Civil Justice Warriors

Dallas Product Liability Lawyer

When you purchase a product, you are protected by specific rights as a consumer. Whether it’s buying a toy for your child to play with or an electronic blanket to keep you warm at night, you shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of each item. However, products can sometimes be defective, potentially resulting in severe injury or illness.

The last thing a consumer expects when excitedly using a brand new product is to suffer a serious injury. In an instant moment, an innocent consumer could find him or herself suffering great physical injury and financial distress. Consumers who face these difficult challenges have the option to bring a claim of product liability to try and offset these pains.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective product, it’s imperative to seek legal representation from an experienced and trustworthy attorney. At Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers, our Dallas product liability attorney takes an innovative approach to the cases we handle by devising creative plans of action to help our clients obtain the results they desire.

What is Product Liability?

Product liability, strictly speaking, is a legal claim that allows consumers to bring claims against the manufacturer, distributor, or vendor of a product that causes injury. While most areas of personal injury fall under the theory of negligence, product liability is unique in that there are a number of claims that fall under a theory of strict liability.

Under a theory of strict liability, the defendant will be responsible for the damages of the plaintiff regardless of the actions the defendant takes, so long as the plaintiff can meet the elements of the claim. While most claims allow defendants to be absolved if they took reasonable precautions, strict liability claims do not take into consideration these measures if the defendant was in violation of the claim brought.

Strict liability was created to safeguard plaintiffs who were hurt by a defective product through no fault of their own but were unable to obtain a favorable outcome in their civil claims due to the way conventional negligence rules were framed. For blatant violations, strict liability favors plaintiffs because the defense has no argument regardless of the behavior if they failed to meet the standards held to products.

Even in a strict liability claim, the plaintiff still holds the burden of proof. In product liability claims, the plaintiff must always show:

  • The product that caused their injuries was sold in a “unreasonably risky” state.
  • When the product reached the market, the producer or vendor “anticipated and planned” that it would not be altered or changed.
  • The plaintiff or their property was harmed as a result of the product’s flaws.

Additionally, the type of product liability claim brought can add additional elements the plaintiff must prove.

Product Liability Categories

Strict product liability cases can be divided into three categories:

Manufacturing Defects

The product was improperly assembled, typically in the factory. Under a manufacturing defect claim, the plaintiff is alleged that the product did not do what it was designed to do because it was improperly built or put together. An example of a manufacturing claim would be a car that failed the unit inspection test but was shipped out of the factory anyways.

Design Defects

Although the object was well-made and isn’t inherently broken or defective, its design is hazardous. Examples include cars that have faulty seat belts or who’s frame design is shown to statistically lead to car crashes, resulting in recalls. The distinction between a manufacturing and a design defect is that while individual items might be at fault in a manufacturing defect, an entire lot of items or even the whole fleet is faulty under a design defect.

Marketing/Warning Defects

When hazards cannot be eliminated from a product, it must be labeled clearly and unambiguously so that consumers are aware of the risks. If a product is mislabeled, causing confusion and reducing risk or hazard, or if the product is not labeled at all, the consumer may be unable to take preventive precautions. The most famous marketing warning defect is the consumer who was awarded when she spilled McDonald’s coffee without a warning label the coffee was hot.

Defenses to Product Liability

Although strict liability technically has no defenses the defendant can bring, the defense will still argue that they are correct because the plaintiff fails to meet the elements of product liability. These arguments include:

  • Some third-party person or event interfered with the product in such a way that the plaintiff’s injury was not caused by the goods as it was originally sold. For example, a reckless courier could have damaged the product during transportation, resulting in the defect that injured the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff willfully used the product in a harmful manner, or used it while knowing it was defective in advance. If a person, for example, uses a defective hairdryer in a damp bathtub, this is sufficient grounds for dismissing a personal injury action; the hairdryer’s seller would not be liable.
  • The plaintiff utilized the product carelessly, to the point where their own negligence was a major contributor to the accident, and the plaintiff used the product in a way that was not intended.

Who is Sued Under Product Liability?

Surprisingly, if a product is defective and causes harm to consumers, the seller, the distributor, and the original manufacturer of the goods can all be sued.

Because manufacturers make the components and assemble the finished product, they are often the first party considered under product liability. However, because strict product liability ignores the norm of conduct, retailers and distributors may be held accountable for distributing and selling tainted or dangerous items. For example, a distributor who picks up a product from a manufacturing plant and transfers it to a retailer without examining it can be found liable. Similarly, Retailers can be liable if they place a product on their shelves, regardless of the state the product was in.

Defendant must try to argue they cannot be found liable because the product went out of the chain-of-custody which caused the product to be defective independently of the defendant.

What Are Common Defective Products?

Our legal team believes that designers and manufacturers of defective products should be held accountable for failing to maintain adequate standard of safety. They have a legal duty to ensure the products they are creating are safe.

Those responsible for marketing the product also have the obligation to make sure that the product is properly labeled or contains proper warnings or instructions.

The defective product cases we handle include:

  • Defective hernia mesh
  • Defective children’s products
  • Defective food products
  • Defective construction equipment
  • Defective pharmaceutical products
  • Auto part recalls

We Never Settle For Less

Our Dallas product liability lawyers can help you navigate through Texas’ complex injury law. We are not afraid to fight a large corporation or government entity in the courtroom by providing our clients with an aggressive and personalized representation.

Our Dallas personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and the rights of others against a defective product on the market.