disclaimers & Limitations
Many products include disclaimers in an effort to avoid legal action when the product is used in the way intended. Coffee mugs sold at restaurants commonly display the “too hot” disclaimer now because there was once a dangerous products case of someone burning themselves on a cup. During a product liability case, a disclaimer will not generally prevent a manufacturer for being held liable. Even general disclaimers claiming no liability or guarantee for the performance of a product do not necessarily hold weight in legal proceedings.
The statute of limitations for a product liability case varies by state, but can range anywhere from one to ten years from the time of injury. To pursue this type of case, a Houston product liability lawyer will need the following:
- The product (if possible) with all its documentation and pictures.
- Timeframe for work missed.
- Property damage receipts.
- Information about the seller.
- Any other details surrounding the injury or product, including conversations with insurance companies, lawyers, and physicians.
Damages awarded in a product liability case may be financial or punitive in nature. Depending on the injury sustained and the effects thereof, damages awarded may be several thousand dollars or even millions. Vehicle recalls and product liability cases are constantly in the media for small things like a window that has stopped working to dangerous issues like the mechanism that releases the airbag exploding or gas tank meters reading incorrectly. Some cases have a distinct effect on the lives of millions of consumers who may be seriously injured as a result of a defective product.
For more information regarding product liability cases, Lapeze & Johns PLLC in Houston, Texas, has attorneys who specialize in understanding product liability law and can help you understand your unique situation and what you may be entitled to in a case.