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Failure to Warn
If a customer purchases an item and is not adequately instructed on the proper use of the product, then the manufacturer or seller may be liable for any damage the customer suffers.
For example, producers of over-the-counter medication are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to attach a ‘drug facts label’ to each drug. The drug facts label should show specific information, including the product’s active ingredients, uses, and specific warnings about its usage. A drug manufacturer who fails to meet this requirement would likely be liable for product liability if a person experiences any side effects after using such drugs.
Design defects usually occur at the invention stage of a product due to a flawed design. Such defects affect all products manufactured from the defective blueprint. They can cause harm even when the product is being used appropriately.
Unlike other product liability claims that can be brought against anyone in the supply chain, design defect claims are usually against the manufacturer.
Breach of Warranty
Some products, such as electrical appliances or gadgets, have written warranties. These warranties assure the consumer that the product fits the required purpose.
Where the product fails to meet the claims contained in the warranty, a breach of warranty has occurred, which may be a strong basis for a product liability claim.
Even if there is no written warranty, it is only natural that you expect a product you have purchased to work. The law protects you in such circumstances by providing that goods sold must be fit for the ordinary purposes for which such products are used. So if you’ve purchased a product that doesn’t work despite your best efforts, you might still be able to sustain a breach of warranty claim. You can speak with a skilled product liability lawyer to assess your case and determine the strength of your claim.
Factors That Affect Compensation in Products Liability Cases
The compensation you can get in a product liability case depends on whether you contributed to the damage you suffered.
In the past, compensation in product liability cases in Missouri was based on whether the plaintiff’s contributory fault was established. During that time, a plaintiff shown to have contributed to the damage they suffered would not be compensated, and the defendant would walk free. That law has been abolished, and Missouri currently operates on the doctrine of ‘pure comparative fault.’
‘Pure comparative fault’ means that a person’s contribution to the damage they suffered does not invalidate their claim but only affects the amount they can get.
A plaintiff is at fault if they:
- Fail to use the product as specified or reasonably anticipated by the manufacturer
- Use the product for a purpose not anticipated by the manufacturer
- Use the product in a dangerous manner
- Fail to take reasonable precautions while using the product
- Fail to minimize the extent of their injuries or the damage they suffered.
If the defendant can establish any of these factors in your case, the money you’ll get will be reduced even if you’ve spent more than that on your medical treatment.
Settlements in Product Liability Cases
Settlement in product liability cases is common. If the manufacturer behind the product is trying to avoid the backlash of publicizing the defect in their product, they may opt for this route. They also offer settlements because it is typically cheaper for the company than a drawn-out lawsuit.
However, several companies may try to arm-twist the personal injury victims into accepting meager compensation. If you accept such an unfavorable settlement, you could lose the right to pursue your claim in court. If you’ve received a settlement offer from a liable party, get your product liability lawyer to review the terms first and advise you accordingly.