February 24, 2011

Without an experienced personal injury attorney, defective product claims can be some of the most difficult battles to win. The first thing a manufacturer may do is accuse you of simply not using the product properly, or claim that you abused or damaged the product causing it to fail. If the defect is not a design flaw or a widespread problem that results in a recall of the product, proving that it was anything but your fault can seem impossible, and you may feel lucky if you simply get a refund.

Many people misunderstand the definition of “defective.” It is not just about something breaking or working improperly – it could be poorly written or misleading instructions, improper directions by a salesperson, or the lack of adequate product warning labels. Because many of the products we buy are imported, instruction manuals are often translated into English from another language, and the results can be less than accurate.

Most of the time product recalls are the result of non-injury related product defects. Often recalls occur after a retailer or manufacturer salesperson discovers it. Unfortunately, as evidence in recent years with cases involving certain Firestone Tires or Toyota automobiles, it can take horrifying experiences, and sometimes even deadly accidents for the defect to be discovered.

Manufacturers and retailers closely monitor products used by infants and young children for safety issues and potential problems. However, parents should take great care as well. Cribs are notorious for product recalls, as are a variety of toys and even clothing. The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires all children’s sleepwear under size nine be either snug fitting or flame-resistant, and labeled as such. Toys are scrutinized for small parts that present a choking hazard, moving parts that can cause injury, as well as the materials they are made from. Keep a watchful eye for product recalls on the items you buy, and inspect them closely yourself. Even months later, after the product has been “broken in,” make sure it has not become broken. If you find something that warrants a large-scale recall on a crib, toy, or otherwise, you should quickly bring it to the attention of a product defect attorney so the product can be recalled.

Medical equipment is another area for potential defects, and the results can certainly be devastating. Our offices have been handling claims for the DePuy Hip Replacement recall, in which a design flaw on certain implant models has resulted in metal rubbing metal, causing extreme pain, difficulty in walking, and toxins released into the bloodstream of the individual with a DePuy prosthetic hip.

Not only can a defective product lawsuit result in compensation for medical expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering, but it can also result in getting the defective product off the market or the defect fixed, preventing potential pain, injury, or death to many more people.

Keeping receipts, manuals, and other paperwork associated with the products you buy is always a good idea. Should something go wrong, first attend to any possible injuries that may have occurred, but then take pictures, gather witnesses, if any, and contact us immediately. Do NOT contact the manufacturer, or even the retailer. If you get any response at all, it would likely be from their own legal team who will put their company’s interests ahead of yours every time.

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