Defects in consumer products are as varied as the array of products available to consumers for purchase. The term “consumer products” can be used to describe household products, items used in everyday activities: all-terrain vehicles, golf carts, watercraft and jet skis, lawnmowers, household tools, common safety equipment like helmets and eye protection, or any other product that consumers find themselves utilizing.
If any of these products cause a serious or catastrophic injury, and it appears that the product malfunctioned or did not perform as expected, then a potential claim may exist.
When evaluating whether a defect in a consumer product may form the basis of a legal claim, it is best to consider a few simple factors. First, due to the considerable expense involved in litigating any product defect case, the magnitude of the injuries sustained must be examined. As a rule of thumb, the injuries must be catastrophic and permanent to justify pursuing a claim. Second, the injury sustained must have been “caused” by the defect in the product itself or result from a failure to adequately warn of the dangers or hazards involved. Causation, as it is referred to by the courts, is a critical component of any case and must exist to pursue relief. Third, the possible legal theories that can be pursued must be considered. Generally speaking, product defect theories tend to revolve around claims that:
- the design of the product was such that it was unreasonably dangerous or defective;
- the product as made or manufactured was defective;
- or the warnings or instructions regarding the product were inadequate or improper and led to injuries.
If it is believed or suspected that a defect in a consumer product caused a catastrophic injury or fatality an investigation should be conducted to determine if a claim exists. To ensure that the claim is properly preserved, it is critical that the product be kept, and that it not be tampered with or altered from the state it was in when the accident happened.
As Consumer Product Defect attorneys we can help
At the Didier Law Firm we have extensive experience in handling a wide variety of consumer product defect claims. If we can be of assistance to you in evaluating or pursuing a product defect claim relating to a consumer product please do not hesitate to contact us.
Helmet Defect Claims
Although the most common helmet defect claim involves a motorcycle helmet, we have seen an increasing number of accidents involving bicycle and other sports helmets including football, lacrosse, baseball, snowboarding and others. Whatever the sport, the user can and should have a reasonable expectation that a helmet will provide head protection in the event of an impact.
In rural areas or other areas with open terrain it is not uncommon to see All-Terrain Vehicles or “ATVs” in use for recreational fun, light hauling, farming or hunting. Unfortunately, while these utility vehicles can provide both entertainment and functionality, many are unreasonably dangerous and expose those using them to unnecessary injury or even death. By their very nature many ATVs have a high center of gravity, small wheels and a narrow wheel base that make them inherently unstable and prone to flipping either forward or backward on grades or rolling over, even on relatively flat terrain.
Golf Cart & LSV Accidents
Like ATVs, golf carts and Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs) can be extremely dangerous to those who use them even under normal operating conditions. The manufacturers of golf carts are not regulated like the manufacturers of other motor vehicles, and as a result golf carts can greatly vary in quality of their design, construction and manufacture. They share many of the same safety concerns and problems as ATVs, and, therefore, when an accident occurs involving a golf cart or similar vehicle the potential that a defect in the golf cart design should be considered. Often through better design practices the likelihood of an accident in the first instance can be reduced, or the possibility of injury minimized should an accident happen.
Lawn Mower Accidents
Lawn mower accidents happen needlessly and all-too-frequently, and can lead to severed appendages or limbs, broken bones, and even death. Lawn mowers can easily roll over when on an embankment, hill or during a sharp turn on flat terrain. Zero-turn-radius (ZTR) rotary riding mowers are known for easy maneuverability, however manufacturers are also well-aware of their propensity to roll over when they encounter small holes or slight grades in the terrain. Many of the injuries from lawn mower accidents can be prevented by manufacturer-installed guards, roll bars, and seatbelts. If inadequate safety systems contributed to severe injuries or a wrongful death in a lawn mower accident, a product liability case may exist.
Pet Access Door Accidents
Pet access doors, or doggie doors, are hidden hazards in residential homes and on too many occasions have lead directly to the tragic injury or death of a child. Many parents and caregivers do not appreciate the risk associated with use of a pet door, and how young children can drown, become lost, wander into streets, or otherwise become seriously injured or killed after exiting a home through a pet door.
Rhino ATV Accidents
All Terrain Vehicles can offer hours of outdoor fun, but a safe design is imperative to passenger safety. Expert analysis and accident statistics have shown the Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660 ATVs to be defectively designed, resulting in serious accidents. Features such as a high center of gravity, small wheels and a narrow wheelbase can cause the vehicle to rollover easily, resulting in serious injury and death.
Watercraft & Jet Ski Accidents
Abundant waterways and warm weather make for hours of boating fun. However, many boat owners and operators unfortunately do not have the proper training and/or experience to properly operate their vessels, or simply do not keep safety top-of-mind.