Protecting Your Consumer Rights in the South Bay
We are surrounded by products that help us be more efficient, allow us to do things we could not do otherwise, and entertain us. We just assume they are well designed and manufactured, but the truth is a poorly designed or manufactured product that we think little about could potentially kill or seriously injure us or a family member. In the case of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, products we think will make us healthier may actually do much more harm than good.
This area of law can be highly technical, requiring multiple expert witnesses. Defendants can be multi-national corporations worth many billions of dollars, able to afford formidable defenses to legal claims. These issues will not stop our Torrance product liability lawyers from fully representing our clients and protecting their rights to obtain the most compensation possible.
What is Product Liability?
Under product liability law, a product must be designed, marketed, and manufactured so it is safe to use for its intended purpose. Any or all parties along the chain of manufacture or sale of a defective product could be sued for damage caused by that product. This includes those designing and engineering the product, companies supplying component parts, the assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail seller. There must be harm to an end user or a bystander innocently injured due to the defect.
In the realm of product liability, there are three main types of claims you can file depending on the type of defect and who is ultimately responsible for it. These include:
- Manufacturing defects: A product manufacturer can be at fault if they made a mistake in the manufacturing of the item. These defects can occur when errors are made on the assembly line and differ from how the product was initially designed. Malfunctioning brakes on cars, for instance, are often the result of a manufacturing issue.
- Design defects: Sometimes a product will malfunction or be defective thanks to an error made during the design stage. A common example is a medical device with a design that causes it to break apart in a person's body. In these specific cases, victims must show that the designer could've made a safer choice in designing the product, avoiding injuries altogether.
- Marketing defects (failure to warn): Manufacturers or sellers can also be held responsible for negligence when they fail to include comprehensive instructions for the user or include warnings about the product's inherent risks. Victims will need to prove that they suffered injuries specifically because the risks weren't properly disclosed.
How Medical Products Cause Harm
Medications and medical devices that we expect to help us live our lives can potentially injure and kill unsuspecting consumers. There are far too many defective drugs and devices on the market.
- Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records show there were 1,734 drug recalls from 2004 to 2011; 91 of those recalls were done because they had the greatest risk of causing patients serious harm, even death.
- The FDA recalled 1,190 defective medical devices in 2012 (up from 604 in 2003), with 57 of them due to a risk of serious harm or death.
- A medical product or pharmaceutical could be defective due to human error and lax quality control. Pharmaceutical companies and makers of medical devices may also put profits ahead of safety.
- The costs of developing, obtaining government approval, and manufacturing drugs and medical devices can run into the billions of dollars.
- Manufacturers can be tempted to hide negative information about a potentially dangerous drug or device to obtain government approval and sell the product to as many people as possible to pay for the cost of development plus profit margins stockholders demand from the company.
A defective drug could result in serious, unexpected side effects that could result in a permanent disability or death. The failure of a medical device can also cause injury or death. The implant of a defective medical device (such as a heart valve, hip replacement, knee joint, or pacemaker) may require additional surgery to replace the defective device. The end result could be a greater disability than what the patient originally suffered prior to getting the implant.
Defective Auto Parts Can Cause Serious Injuries
There are thousands of parts in the modern automobile. Though some are more critical than others, they all need to be designed, manufactured, and assembled correctly for that car to operate properly and safely. Vehicles could be dangerously defective because of a particular part, how a group of parts work together, or due to the overall design or assembly of the vehicle.
Because of defects, vehicles may become difficult to control, suddenly accelerate, or stall, or safety devices may fail to work. The end result could be hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.
About 15.6 million new cars were sold in the U.S. in 2013, but 22 million vehicles were recalled that same year. Those recalls were made with 632 different campaigns started by the government or by the automakers themselves.
If you or a family member have been injured due to a defective product, AgnewBrusavich has the knowledge, experience, and resources to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome. Contact our office so we can discuss your situation and the best way for you to move forward.
Our Torrance product liability lawyers can hold negligent designers and manufacturers responsible for the harm they've caused to you and others. Call us to get started on your case at (310) 793-1400.