Product liability is an area of personal injury law dealing with accidents and injuries resulting from dangerous and defective consumer products. Although government organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate, issue recalls and inform consumers of various products, thousands of individuals still sustain avoidable injuries every year. When this happen, victims can bring product liability claims against product manufacturers.
TYPES OF PRODUCT LIABILITY
While defective products can come in all shapes and sizes, there are essentially three different types of defects. Those are:
- Design Defects- These products are defective in their very design, meaning even if they were manufactured perfectly, they still would have posed a significant safety risk to consumers.
- Manufacturing Defects- These products would have been safe for consumers if it weren't for errors during the manufacturing process.
- Failure to Warn- Also called "marketing defects," these products pose a safety risk to consumers because of incomplete or inadequate warning labels, instructions or false advertising.
Product liability cases may fall into one or more of these categories. Many dangerous product cases involve multiple types of defects.
THE ROLE OF RECALLS IN PRODUCT DEFECT CASES
Although manufacturers often issue voluntary recalls of their products when they learn of defects, these often do not come until multiple people have already been injured. Usually what happens is a manufacturer or a federal regulating agency such as the CPSC will receive a consumer complaint. After one or more complaints, an investigation will be launched and further product testing will be conducted. If the complaints are valid, then a recall will be issued. Sometimes, the recall only asks for consumers to take their product in for repairs and in other cases, the product can be returned for a refund.
After a manufacturer issues a recall, the consumer is responsible for responding to that recall. If a consumer is injured because they used a product that was previously recalled, the consumer may not be able to file a claim for compensation. In some cases, wholesalers, retail stores and even private sellers will attempt to sell recalled products. It is against the law to sell a recalled product. If you purchased a recalled product, then you may have a claim against the seller.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
According to § 516.120 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, the statute of limitations in personal injury and product liability cases is usually five years from the date of the injury. Although claimants typically have five years to seek civil actions against manufacturers for product-related injuries, it is best to seek legal representation sooner rather than later. After you have made a formal complaint with the manufacturer and sought medical attention for any injuries you sustained, you should get in touch with an attorney such as the St. Louis product liability attorneys from Goldblatt & Singer PC.