Have you heard about hover boards, one of 2015’s most popular gifts? Or how they’ve been spontaneously combusting? These self-balancing scooters are certainly a hot topic, but not quite for the entertainment they provide. These toys are at the center of one of 2016’s most interesting product liability disputes.
Product liability claims are designed to keep manufacturers accountable for the goods they release. In fact, everyone along the chain of a product’s development is obligated to create safe products. These parties can and should be held liable if a person is injured due to an unsafe design, marketing error, or manufacturing flaw.
Facts About the Law
Product liability claims are filed at the state levels. Thus, you will need to work with an expert well-versed in local laws. For example, in Ohio, common-law claims can be leveraged against manufacturers. The following information pertains to product liability in general; reach out to a legal team in your state for more info or to review a specific case.
Any party that contributed to the manufacturing process may be held liable for a product that causes personal or property damage. This could include component part manufacturers (for example, the company that developed the batteries a product uses), the assembling manufacturer (the company that developed the assembly processes used to create the product in question), the wholesaler (the company a retailer buys its goods from), or the retailer itself.
Obviously, there is plenty to investigate during such claims. To make things even more complicated, product liability is no longer restricted to traditional retail offerings; it now includes services like gas, pet adoption, real estate, and technical writing. Depending on the circumstance, product liability claims can be filed for the following issues:
- Design defects. To prove a design defect, an expert witness must demonstrate that an alternative design provides the same service and would have been economically practical and safer.
- Manufacturing defect. These defects occur when a product functionally deviates from its intended design, for example, a product may be more dangerous than consumers expect. This was the primary problem with lawn darts.
- Warning defect. A product must provide proper instructions, and it must warn consumers of any apparent dangers.
To recap, a product may be poorly designed, have a manufacturing error, or lack adequate safety warnings. When this leads to personal or property damage, you may seek compensation through the legal system.
When to Get the Law Involved
Seek help if a product you own presents any of these risks. Ohio has strict rules governing personal injury and liability claims, but a case can be filed against any product that is not safe or presents a significant liability for consumers. However, since anyone along the manufacturing chain could be found responsible, the process takes dedication and thorough research, and it can be hard to find the root of a problem. Unfortunately, proving fault is difficult and takes time.
Consultations are important step in the process. Contact the compassionate legal team at Erney Law for more information. Our experts can walk you through the nuances of our state’s laws and recommend your best course of action for a product liability claim.