St. Joseph Product Liability Lawyers
Nearly every activity of life in the United States requires the use of products and equipment purchased from someone else. We have a complex, consumer-based economy, which means that we rely on others to produce the goods that we need, and we trust that the goods they produce will help, not harm us.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case; people are injured and even killed every day because of defective and dangerous products. Designers, manufacturers, and distributors are responsible for the quality and safety of the products they create and sell, and can often be held liable when a defective product causes harm to a consumer. Tires, motor vehicles and their components, tobacco, asbestos, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toys, baby products, tainted food, machinery and many other products have resulted in injuries and substantial damage awards to victims.
If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury caused by a defective product, you may be able to recover money as compensation for your damages. You will need to consult a product liability attorney with extensive experience in handling these typically complex and challenging cases.
Types of Product Defects
Product defects fall into one of three categories:
- Defects in design
- Defects in manufacturing
- “Failure to warn” defects (also called marketing defects)
Design defects occur when a product is inherently flawed and dangerous from conception, even before it has been produced so that no matter how well it is manufactured, it is by the nature of its design unreasonably hazardous to the consumer.
Defects in the manufacturing process can result from human error, substandard materials or components or generally poor workmanship.
“Failure to warn” defects occur when there are dangers inherent in the use of a product for its intended purpose that may not be obvious to the average end user, no matter how well it is designed or manufactured. When this is the case, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to warn the consumer of the potential hazard and to provide appropriate instructions for the safe use of the product. If warnings and/or instructions are lacking, the manufacturer could be held liable for serious injuries that result.
What You Need to Prove to Win a Product Liability Claim
While many personal injury cases require you to prove that another party’s negligence was the cause of your injury, product liability cases may be based on legal theories other than negligence, such as strict liability and breach of warranty.
Under the legal doctrine of strict liability, a manufacturer of a defective product can be found liable without the necessity of proving the manufacturer to be negligent. You will need to show only that the product contained an unreasonable defect and that you were injured while using the product in its original condition at the time of purchase for the purpose that the product was intended, and that while doing so the defect caused you to be injured and you suffered damages.
If a product’s warranty makes representations about the quality, safety or usefulness of a product that are untrue and the product does not meet the standards implied in the warranty, you may be able to bring a breach of warranty claim for a manufacturing or design defect.
You must prove these elements in a product liability case:
- The manufacturer sold the product in its regular course of business.
- When sold, the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous for its intended use.
- You used the product for its reasonably intended purpose in the manner expected.
- In the course of using the product, without alteration from its condition at the time of purchase, for its intended use, you suffered an injury as a direct result of the defect.
- In Missouri, you will also need to show that the product could have reasonably been designed and manufactured in an alternative, safer manner and that the manufacturer’s failure to use the safer alternative caused the product not to be “reasonably safe.”
Legal Representation for Defective Product Injuries
For experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive legal representation, when you’ve suffered a product-related injury in Missouri, contact the law firm of Murphy, Taylor, Siemens & Elliott P.C. in St. Joseph. Our partners have 100 years of combined legal experience and a long track record of success in recovering money for injured clients and their families. Stop by our office located minutes from downtown St. Joseph, Mo., or call now for a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how we can help.